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Birthday/Family Party and Inlaws dilemma

Oh my. Totally awkward situation and I don't know what to do! Please help!

A little background:

My birthday is on the Fourth of July. Love it. My parents host a big family BBQ to celebrate the national holiday as well as several other family members' birthdays on the same day. I love that I get to have a party without all the attention directly focus on my birthday. Just an awesome time with some of my favorite people <3

In laws:

My husbands parents are a little odd. My FIL is sweet and goofy but easily gets along with everyone. My MIL is socially awkward and makes a lot of people uncomfortable, including myself. MIL doesn't "get" social cues, shares too much personal information about herself and others, and does not understand personal space. She takes things super personally and throws pouting fits when she doesn't get her way. Also passive aggressive. Nothing too different from a lot of MILs I guess. I am lucky though, because she does like me a lot and can be very sweet at times.

 Dilemma:

 My not-so-kindhearted mother informed me yesterday that she does not want my in-laws to show up to her house for the Fourth of July party this summer. It's always been an open invitation gathering for friends and family and neighbors. The in-laws have come for the last two years and been present at several other family parties as well. While I totally understand my mom not wanting them to come to the 4th, I can't very well un-invite them to the party. This puts me in a super awkward situation.

I told my mom, I'm not too hot on them coming to the party either, but I can't just tell them they are not invited. MIL will freak out and think I hate her. My mom didn't have an reply beyond, "just don't bring it up."

I might have settled for this approach with someone other than my less-than-socially-savvy MIL. But she won't "get" that silence on the event means she's not invited. Every holiday she just assumes she is going to be with us no matter what and she does not wait to hear an invitation, and just announces "What am I bringing?" It doesn't help that she never sends out invitations or expects RSVPs when she throws her own parties, she just assumes people will show up (but is hurt when they don't). She also just flat out tells us we are coming to events and never asks if we are available. We get mega guilt trips when we need to decline. I find this very strange behavior. 

So far, I can see two solutions:

I just straight up tell MIL, "We're having a smaller party this year at my parents so let's do something of our own around fireworks time so we can celebrate together." - works, but not ideal, b/c MIL will make passive aggressive comments about my family, but then again, that's what she does already

Leave town for my birthday, though this is a little difficult as everything is expensive over the holiday and DH is worried about spending so much $. It will also piss off my mom and his mom at the same time. Plus I will miss my other family members' birthdays too.

Non-options:

DH thinks I need to tell my mom that if she wants to un-invite his parents, she should do it herself, but I know my mom will just throw it back on me and say "well, you're married now, this is what you have to deal with." Even if I tell her she has to tell them herself, she will conveniently forget.

Telling my mom that I am inviting the in-laws anyway - my mom will give them the cold shoulder (and probably me too - she did this when we were getting married, even on the day of the wedding when she didn't get her way about things).

 This sounds like high school. The "Cool kids" not inviting the "Uncool kids" to parties and expecting the middle kid who's friends with both to just come anyway and ditch the uncool ones. In high school, I would have ditched the "cool" ones to hang out with the much nicer kids. But this is my family. I can't pick sides especially when it's really just my mom closing the door and not the rest of my family members.

 Arg... ridiculous!

 I'd love to hear any advice or ideas yall have!

 

 

 

Re: Birthday/Family Party and Inlaws dilemma

  • If your parents are hosting, then they can invite or not invite whom ever they want.

    However, your mom has put you in a bad spot. I cannot imagine why she cannot tolerate the woman for a day. It sounds like many people will be there. Is MIL that much of a pain to her? Can she not just speak to her and move aound and socialize with others throughout the day. What has your MIL done at previous parties to warrant being uninvited? We all have quirky, weird relatives that we just put up with. Also, is your mom not worried about hurting your husbands feelings? Oh well, I would just stay out of it and tell her that you are not comfortable being put in the middle.

    Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone
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  • Maybe you could get your DH to talk to your MIL about boundaries and explain the behavior(s) that make people uncomfortable.  They are your family too, but sometimes these "hard truths" need to come from their son and not their DIL.  Then you can try and find a compromise and ask your mom her top 3 "aversions" to your MIL......and your DH can use those when he talks to your MIL?  I don't know, I have never been in this situation THANKFULLY because my parents live in VA and ILs live in Texas......but I'm dealing with my own demons.  Good luck!  
  • Yeah, my mom should just be mature and polite for a few minutes but is a bit too selfish for that. It's also about image. She's embarrassed that I married a guy with quirky parents. Makes her look bad.

