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MIL surprise party help..long

Hi- I am new here and have never posted before. My MIL/FIL are laid back (almost to a fault) county people. MIL's 50th bday is Oct 10 and DH and I went to dinner with FIL last night. We asked him what he wanted to do for her big day. Note, this is the most unromantic person on earth...FIL gave MIL bob evans take out for their 25th anniv..  He said that he wanted to have a surprise party on the actual day and that he was going to "grill some steaks" and get a veggie tray. They have a very traditional marriage and MIL is always last on the list and never does ANYTHING for herself, so we want her to have a great, relaxing bday. So DH and I are unsure if we should just jump in and help plan, bc FIL did not want to talk about it at all, even though we were at dinner just the 3 of us and it was the perfect time to do it. He was like, I will figure it out, we have plenty of time, etc. He kept changing the subject and did not seem excited at all. Should we jump in a plan most of it? I am afraid it will be a nighmare if he plans it. He has never cooked a meal in his life. I am afraid that if it's going to be at their house, MIL will end up passing out food, cleaning up, etc like she always does and that she will not relax or be able to have fun (MIL/FIL have a 5 year old also who is my BIL.) What should I do? I am not sure what is appropriate for me, I don't want to overstep my boundaries but I also want her to have a relaxing, happy bday. We just thought we would go out to eat, but FIL had other ideas....thanks!
TTC since Jan 2011 Dx: Hypothroidism and annovulation Bloodwork: All normal SA: Awaiting results Starting first round of Clomid in Feb 2012 Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Re: MIL surprise party help..long

  • I would tell your MIL to keep the next weekend day after her birthday open, that you will be taking her out.  The two of you can go shopping, get manicures, see a movie, then meet up with the husbands for dinner.  That way she gets a relaxing day, without you stepping on her husband's toes in terms of planning the party.
    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
    DS1 born June 2008 | m/c at 9w March 2011 | DS2 born April 2012
  • If your FIL has already planned what he wants to do (what day, what he'll serve, that it will be a surprise), than I think you should offer your help and graciously step back if he refuses it. ?If you are really, really, incredibly concerned that he'll call you the morning of in a panic and say he doesn't have any of the food or know how to cook it, than you guys could prepare yourselves to quietly go over a few hours early or pick up some food on your way over. ?

    Also, keep in mind- your MIL has chosen to marry and stay married to your FIL. ?It doesn't sound from your post like you think your MIL is being abused or kept in a "do everything for everyone" role against her will- it sounds, honestly, like you think you can treat your MIl better and give her what she wants/ deserves for her birthday more than her husband of 25 plus years can. ?Is it possible that she enjoys always being busy and having her hands full, or that she would feel a little at odds rather than relaxed if she truly had nothing to do? ?Is it possible that she would have preferred Bob Evans to a dozen roses, ?and that watching her husband attempt to make a steak meal for her and some friends and family as a surprise would tickle her to no end? ?

    If it's a huge priority to you and your H to take your MIL out and show her a good time without her lifting a finger (and that's a fine priority to have), I agree with pp- set up another day and time to take her out and do things your way. ? But I think trying to take over the planning for your FIL would be stepping on his toes. ?

  • You guys are such a help! It is nice getting an objective POV instead of annoying DH by psychoanalyzing everything or relying solely on my mom's perspective. Thanks so much!
    TTC since Jan 2011 Dx: Hypothroidism and annovulation Bloodwork: All normal SA: Awaiting results Starting first round of Clomid in Feb 2012 Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • Our anniversary was last week. I gave DH a card and a bottle of NyQuil. For his birthday in a couple weeks, he'll probably get a bag of dark chocolate.

    Some people do the roses and jewelry and are super romantic. Others are not. It doesn't mean they love each other any less

    Let FIL plan his party. If you want, plan to take MIL out to dinner at another time.

    image Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers
  • No good will come from stepping all over your FIL's wishes.  He changed the subject becuase he doesn't want to talk about it with you.  If the steaks and veggie tray overwhelm him, he'll just take her out to dinner anyway.  YOU getting involved will just frustrate everyone .. including yourself.  Do not meddle when you have been asked to drop it.

    If you are compelled to make a nuisance of yourself .. to put a big thankless target on your back and insist FIL have someone to blame when his piss-poor planning falls apart ... then the "jump in".

    If you want to stay out of it (moslty) but relieve your guilt that you see this crash coming and did nothing .. then pass the man a few numbers for a caterer and cleaning person.  He may or may not use them - but at least you gave him some good information.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Thanks, I appreciate that. I am nervous though that since I am the only daughter in law (my BILs are 5yo and 21yo) that as the woman in the family I will be expected to do most of the work. I don't want to come across as a slacker who doesn't want to do anything to make her MIL's party a success. Maybe I should offer to make the bday cake or something? I feel like nothing will be delegated to me unless i jump in and say, "I will do X!" I could see not doing that coming around to bite me in the butt bc I will seem uninterested when other family members may think it's the woman's job to do most of the work.
    TTC since Jan 2011 Dx: Hypothroidism and annovulation Bloodwork: All normal SA: Awaiting results Starting first round of Clomid in Feb 2012 Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • I agree with the other PP.  Let FIL plan the party he wants.  I like the idea of a girls' day out.  If you truly want to help FIL, maybe that can be the reason to keep her out of the house so he can do his surprise thing. 


    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
    Jim & Kristen ~ August 19, 2006
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  • I would let FIL plan his party and then if you would like to do something in addition to that at a different time, that would also be nice!
  • You are not responsible for planning your MIL's party.  You do not have to control everything because you are the only girl in the family.  Be very careful not to overstep your bounds.

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