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Mother-In-Law Stories
April 7, 2002
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MARCH 2002
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APRIL 2002
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I got a phone call from the PILs (parents-in-law) the other day.  They said that they are coming to visit.  Notice, they did not ask.  My husband said that he would have to talk to me about it, which was nice of him, but he should have had more sense than to give them the encouragement.  He knows that the week that they said they are going to visit is going to be the week that we are moving.  It's a long move, and I'm already stressed at the prospect.  And, the last thing I want in the world is a whole week long visit from his demanding, egocentric, rude and obnoxious parents.  They will be looking at ME for entertainment, ME for food, ME for conversation, and I am going to be stressed enough!  When he hung up the phone and starting talking about it, he took one look at me and said, "Oh, I can see you're mad already."  This happened before, although they spent a whole three weeks last time, and DH meekly caved before their wishes and told me that there was nothing he could do to stop them.  It was a terrible, rotten time for me.  I cried nearly every day.  I told him what to say this time.  I told him to tell his loathsome PILs to stay the @#*& home, and that this is no time for a visit.  Has he told them yet?  No.  Will he tell them?  I'm not making any bets.  I also have a worst gift story:  DH's birthday is coming up soon.  His parents called and asked what he wanted.  He told them he would like to have a cordless shaver that he could take to work on those days that he pushes the snooze too many times.  They asked him what brand.  He didn't know, and doesn't really care.  And, THEN they said, "Well, why don't you just buy the shaver that you want, tell us how much it cost, and we'll cut you a check?"  THIS is why I have had such a fight with him over every holiday.  He doesn't think presents are special.  He didn't buy me anything at all for Valentine's Day, and only got what I specifically requested for Christmas.  All the joy has been sucked out of every holiday for me.  I have been trying very hard to give him wonderful, special surprises every holiday.  I try to teach him what presents are supposed to be, and then his parents do something like this.  I hate them, hate them, hate them!

        Signed - Grrr!

RESPONSE:  Grrr!
STICK TO YOUR GUNS, DEAR.  And, if DH doesn't come around, then let him figure it out with his parents, as they stay the night at the local motel.

RESPONSE:  Grrr!
I think you are hating your IL's when you should be mad at your DH.  He sounds like the problem, not your IL's.  Work on him, and don't misdirect your anger.

RESPONSE:  Grrr!
I'm sure your PILs are a huge pain in the neck, and you have reason to hate them.  But, with all due respect, do you think you really have the right to make a pronouncement on what presents "should" be?  Not everybody gives presents in the same way.  To tell you the truth, if his parents' gift didn't bother your husband, why should it bother you?  I would find it stifling to have a relative who had such strong ideas as to what presents "should" be.  You can make those rules for yourself, but it doesn't seem like anybody has the right to make those rules for others.  Quite frankly, even though they didn't surprise him, I couldn't see any crime at all in your in-laws' gift.  It sounded fine to me.  They were just trying to be practical, and make sure he got exactly what he wanted.  As long as it's heartfelt, what's the harm?

RESPONSE:  Grrr!
I would pick out a hotel in town (the one farthest from the house) and let them know you will make some arrangements for them (of course they have to pay for it).  And, entertainment - well, they are coming during moving time.  Hopefully, this is a do it yourself job.  You sound like you have plenty for them to do.  I'll bet there is a refrigerator and a tub to scrub, maybe even a new potty that needs a good once over (sounds like a job for the MIL).  I would just call them up and thank them for volunteering to come by and help you all out.  That should cancel the visit for at least a few months, because after that, you can use that excuse, "We're still unpacking.  Good, you can help me."  People normally run from work.  And, if they do insist on coming by, and of course not moving anything, tell them about the hotel, and maybe tell them to swing by some roadside stop and pick up some brochures on the area, so that they have something to do.  Good luck.

