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Mother-In-Law Stories
March 21, 2002
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MARCH 2002
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Worst gift:  In front of my husband, my MIL claims to love me so much!  For my birthday, she usually buys me some horrible flowered outfit that is 3 sizes too big!  But the "best" gift was one of the hanging wooden calendars (like slats fitted together).  It sounds okay so far, right?  It was the previous year's calendar.

        Signed - Previous Year's Calendar

RESPONSE:  Previous Year's Calendar
Time for the Geriatric Gift Basket!  Next time you are to give her a gift, line a lovely (or ugly) basket with tissue paper and put all kinds of goodies in it for her - wrinkle cream, hemorrhoid cream, wart remover (OK, that's not geriatric, but I think it's a great touch!  LOL!), age-spot remover, corn pads - anything along those lines will do.  Then, put a gorgeous, HUGE bow on it.  Make that basket so pretty that your DH compliments you on it.  Then give it to MIL, along with your husband, with a big smile on your face and a, "Look what I made just for you" comment on your lips.  She will know that she hasn't fooled you.  Maybe she will knock it off if she sees she is not as clever as she thought.

Hello to all of you who replied on the story "SIL Is So Lucky And Doesn't Even Know It.  Thanks for your responses, though I was aware that many of you would see it that way, and not the way I meant.  I am the original poster, and I think most of you have missed the point.  I signed off, "SIL is Lucky", meaning lucky with her marriage, not with her MIL.  I wrote the story because I read how some DILs complain about their SILs and MILs.  And, believe me, I am not the kind who is emotionally incestuous with her own brother.  Nor have I ever pressured SIL or my brother about kids, or asked why she doesn't participate in family gatherings, etc.  In fact (which I did not mention in the earlier post, because of how I suffered as a DIL), I always stand up for my SIL whenever my mother seems jealous (i.e., wanting to act up like a typical jealous MIL - though luckily for SIL, that is not often).  So, SIL, unlike me, does not have an interfering MIL at work, and her marriage, therefore, is so much better.  In fact, like I said, SIL may be brainwashing my brother against his family, instead of the usual case of MIL badmouthing her DIL to her son!  Also, my mother does not stay with SIL and my brother, so they are fortunate to have breathing room, unlike myself.  So, what if a MIL doesn't like her DIL?  As DILs, we are still married to our husbands, and should try to participate in at least some of our husband's family activities once in a while, if it makes our husbands happy.  Is once a month, for 1 to 2 hours, too much if they live only a mile away?  And, it's not as if she will be interrogated by my mother about her family plans?  And, as a DIL, why are we so sensitive if MIL is at least pleasant and warm?  My own MIL is cold, and never speaks first unless I speak to her.  This is on top of being full of complaints no matter what DH or I do for her.  When I delivered my two kids, my MIL never even called up to ask about me, or to offer her congratulations.  So, some DILs, like my SIL, ARE LUCKY.  But, they don't know/appreciate the fact that there is no one bashing them verbally, that her DH stands up for her, that DH doesn't insist that she go to faaaaaaamily outings (as some say) or nag her to have kids (as some DHs may).  For your info, my SIL (DH's sister) concurs with my MIL on her views, due to her being jealous.  This fans the flames even higher.  Note:  My own mother did not support me in the early years when my own MIL and DH verbally attacked me.  So, she is not an unreasonable "love my child and detest my child's spouse" type.  As for the "having kids" issue, my own MIL complained to my own mother (can you imagine), asking her to tell me to "cooperate" when I was not ready to have kids in the first few honeymoon months of our marriage.  I had already told DH, before marriage, that I needed a few months, as I wanted to find a better job first.  So, he knew that, and yet he never supported me against his mother.  As for kids, it is a concern, as my SIL is pushing 40.  So, if she and my brother do want kids, medically they do need to think soon.  My brother, himself, would love to have a kid, as I mentioned.  Just reflecting/pondering on the differences.  I do not envy SIL, but she truly is lucky that her husband supports her, cares for her, and puts no pressure on her.  And, this was due, in part, to my mother's upbringing of my brother.  So, she is to be credited for bringing up such a fine partner.  To all who felt I was just being jealous of my SIL:  If I were to walk out, as some of you may suggest, to find happiness with another man, knowing my DH can't change, who then would take care of our kids?  I suffer my fate patiently.  But, those DILs who are petty and need to win every fight, think again whether you are overreacting.

