about DH 40th birthday photo album in which I don't appear...?

(159 Posts)
Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 10:32:29

Regular, but have namechanged for my first AIBU, in case the Mn judgement is that I am being unbelievably petty. This is long, as I'm still a bit stunned, but to sum up, AIBU to be hurt and baffled by a 40th birthday photo album of my DH's life, in which I am almost entirely absent?

My DH turned 40 recently, and when his parents came to visit, his mother produced a big photo album she had had professionally made up (engraved leather cover, glossy paper etc) of montages of photos from my DH's life. (They've done similar for significant birthdays of all of the family.)

My MiL showed it to me first before giving it to DH, as he was at work - I thought it was a lovely idea, and said so. So there we were sitting on the sofa, leafing through the album, and I'm cooing over his baby photos and his cub scout award photos etc and as we got towards the student years - which is when DH and I got together, now over 20 years ago - I made a joky remark about being apprehensive about what I was going to look like when I started appearing in the photos, as I had this mad head of henna'ed hair as a student and some horrifying paisley shirts.

So I was mildly relieved not to see myself in the first few pages of student photos, but then thought it was odd I wasn't in any of the graduation photos, as we had been together two years by then, graduated in the same ceremony, and his family knew me well. It went out of my head fairly quickly, though, until I gradually realised I wasn't in any of the photos - not in our MA conferring (again, was in the same graduating ceremony), not at his 21st birthday, not at his PhD conferring, not at family weddings, PiLs wedding anniversary party, not in snaps from two holidays we took with PiL, not in ones from a ski holiday we took with friends, where the only photos are of him solo or with the other two.

It got totally surreal - I was honestly wondering whether I only imagined I had been there on all these occasions! I featured in five group shots - student class photos, a survivors' ball photo etc, and the third last page of the album consisted of three photos of us as a couple, all - oddly - from about eighteen or nineteen years ago.

But, as we had a baby last spring, our first, I thought I would surely feature there - no. There is a lovely photo of DH snuggling our newborn DS in hosiptal, four photos of DH and DS, and a couple of DS solo. End of album.

At this point, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and said something light-hearted like 'Oh, it looks as if DH had a baby by himself', but MiL clearly didn't get what I meant.

AIBU to be so hurt at appearing in 8 photos out of 400 plus, especially not in any of the baby photos? I thought I had a reasonably good relationship with MiL, assuming it was she who collected the photos (it's not my gentle, passive, FiL's kind of thing), and I have been her DS's partner, latterly wife, for 20 years, and am the mother of her youngest grandchild. Now I can't stop wondering whether this is malicious (I've always worked to maintain a cordial relationship, but we're very different people, and she has vocally disapproved of our decision to not have a big wedding and baptise our baby) or whether it simply didn't occur to her that I was an important figure in her DS's life, because I hadn't done what her other DiLs do, which is marry young and have a large family in their twenties.

I keep imagining her going through the hundreds of photos of family occasions and choosing the ones I'm not in. Again, how do you overlook a newborn baby's mother, even if the baby is the child of your adored youngest DS?

I'll never bring it up, but AIBU or being stupidly over-sensitive? Or can you think of any other explanation?

mum382013 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:34:46

Thats awful, what does your dh think?

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Tue 26-Feb-13 10:35:48

YANBU I'd be hurt too. What does your DH say about it?

MannishBoy Tue 26-Feb-13 10:37:41

This sounds like my mum, she'd much rather my DW didn't exist. Unfortunately, it's back fired on her.

I'm afraid that she probably knows you won't bring it up and, if challenged by DH, will say that as you haven't complained then it's fine.

quoteunquote Tue 26-Feb-13 10:39:23

How mean.

SminkoPinko Tue 26-Feb-13 10:39:48

how awful for you. i would be sad too. is it possible she doesn't have very many photos of you? ( tries desperately to think of a good reason...) she should have asked around if so though.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 26-Feb-13 10:40:31

I have never heard anything like this, YANBU. Okay you wouldn't feature on every page but so few shots out of 400 and not even with DS? confused Bit of a slap in the face!

Has MIL done this with SIL or BIL and their partners? If not I guess it's just you as spouse of adored youngest DS.

catgirl1976 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:40:54

Yowch sad

YANBU

She sounds rather like my MIL, so you have my sympathies

What's your DHs view?

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 26-Feb-13 10:41:46

That's horrible...

I'm always a bit hurt when I visit my inlaws and they have photos of everyone (including siblings' partners) but me. I'm completely absent...and it stings.

I can't imagine how much worse it would be to have all your adventures and great achievements listed, but without actually being present.

Would DH let you edit it to include some photos of you? Is that possible?

Osmiornica Tue 26-Feb-13 10:43:19

Aren't there even any photos of you both at your wedding?

ISeeSmallPeople Tue 26-Feb-13 10:43:38

YANBU.

mum382013 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:47:41

YA SO NBU
horrid MIL
i'm hoping your DH will go nuts with his mum

GilmoursPillow Tue 26-Feb-13 10:49:59

I would bring it up rather than spend my life wondering. I would simply ask if there was a reason she excluded me from a book of her son's life.

HormonalHousewife Tue 26-Feb-13 10:51:38

What an absolute cow she is being to you.

I can understand you not wanting to bring it up but would your DH ? I am presuming he thinks its completely wierd behaviour.

Well, the gloves are off now. You both need to make sure she never gets a photo from you again without you being in it and an a place where it cant be snipped off. Never let her have a picture of your DS by himself, dont give in when he has his first school photo taken.

Infact its mothers day coming up soon, why not send her a lovely framed photo with just you and DS grin and add the comment 'seeing you dont have any of me' grin

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 10:53:26

Osmiornica, there aren't actually any photographs of our wedding, ironically. grin. We never wanted to marry, and did it very quietly with security guards at the town hall as witnesses just before our baby came - we don't live in the same country as either set of parents, and there would have been huge pressure for a big, white, Catholic wedding we could neither afford nor want. A friend had almost died in childbirth a month before, so we just wanted the legalities sorted.

If I see the photo album as malicious, this is one of the 'reasons' I've thought of - that it's a kick in the teeth aimed at me, because MiL assumes it's me who influenced DH to marry so quietly. But I hate that thought.

DH's response is 'Oh, you know how mad she is' (the general family response to her being autocratic, though no one ever confronts her on anything). I didn't want to spoil his pleasure in the album, so said nothing to him until after PiLs had left, when he was sorry and said he would bring it up, but I told him not to. I'm not after a scene, and MiL, though I honour her good qualities, is not someone who has enough self-consciousness to analyse her own motives, and would never apologise for causing hurt. She would see it as me over-reacting.

OnlyWantsOne Tue 26-Feb-13 10:56:41

YANBU

I would never be able to myself would ask her why she's excluded you?

weegiemum Tue 26-Feb-13 10:58:01

That's awful! My dad did similar for my 40th, and from the time I met now-dh (25 years now) he features in the pictures, with me, with my brothers, even on his 23 birthday, blowing out his candles. And I think all but 2 shots (taken at home before the service) on our wedding day. The pics of our dcs births are both of us.

I can't understand why they would do this?

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 11:01:30

The only explanation I can think of is that she doesn't actually have many photographs of you. Presumably she didn't ask you for any to include? So they would only be ones she's actually taken herself. Maybe she only took ones of your dh?

Which is weird enough in itself and, of couse, yanbu.

ISeeSmallPeople Tue 26-Feb-13 11:03:02

I'd take the opportunity to go on a well deserved holiday smile
After all, they don't need you.

Meanwhile mentally downgrade the nursing home you will put her in.

rodandtheemu Tue 26-Feb-13 11:04:48

Thats horrible..

You are a massive part in DH life as he is yours. What about your wedding day? I cant believe MIL that are like this ??

I bet DH has noticed but didnt want to bring it up.

What I would do is bring it up with DH and tell him how hurt you are by this (as its a biggy) and then sit down with a bottle of wine and look through old pics of you two, have a laugh and put some of those in too.

My MIL would do some thing like this. I would say be brave and bring it up your self when she next comes round and say ''oh we added to it, dont they look great!''

I would also orginise a family pic and leave her out!

Hidious old witch!

Nancy66 Tue 26-Feb-13 11:05:09

I'm going to go against the grain here and say that I can't see it as being that big a deal.

If you didn't feature in any photos you might have a point. But you're in 8 of them.