    And no, she doesn't care about his feelings or mine.

     

    Thanks for the reply!

  • image Greenrosedesigns:

    Oh my. Totally awkward situation and I don't know what to do! Please help!

    A little background:

    My birthday is on the Fourth of July. Love it. My parents host a big family BBQ to celebrate the national holiday as well as several other family members' birthdays on the same day. I love that I get to have a party without all the attention directly focus on my birthday. Just an awesome time with some of my favorite people <3

    In laws:

    My husbands parents are a little odd. My FIL is sweet and goofy but easily gets along with everyone. My MIL is socially awkward and makes a lot of people uncomfortable, including myself. MIL doesn't "get" social cues, shares too much personal information about herself and others, and does not understand personal space. She takes things super personally and throws pouting fits when she doesn't get her way. Also passive aggressive. Nothing too different from a lot of MILs I guess. I am lucky though, because she does like me a lot and can be very sweet at times.

     Dilemma:

     My not-so-kindhearted mother informed me yesterday that she does not want my in-laws to show up to her house for the Fourth of July party this summer. It's always been an open invitation gathering for friends and family and neighbors. The in-laws have come for the last two years and been present at several other family parties as well. While I totally understand my mom not wanting them to come to the 4th, I can't very well un-invite them to the party. This puts me in a super awkward situation.

    I told my mom, I'm not too hot on them coming to the party either, but I can't just tell them they are not invited. MIL will freak out and think I hate her. My mom didn't have an reply beyond, "just don't bring it up."

    I might have settled for this approach with someone other than my less-than-socially-savvy MIL. But she won't "get" that silence on the event means she's not invited. Every holiday she just assumes she is going to be with us no matter what and she does not wait to hear an invitation, and just announces "What am I bringing?" It doesn't help that she never sends out invitations or expects RSVPs when she throws her own parties, she just assumes people will show up (but is hurt when they don't). She also just flat out tells us we are coming to events and never asks if we are available. We get mega guilt trips when we need to decline. I find this very strange behavior. 

    So far, I can see two solutions:

    I just straight up tell MIL, "We're having a smaller party this year at my parents so let's do something of our own around fireworks time so we can celebrate together." - works, but not ideal, b/c MIL will make passive aggressive comments about my family, but then again, that's what she does already

    Leave town for my birthday, though this is a little difficult as everything is expensive over the holiday and DH is worried about spending so much $. It will also piss off my mom and his mom at the same time. Plus I will miss my other family members' birthdays too.

    Non-options:

    DH thinks I need to tell my mom that if she wants to un-invite his parents, she should do it herself, but I know my mom will just throw it back on me and say "well, you're married now, this is what you have to deal with." Even if I tell her she has to tell them herself, she will conveniently forget.

    Telling my mom that I am inviting the in-laws anyway - my mom will give them the cold shoulder (and probably me too - she did this when we were getting married, even on the day of the wedding when she didn't get her way about things).

     This sounds like high school. The "Cool kids" not inviting the "Uncool kids" to parties and expecting the middle kid who's friends with both to just come anyway and ditch the uncool ones. In high school, I would have ditched the "cool" ones to hang out with the much nicer kids. But this is my family. I can't pick sides especially when it's really just my mom closing the door and not the rest of my family members.

     Arg... ridiculous!

     I'd love to hear any advice or ideas yall have!

     

     

     

    I think you have a really good handle on how people are both good and bad. I enjoyed reading that you would tend to side with the outsiders. I bolded what I think you should do even though it is in your "non-option" list. And, yes, it is to side with the outsiders.

    My mom gets pouty when she doesn't get her way too, so I totally identify, but she never has hated me for putting my foot down on things. It doesn't sound like your mom would hate you over this either. If it's one day that she would be irritated with you and give you attitude, then I say you take the high road and invite the MIL. Just because it is the right, and kind thing to do.

    I think people who are "bigger" people like you sound to be can carry a lot more socially uncomfortable weight than others like your mom and MIL. Can you enlist your DH and have him help you run interference? Are there one or two others who will also be there to help ease the situation for all involved?

