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Need Advice... please help

So I made this post yesterday...


And one of my friends made a suggestion of how to deal with my MIL.  A friend from my mom's group, whom I emailed about the problem suggested I do nothing, that it would only cause more problems.  Meanwhile, I spent last night horizontal because I was so upset, stressed out and crying that I was useless for anything else.

So, if you were in my shoes-- what would you do about MIL?


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 30th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
What ever it is needs to be done by you and your hubby together. United front and all that. Most importantly, you should not have Rachel perceive that you are taking things away from her for Andy as that will breed jealousy.
Dec. 30th, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC)
I agree with this ENTIRELY. When I saw your reply about making Rachel choose which stuff she'll keep I was like, "No no no!" She can't be punished for her grandmothers behavior just as Andy should not be punished. I was hoping that if Rachel hadn't seen the loot yet, THEN you could simply choose some stuff to send back out of it and make it seem to Rachel that that's what she was sent to begin with. I figured what she didn't know couldn't hurt her.

And again, yes. United on all fronts. That's why I wrote "both" of you.

Good luck. I can imagine how stressful and hurtful this all is. :(
Dec. 30th, 2005 08:54 pm (UTC)
That's Steve. He gave her the box because MIL called on the phone and wanted to know if it had arrived.

If we had sent stuff back before Rachel had seen it, I guarantee you that when MIL spoke to Rachel on the phone she would ask about each item. Or had she received the package back with the excess items she would have told Rachel that she was supposed to get more but that I, wicked stepmother, had taken them away from her.
Dec. 30th, 2005 08:52 pm (UTC)
Last time MIL did this was for their birthdays last year. She sent Andy and Rachel each $50 and an additional $50 for Rachel because she (MIL) was upset that her Christmas gift (clothes) wasn't Rachel's favorite gift of the year.

Steve told Rachel what his mom had done (not my idea) and asked her if she thought it was fair and what should he do about it. Rachel chose to split the extra $50 with Andy.

If Andy were older, wouldn't he be jealous that Rachel received more from their grandmother? Is she intending to keep giving Rachel more while also increasing Andy's gifts and totally screwing (not yet born) Joey? Where does it end? Essentially the only way no one's feelings get hurt is to make sure that everything is equal. As Rachel has already gotten her gift, apparently there's no way now to even things out unless we tell MIL she owes Andy two more items and a beanie baby.
Dec. 30th, 2005 08:05 pm (UTC)
its such a tough call. can you have steve talk to her about it? does he feel that she is being inappropriate?

oh and totally unrelated, if the dipe lot on ebay doesnt meet the reserve, then it wont be sold and we can discuss setting a price if you are still interested.
Dec. 30th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
He's willing to talk to her but doesn't know what to say or how to say it.

I am totally still interested. I have it on my watch list and I keep checking to see where the price is...
Dec. 30th, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)
At a time like this, I would like to post these two Dear Prudence articles. (emphasis mine)

Dear Prudence,

I need your advice on the following. I received gifts from my parents (delivered by my mom). There were three gifts in the bag but none for my wife. Friends have told me this was a slight to my wife. My problem is what to do about the gifts. I could return one or all of them and use the credit to buy a gift for my wife, or I could return the gifts to my mother, explaining that I take the presents being just for me as an act of hostility.

--Confused in Baltimore

Dear Con,

Prudie is not sure your problem is what to do about the gifts, but perhaps what to do about your mother. Subtle she is not. The solution for you may be to do both the things you mentioned, with a slight modification. I would tell Mumsy that you take umbrage at her acting out, and I would return the gifts for credit, buying a treat for both you and your wife.

--Prudie, subtextually

My problem is my mother. She tries to tell me how to raise my children (interestingly, differently than she raised me). When I resist, or the children do not do what she wants, she withholds things from them. For instance, when my son didn't do something her way, she sent my daughter the Christmas present of her dreams, but sent nothing for him. Should I tell her just to get out of our lives? I have been trying since my kids were born to see that they had a good relationship with their grandmother. She's always favored my daughter, but this is getting ridiculous. I am at the end of my rope with her. Thank you.

—Troubled Daughter

Dear Trub,

My sympathies. Your mother is certainly in touch with her inner control freak. It is one thing for a mother and grandmother to have suggestions about child rearing, quite another to act out one's displeasure if ignored. Prudie's mother, for example, when Prudie's children were young, made occasional remarks suggesting her grandchildren were being raised by wolves (Prudie being somewhat permissive) but that was the end of it.

Your mother is guilty of two serious infractions here. One is to overtly favor one child; the other is using gifts as payola for behavior that she issues by fiat. It is hurtful when grandchildren realize a sibling is favored. The emotional response is to wonder, what's wrong with me? Prudie gives you permission to inform your mother of your new rules: Gifts for one child and not the other, excepting birthdays, will be returned to her; and gifts are not to be given or withheld according to whether the children do as she instructs. As their mother, you are—in the now famous words of Al Gore—the controlling legal authority. If Grandmother does not see it your way, do not hesitate to lop off the relationship until she can behave in the best interests of the family.

—Prudie, resolutely

Dec. 30th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC)
Forgot to add, since the gifts have already been distributed, I would just tell her (together) that in the future, Gifts for one child and not the other, excepting birthdays, will be returned to her; and gifts are not to be given or withheld according to whether the children do as she instructs.
Dec. 30th, 2005 11:29 pm (UTC)
Great idea! :)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )