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Worst Gift Archives
January 2002
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Worst gift:  Worst Gift - Again!  Once again, my MIL and her friend gave everyone in the family a huge box of chocolates!  I am trying to lose weight, and everyone knows it.  As a matter of fact, my MIL is obsessed with other people's weight.  Every time she sees a person, she looks them up and down.  The first thing she says is, "Oh, you lost weight," or, "Oh, you gained weight."  I have three sons.  The middle son turns into an orangutan if he eats too much chocolate, and my youngest has asthma, and will have an attack if he eats too much.  Last Christmas Eve, I ended up sitting in the emergency room with him all night after my MIL kept sneaking him chocolate.  So, out of a family of five, that's three who don't want chocolate.  But, what do my MIL and her friend keep buying us year after year?  After opening presents with them last night, we have 16 boxes of chocolate in our pantry!  Next year, I'm going to chuck the chocolates straight into the garbage can - right in front of them!  And you know what's really bizarre?  They're both diabetic and can't eat stuff like that!  AAARGH!

        Signed - What A Surprise - Another Box Of Chocolates!

RESPONSE:  What A Surprise - Another Box Of Chocolates!
I understand your story.  My DH has an aunt that cannot accept the fact that her poor eating habits and lifestyle have lead to her being fat and diabetic.  She has sores all over her body that won't heal due to the illness.  I know I'm prone to the illness, so I take care of myself and eat right.  I have cut out wheat, sugar, and unnecessary fat from my diet.  My DH's aunt does not understand this, and at breakfast she served me buttered toast and bacon.

RESPONSE:  What A Surprise - Another Box Of Chocolates!
When the next occasion arises that you should give her or her friend a gift, give them a box of the chocolates back.  When she says they are diabetic and can't eat them, explain that neither can you, your son who turns into an orangutan, or your son who has asthma.  Maybe she will get a clue if you have the opportunity to tell her that your situations are equitable to their being diabetics.

RESPONSE:  What A Surprise - Another Box Of Chocolates!
If they can't eat it, I have an idea for you.  Put the boxes in the freezer and then give them back to them next Christmas.  When they say, "We can't eat chocolate," tell them, "Oh, I know people give what they would like to be given.  We can't eat chocolate either."  It's just a suggestion.  What a pain in-laws are.  Sorry yours are a pain in the butt too.  Hang in there.

RESPONSE:  What A Surprise - Another Box Of Chocolates!
This sounds so familiar!  After going on a well known diet plan, my MIL suddenly started buying me candy (she never did it before).  I just gave it to my DH, whose weight is fine.  I have an additional problem.  It is my father who is obsessed with weight and has always said nasty things to me about mine.  Anyway, he doesn't think there is any such thing as "private", and he is always blabbing to the woman he works with who started sending me Christmas cakes.  My wonderful mother had to explain to both of them that I was on a diet plan and didn't want a bunch of cakes around.  My father still was after me to take a cake, and it got to the point where my mother told him that I had one, and not to mention it again.

RESPONSE:  What A Surprise - Another Box Of Chocolates!
I know what you mean.  I am losing weight (an ongoing battle since I was a child) and I told FDH to tell his mother that I wanted diet drinks instead of regular drinks when we went to see them for Christmas.  FDH did tell her this, and that I was serious about this (he knows what I am going through).  Did she buy me diet drinks?  NO!  She bought regular drinks.  And, when I didn't drink them, she got mad and asked why.  I told her why, and she got huffy.  She really didn't like it when, on the second day that I was there, I went to the grocery store and bought my own diet cola and drank that.  Oh well.  Also, my FFIL is diabetic, and the doctor has warned him of his eating habits, and that the next step was to go to insulin injections if he didn't change his diet.  Well, FMIL said that there was nothing wrong with the way she cooked, and that she wouldn't change just because of what the doctor said.  She cooks with a lot of grease and fat.  When I am at her house, I cook (healthy) because I get sick if I eat her food.  She takes that as an insult.  But, FDH supports me in this also, as he gets sick if he eats too much of her food.  It looks like, to me, she is trying to kill FFIL with her food.  Our MILs are psycho, aren't they?  I like your idea about chucking the chocolates in front of her in the trash.  DO IT!  I would love to see her face when you do this.  Heee, heee.