    It really seems like your MIL means well, but she is just ackward - not a bad apple, just not your typical BBQ personality. It hurts my feelings on her behalf that she might be kicked out just for not having certain social graces.

    I know it's your parents' house and they call the shots, but also what about framing it as that it would mean a lot to you as her daughter? Can you play that card?

    Yep. So my vote is to invite them anyway. It's one day of the year. There are 364 other dys your mom can have to herself.

  • PurrBoxPurrBox member
    First Anniversary
    If I were in your shoes, I would tell my mom that if she's not going to welcome my in-laws, then I'm not going to the party either.  The reason I would tell her this is because it sounds like everyone else pretty much has an open invitation to the party, except the in-laws.  Plus, even they were invited in previous years.  Unless she can give you a good reason not to invite them (something more than MIL being socially awkward), I would insist on them being invited.  She needs to understand that they're your family, and she really shouldn't put you in such an awkward situation.  But that's my opinion, and I'm sure it would cause far more drama than your looking for. 
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  • If this were me, I would ditch my moms party, go out of town, and tell your IL's you wont be there (assuming this means they would get that they shouldn't go if you and your H are not there).

    My mom is notorious for putting us kids in situations where we'd have to "choose" (her or her side vs someone else) and then throwing a pity party for herself when we don't choose her.  Which we never do because we will not entertain such juvenile behavior from a grown women.  My MIL has done such things as well and H will not accept it either.  It seems your mom is putting you in the situation to choose between her wishes and your H's and IL's feelings.  If I were your H in this situation I would probably be upset and not want to go, regardless of the fact that its essentially their house, their call.  She is showing little regard for your H here.  The whole shes embarrassed you married someone with awkward parents is downright rude and mean.

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  • It sounds like both your mother and MIL are tough to deal with.

     I think it is really unfair of your mom to put you in this position. If it is her party, make her tell your ILs they can't come. 

    However, it also makes me wonder how badly your MIL has behaved at previous parties for your mother to say this?

    If I were you, I might just plan something else, with different people, and plan to see all of them the day before or after. But that's a shame in that you love the party and seeing your family and this has probably been your tradition your entire life! 

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  • The way you describe your MIL is very like a number of adult women with high functioning autism I know IRL. The social awkwardness that makes others uncomfortable- sharing too much and missing the nonverbal clues that others don't want to hear more as well as the tendency to take everything personally. A lot of older people on spectrum- women especially- are roaming around without a dx because they came of age when high functioning forms of autism weren't recognized or treated with social skills therapy.

    Your mother is being a garden variety middle school bully.

    My advise would be to call your mother on it. It's the only strategy that could possibly improve the outcome going forward. If this is her MO, she'll stand by it so long as it gets her what it wants. Tell her that, as the hostess, it is her duty to invite or disinvite her guests. That you will not be put in the middle, that she raised you better than that.

    Then make plans to enjoy a romantic weekend with your DH. You don't need to leave town to have fun or to make your point.

     

     

  • Shoot, if they end up showing up, so what? Your mom will get over it. I think its horrible she is even asking you to make drama with your in laws as it is.. especially when they are already invited because its an open party. They are your family now too. Make her un-invite them, she doesnt have to have a relationship with them for the rest of her life like you and your husband do.

     If it were me, I would tell my mom its important to me that they are invited, and if she still is being mean about it and still expects you to un-invite them, ditch the party. Maybe your mom will learn. Wow.

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  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    You say that a non-option is telling your mom that it is her party and she has to deal with your ils - and that she will just tell you that "you are married now, this is what you have to deal with."  No, you DO NOT have to deal with un-inviting people to a party that you are not throwing.  Your mom is trying to be controlling and putting you in a position because SHE does not want to be in it.  She is too chicken to deal with her own party and now puts the expectation on you.

    My mom used to do the same thing (not as bad or mean as your mom, but tried to convince me that things were "my job," only b/c she didn't want to do them or she wanted me to feel obligated to do things I wasn't interested in).  She finally stopped when I stopped giving in to her expectations.  "Sorry mom, it's not my job to invite or not invite people to your party.  You are a host now, this is what you have do deal with."  Don't argue with her about it later.

    I would decide what you want to do.  You can leave town if you want, or you can not go to the party, but tell your mom that your ILS invitation is up to YOUR PARENTS, the people THROWING the party.  You will not be caught in the middle.  You can also tell her that if she doesn't have the b*lls to speak to your ILS on her own (which isn't so hard "we're not having the big party this year....."), she needs to be a good host and be polite to them or you will leave.

