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Mother-In-Law Stories
Worst Gift Archives
September 2002
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Worst gift:  At my wedding shower, my MIL gave me condoms as a gift.  The room went silent when I opened it.  My MIL laughed and said it was a joke.  No one else said a word.  I was devastated.

        Signed - MIL Laughed

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
You don't have any reason to be embarrassed at all, whereas your MIL definitely has made an ass out of herself in front of your whole wedding party.

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
My MIL gave me tampons and a douche.  She also was the only one who thought that it was funny.  I was very humiliated.

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
MIL's tastelessness made HER the joke on this occasion - and a rather embarrassingly pitiful one, at that - NOT you.

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
When, and if, she starts putting pressure on you to give her grandchildren, remind her of her wedding gift.  That'll wipe the silly smile off her face!

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
Strangely, I think you should be glad.  That awkward silence showed that EVERYONE thought that she was a rude, crude person, and that EVERYONE was on your side, unwilling to laugh off the ridiculous prank.  Everyone at your shower - your friends, your family, and possibly his family, know that she is beneath contempt, and they are all supportive of YOU!!!  Best of luck to you!

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
Well, I'm sorry, but this is a common gag gift at bridal showers that I have been to.  Other gag gifts are lubricant jelly, vibrators, and lingerie.  Yes, it is weird coming from MIL, but it sounds like it was just a gag gift.  Get over it!

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
For my wedding shower my MIL purchased a vacuum cleaner.  Not only was this NOT the vacuum that I wanted, but she insisted on telling everyone at my shower that she had worked 5 days of overtime to get the $$ to pay for the vacuum.  I replied with a sarcastic, "THANK YOU, DH will love this in the workshop."

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
That is sick!  I guess if you want to be the "bigger" person, you should let it go.  But, I would demand an apology, and say that you will not attend any further family functions until you get one.  Maybe you should give them back to her for Christmas.  Then, when she opens them, you can say, "Oh, that's right, I forgot, your DH actually told me that he has no use for them."

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
That is pretty bad.  She has the humor of a 13 year old (an immature 13 year old!).

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
Nobody is deserving of that type of disrespect.  I am sorry that you had to experience that.

RESPONSE:  MIL Laughed
I'm so glad that no one laughed with her, which would've validated her somehow.  She sounds like a real twit.

Worst gift:  For our first Christmas together as a married couple, my MIL gave us TWIN satin sheets (like we don't sleep in the same bed).  But, this kind of gift giving is typical for her.  For my husband's birthday, if she remembers it at all, MIL usually sends coupons.  For Christmas one year, he received a belt buckle (he doesn't wear belts), socks, and a roll-on deodorant!  She really puts a lot of thought into her gifts.  Luckily, my two kids and I are not on her "lucky" gift list.

        Signed - Waiting For My Husband to be an Orphan!

Worst gift:  When my husband and I were getting married a few years ago, we had a traditional shower hosted by his family.  It was a great shower - wonderful food, great conversation, no stupid shower games, and lots of presents.  The white elephant of the group had to be the used cheese grater.  Not that we didn't need a grater, but this one came with cheese still attached.  I had to use an Oscar-worthy performance to act like I really wanted this pierced piece of aluminum that was pre-stuck with cheese.  Strangely enough, I can't seem to find where I put it.  Hmmm.

        Signed - Not All That Enamored With Cheese

RESPONSE:  Not All That Enamored With Cheese
EWWWW.  They could have cleaned it, at least!!!!

RESPONSE:  Not All That Enamored With Cheese
I say that you should invite the cheesy cheese-grater giver over for a nice pasta dinner.  And tell her that if she wants some cheese to sprinkle on it, to scrape it off THIS.  And then hand her the grater with the petrified cheese!

RESPONSE:  Not All That Enamored With Cheese
A grater that comes with the cheese already attached sounds like a good idea for an infomercial.  Any wannabe producers out there?

