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frequent fry her - Northern Girl Southern Housewife Frequent Fry Her TM - NorthernGirlSouthernHousewife, 1 of 4 needed /Posted: 15-MAR-08
Worst gift:  I know that there are much worse gifts than those I've received over the years, but I still felt the need to share this.  On the first Christmas I spent with DH (then BF), on the very same day that I first met MIL, BIL and GMIL, GMIL gave us a gift.  We got matching teddy bear Christmas stockings.  They were kind of cute.  I was happy that she was already giving us matching gifts.  It seemed so thoughtful and accepting of our relationship.  Then, with a smile, GMIL looked me in the eyes and said, "They're for you to use from here on out, until you split up.  Then, you'll have to fight for custody!"  The room was silent, and MIL huffed off.  Apparently, it was a joke at MIL's expense about her divorce.  I guess it did teach me right from the beginning that I was a non-person to them.  If nothing else, it gave me an interesting story.

        Signed - A Joke At MIL's Expense
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frequent fry her - Northern Girl Southern Housewife Frequent Fry Her TM - NorthernGirlSouthernHousewife, 2 of 4 needed /Posted: 19-MAR-08
Ah, so many little stories to share about my ILs.  I could talk about the time we met GMIL at a hotel to celebrate DH's birthday.  After DH and BIL walked in the door, she looked me in the eyes, slammed the door, opened it a second later and said, "Sorry, I didn't see you there!" Or, how GMIL threw a huge fit at our wedding about how she had to be escorted down the aisle.  It was a low key wedding, very inexpensive and laid back.  DH's family wasn't involved in the least, so I guess they didn't know what to expect until a few of them bothered to show up (they're close by, and most didn't come, while almost all of my large family flew from across the country).  Or, maybe I could write about how MIL likes to pick fancy restaurants to eat at, has us pick her up and drop her off (even though she has a car), picks a place where DS can't eat - a place that costs way too much, orders whenever she feels like it - whether we're ready or not, and gets appetizers to eat by herself in front of our hungry 2 year old (and she has only offered him food once).  She then decides randomly about whether or not she'll pay for us after inviting us out there (I don't think this will be happening ever again).  But, my favorite, or, rather, most painful story has to do not with DH's actual blood relatives, but with his best friend's family.  They have pretty much claimed him as one of their own.  The mom has always been super sweet.  The dad is fun and relaxed.  Their two kids (DH's best friend since forever, and his older brother) are great guys, and we've always loved hanging out with them.  There were a few things that bothered me, but nothing awful??  We adopted a baby.  During the adoption process, these people were very helpful and supportive.  We received long hugs at every positive or negative step.  They were references for us.  They never said a bad word and were fully supportive.  And, then we got the call.  There was a 21 month old baby boy in Ethiopia waiting for us.  It was one of the most incredible moments of my life: seeing his sweet face for the first time, hearing his name, getting to know my son through a couple of photographs and some background/medical reports.  It was such an emotionally charged day - a day I can never, ever forget.  My parents were, unfortunately, occupied for the night, so we chose to visit DH's friend's parents with the news.  After all, they were like family.  They were extremely close to MIL and BIL, always claiming DH and BIL as other sons.  They welcomed me to "the family" on our wedding day, etc.  We were there showing them the pictures of our gorgeous little boy and talking about him, and then it got weird.  Suddenly the mom wanted us to pick a name RIGHT NOW!!!  We'd already settled on a name that we liked, with a couple of backup names.  But, we wanted to make sure it fit him and went with his original names, as we were keeping those as middle names and wanted to complement them.  The mom listened to our choices of names and sat there critiquing them, going on about whether she'd like the names or not, whether they'd fit him, did he look like a "X" or not, etc.  She had us "vote" for names at one point, asking us what we thought of them.  Um, I thought that was supposed to be our job to decide.  When did she become his mom?  Of course, we mentioned that we were considering keeping his original name and just tacking on our last name.  