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  • Ditto Wahoo.  Why you feel you have to do what your mom tells you...???  Just stand up to her.

    And my 2nd option would be to say "Well, if you're not inviting them, then we won't be able to come either".  But that puts you in the positoin of missing a party that it sounds like you like ot go to.

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  • My response is a bit different from others, but is it possible that it may be better for your MIL to not attend?  How big is this party--does your mom not want your MIL there because she knows that all the family/friends attending don't care for her?  It's possible that it could hurt your MIL more to be at the party if people are going to avoid her or even say something blatantly rude to her.  

    All of that said, in the end, this is between your mom and your MIL.  If I were in your shoes I would stay out of it all together and not mention anything about the party.  If your mom wants to formally un-invite your MIL then she can pick up the phone and do it herself although I would urge her not to to keep the peace.

    My MIL is offbeat as well--she has many old friends and is well loved in her small town community, but when she's put in a new place with new people of different styles she gets awkward; she'll either become a wallflower or talk way too much too quickly due to nerves that peoples' eyes glaze over.  While she's a very good person, she's just been relatively isolated her whole life so she doesn't know how to "work a room" for the lack of a better way to say it.  For this reason, there are some occasions my family doesn't extend an invite but it's not to be malicious, and no one in my family would ever un-invite her to something.

    Assuming your MIL really is just awkward and doesn't do anything truly offensive to other guests, I'd tell your mother that you're staying out of it and your MIL may or may not be there.

  • I guess if it was me, I would just make other plans.  It sucks that your Mom is putting you in that spot, and it sucks that your ILs are socially awkward (I hear ya on this one.  Mine are pretty bad that way too.).  I'd just avoid the drama and plan the day you want to have.  If your parents want to celebrate with you, let them know you can make other arrangements at a different time.  
  • I think I need to know how your IL's got invited in the first place.

    I think your best option is tell your IL's that your parents are scaling back and you'll be free at x time to celebrate with them (and make plans from there)

    I do think you should be the one to communicate with your IL's, not your parents, unless they made some big production of inviting your IL's despite your protests and pleads for them not too (see 1st question)

     

  • Are your siblings inlaws invited too? Assuming they are married, if no other in laws are invited, than tell MIL that this year they are keeping it small for close friends and families only.If other in laws are invited, than your mother is just mean spirited. However I agree w/ your DH, make your mom tell your MIL, I highly doubt she would have the courage, hence she is asking you to do it. If your mother is still pressing on you to do it, I would rather not go at all and just stay home w/ DH than deal w/ the drama and the aftermath thereafter. Not inviting MIL will put you in a awkward situation and I can see why her feelings would be hurt, especially if she is not socially conscious.

     

  • srgwsrgw member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    image PurrBox:
    If I were in your shoes, I would tell my mom that if she's not going to welcome my in-laws, then I'm not going to the party either.  The reason I would tell her this is because it sounds like everyone else pretty much has an open invitation to the party, except the in-laws.  Plus, even they were invited in previous years.  Unless she can give you a good reason not to invite them (something more than MIL being socially awkward), I would insist on them being invited.  She needs to understand that they're your family, and she really shouldn't put you in such an awkward situation.  But that's my opinion, and I'm sure it would cause far more drama than your looking for. 

     The bolded. It would hurt my feels if my mom did this to me and I wouldn't want to be at her party anyways, personally.

    Another option is to just celebrate with your H locally and meet up with your ILs for fireworks/dessert or whatever.

  • My mom doesn't like my MIL and she asked me not to invite her to my graduation party, which my mother is hosting. Here's how I handled it:

     1) I said in a clear tone, "She's not invited? Like she can't come?" To which my mom said "well,  it's not that she CAN'T come, I just wish she wouldn't because she's so boring." So I said, "She can't come to your party because she's too boring? That's so mean." Somehow, repeating it all aloud to her and saying she was being mean, took some of the wind out of her sails.

    2) I refused to lie about the party or exclude my MIL. I said "I'm not going to pretend there's no party. That would be really hurtful of me and I refuse to do it. I'm inviting her." I did concede to downplay the party ("I understand that the travel will be hard for you, and you won't know anyone, please don't feel obligated, but if you think you'd enjoy yourself we'd love to have you...") but I told my mom flat-out that if she decides to come, my mom can deal with it.