If she had excluded pictures of you at your wedding I'd say that was significatn - but you say yourself that no such pictures exist.

I think you're being a bit childish about it.

rodandtheemu Tue 26-Feb-13 11:07:38

soory OP didnt see your other post, took ages loading this one up !

gerbilsarefun Tue 26-Feb-13 11:07:59

Yanbu, I appear in my oh's 40th album. Not in loads but significant events from our meeting onwards. Why are some mothers in laws so spiteful?

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 11:09:09

No, Donkeys - her other SiLs and DiLs clearly count as family in a way I don't, judging by photo coverage in their birthday montages! It may well be that, despite the fact I've been with DH from the age of 19, us not having married till recently meant I didn't 'count' in the same way. Also, all the others live close to PiLs in the town DH and I grew up in, and see one another all the time, whereas we live abroad, though we see them regularly.

And there are hundreds of photos with me in them from all these events, because I remember them being taken, so it's honestly not from a lack of material. Also, if more were needed, PiLs are on very good terms with my parents, who live close by, so they could have borrowed some of their back catalogue of the same events to scan.

I should probably have brought it up at the time, but to be honest I was a bit stunned - I'm always crap at responding off the cuff to something hurtful. I laugh it off and then cry later. In my defence, the PiLs arrived 36 hours after we'd moved house with a small baby, and I couldn't face a row in the circumstances.

DH would have brought it up, and said he was going to on a number of occasions until I begged him not to because I hadn't the energy for a scene. She would never answer honestly, and it's perfectly possible that it never occurred to her that she was excluding me.

Yes I was thinking same as squeaver, maybe she doesn't have a lot of photos of you? If you don't all live in the same country there won't be many 'everyday' photos, you didn't have a wedding so no photos there, you're just starting down the path of loads of grandchild photos...

I do think it's weird but maybe not totally malicious, just thoughtless. YANBU to be upset though.

OhMyNoReally Tue 26-Feb-13 11:10:09

Maybe just for perspective it was an album of your dh reaching 40, so she was finding photos of just him that she liked, a sort of adoring mum to son. Your mil maybe never considered making a key moments album, not being funny but some mil don't consider partners or marrying partners key events even if they do give amazing grandchildren.

My fil was like this, so much so much so that I never felt part of his family. But it is very odd and yanbu to be hurt by this. Just try and see past it. Maybe make an album for them for Christmas with lots of all of you in, especially yourself, just as a gentle reminder.

Lucyellensmum95 Tue 26-Feb-13 11:12:17

I think she has sour grapes over the wedding - totally unreasonable of her but i bet that is what it is.

However it might just be that she just didn't think and wanted it to be pictures of her DS, are there other people in it? Is she in it? Siblings?

To be honest, unless you challenge her about it (sensitively) it is going to become a source of resentment. If my first suggestion is right then resent away but it would be a shame if there was another explanation.

See, I HATE having my photo taken, hate it and woudl be quite miffed if i was INCLUDED in such an album - maybe your MIL felt awkward about putting too many pictures of you in it?

domesticslattern Tue 26-Feb-13 11:13:21

I think you've given us the reason mothproof. You excluded her from your wedding day (I'm not arguing with your reasons btw, just saying that's how she saw it). So the next opportunity she gets to be in charge of a family celebration she returned the compliment by only including 8 pictures of you in an album. Personally I'd just leave it. In the great scheme of things if your marriage is happy who cares what she thinks.
Happy birthday to your DH!

TheCatIsUpTheDuff Tue 26-Feb-13 11:13:58

That sounds really unkind. What does your DH think? Is MIL likely to have been so focused on her precious baby that she didn't notice that she'd picked all the photos without you in them?

My MIL had a picture up on the wall of DH and his ex, until DH asked her to take it down. It had been there for years, and was a nice picture of DH, and she'd stopped noticing Ex was there! She wasn't being malicious, just unobservant.

It's possible she thinks that you dislike photographs of yourself, I suppose (given the lack of wedding photos, she might think 'Oh, Mothproof's so non-vain, she hates having her photo taken and having people look at her'). Either that or she just picked all the best ones of your H and the ones featuring you were the ones where he was squinting or out of focus...

I think YANBU at all to be hurt by it, but it's probably best to let it slide if, as you say, she will neither understand nor apologise. Poor you.

Saltire Tue 26-Feb-13 11:14:30

OP I know exactly how you feel. Step MIL did something similar for FIL's birthday. 200 photos, not 1 with me in it. Even the pics from our wedding day - there's one of DH and SIL (she was a bridesmaid), 2 of FIL,DH and SIL, 3 of DH with his dad. Then photos of the DSes, not one with me in yet lots of DH with the DSes as babies/children/teenagers or FIL and SMIL with them and about 30 of the DSes on their own. Theres even a pic of our dog in it hmm.

Its actually like I don't exsist in their minds

digerd Tue 26-Feb-13 11:20:56

For her mother's day, send her a beautifuly framed photo of you, DH and the baby - held in your arms.
Have you seen his siblings albums she made for them?

She was either being utterly thoughtless or malicious - I don't know.
DH should have said " There's lots of me mum, but none of DW with our baby. We'll take some and send them to you for your album"

FatherReboolaConundrum Tue 26-Feb-13 11:21:24

Ouch. It's lovely when your OH's family do this kind of thing, isn't it? Not had it in anything like this extreme a form, and not from parents, but at a big family event last year my DP's brother-in-law made some crack to me about me being 'almost family'. DP's sister shushed him in a way that showed that she thought it was funny and was obviously a point of view they shared. I'd been with DP nearly 20 years at this point, but not married and no DC so I don't count. It stung, even though I didn't think I even vaguely cared about his opinion. OP, just keep reminidng yourself that you don't like or respect the woman anyway, so her childish behaviour doesn't matter.

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Feb-13 11:23:45

If she'd done the same for the others, with next to no photos of their other halves, then I'd say it was nothing to worry about. But since the others' partners feature heavily, then yes it does look personal and pretty fucking bad, sorry. sad
What a horrible thing to have done, when you've been part of her DS's life for more than half of it. There really is no excuse - she's just mean-spirited.

I think by now there probably is no point discussing it with her, as you've already said that you doubt you'll get the truth - just ignore it, then if she meant it to be pointed, she'll never truly know that you were affected by it at all, which will piss her off. smile

In the meantime - I'd stop bothering about doing anything for her. She might suspect it's because of the photo book but she won't know for certain.

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 11:25:18

Fair enough, Nancy - I welcome the opposite view and have told myself I was being a bit juvenile from time to time. In my defence, of the famous eight in which I appear, in five you'd have to get out a magnifying glass to see me (graduating class photos etc), and none is more recent than eighteen or nineteen years ago.

I think what stings most is that a stranger looking at the album would think I was a passing fling from student days, and would wonder where on earth the baby came from, because the baby snaps appear out of nowhere grin.

Do people really think it's genuine hurt at the lack of wedding? I mean, no one was invited, we didn't have time, as we got a cancellation a fortnight before my due date, and I was feeling ghastly with SPD and apprehensive about the birth (first-time older mother whose friend almost died of eclampsia a few weeks earlier). It wasn't even a 'wedding day' - we just did it in normal clothes on our lunch breaks and went back to work afterwards! Neither of us even remembers the exact date because DS's (rather complicated) birth was so soon afterwards!

Thanks for all responses, including those from other people in not dissimilar situations. I am going to leave it, as, realistically, I will never get an answer. I think I posted here as a way of hearing what other people thought instead.

quoteunquote Tue 26-Feb-13 11:29:52

One of my friends told me every time her MiL pulls a nasty stunt, she makes a point of having loud sex with her husband,when staying at Mil or if MiL is staying. Which made me giggle.

OP, you probable have lived with your husband for longer than she did, so maybe she feels her grip slipping,

Just make a new book, include all the pictures from the original, and add lots of new ones, all your high days and holidays, and give it to your husband.

I absolutely think it could be genuine hurt

Not all, but some mothers do dream of their children's wedding days, it's a big thing for them. To not be invited at all would seem like a huge snub and be really disappointing regardless.

I'm not judging your choice, we had a registrar wedding too... originally we were just going to do it on our own but then we realised we would never hear the end of it from our parents so we did have close family.

I think you have to do what's best for you but you have to be realistic that other people might be disappointed.