RESPONSE:  Not All That Enamored With Cheese
My cheap aunt gave her niece a used teething ring and a used rattle for her baby shower.  The teething ring and rattle both had teeth marks on them.  Some people are too ignorant - it's crazy.

Worst gift:  I was very, very thin when I got married, and I have gained some weight since then.  MIL and SIL are very into clothes, and think that I am the least stylish person on earth (DH told me that they told him this).  So, they always buy me clothes.  The problem:  They buy me my old size.  And, then, when I say that I don't want to try the clothes on in front of the family, they acknowledge that the item may be 2 sizes too small.  But, they say that if I can't fit into it, then that is proof that I need to diet.  ARGH!  This year they even refused to give me a piece of my birthday cake!

        Signed - Happy in My Own Clothes!

RESPONSE:  Happy in My Own Clothes!
What b!tches!  I can't tell you where that birthday cake would have been after that!

RESPONSE:  Happy in My Own Clothes!
I feel that DH needs to step up to the plate on this one.  This is some serious slamming and disrespecting from his faaaamily.  DH needs to tell them to knock it off!

RESPONSE:  Happy in My Own Clothes!
Try clothes on in front of people?  No way!  Eating disorders are nothing to joke about, but these crass and tasteless people need to be taught a lesson.  Tell them that you were diagnosed with a borderline eating disorder when you and DH first met, and that is why you were so thin then.  You are now at a safe and stable weight, and you'd prefer it if they would stop going on about food, dress sizes, and diets, as these are "hot topics" for you.  You'd also prefer it if they didn't bother baking birthday cakes for you if they are going to be dictatorial about who gets apiece!

RESPONSE:  Happy in My Own Clothes!
Next time look them in the eyes and say, calmly but firmly, that your weight/size is not their concern, and that they should focus their attention elsewhere.  Refusing to serve you a piece of your own birthday cake (or anything for that matter!) was not only unspeakably rude, but cruel as well.  You shouldn't put up with that kind of treatment from anyone.

Worst gift:  For my daughter's 6th birthday yesterday, my in-laws brought her 2 bags of chips and a spray bottle.  At least she won't be hungry at snack time!

        Signed - Don't Expect Good Gifts for my Kids Anymore

RESPONSE:  Don't Expect Good Gifts for my Kids Anymore
Yuck.  Most of the gift stories have to do with so-called gifts given to adults.  To drag children into it requires a special brand of low.

RESPONSE:  Don't Expect Good Gifts for my Kids Anymore
A spray bottle, like the ones you mist plants with?  I guess not only will she not be hungry at snack time, but she won't be hot either.  LOL!

RESPONSE:  Don't Expect Good Gifts for my Kids Anymore
What on EARTH was the spray bottle for?????

RESPONSE:  Don't Expect Good Gifts for my Kids Anymore
If she gives chips as presents to her grandkids, can you imagine what she gives to other children?

RESPONSE:  Don't Expect Good Gifts for my Kids Anymore
That's insane!  Do these people ever give good gifts, or is your DD the only recipient of their cruelty?  GGGRRRrrrrrr.

RESPONSE:  Don't Expect Good Gifts for my Kids Anymore
Well it sound like your DH is the one doing gift buying for mom's gifts.  For my friend's DD's 1st birthday, my friend's MIL bought the champagne poppers and pop pops as party favors.  You know, they are the things that you pull on a string and a bunch of streamers explode out of a little plastic champagne bottle, and the things that you throw down on the ground to make a little explosion sound.  All of the other kids were one or younger.  What in the he!! was she thinking?

Worst gift:  On our wedding day, my MIL and FIL explained why we did not receive a wedding gift from them.  It was because their wedding gift to us was to have them attending our wedding!

        Signed - LilMssyMuffet

RESPONSE:  LilMssyMuffet
Every holiday and anniversary gift from you should be that the ILs don't have to feed you or clean up after you.  Don't even burden them with your presence.

