I need some help figuring this out and what to do about it.
Some background first.
My daughters mother in law has always hosted all the holidays, except for Christmass Day. I take them out for Christmass Dinner, esp since they host Christmass Eve. This year, for a number of reasons, my daughter is hosting Thanksgiving. Since my daughter works full time, I sat down with her and figured out the cost of her doing the whole thing herself vs having the meal catered. (in figuring out these costs, we included her hourly wage,since her time is valuable also). It turned out that it was cheaper to have the meal catered. The meal includes both turkey and ham, all the different sides,rolls and several different pies.
I helped her clean her house over the weekend,polished all my good silver for her to use, and gave her a clean set of my good dishes,(she does not have enough of her own china to use).
I just found out that her mother in law plans to show up at 7:30 AM Thanksgiving morning to "help" my daughter with the dinner!
My feelings about this are as following.
I am tired of her "interferring" between my daughter and I. (this is no the first time she has done something like this, ie, when my daughter married her son, she simple "took over " the wedding, including calling me and telling me what to wear,ect. 2. I feel that this is an insult to my daughter as well as myself as it implies that niether one of us is capable of doing the dinner "right".And, oh yes, she is bringing several side dishes that she is sure that my daughter is not able to fix!
(My daughter is 44 years old and a very good cook,even better then I am, and I had my own successfull catering bussines for several years!)And to add insult to injury, her own daughter does not cook at all(her husband does all the cooking!)
What I would really like to do is to call her up( the mother in law) and tell her "where to go",but I do understand that that will only cause more problems. I do think that her son(my son inlaw) should call his mother and tell her that her help is not needed and he would perfer that she show up around noon for dinner, but I know that he will not do that as he is afraid of upsetting his mother.
I know that if I make a fuss, my daughter will be upset, I also know that I will have a very hard time, if not an impossiable time to just smile and accept the fact that this woman thinks that she is the only one that can help my daughter ect.
I do not want to upset my daughter in anyway. I also understand the "fine line" that she(my daughter) is walking betwine me and her mother in law, (Having been married more then once, I have walked that line more times than I care to count!)
At this point, rather then cause a problem( I am not good at keeping my mouth shut and may just tell the mother in law where to "off") I am thinkinking of being "too sick"(I do have a bad cold and cough) to attend dinner and stay home.
What would you do or how would you handle this situation?
TIA for your help,
Just my thought...take the high road and be gracious. "How nice, that will go well with what we have planned." At the end of the day you want your daughter to have good memories of hosting a holiday meal.
It is up to your daughter and her husband to grow a spine and tell his mother - Thanks but no thanks. They do not have to be rude, it is their responsibility to tell her they have a lot going on that day and it would be easier if she didn't arrive until closer to dinner.
When MIL mentioned the dishes she was planning to bring - if it was a duplication or very similar to something planned your daughter should have told her, once again, thanks but we are already having X, Y, and Z and if she really wants to bring something we really love her GHB casserole.
It is you job as gracious guest to be just that- gracious guest. It is your daughter's decision to allow her meddling mil to interfere, same as she allowed her meddling mil to interfer with the wedding etc. It will not reflect well on you if you stay home and pout.
One question - how old is your daughter?This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
It's time for you to step back and let her & your SIL take care of it. As much as you want to take care of the problem, it's their place to do so. I also can't keep my mouth shut when I disagree and it's caused many problems in my family. Even if you are right just bite your tongue and let them battle it out or go along with it. Good luck
I suspect that your daughter's mother in law has never considered whether or not you or your daughter could produce the dinner. She sounds like a woman who likes to feel important, and at the center of what is going on, and has a drive to be in charge. Some people have a really hard time letting go of being "the one" cooking or the one hosting. Her image of herself and her self esteem probably depend on being "essential" to anything.
I think it would be a shame for you not to go to the dinner. Your daughter's mother in law is not likely to ever change, and so she is always going to be who she is. Once you understand that, maybe you can look beyond her behavior.
Perhaps you and your daughter could set the table the day before, and have everything ready, so it is the look your daughter wants. Your daughter should serve the food she planned to serve, but put the mother in laws things on the table too. What does it matter?
Then have a good time and don't dwell on the mother in law, or her behavior. Eat, drink, be merry, and love your daughter. Help with the clean up. Hug the grand kids (if there are any) Be fun to be around. The absolute last thing you want to do is be a crabby old woman with a grudge who is looking to tell someone off. You will be absolutely miserable if you let that go on, even in your mind. You will be way more miserable, if you can't let this go, than you could ever make the mother in law, no matter what you do or say to her.
