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Thread: In-law issues

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    In-law issues

    Let me start by saying that my father-in-law is very cool and I get along with him great. My mother-in-law is a whole other story. She is manipulative in everything that she does and always sets unrealistic conditions even on fun activities. (Like demanding that I cook Thanksgiving dinner to be ready by 1pm… when I was planning on 3 pm so I could go for a run in the morning before I started the cooking process)

    She has never been all that willing to spend time with our kids, but tries to make us feel guilty that she does not see them as much as she wants to. Then she got 2 cats, after my wife explained to her that our oldest is extremely allergic to cats and in order to visit, we would need to give him 3 different allergy medications, a preventative inhaler, and a rescue inhaler, all to be able to spend an hour up there.

    Our dog which has always been welcomed up there because it spends the entire time playing with their dog outside, is no longer welcome because the cat’s don’t like it when there is a second dog on the property… they have 15 acres enclosed with the same invisible fence system that we have, so the dog is almost never in the house. We did not find this out until yesterday when the wife called to see if they would be home so we could drop the dog off so we can attend my Grandmother’s funeral in NE Wisconsin. Fortunately we have a friend who is going to come over and let her out several times during the day and play with her.

    She publicly ridicules us at family events because we don’t want to get our kids a video game system. She also questions our ideas on getting our boys books and board games instead of electronic stuff, thinks that it is ridiculous that we pray before every meal and at bedtime with the kids, and does not like the idea of me being self-employed, even if I make quite a bit more than when I was working for a firm. She said that I don’t have “Job Security” to which I respond, yea, I had job security at the last place right up until I was laid off because of downsizing.

    This is just a small sample of the issues we have been having with my Mother-in-law. The really frustrating part is anytime that they have any type of event and we don’t attend or if they want to meet up for some reason and we are not available, she flips out on my wife. I explained to my wife to tell her very bluntly, that we will not be going up there until she gets rid of the cats and that we will not be inviting her to anything at our house anymore. Including holiday’s or birthdays.

    Do you get along with your in-laws or are they psychotic control freaks like my mother-in-law?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Do you get along with your in-laws or are they psychotic control freaks like my mother-in-law?
    They're pretty much psychotic, manipulative, irrational, selfish, fretful, whiny, egomaniacal, uncomprimising control freaks.
    Fairly typical, in other words.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  3. #3
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I have always got along very well with my MIL and FIL. My MIL can be a little testy sometimes, but it's never directed at me. My wife actually has more issues with her mom than I do, but those issues are not related to our family per se, but rather how her mother treats her and her siblings differently in some ways.

    'ski, your MIL sounds like a real piece of work. Has she always been like this or have things changed since you married her daughter, had kids, etc???
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    'ski, your MIL sounds like a real piece of work. Has she always been like this or have things changed since you married her daughter, had kids, etc???
    She has always been nuts, but it has been a progression to insane over the years. When my wife was in labor with our first, she called 10 times in 2 hours while we were in the delivery room to check to see how it is going.

    The other amazing thing is my wife's sister has two kids, older than ours, that don't show an ounce of respect to anyone, no nothing but play video games and watch TV, and are on the fringe of being out of control. They were both born out of wedlock and the father has been in and out of jail multiple times for drug related charges. The father has since cleaned up his act and they did get married, but my MIL will bend over backwards to do anything and everything that she can to help them out and Tracy's sister can't do anything wrong.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    I guess I'm a rarity.
    Marriage #1, I wished I could have kept the in-laws after we split up.
    Marriage #2, they are supportive and not bad to be around. (one of my wife's brother's wife is a piece of work sometimes and everyone HAS to conform to her schedule)


    Your tale sounds like dandy's MIL and her recent visit. Hey here's a Christmas idea for you to give them - wrinkle cream.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    She has always been nuts, but it has been a progression to insane over the years. When my wife was in labor with our first, she called 10 times in 2 hours while we were in the delivery room to check to see how it is going.