RESPONSE:  LilMssyMuffet
Remember that line when it's time to buy her a Christmas present.  At her house, tell them that just being at their house is gift enough!

RESPONSE:  LilMssyMuffet
Yes, I have been there - it was 3 years ago!  They told us that having family stay at their home (no one did ) was their present to us.

RESPONSE:  LilMssyMuffet
Well, be sure to respond on Christmas, Birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day the same way.  "Oh, we ARE your present."

RESPONSE:  LilMssyMuffet
Now you know what to get them for Christmas and for their birthdays.  Don't even THINK of letting this opportunity slip by!

RESPONSE:  LilMssyMuffet
What a shame that it's a gift you can't return!

RESPONSE:  LilMssyMuffet
And the perfect Christmas gift for you to give them is an explanation that having YOU as a daughter-in-law is also enough of a present!

RESPONSE:  LilMssyMuffet
Oh dear, what a poor joke that must have seemed.  Why don't you ask them if there is a money back guarantee attached to that particular "gift".

Worst gift:  Here is my worst gift story (and, it is almost hard to pick just one):  When my MIL came back from the islands and was presenting gifts to everybody, she gave me these horrible potholders.  That wasn't what was bad, though.  They were horrible, horrible, RACIST potholders that make Aunt Gamma figures look politically correct in comparison.  I destroyed them because I was afraid of anyone seeing them in my trash.  Of all my MIL's horrible traits, her racism is the worst.  It's amazing that my DH is such a beautiful and decent human.

        Signed - Appalled

RESPONSE:  Appalled
How sad it is that we live in a world that has enough rage in it to dream up, produce, sell, and have people willing to by something as innocuous as a potholder that has then been turned into an object of hate through racism.  How joyful, that there is enough love in this world for someone like you understand and make a small gesture against such tragic ignorance.

Worst gift:  My MIL wasn't too thrilled that her son wanted to marry a single mom.  She was bound and determined to believe that her son "deserved better".  Well, last Christmas she gave me a dollar store Christmas card which read:  "IOU.  If you can handle me in the next ten years or so, might be redeemed."  What a creep.

        Signed - Not Worthy

RESPONSE:  Not Worthy
Geeze.  I hope you told this woman that you don't take IOUs, and that your policy is cash and carry only.

RESPONSE:  Not Worthy
I would never waste my time or effort on any gift for any occasion for this woman.  What a horrid thing to give you.  I hope your DH set her straight.

RESPONSE:  Not Worthy
I sure hope your DH is on your side.  What a slap in the face.  Next Xmas, spend it with someone who likes you.  Your child knows all that goes on, and they sure don't want mom to be sad.  She is just another MIL ruining a good thing (and can succeed well) because she can toy with her son as long as he lets her.  Let him go visit more often alone.  If he gets angry that you wont go, it's because he doesn't want to go either.  It is best to concentrate on being a healthy family together.

RESPONSE:  Not Worthy
She's the one who's not worthy.  You can "handle" her by not jumping through her hoops.  Be polite, but distant.  Maybe she's hoping she'll have you running your @ss off, trying to please her and win her over, while she sits on her "throne" and judges you (never pleased).  Ha.  I bet you'll "handle" her just fine, but not the way she's imagining.  It's possible that she'll come around, once she gets it out of her head that a single mom is not a suitable mate for her son.  If she has a good heart, she might really not be able to help sincerely falling in love with you, too.  Sorry about her rude card!

Worst gift:  After spending an extremely jolly Xmas in the UK with my family, my partner and I flew back to Portugal, where we live, for a belated Xmas lunch at the in-laws.  After having lavished presents on their son (and telling everyone how much they had cost - very tasteful!), my present was handed to me in a plastic bag.  It was an aluminum cake slice that had obviously been pulled out of the bottom of a drawer at very short notice.  The box was battered and cr@ppy, the cake slice bent.  I honestly thought it was a joke and laughed out loud.  Oooops, bad move.  She looked bemused, and pointed out that there was another present in the bag.  I delved around and pulled out a bag of pistachio nuts!  Merry Christmas folks.  Happily, my partner was as dumbfounded as I was, and phoned her the next day to tell her how my family had gone out of their way to make him feel at home at Christmas, whilst I hadn't even been considered in their preparations for Xmas.  He said that he was extremely embarrassed by the whole episode.  There's more:  For my birthday one year, she sent me BACK the card I had sent HER the year before, having written her birthday message to me underneath what I had written to her the year before.  Accompanying this gem was a soup bowl and a spoon.  What would Freud have made of all this?

        Signed - What Would Freud Have Made Of All This?

RESPONSE:  What Would Freud Have Made Of All This?
Wow, your ILs have redefined the word "tasteless"!  Conspicuously cr@ppy gifts certainly feel like a put-down, but they speak much more loudly as to the base nature of the giver!  Be glad that DH sees and realizes how hurtful this type of thing is, and stands up for you.  Keep holding yourselves in one another's high regard.  The rest doesn't matter.

RESPONSE:  What Would Freud Have Made Of All This?
In answer to what Freud would have made of this, inevitably it would have had something to do with "penis envy".  I had to laugh about your laughing out loud at the cake slice.  Your MIL is very rude, but I am happy for you that your partner told her how embarrassing it was for HIM to have you treated in such a manner.  Why not send the birthday card BACK to her with yet another birthday message under the previous two.  You sound as though you have a terrific sense of humor, so you could possibly turn this into some kind of game.

Worst gift:  Last Christmas, my MIL gave me a package of paper napkins that matched my china pattern.

        Signed - Paper Napkins

RESPONSE:  Paper Napkins
At least she matched it.  ;).  No, seriously, you have my sympathy.  Obviously your MIL is not a great person to be around.

RESPONSE:  Paper Napkins
Even though the napkins matched your china pattern, that is a LAME gift!!  I hope you don't spend a lot of money on gifts for her from now on!!

RESPONSE:  Paper Napkins
Are you kidding?  That takes just plain talent on her part.  I don't know if it is a good talent, but ...

RESPONSE:  Paper Napkins
I don't really think this is such a bad gift, even though it is kind of cheep!  In a way, it is kind of thoughtful, since it matches your china.

RESPONSE:  Paper Napkins
Misguided and cheap, but observant.

RESPONSE:  Paper Napkins
Gosh, that seemed thoughtful, even if it was cheap!  Did they lavish expensive gifts on everyone else?  If not, I would certainly take a thoughtful, attentive gift over some of the really mean-spirited gifts that other DWs have written about!

Worst gift:  Ok, top this!  I think that my MIL thinks that if she treats me badly for long enough, I will just go away.  But, little does she know that I enjoy watching her make an @ss out of herself!  The first Christmas that we all spent together, my MIL bought everyone nice gifts, and then handed me a gift bag filled with a half eaten, spoiled egg salad sandwich, some pieces of half eaten caramel, and some smashed grapes that were all wrapped in tissue paper.  When I asked her what the meaning of this was, she started laughing and said that since I sampled grapes in the store, she felt this gift was appropriate.  I laughed it off and waited for my "real" gift.  And you know what it was?  NOTHING!!!!

        Signed - Something Rancid in the South

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
OMG!  I think your rancid food gift MUST top them ALL!!!!!  MIL certainly IS an @Ss!  There is something beyond nasty in this type of gift - it is abusive!  The only think I can think of that would have been worse is if she had left a horse's severed head in your bed (like they did in the movie, "The Godfather")!  What does DH say about this shocking behavior!

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
I am sitting here in shock with my chin on the floor after reading your post.  Why do people do these things?  More importantly, why do *other* family members let them get away with it?????

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
That was the last Christmas you all spent together, I hope!  If she b!tched about how "the faaaaamily should be together at Christmas", I wouldn't have any qualms about making it clear that her nasty little attack on you made the idea of another Christmas with her unthinkable.

