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Mother-In-Law Stories
Worst Gift Archives
December 2001
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Worst gift: Posted: 09-DEC-01
My MIL really gets on my nerves.  I am happily married to a wonderful man for the last 8 years, and I ask myself how did my husband come from a family like his.  My MIL didn't give us a wedding gift on our wedding day, nor did she give a gift to our son when he was born or when he turned 1 year old.  She has constantly made serious promises, and has constantly broken them.  I can go on and on.  I told my DH that if and when her gift comes for our son, I will return it back to her.  He agreed.

        Signed - If Gift Ever Comes It Will Be Returned

RESPONSE:  If Gift Ever Comes It Will Be Returned
Posted: 22-DEC-01
Your MIL sounds like a royal pain-in-the-you-know-what!!  Why won't your husband call her on her promises?  Have him say to her, "Oh, our son hasn't received his baby present from you yet!  What are you planning on getting him?"  I would love to see her squirm with embarrassment.  After all, she IS in the wrong!  If you or your husband never call her on anything, she will continue to get away with her false promises!

Worst gift: Posted: 14-DEC-01
My MIL is a horrible gift giver.  My husband and I started dating when I was 27 years old.  We got married when I was 31.  My husband is 4 years older than I am, and his mother is now 66.  For the first Christmas, MIL found out that I am a cat lover, so she gave me this tapestry purse that was covered with cats (appropriate for a 9 year old).  Last year (our last Christmas before the wedding), she gave me an ugly, cheap bell.  The year before, she gave me a bright grape colored sweater because I am always wearing black, gray, and navy, and she wanted to brighten up my wardrobe.  It was so ugly that I wore it once in front of her and then took poor care of it.  Needless to say, I was happy when it wore out due to poor care so that I could throw it out.  She asked what I would like for the bridal shower.  So, I told her where we were registered.  She replied that she wanted to give us something special.  She asked if I needed casserole dishes because she had some in the basement that she had gotten for free years ago and was waiting for the opportunity to give them as a gift.  I responded that I already had a lot of these items.  Well, the day of the shower arrived, and she wanted me to open her gift last.  Surely enough, it was the very same casserole set that she had gotten for free, but that wasn't all.  She then brought out another box which she had me open because it was her "special gift".  This special gift was the ugliest, tackiest bell with a bride and groom for the handle, and the groom on it was stained.  Neither my husband nor I like it, and it is soon to go in the trash.

        Signed - Tired Of Nutcase MIL

Worst gift: Posted: 05-DEC-01
While I am not a person who thinks gifts are judged on a monetary basis, I do like to receive nice gifts.  One year, my MIL and FIL spent about $2000 dollars on Christmas presents for my husband and child.  They got clothes, electronics, toys, CDs - you name it.  A big presentation went with each and every gift, too!  I received a card that cost $1.60.  While everyone was opening packages at their house, I was opening a card.  It should be noted that we gave MIL and FIL very nice gifts, as always.  My feelings were hurt, to say the least.

        Signed - The Card Lady!

RESPONSE:  The Card Lady!
Posted: 19-DEC-01
What did your DH think about this?  Did he say anything?  It sounds like your MIL was overspending on your DH and child so she could look like the victim if anyone complained about your gift.  "Well, I spent 2,000 dollars on your family, wasn't that enough?"  I can hear that whiny voice saying that.  The fact is that she was rude, thoughtless, uncaring, unfeeling and, most definitely, DELIBERATELY dissed you at Christmas.  I would talk to DH about Christmas this year.  If you are not wanted and not considered to be a friend or part of her family, then there is no need for you to go above and beyond to cater to the in-laws this holiday.  You don't need to do the shopping, cooking, wrapping, or anything else!!!!  Good luck.  Merry Christmas.  I hope this year is better.

RESPONSE:  The Card Lady!
Posted: 19-DEC-01
A card?  How rude.  Are you're sure none of the gifts for your husband were meant to be family gifts?  No, I guess you would know.  What did your husband think?  I hope he was embarrassed!  He should be.

RESPONSE:  The Card Lady!
Posted: 19-DEC-01
I would really get your husband to have a word to his parents about that.  What they have done to you is very selfish and inconsiderate.  After all, you have given them a grandchild, and you are a wife to their son.  So, yeah, definitely get hubby to say something.

RESPONSE:  The Card Lady!
Posted: 19-DEC-01
My feelings would be hurt, too.  Were the electronics things that the 2 of you will benefit from?  Even so, she should have included your name on them.  That was very rude, and your DH should have said something.  For now, he can buy the presents.  Most men are horrible gift givers (at least my DH is), and anything they get will be thoughtless.  They don't deserve yours.  Take Care.

Worst gift: Posted: 05-DEC-01
I have been married just over six years.  Instead of becoming more tolerant of my MIL, things seem to be getting worse, especially with Xmas nearing.  I think the very first gift she gave me was for my birthday, before I married her DS.  It was a ceramic rabbit, and it was so revolting that even my FH was amazed.  In fact, he thought it was a joke.  I have been brought up to be grateful for gifts, and I tried my best to appreciate this hideous ornament.  A couple of years later, my DH and I were presented with a large framed print of a big green frog for our Christmas gift.  Unfortunately I have a severe frog phobia and couldn't hang it anywhere in our house.  Two years ago, again at Christmas, I was presented with her old blanket box and two old hanging potted plants.  While I did want a blanket box, and don't mind having a 'pre-loved' one, a few years earlier my MIL had told me that she didn't want it anymore and was going to give it to me.  I just didn't expect to have it given as a "gift".  Last year, we were blessed with the arrival of our first child.  MIL was constantly asking to baby-sit.  I was reluctant to leave him with her, as she is a very heavy smoker, and doesn't care who is near when she lights up.  Plus, there is the fact that I just don't like her!  My mother is a retired nurse who spent her last working years with babies.  So, she always does any baby-sitting I require.  Consequently, I received a "gift voucher" from MIL for 20 hours "free" baby-sitting.  After reading other's stories, I think my MIL isn't that bad.  But, I'm dreading Christmas rather that looking forward to it.  I'm really grateful for this site.  And, just knowing that there are other women out there with similar feelings towards their MILs helps.

