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Frustrated - Sneaky Inlaws, DH is a Pleaser

I just need to vent, but any advice is always great.

Came home from work today to find a big bag of food in our fridge.  I know it's from my MIL (her handwriting) and that DH brought it home after having lunch with inlaws.

We had a family dinner last week and MIL, like usual, made WAAAAAY too much food.  She tried to send us home with a lot (she'll make 5 pounds of pasta for four people and then want us to take three pounds home plus a gallon of sauce, and I'm not exaggerating), but we only took a little (i.e. not as much as she wanted).  There are only two of us, our fridge/freezer is apartment sized (small), and we don't want or need three pounds of pasta plus sauce.  She will pester us strongly (and then get frustrated) to take more home, but we just repeat ourselves and only take as much as we want.  We still have some of the sauce and noodles left over so we clearly took enough.

So the food in our fridge is the food from last family dinner (noodles are probably different, but sauce is not) - yes this is an assumption, but there is no way my inlaws ate two pounds of pasta and sauce in five days.  And I know my MIL.

I am so frustrated (a) with my MIL for not respecting boundaries...again and (b) with my DH for taking it!  MIL knows that I would have blocked it if I was there, but my DH is much more of a pleaser.  They went out to lunch so she had to have brought this big paper bag of food to the restaurant.  So peeved with DH.  But....today is his birthday so to get all ornery on him when he comes home is probably not a good move.  Which means I have to wait until tomorrow to address this, but I'm frustrated NOW.  I got his favorite food, bought wine, and otherwise planned a nice evening - and now I'm a bit crabby.   Hence the venting, thank you for listening, I will bring this up with DH tomorrow.

Re: Frustrated - Sneaky Inlaws, DH is a Pleaser

  • This is not a hill to die on. Assuming this is the only issue of her not respecting "boundaries", you are being silly.

    Perhaps this is one way she shows her love - by feeding her family. Clearly it's important to her for whatever reason that you take tons of food home. So, just take it and then throw it out when you get home. You seriously want to have a serious discussion with your husband about him not throwing the pasta back in her face?

    Also, this is such a minor issue, if you make such a big deal out of this your DH will be less inclined to listen to you when major issues pop up.

  • I 100 percent agree with the PP.
    IUI - BFP! Baby boy born still - August 2012
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    FET - BFN
    FET - BFN
    Switched clinics
    IVF with PGD - three embryos created, all healthy - July 2014
    FET - transferred two embryos (boy and girl) - Nov 2014 - BFP!
    Baby Boy born July 2015

  • Agree with PP -- let it go. My in-laws do the same exact thing, and we've tried to tell them that the food will go to waste. But they keep doing it, so now we just take it home. If we'll eat it, we save what we'll eat. The rest gets tossed in the garbage.

    They've sent us home with entire chocolate cakes in the past -- I don't need that kind of temptation around!

    I absolutely hate wasting so much food, but they're not going to change. Stop viewing it as a personal attack on you.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Nope, clearly not a hill to die on.  Was not planning on making this a huge issue.  I didn't think I relayed that in my post, but then again, I was venting so I may have.  And no, this is not the only issue of her not respecting boundaries.  Not even close. 

    My MIL does not respect the word "no".  MIL asked DH at lunch today if he was working out.  DH responded then she wanted a full rundown of his workout routine because she doesn't think he is taking care of himself (he is).  He told her three times he did not want to talk about it anymore.  But she'll ask the same question over and over again until he has to very firmly (and somewhat aggressively in my opinion, but it works) tell her to stop asking.

    DH and I find throwing food out wasteful.  We'd take more and freeze it, but we literally do not have the space.

    I have no problem with DH taking me seriously because I ignore a lot of my MIL's behavior.  And because I do not freak out about things (typically) - but he'll tell me if I'm overreacting.

  • I would donate it to a shelter or take it in to work to share. Make a positive from a negative--and then tell your MIL how grateful everyone at the shelter was to receive it.
  • <Prulove> That's an interesting idea about taking it to a shelter.  I wonder if there is a place in my area that would accept food donations...will have to look into that.  Thanks for the idea!

     <August> I don't see it as a personal attack.  It's just frustrating sometimes to feel like we constantly deal with the same issue.

  • So she is concerned about her son and can express that in a fairly annoying manner. Clearly he knows how to handle her. Again, these are really not huge issues.
  • I know. I KNOW. I Knnnnoooooowwwwww!!

    My mother used to put oranges in my pocket on the way out the door. It would drive me beyond insane that she'd push food on me.

    Until I realized and came to terms with the fact that she loved with food.