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
She might disagree with your sampling things in the store (I would too), but still, it's not HER job to "teach you a lesson".  I disagree with her behavior!

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
That is pretty bad.  YUCK.  It looks like you have a good attitude - I, myself, would cry!  Then, I'd give her a half eaten hamburger for her birthday!

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
You Win - not only at one of the worst gifts, but at responding to such a person!  Keep having fun with it.  At the next dinner, bring your own food from a gas station deli (or at least make it look like it came from a gas station)!  What was your husbands reaction?

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
I definitely think you have won the "worst gift from a MIL" award!!!  My MIL is bad, but she is not THAT bad.  And, the reason for that is only because she is worried about what people will think of her if she gives lousy gifts - not because she really is interested in pleasing me!  Anyway, I hope you do not go all out getting her nice gifts, and, most importantly, I hope your DH supports you, and that he tells her off.  Your MIL should not be allowed to get away with her stupid antics!!!

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
Next Christmas you should return the gift to her.  But, instead of placing it under the tree, you should place it under her pillow.

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
Absolutely the worst MIL story and worst gift story that I have ever heard!

RESPONSE:  Something Rancid in the South
I REALLY hope your DH stepped in and did something about that gift!

Worst gift:  During one of our first years of marriage, we rented a house where the oven was not working properly.  For Christmas that year, my DH bought me an oven thermometer!

        Signed - Not Very Thrilled Wife

RESPONSE:  Not Very Thrilled Wife
Did you tell him where to put it?

RESPONSE:  Not Very Thrilled Wife
A mistake my husband better not make twice!

RESPONSE:  Not Very Thrilled Wife
Has he gotten better at gift giving?  If not, then I'd start giving him lists.

RESPONSE:  Not Very Thrilled Wife
Buy him a feather duster and an apron.  Why is it that you get chore supplies while he probably gets clothes or stuff he likes?  Is it because you have a female body part and he has a male body part?!  I would have separated from him for that one!

RESPONSE:  Not Very Thrilled Wife
Ouch!!  The first year our DS was born, DH forgot to get me a gift from himself or our DS.  On the way to get the sitter for us to go out to dinner, he stopped at the grocery store.  I was still crying about the idea that he had forgotten to get me something the first year that I was a mom as I went out to the car.  DH then handed me the brown paper bag with several cooking utensils that had bought - and he told me, "Happy Birthday from our DS!"  GRRR.  DHs can be idiots - and I married their king!!  I hope your DH did better after that!

Worst gift:  I'll make it really short:  One year for Christmas, my MIL gave me a tablet of sticky notes, paperclips, and a BIC pen in a stocking,  If she and her husband were charming, low-income sweethearts, it would have been a beautiful thought.  On the contrary, she and her husband work at very reputable companies, and are very comfortable.  Knowing her, it was her way of saying, "All you're worth is my used paperclips, and give me back my stocking!"  Meanwhile, she gave my husband 4 brand new plush sweaters and a gold tie clip!

        Signed - And Give Me Back My Stocking!

RESPONSE:  And Give Me Back My Stocking!
Start wearing his comfy sweaters to his family events, and tell her how comfortable they are!

RESPONSE:  And Give Me Back My Stocking!
After reading so many stories about the nasty, insulting gifts some of these ILs have given to the DILs who write here, I've come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with this is to promptly give the ILs a similar gift in return.  If the ILs don't like it, they very well can't complain.  DH can't say that they deserve better.  Best of all, DW gets a harmless taste of sweet revenge - and nobody can say boo!