Maybe she didn't understand why the big rush, after all these years? Actually maybe I don't understand, even if God forbid something terrible had happened, what would the actual difference be if you were married or not?

carabos Tue 26-Feb-13 11:39:29

I think that her motives don't really matter - it may be innocent, it may not. BUT the outcome is that you are hurt. If her motives are innocent, then she will be mortified that she has inadvertently caused you pain, if not, then she needs to be pulled on it. In either scenario you need to take her the solution, not the problem - i.e. this is what DH and I would like you to do and here are the photos to do it with please MiL.

These are the little incidents that after you get divorced you look back on and wonder why you didn't take action and wonder whether if you had taken action that things might have turned out differently in the long run [speaks from experience].

Like you, I distinctly remember being in the photos at my XH's sister's wedding. However, when the final album was "published" some months after the event, I wasn't in any of them - not one - it was as if I hadn't been there. What they had done (it turned out) was call everyone they needed for the shot list, taken the shot, then called for me in a "oh dear we couldn't find you" sort of way, did the shot again and then simply chose the first one for the final album - and yes, that is almost too incredible to believe, but it's what happened.

If you value your marriage, and this hasn't been an innocent mistake, then do something about it before it escalates.

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 11:40:49

Dreaming, the friend who almost died was in a coma for a week, and as she wasn't married to her partner, he was told that if she died or remained unable to name him on the birth cert, he would have to take a DNA test/go to court to prove he was the father of the baby. That was what spooked us.

I take your point about the wedding, but DH is the youngest of eight, and all the others had massive white weddings - wouldn't there come a point where you stopped being quite so excited about it all, especially if you could see there was a reason for someone doing it so quickly and quietly? We had a massive party in the summer to make up for it.

nipersvest Tue 26-Feb-13 11:45:31

but nancy, it's 8 photo's out of 400, they've been together for 20 years! am going to have to disagree with you as i don't think moth is being childish at all.

yanbu op, how are the photo's mounted?, are they under those sticky back plastic pages?, i'd go through the album and add a few of your own in there.

MrsMushroom Tue 26-Feb-13 11:45:47

Stick some BIG pics of you on top of any in which SHE appears. Then show her your adjustments.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 26-Feb-13 11:46:05

I didn't want to spoil his pleasure in the album, so said nothing to him until after PiLs had left, when he was sorry and said he would bring it up, but I told him not to. I'm not after a scene

I didn't think you were being childish from the outset and I think this shows you are not stamping your foot and being brattish. I do agree that, to quote you again, MIL felt aggrieved at missing out on her adored youngest's wedding. 'Nothing personal' as they say, but she felt cheated.

Can't he give it back to his mother on the basis he loves it and will treasure it for ever, but really wants you to appear in it as you are such an important part of his life, and ask her to swap say 50 photos over? After all, he should want this!

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Feb-13 11:52:59

I think this is really awful! I am now glad that I made my husband a 40th birthday book myself!

Corygal Tue 26-Feb-13 11:55:51

I think it's thoughtless rather than malicious, I really do.

Yes, I would be hurt too but bear in mind that the album is about him - not you as a couple - and made by an old woman who is still a doting mummy to her 40-yr-old baby boy.

There is a page dedicated to you and him, by the sounds of things.

I would let it go - she's old and barmy, as your DH was the first to say. And to coin a phrase, this is one time when it just isn't about you.

SirBoobAlot Tue 26-Feb-13 11:57:09

Bloody hell, how horrible!! shock My ex-MIL has photos of me with DS up in their house.

So sorry she did this to you. Maybe you could do another mini album for DH, a history of your time together or something? If he's 40, you've been together half his life.

mrsjay Tue 26-Feb-13 11:57:13

OP that is just weird doesnt she like you id be a bit confused and fuming about it

MustafaCake Tue 26-Feb-13 11:57:50

You have every reason to feel hurt OP.

Even if she is pissed off about how you chose to marry she has no right to blame you for that. It was yours and your DH's wedding and therefore your choice how you wished to do it.

I would be expecting DH to have some stern words with MIL.

"that's just the way she is" or "she's mad" is not a valid excuse for behaving so horribly.

mrsjay Tue 26-Feb-13 11:58:47

saying that My mil had a picture up in her house from a christening of dh and the dds it was the only 1 taken she had it blown up I thought OK THEN hmm I am sure she had her reasons probably wanted 1 of her boy and his girls I guess

WilsonFrickett Tue 26-Feb-13 11:59:02

Ow! I think she's being really petty and agree with a pp who says it's her way of grabbing control back from you after the wedding. She might not be aware that's what she's doing, mind you, but it's definitely what she's doing?

Can I cheer you up? At my DM's 50th/DB's 21st they stuck lots of family photos up on poster paper as decorations and there was all of one of me. I cried for a week. And I'd paid for all the catering too.

PanickingIdiot Tue 26-Feb-13 12:03:50

She sounds mental. Did you say you lived in different countries? Rejoice in the fact.

I'd have probably asked her about it right there and then, but since you didn't, bringing it up now would make it a bigger deal than it needs to be.

I think it's a good thing that your husband offered to pull her up on it, it shows he isn't as mental as his mother - again, rejoice in the fact. But I also think you were right in asking him not to.

She sounds awful. You sound reasonable and generous and your husband seems to know where his priorities lie. That's the important stuff. The rest is just a stupid photo album that will gather dust on some shelf till the end of time.

DeWe Tue 26-Feb-13 12:09:53

Is it perhaps just that the photos she has of both of you, for some reason didn't make the final cut. She may have gone home and thought "oh heck, I didn't realise".

I wouldn't expect them to go and borrow off your parents, simply because it wouldn't occur to them.

When we big mistake went away with the IL a couple of years ago, dh did a photo book afterwards for the pil. He asked everyone for their photos, but when we went through the photos and initially just picked out our first choice we discovered we only had one or two (out of about 60-70) of one of the families involved. And of those one was the whole group one, and the other they were fairly background.

Not because we were being nasty, just they don't tend to take well in pictures, so the initial picking out of ones that were suitable and nice reduced them down. One of the other families (who incidently was only there for half the time) featured heavily because they looked lovely in almost every picture they were in.
Now we noticed it as we were reducing down, when we were trying to make sure that each family had a representative (as it were) on the front cover) So we ended up doing a tally and making sure that it was roughly even between the families.

If they didn't think of it, then they may not have noticed. Once you've noticed it may be very obvious.

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 12:11:49

grin at some of the suggestions. No, it's not a photo album with the see-through plastic pages - the photos were scanned and printed onto glossy paper and bound - so there can't be any swapping of photos!

I'm probably coming across as some kind of megalomaniac here, but I'm honestly not. I know it's not about me, and I certainly wasn't expecting to feature heavily - it's DH's life. It's just a bit disconcerting that we now have a huge coffee-table book (I swear, it is huge!) that looks like a family bible in which 20 years plus of my life with DH don't seem to exist, and our gorgeous baby was magically produced by his father alone!

mrsjay - that's a good question. I have no idea whether she likes me after all this time. I think she'd be confused by the question. I'd say she fundamentally doesn't get me. She grew up very poor and brought up her own large family in very difficult circumstances, and I really admire her for that. The trouble is that the flipside of her energy and determination is very little flexibility, humility or imagination - she's a battler, with no idea that there are other ways to live. I also grew up very poor, but managed to get to university on scholarships and grants etc and make a very different kind of life, and I think she thinks I'm 'posh', despite my parents living down the road from her in an identical house!

I'm sorry about the whole thing as I've honestly worked so hard at maintaining (I thought) a good relationship with her. I'm still going to work at that, as she's elderly and unwell, and I'm very fond of my FiL, but I feel a bit smacked down.

ajandjjmum Tue 26-Feb-13 12:13:00

Can't you change some of the pages yourself to include photos with you - and next time you see her, say you might like to see the modifications we've made to your gift, DH is much happier now that it's a true reflection of his life.

