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To have binned MIL Easter cards - long(ish)

45 replies

carocaro · 21/04/2011 10:47

Long story short, DH has not spoken to his MIL since Christmas, well one brief conversation. She apparently blames me, for what we don't know and we have asked. I was not involved in any row, MIL and FIL had a stinker of a row over something and we left as DS's could hear it all.


She has sent Easter cards to me & DH (my name is barely legibale!) and the children, omitting the words 'lots of love' which she usually writes in the card, but putting it in the children's cards with 'really hope to see you soon' and £10 each.

I chucked the cards but will give the cash to the kids. I just can't bear the hypocrisy eg: row, blame someone else without explanation then try and creep to the kids with 'hope to see you soon' and cash.

For me, she needs to spit out what the problem is and apologise for their shitty behavior. I don't do 'swweping under the carpet' / 'dancing around the issue'

I know I have been slightly unreasonable but I feel I have a valid reason, I just can't forget it and swallow it, because I have not idea what it's all about.

I want them to be part of DS's lives but after many odd moments of behavior from both FIL and MIL I have had enough, it's eggshells galore everytime we see them eg: last time we had a holiday with them they rowed about picking blackberries, three food at each other and FIL spent the night on Dartmoor in the pitch black!

OP posts:
bubblecoral · 21/04/2011 11:07

I think sending the money back is a bit harsh, but like the others, I can't believe you can call them hypocritical when you throw out the cards and keep the money. Shock This isn't something you did in a fit of rage, you had time to consider what you are doing.

You have no right to destroy your childrens relationship with their GP's, even if their relationship can only be a distant one.

What's your DH's take on this, you need to be supportive of what he wants and stop making this all about you.

Xiaoxiong · 21/04/2011 11:08

I think YABU. I would have taken the cards as a peace offering given that she put your name in the card. I also think by binning your MIL's cards to your kids you are depriving your kids of the knowledge that their grandmother loves them and cares about them enough to send them a card, which is completely untrue. You are misrepresenting to your children how their grandmother feels about them. The only people who get punished here are your kids who now don't have an easter card to them from their granny.

Generally, I think it's very sad to drag your kids into your disagreement with your MIL. They only have two grandmothers and they are never around for long enough, so to hinder the development of that relationship just because you yourself don't get on with your MIL is actually quite selfish.

My mother and her MIL didn't speak, but they were both very good about never badmouthing the other in front of us, my mother dropped us off at our grandmother's house while she went off and had a coffee to make sure we got to spend a relaxed and happy time alone with our grandmother, and she always made us write her thank you notes for gifts and cards. My grandmother's cards were always addressed directly to us and never to my mother, but they were always passed on to us. As a result I didn't even realise my mother and grandmother didn't get on until I was an older teenager and by then it didn't matter because I felt loved by both of them.

Why don't you treat this as the peace offering it might be, and invite your MIL around for tea to clear the air? Thank her for the cards (which might be the only apology you'll ever get for whatever it is you want an apology for) and get it out into the open. It costs you absolutely nothing to be gracious and generous - you might only know one side of the story, ask MIL for her side and listen to her. That keeps the issue between you and your MIL and keeps the kids out of it.

SouthGoingZax · 21/04/2011 11:12

Excellent post Tyelperion.

hairfullofsnakes · 21/04/2011 11:16

send the cards and the money back

don't accept anything from her with this awful, manipulative behaviour - show her it is not acceptable

hairfullofsnakes · 21/04/2011 11:18

I don't agree the cards were a peace offering - they were a shitty way to try to make a point and be manipulative - how is putting her name so small and saying directly to the kids 'hope to see you soon a peace offering?

it is not, it is crappy

diddl · 21/04/2011 11:35

"They only have two grandmothers and they are never around for long enough, so to hinder the development of that relationship just because you yourself don't get on with your MIL is actually quite selfish. "

There are some GPs who don´t deserve contact with their GCs.

Xiaoxiong · 21/04/2011 11:58

diddl - that may be the case, certainly if it is in the children's best interests not to have contact, and that of course has to be in the reasonable opinion of the children's parents.

However, if the problem is one that is just between the adults in the situation, then involving the children in the adult disagreement - however nasty and awful - is sad. I think as long as the grandparents are able to have a loving and productive relationship with their grandchildren (which of course is not the case for all GPs and GCs) then it is very sad if that relationship is hindered because the adults in the situation can't keep their disagreements between themselves. Little kids can't read or write cards themselves, drop themselves off at their GPs house, etc so the parents need to remember they are acting on their children's behalf, not their own, when helping their kids have contact with their GPs and it's not "caving in", "sweeping it under the carpet" etc.

If the OP feels the GPs didn't deserve contact with their GCs because the GPs were horrible to the children, fair enough. But if it's because the GPs were horrible to the OP alone, then I think it's too bad that the children are the ones who get punished.

fedupofnamechanging · 21/04/2011 12:11

I think that if GP's want to have a relationship with their GC, then they have to be polite and civil to the children's parents. Being nasty for no reason to a child's parent is not acting in the best interest of the child.

