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To feel very upset about 1st 'issue' with MIL or is it my pregnancy hormones

(42 Posts)
hb1976 Sun 12-Jan-14 16:51:29

Bit of back story..... DH and I got married in 2009. My parents are still together, MIL was on her own when we met after DH's father died of cancer a few years previously. During our courtship MIL became close to a family friend (a wealthy bachelor) and they eventually got married a year after us. They moved to the country (about an hour away from us) and live a very idyllic, peaceful life there.

Everyone has always got on ok. If I'm honest I do find MIL quite strange in that she is a very nervy woman, old before her time, few interests in life and even worse now she has married someone very similar to herself. My parents are the same age but very outgoing and enjoy having fun, going on holiday etc.

The biggest difference in the 2 families is the amount of support that they give their children. My parents (and grandparents) live 10 minutes down the road. Their lives revolve around us 'children' and their grandchildren, even more so since my DSis survived a serious cancer 6 years ago- it made our already close family even closer.

My parents see their children and grandchildren most days as we all enjoy spending time together. They are very generous to us as they are quite well off. They pay for family holidays together, have given all of their children a large deposit in order to buy their own homes and have paid for all of their weddings. They are also generous with their time- always able to babysit, pop round to help with DIY etc. nothing is too much trouble.

My MIL is the exact opposite. She sees us about once every 6 weeks and we usually have to visit her despite having a 2 year old and being heavily pregnant with a complicated pregnancy. She rarely attends any family gatherings and, when she does, she is always the 1st to leave, blaming 'getting home to let the dogs out'. She did not even help out her struggling daughter when she had her 2nd child- she only stayed for the day as 'the house was too noisy' and she is offended by breast feeding!!

Regardless of these differences everyone has always been very polite and friendly..... Until now

Today my husband got off the phone from MIL looking upset and worried. Eventually he told me that his mother was very upset because my parents had sent her a big box of chocolates for Xmas that were out of date. Apparently MIL was very offended by this as it showed such a lack of thought. However, she told my husband not to tell anyone about it including me. My DH felt as though he was out in a bad position and ended up telling me which he then regretted because I got really upset.

We have had a crap Xmas this year. On Xmas eve my mum found out that her father had cancer (possibly terminal) after weeks of worry. Despite this, she still hosted Xmas for everyone although understandably she was distracted and needed a lot of support from us. I have no idea what happened with the chocolates. All I can think of is that my mom bought them from the shop without realising they were out of date. Our family is not one to 'recycle' presents from the year before, indeed, being a chunky family chocolate rarely lasts longer than a few days with us.

AIBU to feel really angry with MIL. She knows it is a difficult time for the family (although not all the details) and also knows that my parents are generous people usually. I'm just angry that she seems to have automatically thought that it was some slight on her, rather than that there was probably some explanation. I'm just so shocked that people actually take offence about such stupid things. I also feel that by telling DH in secret she has given my parents no chance to defend themselves and made things awkward for everyone.

CarriesPawnShop Sun 12-Jan-14 16:56:12

My first thought is that chocolates rarely last long enough to go out of date, they usually have a long shelf life (discounting the eating aspect) - so is she confused about the date?

Is she the sort of person to cause a problem where there isn't one?

NatashaBee Sun 12-Jan-14 16:56:23

I think she sounds very rude, and I would be calling her myself to reiterate your parents circumstances and the fact that they are under a lot of stress. I'm sure it was just an oversight and who checks the bloody sell by date on chocolates FFS?!

Redtartanshoes Sun 12-Jan-14 16:56:29

((((Whispers))))) I think it may be pregnancy hormones.

If MIL wants to grumble about out of date chocs that were sent in error let her crack on...

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

Ragwort Sun 12-Jan-14 16:56:39

I think your DH needs to tell her not to be so stupid about a box of chocolates, remind her that your mum's own father is seriously ill. Actually I am not sure why your husband even told you this confused.

However there is clearly more to all this as from your post you obviously find the differences between your own parents and your MIL quite difficult - however you need to remember that everyone is different and there is no 'right or wrong' way when it comes to how often people interact with their own families. Try not to 'compare' your MIL with your own parents.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 12-Jan-14 16:57:16

Yes, it is very annoying to be picked over by someone like this. I would be angry and this would be exacerbated by my pregnancy hormones. But I would try to let it go. It possibly would have been better for your DH not to share with you as what CAN you realistically do about it?

CHJR Sun 12-Jan-14 16:57:32

Maybe she thought DH might have the explanation? (And didn't he?)

NewtRipley Sun 12-Jan-14 16:58:38

I think you are not being unreasonable to feel angry at her pettiness. But I don't think you should take it personally. You already know that her values and behaviour differ from your own, that she is quite odd.

She has been manipulative to your DH - telling someone to keep secrets from their spouse, IMO is not on. Ideally he would have set her straight and not told you.

How does he feel about her complaint? To me, the single most important thing is that you and he are united.

You clearly don't have a close relationship with her anyway so don't let it upset you. Not worth it. The only time I get upset is if people I care for behave in a nasty way, I don't give a shit about people who mean little to me!

Don't waste time and energy on her!

Casmama Sun 12-Jan-14 17:03:28

Your dh is a dufus! He should ave old his dm not to be so ridiculous and self absorbed and reminded her of what your parents are going through.

The last thing he should have one is tell you. If you want o phone her and shame her then feel free- I wouldn't feel that you can't for your big- mouthed husbands sake. However, it sounds like this is just the type of person she is so I would forget it.

hb1976 Sun 12-Jan-14 17:09:45

Thank you for your replies. I do think that maybe you are right and that I should just let it go rather than get upset about it. I do admit my emotions are already all over the place due to my dear grandfather's illness, my anxiety about a possible c section soon and how we are all going to cope. I do also agree that maybe I do secretly 'judge' MIL for holding different values to us. I know many people would find the closeness of our family 'odd' so maybe that is a personal issue I need to address.