Worst gift:  More than a few years ago, when we still saw my in-laws, we exchanged names because his family is huge.  The last year I attended, the person who drew my name chose not to buy a gift and never bothered to tell anyone.  So I sat and watched everyone else open presents.  The next year I got the "best" present from my MIL.  She asked her oldest daughter (who is jealous of me and truly despises me) if I should be included in the gift exchange that year.  She said, "no".  I found out after another SIL told my DH about it.  I decided that if I was not good enough for the exchange, I was not good enough to go at all.  They still bring this up in their insane circle, trying to claim I removed myself from their "loving" family all on my own, and that I was welcomed to come.  YEAH, RIGHT!  Just for the record, I have turned the other cheek more than a dozen times.  Each time, I was slapped, kicked and punched a little harder!!!!  This year, we are going to be IL FREE (from his side anyway)!

        Signed - Turned The Other Cheek More Than A Dozen Times


RESPONSE:  Turned The Other Cheek More Than A Dozen Times
Are you not part of the family?  They are a bunch of sad people.  At least you had a pleasant holiday.  I'm glad you aren't taking any more abuse.  More power to you!

Worst gift:  My MIL always gives me loveless gifts.  She does her duty, and if I don't like it, it's my problem.  So, she discovered that buying a packet with five tights solved her problem of choosing something for me.  And, she has been giving me 2 packs of these thick winter tights every Christmas for the last 15 years.  She seems very pleased when I say, "thank you".  Then, on my birthday, which happens to be on New Year's Day, I invited her to have tea and cake.  She responded that she would not come because she could not leave her daughter's dog alone, as the dog would feel lonely and distressed.  But, she would send her husband with the tights.

        Signed - The Dog's Feelings Are More Important Than Mine


RESPONSE:  The Dog's Feelings Are More Important Than Mine
I thought about this, and I wonder if you actually use the tights?  Perhaps you could interject this with some humor.  Every year that she gives you the tights, make a different craft with them.  Martha Stewart would be proud.  You would recycle, and have part of your shopping done for the following events:  Mother's Day, Easter, Christmas, Groundhog's Day, and a spare for your FIL (if he's special too).  If he plays golf, perhaps a nice set of golf club covers, and a mug cover for MIL?  Are they different colors?  You can make a woven rug and give them back.  Re-gifting at its finest.  Best of luck.

Worst gift:  I was dreading finding out what I would receive from my dear old MIL for Christmas.  In the past, she has given me hideous shirts, or pants which are not my style.  I am 33 years old.  She has given me polyester pants, or other styles of clothes which are not flattering to someone who is overweight (such as horizontal striped shirts - making sure they would be too small).  Last year, I made a statement in front of her, my DH, and SIL that I'd rather people didn't buy me clothes, since they usually don't fit right, and I like to buy my own clothes.  I didn't think that the way I said it was rude.  I know a lot of people feel the same way (they'd rather buy their own clothes).  When my SIL opened her presents from MIL (I was not present of course), MIL said nastily, "I don't buy stuff like this for DIL, because she says I don't have any taste in clothes."  My SIL told me about it the next day.  She and I are friends.  By the way, I received a housecoat, which did fit, and make-up, which was actually nice.  The colors went well with my complexion (as if she gave it a thought).  I thought she was on a roll, until I received a pair of slippers.  They do not fit me right.  I wear a size larger than she gave me.  She even asked me, recently, what size shoes I wear.  I am giving the slippers to my sister who wears that size.  My DH and I gave MIL something which we know she collects.  She did not even acknowledge it, say thank you, or kiss my butt - whatever.  I think that what we did for her last year was easier.  We gave her and my FIL a restaurant gift card.  Sorry this is so long.  I just needed to vent!

        Signed - Would Rather Just Have A Gift Certificate!


Worst gift:  My husband and I got married 5 months ago.  My in-laws agreed (with my parents) that they would pay for the wedding pictures.  Well, they didn't borrow enough money to pay for the pictures.  And, so, they put the debt on us.  We held out.  As a cop-out, they paid for the pictures as our big Xmas gift!  What a jip!

        Signed - What A Jip!


RESPONSE:  What A Jip!
Um, I know you will get posts apologizing for a negative post, but don't you think you are being a tad unfair?  If your in-laws had to borrow money for pictures, then they are probably not very well off, and it was probably a hardship for them to pay for them.  It sounds like you should be grateful that they made an effort to give you the pictures for Christmas.  Although I suppose it's possible that you left out something, I think you should understand that not everyone has the means to pay for expensive weddings or the means to pay back large loans.

RESPONSE:  What A Jip!
I'm a little dismayed that your ILs had to go into debt to pay for your wedding photos (which is quite a generous gift).  And, when they finally were able to pay for it, that you seem feel gypped.  If they picked the photographer, and went knowingly into debt, that is one thing.  If you picked the photographer, and forced them into debt, that is a whole other ball of wax.  I would pay for the photos myself rather than force my ILs into debt.