    3) In your situation if your mom took it further after you refuse to un-invite them, I'd tell her I wasn't coming either.

     

    PP's are right in that your mom will get over it if they come, and if she glares at them or you, everyone will survive.

  • I go through something similar like this with my father a few times a year. I will invite him and my mother over for a dinner party. He will ask who else I invited. I have gotten to the point where I ask him why it matters...no one else quizzes me about who is on the guest list. He will grumble and make comments like "if so and so is there, I'm not coming" to which I respond "that's up to you, we'd love to have you... please let us know what you decide." Then he shows up and is a model guest usually bearing a nice bottle of wine.

    My advice to you...it's your mother's event. It is up to her/her preference who she wants to invite and up to you if you want to attend. That being said, it's HER place to manage her guest list. You need to let her know that you are not going to be a party (no pun intended) to her exclusion of your in-laws. 

    As for your in-laws, not everyone gets invited to everything all the time. It's a fact of life.

    Then you and DH need to decide what YOU want to do. Attend, stay at home, do something else. Not every holiday has to be spent with extended family. 

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  • I have to say I'm kind of with your DH.  If your mom wants to uninvite them - then she needs to do it.  If she "forgets" they show up and she has to deal with it. You can ignore all of it and have fun with the rest of your family.

    Although I have to say this whole thing does NOT sound like how I would want to spend my birthday.  I'd make plans alone with DH and actually have some fun.

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  • I'm in the "throw it back on mom" camp on this one.

    She's only asking you to do this because if she can get you to un-invite your ILs, she gets both things she wants: 1) no ILs there and 2) not having to be a jerk.  She makes you the jerk.

    I like the previous response about a similar situation with the graduation party.  Just repeat back to her what she's asking you to do as you refuse, so that she hears exactly how petty and mean she's being. If you refuse, she's certainly not going to un-invite your ILs, and she'll be just fine if they show up.

    I suspect your mom harbors some jealousy and insecurity about "sharing" you with the ILs.  It bugs her that she has to "share" you with someone who is quirky and socially awkward.  She needs to get over it.

  • What a mess.

    Reading your post, I'm getting the impression that your MIL is a bit of a social burden. And I don't mean anything cruel about that, but she just assumes she's going to be there, right? And if she isn't there, it probably won't really bother you?

    I agree that it's your mother's dilemma to deal with, but I wonder to what extent your MIL has impacted family members. Is it just your mother or have other family members made comments to her that you aren't aware of? Not sure how widespread an issue some of your MIL's mannerisms(?) are?

    Would it be easier if you (and your husband) simply explain to your MIL that your mother will not be extending an invitation to them to attend because she is downscaling her party. It's unfortunate that you might have to face your MIL's disappointment, but you already know your mother isn't going to handle it the right way. Depending on how you feel about it, you could remind your MIL that this isn't a decision you made, but that this is an event your mother hosts and this is a decision she made.

    Any possible compromise? Is there a portion of the evening where she could be invited to come later? Come down at such and such a time for the fireworks?

  • This is so awkward.

    Your mom is probably regretting the whole "open invitation" thing, especially since in-laws are involved.  If your MIL/FIL are the only in-laws invited, I think you could easily tell your MIL/FIL that your mom has scaled back the party to close family and friends from their side, because over the years the party has grown so large - and the options were to either stop throwing the party all together, or scale back. 

    I come from perspective of - just because you married someone, why do your in-laws have to mix with your side of the family?  Not everyone does this, for many reasons.  One difficulty was when my mom met my (future) MIL -- it was like oil and water, and then my MIL made it seem like my DH and I could not get married because my side of the family and her side of the family didn't mesh well.  ?!!  And even when my parents are in town to visit from out-of-state, my MIL makes it seem like they should go visit her.  I don't want to subject my parents to that!  lol  no thanks

    I get the whole thing about people thinking your mom should uninvite your MIL - but really your MIL shouldn't be forced onto her either.  Yes, your mom has the mistake of "open" parties, but from now on you should request her to have invite-only party if she's going to be selective.  Your mom can't have it both ways.  If I were you, I'd help your mom with this transition, and do what I suggest in paragraph 1 above.

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