We may as well have said that we planned on beating him, because, oh man, they both launched into a tirade!  Did we really want to do that to a poor, innocent child?  They couldn't even pronounce the name!  It sounded so foreign.  We'd be making it hard for him to make friends, get good grades, get a job, etc.  Sorry, again, our choice, not yours.  And, it's actually a very common Ethiopian name that many people we've met have heard of and can pronounce.  And, yes, I think he'd do fine with that name.  And, if he chose to go by it, then hooray for him!  He has our full support there.  The name thing?  Not the worst of it.  See, we have lots of pets.  I used to volunteer with a no kill animal shelter and our area has an insane animal overpopulation rate.  So, we have 6 cats.  So sue me.  We still passed the home study, as we keep our house clean.  Our house is actually set up for this number of animals, and we've had many people tell us, when walking in, that they can't believe we have cats at all.  Unfortunately, one day DH's friend's parents came over to pick us up for something, walked in uninvited, and smelled a bad smell.  At the time, one of our cats was sick (didn't last long), and, yeah, the litter area stunk like crazy.  As it's near the front door, you could definitely smell it right when you walked in (but not from the rest of the house).  I'm not going to deny that it stunk for a while before our cat got better.  But, that's definitely not the norm for our house.  So, here we were, sitting at a table on the very first day that we had seen our son's picture, still jittery and excited and scared and emotional and all that jazz, and a little bit put off by the name thing at the same time.  But, hey, we were told to expect something like that.  Suddenly, the mom reached over and grabbed my hand.  She looked me in the eyes and started going on about my cats and how I have to get rid of them.  She said that I can either have pets or children, not both, and I needed to understand this.  She said that our house is disgusting and, as a mother, she would never allow her own child in our house.  She said that I'd see the child as just another pet, and I can't be a real mother because I have so many cats and only know how to be a pet owner.  A social worker would walk in and take our son away instantly when they saw our cats.  When we protested this fact (they'd just give us a warning to change), she went on about how she'd never let a kid in our house and no person in their right mind would allow it.  None of this was said to my DH, only to me (4 of the cats are DH's and he wants more, not getting them though).  As the conversation went on, it got worse and worse.  They told me of that horrible smell in the house (the one time they were in it!!!) and how no child should be subjected to that.  There was obviously fecal matter on the floor with a smell like that, which our child would eat.  I was horrible for allowing a little child to eat poo.  Um, I think I'd know if there was poo on my floor.  It was just bizarre.  The worst part was that we did have trouble with our social worker after these people, supposedly "just like family", handed in their reference letter for us, which we weren't allowed to read.  We were only now hearing that they think we treat children like pets and wouldn't allow a child in our house, but they were hugging us at every turn.  Ugh!  How duplicitous!  So, that happened in August.  I was upset to tears for days because I knew that we'd just lost people whom we thought were great friends, and I knew they'd ruined what should have been one of the happiest days of our lives.  I will never be able to disassociate the day we first heard about our son with the day that we felt belittled and betrayed by people we'd felt so close to.  To rub it in, they went on about how we could, and should, bring DS over any time, as their house was perfect for kids.  They'd never get bored or angry (like I would be doing constantly).  They had all the food and room, and only 2 cats.  They knew that I couldn't handle a child, so they knew I'd be dropping him off constantly, and that was okay.  They'd welcome him with open arms, because he was one of them now.  In December, we saw them again for the first time since that celebration day.  They hadn't tried to contact us but once over a question about one of their cats, nothing to do with our DS.  They didn't come to see him when he got home, even though they're incredibly important to DH.  They are the only "family" that never physically abandoned him and always embraced him.  They took him in when his mom moved overseas when he was 15, and gave him a place to stay for breaks from boarding school and college.  Finally, we saw them at a Christmas party at DH's mother's house.  