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No birthday present from MIL again

50 replies

Saddaughterinlawagain · 29/09/2018 02:57

Namechanged as I don't want this linked to previous posts. I know I'll get slammed for this as on mumsnet as the overwhelming reaction seems to be that adults don't get gifts, however they are very much expected by my MIL and other adults in the family get them and expect them, including my two SILs.

I know I'm probably being petty but my birthday has been forgotten again. I have been with my DH for over 18 years and I don't think I have ever had a gift on time or at all for my birthday from my MIL.

I do not expect or want a grand gesture or expensive gift, but a token gift, an acknowledgment would be much appreciated. I try not to, but I do see giving gifts as a way of showing you care for someone and every year in the build up to my birthday I start to get anxious that I'll be forgotten again, and I have been.

I think we get on well and have a good relationship and maybe she just doesn't see it as important (although other adults receive gifts and she always lets us know what she wants).

Money is not an issue.

I don't know what I'm looking for by posting but guess I'm just sad it has happened again.

OP posts:

GreatDuckCookery6211 · 29/09/2018 07:36

It's hurtful OP and I get why you feel upset especially given that you buy her presents.


AmIRightOrAMeringue · 29/09/2018 07:42

I am not into birthday gifts at all apart from milestone birthdays. I'd rather just buy someone something nice to say thanks for something or because I've seen something they would like. It makes me feel strangely pressured feeling like ive got to get something even if i havent seen anything suitable. I do recognise some people are different though - I've got a friend who buys for me so I always buy for her.

But your mil can't have it both ways. She can't expect presents to the point of telling others what she wants and then completely ignore yours despite reminders. It sounds like she has got a bee in her bonnet about it otherwise surely she would have changed after your husband brought it up. What did she say? Why did they fall out instead if her agreeing to acknowledge it?

Next time it's her birthday I'd be tempted to get your husband to tell her in line with her approach you think it's a good idea and fairer for everyone going forward to not buy presents. He can still go visit her and get her a lovely card or take her out for lunch to show her he isn't being mean and thoughtless but it will make a point. And if he wants to get her something, absolutely don't help!


Sophiesdog11 · 29/09/2018 07:51

I don't understand all this 'Cant remember dates' - even without smart phones, which make birthday reminders so easy, I have had a birthday calendar, similar to the one that adorethebeach mentions but without pockets for cards, for many years. It works wonders!

I have a friend who sends cards and presents for myself and DC (and insisted on carrying on to 21 when DS turned 18) but is always late, never fails. I can understand her forgetting my DDs, which is June and not close to any other birthdays. But DS, her eldest and a mutual friends eldest are all within 4 days, yet she still never remembers on time.

I know she has a busy life but there are so many options for reminders these days. I am looking forward to when mine have both turned 21 and it can stop. I would have happily agreed to 18.

Apart from a cousin, I dont have family who send anything. DHs are good at remembering all of them, although I did get a little annoyed last year that SIL sent DS' card to us, rather than ask for his uni address as I had for her kids. (Yes I know MN think stop at 18, but we had previously agreed to carry on until DC were all working).

She also sent it very late - meaning he got it extra late - despite DS birthday being day before her DH!! She and DH text regularly, so how much effort was it to ask for the uni address?

This year is DS 21st, we leaving for London early on his birthday then heading to NY the following morning. It will be interesting to see how many of DH family, who know the arrangements, will send cards early.


Locandi · 29/09/2018 08:03

I think your DH should ay something to her. It’s not ok for her to accept your gifts and never reciprocate.

I’m in a similar position, my DH and I always get lovely gifts for his parents and siblings (we ask what they want and get it for them usually), and usually DH spends £50 on each of them.

In return I get a card from PIL on my birthday, and DH gets one joint present from all of them for less than what he spends on each. At Christmas every year PIL give me a £5 pack of jams from TK Maxx despite me hating jam and never eating it.

It really pisses me off and I deeply resent the money he spends on them when they do not reciprocate or put any thought into anything for me. But he insists so I just stay out of It and accept that they are tight miserable arseholes! I’m over it now but it used to upset me.


GreatDuckCookery6211 · 29/09/2018 08:07

Does she know that you buy the gifts for her birthday OP? If she thinks it's just from DH ( which on MN seems to be the norm ) then maybe she thinks she doesn't have to buy you anything? A card costs very little though so she should at least get you one.


