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"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

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Topics - Scoop

My MIL has always been a terrible gift-giver.  Your present from her really depends on your status in her 'book'.  I've gotten gifts ranging from good to well, nothing. 

We received a package today from the home shopping network from MIL.  It's one of those banana based frozen treat makers.  Now, here's the thing, DD can't eat bananas due to bathroom troubles.  I've explained ths to MIL before.  Ive even told her that there is sometimes blood when DD wipes.  So it's not capriciousness on my part.

I'm trying not to look at this as a deliberate thumbing of her nose at us because we're not going to the IL's for Christmas (it's not their turn).  But it really feels that way.

So, my question, can I refuse this gift based on DD's health?

We're heading out to the IL's for Thanksgiving weekend tonight.  Wish me luck & PATIENCE, I'm afraid I'm going to need it.

I can't even ask for advice on how to respond to particular situations, because my MIL always surprises me with the baloney she comes up with.

Here are my wishes for this weekend:

1 - first and foremost, that DD has a Happy Birthday
2 - that the IL's get her an age / interest / size appropriate present
3 - that MIL respects that DD specifically requested a pumpkin pie for her birthday "cake"
4 - that we spend lots of time with SIL, BIL & the DN's
5 - that MIL doesn't give us an anniversary present, nor a belated birthday present for me
I didn't want to hijack another post.  But Pen suggested that the OP stop accepting gifts from MIL.

You all know that my IL's skipped my birthday last year.  It was not a matter of 'no more gifts for adults', DH, SIL and BIL all got gifts.  In fact, DH got several hundred dollars worth of gifts. Historically, the IL's give me something for my birthday (except for 2005 - they 'skipped' that one too).

I was thinking that if the IL's try and give me a gift this year, I should refuse it.  But that seems SO RUDE to me.  How exactly can you 'politely' refuse a gift?  And do you guys think I should do it?  And should I have said something before Christmas and then NOT accepted Christmas gifts either?  I'm thinking that if MIL offers me ANYTHING this year, I'm going to say 'no thanks' and "you really shouldn't bother buying me anything else from now on".

Thanks for your opinions!


PS - I think one of the biggest problems between my MIL and I is that I have a LONG memory.  So yeah, no gift in 2005, or that time in 2003 when she ragged on us for where we had placed a gift she gave us, or ...... etc.
We're spending Christmas at my IL's house this year and I'm dreading it SO much!

I'm finding that I'm still bitter about the fact that she didn't get me a birthday gift.  I know it's petty.  But I asked SIL and she said that MIL always gets her and BIL something, and I'm sure DH is going to get something HUGE for his birthday (he's the Golden Child).

I know that I've been preaching to be nice because YOU'RE nice, not because they deserve it.  BUT man!  I feel like I'm letting her 'get away' with treating me poorly.

So I'm wavering between:

- sending them a Christmas card and pictures of DD (like I do with everyone else) but then feeling like I'm rewarding MIL's bad behaviour.  Usually I let DH write out the card to his parents, but he never does it and feels that it's okay to just bring it with us when we visit.

- refusing to send them a card (but, of course, DH is still welcome to) and feeling partly glad that I'm "showing HER" and partly guilty because I don't want to be that person.

This is really bugging me.  But I realize that it's not MIL that I want to change.  It's DH.  I want him to acknowledge that it was wrong.  (When I pointed out that the IL's didn't get me anything for my milestone birthday - not even the next time we saw them months later, and he said "Sure they did." but couldn't detail exactly what it was.)  I want him to say "Oh, I can't accept this gift because you didn't do anything for Scoop's birthday" - like THAT would ever happen.

I don't know.  I just needed to vent some of these emotions because it's really been bugging me.
Helpful Resources / Did you know?
October 14, 2011, 07:46:55 am
I know this doesn't go here, but I think people might be looking at this category first.

If you look in the upper left hand corner of the screen, right there under your user name greeting, there are 2 clickable links.  One is "Show unread posts since last visit" and the other is "Show new replies to your posts".

If you click on those, they will bring you right away to a list of unread posts / unread replies.  That way you don't have to scroll down through the main topics to try and figure out what's new.

Keys Girl mentioned that she hadn't seen the post about Luise and I thought this trick would be helpful to more than just her.

Mods - feel free to move this as required.

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Thanksgiving
August 31, 2011, 06:27:28 am
Well folks, I guess I'm not done "trying".  Maybe I'll never learn?  Also, I need to learn never to say never, it always comes back to bite me.