RESPONSE:  Grrr!
NO one normal would think to visit while the hosts are moving.  The only way would be if they are coming specifically to help.  Since you do not mention they would do so - in fact, you mention they would expect you to take care of them rather than help move - then they should not come.  Yes, your DH blew it.  He sounds like he is learning, though, and perhaps will someday make it as a DH first.  Till then, you may need to step in.  You've got to save your sanity.  You can always take the diplomatic route, "Although we would love to see you, it just is NOT possible that week.  I am sure you will understand.  We will let you know when we are ready for visitors after we move."  Then, I would add, "And I will send a list of Hotels in the area," but that is because I don't allow MIL to stay in my home.  Whether you decide to be tactful or brutally honest, it looks like you are going to have to be the one to say, "No."  And, you have the right.  One thing we say over on the message boards is, "Tell DH that either he tells the IN-LAWS no, or you will.  And, you may not be as nice as he is."  The gift thing will work out with time.  But, I feel your DH is an adult, and is capable of learning and understanding how gifts should work.  Really, although it is annoying, the in-laws should not be causing this much trouble over such a thing.  I suspect DH is resistant to your way of doing it, and is more than willing to let his parents take the blame.  Doing gifts right takes effort.  If he is willing to put the effort in, he can learn to give gifts to please his wife, not just do it the way mommy and daddy do.  He's got to be willing to please you.  I went though a lot of this with my DH, and it took time.  And, a couple friends of ours who said, "DH, you know better.  All it takes to make her happy is that you are spontaneous with a gift now and then.  Don't you love her enough to do that??"  Bless them.  But, you can "teach" him on your own, no matter what the in-laws do.  But, then again, I DO understand why you say you hate them.  Hang in there!

I will never let my MIL watch my children.  Besides the fact that she favors DIL's daughter, who is an absolute spoiled, mouthy, sadly overweight brat, she blatantly favors one of my children over the other.  She has started to throw little comments my way about the fact that I never ask her to watch my kids.  My wicked SILs have been throwing out little comments (at her request, I am sure) too.  Recently, at a BRIDAL SHOWER, SIL was really harping on me about how she doesn't know how could stand to be with my kids all of the time.  She commented on how badly she feels for her "poor brother" (DH).  She said it must be hard that he and I never spend time alone.  Then, I really wanted to punch her in the mouth, because she could see I was able to ignore all of that, so she had to say that she was SURPRISED THAT I DIDN'T BRING THE GIRLS TO THE BRIDAL SHOWER WITH ME!!!  I broke down, and told the in-law crowd that my AUNT watched the girls the very evening before, and DH and I went out to dinner and a movie (WHICH WAS TRUE)!!!  Then, MIL had the b@lls to say, "OH, well, I feel left out," with regard to the childcare situation.  Since that time, at family gatherings, nasty little off the wall comments have been FLYING about how I don't let those wicked people watch my kids.  I don't want to let them, in their rotten, malicious, self-centered ways, have influence over my kids without my presence.  Truthfully, I don't trust them.  And, sadly, I would trust a 14 year old neighbor to watch my kids before I ever asked them.  I know they are family, but I feel it is in my kids' best interest.  Does anyone out there feel the same way?  Am I totally wrong for not letting wicked in-laws, who have no interest in my children, watch them?  The favored grandchild is at the house virtually every weekend, since SIL goes out to the BARS virtually every weekend!  Her kid (the favored one) is such a brat.  I have no doubt she would torment my kids.  I have seen her do it to other kids!!!  I just hate it that I married into a group of such rotten people, and that they are my children's grandparents and aunts.

        Signed - Won't Let MIL Influence My Innocent Kids

RESPONSE:  Won't Let MIL Influence My Innocent Kids
I am so sorry for you.  I am glad you have an aunt to help you out.  I will not leave my kids with my MIL either.  I have heard some of the nasty things she said about other people who have married into the family, and I am sure they say stuff about me too.  But, they won't say it to my face, because they know it will be the last time they see the grandkids.  I would never let my kids hear all that nasty negative energy.

