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Why does my MIL insist on making tension for Christmas?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Why?Does it bring her joy?This year she has decided that all of a sudden she is going to argue with my husband about homeschooling our daughter.Our daughter just turned 5 and my MIL has known since she was about 1 that we have no plans to send her to school.And now out of nowhere right before Christmas she decides that she wants to argue about it?WHY?She has never brought it up before.

It's not a debatable subject but she knows it will make me mad and that she can get my husband to argue with her.And even if she doesn't bring it up to me while we're at her house she knows it will make for tension.

Every year it's something.WHY?
post #2 of 21
Maybe she feels invisible otherwise?

I have family members like that and it is really annoying, to say the least. I'm sorry you have to deal with that.

However, I would imagine the best way to defuse the situation is refuse to react or argue. Simply saying, "hmm, I hear your concerns, we'll think about what you have said. Please pass the stuffing" really leaves her no room to continue. Or your dh could say " we are here to celebrate Christmas and enjoy being together as a family. Could we please discuss this at another time?" (then never discuss it if you don't want to). Or just, "it's not open for discussion. How do you like the decorations?"
post #3 of 21
It sounds like yes, it brings her Joy. Some people thrive off of that, as I'm sure you know. So annoying! Try try try not to buy into it. Put up all sheilds of armour you got in order to brush itoff!
post #4 of 21
Attention seeking behavior. The holidays aren't centered around her so she has to MAKE them about her.
I'm sorry! But yeah, great advice on here, just don't let it be about her. Redirection. Good luck!
post #5 of 21
Maybe she feels homemade gifts are the best and she cannot bake?
post #6 of 21
Get your husband on board NOW and agree between the two of you that you'll present a united front and refuse to argue with her.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your responses!

I definitely do NOT and will NOT argue with the woman.I will also talk to my husband about not arguing with her.Good point.

The attention part is interesting because it really all started when my daughter was born.My husband and I were together for a long time before we had our daughter and everything was fine.As soon as my daughter was born she started with this nonsense.My husband is her only child and there are really no other little kids in the family.Maybe she's jealous of all the attention my daughter gets?
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
Maybe she feels homemade gifts are the best and she cannot bake?
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by rere View Post
LOL! I was thinking the same thing. But also the fact that she does enjoy doing things like this and with it being the holiday's, it gets some people in the mood to bring up or stir up old matters that don't even matter any more.

Sorry to hear that you're going through this, though. IL's totally have their ups and downs, it seems like.
post #10 of 21
oh my. i so totally understand, so sorry you have to deal with it.

i agree with the deflect, don't engage idea even though i've tried it and it only works if the person doing the deflection stays strong. doesn't help if you and hubby aren't a united front.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaid Leopard View Post
"hmm, I hear your concerns, we'll think about what you have said. Please pass the stuffing"

"it's not open for discussion. How do you like the decorations?"
Yes. Anything except phrases like this will only make her think that you guys are open to debating the subject with her.

Get your DH to realize that the less he justifies/defends/explains his parenting choices, the stronger/more confident he will seem. Then her dramatics can become a source of mild amusement to you guys rather than a source of upset.
post #12 of 21
Because one can make knit doilies, or one can make tension, but tension is so much more interesting to watch.
post #13 of 21
Because she's on a fixed income but she wanted to give you something....
post #14 of 21