If my MIl couldn't keep a civil tongue in her head when speaking to me, there is no way she'd be allowed anywhere near my children. Me, DH and our DC are a unit and I would not allow anyone to be rude or nasty to any member of that unit.

HampstersDontSwim · 21/04/2011 12:27

You were wrong to get rid of the card.

Your MIL was a totlal bitch saying she wanted to drown in front of your Dc!

You were wrong, but you were provacated and your mil needs to get her act together if she wants to have a good relationship with her gc.

jojowest · 21/04/2011 12:29


diddl · 21/04/2011 12:35

Well if these GPs want a relationship with their GC, perhaps they should stop arguing when the GC are there-I mean WTF is that all about.

And perhaps MIL shouldn´t talk about wanting to die in front of them.

But hell, maybe it´s just me being overprotective, because my children wouldn´t be going near them.

canyou · 21/04/2011 12:52

I am sorry OP but you are being unreasonable, can you take the cards out of the bin and flatten them? I am only asking as today is my birthday and the only thing I really want is a ph call or a card from my Grandmothers who both died in the last 11 months, opening cards had me in tears as theirs would always be the first to arrive. What ever your arguments, please do not deprive your DC of cards and gifts given in love from their grandparents. Easter is the time of renewal hope and joy build on the lesson of it.
Also my family would often say/write Hope to see you soon, it was an acknowledgement that life was busy and even if we did not see each other often we were thinking of them and looking forward to a time when we could meet again.

carocaro · 21/04/2011 12:55

Interesting comments, thanks. I do want them to have a realtionship, they did, until Christmas. MIL is very dramatic and it's always been about her, from what we have for lunch is what she wants for lunch, where we go is where she wants to go etc. She once sat outside and refused to eat early dinner with the children (it wa 6.30pm and they were hungry) as she thought it was unreasonable that the kids could not wait until 7.30pm when she wanted to eat. I was happy either way but it's the drama and fuss that goes with her about everything. We had to walk mils down a beach once also as she could 'not bear to listen to Birmingham accents all day' (beach was in North Wales!)

Her behavior and opinions which you are told and are not up for any discussion is now too much, now DS1 older. She want to a grand parents day at DS's school and said in front of him that most of the old people smelt and the headmaster was an idiot.

Just before we left at Christmas, DS2 who is 3, was tired and whining and she said that he 'needed sorting, and give him to me for a week and I'd straighten him out' - crossing the line totally for me.

They live 3 hours from us, so when we do see them, all this hoo haa and drama is involved, it's not relaxed. After all, what does it teach my children to see their GP to behave in that way and then have no come back or explanation for their bad behavior. It works both ways.

Can't behave badly and get what you want all the time. My Dc's want to spend time with their GP's and have a good time, not just be sent cash in the post; what's that really saying? Cash in the post? They want TIME not CASH.

So yes I was wrong to rip up the cards, but they are wrong to think they can just buy their way back into their lives. DH agrees, wrong to chuck the cards, but can see why I did.

OP posts:
carocaro · 21/04/2011 12:57

Happy Birthday canyou, it's my Mum's too. I am sorry for your loss. I too would love a card from my Dad who dies 12 years ago, but I know he would never acted this way,.

OP posts:
LilQueenie · 21/04/2011 12:59

I dont think you are unreasonable. You are chucking the cards which have a message deemed to be using the kids as a control tactic. Let them know they are wanted but not do it through the parents. Yes the PILS are very unreasonable to use children as pawns. However if the money is for the DCs then why not let them have it?

canyou · 21/04/2011 13:04

Thank you Carocaro, it is sad that your Dad is not their to be in your DC lives, what I believe is live and let live but foster a relationship that works get the DC to write and draw pictures send a story board of their holiday etc contact without physical contact can help the GP's to feel involved, we send picture postcards of our days at the beach etc, We meet one person only in public places like a playzone, shopping complex, cinema where they tend to behave but feel involved in the treat, I hope for all your sakes you get it sorted with no more bad feelings, Could you write a letter to them removing the emotional fallout that would occur in a face to face meeting?

rhondajean · 21/04/2011 14:44

I recognise these tactics, and I dont think that you are being totally unreasonable. I think people who have been fortunate enough not to have parents or inlaws who are masters of manipulation probably will because I know for example DH took years to realise how my own mother operated.

I have on occasion when angry done the same as you and binned the DCs cards but in general I try to be the bigger person. I think its good for the children to know that the grandparents love them (even if I have to choke back my own thoughts) and because of that I try my hardest to pass on cards etc. However all contact is strictly as I think is best for the children, ie monitored, if possible in public places and never left alone with the children. I know Im going to get pelters from some people but if you seriously think that there could be potential damage done to your children by this woman, then Id suggest you do similar.

However, its still their grand mother, and as I said, at least giving them cards shows she cares (and of course its not a horrible manipulative move to make you feel about how hard done to she is sitting around missing her dear dear grandchildren, who she loves so much she cant even bring herself to behave like a normal person around).


MadamDeathstare · 21/04/2011 15:05

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ENormaSnob · 21/04/2011 15:13

What diddl said.

TheOriginalFAB · 21/04/2011 15:15

Maybe it is an attempt at an olive branch.


Keep cards and money or don't but don't cherry pick.

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