RESPONSE:  Won't Let MIL Influence My Innocent Kids
I don't let my nasty IL's watch the kids alone either.  They say enough rotten things that I would never trust what they would tell my kids when I am not around.  Hang in there, you are doing the right thing!

RESPONSE:  Won't Let MIL Influence My Innocent Kids
I totally agree with you.  My in-laws are the same, and there is no way that I would let any of them watch my child.  Stick to your guns.

RESPONSE:  Won't Let MIL Influence My Innocent Kids
I know exactly what you are talking about.  I, too, will not allow my FMIL to watch my future children.  It just will never happen.  She will never be allowed with them alone.  She takes care of her niece's children once every few weeks (most of the time these are overnight situations).  She lets them do what they want (lets these children who are 3 and 5 watch "PG-13" and "R" rated movies).  She does not know how to take care of a child.  Sure, she raised FDH, but things have changed since then.  I know she would do the exact opposite if I left her instructions.  It will just never happen.  Good luck.

RESPONSE:  Won't Let MIL Influence My Innocent Kids
Oh yes, I am there too!!!!  My SIL (DH's sister) has the MIL watch her kids twice a week.  All of this SIL's children are total brats.  I will NOT allow the MIL to watch our two children.  The MIL let her own children, and the grandchildren that she does watch, do anything they want (one of those bratty grandchildren did $2,000 damage to one of our cars in 1997, and MIL and SIL only said, "Boys will be boys," - ARG!).  I, too, feel badly that I married into a family of morons who do not love and nurture (or discipline) their children.  My one SIL's (DH's SIL and brother) children are wonderful, but these children were NOT watched by the MIL either!  I refuse to have the MIL watch our children, and I told my DH that I better be dead if he ever asks his mom to baby-sit our children (even then, he would be haunted by ME).  So, what I am trying to say is that you are not alone.  For the longest time, I felt badly that I feel this way about MIL, but not anymore.  Once the children arrived (they are from Korea, and adopted in 2001), I felt even stronger to have the children avoid this woman at all costs!!!!!  Of course, this has caused many a fight with my DH, who thinks his mom walks on water.  I told DH on Easter that if he didn't at least try to understand where I was coming from (this conversation has been going on since the car damage in 1997), there was the door, and he could have visitation rights twice a month.  I will NOT ALLOW ANYONE to hurt my children - emotionally or physically, nor will I allow anyone to stand in my way of protecting my children.  J  I hope this helps!!