RESPONSE:  What A Jip!
They had to get a loan to pay for the pictures, and you're b!tching that it was a "jip".  Sorry for the harshness, but you should really be glad that they gave you a dime.  You sound very unappreciative!!!!

Worst gift:  My MIL is so cheap.  She doesn't even buy gifts!  She is financially better off than we are.  However, she refuses to spend money on anything.  Once, many years ago, my DH and I received a surprise bonus from work.  We treated the IL's to a cruise, because they never had traveled anywhere because they are too cheap.  They brought us back one tee-shirt that was a freebie from the ship.  This past year, we gave them a 75th birthday party (both turned 75 last year) with all of their relatives and friends.  She kept adding more and more people to the guest list, since she didn't pay for anything.  I went through a lot of trouble and expense for this party, and she didn't even wish my daughter a Happy Chanukah, which was a few days after the party.  It goes without saying that they didn't even slip her a one dollar bill as a present!!!!!!  When she visits us, she brings "gifts" which are from her house.  Once I received a nightgown that I thought was an old one of hers, but not worn.  I found a used handkerchief in the pocket!  She'll bring my daughter a purse with the tag on it, as if it were new - but she bought it years and years ago.  My MIL still has her own mother's personal belongings from 25 years ago when she passed away.  She will give us the old dish towels and sheets.  Each time she visits us, we get another dishtowel!  Sometimes, instead of a dishtowel, I'll get a promotional magnet from a drugstore!  These people are retired and have a HUGE house that is paid for.  They live (in another city) in a neighborhood that is extremely desirable.  We would never be able to afford to live there (in that house).  I have made excuses for them all of my married life about how they are not materialistic, blah, blah, blah.  I am finished spending my money on them!

        Signed - Cheap MIL

RESPONSE:  Cheap MIL
Are you in the habit of buying gifts simply to receive one back?  Never expect a gift from someone simply because you spend money on them.  If you want to do something nice for a person, then do something nice.  But, you can't expect that same behavior back.  It's unfortunate that your MIL is thoughtless.  Don't bother buying her anything anymore if you expect something in return that is worthy.  It's not going to happen.

RESPONSE:  Cheap MIL
I think it is time for you to do some re-gifting.  The next time you get a used or old present from MIL, give it back to her on the next gift giving occasion.  When she asks why you're giving it back, say that you forgot she was the one that gave it to you, but you think that the gift would be perfect for her.

Worst gift:  This year, we gave DH's parents: a framed professional picture of our child, a new crockery teapot and a basket full of tea, honey and candles - all of them BRAND NEW.  DH's parents gift to me:  3 bath towels and two bath rugs (in colors I don't have in my bathrooms).  Everything smelled as if they had been in their house for a while.  The bath rugs had a scratched out label from a regional department store that has been out of business for a few years.  Granted, I have distanced myself from these people because they have never accepted me as DH's wife, but I do practice civility to them, since they are my child's grandparents, and I don't give them shabby gifts.  Anyway, I am going to sell these things on an online classified ad.

        Signed - Just Give Me Your Hand Me Downs and Clearance Sales Castoffs

Worst gift:  When I was 11 years old, my aunt (by marriage only!) gave me 3 pairs of USED socks!  They even had pills all over them!  Ughh!  I'm now 25, and she still continues to give me (and my unsuspecting husband) used gifts on a regular basis!

        Signed - Used Gifts On A Regular Basis

RESPONSE:  Used Gifts On A Regular Basis
When I was a child, my mother would buy my cousins on my father's side really nice, thoughtful Christmas gifts.  She put a lot of time and effort into it, even though my parents were on a very limited budget.  Now that I think of it, I don't remember my parents exchanging gifts on Christmas morning - I don't think they could afford it after giving us kids truly wonderful Christmases.  Anyway, my aunt (my father's sister) and her husband lived in a beautiful home, and had all the niceties in life.  Every year, my aunt would give us kids cr@p, while my parents gave her kids nice gifts (like toys, games, clothes, whatever was age appropriate that year).  My aunt gave me a used pair of socks right out of my cousin's drawer.  And, my brothers would get inexpensive, small toys (not even the brand name toys - they would get the smaller, cheaper imitation items that were 29 cents a piece).  These were toys for birthday party loot bags!  To this day, my aunt is so cheap.  She is divorced and remarried, and lives in a beautiful ocean front town.  She gives her own grandchildren cr@p from the dollar stores for gifts.  She doesn't even bother sending her grandchildren (from out of state) anything for their birthdays or Christmas.  When I had my daughter, she sent me two outfits she got at the dollar store.  I think they might have been doll clothes.  However, the woman dresses to the nines in designer clothes and gets nothing but the best for herself.  And, she wonders why on every holiday her kids want no part of her.

