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How would you have In-Laws meet? Advice needed.

Started by MoonChild, October 18, 2011, 12:07:29 pm

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Hello to all of you Wonderfully Wise Women, I hope this is reaching you all well. I am hoping to get some advice from some MILs out there. In case you are not familiar with my story here is a quick blurb: I have been living with my wonderful BF/FDH and our two dogs, and a new kitten we adopted three weeks ago, and we have lived together for three years now. We have a good relationship with our parents and see both sets regularly. FDH and I live about 5 minutes at the most from my parents and about an hour drive from his. Now here is where I would like the advice: Our parents have never met (to be honest I am a bit nervous that they may not get along, they have many things in common but a lot of other things they differ on as well). Well my mom proposed this question to me: 'what do you think about inviting FDH's parents for Thanksgiving? Good food and everyone can be together, no one likes to 'not be chosen', please discuss with FDH.' So my question to you ladies is, if you were in this situation: your son has been with his GF for 3+ years and you have not met her FOO, would you want your first meeting to be at Thanksgiving? The other option that FDH and I were thinking, which my mom would also like to do (I think she just wants to meet them sooner and not have any stress over the holiday of having us 'pick' where we go) is that I was thinking of inviting his parents to our Mother's Day celebration to celebrate both Mom's together. Which would you prefer to be your first meeting, Thanksgiving or Mother's Day, or would you choose a different situation? Thank you for any and all input.  :)


QuoteWhich would you prefer to be your first meeting, Thanksgiving or Mother's Day, or would you choose a different situation?

For me - dinner in a modestly-priced restaurant with each paying his/her own way.  Then, no one owes no one and the interaction does not have to be long.  But, I suppose, this would depend upon the financial situation of everyone involved.  Or, a visit in the evening with dessert and coffee (again with a shorter interaction than a larger event).  In our case, it was the bride's parents who initiated the contact. 


That's a tough call.  On one hand, I can see where your FIL's might feel a little self concious if their first meeting is surrounded by all of your family?  That's me assuming there will be more than just your parents there?  On the other side, Mother's Day, I personally wouldn't have an issue with it, but I'm thinking for a first meeting, staying away from holidays in general, might be better.  Since you are a little nervous about it, I would hate for things to not go well at a major event. 

I think it's going to depend on your feelings about how the FILS would feel.  I'm one of these that a big family gathering wouldn't bother me, but many people aren't that way.  I think it's wonderful that your Mom is wanting to meet them and that you are trying to decide what would make everyone that most comfortable.  Kudos to you MC. 

It's obvious your Mother is willing to share her holiday and Mother's day.  What if you asked FMIL how she felt about it for a first meeting?  Something like, "My Mom would like to extend an invitation for you guys to come to Thanksgiving or maybe Mother's day.  I would really like for everyone to meet.  How would you feel about one of those or would you like to maybe just have dinner somewhere?"
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I agree 100% with jdtm!

Something not connected with a holiday or someone's home.


Oh honey, not Thanksgiving! no no no! A nice restaurant is definitely the way to go.


Thank you all for your prompt responses. I suppose a bit more information is needed. For the past couple of years FDH and I have made a point of spending all holidays with both sets of parents. At FILs it is just the four of us and at my FOO's it is the four of us plus my sister (my best friend, she is amazing). We had no problem not being together for holidays if he wanted to see his parents and I wanted to see mine and the time happened to conflict, we were okay not celebrating together because we knew we would still see eachother in the morning and at the end of the day. However, his mom had a problem with this, she felt she should be seeing both of us on holidays. I thought the 'request' was a bit strange but we all reworked our schedules so that we would drive up there and see them in the mornings and my family in the evenings. Also, while the restaurant idea would be nice, the one thing that drives me crazy about my FILs is that they have a very different idea of what restaurant etiquette is, and I know that their differences in this regard may bother my parents as well. I just want everyone to be comfortable and enjoy themselves without any hiccups. I am only 25 so I am still learning all that goes along with families and relationships, it seems to be a never ending learning process, but you ladies have all been wonderful in helping give advice.


Maybe host a meal in your home?