Sounds like how my MIL used to be until I laid into her one Thanksgiving. I agree with the attention seeking, I think they get to a point where they feel left out or ignored and they want to bring the focus back on themselves. Maybe she's feeling insecure for whatever reason. Still totally not okay. I would do what others have said and simply not engage her. That's exactly what she's looking for and if both of you decide to not engage in the argument she has no one to argue with but herself. For a long time my DH always felt he had to engage in the argument, like he had been programmed too. It took a lot of deprogramming on my part to get him to rise above it and learn that it wasn't worth it to be miserable during family get-togethers by letting it get to him. If she wants to be miserable that's her choice and she can do it all by herself.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinoikoi View Post
Because one can make knit doilies, or one can make tension, but tension is so much more interesting to watch.
She's probably working up to knitting doilies-because tension is important when knitting.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by rere View Post
Thanks for your responses!
The attention part is interesting because it really all started when my daughter was born.My husband and I were together for a long time before we had our daughter and everything was fine.As soon as my daughter was born she started with this nonsense.My husband is her only child and there are really no other little kids in the family.Maybe she's jealous of all the attention my daughter gets?
My dad sort of went around the bend after DS was born. Actually before but his relationships with certain people (his wife) exploded when all the attention was no longer on him. He has always had an extreme personalty though.
post #17 of 21
heh, tension is important in knitting.

just don't take the bait, and she'll have to have another tactic.

and let me be honest, a new member of the family means new dynamics. she probably has no clue why she's doing it. or even that she is doing it. she's just reacting in some weird way because of the new family member.

i realized that's why my family went bat-poop crazy when my son was born. they were weird before, and a bit off during the pregnancy (i thought that was due to the UC), but after the baby was born, it went nuts. absolutely nuts. and they didn't even know that they were doing it.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
heh, tension is important in knitting.

just don't take the bait, and she'll have to have another tactic.

and let me be honest, a new member of the family means new dynamics. she probably has no clue why she's doing it. or even that she is doing it. she's just reacting in some weird way because of the new family member.

i realized that's why my family went bat-poop crazy when my son was born. they were weird before, and a bit off during the pregnancy (i thought that was due to the UC), but after the baby was born, it went nuts. absolutely nuts. and they didn't even know that they were doing it.
I agree, she may have no idea about her behavior.
post #19 of 21
I agree, major pass the bean dip. She loves the attention and drama of an arguement

"We hear your concerns, thank-you we will take them under advisement. How 'bout them Cubs?"

if she continues

"Yes, we understand you have concerns, thank-you. My, what is in this pumpkin pie? It tastes delicious."

Wash, rinse, repeat.

If she continues to push it then DH can say "Please, we are hear to enjoy the holidays. Lets discuss this at another time." if she pushes further DH can say "Mom, we really want to enjoy the holidays. I've said several times I do not wish to discuss such matters on Christmas. Please, lets enjoy each others company or we'll leave." and then if she pushes more you leave.

My IL's are super super anti-homeschooling. I just do not engage. They say something about my cousin who is homeschooled (Poor poor JamesMama's cousin, no friends at all) I just completely ignore the statement. Usually goes something like

"Oh, I was at a such-and-such game and poor JamesMama's cousin didn't have any friends to sit by. I asked him and he said he's just the goofy homeschool kid so he doesn't have any friends." (or it could be that my cousin is very interested in his farm and that's pretty much all he talks about and most of the other kids cannot relate).

Me- Yeah, we saw Cousin at Christmas at my uncles yesterday, goodness sakes he's getting big he's almost taller than me. Makes me feel like a midget. or "Did you hear Cousin made $X selling his sheep this year?" or something completely unrelated "Oh my gosh, you won't believe what James said yesterday...."
post #20 of 21
we dont' even do the "we'll discuss it later" and "we hear your concerns and will think about them." that means that we are 1. willing to discuss it with them, and 2. interested in their opinions--both of which are false.

we are not wiling to discuss our choices with them--we are informing them in most cases--and we are not really interested in their opinions unless we expressly ask, and we usually don't, becase they don't know about AP and what we are doing anyway.

thus, our process is to say "this is not up for discussion. we understand that you have strong feelings/opinions on the matter, but that does not impact our decision to parent in this way." we pass the bean dip twice, at the third time, we say "drop it or we're leaving" and they drop it.

they now know to drop it the first time when we say "this is not up for discussion; we were just imforming you." because we have left a number of times.
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