        Signed - Gift Voucher For Free Baby-Sitting

RESPONSE:  Gift Voucher For Free Baby-sitting
Posted: 19-DEC-01
Since she's so into "gift vouchers" for things that would benefit herself, then I would turn the tables.  This year, save your money.  Make a very "thoughtful" gift voucher for 2 free visits to a family function.  Or, perhaps a gift voucher for her to visit for a weekend (something stupid like that).  Your MIL is a piece of work!!!  Merry Christmas!

Worst gift: Posted: 06-DEC-01
I need some advice with the holidays coming up.  MIL buys me a gift that is half the value of what she buys DH.  She then buys him additional stuff - shirts, jeans, etc., while she wraps up trash bags, dish rags, dental floss for me (poor quality items from the dollar store which I wouldn't use and that offend me).  She does the same for her other son and DIL.  DIL and I feel slighted by this, and wonder if there's a way we can react or something we can say to MIL that would indicate the way we really feel about her crummy gifts.  Also, when she comes to visit, she brings gifts for DH and DD, but not for me.  After the last time she did that, I wore the shirt she bought DH on her next visit in an effort to make a point.  Any ideas?

        Signed - MIL Is Slighting Us

RESPONSE:  MIL Is Slighting Us
Posted: 19-DEC-01
That woman sounds like a piece of work.  Our situations are similar, except that my MIL treats my SIL like family, and singles me out by not buying me anything.  Sometimes, at Christmas, she won't buy DH or me anything at all.  Of course, we are expected to buy her TVs and new ovens, etc.

RESPONSE:  MIL Is Slighting Us
Posted: 19-DEC-01
DH and you should give MIL separate presents for Christmas.  DH is responsible for getting his mom a gift.  Do not help DH with his gift choice, and he should also be responsible for wrapping and the card.  Your gift will be a less than choice selection from the dime store.  Also, the next time she comes with a gift for DH and not you, take the shirt and put it on right in front of her.  Tell her you have been looking for a shirt in that size and color to go with a pair of slacks you own.  Then, thank her for the gift.  This should throw her for a loop.

RESPONSE:  MIL Is Slighting Us
Posted: 19-DEC-01
They always think of their children first.  And we are secondary.  That's if they think of us at all.  They come off looking like the idiot.  If I were you, I wouldn't allow her bring gifts for your DD.  IF your husband saw through her, he wouldn't allow them either.  As for her changing and buying better gifts, forget it.  It will only happen if she wants to do it.  At least you get gifts at all.  Be grateful for that, at least.

RESPONSE:  MIL Is Slighting Us
Posted: 19-DEC-01
Next time you have to buy her a Christmas present, buy her husband/partner something nice, and her something crummy.  Or, depending on what it is, buy her the exact same gift on her birthday/Mother's Day/Christmas, etc.

RESPONSE:  MIL Is Slighting Us
Posted: 19-DEC-01
Whenever I'm given an insulting gift, I pick it up like it's a dead rat.  I hold it by the edges with just the tips of my thumb and index-finger and I say, "Oh, how interesting.  Uh, thank you."  I then smile brightly while dropping the "gift" back into its box.  Then, I smile at the next person to encourage them to open their gift.  There is no way an IL can complain about the way you accepted the gift without giving themselves away.  "She acted like it was poison!"  Well, giving her a used dishrag wasn't all that great!  "She treated it like it was trash!"  Uh, because it WAS.  "She thinks she's better than us."  Uh, because the people SHE knows don't give used potholders with burn marks already imbedded.  A very weak smile helps to drive the point home, and you can always say, "BUT I SMILED WHILE THEY KICKED MY TEETH IN, DEAR!!!"  For very extreme cases, I would recommend the following: when you get a "gift" that is so insulting that it takes your breath away:  Lean over to your smugly smiling MIL and say, "Oh, you poor dear.  I know you tried."  Pat her on the arm and shake your head in sympathy.  Then say brightly to DH, "OK, honey, now let's open YOUR gift together!"

RESPONSE:  MIL Is Slighting Us
Posted: 19-DEC-01
I had the same problem in the beginning.  While my DH was busy unwrapping new slacks, shirts and underwear, I was unwrapping the gifts addressed to me:  Toilet paper, Q-tips, dish towels, etc.  So, I talked to DH about it.  What we did was to let our in-laws know that since we are married, we would appreciate one big gift that we can both use (something for the house or whatever) instead of lots of smaller gifts.  This worked well, because no matter what she gets us, we will both be able to use it.  And, no more toilet paper for Christmas!

RESPONSE:  MIL Is Slighting Us
Posted: 19-DEC-01
When she gives you a cr@ppy present, put on a happy face and say, "OOH, it's not quite my size, but I know who will like this! It doesn't fit me, but XXX down at the Shelter will just looooove it!" Be as gushy as you can, while tempering it with irony.  If you are 100% CERTAIN they are dissing you, rather than just being cheap or stupid, there is NOTHING they can say if you act even more pious than they do -- as in, "Oh!  This isn't my size, but you know what??  It will fit one of the orphan children!  Thank you soooo much, on their behalf!!!"

Worst gift: Posted: 20-DEC-01
Okay, here we go.  We exchanged Christmas gifts early with my MIL.  She gave me a "silver plated" toothpaste tube roller???  Oh, yes, it was engraved as well.

        Signed - Silver Plated Toothpaste Tube Roller???