    The other amazing thing is my wife's sister has two kids, older than ours, that don't show an ounce of respect to anyone, no nothing but play video games and watch TV, and are on the fringe of being out of control. They were both born out of wedlock and the father has been in and out of jail multiple times for drug related charges. The father has since cleaned up his act and they did get married, but my MIL will bend over backwards to do anything and everything that she can to help them out and Tracy's sister can't do anything wrong.
    My theory - You MIL is jealous of you and her daughter. She can't stand the fact that your wife is capable of having a family without the help of your MIL.

    My wife has always been a very independent person, quite capable of taking care of herself at a young age. When she bought a car at 18, I think her mom was more upset that she didn't need her mom to buy it, than the fact that she actually bought it. Things are much better between them now, but my wife has never received the help and attention that her three younger siblings have received. Granted, maybe she didn't need it. But it was always a point of contention that my wife had to deal with. Things have sort of evened out now that we've had kids, and my wife's siblings do not have kids. My MIL has spent a lot of time with my daughters.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I get along very well with my in-laws. My MIL's side is very quiet (if not a bit boring) but they are all very nice. I've never heard my MIL say a bad word about anybody or anything. My FIL's side is a bit rowdier but still pretty quiet compared to my own family. I've never had an issue with anybody on either of those sides. My FIL was a commander in the Navy during the early part of Vietnam and is a huge UofM booster so he really likes the fact that I was in the Marine Corps and that I am a Michigan fan as well. One of my wife's aunts (and her husband) lives just a couple of blocks from us and we like them enough that they are our default babysitters when we need them (plus, their grandkids all live in Rhode Island so I think they like that we have a little one nearby them). My wife is an only child too so no brother or sister-in-laws to worry about.

    I have no idea if my wife gets along with her in-laws though.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    I get along great with MIL and FIL
    However I have more than 12 BIL and about five of them are good guys, so our family get togethers are interesting
    And yes there really more than 12 of them (them is a kind term)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    My theory - You MIL is jealous of you and her daughter. She can't stand the fact that your wife is capable of having a family without the help of your MIL.
    I think that you might be correct. But I don't think it is because we don't need her help. I think that she wants us to want her help and then she puts controls on it or outright denies it as a power game.

    Sad part is our son is starting to notice something is odd. My dad has been more than willing to drive anywhere between 4 to 8 hours each way to watch or take the boys for a long weekend, when my MIL will not watch them overnight. He did this in early November and on the way home he asked why he never stays over at my in-laws house. It is even more evident knowing they are 45 min away where my dad lives 8 hours away.

    Additionally, we worked on painting our house this summer and my dad and his fiancee came down for a long weekend to help out. My MIL got all bent out of shape because we did not go to her retirement party that same weekend, and never once helped with our house. In fact, she was pissed off at me because I was working on the house one Saturday afternoon when they wanted to go out to lunch.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  10. #10
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I know this all sounds very cliched and stereotypical, but M'ski's description fit my MIL to a T as well. She passed away 11 years ago, so I don't like to speak ill of the dead. But by everyone's account who came into to contact with her, she was never and easy person. I finally got to a good place with her while she was alive where I decided I was going to kill her with kindness and take what she said at face value instead of getting pulled into the head games. It was pretty effective and in the end, she really did come to like me and enjoy my company. As much as she enjoyed anyone's. She was a pretty sour person. R.I.P....
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #11
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I don't think you should worry so much about things you cannot change. Be greatful of other family members that are able to do what she cannot do. Ignore the comments and sniping as it will do nothing but upset you. Who knows, by ignoring them she may well just drop many of the odd behaviours as she will know she is not getting your goat.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    I have a strange relationship with my FIL and step-MIL. First off, they've been married for over 30 years, but my husband refuses to call her anything other than a) "her name" when she's around or b) "my father's wife" when she's not around. I am encouraged to not spend time with them without hubby present, so it's very hard to get a feel for them on their own. They are nice people, live about 30 miles away so we see them a few times a year, and they get along with my parents. However, we always have to go see them, not the other way around, and they have expensive tastes in restaurants, which they can afford but we aren't as well off. They travel a lot, some of it for work, and always have great travel stories. I admit, when I'm around them I always feel a bit on edge - more about being a good guest/hoping nothing goes wrong than a sense of doom.