DH is a bit concerned about not having secrets between us after a rough few weeks years back when I 'discovered' his love of online porn and he is very open with me now. We generally have a very good, loving and respectful relationship. He does admit that his mom has a history of taking offence at the slightest thing and falling out with people. He says it's because she has nothing else to think about or do.

He has said now that he is going to ring her back to say that she is out of order and tell her that my side of the family is having a very difficult time at the moment.

sykadelic15 Sun 12-Jan-14 18:30:54

Sorry OP but I think you're jealous that she's financially better off, and embarrassed she now thinks your family are "cheap and tacky" gifting expired chocolate.

I think she was tacky to mention it because there was no need to, or to tell your DH.

sykadelic15 Sun 12-Jan-14 18:32:05

I would do exactly what your DH said he would. Call her back and mention it was doubtfully intentional as it's the first time this has happened, and that your family is going through a lot.

Armadale Sun 12-Jan-14 18:40:31

There was a thread on here before Christmas, can't find it now. A Mnetter had bought 4 large and expensive boxes of Chocolates from Tesco as part of her online delivery and when they arrived they had expiry dates of only a week or two that meant they would be out of date before Christmas itself. I expect a similar thing may have happened here.

I think your DH is right when he says that is mother has nothing else to think about or do. Poor her. I'd just ignore it and pity her from a distance.

Chottie Sun 12-Jan-14 18:40:47

I am surprised your MiL even mentioned it, did she not realise about your GP is so ill?

I would just let this go, otherwise the 'out of date chocolate saga' will develop a life of its own. Your MiL sounds a nervy anxious sort of woman and things like chocolate dates probably take over her life.

Congratulations on your new baby to be and just concentrate on your health and enjoying being with your family. smile

hb1976 Sun 12-Jan-14 18:44:27

Sykadelic - I'm not jealous of her financial situation. DH and I are comfortable and have nothing to be jealous of. If anything I am happy that she is now able to enjoy life a bit more as she has has to scrimp and save all her life.

I am upset if she thinks my parents are 'cheap and tacky' as they have done enough for her son and myself over the years to show that they are not.

Loopytiles Sun 12-Jan-14 18:48:33

Sorry your grandfather is ill OP.

MIL is being unreasonable to moan about the gift and to take it personally. Your DH should deal with her as you're planning.

YABU to compare MiL to your own family. Everyone is different and seeing her every six weeks is actually quite a lot, relative to many families. And YABU to moan about "having" to travel an hour visit her, if that doesn't work for you, that's something for you and DH to sort out and change.

fluffyraggies Sun 12-Jan-14 18:53:35

Who on earth checks the sell by dates on a box of chocs shockconfused Like you, OP, in this house they wouldn't be around long enough for anyone to turn the box over to look!

I second the idea that your DH should pull his mother up on this one. How rude, ill mannered and unpleasant to moan to your child about a gift their spouses family has sent. And then to say keep it a secret. Especially when there are so much more important issues going on.

flowers for your grandad OP.

ROARmeow Sun 12-Jan-14 18:54:45

Let your DH ring her and explain what he wants to say about your family situation.

Then leave it at that.

If she wants to simmer and be annoyed about out of date chocs, then it shows how dull she must be.

FWIW, she sounds just like my MIL (apart from the being loaded bit!).

hb1976 Sun 12-Jan-14 19:40:40

Very interesting about the thread regarding the almost out of date Tesco chocolates. Mum does do all her online shopping at Tesco and,as she spent all of December taking my grandfather to appointments, she did get a lot of gifts online this year. Maybe that explains it.

Ragusa Sun 12-Jan-14 20:00:27

I don't think you are being u at all. It does sound, though, like your MIL has one helluva anxiety issue, to the point of not liking noise, company, stints away from home, seeing percieved threats to health from out of date chocs.

Or, she could just be cold, socially graceless and self-centred. Only you and DP really know which. But no, YANBU.

Beccadugs Sun 12-Jan-14 20:00:56

Wouldn't everyone assume that this was a genuine error?

My parents certainly don't send my ILs anything for Christmas, so think this shows your DPs generosity!

YANBU to feel a bit fed up about her making a fuss with your family when they have bigger issues.

However, it does come across as if you don't much like her. You say your family is close and 'My MIL is the exact opposite. She sees us about once every 6 weeks'. You know, for many people, that is frequent contact. I would go absolutely spare if my parents visited every six weeks, it would be stifling.

I wonder if she feels a bit judged for things she feels are normal? I mean, I'd be fed up by someone offended by breastfeeding, who kicked up a stink about out of date chocolates, because these don't strike me as issues to make a fuss about. So I get that. But I suspect it is quite obvious to her that you expect her to be much more like your family, too.

MrsDeVere Sun 12-Jan-14 20:08:41

sky I think that is a bit of a leap to make from the OP confused

hb I think there are two issues here. YANBU to be miffed at MIL's pettiness but I do think YABU to keep comparing her to your family.

People are different. MIL sounds quite nervy and she probably finds social stuff difficult. Its not for you to judge how she treats her children in comparison to how your mum treats you.

I am sorry about your grand dad. Your family sound great and if I were you I would concentrate on how lucky you are to have them ( I mean that in a non snarky way).

Your MIL sounds quite a sad sort of person.

LimeLelloLizard Sun 12-Jan-14 20:11:32

You need to recognise that most people don't have such a wonderful close family who support each other all the time, AND forgive them for not being as lucky as you.

Seriously, live and let live, cut your MIL some slack. Having a little whinge about out of date chocolates is ... very forgivable.

In other words, yes maybe it is pregnancy hormones.

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