AIBU to reply (or not) to MIL's snarky email?

(76 Posts)
TheRabbitCatcher Fri 24-May-13 07:13:59

Sorry....Another MIL thread.

MIL is not an easy woman. She is intelligent, successful, interesting, full of energy, but pretty clueless when it comes to family relationships. I like her (although not really in the capacity of Mother in Law) but she has difficult, complicated relationships with most of her family. I think she quite likes me, despite her view of me as socially, intellectually and morally inferior (that's fine by me). She travels a lot and we therefore don't see much of her, maybe 4/5 times a year.

Yesterday she returned from a 4 week pilgrimage. While walking she wrote a few group emails to family and friends detailing her journey. They were (as ever) interesting, lyrical and thoughtful. But not in any way reciprocal, no 'how are you?' etc. Anyway, on her (unexpected) return yesterday, DH, DBIL and I received a message about how disappointing that we didnn't bother to reply to her messages and how difficult her return home is 'without a safety net'.

In the four weeks she was away we have both been working long hours, our daughter has just started school and our son is having investigations for leukaemia. To be honest, much as I enjoyed her messages, a reply was not top of our list of priorities.

DH sent a reply designed to placate her, he was upset that she came home unhappy and lonely. I just feel pissed off and am tempted to send her a blasting in return. I suppose that would be unreasonable (or unhelpful) and I know that I am projecting a lot of stress about other things in her direction. What else can I say to her? I just feel real angry (especially on behalf of DH).

GiraffesAndButterflies Fri 24-May-13 08:06:03

Yanbu to be angry. But probably much better to rant on here/ to friends than to escalate things further with your mil.

Hope your DS is okay. flowers

jacks365 Fri 24-May-13 08:11:03

My mother does this. We get a group email telling us what they've done and where they are. I just respond with basically a variation on "glad you're enjoying yourself". Last time she came home she commented on the fact that I'm the only one who bothers.

Two granddaughters have birthdays while they are away this time, one has her own email address etc but a birthday greeting gets added a few days before to the bottom of the generic email now that to me is the height of rude.

CouthyMow Fri 24-May-13 08:15:26

Bad form? Christ, I don't always even read my emails more than twice a week. The OP has some quite serious stuff going on in her life, a DS being investigated for leukaemia FFS, and the MIL is throwing her toys out of the pram about them not replying to a fucking email she sent while she was off on her jollys?!

I think juggling long working hours, with a DC just starting school, and a DC being investigated for a serious illness would be higher up anyone's list than a reply to an email.

Because when you have a sick child, replying to your emails is your top priority, isn't it?!

Lovecat Fri 24-May-13 08:32:04

I'm hoping that everyone replying saying that 'you' should have replied is referring to your family unit and not you personally.

She's your DH's mother, if anyone from your family should have replied it's him, not you, unless you're v. close to your MIL (which sounds unlikely from the OP). I get very cross with the expectation that its the female partners who'll do the running with family communications.

I'm not sure why she included you in her disappointed email, as well as her 2 sons, to whom any ire (which I believe to be totally unjustified, she sounds like a drama queen with this 'safety net' nonsense) should have solely been directed.

Lovecat Fri 24-May-13 08:33:24

Jaysus, that last sentence is incomprehensible! blush

brass Fri 24-May-13 09:22:52

Some thoughts:

she only sees you 4-5 times a year, what is her safety net outside of those times?
if she was more involved in your lives she would know your son's health is being investigated
relationships are a 2 way street, you get back what you put in (as she has just discovered)

Fairylea Fri 24-May-13 09:27:20

I wouldn't have replied to round robin email post cards either. They weren't sent just to you.

I think she is overreacting. If I were her I would have just assumed you had been busy, especially with your poor son sad .. and I would have rung you when I got back.

LessMissAbs Fri 24-May-13 09:30:42

MIL is not an easy woman. She is intelligent, successful, interesting, full of energy, but pretty clueless when it comes to family relationships

Gosh. She didn't send a fake, insincere email but one about what she was doing (and it sounds like she was doing something interesting).