    My MIL lives out of state, and I think the power above for that. She isn't mean or anything like that, but she is weird. I think she's a self-medicating (with alcohol) manic depressive, but maybe she's just borderline crazy. She works, but never has had career employment. She dotes on her son - an only child - and he is very protective of her. She doesn't visit much, but when she's around I find myself feeling very tense and stressed out. While she proclaims to like me, when I'm not around she asks hubby questions that start with "why doesn't she . . " and "maybe she should . . .". My parents think she's crazy, but they've only met her twice - and the second time was at the wedding 8 years ago.

    Hubby sees his inlaws - my parents - a lot more than he would like. They live about 20 miles away, and they like to see us. They want to know how we're doing, what's going on, and want to help us if we need it. We have cut back on the visits in the last couple of years - due to mom and I having several severe disagreements - but overall we see them about 3x more than we see his dad and step-mom.

    I have one BIL. He's an OK guy. He has hobbies and interests, likes the same sports as my dad and hubby, and he has a great sense of humor. He and my sis live in MI, so we don't see them much. Hubby says he likes my sis that lives overseas.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Marriage #1 - No manipulation from the in-laws and I got along with them o.k. despite the fact that Edith and Archie Bunker were apparently modeled after them.
    Marriage #2 - FIL was o.k. guy despite being a former Marine but died about 4 months after we got married. His ex, my MIL was a manipulator but didn't affect us too much since she was in CA and we were in MI and TX. She passed almost two years ago so no MIL or FIL to deal with now.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    I have major issues with my sister-in-law who ambushed me three years ago, ruining the "magic of Christmas" for me for the rest of my life. I haven't spoken to her since then, but I'm mentally preparing myself for going home for Christmas this year for the first time since then. It's making it really difficult to get past the "I hate Christmas" phase of the season and get to the "Yay for Christmas!" phase when I do all my shopping.
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    ...We did not find this out until yesterday when the wife called to see if they would be home so we could drop the dog off so we can attend my Grandmother’s funeral in NE Wisconsin. Fortunately we have a friend who is going to come over and let her out several times during the day and play with her....
    Depending on the route you are taking, you'd be welcome to drop her off at the Cardinal ranch for some play time with our two.

    I am extraordinarily lucky that my brothers and sister married into nice, normal families like my own. As for me, the immediate inlaws are not too bad. The big problem is two BILs who constantly fight over the MILs attention, always wanting her to visit them. She can never just say "no" and spend time to herself. With one brother it is a control issue. He wants to manage every aspect of her life. And then both frequently sned their wives and kids to live with her for month at a time.

    The worst are two aunts, though. They make Homer's "gruesome twosome" look good by comparison. "Patty" is a freeloader who can't hold an job (has a problem with taking things that do not belong to her) and expects the MIL to support her. "Selma" is even worse; the kind of creature that simply oozes unpleasantness. They were both occupying the MILs house (for about a year) the last time we visited. My wife had a blow-up with Selma and her mother asked the aunts to leave. After that she asked then to move out for good. They took her car with them when they left, and did not return it for months.

    Overall the MIL is nice and I get along with her very well. I just feel sorry for her for all the things she has to deal with, and wish she would simply stand up for herself. The FIL passed away before I met my wife. Too bad. I think I would have liked him and I doubt that my MIL would have to be dealing with the problems she has now.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Depending on the route you are taking, you'd be welcome to drop her off at the Cardinal ranch for some play time with our two.
    I appreciate the offer, but we have another friend who is just going to stay at our house.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    I get along quite well with my FIL and MIL...in fact, the only issue I've ever had with either of them is the fact that my MIL's normal volume when speaking is LOUD (but, as long as I'm not directly across from her at the dinner table, it's all good ). Now, my SIL and her family, on the other hand...ye gods...let's just say the less time I spend around them the better.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I don't have a MIL or FIL, but I do have 3 SILs, two of whom are fine, decent women.

    The third SIL is truly an "inlaw from hell". She is as selfish, nasty, two-faced, and manipulative a person as you would ever have the misfortune to know. I think she might be a sociopath who masks her evil nature in religiosity. She is certainly the most un-Christlike individual I've ever known, and will do anything and everything to get what she wants. My idiot brother sees nothing wrong with the witch, but then, he's pretty much the same kind of nasty person she is. Of their two daughters, her favored daughter is just like the mother. The other girl, whom her mother despised for some reason (probably because she wasn't a greedy, mean, nasty liar like Mama & Pappa), suffers from serious self-esteem issues because of the mental abuse her mother heaped on her. Still, she's the only one in that family who is a decent human being.