RESPONSE:  Used Gifts On A Regular Basis
I cringe to write this, but I grew up in a family that regularly gave used gifts at holidays.  I honestly didn't know that wasn't OK until, thank God, my husband set me straight!  I don't mind getting used gifts (from loving, well-meaning people), but, I'm so glad someone clued me in that the NORMAL thing is to give NEW gifts.  I guess I must have been born in a barn, huh?

Worst gift:  Three years ago for Christmas, my hubby and I went out to dinner with his family (mostly cousins, his brother and his wife.  After eating dinner at the restaurant, we exchanged gifts that were left in the car.  We got home, and to my surprise, my BIL and SIL gave us a cheesecake.  Not only was it a cheesecake, but an eggnog cheesecake.  I don't like eggnog, plus my hubby has high cholesterol.  What were they thinking?  The next year, I got them a fruitcake.

        Signed - Cheesecake For A Gift?


RESPONSE:  Cheesecake For A Gift?
It seems like an OK gift to me.  I really don't see the problem.  But, if you are offended by it, I guess there's a reason.

RESPONSE:  Cheesecake For A Gift?
I doubt it was meant to be mean.  They just thought it was different.  Maybe they like it and thought you would too.  I wouldn't repay one poorly thought of gift (in your mind) with another.

RESPONSE:  Cheesecake For A Gift?
Honestly?  I think they probably didn't realize the thing about cholesterol, or that you didn't like eggnog.  They probably thought that it would be a nice festive holiday flavor.  Wow, I wish someone had had the courtesy to give ME an eggnog cheesecake - yum!

RESPONSE:  Cheesecake For A Gift?
The problem is that they weren't thinking.  Your response was appropriate.

Worst gift:  Like all of you, I have a MIL who's a royal pain in the butt.  Her gifts are so bad that it turned into an inside joke for me to see what the next gift will be.  Her gifts are never from the heart.  For Xmas every year she gives money, which is fine.  For the first Xmas married to her son, we were given $10.00 each.  The next it went to $15 each.  And, it stayed there for a while.  Then, it might have gone to $40.  The most she's ever given us was $50.  That was last year for Xmas.  I asked my husband if the increase is like a raise for making it another year.  Now, this Xmas, we have a beautiful child (8 months old) - her only grandchild (my MIL is 86 years old, and in pretty damn good health).  My DH and I received a card for the baby (she actually broke down and bought a first Christmas card and didn't use a card that charities send you in the mail).  In the first Christmas card (it was addressed to all three of us) was $50 for both my DH and myself, and, WOW - $100 for the baby.  Now, at the christening, she gave $50.00.  When the baby was born, she wasn't feeling well.  By the third day, my husband demanded she come see the child.  By the way, she is very wealthy.  What I hate most about her is that she is greedy and very selfish, not a warm hearted woman at all.  Her son, being the only child, she still hasn't realized he's an adult.  She treats me as an outsider.  And, as for the baby, it's a baby - not her grandchild.  She never offers to help in any way (such as to watch the baby so I can get housework done).  Put it this way, she never asks to see the baby or asks her son to pick her up so she can spend time with her.  I hated her from day one, and I still feel the same way.

        Signed - She Turns My Stomach


RESPONSE:  She Turns My Stomach
Last year, my MIL gave me athletic socks.  I guess I didn't appreciate them enough.  This year, I didn't get anything.

RESPONSE:  She Turns My Stomach
I agree with you that your MIL doesn't try very hard.  To just give a small amount of cash every year like she does shows she doesn't want to put out much effort at all.  However, you will probably hear from people out there who say you should be totally grateful for that amount of money and not complain.  But, I get your point - especially because your MIL is wealthy and could easily spend more.  My own mother uses her money to try and control people.  She says that she will leave her money to those who take care of her and are nice to her in her old age.  While I can understand how you don't want to leave money to someone who is mean to you, I don't think money should be used to control your family members like that.  It just causes problems.  Anyway, count your blessings that your MIL is 86 years old - she can't live forever!!!  My own dreadful MIL is "only" 68, and I am counting down the years (and they are going by SO SLOWLY).  The old biddy is in good health, too.  The sad part is that I realize that she could live another 20 years or more.  But, then, I'll also be another 20 HAGGARD years older!!  Don't count on your MIL to help out with your baby.  I know it is disappointing, because you would think that if she is healthy, and it is her only grandchild, she would take more of an interest.  However, even my OWN mother has NEVER, NOT ONCE, offered to watch any of my kids to give me a break.  Even when I asked her to watch one or two of my kids so that I could go somewhere necessary (a doctor's appointment, speech therapy for one child, etc.) my mom was not happy, and felt "used".  She never saw having "alone" time with any of my kids as a wonderful opportunity to spend time with them and bond.  Some people just don't want to do much of ANYTHING for anyone else.  And, then they wonder why people aren't so nice to them!!!  It is easier said than done.  But, count your blessings, and just don't expect ANYTHING from your MIL.  Hopefully, your husband will inherit everything.  So, you will end up getting a big payback for being shorted on the gifts throughout the years.  I hope your husband is supportive of you towards his mother.  HANG IN THERE!