    So, I got in the habit of taking whatever offered and dropping it in my garbage at home. After all, what's the difference between her garbage and mine? I consider it a loving gesture to accept it. Once I changed my attitude that she was just trying to be loving and not a complete PITA boundary buster, it really made it manageable, even funny.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • I think if the only two examples you can give of your MIL not respecting your boundaries are that 1) she can be a nag to her son once in a while, and; 2) she gives you food, then yes, you are most certainly over-reacting.

    2 IVFs & 1 FET. Welcome home baby girl!
  • imoanimoan member
    10000 Comments Eighth Anniversary
    What a b1tch?!  I think you should toss her the toaster when she's in the tub.  That'll teach her to offer leftovers.
    image
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  • Dude.  Take the food and throw it out if you don't want it.  Wasteful?  Perhaps, but worth it to keep the peace IMO.   
  • my mil is a giant pita about taking leftovers. wouldn't be such an issue, but her food is inedible fresh! I have come to terms that she will make us take food home, so I try to minimize the quantity. I give DH the option of whether he eats it or not, it is his mom's cooking after all. She too is critical of my husband's body. she's always asking him if he's gained weight, and making comments about how much he eats (or what we cook when they come over)

    if this is the extent of her pushing boundaries, consider yourself lucky.

    "Parenting is a constant struggle between making your kid's live better and ruining your own." Willie Robertson, 'Duck Dynasty' Anniversary january sig Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Not a hill to die on is right. But this is exactly how really bad things get started!! Boundaries are boundaries and need to be respected. When DH and I announced our engagement MIL threw a tantrum. We moved our date for her and made every single accomodation she asked for and the week of our fake wedding (we had a private ceremony three months prior to the big wedding for family-they don't know) she tried to stop the whole thing. I can understand how frustrating it is that your MIL doesn't respect boundaries, and I think that you and your husband need to have a conversation about where that ends??
  • image Aiobheann:
    Not a hill to die on is right. But this is exactly how really bad things get started!! Boundaries are boundaries and need to be respected. When DH and I announced our engagement MIL threw a tantrum. We moved our date for her and made every single accomodation she asked for and the week of our fake wedding (we had a private ceremony three months prior to the big wedding for family-they don't know) she tried to stop the whole thing. I can understand how frustrating it is that your MIL doesn't respect boundaries, and I think that you and your husband need to have a conversation about where that ends??
    Your situation is not even remotely similar.
  • Now if it were me..... When he came down I would hand him the bag of stuff your MIL gave you and ask him "Can you please take this out to the trash?"  But that is just me....
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  • Is there something more going on here, but you're just focused on the leftovers instead of seeing the real problem or what?
  • The real problem is the boundary overstepping, the leftovers are just a manifestation of that larger issue.

    DH rarely has a conversation with his mother without getting "serious" (or whatever you want to call it) and telling her to back off.  It gets tiresome. 

  • image BellaPteris:

    The real problem is the boundary overstepping, the leftovers are just a manifestation of that larger issue.

    DH rarely has a conversation with his mother without getting "serious" (or whatever you want to call it) and telling her to back off.  It gets tiresome. 

    Ok, so why not give us some examples of other ways they have overstepped boundaries? You know, things that are actually intrusive and disrespectful.  From the title and length of your post, I was expecting something like, "My in-laws drained our bank account" or "My in-laws took our child to be baptized behind our backs" or something really heinous.  Instead, it's "OMG my in-laws are such jerks because they give us leftovers and we don't have room in the freezer!"

    And if your husband is repeatedly telling his mom to back off and she continues to act the same way, it's obviously time for some consequences to back up his words.

  • image BellaPteris:

    The real problem is the boundary overstepping, the leftovers are just a manifestation of that larger issue.

    DH rarely has a conversation with his mother without getting "serious" (or whatever you want to call it) and telling her to back off.  It gets tiresome. 

    The real problem seems to be your DH. He needs to get serious about setting boundaries. You're blaming your MIL for the problem you have with your DH.

  • Showing up at my parents house on Christmas (they just had to see us on the day) when their "turn" was Christmas Eve.  And literally barging in.

    Calling DH's grandmother to ask about his inheritance (she is very much still alive) and telling her that DH wanted to know.

    Those are a couple of the bigger and recent ones, I tend to forget about many with the desire to live and let go.

    DH knows there need to be consequences, we've talked about them and enacted them a couple of times.  We've had fewer major infractions in the past year, which is great.  But sometimes a preponderance of little events can be just as irritating as a huge blowout.

     

  • image doglove:
    image BellaPteris:

    The real problem is the boundary overstepping, the leftovers are just a manifestation of that larger issue.

    DH rarely has a conversation with his mother without getting "serious" (or whatever you want to call it) and telling her to back off.  It gets tiresome. 

    The real problem seems to be your DH. He needs to get serious about setting boundaries. You're blaming your MIL for the problem you have with your DH.

