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How do I get my husband to realize his mother's behavior is inappropriate

He is willing to talk with her for me, but he doesn't see it as inappropriate

The behavior:

MIL signed us up to get a free Thanksgiving dinner from charity, which we did not need, because she thought we were struggling. I know some people think I should be grateful, but I'm not. I'm angry. We're able to afford to buy Thanksgiving dinner. I was going to cook for our families. Now my first Thanksgiving as the host feels ruined because somebody who NEEDS the food won't get it, plus I had everything planned. I was excited about providing for my family. Understand, I have no issue with welfare or charity, but I do not want or need it.

My husband understands why I am upset about it, but he doesn't see it as meddling. He sees it as her trying to help because she sees we are struggling. He sees as a gift.

Similar incident: he had surgery so I took off work to take care of him for a week. She found out and "offered" to care for him

Answer Question

Asked by Gecko85 at 5:23 AM on Nov. 19, 2009 in Relationships

Level 5 (90 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • If you have other family members that host Thanksgiving Id see it as insulting. Its as if shes telling you to stay home rather than cook FOR you. It may have been a nice gesture that was not thought out enough. If a family member thought I was struggling Id rather be invited over for Thanksgiving dinner rather than have it sent to me. I see how this hurts you. Id tell her how you feel but as nicely as possible. She may just be that clueless

    Answer by Steph319 at 5:47 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • and as far as the surgery goes... I think you're overreacting. Whether their are struggles or not I can see how someone would want to help. I dont see it having anything to do money. She was prob just trying to relieve you of the stress and go about your every day life to help take your mind off it a bit. JMO

    Answer by Steph319 at 5:49 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • Sounds like she has good intentions....she is trying to be helpful. Instead of getting angry or causing undue stress I would simply either call the place where she signed you up and ask them to remove your name OR if she already has the turkey and is bringing it to you take it to the local shelter or church that way it is still going to people in need.

    As for his surgery...I don't see the big deal.  My mother has come to care for me everytime I had a c-section...heck so has my MIL.  We have three children and my husband works full-time, they were trying to help him out.


    Answer by anetrnlov at 6:00 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • I don't see her behavior as inappropriate, and I think it isn't too late to call and tell the people that you don't need the meal. If it is too late to cancel, you could probably find another family who was not signed up who could really use the food. It sounds like your mother-in-law is concerned about her son and his family, and if he isn't upset by what she's done, I don't think you should be either. Instead of being mad, be glad that she cares enough about you to want to help, and look for a way to pass the concern on to another family who really does need it--maybe one that nobody else would ever have even noticed.

    Answer by NannyB. at 7:25 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • Please don't take this the wrong way because I mean no offense, but I wonder if this is how it seems to people when I complain about my MIL. She does things that people say were done with good intentions or because she cared or it wasn't meant the way I took it and I have this tendency to see the negative in it (she's meddling, she doesn't acknowledge my parental authority, etc.)

    The Thanksgiving dinner...I would contact the charity and say "thanks, but no thanks" and do your dinner the way you were originally planning.

    The surgery...I just don't see the problem here.

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 7:27 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • I can see a problem in both I think this is prolly not the only 2 times she has tried to "take over". Now if she just offered to help with the surgery and isnt insisting, I would sinple tell her ty but you have it covered. as for the thanksgiving dinner, unless you told her how much it meant to you, how excited you are, and that you are kinda pridful about it...she would have no way of knowing. thst being said, she was out of line, even tho trying to help because some poeple would be horribly embarassed to have to accept help and that is something she should dhave asked you about. I would not let this get blown up any bigger than it is already, talk with her with your dh, dfont just send him in to do your talking. Men are not to smooth on stuff like this lol and he could do more harm than good. gl.

    Answer by Bearsjen at 7:33 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • I feel ya. And to someone who doesn't have to deal with this stuff it can seem innocent. It's a boundaries thing.

    As for the surgery, I can totally see it. My husband had his wisdom teeth out. I was there to take him home but she showed up with his very young sisters "just to make sure he got home", as if I'd just push him out of the car on the way back. He had back surgery and we said we'd call when she could come up, but there she is paging me in the hospital since I hadn't called. He was still in the or then came up when he told her not to.

    My daughter was in the NICU when born, she tried to go up on her own so many times and my husband had to keep telling her, they won't let you in, but she didn't care. Then when the same daughter was diagnosed with Diabetes and in the PICU, we said no visitors until she was stable and up my MIL came. My husband called her out on it once she was home but she was ticked that my SIL cont.

    Answer by heatheryn at 7:39 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • came up. She only came up because I wear contacts and so does she, so she brought me some supplies, but never came in the room where my daughter was.

    Some MIL's just don't understand that they become second once their sons get married. Either that, or they just don't like it. IDK. But you and your husband putting your foot down and calling her on the inappropriate behavior is just about the only thing you can do.

    Answer by heatheryn at 7:40 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • wow, i could see this in so many ways. basically i can only say you'll never change her. only your reactions to her. it could be really simple for you in the future.
    assume nothing about her and don't take anything she says or does personally, let it roll off your back.
    limit what info you give her, do not feed her actions by providing her information in which she can act on.
    and don't expect hubby to take sides or support you, he is her son and that is a completely different role than your husband. let him be a son when she's around and a husband when she is not. you married him the man, not him the son.
    and finally, if she is providing a gift don't look any further than that. give it away, give it to goodwill, a friend whatever-simply take the gift and decide what you want to do with it.
    You'll never change anyone's actions or ways of thinking, only yours.

    Answer by jewjewbee at 8:00 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • Exactly, it is a boundaries thing. I know it can seem like I am complaining when the sweet lady is just trying to be nice, but she got to take care of him for 20 years and now it is my turn. He is my husband and I am more that capable. That is just how I feel about it. What bugs me is that he sees it the way some of the (very well meaning) people on here do, that she is not meddling, and is just trying to be nice and help because she cares about us. And I know she is not meddling on purpose, but she is crossing into my role, and it was VERY embarrassing to find out that my name was on a charity list for the less fortunate. It isn't embarrassing to him though, he just sees it as extra help. The thing is though, that I am VERY independent and if I want help I will ask for it.

    Answer by Gecko85 at 8:00 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

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