Sweetpotatoaddict · 29/09/2018 08:13

I always get an extravagant gift from my mother in law. We don’t get on, I wish we did. She buys my husband nothing for his birthdays, it makes me hurt for him. It confirms my feelings about her, don’t let a present affect your relationship.
I feel like my mother in law attempts to purchase me every birthday, and then I cringe when she gives her eldest son nothing.


Saddaughterinlawagain · 29/09/2018 08:20

Thank you for all your replies. It's difficult to answer them all fully without being too outing, but I'll try.

She occasionally gets a card, which has improved since my DH told her a card was better than nothing.

The fallout years ago was more over the fact she thought DH was distant and didn't like his attitude, then found out it was because of missing a milestone birthday.

I don't think it's just that she gets her own kids, every year she seems apologetic and always promises to get something, it just never materialised, this is the same for DH. He has always received something but can be many weeks late.

She has a calendar, a diary, a smart phone and is on FB.

She knows I contribute to her gifts, as they have got significantly better and more to her taste since I have. Won't be anymore.

I won't be having anything to do with his family's gifts from now on, but will remain cordial and if it is mentioned I'll just say that I thought we weren't doing that anymore.

Thank you everyone, you've made me feel better. I like the idea of treating myself with the money I'd have spent on their gifts 😊.

I'm also pregnant after 10 years of trying, absolutely over the moon, but maybe that's also why I'm feeling a wee bit sorry for myself. I thought carrying her GC (she seems delighted about the baby) may have changed things, but nevermind. I have my own wee family now.

OP posts:

GreatDuckCookery6211 · 29/09/2018 08:26

How's your relationship with her otherwise OP? Do you get on with her? Could you actually talk to her and explain why you're so upset? I know that's not the done thing on MN between MILs and DILs and I often wonder whether that's one of the reasons there's so much animosity and resentment between them. Sometimes just sitting down and talking is good and clears things up.

I mean what have you got to lose? It would be wonderful to sort things out before your baby is born because quite frankly that's when it would appear most of the problems arise with MILs from what I've read on MN.

Have a good day OP Smile


user232398291 · 29/09/2018 08:31

It is sad, but I actually feel a bit better that I've decided this is the way forward

I think this is the smart thing to do, OP.

I'm also pregnant after 10 years of trying, absolutely over the moon... nevermind. I have my own wee family now

Wow, congratulations! Flowers

Just concentrate on your little family so that MIL and this stuff will fade away into insignificance. It's not worth taking up space in your head any more.

My best wishes for a smooth-sailing pregnancy, OP.


Saddaughterinlawagain · 29/09/2018 08:35

@GreatDuckCookery I think our relationship is ok, certainly a lot better than a lot I read about on mumsnet. I would like to clear the air before baby comes, but just don't think I could. I think we are quite different when it comes to what's important in life and I think she's quite a selfish person, but not nasty if that makes sense? I am an over thinker and take things personally, which they probably aren't meant to be. Any examples would be far too outing.

Coming in here has made me feel better and I feel I have a plan moving forward. I'm hoping the relationship won't deteriorate when GC comes along, maybe it will change for the better?

OP posts:

Angrybird345 · 29/09/2018 08:37

Congrats for the baby. Do as you say re mil - don’t get involved and let’s hope he buys some shit fir her.


GreatDuckCookery6211 · 29/09/2018 08:43

Ime with any relationship I've had ( DIL too ) I've found that being honest and talking, even if it's been uncomfortable bringing something up, has always smoothed things over. It's good to get things off your chest so there's no lingering bad feelings.

You're not in the wrong here OP so you have nothing to worry about but letting MIL know that you don't feel you matter to her because she always forgets your birthday I think would be a good thing. It's not inflammatory or accusatory, it's factual.

And it might just make her think.


safetyfreak · 29/09/2018 08:46

Based on your latest posts you are completely overreacting. She does not even bother with her own children birthdays yet your upset about yours?

Just do not bother with her birthday, simple!! Is it really such a big deal in the grand scheme of things? You think your cut contact because she is shit at birthday presents, laughable.


Stompythedinosaur · 29/09/2018 09:02

My mil doesn't get gifts for my birthday, although she does for dp, dbil and dsil. I used to feel really snubbed, but now I can laugh at it as one of oddities. I still sort presents for her on the basis that two wrongs don't make a right. And I try to appreciate the positives about her (she loves the dc and babysits on occasion). I sort of know she isn't my biggest fan (she disapproves of me working and thinks I'm rather frumpy I suspect) but I can't change this so I try not to worry about it.


