My husband and I are due to have our first baby in about 4 weeks. Things should be great, right? Well, they are – except the in laws are about to drive me insane!
It all started a few weeks ago when my MIL threw a baby shower for me (they live 4 hours away from our home – thank goodness!). It was a lovely shower and I had a nice time, although these parties are always more about her than the guest. (long story!) With that aside, I personally thanked my MIL for the day with a hug and a kiss after the shower. I thanked her (and my FIL) the day we left their house to come back home. I believe it was a total of three times that I actually said “thank you” to them.
Well, I got home and did my thank you cards to the guests, and my MIL told my hubby that she didn’t think I appreciated the shower and that I was rude because I didn’t write her a card. I was very hurt by this. More so, because she would think I was that kind of person – not to appreciate her hard work and time spent on the shower. Goodness, didn’t she recognize the hug, kiss, and “thank you’s” I gave to her in person?
So, I could have lied and said the card was lost in the mail, but I went above and beyond and sent her flowers with a card that read, “thank you for the lovely baby shower…” She called and told me she got the flowers and we chatted for a bit. The subject never came up again. I learned my lesson – my MIL needs praise and something tangible when being thanked. (Just some background – she is very insecure and needs reassurance on everything!) Hubby and I never discussed it again and things seemed fine.
Well, she started again last week when she was talking to my hubby. She brought the issue up again – that I didn’t show enough gratitude and didn’t appreciate the shower – and that the flowers didn’t settle the issue. She also told my hubby that I didn’t have a good time at the shower, that I always try to avoid her when we go to visit, that I only tolerate her, that I don’t like anyone, that I go out of my way to be rude to her, etc. My hubby started to defend me (a big move on his part) and he told her she was ridiculous, that he wasn’t going to allow her to do this to me or us, that I am the love of his life and that she wasn’t going to come between us like this. It started a BIG argument over the phone and I felt so bad for my husband. He tried talking to his father about it, but I am afraid my FIL wasn’t much better. He only reiterated that my MIL said about me – as I was upstairs crying in our bedroom! They talk about me like I am not there!!!!
The worst thing she said to my husband was, “you know, you may have 2-3 wives in your life, but you only get one set of parents…” My husband told her that was the most “disgusting” thing to ever come out of her mouth.
So my husband gave it back to her and said, “you know what I really think mom, you didn’t have Kelly in mind at all when you planned this shower, you only had yourself in mind….” OUCH! Well, she hung up on him and they haven’t talked since.
I am so upset over this. I feel so bad for hubby. I am also hurt and mad that my in-laws can be so mean when this is such a happy time in our lives – and should be for everyone.
I also have to mention how they are also ****** at my hubby b/c they can’t stay at our house when the baby is born. The guest bedroom is now a nursery and they planned to come and visit us once the baby is born. They told us over the summer how they would get a hotel when they came out. Now they asked to stay on our sofa bed and my hubby told them it wasn’t a good idea – that they can visit us day and night, but that they needed to get a hotel. Plus, my FIL is 76 years old and my MIL is 58 – but very obese – we don’t think a sofa bed is a good idea for them – besides the fact that it will just be too much for hubby and I. My MIL told my hubby that she didn't want to come out now after the baby was born since she can't stay at our house.
It is all about control when it comes to my MIL. She tried to control our wedding and it caused some fights. Now a baby is coming into our lives and she is trying to control this situation. My hubby is setting some boundaries and my MIL can’t control us. I thought things got better over the years, but now I feel like we have taken a GIANT step back. I really can’t stand this woman and I find her beyond words. She is disabled and no longer works (because of her weight) and I swear that she has nothing better to do than to sit around and think of these things – and then blows up when she doesn’t get her way.
I am at my wits end! I don’t know where this will go from here or when we will talk next. I am also torn about what I should or should not say to her. I don’t think I can allow her to just say such horrible things about me and then just act like nothing ever happened when/if this passes. Is it my hubby’s job to take care of this? Where do I fit in?
