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What are my obligations to my MIL on Mother's Day?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I am really struggling with how I should occupy my time on Sunday. I’d prefer it to spend it my kids or maybe swing by and see my mom for a bit. DH is out of town. MIL is the problem.

 

Backstory: MIL is super-needy, basically moved to our Coast to see the kids. She is very demanding, never satisfied with how often she sees us, overbearing, and constantly criticizes how we raise our kids and/or does a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle things to undermine our values and parenting. She is lonely. Has no local friends and few friends anywhere. And was a very need person to her sons before DH and I had kids but a few late in life difficulties have magnified this 1,000. She is not interested in me at all although I think she feigned it before Dh and I had kids and had a better relationship.

 

Meanwhile, I work full time which I hate and just want to see my kids as much as possible when I am not working and not have to meet her at the door every bloody day telling me about the life with my children I am not living. (We have a full time nanny but she is over frequently.) I have had a lot of painful arguments and stress to carve out the limited time I have with my kids and although I am sure she would say she “never sees the kids"  (telling there, not the “family”) on the weekend it tends to be every three weeks or more often.

 

Any time she is not seeing our kids she is more or less twiddling her thumbs at her apartment because she has no local friends or hobbies. She does fly to the other coast every other month of so.

 

My family is local and non-stress. Postponing mother’s day to a joint thing with DH and MIL next week wouldn’t be a big deal.

 

So, I’d prefer to do something fun with kids which is more or less what I would do Mother’s Day or not. It might involve my mom or not.

 

Am I obligated to do something with her on Mother’s Day?

 

She is not the sort of person who appreciates “late” or “alternate” plans and is very rigid about how they should be defined. So, dinner with my mom and the extended family next week is not equal to Mother’s Day, celebrated on Mother’s Day. (DH is at high school reunion.) On the one hand I really don’t want to behave in a way that is awful or rude. And I do feel a prick here and there that I should. But I have no, no desire to do so.

post #2 of 20

Spend the part of Mother's Day with YOUR Mom and the rest with your own children. 

 

Tell your dh he has to call and wish her a happy Mother's Day (she is, afterall, his Mom) and let him explain that you are spending the day with your Mom, that you already made plans to see your Mom and the kids want to spend the day with their Mom.

 

You have no obligation, actually, to spend Mother's Day with anyone (even your children!).  It's just a day on the calender and a great way for Hallmark to sell cards, FTD to sell flowers and restaurants to sell dinners.

 

It's not the single "big" days that are important, it's all the little ones!

post #3 of 20

Can you have your husband call her or email and make plans for next weekend?  I have never given my MIL (who I adore) a second thought on mother's day.  That's his mother, his business.  I don't think you should have to worry about it and I hope you don't!

post #4 of 20

I agree that you do not have an obligation to do anything just because the calendar says it is Mother's Day.

 

Your dh may feel obligated to do something for or with his mother but if he has made other plans that day then it really isn't up to you to make up for him.

 

You could send her a card or flowers and leave it at that if you personally felt moved to acknowledge her.

post #5 of 20

I would, at most, let the kids call her in the morning to wish her a happy Mother's Day and then go on with your day however you see fit. She's not your mother, and doesn't try to be one for you, so what do you need to show her YOUR appreciation for? That is, after all, what the holiday is about, no? Showing your mother your appreciation for all she's done for you? Let your DH handle that.

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post

Spend the part of Mother's Day with YOUR Mom and the rest with your own children. 

Tell your dh he has to call and wish her a happy Mother's Day (she is, afterall, his Mom) and let him explain that you are spending the day with your Mom, that you already made plans to see your Mom and the kids want to spend the day with their Mom.

You have no obligation, actually, to spend Mother's Day with anyone (even your children!).  It's just a day on the calender and a great way for Hallmark to sell cards, FTD to sell flowers and restaurants to sell dinners.

It's not the single "big" days that are important, it's all the little ones!

Completely agree.
post #7 of 20

I second the send/drop off a card or flowers and kid made pictures from your family.  Do it on Saturday "so she'll have it in time for mother's day".  Drop off pastries for breakfast on Sunday maybe.    

 

If she and dh hadn't dealt with making some plan for "her" mother's day - it isn't your job to do it for them.  And compensating for it doesn't have to throw your own mother's day plans into craziness, either.

post #8 of 20

On one hand, I'm sympathetic to the idea that you shouldn't have to make an appearance just because the calendar deems the particular Sunday as "Mother's Day". I would really resist sloughing it off on the grounds that she isn't your mother, so everything is up to your DH. Someday, your kids will be grown and probably they will be marry (or be in a significant relationship) and YOU will be "the MIL". Now is the time to model the kind of behaviour toward MILs you are hoping that they will emulate (and encourage in their partners) when they grow up. 

 

The extent of what you choose to do is up to you - calling, dropping off some flowers, whatever......

post #9 of 20

This is probably the real reason they created Grandparent's Day... I'd be sure someone does something (dh calling, dropping off flowers or baked goods, or cards from the kids). It sounds like a sad life. I'd probably actually stop by for a couple of hours if I thought it would mean a lot to her. I hate to think someone is having a miserable Mother's Day because all the hype and advertising has led them to have expectations that a tiny aspect of the day will be special.