MIL sounds like a control freak or else is very needy or both. Since she does not see the error of her ways, she is not going to change. I agree that it's her son who should rein her in when needed. He should do so clearly, but respectfully and not make his wife nor you the enemy. A compromise might work. He could let mom know that plans have been made and the dinner will be catered for practical reasons but a few side dishes from his mother would be appreciated but he prefers she arrive just before dinner.After all, Thanksgiving is a time for family and perhaps close friends. It's a time for sharing and counting our blessings. Peace and love should prevail. Your daughter should privately talk to her husband and voice the idea of compromise. She nor you should approach this plan in anger as it's sure to create resentment. If your SIL still fears upsetting his mother so be it. It will be a shame he can't talk to her as two mature adults, but this puszy footing with his mom has no doubt become the norm for many years. It will be up to you then to rise above the situation and focus on creating a pleasant holiday, especially if children will be present. Reflect on what matters most...health, family, friends, love, food, shelter... To not show up out of frustration or spite will only hurt the ones you love and you and they will be cheated of a traditional family gathering.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Froo Froo,
I wouldn't say anything to your daughter or your SIL. This is their marriage and they need to learn to handle bumps in the road amongst themselves, it will make their marriage stronger. I never feel it's a good idea to pit a "child", no matter how old, against their own parents, it will only create animosity at some point down the road. Go and enjoy the day, have a good time with your daughter and don't bring her any undo stress. It's a beautiful time of the year... we never know how long any of us will be here, make good, happy memories and keep your thoughts, to yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!
Hmmmm......being a MIL myself, I know that there are always two sides to any story.
I'm not doubting you, but the MIL must feel her help is needed or wanted. Her son should tell her nicely what the plans are, and when it would be best for her to arrive. Then let the chips fall where they may.
I think you need to take a step back and be a gracious guest, not one that "plays sick".
Offer to help your daughter if she wants you to. Say nothing to anyone. She is 44 years old. It is not your place to do anything except offer to help and be pleasant.
Don't call in sick as your daughter surely knows how you feel. Agree with everyone else, it's your SIL and Daughter problem, especially your spineless SIL. Go and be a gracious guest and mom.
The trouble with winning the day against a much older adversary is that you've done just that--beat an old person. It's a no-win situation.
Fuss and fume here...and leave it here.
Wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say - I am going to have a great time today!
I once had to put up with a guest I don't even want to be in the same state as me much less my own home. I finally decided that to let "it" have control over MY day was totally unacceptable. I was polite to "it" yet spent the bulk of my day focusing on the people I love and who love me back. Turned out to be a very nice day after all.
Does this hat make my butt look big?
Obviously since the MIL hosted all the dinners in previous years, she feels capable and is willing to help so her DIL can be hostess.
Perhaps DD or your SIL could call Mom and ask her to arrive a bit later, maybe just in time to put her dishes in the oven or to expect to help set the table, iron the tablecloth or wash up the dirty dishes in the sink.
This might have all been avoided if MIL had also been consulted from the git go, as perhaps she was or maybe wasn't.
I've always put the way too early arriving guest to work, even so much as dusting in the LR because I was running out of time.
My MIL traipses into the kitchen while I'm deep in turkey & stuffing or giving directions to those offering to help and all she wants to do is show me the new pictures of the grandkids she printed off her email. I politely tell her I'm too busy at the moment and would much rather enjoy looking at them after we eat so I don't ruin the pictures with my greasy fingers!
The one year I had her finish pulling the turkey off the carcass after we ate and she claimed she'd never done that before, I said "here I'll show you how!"
Otherwise, you have a plethora of lovely & gracious advice offered by the many firends & posters previous to mine.
Enjoy the day, "wear beige and keep your mouth shut!"
msmarymac, I'm so glad you posted this thread ~ seems like your daughter's MIL is a major challenge but that's not why I am glad you started this thread! Why? Because you had a venue to vent as you had plenty of reason to do so and it's safe to get it out here and then go enjoy the day with your daughter tomarrow!
I understand why you are so upset about MIL's last minute directive that "I'll be there at 7:30 am to "help." What a slap in the face as if your daughter (and you) aren't perfectly capable of hosting a family holiday dinner!
Here's what I wished your daughter had told her MIL during that conversation, "Why, thank you so much for the offer but my Mom and I have already cleaned the house, polished the silver and have the china all ready. All of the food has been taken care of so there's no need for ANYONE to arrive before noon but, if you would like to bring a few of your favorite dishes, by all means, do so. See you at NOON!"
I do have to say that it is EXTREMELY rude for any guest to arrive early for an occasion whether they are family or not. But to presume to arrive at 7:30 am for a meal scheduled for noon??? I can tell you what would happen at my house ~ "Katie, lock the doors, bar the windows and ignore the doorbell." Then I would roll over and go back to sleep until nine!
Just be glad that you have raised a daughter with the ability to handle a holiday meal yet with manners enough not to antagonize an over-bearing MIL ~ quite a compliment to you!
I noted something no one else has mentioned ~ the fact that this MIL has an adult married daughter who doesn't cook ~ perhaps MIL thinks that others have failed as she did with her own daughter and so it's necessary to step in to run the show. YOU don't need to step in ~ you have raised a daughter capable of dealing with her life on her own.