Worst gift:  I have several Christmas gifts stories to tell.  For the first Christmas that I had with my husband, when we were just dating, he invited me to his house for Christmas.  He wanted me to open my gift at his home.  His mother knew that I was coming 2 weeks before Christmas.  His brother also invited his girlfriend.  When I got there on Christmas Day for dinner, she looked at me and said, "I didn't know you would be here.  We did not seat a plate for you."  Then, she turned around and asked me how I liked the ring that my husband (boyfriend) had given me!!!  We had just walked through the back door, and he had not given me my present yet!!!!!  I received nothing from his parents that year, BUT his brother's girlfriend got a gold necklace and a plate at the table.  The first Christmas after we married, I received a gift that I could use for my entire life.  It was a PIG SKIN DUST RAG, with a lifetime warranty with it.  Was she trying to tell me something?  The next Christmas, I received a broom - the type you sweep the floor with.  I would like to have told her what to do with it.  My MIL always tells you what is wrong, i.e., your slip is showing, etc.  Something is always wrong.  But she was perfect.  She wore false nails on Thanksgiving.  We had turkey dressing.  When I bit into my dressing, what did I find?  Her small false nail.  I love reminding her of that.  I have more stories, too many too tell!

        Signed - Loved So Much

Worst gift:  My MIL is a big "garage sale" shopper.  I was telling her one day that I wanted to get some more of my dishware, but the place where we got it from didn't sell it anymore.  Well, one day she was shopping at her garage sales and found that dishware - the plates, bowls, cups, etc.  I was so excited.  She said that she would give them to me that weekend, this was in August or September (I remember because I thought about Thanksgiving).  Well, I never got them.  I kept asking about them, but I never got them.  So what did I get under the Christmas tree that year?  My dishes!!!

        Signed - A Garage Sale Christmas

RESPONSE:  A Garage Sale Christmas
It sounds like the two of you have different gift-giving customs.  That might (believe it or not) be a legitimate way of giving gifts in her family.  I can see why it would bother you - she acted kind of sloppily about it.  Do you think she meant well, but was just misguided?  You know your MIL!

RESPONSE:  A Garage Sale Christmas
Did you tell MIL that you intended to pay her back for the dishes she picked up for you?  If not, I don't quite see anything wrong with her making a gift of them to you.  MIL's mistake was that she kept saying that she'd give them to you, and then she didn't.  She should have been honest with you about her intentions to save them for the holidays, rather than keeping you hanging.  Try to think of it this way - if she hadn't found and paid for those dishes, you wouldn't have had them in August, September, October, November or perhaps EVER.  MIL basically did a nice thing, don't you think?

Worst gift:  My MIL gives us a "promissory note" in lieu of a gift, and then never fulfills it.  But, even better, my husband's grandmother once gave me a used cake of soap for Christmas.

        Signed - Smelling Insult

RESPONSE:  Smelling Insult
Give the soap and promissory notes to your MIL, and tell her to clean up her act!

RESPONSE:  Smelling Insult
What kind of expression does a person who gives you a used bar of soap wear on their face as you are opening this gift?  Could they possibly think they can hide the crudeness in something like this, or do they just not care?

RESPONSE:  Smelling Insult
I hope you don't spend a lot of time picking out their gifts.  What does your DH thing about the "gifts"?  If he is ok with it, then he gets to buy all of the gifts from here on out.  If he, too, is insulted, then my suggestion is that you start buying their gifts at thrift stores.

Worst gift:  Last Christmas, my MIL gave my husband a popular game system which attaches to a TV.  I hate it, and the first version of this game that he had was the cause of many fights.  The baby didn't get fed or changed because he was addicted to a game.  So, as you can see, I was not so thrilled about this gift.  But, here is the real kicker - guess what my gift was????  An extra controller, a memory card, an extension for a controller, and a remote for the game system. Gee, thanks.

        Signed - All Played Out

RESPONSE:  All Played Out
Ditto here!  My MIL gave us the same gift a few years ago!  I have not touched the &* % thing once since I have so many other things to do (take care of kids, clean house, etc.).  But, before you blame MIL on the problems, remember, it is DH that will not get off his lazy butt to help you!