Cow.

pinkdelight Tue 26-Feb-13 12:13:12

Also agree it could be residual hurt from the wedding. I'm another who had a quiet wedding with no family and thankfully they were fine with that. I get what you're saying that no one attended so it wasn't a snub, BUT that doesn't mean they weren't hurt and disappointed. I think you have to take this album in the same spirit. It's a gift from her to her son. It would have been lovely if you were included more, but you aren't and that's her decision. YABU to feel hurt and disappointed, but a photo album is less of a big deal than a wedding, so I'm afraid you just have to be big about it - as presumably she put on a front and didn't go berserk about the wedding. You can't have it both ways, make out some of these family things are meaningful and others aren't, according only to your rules. So whilst I sympathise totally, I really think you have to smile and suck it up.

pinkdelight Tue 26-Feb-13 12:14:05

"YABU to feel hurt and disappointed, but a photo album is less of a big deal than a wedding"

Sorry, I meant YANBU to feel hurt...

FakePlasticLobsters Tue 26-Feb-13 12:15:00

If they were set on a big Catholic white wedding then I don't think it matters how many others they have been to. If his siblings all had them and he's the only one no to have one, they still might have an issue with that.

Especially if they had been waiting 19 years for it and perhaps thought that the pregnancy might encourage you both to finally get married, and in the way they imagined, the way the rest of the family did.

It's not really about wanting to be in more photos in the album though, is it? It's the way it has made you question their feelings for you after all this time, and wonder about how they view you as a member of their family.

And I do think that has to be addressed in some way. They might be very upset to realise that they have hurt you. But as you have said you are not after a scene, are they the sort to make one?

pinkdelight Tue 26-Feb-13 12:16:16

Playing devil's advocate still, when you say:

"bible in which 20 years plus of my life with DH don't seem to exist, and our gorgeous baby was magically produced by his father alone!"

She could equally well think:

"There was a wedding in which my life as mother of your DH didn't seem to exist - as if your DH was magically produced from thin air with no family just for you."

Like I say, I'm on your side, but I'd like to think I wouldn't give any more of a toss about a book of pictures than I would about the charade of a big wedding.

I think I would save up the money and have the book redone - using pictures from the book your MIL had made, but adding in more of your life together - pictures of you both at graduations etc, and particularly of the two of you with your baby.

And I would be very tempted to tell your MIL, calmly and politely, how upset you were at being airbrushed out of your dh's life like that, and to ask why she had done it that way - then if she is really upset about the wedding, you can get it all out into the open, explain the reasons behind it, and sooth her hurt feelings - thus proving yourself to be magnanimous, and hoping she would do the same.

GoEasyPudding Tue 26-Feb-13 12:25:40

This big bible like book can be put away in an equally big box and that box can go in the attic.
Next clear out you do it can be destroyed. That's what I would do otherwise future historians and family geneologists will know nothing about you and you will be deleted from history!

Maybe you can get DH to ask for the compter file in which the format and pictures were saved in? He can say there are some fab pics and he would really like a copy to make other prints.

Those big printed books cost a lot of money but even so I would suggest you make a new one and make sure you get yourself back into this photo history.

DeWe I think it's pretty insulting to say that over twenty years MIL could only find 8 acceptable photos of her!

OP YANBU, I would be devastated if my mum had done a book for me with hardly any pics of DH in it. MIL clearly spent a lot of time and effort doing this, so whatever her reasons she has done it on purpose. I also think it's probably got a lot to do with being put out about the wedding - although I wish we had done it your way.

pinkdelight - have you been excluded from a family member's wedding or something? Because seriously, a wedding is a nice day and all, but it is personal to a couple. You can be married without having a big song and dance about it.

Your comment 'There was a wedding in which my life as mother of your DH didn't seem to exist - as if your DH was magically produced from thin air with no family just for you.' makes no sense IMO. There are plenty of pics of MIL - but MIL wasn't the one getting married. It is no essential for her to be there!

Hell I'm not explaining myself very well, but I think she is being VERY UR and I wouldn't have a book like that out. What a slap in the face every time you see it.

rollmopses Tue 26-Feb-13 12:30:15

Ghastly, such passive-agressive sting, if you will.
Be terribly lovely and don't mention it.
However, the next time MIL visits, make sure she sees the said album under years-worth of copies of New Scientist or similar, heavily covered in dust.

pinkdelight Tue 26-Feb-13 12:35:47

JackieTheFart you seem to have completely misread my post - I excluded people from my wedding!!! I totally see the OP's side of things. I am, however, trying to be helpful and also see things from the MIL's side of things. Luckily (like i said!!!), my family were okay and also took the view that a big song and dance wasn't necessary. But the OP has said this was very much not the case with her MIL and there's the whole catholic thing etc. So while it's all well and good for us to say a wedding is not a big deal, clearly it is to some people, many people many in fact. And a MIL who dotes on her son enough to compile such a vast album of his photos could quite understandably have felt airbrushed out of his life on his wedding day.

I hope that's clear now??

But I second the advice to just bung the album in a box in the attic and forget it.

firesidechat Tue 26-Feb-13 12:35:59

This does seem incredibly thoughtless.

We did a similar album to give to our daughter when she got married recently.
Knowing that the guests would be looking through it during the reception, we made sure all the significant people from her life were there. This was tricky with some because we had more pictures of friends than family. We had been on holiday with said friends and you always take more pictures on your hols don't you? We still made sure everyone was in there.

Perhaps she just didn't think. Clutching at straws here.

Just noticed that you were in some of them, so that doesn't seem so bad. There is limited room in an album and perhaps including more of you would have excluded some people.

beatofthedrum Tue 26-Feb-13 12:37:08

Poor you, YADNBU, she sounds very unpleasant. I agree, no point in challenging her as the deed is done. Just file it away and don't trust her. You don't need to live with her on your doorstep, so try not to let it cast a big shadow. That sort of spiteful behaviour is not worth fretting over as you can't change it. What a shame she did that. The problem is clearly her, not you.

pink you are right I misread blush

Apologies!

pinkdelight Tue 26-Feb-13 12:39:09

No sweat. Fellow wedding-minimisers unite!

drjohnsonscat Tue 26-Feb-13 12:45:51

poor you Moth. She sounds mad and you do not sound like a megalomaniac at all. You are the most important person in his life and you gave him DCs and she has edited you out of his life story!

There's a chance she was being thoughtless rather than malicious, I suppose. If it was malicious, would she have included you at all? Perhaps she didn't really notice or think about it properly. Or that she didn't have many photos of you in the first place. It's true to say that barely any photos of me exist in the world because I'm always holding the camera. But I'm sorry - she sounds absolutely mad.

You are right to be hurt but don't feel you are being neurotic or paranoid. It's just a very big mistake on her part - either she meant it or it's an oversight but either way it's her mistake.

PessaryPam Tue 26-Feb-13 12:48:22

I'd take the album into the garden, douse it in BBQ fluid and burn it.

scarletforya Tue 26-Feb-13 12:49:24

Wow, yanbu OP.

That must have stung. You seem to have a good insight into her and I think you are correct that she was a bit huffy about the wedding and semi-unconsciously tried in her mind to 'redress the balance'. I think you're right that she's probably not self-aware enough to realise she's done this as a bit of a dig at you.

Very unfair of her. Especially to sit you down and go through the book with you. I mean if she had genuine premeditated malice then that was a nasty thing to do.

Either way, I think you're right to leave it. You're in a no-win situation here. She launched her little shitty stealth bomb more or less un-noticed. But she's elderly and in bad health and mistakenly perceived she'd been snubbed for the wedding. You can't do anything really. She doesn't get it.

If she is that primitive in her thoughts and actions and did it as revenge then best let her on with it. She'll wage a war with you and percieve any attempt to explore/understand why she did it and if it was intentional as an 'attack' and make a spectacular hoo-haa about how you selfishly ruined her sons birthday suprise photo book.

Some people place great store in marriage/weddings etc. I find it hard to get into their heads but they do exist. Perhaps she's that old school.

She lacks grace anyway. All you can do is be the bigger person and let her actions speak for themselves I suppose. Maybe get your own photobook made of the family, it might help you feel less slapped down.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 26-Feb-13 12:49:26

5 group shots and 3 as a couple? no I think MIL knew what she was doing

shesariver Tue 26-Feb-13 12:51:05

jackie I do get what you are saying but to lots of people a wedding day is about sharing it with the people who mean most to you. Obviously you see nothing wrong with the bride and grooms parents not being there, others, like myself think differently - I would be devastated if any of my 3 children didnt invite me to their wedding but of course I would have to deal with it if thats what they wanted, and I certainly wouldnt react like this MIL, if indeed that is what has motivated her. And pinks comment makes perfect sense to me - I wouldnt react like that but I can see how someone may think this.