Worst gift: Posted: 20-DEC-01
My MIL sends me nice things, most of the time.  Some things are a bit odd.  She seems to believe that I am simply a younger version of her, so, often, I get sweatshirts decorated with glitter and colored glue (not my style) or expensive bottles of moisturizer (which make me break out, as I have a very different skin type from hers, and also I am, uh, twenty-five years younger to boot - besides, isn't moisturizer something that you kind of have to buy for yourself?).  One year, she sent me a whole bunch of zippered bags and pouches that obviously came from cosmetic "value sets" she'd bought over a number of years.  Except for the large, padded, sickly neon green nylon handbag with the well known cosmetic company's name emblazoned on it, most of them were useful in one way or another.  But, it still seemed to be an odd sort of present.  Also, while she's sent me some lovely clothes, she also has a tendency to send things in colors she wears.  It's my mother who almost never gets it right.  I suspect mostly on purpose.  When I received my M.A. in English Literature, she sent me a copy of the "Celestine Prophecies" and a couple of Silhouette romances.  I can also normally count on at least one evangelical publication, a ghastly wall plaque along the lines of "Please be patient with me - God isn't finished with me yet," or awful knickknacks (we don't even have knickknacks in our living room).  She sent my husband, a scientist and skeptical thinker, a book on Feng Shui.  This is all rather hurtful to us, because we spend a lot of time thinking about and agonizing over what our parents would like, even if it's not something we'd be particularly fond of.  And, it always seems as if they either send us something that required no thought whatsoever, or they try to force their own likes and dislikes on us.  Of course, there needs to be something kitschy and kountry-krappy in my living room - to remind me of my roots, I guess.

        Signed - To Remind Me Of My Roots, I Guess

Worst gift: Posted: 21-NOV-01
A week ago, my DH informed my MIL not to expect Christmas presents from us this year.  We have just come out of a 4 month period of unemployment, and his new job doesn't yet cover all our costs (it has a very low base plus commission).  We have two young children who will be getting about $30 spent on them each for Christmas from us, and we both won't be buying each other anything.  My MIL's response to this was that we should take out a loan.  We are already deep in debt due to the unemployment, and she wants us to get further in debt in order for her family to get gifts!

        Signed - DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 05-DEC-01
This is truly awful.  I know that my mother would insist that, under these circumstances, we had the best Christmas possible with our children, and not worry about them.  Heavens above, I even think my MIL would say the same!!!  What a selfish and completely thoughtless woman she must be.  My advice (for what it's worth) would be just that:  Concentrate on YOUR family and home, not your "extended" family.  If she can't see this is the right thing to do, then she's not worth having around, never mind running up debts for.  My sincere good wishes to you and yours.  I hope the New Year brings a change for the better for you.

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 05-DEC-01
I'm very sorry if this response sounds negative, but I have to say what I think.  I too am a DIL with a dreadful MIL.  However, I think that not buying your MIL a Christmas gift, simply because you've just experienced financial constraints, is unacceptable.  Gifts vary in value.  They can be extremely expensive or they can also be quite cheap (and at the same time, thoughtful).  You could bake her a cake or buy her something inexpensive, explaining the current financial position you're in.  But not getting her a gift all together is not right.  I would understand if you didn't want to get her a gift due to some other reason.  But not to get her anything at all, just because of your finances, just doesn't cut it.  There are plenty of people struggling out there, yet they still manage to give their friends and family a little something (although not expensive).  Again, I'm sorry if you feel badly about this post, but I had to be honest.

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 09-DEC-01
OH MY GOSH!!!!  Tell her to go suck an egg!!!

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 09-DEC-01
I am sorry that, in a time like this, you have to deal with cr@p from your MIL.  It just goes to show what kind of a person she is!!

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 09-DEC-01
She sounds very materialistic.  Make her a card.  Maybe she'll be happy with that.

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 09-DEC-01
MIL is being ridiculous.  Give her, and her suggestion, the attention it deserves - none.  You and your DH just keep acting mature and sensible, and give the real children in this the gifts that you can.

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 09-DEC-01
Your MIL sounds like a selfish WITCH with a capitol "B"!  She should be more concerned for her grandkids to have a nice Christmas with gifts, not herself!  You and your husband are sacrificing gifts to each other in order for your kids to have gifts.  That is great.  You can always get something for each other after Christmas, but kids don't understand why they don't get presents like all the other kids.  If I were you, I wouldn't get your in-laws a single thing!  You could just tell them you cannot afford it this year, and you would rather they didn't get you anything either.  Family is supposed to be understanding.  If they can't accept it, then that's their problem!  I hope things get better for you soon.

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 09-DEC-01
Take out a loan??!  Is she nuts???  It amazes me how selfish some people can be.  Apparently, she needs to be reminded of the real meaning of Christmas.  Her lack of compassion floors me.

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 09-DEC-01
It just goes to show how dumb she is.  My MIL takes out a loan every year to buy us a bunch of junk.  People are so strange.  You are the smart ones.  Don't let anyone make you think otherwise!

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 20-DEC-01
A previous poster said that not giving at least a small gift to your MIL was unacceptable.  Actually, it is that kind of attitude that is destroying Christmas.  Christmas is not about gifts and it never was.  Your MIL is being very selfish.  No responsible adult would suggest taking a loan for frivolous cr@p.  Stick to your guns.

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 20-DEC-01
To the December 5th respondent:  You obviously have no idea what the meaning of Christmas is anyway.  Gifts aren't important, especially if you can't afford anything.  Try to imagine you have no money to the point where you only have 30 dollars.  Who is more important, your MIL or your husband.?  Her MIL should be more understanding instead of being so greedy for a gift.  Lady, you should not be so materialistic, nor should this poor lady's MIL.  Do you even know how Christmas got started?  How selfish can people be?

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 20-DEC-01
To the second poster on 12/5, WHAT THE HE!! ARE YOU THINKING?  This MIL is an ADULT, not a child.  I think she can handle not receiving a gift.  BOTH of you should realize that this family is struggling to survive.  Gifts are NOT MANDATORY!!!  Christmas is not about what you receive!

