Family Matters
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Mother and MIL issues

 How many of you have mothers who insist on inviting your in laws (who drive you nuts) to ALL holidays (not hosted ny me, the daughter in law) and family functions despite your requests to just leave it alone and let you schedule separate family time!? Does ur mother insist on having joint mothers and fathers days?  Joint easter?  Joint xmas?  I'm not even hosting these events. In fact, i dont want to because I dont want the stress of having my in laws over.

My mother now emails mIL and plan things behind my back and then tells me where and when I need to  show up. It is really that ridiculous. Then my mother talks about how annoying they my MIL and FIL acted at the function and we spend hours discussing it.  This has become more of a dysfunctional nightmare than ever imagined.  Now since Ive been forced to "merge families" everyone is in each others business and I'm the glue that binds it all together.  It just seems overcomplicated and unfair to me and DH.  Plus, my mother is now telling me that I need to work on my relationship with MIL who my own mother agrees can be a snide braggart who deep down dislikes me, even though she's phony on the outside. I just want to handle one set of anxiety inducing rents at a time!!!!!

I don't think this is necessary to have to have DHs parents and my parents both present at the same functions considering they didn't know each other before our marriage and don't really consider themselves friends . I feel like its my moms twisted way of spying in on my interactions with them and maintaining control of situation. I keep being told by my mother that Wanting to have separate famiky tine is me being rude and selfish and that I'm trying o make family problems.  Last I checked they were my in laws not my mothers.  Now my mother has set the tone and precedent rendering me quitehelpless to tactfully change anything.

My in laws, on the other hand, do not invite my parents to everything they do with their extended family.  I just don't understand why my mother insists on this. It's always stressful and awkward for me to have MIL and FIL at what i feel should be my own family time and my mother will not honor my wishes.  I'm starting to resent and dread all holidays.  My mother will not cite a reason for insisting on doing this.  None of my friends' families operate like this.  

 My mother insists that all of her friends invite their In laws to all functions thereby combining the families.  I find this strange if the DIL is not the host. Thoughts? Please  weigh in and save my sanity.

Re: Mother and MIL issues

  • NOpe.

    You need not comply.

    All you need to do is turn them down FLAT --- "My H and I cannot attend. Thanks for the invitation" and keep refusing to go. After the 2nd or 3rd demurral they should get the picture.

    Sheesh, draw boundaries!

    And you and your H stick together on this: this is what marriage and partnership is about -- and besides, he is your family now and vice versa. YOu are now a new family unit. Let the ILs understand that, also.
  • Your mom gets a HUGE payback for her hosting when she gets time with you to sit "for hours" and diss your ILS and their manners.  Maybe if you stopped discussing the ILS with her (simply say "it was your choice to invite them.  You know how they are, what do you expect?" and hang up the phone or change the subject), she wouldn't be rewarded for her invitations.

    You can also say "wow mom, it's so nice of you to invite H's parents over for Easter!  Unfortunately, H and I have made plans of our own, so we won't be there, but I hope you all have a great holiday!"  Then leave for a romantic weekend for two.  You DO have a choice on how you spend your holidays.  Many couples initially AGREE to split holidays and "be fair," but nobody says you have to spend a holiday unhappy just so that your mom can have the holiday that works for her.

  • Stop going. You've listed several good reasons that she continues to do this, none of them flattering. If you STOPPED GOING when she invited your ILs it would collapse the manipulation.

    It is perfectly fine to say to all, that you enjoy yourself better taking turns and the occassional joint family event. All the time is not working for you. They can continue to socialize among themselves. You don't need to be there for it.

    STOP acting like a kid who needs their mother's permission to opt out of a situation you really, really don't like. It is wrong to let yourself dread all holidays while participating in your mother's insanity.

    And why hasn't DH mentioned this to HIS parents? Why hasn't he told them how HE feels about them accepting each and every invitation?

  • This makes me laugh because my mom did the same thing for the longest time.  She once invited my MIL to a small birthday gathering for me, and she didn't tell me.  Imaginge my surprise when I opened the door to my MIL!!!  My mom did it with good intentions.  But it didn't change the fact that she was seriously overstepping her boundaries.  (To this day she will still ask, "Can I invite Mr. and Mrs. over?"  Annoying, but at least she asks!)

    I don't know how you approached the conversation with your Mom but how about something like "Mom, I really value the time I spend with you and our family... the in-laws are distracting. If every invitation for a holiday gathering means they will be here, then I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able to attend."

    Anyway, assuming you have had a firm conversation with your Mom about this (and I mean assertive, honest communication on your part), it's unfortunate, but there is nothing you can do.  The only thing I can recommend is you stop accepting invitations and soon enough she will get the hint. 

    Bottom line is you need to do what makes you happy.  "Dreading" the holidays?  That's awful.  Just do what you have to for your happiness (and sanity!).



  • No, and I really don't get the joint holiday thing. I'm from a family of four sisters . . . how in the heck would that even work? My parent's house is tight enough with four sisters, their spouses, and my sisters' kids (and a step-child - I throw that in just because what's next, asking the spouse's exes?). Add in all four sets of ILs and step ILs? That's crazy.
  • I don't get the joint holiday thing either!! Absurdity at its finest!   Thanks everyone for your very sound advice. I'm sure this will induce lots of guilt trips, pouting, and silent treatments, but it's time to take back control!!!!!


  • my families merge parties all the time. no big deal to me but that is just our dynamic.

    if you are not happy going ~ and it sounds like your mom just invites your il's so she can size them up and talk about them later ~ I would just stop going. I like the idea of taking a getaway just you and your dh. do it.


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  • I had a great Aunt that did this (invite everyone and their in-laws) to Christmas dinner when I was a kid and never understood it.

    I'm with everyone else: just don't go! 

    You cannot control who your mother invites to her own gatherings.  What you CAN control is whether or not you go.  Speaking as someone with no backbone when it comes to her own mother, I know this is WAY easier said than done. But this Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever, make plans that involve just the two of you and STICK TO THEM.  When mother invites you to another nightmare before Christmas event, say "Glad you and the in-laws will be spending time together, but we're hitting up Mickey's very merry Christmas party in Florida. Sorry we can't come!"

    Or you could host something yourself.  If she insists on something, say "Mom, this is my dinner. I'm inviting who I want over.  If you'd like to spend time with someone, invite them to your own home." 

    Hope that helps!

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