OP I dont think YABU at all, and I to would be very hurt if this me.

allibaba Tue 26-Feb-13 12:52:40

I have been with my DH for 10 years and have shared in pratcially every major celebration of his life and that of his family.

There are no photos of me in their house. There are no photos in the house of my DH post meeting me - its almost like he got to 24 and the camera broke and they didn't get a new one.

Its sad but unfortunately this is how some people are and there isn't much you can do about it. Doesn't stop you getting upset though and feeling pretty betrayed by the people you thought had accepted you as part of their family.

It could just be thoughtlessness. When DH and I got married his mother ordered an album of photographs from the photographer: there were more pictures of her niece (who was, admittedly, cute and seven and one of the bridesmaids) than there were of DH, and I only featured in a couple. But she hadn't done it on purpose -- she'd just gone through thinking "Awww, that's a lovely picture" and sticking them in, and hadn't stopped to consider the overall balance. It could be similar with your MIL. Possibly. Or she might have done it on purpose.

drjohnsonscat Tue 26-Feb-13 12:55:26

Maybe get your own photobook made of the family, it might help you feel less slapped down

I like this idea. Or take it further and get a picture of you and DH blown up and put on a canvas big enough to take up a whole wall in your house. Then have it reproduced on mugs, coasters, calendars, mouse mats and scatter them all round your house. Get T shirts made up for the whole family and go round there wearing them. Don't mention it but just have her looking at pictures of the two of you wherever she turns. Do those personalised Moonpig birthday cards as well. Could be fun grin

I would have agreed it was thoughtlessness until I read a post by the OP that the partners of her DH's siblings had been featured in their albums.

DelGirl Tue 26-Feb-13 12:59:55

bloody hell, that's really horrible, so sorry for you. If it makes you feel any better, my mum arranged for a video to be made out of old cine film and it was called The xxxxxxx family album. You guessed it, I didn't feature sad. I am the youngest of 4 children.

At the time I sort of laughed it off as my mum is not known for tact but I was hurt. She said it was because they didn't have any film of me, it may have been nice to have included some photo's or imo not done it at all which now that I've typed it seems selfish of me.

Not sure how you get past it OP, what does dh say?

EuphemiaLennox Tue 26-Feb-13 13:00:09

If it was deliberate it really is spectacularly malicious.

But maybe it was just thoughtless.

Maybe she was just concentrating on it being all about him, and finding and choosing photos of him, and in doing this she was unaware that she'd unintentionally excluded you, because she wasn't looking for photos of you?

Maybe she then did realise at the end and added the final page of photos of the two of you, to address this slightly?

You haven't been totally excluded.

Only you can really try to make a judgement on how deliberate this was, but I would have thought if she hated enough to put this Machiavellian plan into action to strike deep hurt, you'd have twigged about it before now.

My parents have framed photos up, of me and my boys together, it wouldn't occur to my DH to be offended, he knows photos of their child with her children are special, and not an indication of an evil plot to demonstrate how much they hate him. But he's not thier child, he's my husband (who they do love and have a few photos of.)

Bobyan Tue 26-Feb-13 13:01:01

On fil's next birthday do a photo album without her and see what her reaction is...

TomArchersSausage Tue 26-Feb-13 13:11:36

sad I would be very hurt too. Thoughtless or malicious it's still hurtful.

From what you say it sounds more thoughtless, but even so...what a very silly person she is.

scaredysquirrel Tue 26-Feb-13 13:14:38

my mum and dh's do this! My mum did an album for my 40th, where the photos stopped at me leaving home to go to university! (talk about having issues). So nothing happened for the next 22 years.

and my MIL does albums the whole time which she gives to DH, including one of our wedding, where the most prominent photo was one of him and his brothers! I was in one photo! There are no photos of me and dh at all in her house. Whenever I have a new baby she just takes photos of him holding the baby, or her, and she produces a compilation every year (her H is a keen photographer) and I don't feature in any photos!

She's a bitch though so I just don't see her anymore.

mama04 Tue 26-Feb-13 13:16:08

Lol @bobyan I like that idea winkwink I sympathise deeply she sounds just like my future mil and she is the reason why it's Dp and not Dh! confused

TomArchersSausage Tue 26-Feb-13 13:21:51

Or go and have one of those lovely big family photos done, 'Ooh Mil come and see our picture! Just dh with his close family. For his birthday and to celebrate all the years we've been together.'

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 13:26:35

That's the ironic thing, Bobyan - MiL was desperately upset at her father's wake a few years ago when her nasty brothers had made a montage of photos of their father and his children projected onto a screen in the pub, included all twelve siblings except her, and then started nagging her about contributing to the catering.

After reading all the responses - thanks, everyone - I've pretty much decided it's probably not active malice. I think the three tokenistic ancient photos on the third last page suggest she thought, 'Oh, gosh, better have a couple of Mothproof'. I do think it's significant thoughtlessness, though - I mean, it doesn't seem to have occurred to her that her own DS might have been hurt that his longterm partner and the mother of his child was left out. I mean, I'm important to him, if not to MiL, and have been for 20 years, and you'd think anyone with half an ounce of common sense would realise that...?

Euphemia, I think it's a bit different - I'm not on the walls of their house either, but wall space is limited, and this is an album of more than 400 photos, giving a kind of narrative of DH's life to up 40, and I've been there for all the significant and insignificant occasions for the last 20 years.

I'd hate to upset my FiL, who is a sweetheart, who is dominated by his much more vocal wife (he's the originator of the shrugging 'Oh, you know what she's like' response to her that all her children take, and which does enable her often tactless behaviour), and yes, MiL is capable of taking massive umbrage. She didn't talk to one of her daughters for two years after some disagreement. I don't want that, espcially as both she and FiL are late seventies and in generally declining health. It is now a closed episode, and I will nobly ignore the damn book.

MumofWombat Tue 26-Feb-13 13:28:12

I can understand your hurt. My PILs house is filled with photos of BIL/SILs wedding and them on other occassions and their four children. Until recently the only adult photo they had of DH was a group one when he was best man for BIL. I will admit that the last few mothers days/fathers days/birthdays etc we have given them framed photos from our wedding and of our DS. At Christmas I even put a photo of DS up on their fridge myself next to the photos of the other grandchildren. DH shrugs it off, but I find it (even if its thoughtless) hurtful.

I think I would put the album away - like in the attic, I wouldn't have it out on display. And if this was ever commented on I would get DH to explain that he felt uncomfortable having it on display when it didn't seem to include you.

I suspect you will never feel quite the same way again about your MIL. I know I will always have an awareness of her favouritism in my dealings with mine.

Nope - you're not even being slightly unreasonable. That is a very strange thing for your MIL to have done.

Considering that you've been together for such a long time (it's not like you met your DH in the past 5 years, you've been together 20 years) then it is very strange that more photos of you haven't been included.

Wonder whether you should do an Aldi style photobook for your MIL for her birthday where everyone except her is in the photos, except say a group/family shot taken at Christmas 12 years ago, or at a wedding where she is in the background or something [wink[ wink

FakePlasticLobsters Tue 26-Feb-13 13:51:42

I did once attend a wedding where, when the couple left the church, the mother of the groom arranged her whole family for a group photo, minus the new bride, because "she hasn't been family for long enough."

Perhaps you could do a similar book of photos of your DS to give to her, like a montage of his first year or something, and make sure that you are in most of them as well. You can often get 3 for 2 offers on books like this so you could do it as a 'gift to the grandparents' kind of thing and let your parents have a copy too.

joanne1982uk Tue 26-Feb-13 14:00:40

im going to have to go against the general consensus here. The photo album is about HIM not you two as a couple. You appear in some of them.

CryptoFascist Tue 26-Feb-13 14:02:52

I'd never dare to get DH to give it back. Shove it in a cupboard and just keep it in mind, that's what I'd do. Oh and get a professional shot done of you and DH for MIL's Christmas present. Nice and large, mind, wouldn't want her to miss the pleasure of your beaming visage!

fallon8 Tue 26-Feb-13 14:06:06

It was his 40th birthday,not yours,,what is the problem?

thanks for answering my question OP

I have to admit, that possibility didn't occur to me. Did you spell it out that way for your MIL? Because maybe she didn't really understand what you considered to be a very good reason.