This year, it was supposed to be my Mom's turn for Thanksgiving, because it's the IL's turn for Christmas.  However, she's going to be away for Thanksgiving.  I was GOING to plan a nice little weekend for the 3 of us at my Mom's cottage, but I offered for DH to invite his family (MIL, FIL, SIL, BIL & the DN's) to come to the cottage for the weekend (for the record, Thanksgiving is in early October in Canada).  I did add the condition that we would ask SIL first and if she couldn't come, we were not inviting the PIL's. 

So SIL said they would come!  YAHOO!  DD is SO happy to see her cousins.  Now, I'm just waiting for DH to invite the IL's.

But, just LOOK at how much time I have to PLAN!  I'm so excited.

Do you think it would be okay for me to "assign" a meal each to SIL and to MIL, IF they ask if they can bring anything?
I need some help getting over this.

My IL's didn't give me anything for my birthday.  They didn't acknowledge my significant-number birthday in any way other than a text to DH saying "Say Happy Birthday to Scoop for us".

And I'm MAD about it. 

I typed out a whole post about WHY and giving all sorts of history and ect. but it even sounded whiny to ME.  And I've answered posts before with the statement that "people don't OWE you gifts".  So I don't know why my knickers are in a knot over this.

My general feelings are that if my MIL wants to have a better relationship with me, she's certainly NOT showing it.  And it makes me want to stamp my foot and say "See?  See?  *This* is why I shouldn't have to TRY with MIL anymore!"  But I don't want to be that person.

So, can anyone help me out here?  Maybe help me look at it in a different way?

Grab Bag / Thought of you all when I read this
August 02, 2011, 06:09:10 am
I saw this article linked in a blog and thought it was interesting and would be interesting to some of the women here.


The gist of it is that even if you're a great parent and give your kids everything, they can still end up unhappy.  I thought of the Moms here who've done nothing wrong to their kids and still get beat up.

But that was last night.  Today, I thought about it some more and realized that it's just another way to blame the parents.   At some point, you're a grown up and you're responsible for your own happiness and you have to suck it up.

So yeah, now I'm aiming that link to the DIL's with young children - don't be afraid to let your children be unhappy!

So, how much notice do you need to host weekend guests?  How much is fair?

DH mentioned that his parents 'might' be coming to visit us for Father's Day weekend.   They haven't actually SAID they were coming for sure.  I don't like 'surprise' visits.  I am a planner, and I need at least, at the VERY LEAST, a week's notice for hosting guests for a weekend.  It drives me crazy that the IL's can't plan their time a couple of weeks in advance.  (For the record, FIL knows his schedule FAR in advance and MIL makes her own schedule.) 

I know that DH would like to have a "good" visit with them, but I don't know why he doesn't understand that it's already started on the wrong foot with me.  We've been all around this mulberry bush before, it's nothing new.

The worst part is that he won't do anything to 'plan' for their visit.  He won't think of meal ideas or activities, he won't wash sheets, make beds or clean up (and MIL is VERY critical for cleanliness).  So, he wants *me* to plan, because it's WAY easier on him that way, but he doesn't give me TIME to plan and then I'm angry - it's not shocking that we have a tough time over the weekend as a result!

So we got back from a weekend at the IL's and I have a question.

When I was dreading the visit, someone recommended that I bring a big bouquet of flowers.  I liked the idea, so I turned it into me bringing an Easter Bunny cake.  I had DH talk to his M, to make sure it was okay.  I brought the cakes, the icing & the candies and DD, DN, MIL and I put it all together.  I made sure to involve MIL, and at the end, we took pictures of the girls and the cake and another one of the girls, me, MIL and the cake.  I tried, I really tried.

So in the meantime, MIL had ordered an ice-cream cake and ended up with a huge ice-cream cake AND the Easter Bunny cake (and we were only 9 people).  It totally came down to "loyalties", I served up "my" cake (per MIL's directions) and she served up "her" cake.  The kids had the bunny cake and SIL & BIL had some of each.

I guess if we were on a good footing, I wouldn't think anything of it, but as it was between us, I was mad about it.  I think that no smal part of it is that I'm noticing a trend where MIL won't eat food I've made.  I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm dirty.

Conversely, in the sake of fairness, my MIL has no concept of how much food to make for 9 people.  (I shudder to think of the food they must throw away.)  So maybe she didn't think it would be too much?  She didn't send any food home with SIL and we didn't take any either.  (For the record: it was offered for us to bring the 2/3 of the bunny cake back, but it was at the last minute, the car was packed, we were heading out the door.  To me it was a stalling tactic to delay our leaving - as usual.)

So what do you think?  Understandable?  Or rude?
It looks like we'll be going to see the IL's for Easter and I'm a nervous wreck!  (Already!)

I just typed out and then deleted a bunch of silly reasons to be nervous.  None of them are particularly valid.  I just don't wanna go!  (Wah!  <foot stomp>)

Please tell me it won't go south!  Tell me that the kitten will be fine at home for 2 nights alone.  Tell me that DH will agree with 2 nights away, instead of 3.  Tell me that DD will enjoy Easter egg hunting at the IL's and she won't break any of their doo-dads.  Tell me that the IL's will not go overboard with Easter stuff for her, that they will not expect to hide more treats, that they will give their other grandkids the same treatment as DD (instead of favouring her), that they will get her something appropriate, that she will enjoy, that fits.

Sigh.  I'm so jealous of Holliberri.
Grab Bag / Pets! Show us your pets!
February 14, 2011, 11:50:16 am
This is our new little guy!

He's an oriental shorthair, which means he's got the body (and voice!) of a Siamese, but he's a different colour.  In this case, they say he's blue, but really, he's grey.

Oh man, I had forgotten how much fun it is to have a kitten in the house.  DD is in LOVE with him and he's quite patient with her.

And here's our little dog:

For a small dog, she's actually pretty mellow and doesn't bark much.  The kitten just wants to play with her, but she doesn't know how.  There's a little bit of jealousy, but they generally get along.

Anyone else want to show their pets?
So, here's the background, and there's a LOT of background.

We alternate Thanksgiving (in Oct in Canada) and Christmas between my FOO and the IL's.  We're out of town from both families.  We've done this for over 10 years.  We used to visit both sets of parents over the Christmas break, but DH got a job that didn't allow for this, so now we only visit one family at Christmas (and usually invite the other for New Year's).

Christmas of 2008 we were at my FOO's.  February of 2009, my Dad died, quite suddenly, at only 62 years old.  So Christmas of 2009 should have been my IL's "turn" for Christmas.   However, I did NOT want my Mom to be alone for her first Christmas without my Dad.  Also, she was taking my family and my brother's whole family down south for a week, leaving on Dec 26th.   So we spent Thanksgiving of 2009 with the IL's, and they came to visit mid-December (note: it had been 2 years since their last visit to us).

That brings us to this year.  We were really up-in-the-air about Christmas.  Per the old system, it would be my FOO's turn (this depends on my DB and SIL as well).  We knew that things we would still be renegotiating Christmas, because my DN is in University too.  She wants Christmas at HOME, not at Gma's.  And we figured the IL's were due a turn too.   So, no one had made any firm plans either way. 

Then MIL invited us specifically for Thanksgiving.  Well, phew! that was an easy decision then.  MIL had a special party planned that she wanted us to attend.  In the end the party fell through but we were still expected to visit.  Well, at dinner, MIL said "You're still coming for Christmas, right?"  O.M.G.  DH, of course, said nothing, so *I* had to say "No, you asked for Thanksgiving".  MIL just continued with "What was it last year?  Oh yeah, something about your trip?"  and I said "NO, it was because my Dad DIED and we didn't want my Mom to be ALONE."  And MIL continued with "Well, it's not fair, it's been 2 years!"

Thankfully, SIL & BIL helped change the subject, because I was getting REALLY, REALLY angry.  To me that was just plain old greed.

So, that's the end of that, right? 

Well, we received our Christmas card from the IL's today and inside there was a note "Hope we get to see you!"     To me, that was a dig.  And it made me FURIOUS.  Here, I'm trying to get along and she has to pull this on me.  I wish she would realize that this makes me NOT want to EVER spend Christmas with them again!

UGH - I'm mostly venting, but if anyone has any words of advice, I would appreciate it.
Okay, this may sound small, but it was actually a big step for me.  Last night, my IL's called (at a decent time!  DD was still awake!) and .... I answered the phone.  DH came up and DD was decorating her little Christmas tree in her room so I put them on speaker and we had a nice little chit-chat.

I had a big revelation yesterday, and again, it sounds stupid when you write it down, but it was a fundamental shift in my perceptions.  So I finally figured out that when MIL is doing things that drive me crazy, it's not out of maliciousness.  She's such a strange duck and so very different from me that I just could never wrap my head around why she would do/say such things, except for maliciousness.

I mean, she still drives me crazy, but now I don't take it as a personal attack against ME.

So a big Thank You to all of the MIL's on this board, who have all helped me to see the other side of the equation!
Okay, we've been talking about it a bit on another thread, so we might as well give it an official thread of it's own.