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 20-DEC-01
This is in response to the second December 5 poster:  ARE YOU FOR REAL?  The original poster's MIL told her to go TAKE OUT A LOAN to buy her gifts!  Where is the caring in that?  The MIL is more concerned about receiving material things than about her son or DIL's well-being.  If the MIL had said something like, "Well, just make me something instead," or, "Let's just exchange cards this Christmas," then THAT is meaningful and caring!  But, to tell her son and DIL to TAKE OUT A LOAN (and go into debt) to buy her material things is ABSURD!  I think your post was extremely out-of-touch, and just plain loony, in my opinion.

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 20-DEC-01
I totally agree with the other respondents.  Surely, deep down she knows that is an unfair request and she won't be surprised when you refuse to do it!  Why don't you just get her a box of fortune cookies or something?  Could you get her just a small thing like a mug with cocoa packets or something you know she'd like (no matter how small it is)?  She'll see that you didn't take out any loan for something like that!

RESPONSE:  DEBT For Christmas Ho Ho
Posted: 20-DEC-01
Are you sure she didn't mean for you to take out a loan for your children's presents?  As it is, a loan for gifts is a bad idea.  But, perhaps her intentions weren't as avaricious as they may have sounded.  I do agree that baking things, or making other inexpensive crafts - nice, useful, with a lot of love put into them - is a good idea here.  My anniversary present to my husband last year was a cookbook of his favorite ethnic cuisine, with the promise that I'd make anything he wanted from it any time during the year.

Worst gift: Posted: 17-NOV-01
Well, as I see it, we have all gotten really cr@ppy gifts from our MILs.  I, for one, am tired of it.  SO, instead of getting pissed about it, I am going to act and give her a rather nasty gift back.  She is going to get the perfect MIL gift basket from me this year.  Here's what to do:  Find a basket (a goodwill store should have one), fill it with sample packs of depends, anti-aging cream, x-lax, gas pills, fleet, a magnifying glass, hair net, knee highs, and bobby pins.  Sign the card:  Over the years I have come to realize you're gonna need this.  You have become an old hag!

        Signed - Not Mad, Just Even

RESPONSE:  Not Mad, Just Even
Posted: 25-NOV-01
I completely understand your feelings regarding people asking why you don't have children.  I think it is the rudest, most insensitive thing that can be said.  I, too, am childless.  And, over the years, many people have asked, "Are you childless by chance or by choice?"  I should've replied, "Are you STUPID by chance or by choice???"  Next time, I will!

RESPONSE:  Not Mad, Just Even
Posted: 01-DEC-01
ROFL!!!  I have given gift baskets before, though they have always been nice ones.  This is the kind you would give at a funny "Over the Hill" party.  I love this idea of yours, and if MIL and I were still exchanging gifts, I would do it.  However, I would not include that card.  I think it would be funnier to let MIL wonder how you meant it.  If she gets all mad and asks why you would give her that stuff, say (innocently) that most people love to get gift baskets, especially when the items fit the person and their personality SO well!  LOL!

RESPONSE:  Not Mad, Just Even
Posted: 02-DEC-01
Great idea!!!!  My MIL is so stuck-up, and thinks she is better than everyone else because she has some money.  I want to give her a Chia pet for a gift and watch her go into shock!!

RESPONSE:  Not Mad, Just Even
Posted: 06-DEC-01
Too funny.  I wish I could send that to my MIL without DH finding out!

RESPONSE:  Not Mad, Just Even
Posted: 06-DEC-01
OH YES! You are so awesome for thinking that up!  I never give my FMIL anything, but maybe this year I just might.

RESPONSE:  Not Mad, Just Even
Posted: 06-DEC-01
Oh, FUNNY.  I am laughing so hard that my side hurts!

RESPONSE:  Not Mad, Just Even
Posted: 06-DEC-01
My MIL has pulled this kind of stunt - going for Goodwill stuff (they have money, for cryin' out loud) - when we've bought her nice gifts that we have put time and effort into getting for her.  So, after that, and after not remembering ANYBODY's birthday this year (not even her darling baby boy's - I guess she's "punishing" him for his actions that include marrying ME) she's getting nothing.  I'm sure she'll call us and ask if we want to do a gift exchange this year.  We may just swear the SILs to secrecy and say we are just buying for the kids because we are having houseguests for Christmas.  Yeah - MY parents, and you'd better believe that, because they live 300 miles away, they may not want gifts to lug home.  But, we will do some really special things (we live in southern California - LOTS to do out here!).  And, I DARE MIL to say boo about it - not unless she wants an earful about how we've been horrible people for giving her a birthday gift/card ONE DAY late (but it's okay for her to forget our family completely).  DD and I don't care about getting gifts ourselves, but it's the way she forgot HER OWN SON'S BIRTHDAY that pretty much put the kibosh on her getting a Christmas present this year.

Worst gift: Posted: 10-DEC-01
One year, for my birthday, my MIL decided I needed some new clothes, because I had just had a baby 6 weeks before.  Keep in mind that this is the woman who, after I had gained 6 lbs. in the pregnancy, said, "Good.  You won't have to gain any more.  That's about what a baby weighs."  For my birthday, I received a XXL sweater, a size 18 elastic waist skirt, and a size 24 blazer.  All were from a clearance sale, so I could not return them.  Why did I think this was so bad?  I was a size 8, but she thought I looked a little heavier after the baby.

        Signed - Still Don't Fit In The Clothes

Worst gift: Posted: 11-DEC-01
The worst present I ever received from the banshee from he!!, I mean my MIL, was a nursing bra that was several sizes too large.  Never mind that my son was 4 and that I wasn't pregnant.  I opened this in full view of the family on Xmas morning.  The look of shock on my face roused response.  She said, " I just wanted to remind you that I breast fed my children until they were 5 (ewwwwwwwwwww!), as all good mothers should.  I noticed your breasts were very saggy." Now, what the he!!?  My father choked on his coffee!  Getting beyond the gross aspect of the gift and comment, and the fact that my son has a condition so he was bottle fed, my mom popped up with, "Wow!  And how did you manage to get anything done at all with a 5 year old hanging off your t*t?"  My mother is one of those delicate women who blanches at the mere notion of "foul" language.  So, you can see how ticked off she was.