I do agree with pinkdelight in that however excluded you may feel by the photo book, she probably felt equally if not more excluded by not being able to share in your wedding. I do think a lot of mums would be hurt not seeing their children married, no matter how many children they have, no matter how valid the couple's reasons. Ideally they will just rise above it, which as you don't mention that she stopped talking to you (as she did her daughter) it sounds like maybe she did?

For those reasons I think you are doing the right thing to just let it lie.

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 14:27:36

I am lol-ing at the family photo at the wedding without the bride!

That stings, OP. But I doubt there's malice intended. I wouldn't bring it up with MIL. Some families do seem to have a bit of an idea of wives / partners not being part of the 'main' family. I've always thought this a bit about my BIL - once the DCs were born, his wife was insignificant because he had his 'heirs!' If I were you, I'd get a lovely photo of yourself and DH printed and framed, and give it to him for his birthday: not to rub MILs nose in it (she doesn't even need to see you giving it to him), but if anything to make yourself feel a bit more wanted when you see his - undoubtedly very touched - reaction. My DP (now DH) had lots of photos of family in his house, but none of us, after 5 years together. When we moved in together, I bought him a BIG picture of the pair of us, sorted that one out! wink

" it's perfectly possible that it never occurred to her that she was excluding me."
When I read that Mothproof I thought you were being more than fair to her. It takes time to put a montage together, and surely quite a bit of effort to airbrush you out of the half of his lifespan that you have shared.

Then I read DeWe's post and thought, well, maybe it is possible it came about accidentally but the fact that she didn't notice would still say something to me.

But I'm afraid you have unknowing ly posted the clincher for me - "MiL was desperately upset at her father's wake a few years ago when her nasty brothers had made a montage of photos of their father and his children projected onto a screen in the pub, included all twelve siblings except her". She KNEW how much this could hurt, because she has been hurt similarly in the past.

I'm afraid IMO that it was deliberate, and done with the intention that you be the one who is now 'desperately upset'. You've said in one of your posts ^"DH's response is 'Oh, you know how mad she is' (the general family response to her being autocratic, though no one ever confronts her on anything)."^; I would expect that there are many other incidents in the past where she has deliberately sought to hurt your feelings, but they've been lost in the white noise of her bad behaviour. So she upped the ante. She is one nasty person.

kalidanger Tue 26-Feb-13 14:45:56

In some of the pics? OP has been with her DH for 20+ years and was in 2% of them!!

I think it's malicious, yes. But I also think MiL has been allowed to be malicious for so long that this incident can be downgraded to mete thoughtlessness. She's a cow, but it's clearly part of such an enormous personality problem that the OP hasn't a hope of putting a dent in it. At least DH is on-side and not brushing it off, and it's good you can put it behind you Moth

joanne1982uk Tue 26-Feb-13 15:00:05

"In some of the pics? OP has been with her DH for 20+ years and was in 2% of them!!"

why does that matter though? The present isnt about her its about him.

ercolercol Tue 26-Feb-13 15:07:06

I dunno, it does like she's done it deliberately to hurt your feelings. And guesses you won't kick up a fuss. Well done you for being the bigger person. I guess she takes your niceness / dignity for weaknesses but at 70 odd it's sad for her, not you.

How about asking nicely for the negatives/photos that must be packaged up still that created the book. Then get anotther made but this time with rather more of you in? Don't have to say anything to MIL, just put her version in the attic.

Spero Tue 26-Feb-13 15:26:21

I feel I will also hav to go against the general consensus. I can see it stings a bit but I am surprised by the ferocity of some reactions for eg destroying it. What is important to you? The 20 real years you have had together, your marriage, our child?

Or a book of photos?

I don't understand the upset. It was deliberate or thoughtless, who cares? It can't touch what you have together and what is important t you both.

And agree, if it was going to be raised as issue should have been at the time.

If you are worried about 'future generations' and you being airbrushed ??? Then do your own book for his 50th - all the photos that you love and cherish about your time together.

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Feb-13 15:37:27

Doing your own book of photos of the life you've had together is a great idea - maybe for when you've been together 25years (since you only got married fairly recently, waiting for your silver wedding anniversary might be far too long!).

fromparistoberlin Tue 26-Feb-13 15:50:23

how hurtful

YANBU

anyone with a grain of common sense or compassion would have included you

I see you have 80 answers anyway!!!!

what a mean lady, biaaaatch I say

1charlie1 Tue 26-Feb-13 15:58:20

Very unkind. My MIL would do something like this, with absolute malice aforethought. Hilariously, last Christmas 'our' card (and small gift cheque) came adressed only to DH - the greeting inside as well! Despite DH rolling his eyes and saying, 'Sorry, but you know how she is', I binned the card and insisted he call her and tell her it was not on. He duly did so, she blustered and said he was throwing her gift back in her face. He agreed that he was, as it was given in spite. She then tried to argue that she adresses his DB's card similarly (he is also married). Fine, my DH said, I will call him and ask him if that is so. She honestly couldn't believe he was finally calling her on her crap. Amazingly, since then, she has been much less nasty to both of us!

Your MIL is probably relying on the fact that the entire family enable her poor behaviour by not saying anything to her about her unpleasantness. She might not even realise just how awful her behaviour appears to those outside her family, as everyone around her has been trained to 'normalise' it.

I would select a few lovely photos of you and your DH, and your DS , and get DH to send them to her with a little note from him to the effect that he feels very sad that obviously his DM does not have any photos of you - his DW, his life partner, the mother of his DS - in her collection, and how important it is to him to rectify the situation.

youfhearted Tue 26-Feb-13 15:58:42

have a professional photo made of you and dh and dc and framed and give them a copy, nay, put in on their wall yourself!

shesariver Tue 26-Feb-13 16:01:04

why does that matter though? The present isnt about her its about him

Well no-one lives in isolation do they - I happen to think the person you choose to spend your life with and the other parent to your child is a pretty big part of someones life, and yes whats wrong with acknowledging this?! Especially since there seems to be pictures of plenty other people in the album.

Spero Tue 26-Feb-13 16:02:32

I really wouldn't descend into tit for tat photo collections - if it was malicious, she won't care and you are just stoking the flames of family resentment. If she was careless she will be hurt and confused.

Really, why bother? Is the barometer of your relationship set by what this woman thinks of you? Surely you have more faith and love in your relationship than that.

YANBU, but if you haven't got it in you to confront her I feel you need to be incredibly passive aggressive and make a book of "family" and not have any of her in them

pigletmania Tue 26-Feb-13 16:09:55

Yanbu it might have something to do with her not being invited to your wedding and it not being a catholic one like she hoped. I would Mae up a couple of pages of you and dh on your wedding day and with the dcs, make sure tey match te album and stick them in. Next time MIL comes round say oh dh loved the album but had to make some modifications take a look grin. Next time it's her birthday, send er a moinpig or vista ring card of you and dh and the children. Hopefully she will get te hint in a subtle way

Are you a photo dodger? I always avoid photos so its no big surprise to me there are hardly any that exist, otherwise that's pretty mean of her.

why does that matter though? The present isnt about her its about him.

Well she is a part of him or his life rather. You couldn't make a book about Tiger Woods and not have him on a golf course somewhere.. not without doing it deliberately. You couldn't make a book of my life over the past decade and leave dh out. It would be weird.

OnwardBound Tue 26-Feb-13 16:16:38

Or could you do another book for DHs 40th, focusing on his life with you and DS?

And airbrush the old woman out

grin

fluffyraggies Tue 26-Feb-13 16:17:25

See, if my mother made a book without DH in it, and DH let me know he had noticed and was hurt, there's no way i would let it lie with 'oh you know what she's like'. I would say something to my DM.

OP if your DH wants to mention it to his DM then let him. There doesn't have to be a scene. There's no need. There's no need to destroy or alter the book - a simple quiet word to say that he was sad at the lack of pictures of his wife in the book is all that is needed.

If it's done in this way - if she's done it on purpose this will mean it's backfired on her as her DS has been disappointed by the book, and if it's not on purpose she can seek to rectify the situation or just appologise without having been unfairly dragged over the coals.

There's no pictures of me or my marriage to DH up in his parents house as it happens. As a poster up thread said, all the pics up of DH end at age 14 ish. His DBs and DSs and their kids are all over the walls. Odd.

dotnet Tue 26-Feb-13 16:21:16

Maybe you don't exist at all? There is the basis of a spooky film here.