What do *you* think of vacations with family/IL's?
Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / It's not ME.
October 27, 2010, 11:44:13 am
First off, have you noticed there's no place to vent about parents / PIL's?  Or DH's for that matter! 

I've really been trying to get along better with my MIL.  I accept responsibility for 50% of the problems in our relationship, and so I've been working on making that "50%" better.  I'm almost 100% sure that the IL's blame all of the problems in our relationship on ME.  I truly haven't seen any effort on their part at making things better between us.

Historically, they don't call our house often and if they do, I let DH answer it.   On Monday night, they called and I answered.  I put them on speaker phone so we could ALL talk to them (I know they're not calling to speak to ME).  Well, it took EVERYTHING to get DH to speak with his parents.  I had to poke him to keep the conversation going.  And I'm not talking half an hour here - maybe 10 minutes TOPS.

What am I supposed to do if it seems like DH doesn't WANT a relationship with his parents?  And why am *I* getting the blame for it?

Sigh.  I agree, you can't win.
Grab Bag / Church sign I saw today.
October 23, 2010, 06:03:18 pm
I saw a sign in front of a church today and I thought of you all!

It said:

Conflict is inevitable.
Combat is optional.

What do you think? 
I would like to respectfully ask the MIL's here a question. 

Background first:

The IL's just came to visit for the weekend.  I think it went well, except for the last 5 minutes.  They had gone to the grocery store before leaving, because our bigger city has 'different' foods than they can get in their smaller town.  The reason they even came back at all was to pick up their dog, otherwise they would have just left from the grocery store.  So MIL walks in and hands me a grocery bag saying "This is for you guys".  In the bag was a package of smoked salmon (I've never had it and don't like fish, DH is just 'so-so' on it), a package of cheese (regular cheddar) and a loaf of fresh bread (okay, everyone likes fresh bread). 

It seems that MIL always HAS to leave us with food, or makes sure that we leave her house with food.

So my question is: What is up with the FOOD?

Before you answer, please know the following:
1 - We're NOT hurting for money, not even a little bit, not even close to a place where we would be hurting for money even a little bit.  Things are really GREAT for us.
2 - These were not food items that we would consider a "treat" - they were just 'groceries'.
3 - This was not a "dig" that we had not provided the kinds of food they liked, we had cheese (3 kinds!) and we had bread (fresh bread too).

It seems like this is a common denominator among DIL's who have MIL problems, maybe you can enlighten me on the "why's".
Grab Bag / Wills
April 27, 2010, 09:53:57 am
I saw this in Kathleen's post and I didn't want to hijack her thread or even call her decision into judgment.  I'm just wondering what you all think of the whole "writing someone out of the will" idea?

Because I can definitely see both sides.  That you don't want to "reward" one of your children for not maintaining a relationship with you, or for specific hurtful behaviour.  But I wonder also about the kind of "legacy" this leaves.

In my family, we've always been almost painfully fair.  My parents always gave us equal number of gifts when we were too young to understand value, and when we were old enough to understand, they gave us equal value of gifts.  If my Mom forgave my brother a small loan, she would give me a cash gift.  When the SIL & DIL came into the picture, they were given the same value of gifts too.  My Mom has also said that if my brother and I fight after she's gone, she will HAUNT us.

So my deeply ingrained sense of fairness isn't liking this idea of cutting one child out of the will.  It seems to me that it leaves a bad memory of you and it causes the siblings to continue the fight after you're gone.

I know that at one point my IL's had cut my SisIL out of their will.  I knew for a fact that we would split everything 50-50 with her anyway.  But I also knew that this would hurt her deeply and could easily fracture her relationship with her brother.

Has anyone else cut someone out of their will?  How do you think about it?  I really don't have a clue here, and I'm asking, so I can see your thought processes and try and figure it out.


This is a book aimed at women, to help them realize that their feelings of anger are justified.  That they are red flag saying that something is wrong with the situation.  And also that there's a middle ground between 'doormat' and 'b1tch'.

The gist of the book is that under-reacting is just as bad as over-reacting.  That when we under-react we end up re-hashing the situation and kicking ourselves for not speaking up, ect, we chew on it and chew on it until something else happens and then we blow up and OVER -react.    Then you have to eat crow, because you over-reacted.

That if you react appropriately to whatever is making you angry, you feel GOOD.  You don't end up re-hashing it and re-living it and you don't have to feel guilty for over-reacting.

It can be hard to do at first, especially if you've been conditioned to do anything to keep the peace.  But if you start small, like the cashier who's trying to over-charge you, you get better and better at it.

This book is definitely worth the read.