I know what you mean, I worry about my parents and in laws interacting......still.  They are night and day.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


I have thought about hosting a meal at my place, I do have a lovely formal dining room, with a very nice table, but it only seats 4. Would squeezing people in be too much for a first meeting dinner? I noticed that most are responding with NO, but could you possibly elaborate as to the reason, I am looking for insight and possibly a better option? If it would just be the four of us there and the five of us at the other place, wouldn't it just be easier to have all 7 people together? Would even just extending the invitation be bad? I feel like I may let my mom down by not at least inviting them, however then I wouldn't want them to feel pressured into coming just because they were invited. . . argh.....

lancaster lady

hi Moonchild ,

Depends on the individuals I guess , and you know them all personally .
For instance , I wouldn't mind going to my DIL's FOO house for a meal , but my DH would hate it !
Also I think perhaps your BF's parents may feel overwhelmed as Pooh suggested .
Neutral ground would be good I think , but not sure about restaurant etiquette ?
Do they eat different food , or just differently ?
Your house sounds ok , what about a buffet supper ? Not sure if you have them over there, then you wouldn't need a table to sit at .
Also people can move around and chat , no awkward silences .
You could also invite friends too , less formal .
Then as you say you could just invite them to your Mom's for TG ....they can say yes or no ....lol
If they say yes , then that means they are all for it , no problem .
If they don't want to go , I'm sure they will think up some excuse , leave the decision up to them .


Hi again -

I didn't consider having it at your house - that would be a fine idea and squeezing everyone is perfectly fine, something to remember and laugh about in later years. 

Something you wrote made me think that FMIL is a little alpha (deciding for you where you'll be on the holiday...).  Another reason not to have it at either Mom's house, imho.


*I* wouldn't mind squeezing in but how do you think your MIL would take it?  Or Mother?  I know my MIL would say she's fine but then complain later LOL

Buffet is a good idea.  Do you have a kitchen table?  You can always go less formal, that tends to make more people at ease anyway.  Or you could change it up and just do desserts or a brunch or lunch.  If it's still nice out you way and you have a deck, that can also work as well.

Good luck :)  I hope you keep us updated
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


MC, I'm impressed with your concern for all parties. You'll be a wonderful DIL!

How about a cookout? No restaurant etiquette needed. Is there a park with grills and tables somewhere in the area? You could make it sort of a potluck so everyone was equally involved. Nothing fancy, but you could bring a nice dessert to make it a bit more special. Bring lounge chairs so the older folks will be comfortable :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Hello once again, a quick update for more advice. So FDH and I did discuss the possibility however it turns out that his Mom is working on Thanksgiving. However my sister (we all live in N.CA and she lives in S.CA) thought that another possibility would be if when she is home around Xmas we could do a Girls day. This would make it myself, my Mom, my sister and FMIL - probably out for a yummy lunch and some shopping for gifts for the boys or something. Does this sound like something you ladies would have liked upon your first meeting, or is it possibly a bit much for being just her?


Quote from: Pen on October 18, 2011, 09:15:52 pm
MC, I'm impressed with your concern for all parties. You'll be a wonderful DIL!

How about a cookout? No restaurant etiquette needed. Is there a park with grills and tables somewhere in the area? You could make it sort of a potluck so everyone was equally involved. Nothing fancy, but you could bring a nice dessert to make it a bit more special. Bring lounge chairs so the older folks will be comfortable :)

I'm with Pen.  Moonchild, you will be a delight as a DIL.  I'm sure you already are as a FDIL.  We can't all agree all the time, but I am so impressed with the effort and caring you show. 
As for the girls day - sounds fine.  Anything sounds fine with me.  What about the fathers, however.  The moms would meet, but the dads would not.  I'd like for the dads to be included, too.  IMO, you are charming to care so much - but perhaps you are putting too much stress on yourself.  Why not a non-holiday, low stress meal at your apartment, that includes both your parents and his.  Doesn't matter what you eat.  Make it casual  - spaghetti, pizza, whatever.  Just to have the parents meet.  Important thing is to relax and just be your charming self. 

lancaster lady

Knowing my dil foo , a shopping day.with them would fill me with horror . Thanksgiving at moms sounds ok , its a happy time , so hopefully everyone will be happy .  You are worrying too much .Just let Mom issue the invitation and sit back .It will.be fine ...... :)