        Signed - Trying To Survive

Worst gift: Posted: 13-NOV-01
My husband's friend received a snack pack for Christmas a few years ago.  It was about a $5 gift.  He also built a deck on their cabin and the in-laws did not even attempt to pay him for the materials.  WTF???

        Signed - A Snack Pack

RESPONSE:  A Snack Pack
Posted: 20-NOV-01
Was the deck his idea?  Just curious is all.  They might have thought it was a gift.  However, the snack pack is a pretty stupid gift.  Maybe they know something you don't.  Maybe????

RESPONSE:  A Snack Pack
Posted: 21-NOV-01
I felt a twinge of guilt reading this post.  We had some wonderful "volunteers" who did huge amounts of work on our house.  And, due to stress, lack of money, and distraction, although we have the warmest feelings towards those people, we have been unable to come even close to compensating them for their work.  We've given these shameful, token little presents.  They deserve something huge.  I'm glad you reminded me of this, because even as I'm writing this, I'm thinking of some sincere things I can do even now to thank them.  Maybe your friend's in-laws are truly selfish or stingy, but maybe they're more like me - kind of disorganized, poor and incompetent.  Well, I don't want to be incompetent, and I'm going to try to fix this!  Thank you for the reminder.

RESPONSE:  A Snack Pack
Posted: 05-DEC-01
In response to MILs who don't get birthday cards, etc., from DILs:  The men probably didn't tell the DIL about it.  However, shame on him for not keeping track himself!  And, what about this?  I have a stepmother of 4 years who has never once acknowledged my birthday, or anyone else's in the family.  We all get along fine (we are all adults).  Some people are just plain clueless.  I've given her and her daughter my gift of work (florist) at both their weddings without thanks (plus baby gifts for their new babies).  People are just plain clueless.

Worst gift: Posted: 30-OCT-01
I have been the recipient of many horrible gifts from my in-laws, but I am not writing to gripe about my in-laws or those terrible gifts today.  I am writing because I am bothered by the occasional unsupportive and callous responses I read from a few people out there who put down people like myself who have turned to this web site for support.  Why isn't it okay to complain if someone gives you an utterly thoughtless and cheapo gift - especially if you have gone to the trouble to get them something halfway decent when you don't like them at all??  One woman wrote in and complained that her MIL gave her toenail clippers and another supposedly supportive reader (who I think is off-balance upstairs) said that that person should not be so ungrateful to receive such a gift!  There comes a point when one should not have to take such mistreatment because some gifts are just downright insulting.  I bet you that person who wrote that the recipient of the toenail clippers wouldn't be so thrilled if SHE received the same gift for Xmas!  I am aggravated by those who criticize others and tell them they should be grateful and appreciative of even the stupidest gifts they receive, when it is certain that the gift-giver was trying to send a mean message by giving that gift, or just didn't put ANY thought into that gift.  I am not one that expects tit-for-tat all the time when it comes to gift-giving.  I can give someone a $35 gift and they can give me a $20 gift.  That's fine with me, and I would be very happy with what they got me, as long as it is evident that they tried to find a gift they thought I would like, AND, most importantly, the gift was not meant to be insulting.  It's NOT the money that is spent that is at issue - it's the utter lack of thoughtfulness on some people's part (and they are just MEAN, no matter how nice others are to them).  I, for one, could not feel right accepting pricey gifts from someone year after year (if I like the gift or not, I know they at least spent $$$ on me) and continue to give trashy gifts year after year.  I am disgusted by those out there who criticize others who have a right to complain about cheapo, thoughtless, insulting gifts from their in-laws.  There is such thing as pride, too.  There comes a point when one has to stand up for themselves.  Sure, not everyone has lots of money.  But, you can tell when someone makes the effort to buy you something nice even when they don't have a lot of money, and that means a lot.  It is worse when someone has plenty of money and won't make any effort at all to find the right thing.  How about two tickets to see a movie?  There are plenty of decent gifts out there for under $20, if only some of those lame gift-givers would try!!  I hope people will be kinder and more supportive to those who write in on this web site regarding bad gifts.  I have been there, and it gets old mighty fast to be the recipient of bad gifts year after year, when I have tried hard to give decent gifts, even to my awful MIL.  My policy is that I never give a gift that I wouldn't want to receive myself - and that goes even for giving to those people who aren't on my "A" list.