A MIL you see 4 or 5 times a year, who keeps in touch, but not too much, and is interesting and active, sounds ideal. How long does it take to reply to an email? Women are allowed to lead interesting lives beyond the age of 50 you know!

You sound a bit judgemental.

cheeseandpineapple Fri 24-May-13 10:03:51

OP, based on your last post, sounds like this isn't really about your MIL but your general stress and worry, particularly about your son. As you say, you're probably directing it at her because she's got the "luxury" of licking her so called "wounds" when you are dealing with what could be very real "wounds".

Very much hope that your son is fine. You're going through every parent's worst nightmare. Either ignore MIL email on basis your DH has responded or send short honest email to say trip sounded amazing, sorry didn't reply, am really worried about DS and can't focus on much else.

That might help her understand that you and your DH need a bit of support at the moment. All the very best, must be so hard to focus on anything else at the moment.

As saski asked, does she know about your DS? If she did then it is really sad and insensitive that she didn't ask about him. But don't let this get you down, you must have so much gng through your mind as it is. If she doesn't know, tell her and tell her how much you as a family would appreciate her support at this time. I really hope your DS is ok flowers

pictish Fri 24-May-13 10:24:22

YOU don't have to reply, no. Leave it to your dh.

pictish Fri 24-May-13 10:25:24

And I'm sorry to hear of your trials too. You certainly don't need this. xxx

voucherprocon Fri 24-May-13 10:38:03

Seriously your daughter has just started school and your son is having investigations for leukemia and she didn't even ask how your DD's first day went or after your DS?

She could fuck right off as far as I was concerned. I wouldn't reply.

Fuckwittery Fri 24-May-13 10:42:50

I wouldn't reply to a group email that was me me me and asked no questions about how I was, how my sick son was, how we were coping. Did your MIL ask any of these questions at all in her emails to you, were any of them personal? If not, yanbu.

TobyLerone Fri 24-May-13 10:44:45

I don't think she sounds self-centred. I think she sounds lonely and upset that nobody could make time to send a quick message saying "It sounds lovely. We are looking forward to seeing you when you get home."

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 10:49:12

I agree toby - when did it become self centred for parent to expect a reply from her sons?

tangerinefeathers Fri 24-May-13 10:50:36

I think it's fine not to reply, given your son's investigations, and also to feel resentful about her having a fun time in good health and then coming home and complaining about not getting any replies.

Does she know what's going on with your son? If she had behaved like this without the stress you are under it might have been a bit less noticeable, but coming when it did I can see why you're angry.

Try not to blast her though. It will only add to your own stress.

I hope your son is OK.

lydiajones Fri 24-May-13 10:50:51

YANBU - I can't believe she didn't take the time to write you a personal email to see how her grandchildren are.

scarletforya Fri 24-May-13 10:51:38

'Safety net' what the fuck ? She's a grown adult. What drivel.

What an insensitive, self absorbed asshat. I'm with couthy. You should have shamed the selfish bag. Does she know about your son?

TobyLerone Fri 24-May-13 10:54:37

I really hope none of you end up as lonely, 50-something women with grown up families who don't seem to give much of a crap about you. This whole thing sounds a little one-sided. Yes, MIL didn't ask about you individually, but none of you seem to be able to set aside a few minutes for her either.

I actually hope it's just because she's a bit of a cow, and not because she's really lonely and sad.

ssd Fri 24-May-13 11:04:22

hope you ds gets good news op, sending best wishes x

voucherprocon Fri 24-May-13 11:26:42

Toby, the OP's son is having investigations for leukemia and she couldn't be arsed to ask how he was. That is totally out of order and if she is that thoughtless then it's no wonder the grown up family didn't feel the need or want to email her back.

brass Fri 24-May-13 11:34:22

I think it's telling that no one bothered to reply to her, says alot about her relationships with people.

Quite frankly if you don't know what's happening in your children's lives you have to take some responsibility for the distance.

Cinnamom Fri 24-May-13 11:38:08

If you read her mails then I think you should have responded. My absolute worst at the moment is when people say "I didnt get a minute, sorry". Nonsense. 10 minutes in a month, everyone has.

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 11:40:20

has the op told grandma her GS might be ill?

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