Thebluedog · 29/09/2018 09:08

I think you are absolutely doing the right thing, leave it up to your dh to sort out and have no input. If she mentions it simply say ‘oh I didn’t think we were doing adult birthday presents anymore as you didn’t get me anything this year (and precious years if this has been the case)’


roundaboutthetown · 29/09/2018 09:20

Saddaughterinlawagain - your posts are a bit confusing on who gets presents every year on time from your mil and who does not. One minute you imply only you are forgotten, then you imply you don't know if she gets presents for any other of her children in law, then you seem to say she once forgot an important birthday of your dh's. You also don't make it clear how much she really enjoys getting presents from you - does she send you a list of what she wants without being asked, or just respond to you asking? Do you know whether she really loves getting presents from you, or secretly wishes you were not so into the ritual of present giving, but doesn't want to hurt your feelings and be ungrateful, as it is clearly a meaningful ritual to you?

In all honesty, as someone who loathes being given presents by other adults and resents being forced to reciprocate in rituals I associate with waste, not love, I have a small amount of sympathy for your mil - although why you have both let the current situation drag on for so many years, I don't know. Maybe, as you say, it is because she is somewhat self-centred and doesn't think. Or maybe she thinks she shows you love in other ways? Because remembering someone's birthday once a year is not my idea of love, it's my idea of an organised person with a good diary system.


junebirthdaygirl · 29/09/2018 09:54

My mil never even knew when it was my birthday. I couldn't have cared less. I got on well with her. She never interfered and that was great. My own dm never forgot and was never late so that was what mattered.
I think..with all due respect..your mil does not have to remember your birthday.
Getting on well and respecting each others boundaries is more impirtant. For goodness sake after all those years stop living in fantasy land. She is who she is.
Let this be the last time you give it any thought and if you like buying her presents because she is good to you in other ways do continue ..or not its your choice.
Best wishes with your pregnancy and hopefully mil will do birthsays there...that is important.


EWAB · 29/09/2018 12:31

Your sisters-in-law are her actual daughters; is that right?
To know whether you are being unreasonable we need to know if they have partners and whether their birthdays are acknowledged.


Lostintimeandpace · 29/09/2018 12:34

Do most MIL buy gifts for Dil? In 27 years I haven't had one from mine/PIL- never given it a 2nd thought.

MY parents give my DH a cheque for £50, I have never thought this was unfair- some family just give differently.


Jessiemay88 · 29/09/2018 23:11

I get on really well with my MIL. She doesnt buy me birthday presents. Thats fine with me....dont stress the small stuff


Saddaughterinlawagain · 29/09/2018 23:25

@safetyfreak she does not get my DH presents (or card) on time, he does eventually get one, even 2 months later. I don't get one at all.

I'm not planning on cutting contact. I initiate almost all the contact as it is, I'm just planning on not involving myself in getting gifts for her.

OP posts:

Saddaughterinlawagain · 29/09/2018 23:30

Just to answer some things in general. I don't know if she gets SILs DP because one lives in another country and one has been in a relationship less than a year. They are not in a relationship of over 15y.

She doesn't need to remember my birthday, my DH reminds her, she's on FB or she's invited for dinner etc.

I know she expects gifts because for about a month leading up to her birthday we are told what she wants, what SILs are buying her and what we are to get. This is stated repeatedly.

OP posts:

roundaboutthetown · 30/09/2018 09:51

Saddaughterinlawagain - well, if she goes for the sledgehammer approach, then why not reciprocate? In the month leading up to your birthday, you could repeatedly state what you want her to get you. Grin Although, tbh, I'm not sure, if she does that, why you have ever needed to get involved in her present buying, as surely no thought is required on your part to get her what she has asked for?


AriadnePersephoneCloud · 30/09/2018 09:58

Try and look on the bright side, my Mil sent me possibly the worst framed picture I've ever senn - that I now have to keep and hang every time she visits. It's awful. Honestly I'd enjoy nothing so much more 😁


butlerswharf · 30/09/2018 09:59

I have decided that I'll have nothing to do with her gifts from now on. I'll leave it to my DH and if he gets something shit I'll not intervene or interfere. I'd usually help and contribute ideas, but I'm finished. I'm also going to try and not be upset over it, I've not created this, she has. I'll not fall out over it, but I'm not going out of my way to help her with anything. It is sad, but I actually feel a bit better that I've decided this is the way forward.

This is the perfect way forward Smile

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