        Signed - Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 31-OCT-01
You are right, IMHO.  I have never responded to a "Worst Gift" story, and I am sorry I haven't.  I would have been supportive of what you are saying, because I feel you are right.  Mean-spirited or seemingly thoughtless gifts speak volumes about the way the giver feels - ESPECIALLY if other people are getting great gifts from the giver.  My MIL no longer "attempts" to give me gifts, and I am grateful.  Every year she would claim, at some point (generally after my birthday), that she could never remember when my birthday was.  She would act mad at me.  DH and I got tired of telling her that, if she aimed for Thanksgiving, she would always be close (and getting the exact day wasn't important to me).  One year, he offered to put it on her calendar in July, when he noticed I was the only family member not listed under birthdays.  She got mad at him and said, "No."  Several times she also acted "offended", or something, while complaining that she didn't know what to get me.  Like it was totally my fault.  We both do X-Stitch, but apparently that didn't give her any ideas.  I had thanked her very nicely for the plastic canvas Christmas ornaments she had made now and then.  I thought it was really nice of her to make them for me, and I use them every year where she can see them.  How was I making this difficult?  I asked if she wanted a list, and she just about went through the roof.  She said, "Well, if I can't remember WHEN your birthday is, how am I going to keep track of a list???"  Whew!  Forget it - please.  I don't want a gift given in such a spirit.  Does that make me b!tchy and ungrateful for the gifts MIL occasionally gave me?  I used to joke to DH, "OK, she can't remember my birthday, but has Christmas been on any day except December 25?"  She always acted mad about that day, too.  I still bought her very nice gifts for years.  I tried to make them thoughtful.  I tried making them something she would like, but not buy for herself.  Then, I tried buying useful things, and I tried making things.  B!tch and moan - that was always her reaction.  So, DH and I passed the, "You take care of your family and I will take care of my family" rule.  Now, MIL doesn't get anything.  I appreciate that we have dropped the pretense of MIL wanting to buy me a gift - no pressure, no hurt feelings, no apologizing because she forgot me on Christmas or didn't know what to get me, so didn't buy me anything, while I watch my DH open gifts.  Incidentally, that was ME apologizing - not MIL - because, for some reason it was my fault when she forgot me or didn't know what to get me.  We are not stupid DILs.  We know when gifts are used as instruments to hurt and slight us.  I haven't seen any posting on here from a DIL that sounded selfish.  All we ask for is a little consideration when a MIL chooses a gift - not a slap in the face.  A bad gift, given while others get nice things all around us, speaks volumes about lack of respect, caring, and acceptance.  It is a worse insult than if we get nothing, IMHO.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 1-NOV-01
You know, it's funny that you mention this.  Before I married my husband, my MIL used to give me used gifts.  At first, I was thinking, "Well, its the thought that counts."  But, a few years of used gifts, and even gifts to hurt my feelings (i.e., gifts that insinuate that I am old - which I am not) have really hit a nerve.  I thought I was the only one thinking these thoughts, and I thought I was a terrible person!  It sucks to receive these stupid gifts.  It's like, "What the heck do you think I am?"  It makes me wonder, "What is going on in this woman's mind?"  But, there is also the reverse situation (where I bought my MIL and FIL a gift).  Here is the story:  My FIL said he broke his stereo.  They had been contemplating getting a new stereo, but they never really wanted to spend the money.  They've been without a stereo for a year now.  When I asked my husband why they just won't get another one, he told me that they had already bought 2 new stereos, but each time something happened.  It would either break, or someone broke it to a point where it wasn't cost effective to fix it.  Well, I thought to myself that I wanted to do something nice for them.  We never really got along to begin with, so I thought that maybe if I got them this, it would show them that I care, and that I wanted to see them happy.  I, obviously, didn't want to buy their love, but I just thought it would be something nice, because they wanted it.  Well, I bought a stereo and had it shipped to their house.  At first, they were very excited.  My FIL was very nice.  He was very appreciative.  But, my MIL was being such a b!tch.  I mean, she said to me, "Oh thank you so much.  You really didn't have to, but we were gonna buy another one anyway.  In fact, we bought one a few months ago, but we gave it away because this person really wanted it.  We gave our other stereos away, too."  Basically, she made me feel like sh!t.  That it was really nothing.  I don't expect them to be all over me, but I expected kindness.  My FIL was gracious, and he was not nasty at all.  But my MIL, that woman has so much pride, and she took it as if I was trying to show off.  In actuality, I was trying to be nice.  "WHATEVER to her" I said to my husband.  He was so disappointed in her saying such things.  It's like it upsets her that I did something nice for her.  She just brushed it off like it was nothing.  I think, "Hey, whenever you give me cr@ppy gifts, I smile.  I wear it to make her happy, and I never say anything to be mean.  MILs should really get a grip!  I pray every day that I won't be that way to my DIL.  What do you guys think of my MIL's reaction?

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 1-NOV-01
First off, I want to say that I've never criticized anyone here for their "worst gift" story, but I wanted to respond to a few of the things you said.  You wrote about being "certain" that a gift was meant to be "insulting."  How can you be certain about what was in someone else's head or heart when choosing a gift?  One thing I've noticed about some (not all, just some) of the DILs who write in here is that they are very quick to assume the worst possible motives in their MILs or others in general.  I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt unless I have a LOT of clear evidence otherwise.  Some people are just bad gift givers.  Some people are, well, let's call it frugal, even when they have lots of money.  It doesn't mean they are giving you something with the intent to hurt you.  But let's assume for just a moment a MIL (or anyone) IS trying to hurt or insult you, or is just being thoughtless.  In that case, I certainly wouldn't continue to make a big effort to get them a nice gift.  My brother's wife has kids from a previous marriage.  Even though they aren't adults yet, their reaction to my gifts early on was rude and ungrateful.  One year, I got the girls pretty gold bracelets.  Upon opening her gift, one said in obvious disappointment, "Oh, someone else already got us this."  There was no thank you, and her mother didn't say a peep.  That was the last year I put any effort or expense into their gifts.  From then on, they got inexpensive, token gifts only for the sake of family.  I didn't do it to hurt them or insult them, I simply wasn't going to continue to put time and effort and money into buying gifts for anyone so rude and unappreciative.  Anyway, back to your post.  I don't know that I agree with you that anyone has a "right" to complain about bad gifts.  Remember, it's a GIFT.  It's not something owed, and there is not supposed to be a level of expectation present.  I think the critical responses have come from people who feel that it is rude or ungrateful to complain about a GIFT.  Get it?  Some of the stories that I've read here about bad gifts have been funny, and some just amazing.  Some of the stories have stuck me as self-centered and ungrateful.  Again, I never wrote in to criticize anyone for their stories.  But, in all honestly, if they came across to me that way, I'm sure they came across that way to others.  The last word about all this.  Some of the women that post here keep piping up to demand that everyone be "supportive" of every post here.  Supportive being narrowly defined by them as only complete and utter approval of every complaint uttered by a DIL.  Of course, if a MIL dares write in here, it's open season, and you can call her any name in the book and say any nasty, rude thing you want.  I disagree with that wholeheartedly.  I don't think it's being supportive to tell someone they're right when they may not be, or to encourage them to behave in negative ways that are only going to exacerbate an already difficult situation.  Some here claim that every DIL is in "pain" and that this is a "support" site.  Well, I have yet to see anything written by the OWNERS of this site saying that!  Let's face it - this is a PUBLIC forum, and anyone posting here should realize their stories may be greeted with support OR criticism.  If someone feels they can't handle any form of disagreement or criticism, it's probably better they not post on the web!  But it's not the job of other posters here to try to stop anyone else from expressing their opinion just because it doesn't fit in with what THEY want this board to be.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 1-NOV-01
I am sorry that you are upset by the callous responses, but, unfortunately, there are always cruel people out there who use public sites like this one to spread misery because they are miserable.  There are a lot of us who are supportive and understanding and do not care for the cold remarks that you'll see from time to time on this site.  I suggest that you try using the spam free part of the message board, as people have to log on and are less likely to be cruel.  When they are, just ignore them as much as you can.  I hope you continue to use this site and share your stories.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 1-NOV-01
I totally agree with your post!!  It bothers me that some people seem to come on the board just to be nasty.  It is obvious that the gifts the posters are complaining about were meant to hurt, degrade, and insult the recipient.  I, too, was outraged that the DIL who received USED toenail clippers was called a spoiled brat, and ungrateful.  How ridiculous is that?  There was a particular poster that seemed to answer a lot of posts on two particular days with curt, nasty responses.  I have a feeling it was a disgruntled member of the message board who made some false accusations against another member, and caused a huge fight.  She hasn't been heard from since.  She was actually confronted about the way she responded to posters with short, nasty replies, and that seemed to set off the whole chain of events.  So, if it is her, I say we ignore her, and maybe she'll finally go away!  She obviously has some problems she needs to work on.  The rest of us can continue to offer comfort, support, and advice, just as the site was intended.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 2-NOV-01
You're right.  It's funny, I was signing on here this morning with a really bad feeling about some of my own responses lately.  I definitely didn't tell the respondent she should be thankful for toenail clippers, though!  I think I've been kind of in a bad frame of mind, and my responses here have been more "venting" than helpful.  I want to remember that people writing in here really want help, and it's time to try to genuinely see if we have some helpful insights, not to criticize them or jump on them in any way.  People don't respond well to that - they just clam up, don't they (well, I do).  Whereas constructive suggestions, offered with compassion, do a world of good.  I feel really badly about some of my responses lately.  You have been my "support board" for a long time (in fact, yesterday, when an old problem was really bothering me, I looked up your responses to it in the archives, and once again they were very helpful to me, soothing and constructive).  I know I needed a little "attitude adjustment".  I think you hit the nail on the head.  A used toenail clippers is an astonishingly lousy gift!