    I have not talked to or seen my SIL since Christmas 2008. I have only talked to my brother once, by phone, on a conference call in a lawyer's office over a legal matter since then (we are currently in the process of dissolving our family business because of the actions of this brother). My youngest brother has been largely estranged from this pair for about 20 years over a number of issues, including the witch's refusal to attend his wedding to his second wife. My next youngest brother has tried to maintain ties with his brother, but has given up because, as I said, he's NOT much better than the woman he's married to.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  19. #19
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I have a wonderful arrangement. All of my in-laws live in another country and on another continent. I've never met my mother-in-law nor have I even spoken to her (she doesn't speak English). I have met three of my sisters-in-law and one niece. This Christmas I will probably meet one of my brothers-in-law.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  20. #20
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    The key to managing the relationship with your MIL is to manage your expectations....as in don't have any.

    She is not going to get rid of the cats.
    She does not want your dog to visit.
    She is going to be critical of your parenting choices because they are not the same as hers and therefore in disagreement with her.
    She does not understand the lifestyle choices that you and her daughter have made and therefore will be critical of them.

    None of this is going to change. The conversation has to go something like this and your wife should be the one to deliver it: "Junior is highly allergic to cats and since you have two cats he has to be severely medicated in order to visit you which we are not willing to do. We would love for you to visit Junior at our house or plan other activities at an alternate place because we think it's important to have a relationship. I respect the choices that you made as a parent because I turned out well, I am asking you to respect the parenting choices that we make for our children which represent our values as a couple. Publicly ridiculing me, my husband, and my children in public is hurtful whether you intended it to be or not."

    It's hard, I know because I had to have this exact conversation with MY own mother when it came to my ex-husband and our parenting choices for RT. As soon as I stood up to her, most of the nonsense stopped. From her angle she admitted that because my choices were so different than hers that she felt it was a rejection of her, which was clearly not the case.

    Accept invitations from her when it is feasible, politely decline when it is not but do try to attend some things though. Don't be baited by an argument. Keep inviting your in-laws to your events at your house/venue as appropriate.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Wow... I guess I am in the minority here, 'cause I get along great with my MIL (my FIL passed away a few years ago). Granted, we don't have much in common: for example, she's really into crafts and cooking (well, I do like to eat ). But she is a super person, caring and respectful. She never wants to "impose" on anyone. And she has an amazing inner strength - she survived cancer and the death of her spouse of 50 years.

    My husband is the only one in his family who is local - his siblings live in other parts of the country - so he and his mom are pretty close. He bought her an iPad, and taught her to use it (she's never used a computer). Incidentally, I've always believed that you can tell a lot about a man by his relationship with his mother.

    Both of my parents are gone. I consider myself lucky to have a MIL who is so easy to get along with.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    kjel says it better than I can, which might be why my relationship with my former MIL deteriorated.

    Remember that this woman raised your wife, who's apparently OK to you. I agree that you shouldn't take your kids to her house because of the cats, but I don't think you should stop inviting her to your house. You're better than that from what I can tell.

    Don't let her bait you into disagreements; any attention from you pleases her, and she'll create drama and strife if you give her an opportunity. Most people know what she's like, and will know what you suffer.

    She wants to maintain the appearance of the good grandma, but wants it on her terms. My former MIL was the same way. She'd tell my husband and me to go out so she could babysit, even though we often didn't have the finances to go anyplace, then she'd sulk when we turned her down, and punish us by refusing to watch our daughter when we asked her.

    I tried to get along with her and her rather loose daughters. I got along with the sisters, but the MIL was an evil, conniving, manipulative, insecure...well, you get it. She and I had it out after my youngest was born, and our relationship ended. (Not that that was the ideal thing, but sometimes you have to get rid of toxic people). She told people in town that her son wasn't our youngest son's father. Evil.