Mumsyblouse Tue 26-Feb-13 16:26:37

There's no point saying anything, because she did include three old photos of you as a couple. So, if you bring it up (even though it is a bit odd and you may never know if it was accidental or malicious) you will look like the petty one, because there's just enough of you in there for her to say that what you are saying isn't true.

I would leave it now, I don't find it that odd they are mostly of DH, it was his birthday book and she has mainly picked ones of him and clearly not thought through including the wider family in a more systematic way (except for the three couple shots which were deliberately included to some extent).

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 16:38:31

Spero, whatever other posters think, I have no violent feelings against the blameless book at all, and have no intention of destroying it or doing tit for tat photos! Apart from anything else, it has some very sweet photos of DH as a toddler in brown seventies dungarees.

As someone said up the thread, it's not about the book as an object, or the percentage of photos I'm in or not in, or about 'posterity' - I have a small baby, I can barely visualise tomorrow, far less my descendants! What stings is that I thought I'd been part of this family for 21 years (DH and I got together as teenagers - I've known them for over half my life, and lived close by before we moved abroad, they know my parents and extended family), but this suggests I'm actually a pretty peripheral issue for my MiL. Now I feel like a bit of an idiot, and like I've been misreading things with his wider family all along.

No, it doesn't touch my relationship with my lovely DH and baby, but it's a bit hurtful nonetheless, especially as I feel I've worked hard to have a decent relationship with someone fundamentally very different.

Dreaming, yes, we took her and FiL for a special dinner and explained exactly why we'd married on the quiet - purely because we were dealing with the end of a complicated pregnancy and I was worried that if anything happened to me, DH would not automatically get our baby. The friend who almost died giving birth was twelve years younger than me and had a completely easy pregnancy, and I was not well (SPD) and very panicky.

I appreciate that parents would generally expect to be at their children's weddings, but we had always made it plain we didn't plan to marry or have children (we'd lived together for seventeen years unmarried and childless!) so I suppose I naively thought that our belated marriage-and-baby would be a pleasant surprise, rather than an occasion for resentment. I mean, we wouldn't have got married if we weren't having a baby, so there was never going to be a big white wedding with 200 guests because neither of us wanted it.

My own parents, by the way, to whom I'm close, say they understand completely, despite the fact that none of my siblings are married, so they've never had the chance to have a big wedding.

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 16:40:11

dotnet grin

Yes, it sounds like a Black Mirror script Charlie Brooker didn't write... Or the bit in Back to the Future where Marty starts disappearing from the photo.

Spero Tue 26-Feb-13 16:44:50

Of course it hurts, I am not denying that! just a bit taken aback by the intensity of some poster's feelings, wanting it to be an big Eastenders hoo haa, feeling really, really upset etc etc.

I just don't think what his parents think of you and your relationship should be very relevant to your happiness with your husband- of course it would be lovely if we all got along and we all had these wonderful healthy mature relationships with love and laughter give and take etc, etc, but I am beginning to think that these are vanishingly rare.

My new life motto is from the penguins in Madacasgar - just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.

pigletmania Tue 26-Feb-13 16:55:23

Ok than I think it's a good idea on say your next wedding anniversary to have one made of your own, depicting your life with dh abpnd your family and show it to mil, so she gets the hint. Fr her birthday do that moinpig card of you all, bet he won't get the irony

Springdiva Tue 26-Feb-13 17:05:43

If there REALLY are 400 photos in the album, as OP states - no one except his doting DM will ever be bothered to look at them.

We have a smashing album of DH done by DD and there must be 30 pics max and it was his 60th but now it sits forlornly on the cupboard top, hardly ever looked at so OP just forget about it. DM is v tactless but it really doesn't matter.

Why don't you make a funny one of the two of you (in a much more sensible size) over the years. People WILL want to see that.

Springdiva Tue 26-Feb-13 17:07:29

Oops I have repeated the suggestion to do one of your own.

There are loads of options - you could do a really good one yourself from YOUR photos of DH and DCs.

Springdiva Tue 26-Feb-13 17:09:12

And you could start collecting funny photos of the DCs for an album to present to them on their 18th!

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 26-Feb-13 17:32:49

Do you know I think it was definitely done to hurt you. I wouldn't therefore give her the satisfaction of giving it a second thought.

EuphemiaLennox Tue 26-Feb-13 17:34:32

It is a homage to her boy.

400 photos is ridiculous, only a mother would do that.

It is all about him, the wonderous creation that she bore and a study of him over 40yrs.

Nice for him that she adores him sufficiently to put this together, but springdiva is right no one else will give a toss.

It's all about how much she loves him and probably very little abut how much she hates you.

In this scenario you are irrelevant, it's all about her boy.

You did get one page be grateful for that.grin

Loa Tue 26-Feb-13 17:41:33

I was going to write exactly what GhoulWithADragonTattoo has written.

I wouldn't destroy the album but put it somewhere out of sight and out of mind.

I don't know that I would be able to see the relationship to MIL as the same - I'd be a bit more cynical and possibly less accommodating in future though not malicious and keep more emotional distance. In fact that is what I’ve had to do with some of my family – once bitten twice shy kind of thing.

MaidenDevon Tue 26-Feb-13 17:42:52

I feel your pain sad

My MIL was invited to our wedding and she has a lovely family picture in her lounge of:-

MIL
FIL
Groom (DH)
DH's brother and his children
DH's sister and her children.

Wonderful if that had been it, a lovely snap of 'their' side of the family all dressed up, but no, also in the pic are the partners of DH's brother and sister. I jokingly asked if they thought anyone had been left out i.e. Me, The Bride? Much blustering and awkwardness followed, when she piped up 'We couldn't find you'...

That's right, you managed to round up 11 other people and couldn't find me IN THE BIG WHITE DRESS

I sent her a lovely framed pic of me and DH only to put next to it - and she did! grin

KurriKurri Tue 26-Feb-13 17:48:30

Your MIL is bonkers clearly, - it's just the sort of thing my MIL would have done when she was in her prime, I used to get upset, then I learnt to laugh about it because if you make a fuss they will make it seem as if you are being unreasonable, effectively it is her loss if she does not include you, she could have an extra person to love in her life, she has chosen not too.

So I'd go with Spero - just smile and wave grin

You will laugh over it with your kids in years to come, - mine refer to all the photos of huge groups of my in laws, with MIL holding DS/DD as a baby, and me nowhere to be seen, as 'granny's mad photos'

Of course it is very tempting to make another bigger, album for your DH full of pictures of you and DC, entitled 'Dh's life with his new, more important family' - but I would never suggest such a thing wink

SamuelWestsMistress Tue 26-Feb-13 17:52:24

YADNBU! How horrible for you.

My ex-SIL's brother and his wife adopted two siblings a number of years ago. One of the things they did was make up a "family" book to show them before and during the time that the adoption completed and the kids went to live with them. It had all of the relatives in there plus some close family friends. My brother, however featured nowhere in it at all, and there was no acknowledgement of him at all. Sadly he took his own life a while later and I am sure one of the reasons was because he never felt he fitted into stupid cow's ex-SIL's family.

Sometimes people are very selfish! (Although I doubt there are as many as selfish as ex-SIL but that's a whoooooole other thread...)

PrincessScrumpy Tue 26-Feb-13 18:00:32

I would create a family collage of you DJ and dc and frame it and present it to pil telling them how beautiful it would look on their hall wall! ;)

oldraver Tue 26-Feb-13 18:14:52

My MIL cut me out of my own wedding photo so she could get a photo of DH and his DSIS, it looks really odd as DH was leaning into my head away from his sis, and you can see loads of my veil around his head. grin

I would be giving her a lovely framed photo for every occasion and a personalized calendar...every year

What about a copy of the OP's wedding photo, turned into a massive, gold framed painting, oldraver?

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Feb-13 18:55:22

That would be good if OP had any wedding photos, SDTG! But I'm pretty sure she said she doesn't.

You are right and I am stoopid, Thumb! blush

Maybe a lovely portrait of the OP, her dh and the baby, then - presented to the PIL by her dh who can tell them how he loved the book and wanted to give them something really special in return.

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Feb-13 19:21:16

Not stoopid at all, SDTG! But I like your second idea very much grin

exoticfruits Tue 26-Feb-13 19:32:14

I would leave it to DH. Get a second album and spread the photos out and he can intersperse with ones that should have been there. All he then needs to say was 'thanks for the album, it was a lovely thought-it was a shame that you were short of a lot of photos that I really love and so I have added to it'. There isn't anything she can say to that.

