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AIBU/WWYD re PIL gifts/cards(20 Posts)
Apologies in advance if this is long, I will try keep it as short as possible. Can't decide if it's a WWYD or AIBU but here goes:
DH and I had a falling out with MIL last year, MIL has form for this sort of stuff and while actually nice enough on a superficial level/day to day basis underneath she is actually a bitter woman who will never ever let a grudge go, for that reason I doubt very much we will speak again, however I should point out that the argument was very much 50/50, both parties said things they shouldn't although MIL started it all off. At Christmas she sent the kids gifts via sil but did not see them, dh thanked her for the gifts via text and offered her an olive branch, she threw it back in his face and was really not very nice at all to him but still he said to her that if she wanted to see the kids that she could. We have always said she could see the kids both to her and to via sil to her. I should point out that I say MIL in all of this as that is who the argument was with but FIL evidently has no backbone and is just going along with her and not seeing his son/grandchildren for a quiet life.
Anyway my wwyd is this - what do we do about future cards/gifts? Would we be unreasonable to nicely say that really cards/gifts are pointless if you are not going to see them or should be just take them for the kids. We have offered that they see the kids and she has not taken us up on the offer, dd1 is old enough to try explain something to, dd2 is too young to even miss them. I feel like if she doesn't want to see them then why bother sending gifts at all, if you can't be bothered to see them then surely the gifts are meaningless and only easing guilt by sending them or doing it out of some sort of obligation/so people can't say she didn't type thing.
So would be be unreasonable to nicely say thanks but no thanks (done prior to purchase of gifts not hand them back in a thanks but no thanks way) or what would you do? The situation is likely to arise soon with dd1, as the situation in relatively new to her and she is old enough to feel hurt I am tempted to do nothing this time and say thank you, so she doesn't feel that granny/grandad didn't think of her and next time once she is more used to no contact then say it and explain to dd in advance.
I wouldn't, I'd just give them to the children. Growing up I had a grandparent who I saw very rarely, like twice in 10 years - she still sent gifts and cards, token ones.
It's only a year so far.
It will look like you're stirring trouble or being offended if you say 'no gifts' - it also goes against what you've previously said which is she can come and see them - just because she hasn't yet doesn't mean she won't.
It doesn't sound like you're quite sure how things will go in the future, so I wouldn't do anything yet. Speaking now might put distance between you in a very cut and dried way. I would give tempers and feelings a chance to cool a bit, then see if there's interest in seeing the kids. We had a very similar situation and were surprised that PIL who had initially not wanted to see DD on our terms were very keen to see her on those terms six months later.
Knowing MIL I would be shocked if she saw them at all, she has form for no contact with people and holds grudges for years, I really doubt she will see them ever. I am totally open to accepting any gifts/cards, mainly because dd sees her cousins alot and they are close to MIL so she hears granny/grandad this and that so I think by at least accepting this gifts it is showing her they do care (ish) but to be honest I'll probably leave it up to dh to decide as it's his family, but I know he is hurt so he is saying he won't accept them, I just wanted to get other opinions so I can advise him I suppose
Majestic you didn't say your DH had said he wouldn't accept gifts from her in future in your OP.
Anyway, your DH has been great so far and he should remain civil and not engage in prolonging the fallout. Best to accept the gifts and give them to your children. Your MIL is cack-handedly trying to show she cares for them and has no beef with them and that is all she has left without cutting herself off completely.
Just leave things for now and deal with any future presents as and when they arrive. Support your DH but don't get involved with MIL or you'll end up being painted as the bad guy when she does come to her senses.
it might make it awkward for the people sent to give the gifts i would just accept then sell on/donate if i really didn't want them
I think you're over thinking this and possibly stirring the pot a bit. Just leave it and see if any presents turn up and take it from there.
If she sends presents/cards I think you are obliged to pass them on to the DCs (unless they are seriously inappropriate!!!) because they are their presents/cards and not yours. If the DCs ask why they can't see MIL it's more difficult but that was also your MIL's choice so I would try to explain this to the kids.
I think refusing as yet unsent gifts is upping the ante a bit. Just let your husband handle it. Christmas was only 3 months ago, see what happens, especially if your kids see cousins who are close to their grandparents.
Tbf you said both parties were at fault originally. I know you feel that your mil will continually hold a grudge but I'd wait & see. Did you get on before the row?
