Shower/crazy MIL - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-20-2014, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Shower/crazy MIL

Wow guys, don't even know where to start... The short form is my mother in law threw me a (very nice) surprise shower for my wedding. I had made it very clear that I did not want a surprise, and she made it equally clear that she didn't care ("I didn't get to throw a surprise wedding or baby shower for Christie (her daughter) so I'm throwing one for you").
This time I made it again very clear that I did not want a surprise (she basically has to throw the one down in PA bc my mom lives in NY). I said how I was upset about how I looked last time (crappy clothes and unwashed, not styled hair, no makeup) and this time I'll be all pregnant!
She sounded like she heard me.
Today I had lunch with my cousin (who also is married to my husbands cousin) and she told me that my MIL planned a surprise shower. She was planning to have me come over to swim. So I'd apparently be surprised wet and bedraggled in my bathing suit 7 months pregnant!!!
How is that ok????
And she knows that I don't want it, my cousin and mom both reminded her. My cousin said, I thought that the party was supposed to be about Maggie and the baby. She responded with, "but it's at my house"
Wondering what I should do- my mom said if I want she will just tell MIL that she's thoight about and just doesn't feel comfortbale keeping the secret bc she knows I'll be upset. I can also confront her, but then mycousin will get in trouble. I am also considering telling her were going on a babymoon that weekend. Thoughts??!!!
I'm so angry I do t want her to come to my midwife appt in July or be there for the birth.
And I'm so grateful to my cousin, who had already promised me (months ago)that if the party was a surprise she wouldn't bring me there.
This is how much she knows I don't want a surprise. My husband told her if she planned a surprise party he wouldn't bring me over. So she told my mom and cousin she won't tell him either.
And I want to tell DH right now, but he'll flip out and call her immediately, again cousin will get yelled at. Or my mom, whoever I say told me.
Arghh again!!

so far a mommy to 2 standard poodles, enjoying my 1st year of marriage to DH and expecting my 1st child (after 1 loss)
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#2 of 7 Old 06-20-2014, 04:11 PM
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First, it's great that your MIL wants to be involved. Even if it might be semi-selfish reasoning. I'd kill for that right now. Second, have your mother talk to her. It's for the best. Usually the mom-to-mom conversation goes better than MIL-to-DIL conversation. And if that doesn't work, have your mom and cousin plan their own shower for you and no one go to your MIL's shower. Kind of evil, but it's what you want that counts!

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#3 of 7 Old 06-21-2014, 06:14 AM
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Yeah those are some boundary issues. I would tell her you are glad she wants to be involved and you want her to be. However, a surprise is making you not enjoy it the way she is intending. I would let her know that a shower is welcome but a surprise is not and that if there is a surprise you will not be attending because you know she understands what your feelings are on it. It would be good to have boundaries started now and good communication now because it only gets more complicated when babies are born. Keep her feelings in mind, try to be sensitive, find a solution that works for you and go with what you feel comfortable with. She might not listen but at least you gave the relationship time and effort and sensitivity. It is hard to not be reactive but it sounds like there is more going on than just needing to throw a shower. Like sadness or hurt w her daughter or something like that. Im sorry, that is a lot to wade through.
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#4 of 7 Old 06-21-2014, 06:53 AM
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I totally agree that those are some serious boundary issues, and that if sounds like she's really throwing the shower for herself, and not for you at all! But, I know that it's easy for random internet people to say that, and different when it's actually *your*mil!

Could you strike a compromise - if she tells you when it is (so that you can feel ready), but nothing else? You'd still be surprised by who was there, the decorations, etc, so that might help her...
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#5 of 7 Old 06-21-2014, 04:38 PM
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I understand how you feel. My mil was similar with planning my wedding. We hadn't had a great relationship while her son and I were dating, so I figured I would be nice and include her in the planning process of the wedding. I really meant it more as she could go to shops with us and maybe throw out an opinion or two...but she took it as PLAN the wedding....but of course have my parents pay......for things that *I* didn't want anyway! I was really upset about it and went crying home to her son and he called his mom up and told her off. Ummmm....needless to say it didn't end well. She barely even came to our wedding (which happened to be in her backyard!)....her husband forced her to come and you can tell how mad she is in all of our wedding pics (fuuuuuunn). It took YEARS to mend that blight. Thankfully now we are good, but she still has control issues. For instance, she likes to take my kids on their birthdays. Sounds nice, but ummmm...maybe *I* would like to actually see my kids on their birthdays! I kid you not I only got to see my daughter for about an hour on her last birthday and that was because I got her out of school for a little while! I appreciate that she wants to be involved, but she is also selfish in being so diligent to do things ON their birthday. I have had to walk on egg shells around her to keep from ruining our relationship that took so long to mend. So most of the time I just deal with it. =(
I think it is really a personality issue with yous mil. My sil is the same way. She plans pretty much all of the events in our family...including my kids' bday parties!! (and she is just married in!). She doesn't let me have any say and if I put in my opinion, most of the time it is shot down pretty quickly. I haven't confronted her about it because we are so close and would hate to hurt again...I just deal with it.=(
She is currently planning a 40th wedding anniversary party for my parents. It is a great concept and I had planned to do the same......although she wants to do a SURPRISE vow renewal! She is big on everything being a surprise...but some things just shouldn't be! I had talked with my parents on their 35th wedding anniversary about doing a vow renewal and neither felt it necessary. My dad's comment was, "I married her once, I shouldn't have to marry her again." Ummm...yeah so we will see how this goes! I am sure my parents will be gracious, but I think it would be better to get their ideas first. But again, she likes to make everything a surprise. I appreciate the idea, but sometimes it is just more stress than it should be. She threw a surprise 30th bday party for me. I liked the concept.....although same as your concern, I showed up looking like complete and utter crap! I mean pjs, no make up and messy hair!! And of course not only family was there, but other people....yeah I felt like a million bucks *rolls eyes*. (to top it off, I was leaving for a cruise the next morning...and had A TON of stuff to do! I couldn't relax and enjoy the party...I kept making lists in my head of things I needed to do when I got home......VERY late. I think I didn't go to bed until very early in the morning...ugg) If a surprise is going to be in place, then preparations should be made to where it doesn't make the surprisee feel uncomfortable. Like last week she threw a surprise party for my brother (her brother in law). Well first off the idea of having a party was my moms...but when we told her about it, she was like "we should make it a surprise!". I immediately said, "no, I think the party itself is enough." But unfortunately she convinced my mom of it, and needless to say the party was a BIG stress. People were showing up late and almost blowing it and she wanted to proceed without my dad (as he was late), that is when I put the brakes to it and said no...we are going to wait for even though it made her mad....we told my other brother to stall my brother. She is very controlling and this didn't sit well with her...but I couldn't let her leave my dad out just because it didn't fit HER plans. Once my brother showed up, she was like, "why are you wearing nice clothes?!?" (he had been invited over to help move shelves)...but my other brother was like, "I told him we might take him out to eat afterwards and told him to dress nice." Thankfully he cared enough about how my brother felt...but it was obvious that she didn't and was almost irritated to see him in nice clothes. ERRRR!! Ok off on a soap
Basically I get your point! lol
I unfortunately don't have much advice as most of the time I have just had to go with it and sacrifice MY desires for others. But if it is really that important to you, then I would tell your mom to kindly try to change the plan. =)