        Signed - SIL Lucky With Her Marriage

RESPONSE:  SIL Lucky With Her Marriage
There is a saying, "Someone convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."  No matter what we say, you will still think what you think.  In my opinion, it is none of your business how old your SIL is, or whether they have children or not.  But you think it's ok for you to be concerned about that, and you will keep thinking that.  I think your SIL IS lucky in her marriage.  But, if I had a SIL who was concerned that I wasn't going ahead and having children because I was pushing 40, I would mind that.  It's nobody's business but theirs.  But, again, you will continue to have your own opinion (I'm sorry about your MIL, though - she sounds difficult).

RESPONSE:  SIL Lucky With Her Marriage
Sorry, but your SIL is staying away for a reason, whether you want to admit it or not.  I think it is great that you stand up for her when your mother is behaving like a jealous MIL.  But, the fact is that your mother is behaving that way in the first place, and that is what probably has caused the rift with your SIL.  And, as far as your SIL being forty, and it being a "concern" - it is NO ONE'S "concern" other than your brother and his wife.  Give it a rest, and mind your own business!  Your SIL could be battling infertility, and the last thing she needs to do is worry about her meddling ILs!  Or, she and your brother may not want to have kids!  I know you claim he really wants them, but there are several DILs on the message boards who do not plan to have children, because they AND THEIR DH's don't want them.  Yet, their ILs insist the DH "wanted children before".  Whether or not your brother wants children is between him and his wife.  It is NOT yours or your mother's concern!!  I'm sorry, I stand by my original opinion on this.  I had hoped you would listen to all the posts you received, and stop interfering in your brother's business.  You still sound like you are projecting your own problems onto SIL, and you will lose your brother if you continue.

RESPONSE:  SIL Lucky With Her Marriage
Who are you trying to convince that your SIL has it so great with your family, us or yourself?  You contradict yourself all over the place.  You say that your M isn't the typical MIL, but then you admit that you have to defend your SIL against her.  You say that no one verbally attacks your SIL, but you admit your brother had to stand up for her.  By the way, just because your M doesn't get into your SIL's face, doesn't mean she isn't mean to her.  I think you need to mind your own business, and work on your own marriage.  Whether or not you decide to leave your H, or stick it out, you are still jealous of your SIL, and you risk losing your brother over your attitude.  Soon, he won't be coming to any of the family gatherings either, if you (and your mother) don't admit to your negative, un-welcoming attitudes.  Just because your SIL doesn't have an H that's a momma's boy (like yours), it doesn't mean that her problems with your family are any less hurtful.  Please think about that.

RESPONSE:  SIL Lucky With Her Marriage
I don't know why I am even responding to your post, because you are not looking at this SIL situation with any objectivity.  You and your mother SHOULD be nice to your SIL, you SHOULD stay out of their choice of whether to have children, you SHOULD act like decent people in her presence.  Furthermore, your brother SHOULD put his wife first, and he should always be respectful to your SIL, above all else.  That is not being "lucky", and no one deserves kudos for doing it.  That is just basic, common courtesy, and well-deserved treatment to SIL.  That doesn't make you, your mother, or your brother, saints.  You are doing the bare minimum to be normal, decent human beings.  But, I do not believe that you and your M are so sweet and rosy to SIL all the time, especially if your M had the gall to say mean things about your SIL on her special day!  She is not a nice person, and I would not want to spend time with someone who is fake - no, not even one hour a month.  Have you ever thought that MAYBE, just maybe, your own brother is not so hot about spending a lot of time with his faaammmily?  Maybe that is part of the reason that he does not try to push the issue with her too.  Why is everything all on her?  Also, if you were not jealous of your SIL (which you clearly are), you would not feel the need to list all of the rotten things that your MIL, your DH, and even that wonderful mother of yours have done to you.  Too bad for you.  That is not your SIL's problem.  You decided to live in a bad marriage with a little momma's boy who doesn't respect your feelings.  That was your choice to accept the treatment, not your SIL's.  Get over it.  Fix your own life before you start worrying about your SIL's.  I don't blame her one bit for not wanting to spend any time with any of you!  Get a Life!!!