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

On one hand, I'm sympathetic to the idea that you shouldn't have to make an appearance just because the calendar deems the particular Sunday as "Mother's Day". I would really resist sloughing it off on the grounds that she isn't your mother, so everything is up to your DH. Someday, your kids will be grown and probably they will be marry (or be in a significant relationship) and YOU will be "the MIL". Now is the time to model the kind of behaviour toward MILs you are hoping that they will emulate (and encourage in their partners) when they grow up. 

 

The extent of what you choose to do is up to you - calling, dropping off some flowers, whatever......


ITA. Except that with that I have learned (from my own experience and that of some of my friends) that there's a time to stop being a doormat. You reap what you sow. After a decade or so, I don't feel it's a good use of my time or energy to make nice to people who have made it clear they have no love, compassion, or use for me in their lives. If someone is constantly left to feel they are not appreciated, why should they then disrupt their own quality time with their loved ones to cater to selfish people?

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

I would, at most, let the kids call her in the morning to wish her a happy Mother's Day and then go on with your day however you see fit. She's not your mother, and doesn't try to be one for you, so what do you need to show her YOUR appreciation for? That is, after all, what the holiday is about, no? Showing your mother your appreciation for all she's done for you? Let your DH handle that.



Yep. I agree.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

*sigh* We'll I used these kind words as justification for what I wanted to do-- I visited my mom and took her out to lunch with the kids. The grandkids called her to wish her "happy day" but ended up leaving a message. Nice day.

 

And then the parade of ^*&^&)* started including, no joke, a photo of her sitting alone on mother's day and a listing of all 12 major holidays she expected to spend with her family. Utterly crazy.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

 

And then the parade of ^*&^&)* started including, no joke, a photo of her sitting alone on mother's day and a listing of all 12 major holidays she expected to spend with her family. Utterly crazy.

 

Crazy indeed! Just roll your eyes and ignore her.

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

*sigh* We'll I used these kind words as justification for what I wanted to do-- I visited my mom and took her out to lunch with the kids. The grandkids called her to wish her "happy day" but ended up leaving a message. Nice day.

 

And then the parade of ^*&^&)* started including, no joke, a photo of her sitting alone on mother's day and a listing of all 12 major holidays she expected to spend with her family. Utterly crazy.

OK, your MIL is a nut basket. Obviously. But, um, even with any stretch of the imagination, why would she want you to do something with her on mothers day? She is not your mother, you are not her mother. Makes no sense. 

 

Seriously, she sounds like a total passive-agressive manipulator. Poisonous. I have a friend that has one of those for a MIL, and she realized there was no way to reason with her, because she wasn't reasonable, at all. She wasn't rational. And no matter what was done right, something would be twisted around so that it was suddenly wrong. She dealt with it by limiting visits, and ignoring her. But not ignoring in the obvious way. Ignoring like every time her MIL said something, she would reply oh, that's nice, or that's interesting, or oh, ok, or hmmm.... and then she would continue doing whatever she was doing before. She was pleasant about everything superficial, but if her MIL messed in her business, or her kids, or her husbands... she would get the generic no answer answer. The only good was that her husband also knew his mom was totally nuts, and supported her, but it was still really hard, because he would default back to old behavior. I wish you luck, you need it.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post


And then the parade of ^*&^&)* started including, no joke, a photo of her sitting alone on mother's day and a listing of all 12 major holidays she expected to spend with her family. Utterly crazy.

 

That would make me absolutely insane...sounds a lot like the kind of crap that my maternal grandmother used to pull. I have no patience for people like this.

 

What does your dh think of her behaviour?

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post
... and a listing of all 12 major holidays she expected to spend with her family. Utterly crazy....

 

Was Festivus one of the 12 holidays? Because if not, you may want to tell her that's the ONLY one you'll spend with her. That way, she can air her grievances, let you know all the ways you've disappointed her in the past year, and then you can tell her to shut it for the rest of the year, til next Festivus.

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

Was Festivus one of the 12 holidays? Because if not, you may want to tell her that's the ONLY one you'll spend with her. That way, she can air her grievances, let you know all the ways you've disappointed her in the past year, and then you can tell her to shut it for the rest of the year, til next Festivus.

 

 

biglaugh.gifI have major MIL issues, and this had me rolling.  Shut it till the next Festivus...I love it!

post #18 of 20

yeahthat.gif  biglaugh.gif about Festivus, for sure.

 

 

 

Not really a recommendation, but I know I'd be tempted to act like I'd understood the message to be that she preferred to be alone for the holidays, and I wouldn't dream of spoiling it for her my making her spend them with me.  I'd bring it up every single holiday when making plans with her.  I hope your dh lets you joke about this with him, for quite some time - I know I'd need that. 

post #19 of 20

She sounds really lonely.

post #20 of 20

She wants you to photoshop her. She wasn't really lonely, Big Bird visited her on Mother's Day. 

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