Family Matters
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Taking care of Bro-in-law

My husband and I were married last year, and we are loved and accepted by all in-laws and extended families.  My mother-in-law and I have a great relationship, and love spending time together.  My brother in-law is a few years older than my husband, a confirmed bachelor, and very happy with his life.  While visiting him a few weeks ago, I noticed what horrible shape his 1 set of sheets were in, and he needs a blanket and new pillows.  So I decided to buy some new things for him.  In chatting with my mother-in-law, she said she planned to buy him a new mattress this year, and was going to spruce up the bedding too.  I got the sense that she was a little hurt that I was trying to take care of him, in a fashion, when she had been doing it for so long.  Maybe I should have talked to her before buying these things for him?  We have always been great at coordinating gifts and communicating about my husband, it never occurred to me that doing something nice for her other son would hurt her!

Re: Taking care of Bro-in-law

  • edited February 2016
    My husband and I were married last year, and we are loved and accepted by all in-laws and extended families.  My mother-in-law and I have a great relationship, and love spending time together.  My brother in-law is a few years older than my husband, a confirmed bachelor, and very happy with his life.  While visiting him a few weeks ago, I noticed what horrible shape his 1 set of sheets were in, and he needs a blanket and new pillows.  So I decided to buy some new things for him.  In chatting with my mother-in-law, she said she planned to buy him a new mattress this year, and was going to spruce up the bedding too.  I got the sense that she was a little hurt that I was trying to take care of him, in a fashion, when she had been doing it for so long.  Maybe I should have talked to her before buying these things for him?  We have always been great at coordinating gifts and communicating about my husband, it never occurred to me that doing something nice for her other son would hurt her!
    :)  Men do not have a clue about things like mattresses or sheets, or other domestic items...

    ....and sheets, to men,  are just that: Something you can sleep on' until they wear out or the little balls of fiber that accumulate get so big you can sleep between' em at night and not need a blanket!

    I think you need to talk to him.

    Before you buy anything.:)

    He may not want any of this stuff.

    And he should be the one to choose the mattress. Some of us like them soft, some of us like them hard as concrete.:)
  • I almost don't know what to say here, TBH. If you want to buy him a gift, then buy him a gift, that's fine. But good lord- talk about enabling a person. BOTH you and your MIL. The fact that you both feel like you need to 'take care of him'. I just can't with this.
    dfulton808
  • I get what you are doing. Our former roommate had different priorities then we did when it came to items. He was a 45 year old man who was sleeping on a 10+ year old futon bed. He didn't even have regular sheets for it and his pillow was so old and worn out that it was basically totally flat, maybe it was an inch thick. His blanket was so worn out that the fabric was literally disintegrating and when he washed it the filling would come out. And his towels weren't any better, they were so thin you could see through them. But he always had money for his dance lessons. One year for Christmas we did break down and get him new towels. Mainly because the bathroom he used was also our guest bathroom and I was embarrassed by the towels when others used the bathroom.  Even when he started dating someone, you would think he would have tried to change things around to impress her when she came over, but no. Some people you can't help.

    I would talk to MIL and if you guys feel that he needs new things for his home, maybe coordinating what each of you gets him & then gift them to him as Christmas presents. This way it's kind of an expected gift and not a "hey you can't take care of yourself" type of gift" Then it's like killing two birds with one stone. He gets new stuff that he needs and you've taken care of what gift to get him for Christmas.

  • What in the world ?
  • What in the world ?

    What an incredibly insightful response.  I'm so glad you took the time and energy to post this.  
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