RESPONSE:  All Played Out
I would take the whole thing and sell it.  Your MIL is either really stupid or really nasty.  Maybe you should leave her addict son and take your kids with you.  And see what she thinks of that!  Good luck.

RESPONSE:  All Played Out
For the next gift occasion, why not give MIL A-N-D FIL (assuming he is alive and he and MIL are still together) a subscription to Sports Illustrated, or perhaps a men's magazine?  Just tell MIL that you figured she'd enjoy the articles.

RESPONSE:  All Played Out
Tell your DH that it is either the game or you and the children.  Sell it and go on a vacation.  It is inexcusable that he was so "addicted" to the stupid game that he NEGLECTED his child.  He doesn't deserve to have the child.  He is a big baby, and his mama is egging it on.  I would tell her that gifts of that type must STOP NOW!!!!

RESPONSE:  All Played Out
The baby got neglected because of this game?  Break it when he's not around, and then act dumb when he asks you what's wrong with it.

RESPONSE:  All Played Out
You can probably get quite lot of money for the system at a pawn shop.  Then sign your DH up for parenting classes with the money.

RESPONSE:  All Played Out
I'm sorry, but I think your husband has more of a problem than his mother in this particular instance.  I doubt she could have known that he would neglect his child because he was too irresponsible to stop playing a game.  Now, if she knew you didn't enjoy playing games, getting you a remote was thoughtless all right.  Is it at all possible that she thought you might enjoy playing the game with your husband?  If she didn't take your likes into account at all, then I agree that it was thoughtless.  I hope your DH has grown up enough to start taking care of his child!!

RESPONSE:  All Played Out
I have a message for your DH.  Hey dude.  Put the controls down and listen for a second.  Know who I am?  I'm you, buddy.  Or, I WAS you once.  Yeah ... I know the feeling of the game.  The challenge.  The belief in yourself.  Knowing you can beat that next level.  Needing to prove it.  To your buddies.  To yourself.  Beating that last level is almost better than sex.
  I know.  I've been there, dude.  The world stops.  The job goes away.  The kids go away.  The wife goes away.  It becomes just you and your controls.  And you are the master of the game, buddy.  You're the best.  Plus, the stress relief is awesome.  Time just stands still.  How come no one understands this?  You intend to get to something in another second or two, and you do.  Except, that second of game time just took you two hours.  I understand this.  They just haven't been there, man.  But, I have.  Now, listen up.  You've got a wife now.  A baby.  The game has changed.  You are just going to have to add this to the list of things you can't do as much as you want to.  It s*cks, I know.  My advice for you is to work with your wife to come up with some uninterrupted game times that you can both agree to.  Get at least 2 or 3 time slots each week that you can play for several hours undisturbed.  Then, just get used to the fact that that will have to be enough.  Do this for her, man.  Do it for the baby.  Look at them.  They're definitely worth the sacrifice.

Worst gift:  Every time my MIL and FIL go anywhere, they bring me back a purple sarong.  I now have four of them, and I have decided to make chair covers for my patio furniture.  What the he!! else can you do with four of the same thing?  Maybe they'll bring me a couple more so that I can make a tablecloth and some napkins.  Another thing is that my favorite color is not purple.  I just happen to have a purple car.  It's kind of funny, but kind of annoying.  My husband and daughter get cute t-shirts, and I get something that I can't even wear to work.  Plus, I've never worn them, so why would they keep buying me something that they never see me wear??  If my MIL was skinnier, I'd give them back to her, one Christmas at a time.  I know this isn't one of the worst presents on this site, but it is one of the most annoying.

        Signed - Lovebunny

RESPONSE:  Lovebunny
Funny!  That's a head-shaker.

RESPONSE:  Lovebunny
They'd also make lovely curtains, floor pillows, or the backing for a quilt.  Or, perhaps your daughter would like an Eastern, "I Dream of Jeannie" theme in her room?  I like purple, but 4 sarongs?  That's too much purple fabric.

