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What advice would you give your mother...

Posted by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 10:24 AM
  • 11 Replies

My  mom has a really hard time getting along with my sister in law (older brother's wife).  I think she tries, but their personalities are so different that they just clash.  My brother and his wife have 2 kids together (1 and 9), and the 9 year old my mother can only take in small amounts, and my mother feels the same way.  They don't really put limits on her (she can cuss, she has little to no respect for things or people, and has to be entertained 24/7). 

She isn't like this with the other 4 grandkids (my 2 and my younger brothers 2), and she gets along well with the other sister in law and my husband.  She gets her feelings hurt very easily and this SIL hurts them often.  She's non-confrontational so she doesn't say anything then calls me or the other SIL after and vents.  I've tried telling her to talk to the brother about it, but she says that he will just take the SIL's side and shut her out.  This is not their first rodeo:

A couple of years ago, my mother got her feelings hurt at Christmas because the SIL didn't like what Mom got her, or her daughter (this was before the son was born).  So a couple of weeks later, it was the daughter's birthday, and mom didn't show, just sent gifts and didn't call daughter to tell her happy birthday (I admit, this was wrong, and told her such).  They didn't speak for almost 2 years, resorting to posting bad things about each other on FB and trying to drag me and the other brother/SIL in the middle.  Now everyone is in semi-peaceful land, and here we are again. 

I'm trying to prevent World War II, the daughter's 9th birthday is coming up, I'm at my wits' end with ideas of what to tell her, anyone got suggestions?

by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 10:24 AM
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Replies (1-10):
LilliesValley
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 10:35 AM

I think she either needs to have a conversation with your brother or she needs to just overlook some of your SIL and the 9 year olds issues. There is obviously some respectful things that perhaps SIL's family didn't teach or have the same values. This doesn't make it wrong (although I'd love to Say it does) but just different. Mom should know not to post anything like that on FB (it's just not, oh lets say classy, and then she's acting as bad as SIL).

I come from the school of thought that you don't need to point out someones bad behavior, it's really already speaking volumes for them. Mom should just try to go to the party and as your brother ahead of time what his 9 year old wants. She should make sure to include a gift receipt. If 9 year old says, I don't want that or whatever, then your mom should say something later to your brother like, "I really like going to get a gift and _________ seems very unappreciative and not thankful. I tried asking what she wanted and that didn't help, so do you have some other idea because I don't want to just give cash. I have fun going and getting the gift." That leaves it up to him.

She could also consider taking the 9 year old out to lunch and to get a gift and make that the end of their day together. A 9 year old can be told you have $20 to spend at Wal-mart what would you like to get? I mean even if it's the most miserable 3 hours of your mom's life, it's still only 3 hours. Unfortunately, it's your brother's life and he's the most impacted by what's going on with his wife and children. It sucks that it affects all of you for holidays and such but that's part of being family. Mom really needs to either talk to him and hope she raised him well enough that he can handle it or she needs to suck it up. Sorry not wanting to be a bitch but there's not too much middle ground there.

sleeblended
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

No, I totally agree with you.  I'm really tired of hearing her complain and doing nothing about it.  She said she asked SIL this year for a wish list and didn't get it, and everything she bought her she didn't like.  I said, 'then you should have just gotten her gift cards or money, and if she asked why, then told her because she didn't give you a wish list and she is difficult to buy for".  Same for the daughter.  Then she gripes because she doesn't get a thank you.  I told her to expect it and move on with life, he's not going to divorce her just because you don't like her!

I agree about the FB thing, and I've told them BOTH that I will unfriend and block them both if they ever did anything like that again, how embarassing to see my family drama displayed for the whole world to see!

Thanks for the sounding board, good advice!

Marimaru
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 1:43 PM

I like the idea of taking the 9 year old out to pick her gift.  My aunt did that with me when I was much younger, and it taught me about things like "You can get 1 doll for this much, or you can get many more smaller things for the same amount" and things like that.

Your mom might also try to have a relationship with the 9 year old on her own, and have conversations with the 9 year old about the rules in her house etc, and how she'd like to spend more time with her, but that there are certain things about her behavior that will prevent that (in a non "you" way, like "For people to be in my house, they need to behave in X way").

sleeblended
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 1:52 PM

 Good ideas, thanks!  When the 9 yo came into Mom's house for Christmas she said, 'Nana got me great gifts for Christmas Mimi, let's see if you can top them!'  Stuff like that just crawls all over her!

Firewoman33
by Silver Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Your mom needs to stop gossiping about the situation with the other SIL's. Also, she is going to need to be less passive aggressive. If SIL does something that is rude she should either ingore it or address it with her. She can just ask SIL " I feel like there was in issue in such and such a situation. Could you tell me what is wrong?"

In regards to the grandaughter. When at Grandma's house it's Grandma's rules. End of discussion. 

sleeblended
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 4:57 PM

 I agree with you 100% Firewoman.  And when I tell her this, she gets mad at me and won't talk to me for a week.

muzicbox9
by on Jan. 7, 2013 at 11:32 PM

Ha! This reminds me of the relationship I had with my brother in law.  We rubbed each other up the wrong way for years. Then one afternoon we were both standing in the kitchen and I asked him, "You really don't like me do you?" To which he replied, "No, I can't stand you. Sometimes I just want to punch you in the face".  I said, "yeah ... I can tell".

Then there was a bit of nervous laughter.

In the end I said, "Well, at least we know this about each other now and there are no secrets and no surprises".  He agreed.  Ever since then, we've got along fantastically.  It's like the mutual respect we have for each other for just being open about the fact that we rub each other the wrong way gave us common ground.  Now I have no problems with him at all because he knows, and I know that we can only take each other in small doses - so those small doses end up to be amicable and fun.  We even share lots of laughs! Lol.

Good luck!

Bigmetalchicken
by Bronze Member on Jan. 7, 2013 at 11:54 PM
1 mom liked this

My suggestion would be to treat these people with the same way you would the family of a close friend.  Be kind, and gracious, but don't really give much water about their opinions of her.  She doesn't have to like them, but if she wants to keep her son in her life, she does have to politely tolerate them.

sugarandstones
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM
Ignore them... don't stoop to their level. Kill them with kindness... You can't go wrong with cash... she can buy what she wants
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Caylems-Mamaw
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 6:06 PM

OK I am just gonna say this my kids love love love to get gift cards especially to wal-mart and I hate hate hate it!!! Their nanny sends them one for their birthdays and christmas and I just wanna beat her because when I bring them to the store with "their" money they act like they have no training.

So my input on the situation give her gift cards she will love it the mom will hate it and there will be no conflict cause if and when mom gets tired of getting gift cards and having to fight the wal-mart crowd with the 9 year old she will give the list to your mom like she asks for so she can get the little girl what she wants.

I would gladly give nanny a list so I didnt have to fight wal-mart.

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