This is not the first time I have written in.  I am getting married to a wonderful, amazing man in less than two months time.  However, his family is something else.  I have never liked his mother, nor his sister, from the first time I met them.  His mother gives me suspicious looks all the time, and whenever I tell his sister something, she has to have already done it or seen it, bigger and better.  Needless to say, my FDH knows my feelings, and accepts the fact that I will never go over to their house if I can get out of it.  However, he tells me that if only I would get to know them, I would realize that they are the sweetest, most humble, most loving people that I will ever know.  What is it with this family and their hyperboles?!?!  For example, I already have a niece (almost 3), two nephews (10 months and not quite 3 months) and another niece or nephew on the way, but, of course, I am supposed to agree that his sister's little boy is so much smarter, cuter, etc., than any of those kids.  Also, FMIL is so proud of her "large" family, that she never hesitated to say that she is the oldest of 6 kids.  I don't know what the big deal is, because there are 6 kids in my family.  However, one day, while she was going on and on about being in such a big family, my mother shut her down with, "Yes, I know what it is like to have a large family, I have 5 sisters and 4 brothers."  I haven't heard a word about it since.  Then, there is the whole punch issue.  My parents are paying for the majority of the reception, and we were planning to have beer, champagne and an assortment of soft drinks.  FMIL informed my mother that she has never heard of having soft drinks at a wedding reception, and that we should have punch instead.  To tell the truth, we had discussed punch, but we wanted to have something for those who didn't like punch (like me, the BRIDE) and didn't want to get totally wasted just drinking alcohol.  So, my mother said nicely, "Well, we've already started getting things together for the soft drinks, but if you want to bring punch, that would be fine."  Okay, now every time we hear from them, guess what FMIL brings up???  The darn punch.  Geez, she just goes on and on about how everyone is just going to love this punch, "It's so great, and it even looks pretty too."  It is the most insane thing I have ever heard.  Get over it already!!!  Moving on to the bridal shower, which my MOH is planning to hold at my mother's house:  We sent out the invites a couple of weeks ago.  MOH tried to contact FSIL (another bridesmaid, unfortunately) many times without success, so we decided that we would only invite FSIL, FMIL, and the two FGMILs.  FMIL decided that we should have it at her house, because she has a lot more chairs (what?!?!?), and that she needs to invite 10 more people on her side of the family.  My mom's house is very small, and we absolutely cannot invite any more people.  And, we can't change it.  For one, we've already sent out the invites.  And, for another, it would be 25 or more miles out of the way for the majority of the guests!!  I tried to explain that to her, but she insisted.  And, so I said, "Well, I'm not the one planning it.  You will have to talk to MOH about it (who, by the way, is keeping things how they were planned)."  Then, she told my mother that FSIL is just so excited, because she has lots of advice for me, different things that she learned in her marriage (of 3 years).  Needless to say, that will not go over well, because FSIL already tries to give me advice, and I either change the subject, leave the room, or tell her straight out that I don't want to hear her advice.  If I wanted advice on being married, I would ask someone who I liked and respected, and who probably had a little more experience!!  I know that I probably sound very stressed out, and I realize that these things don't necessarily make the FIL evil.  I am at the point, right now, that I just laugh (especially, at how many times she brings up that damn punch!).  But looking back at the entire time I've known them, things have gotten progressively worse.  The more that I talk to them (which I try to avoid), it seems like FMIL is very, very biased toward FSIL (as opposed to her son, my dear FH), and that she still wants to control his life (he's 26).  For example, this Easter, FDH went over to my parents' (I was out of town, but he loves them very much), and then he left to go over to his family's get together.  According to my mother, not twenty minutes after he left, his mother called my mom in a panic, trying to find out where he was, and what was taking him so long to get there - and she thought that maybe something had happened.  Might I again say that HE IS 26 YEARS OLD!!!  They sure are annoying!!  Like I said, now I just laugh.  But, I really feel like one day the sh!t is going to hit the fan, and probably before the wedding, too.  Any advice on how to deal with ANNOYING in-laws?????  One more thing - I am graduating college in the next few months (before the wedding).  I barely talk to his family if I can help it.  In fact, my mother has talked to them more than I have.  I would much rather invite my family, people who have supported and helped me since I first set foot upon the campus.  My mother and my fiancé both think I should do the polite thing and send them an invitation, but I feel that it is going to be a happy, special day for me, and having them there will only make me wish I was anywhere but there.  On top of this, his mother already assumes that they are invited.  If anyone can give me advice on this one, please, please do.

        Signed - Help Me, Help Me, Help Me

RESPONSE:  Help Me, Help Me, Help Me
You are not even married yet, and you are going through this.  Imagine what it is going to be like when you guys have kids.  Is she going to have that punch at your baby shower?  I would just get a kick out of it every time she brings up a birthday party or some new function.  "I don't really like punch, but that one you had at my wedding was just so tasty, are you going to bring that?"  And laugh my a$$ off every time I could fit it in.  She is going to be a royal pain in the a$$.  GOOD LUCK.

RESPONSE:  Help Me, Help Me, Help Me
I really understand what you are going through.  My DH is also 26, and his mother does the same thing.  If no one answers the phone, she will call my mother's house demanding to talk to my DH, even if she is told that we aren't there.  The best way to deal with them is to smile and move on when they start to annoy you.  Just don't pay any attention to them, and that will, hopefully, make them stop.  As far as the graduation situation, I say that it's your special day, not your fiancé's (or your mother's).  Do what makes you happy.  You've earned that day, and you should spend it the way you choose.  If that means your IL's don't come, so be it.  Congrats on the marriage, and on the graduation.  And, lots of luck!