    Try to maintain at least a civil relationship with your wife's mother. Pray for her, and pray that you can tolerate her and treat her with kindness. Your reaction to her could stress your marriage. Please don't let that happen.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    The key to managing the relationship with your MIL is to manage your expectations....as in don't have any.

    She is not going to get rid of the cats.
    She does not want your dog to visit.
    She is going to be critical of your parenting choices because they are not the same as hers and therefore in disagreement with her.
    She does not understand the lifestyle choices that you and her daughter have made and therefore will be critical of them.

    None of this is going to change. The conversation has to go something like this and your wife should be the one to deliver it: "Junior is highly allergic to cats and since you have two cats he has to be severely medicated in order to visit you which we are not willing to do. We would love for you to visit Junior at our house or plan other activities at an alternate place because we think it's important to have a relationship. I respect the choices that you made as a parent because I turned out well, I am asking you to respect the parenting choices that we make for our children which represent our values as a couple. Publicly ridiculing me, my husband, and my children in public is hurtful whether you intended it to be or not."

    It's hard, I know because I had to have this exact conversation with MY own mother when it came to my ex-husband and our parenting choices for RT. As soon as I stood up to her, most of the nonsense stopped. From her angle she admitted that because my choices were so different than hers that she felt it was a rejection of her, which was clearly not the case.

    Accept invitations from her when it is feasible, politely decline when it is not but do try to attend some things though. Don't be baited by an argument. Keep inviting your in-laws to your events at your house/venue as appropriate.
    I appreciate the advice and after talking about it more with the wife, we decided that we are going to just keep our distance when possible form her. Apparently she was never this way when my wife was growing up and we both agree that she has become a substantially negative influence in our lives and whenever she is active in our lives it causes more harm than good.

    The only time that she will be able to come to our house is for larger events when the entire family is there and my wife is going to make it very clear that if she causes issues, she will be asked to leave. However we will not host her family at any holiday events anymore. We will not be going up there to visit her until the cats are gone, which given the life span of cats, is likely to be a while.

    The interesting part is I was talking to my FIL during Thanksgiving and he was commenting on how they like having our dog up there to play with their dog and how last time he was very impressed at how well behaved our dog was around the cats.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  24. #24
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I appreciate the advice and after talking about it more with the wife, we decided that we are going to just keep our distance when possible form her. Apparently she was never this way when my wife was growing up and we both agree that she has become a substantially negative influence in our lives and whenever she is active in our lives it causes more harm than good.

    The only time that she will be able to come to our house is for larger events when the entire family is there and my wife is going to make it very clear that if she causes issues, she will be asked to leave. However we will not host her family at any holiday events anymore. We will not be going up there to visit her until the cats are gone, which given the life span of cats, is likely to be a while.

    The interesting part is I was talking to my FIL during Thanksgiving and he was commenting on how they like having our dog up there to play with their dog and how last time he was very impressed at how well behaved our dog was around the cats.
    The ultimate show down in our family with my mother was Christmas Eve. Generally we would all go to my aunt's house and hang out for the afternoon, watch football, cook, and exchange gifts. My uncle would visit from out of state and generally it was a pretty easy going and fun time. One year my mom had a bug up her ass about something my ex said to her about maybe making a shopping list (when her car was out of commission he would pick her up from work after working a 12 hour shift himself and take her to the store where she would putz around for an hour, then he'd take her home and unload the car for her). She told me that she wasn't going to my aunt's if my ex was going. I called my aunt and my uncle who both said not to worry because we weren't uninvited and if she wanted to act like that it was on her and she could stay home, besides they'd see her at the Christmas Day breakfast. So we all told her that we were going and if she wanted to come that I would pick her up. She decided to stay home by herself and we had a great time. Saw her the next day for breakfast and my aunt asked her how her Christmas Eve was and she said it sucked. My uncle told her that next year maybe she wouldn't be so petty and set aside her differences for a couple of hours so we could all enjoy the holiday. That was the last time she pulled that kind of stunt.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1999
    Location
    400 miles from Orlando
    Posts
    13,757
    Don't expect your MIL to "get rid of the cats", because that could be animal abuse issues, but.... tell her, we can't visit you because of that issue, so you will have to visit our cat-free house. It is your wife's battle with her mom, she has to stand up for YOU.

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