RESPONSE:  Lovebunny
Who needs 4 purple sarongs?  It sounds to me like they are clueless, not necessarily mean.  But, making them into chair covers is a great idea.

RESPONSE:  Lovebunny
Maybe if you just tell her that you appreciate being remembered, but that you would make better use of a T-shirt, she will discontinue the repetitious purple sarong gifts.  It sounds more like a lack of observation on her part, than a slight against you.  If she wanted to slight you, she'd either be giving you a truly cr@ppy gift (one with some nasty message implied), or nothing at all.  When she realizes that her gifts have been turned into a piano chair cover, don't be surprised if she has hurt feelings.

Worst gift:  My wife and I spent the first Christmas after our wedding at my parents' house, and this is what they (my mother buys the gifts) gave her:  1.  A year-old calendar "because the pictures are so pretty".  2.  Grocery coupons.  3.  A lottery ticket - one that you would get for free with some other purchase - for a chance to win a free trip to the Superbowl.  My folks are not hurting for money, and months before this, my wife had expressed to my mother her strong dislike of football.  Curious that my better half doesn't care to visit my parents.

        Signed - An Embarrassed Son

RESPONSE:  An Embarrassed Son
For future gift-giving occasions, you should frame the calendar pictures and dole them out, one at a time.  Also, the cheaper the frames, the better.  They liked them so much, they can look at them.

RESPONSE:  An Embarrassed Son
That's so sweet of you to see the truth about the gifts.  What a lucky lady.  My DH thinks it's great when his mom buys me a big bucket of cleaning products for Christmas every year - blech

RESPONSE:  An Embarrassed Son
Hooray!  You are a husband who admits that his mother buys insulting gifts!  I don't think there are many out there like that!  You are a doll!  I guess you won't be spending Christmas with them again, huh?

RESPONSE:  An Embarrassed Son
You needn't be embarrassed.  You're not responsible for your parents' shortcomings.  It's great that you realize how this type of thing can be slighting and hurtful to your wife, and that you care about her feelings and how others (even your folks) treat - or mistreat - her.  Having your loyalty, understanding, and support is a much more valuable and enriching gift than anything your parents could give her.

RESPONSE:  An Embarrassed Son
Good for you for seeing their nastiness for what it is.  As reading this web site will make abundantly clear, the deciding factor in how a marriage with problematic in-laws works out is not how nasty the in-laws are, but whether the spouses support each other and put each other first.  Stick up for your wife!

RESPONSE:  An Embarrassed Son
I am so sorry that your parents would treat your wife that way - and ultimately disrespect you in the process.  I hope you spoke to them and told them that they are hurting you and your relationship with them when they hurt the woman you love.  It is refreshing to hear from a man who understands how the wife feels in a situation like this, and doesn't blow it off with, "That's just how Mom is."  Your wife is very lucky to have you.

RESPONSE:  An Embarrassed Son
I am glad to see that you recognize these "gifts" as the insult that they are.  Did you say anything to your parents?  I think that you should tell them, "Mom and Dad, I find your so-called gifts to my wife insulting to both her and me.  If you cannot respect her as the woman I have chosen to spend my life with, then I don't wish to be around you anymore."  It certainly isn't curious that your wife doesn't want to visit your parents anymore.  But, please tell me that you are not going over there anyway.

RESPONSE:  An Embarrassed Son
I have never received a birthday present from my MIL.  For the first Christmas at their home, I received a chipped tea pot with a broken particle wood tray.  For the last two years, my husband and I have received "couple" gifts.  This year, we received a huge deep fat fryer.  I don't eat fried food, and my husband also watches what he eats.  I feel tense when I visit my in-laws because I can feel the animosity.  For a long time, my husband wanted me to go with him to every function.  Finally, I decided not to go to their functions, and it is my goal not to see them before Christmas.  I am interested to know if you confronted your parents about their insensitivity.  How do you feel about your wife not wanting to spend time with them?  Have you cut back the time that you spend with them?  Best of luck to you.

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