I brought my best friend to help support me, and so she'd be with me when I conveniently left early with DS (her family is my "extra family").  DH's friend's family was there in total.  They fit right in with the other ILs.  They act just like one big family together.  Everyone played nice.  Barely anyone acknowledged me or DS.  Finally DH's friend's mom pulled me aside.  She demanded to know what I was saying about her behind her back.  What was this she heard about her saying something hurtful and me being upset with her?  I told her a little bit, reminding her of her words.  But, oh no, that wasn't what she said!  I had warped her words in my overemotional mind!  She would never say anything like that.  She never apologized for any harm taken, but she pretty much demanded an apology from me, since I was spreading lies about her, hurting her, keeping her from DH and DS, whom she also sees as part of her family now (I'm not included anymore, apparently).  She had me backed into a corner in a darkened room, raising her voice, getting very accusatory about how mean I was and how I was making things up.  Then she started to demand that I say that we're "okay" with each other, before giving me the most awkward bear hug of my life.  I left right after that, and haven't spoken to her since.  I did tell her that we're okay, not because we are, but because I wanted to get away from this woman who was acting erratic and starting to get physical (grabbing wrists and shoulders and such).  I wanted to get back to enjoying my first Christmas with my DS, something I would not let her ruin.  DH spent a few more hours with the whole family so that he could get that out of the way for the next year or so.  I went home vowing never to be around, or let DS be around, that crazy woman ever again.  DH agrees wholeheartedly, though I feel so bad for him, since he really feels let down (again) by his whole family, including them.  For the record, the only poo DS has touched has been his own on a couple of "helping mommy change a diaper" occasions.  The sick cat has been fine for a loooong time, and is DS's best buddy, letting him do whatever he wants to her.  The cats and dog actually all love DS and he adores them.  Oddly enough, when we visited his remaining family in Ethiopia, there were cats EVERYWHERE in their town.  So I guess it's comforting to him.  Oh, and the social worker walked in and saw the cats.  She told us what a great home we have and the happy cats laying about and cuddling with DS just proved what great parents we were.  I wish I could've taped that conversation to send to DH's friend's family or any of my ILs.  But, just hearing it made me happy.  I was able to get rid of the awful fears of losing my son - ideas that were put in my head the very same day we learned we even had a son.  Even though we feel better about that, I don't know that we can ever forgive this woman for saying such horrible things to us on what was such an important day.  Nor can we ever trust her or her family with saying the truth to us, because Lord knows what they might actually think, and at what inopportune moment they may choose to reveal their thoughts next time.

        Signed - No More Next Times
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frequent fry her - Northern Girl Southern Housewife Frequent Fry Her TM - NorthernGirlSouthernHousewife, 3 of 4 needed /Posted: 22-MAR-08
I first met DH over 6 years ago, and we began dating shortly thereafter.  Aside from a brief and uncomfortable visit with his father 2 weeks into our relationship (they hadn't seen each other in 2 years), I didn't get to meet his family until Christmas.  We were more than 10 months into our relationship before we felt secure enough that we could withstand the very bizarre first visit.  DH gave me a lot of warning about his family and what they'd be like.  As he tends to exaggerate, I thought he was kidding.  I met BIL, then a sweet, young teen, and MIL, a very well put together lady, who worked in England.  I do have to admit that I was a bit put off by family history.  MIL informed DH that she was leaving for England with BIL, while DH was 15 and in boarding school, leaving him with no stable home to return to on breaks and no familial support system.  But, eh, people have their reasons and DH survived.  Anyway, things got sticky on the very first day when MIL decided to drive out to see GMIL in their hometown, a few hours away.  MIL was going to surprise GMIL, who didn't know we were coming.  DH quickly explained to me that MIL and GMIL don't get along, and they treat each other horribly.  But I didn't take him seriously.  Oh, if only I'd listened.  When MIL went to the door, GMIL answered.  