Anna1976 Tue 26-Feb-13 19:49:04

Whether it's thoughtlessness or malice or some bonkers combination, even if you have no respect for the woman's intentions (I wouldn't), yes, YANBU to be hurt. I went away with exP, his sibling's family, and some of their friends at Christmas. They all posted to their various facebook accounts all about their lovely camping holiday with the two families and exP, one of them even entitling the photo album "camping with [family1], [family2] & [exP]". In the hundreds of (clearly carefully-selected) photos posted by 4 adults I didn't feature at all, despite spending the entire time doing childcare for these people, who mostly sat drinking wine and slagging off the disgusting bitches who keep their darling male friends childless. hmm (phew, that was cathartic) grin

shock Anna1976.

quietlysuggests Tue 26-Feb-13 20:27:40

My MIL has just one photo from my wedding on display. It is framed in a beautiful frame and has full prominence just inside the door.
In it, is SIL smiling large in the foreground and in the background is a slightly out of focus groom looking at the camera, holding my hand and I am out of focus and turned round so all you can see is the back of my head.
MILs are BONKERS I tell you. I get on perfectly fine with mine, I have always ignored the photo, I cant explain it.

EuphemiaLennox Tue 26-Feb-13 20:47:37

Yes these MILs who put up photos of their own children rather than their DILs are quite clearly bonkers.

My MIL has three photographs of DH on display - I am in all of them.

Squeakygate Tue 26-Feb-13 21:07:24

This is something my bitch of a mil would do. asks me to take family pictures of her, my dh and dc. Never photographs me or has photos up of me.
I repay the gesture in exactly the same way. petty but makes me feel better blush

MarthasHarbour Tue 26-Feb-13 21:45:25

My DM was a single mother shock when she met my (Step) Dad. I was 2. Her MIL to be was a bit cats bum mouth about it (it was 1975) but they rubbed along ok. Now i come to think about it there were no photos of my DM in the house, but loads of the rest of the family.

I remember my nan once saying to me 'yes when your dad came home and introduced me to this divorced woman with a child i was horrified - but then i saw you looking cute and thought it would be ok.'

Oh right thanks nan hmm my DM still gets twitchy about that one! grin

oh and by the way OP = YANBU = you are in fact very dignified smile more-than i would be

MarthasHarbour Tue 26-Feb-13 21:47:25

Also I-could go on forever here DH and I got a card from FIL and StepMIL one christmas which said on the front 'To our darling son - and his wife'

hmm grin

<smile and wave boys - smile and wave>

hermioneweasley Tue 26-Feb-13 21:52:12

I like the idea of taking it apart and redoing it with the pictures that should be there.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Feb-13 22:34:34

It is much the best idea hermione - if DH tells her in a friendly, 'what a shame you missed these' there is nothing she can say without admitting it was deliberate.

ajandjjmum Wed 27-Feb-13 00:18:09

Or what about a lovely family photograph with your family, including your DP, and you can refer to your much treasured family portrait.
Then MIL can see how it feels to be left out.
But of course, that would be terribly childish, and I would never condone that! grin
And maybe a Christmas card saying 'To dear FIL and his wife'.
Clearly time I went to bed!!!

HollyBerryBush Wed 27-Feb-13 07:46:29

Dhs godfather did a book for Dhs 40th. We'd been married 10 years and had three children. None of us got a mention. There was a passing reference to DHs exwife. hmm

Book was funny as fuck though, all in prose. But it was about DHs and Godfathers times together at many many sporting events.

Imaginethat Wed 27-Feb-13 09:01:15

Very hurtful. Why o why?!

If it helps at all my own mother has photos of my siblings but none of me. None. I sent her one once and she replied saying the scenery looked nice.

exoticfruits
I would leave it to DH. Get a second album and spread the photos out and he can intersperse with ones that should have been there. All he then needs to say was 'thanks for the album, it was a lovely thought-it was a shame that you were short of a lot of photos that I really love and so I have added to it'. There isn't anything she can say to that.

I read a post saying the album is more of a glossy book with the photos printed on boud pages, so you'd not be able to add extra photos.

bound pages, obviously.....

exoticfruits Wed 27-Feb-13 16:42:20

In that case -DH could give it back and say 'this is so nice, I would like you to keep it as a record of my life but we are going to use the idea to create on of our life as a couple and a family.'
I think it is up to DH to tackle it-however he wants-but he should be the one to do it.

Terranova Wed 27-Feb-13 17:41:17

I would stash it away somewhere dark and forget about it.

I've a mil on the same wave length, she will never get over the fact that her darling son didn't marry his 1st fiancée, he instead dumped her and married me.

The children & I wernt even invited to her 'suprise' 60th on new years eve, the invitation came to just my husband. He Ofcourse was unable to attend as we had already accepted an invitation spend the night with friends. (if it had been any other night, I think he would of gone!)

It makes me realy sad, as she is the root of every argument.

exoticfruits Wed 27-Feb-13 19:01:44

Probably the best option-keep the high ground by not commenting or appearing to notice and put it in the back of a cupboard.

Tanith Wed 27-Feb-13 20:50:26

My MIL is like this. She has photos all over the walls, of all her family, obscure cousins I've never met, even complete strangers because she likes those particular photos.
She loves the trophy ones, school photos, graduations, family parties, weddings.
I do not appear in a single photo. I am not even in the photo of our wedding: she chose the one with her immediate family and DH.
There are loads of photos of our son. There are barely any of our daughter.

I pointed it out once and once only to DH, then left it. Up to her if she wants to show herself as mean-spirited to every visitor who walks through her door.

flatbread Wed 27-Feb-13 22:11:24

To all of you complaining about your mil not having your photos in their house.

Well, how many photos of your mil do you have in your house? None...? grin

So why are you complaining?

eccentrica Wed 27-Feb-13 23:03:21

Not too long ago, we arrived at my in-laws to see that MIL had put up a photo of herself, her mother (DP's gran who died a couple of years ago) and DP's ex-wife in pride of place on the kitchen dresser.

Just a crappy blurred snapshot, not even a nice pic.she was shocked that we were upset. Apparently she hadn't even realised, she just liked the pic of her mum... Uh huh. I'm sure in 90+ years that was the only decent shot.

God knows why they do it. I think mine has,never got over the fact that DP has ended up with a woman (me) who is even tougher and more hard headed than her! Ex wife was very young (as was DP ) and vulnerable and willing to go along with whatever MIL wanted.

quietlysuggests Fri 01-Mar-13 15:43:00

I wasn't complaining that MIL does not have a framed photo of me for the sake of having me in a picture. I was pointing out that she framed a pic of her son's wedding - and chose one where the bride was a blurry back of head. The bride. One half of the couple. My mother framed one of the wedding party standing still and looking at the camera. Its not that hard to do surely?

Tanith Wed 13-Mar-13 07:10:40

For spectacularly missing the point, Flatbread, I think you really win hands down!

What a silly assumption to make, too! FYI, even though I don't have many photos, I have 3 displayed of my MIL in my house.

Frootloopz Wed 13-Mar-13 11:26:41

moth that's awful sad and I absolutely think it was malicious. My MIL although outwardly polite to me longs for it to be 'just the four of them' again (I.e. MIL FIL SIL and DH). SIL is single so I don't know what treatment any OH of hers would get, but the Christmas after our wedding they got us a wedding album. It has four pictures of me in, none of my parents or any of my family. Loads of DH and loads of SIL and all of their family. I think MIL wishes DH had married SIL. I counted that she appeared four times more than I did. It's v annoying that your DH brushes it off as just how she is and only offers to say something 'if you want' - I would've hoped he would have been livid on your behalf (however mine was exactly the same)

Frootloopz Wed 13-Mar-13 11:28:26

(That's four times as in multiple of four not only four more pictures!!)

memphis83 Wed 13-Mar-13 11:38:33

My exmil had a wall of family photos, bil had split with his wife after she cheated on him but she kept the wedding picture, was very awkward when he visited with his new gf but mil informed us that until he was remarried and she could replace picture with a new wedding picture it would stay on the wall.
I have been split with him for 12 years and am soon to be remarried but I have heard that my face is still on that wall eventhough they hate me!

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