Sorry read it wrong - the original row took place last year not Christmas.
majestic I have been NC with my "DM" for over 20 years now. She always sent a card with money inside for DD even though she hasn't seen her since she was 6 months old. We always gave the card and money to dd but never acknowledged same to "DM" as we know it was done with an ulterior motive in mind. It was so she could tell everyone what a nasty piece of work I was in the fact that she always sent cards and money to DD and we never said thank you. (DD has SLD. So obviously couldn't ring/write herself to a woman she doesn't know.). I too used to torture myself at times but I know for a fact that had I ever got in touch to thank her I would have received a torrent of abuse from other family members,(very long story!!). The cash amounts were only very small but I always ensured DD put up the card and bought some small gift for herself with the money. Thankfully it all stopped a few years ago once DD was 18!
Again like you we didn't try and stop toxic mother from seeing DD. But she showed no interest at all. If I had the time over again I would do exactly the same.
It's a difficult one I have no contact with my MIL but DH and dd see her periodically. She sent me a Christmas and a birthday card with a few quid inside each they were those big flowery cards with to a much loved daughter - in - law or something similar on which was odd considering how vile she was to me when I last saw her. But I hate to not acknowledge a gift so I ended up having to text her and thank her for the card money etc and it just felt wrong because we strongly dislike each other. I suppose with your children it's different they haven't fallen out with her you and your DH have could you not get them to write / draw a thank you note and leave it at that?
OP: When your DCs are grownup they may be surprised that you didn't give them the gifts.
They may contact MIL themselves in years to come.
It would be difficult to explain to them why you decided they couldn't have the gifts.
I think that returning gifts, or refusing future gifts, would essentially be you trying to get the last word. What you're aiming for here is to disengage from MIL's pettiness and grudge-bearing, not to beat her at her own game! The most dignified approach would be to accept the gifts, text her a casual thank you, and then business as usual.
How old are they.
I wouldn't make a big deal of it to the children we are in similar situation, gifts get dropped off and we dont make a huge fuss of it to the older child just say, oh look, how nice some presents from grandma.
mine is nearly 7 and never ever mentions PILS or wanting to go there or missing them at all. she used to spend quite a fair bit of time there. they just dont register on her scale.
if however i sat her down and said, whatever it would automatically build it up into a huge thing.
there is no need for it, young ish children lives are developing at a fast rate, lots going on at school, friendships there, and so on.
so, play it down, dont talk about them infront of the dc...dont tell them pils dont want to see them...dont say anything and pass any gifts on without fan fare.
your lucky, i got a card clearly for a child with a cut out lion on it. something grabbed from the bottom of the drawer and not even written to Born Free, just a scrawled signature at the bottom AND ADDRESSED TO MY MAIDEN NAME.
Tbh it really sounds like you're trying to find something to stir here.
Loads of kids get gifts from people they never see. Big deal. Just explain it when you need to.
This sounds more like a gleeful attempt to punish mil and nothing to do with the wellbeing of your kids.
It would be different if it is was relatives that lived far away that your children couldn't see. I got sent money from distant relatives that I never saw and it was fine.
However I think when she is in a position to see them but just refuses to because of her holding then a grudge then YANBU. What's the point? Your children will ask why nanny doesn't see them and you will have to have an awkward conversation then. If they don't get presents, they aren't going to ask about her.
Thanks a million for all your views on this. Crapbag you hit the nail on the head, it is different, if she lived far away etc that would be one thing but she doesn't, they are close by and have been offered contact and choose not to have it, that was the main reason that I felt accepting them seemed pointless, wrong even, maybe I'm not explaining it right.
Qwerty I'm not sure how I gave the impression that it was a "gleeful attempt to punish mil", it is absolutely nothing of the sort. I have no desire to punish her at all. It's not about over thinking it as such either, just that we have an occasion coming up for dd1 very soon that would normally be a big deal with them, it was more that the occasion is looming and I know that soon we might be faced with this situation sort of thing.
Bornfree they are 7 and dd2 is 8 months, their ages were another reason dh had to not accept them - dd1 is old enough that she notices not seeing them but dd2 doesn't know them at all and if the no contact continues then she is literally getting gifts from people she has never met but live close by and choose not to be apart of her life - he/we don't really see the point in it, like why would you send presents to someone you can see but don't see even though they live nearby??
Ultimately I will leave the decision to dh as it is his family but he will ask my opinion so I just wanted to see what others thought
I thought you explained it right. And I still agree, she is the one who is refusing to see her DGC so you and DH are well within your rights to tell her no presents
until- --she grows up.
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