RESPONSE From Poster:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 4-NOV-01
I am the person who originally wrote in to say that recipients had a right to complain about bad gifts.  Thank you so much to those who were supportive in their responses.  To the one person who questioned my complaints, I do have to say that sometimes it is OBVIOUS when a gift is meant to be insulting or is thoughtless (i.e. giving someone a diet scale for a gift, when they never asked for one, and are not on a health kick or diet).  I have heard all the sayings.  You know - how it is better to give than to receive, how one should give a gift without expecting anything in return, etc.  That's not to say that I don't enjoy giving gifts.  And, lets face it, when people give gifts at Xmas time, they generally expect something in return.  That's why people call them gift EXCHANGES!!  But, sometimes it is just so obvious when someone doesn't put any effort into gift giving at all.  I don't mind gifts on sale at all.  But, some people just don't try AT ALL.  It has hurt my feelings when I put a lot of effort into buying something that I think a person will like, and then that person gives me something in return that shows they didn't try at all.  And, I don't expect someone to always hit the jackpot every year buying great gifts.  It only starts to grate on my nerves when, year after year, a person never tries.  Hey, I wouldn't even mind a batch of homemade chocolate cookies.  It would be the thought and effort that mattered - NOT the cost of the gift.  I really do try to be thoughtful when it comes to gift giving.  I'm not saying that I am perfect, but I try.  For instance, my brother has one son.  I have 3 kids, and I know he has to spend more money for my kids because I have three.  So, I make sure that I get a few more things for his son just to even things out a little.  And, fortunately, I can afford to do that.  I realize that there are those out there who will disagree with me for one reason or another.  I just expected a little more support from readers out there (for example - with that used toenail clippers gift).  Not all DILs are right, but this forum really was created for DILs, NOT MILs!!  Those darling MILs can start their own web site if they want to complain about their DILs!  I turn to this web site to vent, but also so that I can read stories about MILs and realize that I am not the only one with a bad MIL.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 5-NOV-01
In response to the second November 1st poster - we have heard your point NUMEROUS times on this site, and on the message board (yes, we know who you are).  It seems that you are using this forum to force your opinion down the throats of others, no matter how many people disagree with you.  You, obviously, are very insecure, and feel the need to repeat your SAME predictable posts every chance you get, even if it has nothing to do with the post at hand.  Give it a rest, please!!!  We are EXTREMELY tired of you.  Also, to the original poster - I believe you have every right to speak up when someone gives you a rude or insulting gift.  Many of our MILs are masters of the "dig", and you shouldn't let this slide by.  No one deserves to be deliberately hurt.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 5-NOV-01
You're absolutely right.  My MIL thinks there's nothing wrong with getting my gifts at the dollar store - trash bags, dish rags and the like, while her son gets expensive gifts.  And, she wraps them nicely.  I'm thinking of a good response for this year that will tell my true feelings about these gifts, without having DH blow his lid.  Those people who respond saying we're ungrateful are obviously mean MILs or whackos.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 5-NOV-01
I thought the November 1 respondent (regarding the purpose of this site) had some very good points (very articulate, too).  I definitely don't mind if people question me (or don't just agree with me) when I write in.  It helps me see another point of view.  I sometimes take exception to someone telling another poster, "So!  Get over it!", or, "You sound like a horrible person."  It just seems like the RUDE responses are uncalled for.  But, I definitely appreciate gentle nudgings to look at another point of view.  Thank you for a great post, a "reality check".