Ugh! All I can say is that I really appreciate my own parents when things like this happen. I have the greatest mom in the world!!!!! Any advice would be appreciated.
If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't do any fight with her. It is a waste of time, you know. She won't change. If you react to her (and I know it may hurt to be offended unjustly), you will be just feeding her misplaced anger. You'd be better to ignore her politely and concentrate on your baby, on its iminent birth. This is what counts for you now.
It's good that your husband is on your side, but I also think that he will be quarrelling in vain with his mother, trying to make her see reality. She won't.
It's better for him to nod and say: "Yes, she (that is, you) may just be like that, but I love her that way." Period.
Oh my god - she sounds absolutely horrid, sorry that she is going to be your unborn childs grandmother!
Some people just can't see the good in anyone, if you had kissed her feet after the shower, that also would n ot of been good enough! she knows deep down that you are not an ungrateful person, she just hates the fact that you are taking away her little boy, and that he now listens to you and considers your feelings over hers sometimes, which so he should.
When first reading your post, I was thinking there is obviously something going on deeper here that has upset her! then when reading further I spotted it. I recon she thinks it is YOUR saying that they can't stay at your house when the baby is due, she probably thinks that you are taking charge, and that her dear son wouldn't refuse them staying over. I recon that is what has upset her, she feels that you are not including them in some way.
I think she is obviously a very childish lady, and like you say has always had control over probably her husband and her son. Now there is you, another woman having her rightful say, and she can't stand it.
I have seen this before, with an ex of mine, she actually made him give me up cause I was diabetic.
What she said to your partner about you may have more wifes in your life, but only one set of parents is outrageous, and I would be absolutely fuming.
She should respect you as the mother of her grandchild to be, and shouldn't be causing trouble between you and your partner, especially not now.
Perhaps you should clear the air with a note, but somehow she seems to enjoy being two faced and maybe you are in a no win situation.
It is good that your husband is standing up for you and supporting you, she probably hates that too.
I feel sorry for you here, but please try and ignor her remarks, although I know it is difficult, and focus on the forthcoming birth
Thanks for the pep talks guys! I feel like if I say, "gracias" then she wants to hear "merci." What I do or say is just not enough. I think I just have to accept this.
The whole baby thing - she didn't ask to stay with us until recently - after the shower was thrown and all. Until last week, she had planned on staying in a hotel - but since I am due close to Thanksgiving, she doesn't want to pay the rates. I mentioned that maybe hubby and I should pay for one night for them at the hotel - just to be somewhat fair - but I don't know if that is something we should get into.
I will admit I am not the best daughter in law. I am not super friendly with her and I don't go out of my way to be the best "daughter" b/c of the past. It is just hard to forgive and forget, ya know? With this, I don't know how it will get any better.
I keep telling myself that I need to be the best I can be for my hubby since I love him so much. Does that mean I need to kiss her butt? I try to be cordial and respectful, but it all comes down to the fact that I don't go out of my way to make her feel special.
Also, was I horribly wrong not to send a written thank you card to her? I didn't send one to my own mother when she threw my shower, but I thanked her time and time again and told her how nice everything was. My own mother told me that she didn't expect a card from me and not to do that b/c she knew I was grateful. However, I guess I have to treat my MIL like a "guest" rather than a mother or family member.
My ex-mother-in-law expected thank you notes for birthday and Christmas gifts. My family doesn't do that, and I don't know of any others that do either. Funny thing was, she didn't send us thank you notes either.
Well I have to say, and being totally honest, thank you verbally is not the same as a card.
But to kick up a fuss like she has, and to make you feel bad, is not acceptable behaviour.
She obviously is the type of person to send out thank you cards, just as some people kiss each other to greet someone, some people don't.
Maybe to keep the peace, next time just send her a card, if that keeps her happy. She obviously has little else to worry about.