Be proud of that and, yes, you definitely MUST be there tomarrow to show your daughter how proud you are of her no matter how bad that cold gets! Enjoy the day and let us know how it goes....
IR - I was thinking about the adult daughter - she might have told her mother - we're going out for dinner, would you like to join us? No, well have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I was also thinking about MsMary's daughter. We are all responding as if she were 22 and just out of the nest. She is in her 40's. MsMary is still upset about a wedding that probably took place years before!
If MIL is an on going issue - that is something between daughter and husband to resolve. If it is a once or twice a year issue - they have probably decided - oh well, this too shall pass.
But I still feel MsMary should be the gracious guest and mind her manners. As always, if you don't have anything nice to say.....
Be sure to compliment your daughter for all of her hard work.
One question - Where the heck is her husband hiding during all of this?
On this Thanksgiving Day, I count my blessings that I have never had to deal with this kind of MIL drama in my life; in either of my marriages.
Hope for the best. Enjoy your holiday.
That says it all. Come here and complain about her all you want but let your capable daughter it as she sees fit. Your daughter sounds like a nice person.
If I were feeling a little bit snarky at the dinner table, I'd be tempted to steer the conversation to Thanksgiving episodes of Everyone Loves Raymond and then focus on Marie Barone. But probably the MIL would never get the point. How is it that none of us can see the beam in our own eye?????
I've put on big turkey dinners many times and I would never say no to help of any kind. If somebody wants to help, fine. If people bring extra food they make themselves...more for everybody. Many of our family and friends bring desserts and wine and they are always welcome.
I'm so glad this thread was posted. I don't have the MIL problem, but there was another issue for me from last year's day, and I really didn't want to attend this year because of it. Needless to say, DH kept saying just ignore it. After all these wise words, I decided to just "ignore it" and our day turned out wonderfully. Thankfully, the same "issue" didn't arise this year and a good time was had by all.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Ms Mary Mac, at the beginning of the story you said that YOU sat down with your daughter and figured out that it is cheaper for the dinner to be catered than for your daughter to do it. (Maybe I misread this and what you meant was your daughter ASKED you to sit down and help her with figuring this out, but I don't think so)
Why this is important is that it sounds like your daughter does not take a firm stand with anyone. Maybe again this is wrong but that is the way it sounds. For you to refuse to go to the meal is manipulative and counterproductive as the only one it would really hurt (distress, confuse, embarrass and mystify) is your DD. And if things are as you say with her DMIL, such a non-appearance would be great grist for the mill of whatever gossip machine in operating in that side of the family!
When you say you are "tired of her interfering between you and your daughter" that again is your daughters' call. It is her choice how much she and her husband have to do with either family. Even if her choice is made because she does not have the backbone to choose otherwise.
(BTW anyone that showed up at my house at 7:30 a.m. could choose to hang around till I get up at 8:30!) Actually I can't imagine anyone informing me of when they would arrive at my house, unless the circumstances were most unusual. I kind of always thought it was the hostesses decision when to receive guests! (no matter what the relationship between the parties.
Since we now are several days past the event, how did it work out?This message has been edited. Last edited by: lady of shallot,
How did it all work out?
Florida Farm Girl, so glad everything was good for you this year.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful that I don't have to and have never had to celebrate any holidays with his & my families at the same doo.
thank you all for your replies and sorry that it took me so long to get back to you. I really have been sick.
To answer your question about how my daughter and I figured out which would be cheaper(doit herself or catered) We did the following. Figured out what the food would cost to buy,the time it would take to fix the meal,then figured out what my daughters time was worth.(Quite a bit since she she earns more then $20.00 an hour)And compaired that to what it would cost to caterer a meal for 11 people. It turned out to be a lot less expensive to have it catered and the meal was biger then what my daughter would have fixed. IE both ham and turkey,whit and sweet potatoes, 2 types of stuffing,corn and green beans,cranberries,gravey and rolls.
For the 11 people, with enough leftovers to send food home with daughters and inlaws,bring me a plate and still have enough left for her and her husband to have a 2nd full meal, it was $150.00. and it was all very good!
It is something I would do againe for sure, because I doubt that we could have put on a meal like that for that amount of money,to say nothing about the lack of stress and the mess it takes in the kitchen to make that much food.
Thank you againe for your advise and help.
So did DD's MIL show up at 7:30?
Now, that was a wonderful example of creative problem-solving. If faced with a similar situation, I'd do the very same thing. Who says a Thanksgiving meal has to be homemade to be enjoyable.
Hope that the day turned out well and that the drama was kept to a minimum. It's good to be able to come here and vent. Glad that I never had that problem. My MIL hates to cook or entertain.
I hate to burst everyone's bubble but it looks like MsMaryMac decided to stay home. This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
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