RESPONSE:  Help Me, Help Me, Help Me
When you marry your FH, his family is going to be your family too.  You're going to have to tolerate a ton of cr@p, because you love FH.  My best advice is to choose your battles wisely.  If you fight the ILs over everything, you're going to look like the difficult one, and your FH will resent you for it.  When I graduated, I convinced my husband that his parents would be uncomfortable during the ceremony, and we decided to have dinner with them later that evening.  Maybe you could do something similar.

RESPONSE:  Help Me, Help Me, Help Me
I totally understand what you are going through.  I have been married for 2 years now, and my MIL keeps getting worse.  My husband is also 26, and he is treated like he is 5 by his mother.  I don't understand it.  My MIL has pushed my husband so far away that he doesn't want to see her, and he has become very close to my family.  It's a sad situation.  As for all of the problems you are having with the wedding, you HAVE to put your foot down!  My husband and I had to do it when my MIL tried taking over our wedding.  Yes, she was totally pissed at first, and treated us like cr@p, but she got over it - let me tell you.  And, we had the wedding that WE wanted.  Don't let your MIL dictate anything to you.  If you let her tell you what to do now, how do you think she'll be after the wedding?  TELL HER HOW IT IS!  You and your future husband should tell her to butt out.  If she decides to grow up and be nice, then MAYBE let her suggest something for the wedding.  Otherwise, tell her to take a hike.  As for the graduation invitations, I can relate.  I am graduating from college in a year, and I dread having MIL there.  But, I am going to send an invite to the in-laws anyway.  If they want to come, then ok.  I figure that my graduation day is going to be a happy day.  Just think - your family and friends will be there.  Ignore MIL as much as possible, and be happy!  Good luck to you.  I definitely can relate to your story.

RESPONSE:  Help Me, Help Me, Help Me
You poor girl.  I've been married for ten years, and I can relate to everything you said.  You are not crazy, and you are not wrong for feeling the way you do.  I think you should invite the future in-laws to your graduation, because it is the polite thing to do.  I know you didn't want to hear that, and they'll probably be a pain, but I'm sure you can tough it out for a few hours.  Maybe you can ditch them early - then you, DH, and your parents can have a separate little celebration.  I'm sure they could probably care very little about your HUGE accomplishment, and will try to "best" you yet again!  But, this is part of their son's life, and FMIL will feel like she needs to be there.  My biggest mistake has been not to stick to my guns, and to always give in to my in-law's requests.  It's only now that I am standing up to them, and there's a huge stink.  So, start now establishing the kind of relationship that you want, so that they can deal with it now.  Then, they'll kind of know what your reactions will be.  I think avoiding them is just fine.  You don't have to like them, just tolerate them for DH's sake.  If it helps you to have less contact to keep the peace, then do that.  I can't believe your FMIL wants to have the shower at her house AFTER your mother planned everything!  Don't you wonder what the heck she is thinking??  If it was the other way around, I'm sure you'd never hear the end of it!  Maybe your FMIL can have her own shower for you.  My MIL had a huge fight with my sisters over my surprise shower.  MIL wanted it at her house, but my sisters said "no".  I found out about it all afterwards.  MIL didn't want to be in someone else's house whom she didn't know.  Big deal!  It wasn't for her, it was for ME!!!  Everything will be according to your FMIL.  Whatever it is will affect HER, and what she wants.  Don't give in, if it's something you really want.  Always ask yourself, "If I was FMIL, would she give in?"  The answer will probably always be "no'!  By the way, I've never heard of punch at a wedding.  All the weddings I've been to have had soda and alcohol.  Good luck, and remember - you're not alone!!


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