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 7-NOV-01
I had to add something to this "worst MIL gift" saga.  My grandmother has actually admitted to me in confidence that she has given her DIL mean and cheap gifts on purpose just to hurt her feelings.  I have a horrible MIL myself, and my grandmother and I were discussing the problems I have with my MIL.  To help me, my grandmother let me in on this secret.  Her DIL is truly a nasty person to everyone in our family.  I disagree with my grandmother's childish actions, but I can see why she did it.  I would have handled the situation with more maturity, but I'm not my grandmother.  My point and probably the point my grandmother was trying to make is that some MILs do give rotten gifts just to insult or hurt us DILs.  MILs can be pretty cruel when they want to be.  I don't think anything justifies why you should have to be cruel to someone because there are problems in the relationship.  There are diplomatic ways to solve MIL/DIL conflicts.  This kind of childish behavior only intensifies the problems.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 8-NOV-01
I was surprised to read the post of the November 5 respondent criticizing one of the November 1 respondents.  What did she say that you took offense at?  I don't recognize her posts as being a "problem" poster - she wasn't mean at all.  What bothered you about what she said?  I do think I'm starting to recognize YOUR posts, though - always jumping on anyone who has any unique suggestions or ways of looking at things.  You overreact and jump down their throats.  I think she had helpful, sympathetic advice.  Give people a break, will you?

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 11-NOV-01
I'm the second poster from November 2.  To the original poster:  I didn't "question" your post.  You asked why some people respond to the worst gift stories in a certain way, and I offered you my thoughts as to why I thought they did.  To the November 5 poster:  Ahh, yes!  We've exchanged posts before.  I know who you are too, Sweetie.  How am I forcing my opinions down anyone else's throats?  You are perfectly free not to read anything you don't like.  Insecure?  Maybe, but I'm not so insecure that I have to demand everyone agree with every word I utter, or fall to pieces if someone offers criticism.  I'm also not nearly arrogant enough to attempt to speak for every person that posts on this site, as you attempted to do.  You said my posts were predictable.  "Hello, Pot?  This is the Kettle calling!"  Believe me, I've made many, many posts here that you haven't recognized.  I can spot yours a mile away, though.  Look, if you want to wallow in self-pity, victim-hood, and endless negativity, feel free.  Don't demand that the rest of us do it too.  If someone can't take some constructive criticism, then they are either unwilling or unable to grow.  The best friends you can have in life are the ones who aren't afraid to tell you when you're acting like a schmuck!  You said that the original poster had "every right to speak up about bad gifts."  It's interesting that you want to be the final arbiter of who has a "right" to speak up here.  This is America.  Perhaps you've heard of the First Amendment?  How hypocritical is it to demand unquestioning "support" of every DIL with a gripe, but to have no qualms about ruthlessly bashing anyone who admits to the unspeakable sin of being a MIL!  Isn't a MIL's story every bit as deserving of support and respect as anyone else's?  You and a lot of people here keep insisting that this is a support site for DIL's.  I beg to differ.  The title page of this web-site states this is a site to post funny stories about relatives.  I think it's nice that people can come here to vent or get support, but unless you are the owner or operator of this site, I suggest you stop trying to bully or shout down anyone who doesn't fit in to YOUR vision of what YOU want this site to be.  I will continue to post as I see fit, and I hope that everyone else who visits does the same.  How boring it would be if everyone agreed all the time!  Oh, and since you offered your armchair psychoanalysis of me, let me offer you the same:  You sound like a terribly unhappy person without the depth, self-perception, or maturity to change.  If you keep blaming everyone else for your problems, you'll stay that way.  Lastly, to the other November 5 poster:  Thanks for the support.  It's nice to know someone out there gets it!

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 11-NOV-01
To the November 8 poster:  Was anyone talking to you?  I don't remember anybody asking for your opinion on the subject.  I agree that the second November 1 poster used this original post as a forum to vent her own opinions on how the site should be utilized.  We've all heard her gripes before, and I, for one, am getting tired of her constant bandwagon.  The original poster should be receiving advice about her situation, not having to read through baloney about how this site should be used or what the November 1 poster thinks about people's opinions.  Give ME a break!!

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 19-NOV-01
This is the first time I've written in response to this post.  But, I must say that I feel the November 11 poster is really out of line.  I don't think she should be using this thread as a way to vent her own negative feelings or opinions.  The original poster asked for advice.  But, instead, the November 11 poster uses this board to harp (very long-winded, I might add) and harp and harp about how she feels the board should be used - blah, blah, blah.  She also responds to the November 5 poster in a very mean-spirited way.  My question is this:  TO THE ORIGINAL POSTER:  Did You Find The November 11 Poster's Blathering Post To Be Even Remotely Helpful To You?  Or do you resent that she used your advice-asking post to beat (again) her already dead horse.  You'll be the last word on this.  Thanks.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 25-NOV-01
To the November 1 poster:  KEEP POSTING.  I, for one (unlike some people), appreciate an alternative view.  You were very diplomatic in your message, and NOT insulting.  I'm so sick of people and their "I know who you are - give it a rest" BS.  I laughed when I read the November 8 post, because I think I recognize the poster and found the response to be (yawn) the same typical, TACKY remarks as usual.  Don't misunderstand, I do want to see both sides of the issue, including the view of the November 8 poster.  But, I found it annoying that the November 8 poster tried to turn this into a complete dismissal of the November 1 poster's view, especially since the November 1 poster's view was so articulate and NON-OFFENSIVE.

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 25-NOV-01
For the November 11 respondent.  Have you ever thought of entering some kind of anger management program?  You are irrational and out of control!  What kind of sense does it make to ask another respondent, "Who was talking to you?"  We're all talking to all the rest of us, don't you get that?

RESPONSE:  Recipients Of Bad Gifts Have A Right To Complain!!
Posted: 25-NOV-01
For the November 11 respondent.  Have you ever thought of entering some kind of anger management program?  You are irrational and out of control!  What kind of sense does it make to ask another respondent, "Who was talking to you?"  We're all talking to all the rest of us, don't you get that?

 


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