    In my original post I indicated there is an issue with my DH.  My MIL is only responsible for her behavior and my DH for his.  This was why I was frustrated - DH was not sticking to the plan we had set - it was his birthday so I wasn't about to jump on him over leftovers- and I needed an outlet to vent.

  • image BellaPteris:

    Showing up at my parents house on Christmas (they just had to see us on the day) when their "turn" was Christmas Eve.  And literally barging in.

    Calling DH's grandmother to ask about his inheritance (she is very much still alive) and telling her that DH wanted to know.

    What did you do in these instances?

    For the Christmas thing - your DH should have said "Mom & Dad, your time with us was last night. We are spending today with Bella's parents, and you need to leave now."

    For the grandma thing, your DH should have called his grandma and said "I'm not sure why my parents told you I wanted to know about the inheritence, because that's not the case at all."

    These are examples where things actually do need to be addressed. It seems like you are lumping everything they do into one big pile though, when instead you need to separate things that actually matter (like them showing up on Christmas uninvited) from things that don't (insisting that bring home leftovers).

  • image casmgn:
    image BellaPteris:

    Showing up at my parents house on Christmas (they just had to see us on the day) when their "turn" was Christmas Eve.  And literally barging in.

    Calling DH's grandmother to ask about his inheritance (she is very much still alive) and telling her that DH wanted to know.

    What did you do in these instances?

    For the Christmas thing - your DH should have said "Mom & Dad, your time with us was last night. We are spending today with Bella's parents, and you need to leave now."

    For the grandma thing, your DH should have called his grandma and said "I'm not sure why my parents told you I wanted to know about the inheritence, because that's not the case at all."

    These are examples where things actually do need to be addressed. It seems like you are lumping everything they do into one big pile though, when instead you need to separate things that actually matter (like them showing up on Christmas uninvited) from things that don't (insisting that bring home leftovers).

    We actually did do both of the actions you listed (in terms of Christmas and the inheritance).  

    I agree that those actions are at a vastly different level than the leftovers.  In my original post I was not trying to indicate the leftover incident was a mountain - I just needed to get it out.  And yes, I do need to do a better job of separating the major from the minor in my own headspace.  I am a categorizer and like to be able to identify why a particular event bothers me (i.e. boundary issue rather than an overshare, etc).

  • Well that is good then! However since you say your DH is a pleaser, did HE do those things or did YOU do those things? Or did you need to push him to do those things? If he is doing this on his own, then it sounds like the two of you are doing well with setting and enforcing boundaries.

    As far as identifying what is important enough to push back on, perhaps just add more categories to your thought process. After identifying why a particular event bothers you, the next question can be something like "Is this actually important and worth doing something about?" In the case of Christmas - the answer would obviously be yes. In the case of bringing home extra food - the answer would be no.

    And as far as the relationship dynamics between your husband and his mother (i.e. her pestering him about his health) - remove yourself completely from that. It doesn't affect you, and your DH is a big boy and should be able to handle his mother without getting you all worked up about it. My dad can be really annoying. I don't run to my husband every time my dad says something annoying because it has nothing to do with him. I'm an adult, I can handle my relationship with my dad.

  • image casmgn:

    This is not a hill to die on. Assuming this is the only issue of her not respecting "boundaries", you are being silly.

     Totally agree!!!!  I have major MIL problems and this is one of the things she did that annoy me but the LEAST of the problems by far and if I nitpicked at H over this he'd just think I nitpick at everything about MIL.  She has stopped though because I would say things such as... you can send it home with us if you want but it will just go in the garbage.  Another example... If she asks how we liked it... Oh it went bad and we threw it away. 

    She was convinced my cooking wasnt as good as hers and H missed her food and so she felt compelled to send home food "he'd eat".  Thankfully I'm a very good cook (MUCH better than her) and always raves about my cooking.  Even FIL raves about it if we have them over which I'm sure just irks the he!! outta her :)  :)

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  • While it's not a hill to die on, I get that it's annoying...MIL would kind of do this...I would say kind of jokingly "If we end up taking it, it will probably just end up in the garbage". If they still force it on you, I would say later "it's a shame all the food went to waste" indicating that you did indeed throw it away. Any alarm from her should be met with "I'm sorry, I tried telling you that I didn't think we would eat it"

  • I just have to let you know that my parents do the exact same thing to my husband. H loves chocolate.  So my parents always bring us chocolate muffins etc....and it actually would drive me nuts cause I am a health nut and don't like that stuff in my house.  But I realized it makes my mom feel appreciated so I always ask her to bring them and I know that makes her feel good,  Sometimes we have to just smile and fake it til we make it!  It's worth it for peace and happy people in our lives. 
  • No way she can donate that food to a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen? They'd thank her a trillion times over.

     

     

  • If this is the only IL drama you are dealing with, you are VERY lucky. Wish I could say the same. 
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