RESPONSE:  SIL Lucky With Her Marriage
Yes, your SIL is lucky in her marriage, but I bet she knows that!  You just seem to be upset because your brother puts his wife first, and your DH doesn't.  They have a normal, healthy, happy marriage.  It's GOOD that he doesn't try to force her to do things she doesn't want to do.  I know you said that you think he should require her to visit your family, but that could only hurt their relationship, not help.  You said that you have stood up for SIL to your M, so, apparently, your mom has said other things besides the wedding day incident.  I would not blame SIL at all for not wanting to visit.  I actually like my in-laws, and we only live one mile away, but we only visit maybe 2 times a month.  If I heard that my MIL was talking behind my back, you can believe I would not visit, except for major holidays.  As for kids, I can't stress enough that this is THEIR business.  Having children is a major life decision.  It changes everything.  I have children, and think that change was for the better.  But, it's not for everyone, and there is NO WAY I would have had kids if *I* wasn't ready.  Maybe your SIL just plain out doesn't want kids, ever!  I'm sure she and your B have discussed this.  He is either OK with this, or, if not, it's HIS business to talk to her about it.  It's not your business, your M's, your SIL's M's, or anyone else's - except for your SIL and your B.  A woman (or a man) should not be forced into having children to make anyone else happy.  Not only would that make them resentful, but what kind of a life is that for the child?  I hope this didn't come across as being too harsh.  I just really think that you need to step back and stop worrying about your SIL's marriage, and work on your own marriage instead.  Your B (from what you've said) is happy with his relationship.  He has a good marriage, and he knows the way to keep it that way is to put his wife first, which is as it should be.  His happiness should be enough for his family.

RESPONSE:  SIL Lucky With Her Marriage
You say you don't pressure her to have kids, but then you go on to say "it is a concern" because she's 40.  Please, just let it go.  It's none of your business.  It's not your life.  Also, you continue to catalogue the ways in which your SIL is better off than you are.  It's not her fault that you have problems that are unrelated to her.  It just isn't.  It has nothing to do with you.  I also fail to believe that a MIL who was overheard complaining, "Who would want this DIL?", at the actual wedding, is really all that warm and welcoming.  She certainly wasn't warm and welcoming there, and so she probably makes other slips as well.  If you want to be closer to your brother, work on being warmer and friendlier to him and his family.  Invite them to gatherings, perhaps, where the MIL will not be.  You really do need to back off from being so concerned about whether they have children, and also from comparing yourself to her.  By the way, if you want to talk about your own MIL issues, I'm sure we can give you advice that you may enjoy hearing (ones that you may enjoy more than the ones you're getting about the SIL).  Why not worry about your own relationship with your own MIL, rather than getting so involved in the relationship between your SIL and her MIL?  I admire you for not going off the handle after the responses you got, but, please, try to take the points that it's none of your business whether the SIL has kids.  It's not her fault that your life is hard, and your mother doesn't sound like a fabulous MIL to the SIL.  Why not work on your own life issues and leave the SIL alone? 

RESPONSE:  SIL Lucky With Her Marriage
You decide your own fate.  By staying in an unhappy marriage, what are you teaching your children??  No, divorce is not easy, but neither is being a child in a house where it's obvious that the parents have issues.  Would you want your son to grow up treating his wife the way you're treated?  I'm not judging you or your situation.  It is just something to think about.


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