My sil planned my last baby shower (thankfully she didn't do it as a surprise). It was a nice idea, but she planned it on a holiday weekend in which most of my friends had plans already. She was disappointed when only two of my friends could come. I didn't mind that not many of my friends could make it, I did however not like that she was insistent on doing it on that weekend, even though I told her that it wouldn't work for most of my friends. She was upset that most of my friends couldn't come....although she didn't blame herself....but my friends for "not caring enough to come". eeesh. I have decided with this pg...if I can get away with it...that I don't plan on having an actual baby shower....but maybe just do a diaper shower to where friends can just bless us with diapers/wipes/money/ gift cards if they want...instead of having an actual party.
Blasted soap box! lol

I hope it all turns out to be a great event for you!
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#6 of 7 Old 06-30-2014, 07:25 PM
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Another way to view it: you are not going to change your MIL. Just like you shouldn't marry a guy expecting to change him, you shouldn't expect to change his mother. Setting boundaries is one thing, I don't know how to comment on that exactly, but another thing is learning how to survive your MIL. Assume she will pull this crap. Find out when (having the cousin on your team is good!) and show up prepared. There, now you are not having a surprise shower. The alternative may be what AutumnLaughing described at her wedding, where you have a pissy MIL ruining life events in other ways. There are probably some other family members who both get along well with her but also don't feel controlled by her: what is their advice on managing her?
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#7 of 7 Old 07-01-2014, 12:08 AM
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yes, trying to be prepared for it (via your cousin or mom letting you in on the plan) would be good.....
the only down fall is that this encourages the same behavior to continue. I know this from experience as I have been dealing with the same thing from my mother in law for over 12 years! lol Anyone that has to deal with her on a continual basis, typically just gives into her desires because they don't want to deal with her being mad at them for years. For instance, she took my 7 yo and my 5 yo out for a fun day and apparently my 7 yo's introvert personality didn't please her (he wouldn't hold her hand or take help from her). She got upset and ignored him for the rest of the day....only paying extra attention to my 5 yo extrovert. She brought him home and he was in tears. She told me about it and of course I sided with him. She wanted him to write a letter saying what he did wrong and apologize....before she would take him on anymore fun day outings. (She likes to do kids things, but obviously most adults don't want to (case and point..we have family in town (5 adults and no kids) and she wanted to go to an arcade tonight). So since she cant convince most adults, she takes my kids for her benefit....but obviously it looks like it is for them.) Either way, I told her he wasn't going to write the letter but instead she just couldn't take him anymore. She of course didn't want it lessens the amount of fun she gets to have (she normally only takes one kid at a time). I had him apologize for offending her. I felt that was enough. So a month passes and I find out via my 12 yo that my fil had my son write the letter to my mil. I was very mad and called my fil and told him that I didn't approve him to do that as I didn't feel it was necessary. Don't get me wrong, my son wasn't being deprived as *I* would take him places when she would take my other kids. Sometimes just to slightly irritate her, I would take him to the same place she was taking the others. Although she is so spiteful, that even though she would know that we were going to be at the same location.....chances are together most of the time....she wouldn't bring my son snacks like she would the others....and she would make it clear that it was because he didn't write that letter (as she also would when she would point out why he couldn't go with her). I of course would bring snacks that he could eat. I could tell she was getting frustrated that her plan to shun him wasn't working....but to me it was completely uncalled for to begin with! I say all of that to say this, if you let someone get their way all the time, then they will expect it more and get upset when it doesn't go their way. That is the reason why my mil and I had issues in the beginning, because her husband would always give in to her way ;and when the wedding happened and it didn't go her way....she got really upset. I don't always take bold steps like that (depends on the situation)....but sometimes I do just to try to get her to realize that she is not in control of the whole world.

So there are pros and cons to both sides of the equation. =S Although keeping peace is good, sometimes things just need to be dealt with in a nice manner.... but sometimes with personalities such as theses, it is near impossible to do.

If you don't mind giving up your desires, then just go to the party but prepared =)

Last edited by BlessedOne; 07-01-2014 at 12:15 AM.
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