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Dear Wendy

Daughter in law rejects our gifts?

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  • #690168 Reply
    Avatar photoSkyblossom

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Grandma also had the idea that they would cover son and DIL’s home with Grandpa’s artwork and then their friends and her relatives would see it and admire it and want to know where they got it and then Grandpa would get lots of praise for his work.

    I wonder if they try to gift everyone with FIL’s work or only the DIL.

    I assume Grandma is approximately my age or a little older and grew up at a time when the term boundaries didn’t exist when it came to family relationships. If you had a domineering MIL you just had to put up with it. Now her son and her DIL have the idea that they can set boundaries and can choose to not use gifts they are given and Grandma finds the whole idea upsetting. She has waited for her turn to be dominant and now they won’t let that happen. From her point of view she should be able to control their home if she wants. She should be able to decorate it and they should be grateful for the decorations. She will have to realize that if she keeps pushing they could easily move further away just to get some peace.

    #690229 Reply

    Moneypenny I bet you’d like this house, the owner has done the whole place up in mid century and has wonderful taste. I just adore it: https://www.reddit.com/r/ThriftStoreHauls/comments/6gkpxo/estate_sale_haul_adrian_pearsall_gondola_sofa/

    #690232 Reply
    Avatar photoMoneypenny

    Ange! That house! I love the floors, and that brick fireplace. And the couch is badass too.

    #690236 Reply

    Skyblossom– dumb question– so back in the day, MILs would come and decorate the DIL’s house? Did they have keys to the DILs’ houses?

    #690242 Reply

    Yeah, often they did, especially if husband was used to listening to his mother. My MIL and my sister had keys to our house. Sister would never over-step. MIL over-stepped in different way.

    #690270 Reply
    Avatar photoSkyblossom

    They might have a key or they might be over to do something like babysit and feel entitled to do things. My sister’s mother-in-law liked to rearrange the living room furniture and the kitchen when she babysat. My sister came home once to find that not only was her living room rearranged but there was a lamp in the middle of the room with a cord running across the floor to the lamp and she had a baby crawling around that would gum on or chew anything. She would also come home to find her mother-in-law decided to store everything in the kitchen in different places. Her husband would have to talk to her and tell her that they wanted everything where they decided to keep it. The MIL would be hurt or disappointed because she felt that her way was so much better and she was surprised that they couldn’t see that. My mom went through my sister’s refrigerator and turned all of the lids upside down to “save space” which my sister pointed out that she didn’t need that space but now she wouldn’t be able to microwave those items without washing the dirty lids.

    The control can be in other ways also. You can be expected to spend all day Saturday or Sunday or both at the parent’s house to see everybody. You can be expected to drop everything whenever your mom calls to go do things for her or with her. You can be expected and pushed to name your child some traditional family name that you hate. You can be pushed into attending church because you grew up there and everybody knows you should be at church.

    Couples facing these issues now have the internet as a resource that tells you it is okay to say no and how to say no and how to create boundaries. The concept didn’t exist when I was twenty or if it did it wasn’t a concept that was broadly known. We didn’t have that trouble because we lived so far from our parents but I would see other people struggling with it.

    #690272 Reply

    My dad’s mother had the keys to our house. She lived with us for a while – my dad had converted the attic to a bedroom and bathroom for her – and then after she got her own place, she babysat us a lot. Fortunately she wasn’t the type to ever mess with anyone’s business, but she sure could have. My other grandmother showed up one day and decided I was ready to be potty trained and just went ahead and did it. Times were different for sure. Even now we get a number of letters about mother-in-laws showing up unannounced and getting into their kids’ private stuff, like doing laundry they weren’t asked to do. I bet it’s even gotten worse in some ways because we now have these helicopter mom’s who are used to doing everything for their kids.

    #690276 Reply
    Avatar photoSkyblossom

    You’re right about the helicopter parents, they won’t let go. They won’t let their kids grow up. They won’t let their kids make decisions. They monitor everything all of the time. I work with someone who makes her kids text when they get home from school. The oldest turned 18 and he still was required to text mom that he got home okay. She decided that he would get a job for this summer and decided where he would work. She has decided where he will attend college.

    She herself has a dominating MIL and they are just learning how to set boundaries with her. Yet she can’t see that she is doing the same with her own kids. She also tries to control us at work but we ignore her. She is obsessive compulsive and tries to make us do things in her way such as keep all the pens in certain slots, turned certain ways and we ignore her. She tries to make us use certain markers for labeling by putting away the ones that most of us use and substituting the ones that she prefers.

    #690450 Reply

    DIL’s request for bubble bath is ‘silly’? How about considering your hubby’s artwork is ‘silly’….how tragic for his poor woman, having someone like you for a MIL. šŸ™

    #690453 Reply

    My son-in-law is an excellent artist. My daughter and he have been married over 15 years now. The first Christmas after they were married,he gave us one of his paintings, which he framed for us as well. I love it, & I’m downright sentimental about it (it’s a landscape featuring the tree they were married under). However, my daughter had the good sense to ask in advance if we would like it, and said up front that they would entirely understand if it wasn’t our style.

    #690458 Reply

    @grandma – what more do you want from your son/DIL? They have very kindly and diplomatically made it crystal clear to you that they do not want any more paintings as gifts. PERIOD. It is rude and intrusive for you to continue to try to force paintings upon them, and petulant and childish of you to be upset about this. As others have pointed out, giving a gift is about the RECIPIENT, not about YOU. You should be thinking about giving them something THEY would like, not something YOU would like. How would YOU feel if your DIL started giving you “silly” bubble bath EVERY birthday and Christmas? With your logic, she likes bubble bath, so therefore you should shut up and be grateful for the 20 bottles of bubble bath cluttering up your bathroom counter. Well, that’s what you’re doing to her, but in reverse. Except a painting you don’t want is a MILLION times worse than bubble bath you don’t want. If you don’t like the bubble bath, you can toss it and she’ll never know. But if she doesn’t like the painting, she’s either forced to store it somewhere and deal with your questions about why it isn’t up or else she feels obligated to put it up so as not to hurt your feelings, even if she hates it. Because what in the ever loving fuck do you expect her to do with a painting besides hang it up? The point of a painting is to display it. Quit pouting and respect the eminently reasonable boundaries they have so politely asked you to respect. You are 100% in the wrong here.

    #690482 Reply

    OMG I have this exact situation. Though, it’s not my mother in law (thank goodness!) But, I have an uncle that has special needs. He likes to draw and color and he makes these large pieces of “abstract” art. Some of them are pretty, but it’s not really my style. Since he’s unable to work, a lot of the family members try to sell the drawings to bring in some money for him. And countless times, I’ve been asked to come and “pick one of the drawings” for my birthday/shower/wedding. It’s hard to say “no, thanks” because you want to be sincere, but I literally do not want any more abstract art in my home.

    My mother got one for me and had it framed (I mean, sure, it’s nicely done). I’ve hung it up in my apartment in a downstairs entryway. Something I don’t really see every day. But here’s the thing. ALL OF THE OTHER PIECES I’ve been forced to pick are now taped to the back of the framed drawing. I just don’t want any of it hanging in my home!!

    Grandma, Please stop having your daughter in law “come and pick!” a piece of art from the collection. She has enough. Honestly, having her pick a piece for her wedding shower (a time when a lot of USEFUL household goods are gifted) is really thoughtless. I can tell you exactly how she feels and it’s not good.

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