Oh yes, I have learned that she needs something tangible and I absolutely will send thank you's next time! Not to mention, our children will be writing out thank you's to her. But, that was why I sent her flowers - I went above and beyond, but it didn't get me anywhere.
Hanging ~ you bring up a very good point. My MIL has NEVER sent my hubby and I a thank you card. Several years ago she threw herself an anniversary party and asked her sons to pay for some of it. My hubby and I gave her $200 (that was all we could afford - at the time, our own wedding was coming up in 5 months and we were paying for some of it - this is another sore topic with me - that she asked us to give her money for her own party, 5 months before our own wedding.) Anyhow, she never sent us a thank you for this - but on the flip, we never sent our parents thank you's for our wedding. We verbally told them how much we appreciated everything they helped us with, but we never wrote out a card.
It is very much a double standard with her! Brook is right, it has to do with me being the "other" woman in her son's life. Geez, we have been married for 3 years, it shouldn't be like this anymore.
My husband and I have the same issues as you are having: My mother in law is a pain in the butt. Very controlling and she drives me crazy. The good thing that we have going is the fact that we are a united front to her. My husband knows she's a freak show and we stand up to her together. I pretty much let him deal with her and I just don't answer the phone when she calls. (Gotta love caller ID!)
I know where your coming from and feel for you because I am in the same boat. Just remember she will never change, she will always drive you nuts but the most important thing is that you and your husband stick together. Try and let him deal with her most of the time (I know it's hard, but it's HIS mother - not yours) And by all means, DON'T let her tell you how to raise your child!
Thanks Susie - I agree that you need to be a united front and I think I might talk with my hubby about setting some boundaries and sticking to them. Like you, I avoid those calls when the # comes up on caller ID - however, that was another complaint, how I never talk on the phone to her. Well, she can ask to talk to me, too! It works both ways. But I am the bad person b/c I never talk to her.
I thank everyone for their advice. I guess I almost have to look at her like she is "sick" b/c she will never change her controlling behavior. THe only thing I really can give her credit for is giving me my wonderful husband!
Congratulations on the baby! Do you know what you are having?
How awful that one of the happiest times of you life is clouded by so much drama. It is wonderful that your husband is on your side! There are so many out there who are affraid to cut the umbilical cord (so to speak) and it is great that he stands by you.
It is absolutely an issue of control. I get the impression she has always got away with this in the past. There is nothing you can say or do to make her happy. You essentially stole her little boy and until she realizes that you are now the number one woman in her son's life she's going to be a miserable person.
Don't waste anymore time or energy on her. You need to focus on your new family. Don't go out of your way to be nice to her, but don't stoop to her level. Kill them with kindness. It will always make you feel better.
Best of luck with the baby! Remember to sleep when the baby sleeps!
Last edited by happymom28; 10-16-2006 at 04:30 PM.
Thanks for the wishes Happy Mom. We are having a boy and I am due in about 4 weeks.
I have gotten a lot from all of you about this being a control issue and I have been thinking about it. You are so right. She raised two sons and her husband (my FIL) is whipped. THe world revolved around her being the only female in the house. Geez, even the dogs were male! She was in control of everything and still tries to be.
Now it is up to me to have to cope with her. I will always try to "kill her with kindness" and to come out the better person in the end. It is hard, but I know it is the right thing to do. Like a few have said, it is not worth stressing over and getting upset.
I want to sit and talk to hubby about how I promise to always respect her as his mother and that I will raise our children to love her as their grandmother. I will go out of my way to make her feel special as a grandmom (this will be her first grandchild). However, I also want to tell hubby that she can no longer disrespect me or talk about me like she does - or she won't be welcome in our house.
You might find some helpful ways of dealing with your MIL in the book "The Dance of Anger" by Harriet G. Lerner. With a new baby on the way, you probably won't have much time for reading, but if you can make the time, it has some really insightful information. Good luck!