She looked her DD in the face, and slammed the door.  Looking back, I kind of laugh about it.  But, at the time, I was so nervous about making a good impression around these well dressed and world savvy people, I was just worried.  When GMIL opened the door a second later, a big smile plastered on her face, she said, "Oh, I knew you were coming."  That made MIL so angry!  Of course, GMIL didn't know that we were coming.  Who would have told her?  It's not like DH's family has any friends, or ever answers a phone!  GMIL just likes to mess with MIL, and MIL spent all night ranting about who warned GMIL.  She interrogated each of us as to who ruined her surprise.  The weirdest part, though, was when MIL disappeared within 5 minutes of us getting there.  After we were settled in and DH showed me around the excessively cluttered, large house (there are rooms where you can't even open the door because there's so much stuff!!!), I told him that I reeeally needed to use the restroom after that car ride!  He pointed out the bathroom, and walked off.  I opened the door to the bathroom and there was MIL.  She was sitting on the toilet, right inside the door.  She glared at me, and tears streaked down her face.  I almost screamed.  We stared at each other for a few moments and then she finally said, "I HATE my mother."  To which I replied, "I'm sorry," and ran off, holding my legs together for another hour until she decided to leave the restroom.  Throughout that evening, there were many open verbal sparring matches between MIL and GMIL.  They really are very mean to each other, and they have no consideration for others!  If GMIL said something flippant to MIL, then MIL had no problem telling everyone that we were leaving right then, even if we're all starving and dinner was being served.  They change plans on a whim, are late with everything, and act like best buddies one minute and then worst enemies the next.  Ugh.  I don't mind people having dramatic and destructive relationships.  But, seriously, did they need to drag their kids or their son's significant other, whom they'd just met, into it?  And, now their grandkid, too?  It's called therapy, people!  It's useful!

        Signed - And That Was Just The First Meeting
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frequent fry her - Northern Girl Southern Housewife Frequent Fry Her TM - NorthernGirlSouthernHousewife, 4 of 4 needed /Posted: 22-MAR-08
For the past few years I've occasionally come to this site, sometimes for a laugh, sometimes to commiserate, sometimes just to see if my life matched up with anyone else's.  I have to say, for a long time there I kept thinking, "Wow, maybe I'm one of the lucky ones!"  But, then I noticed that other people kept saying that their relationships were pretty good with their ILs until the first child came along.  Things certainly changed after my marriage 2 1/2 years ago, so I was starting to worry that things would get even worse once DS arrived home.  Sure enough, looking back on it now, I think the only thing that kept me from creating a Frequent Fry Her page sooner was the fact that we just didn't see the ILs all that often.  But, now contact is increasing.  They're here more and more.  They know where we live, and MIL isn't afraid to stop by uninvited whenever she thinks DH is around.  She asks him to go somewhere with her while completely ignoring DS and me.  She even did this on Christmas morning, when DS had been home for barely a month.  DS, coincidentally, is from Ethiopia.  We adopted him, and he came home in November, on his second birthday.  His presence was met by much jubilation and tons of gifts from my family, and not so much as a card from his.  Honestly, given how crazy they are, DH and I aren't certain that we mind their lack of interest in him.  In fact, back when DH and I had tried to conceive and found out we couldn't, and when we moved our plans to adopt in the future up to the present, I was somewhat lamenting the fact that I wouldn't be able to see a child with DH's genes.  It was kind of a sorrowful night for us.  We were sitting in a house that we'd recently bought, with a finished nursery and a crib already set up.  We had already been turned down by one adoption agency because of our young ages.  I was trying not to get too down in the dumps, and DH was doing his best to cheer me up, while also fighting the blues.  Suddenly, he smiled and said, "Hey, you know what?  Our kid might not have my genes, but you know what that means?  He won't have MIL's genes, either!"  That sweet man.  He knows exactly what to say to make me grin.

        Signed - More To Come. Oh, So Much More
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