RESPONSE:  She Turns My Stomach
Even though your MIL doesn't give you much money, that isn't her responsibility (even if she is wealthy).  As for watching your baby, please keep in mind her age.  Older folks tend to not have the energy to keep up with young children, much less babies.  Keep an open mind.

RESPONSE:  She Turns My Stomach
Some of us have the opposite problem - a MIL who practically tries to wrestle the baby away from us.  And, we only wish our MILs would give us, and our baby, some space!  What do you wish your MIL would do?  What kind of gifts do you wish she'd give you?  How do you wish she'd treat you?  I'm sure I didn't get the whole story from your post - and she wrongs you in ways you didn't mention.  Otherwise, you wouldn't hate her so much.

RESPONSE:  She Turns My Stomach
You sound privileged money-wise.  $50 sounds pretty good to me, whether she's wealthy or not.  Why should she give you her money?  How can this possibly be a worst gift?  Are you saying that you'd rather have a personal gift, or that the amount of cash is simply not enough for you?  Sorry, but "grasping" is how you came across with that one.

RESPONSE:  She Turns My Stomach
Mostly I am a lurker here on this site.  I have responded to a few problems/complaints when I felt that I could give sound advice that may help.  I have never told a poster that I felt they were wrong, because, for the most part, I feel that the posters on this site are justified in their anger.  However, after reading your post three times, I still can not see what your MIL did wrong.  You started by saying that instead of buying you presents at XMAS, she gives $.  Maybe she does not know what to buy you, or maybe she fears that you will not like what she gets you.  Also, you complained about the amount, griping because it was only 10 to 15 dollars.  And then you got $50 one year, but that's not enough, apparently, because according to you, she is wealthy and can afford much more.  Well, in my opinion, unless you have access to her bank account or know some inside financial information, you have no guarantee of her wealth.  My husband and I have 2 nice cars, a beautiful home, and nice belongings.  To anyone who does not know us personally, we probably look wealthy.  When, in all reality, we aren't.  We work hard and make sacrifices to have these things.  But, from the outside looking in, it appears that we are loaded.  Also, you stated that she is 86 years old and she has never offered to watch your child, who is not one year yet.  Okay, lets be realistic.  I have a 5 month old who is a handful.  And, at the age of 25, I have a hard time keeping up.  And, you want an 86 year old woman to watch her?!!!  She probably can't keep up.  And, as you say, she is in good health.  However, she is still 86 - she is no spring chicken.  Also, as a note of helpfulness, schedule your housework.  Do one thing a day.  That's what I do, and all the housework gets done.  And you are upset because she gave your child $100 for XMAS, and you and your DH got $50.  Added up, that is $150 - a good bit of money.  What's the problem???  And, finally, after your child was born, she did not visit because, according to you, she did not feel well.  I would be thankful for that.  I mean, would you rather her visit and possibly get your newborn sick????  I did not mean to blast you or make you angry, but I had to speak up.  Good Luck!

Worst gift:  DH and I had Christmas with the ILs this past weekend.  MIL had asked us what we wanted for Christmas this year.  DH told her, very matter of factly, that we didn't really need anything except a dining room table, and that we would appreciate monetary gifts towards that.  We have been eating in front of the TV at the coffee table, while sitting on the floor, for 5 years.  We were really looking forward to getting a dining room table.  She said ok, and that she would pass the word around to other relatives (BIL/SIL/GMIL).  We weren't expecting ANY gifts at all, and DH even said to MIL, the day before, that it was going to be a lot of "envelope swapping" this year, because we had gotten everyone gift certificates.  When we arrived at the house, we noticed a very large box with our name on it, along with many other small boxes.  We were confused as to what was going on until we opened the gifts.  BIL/SIL and GMIL had given us $$ (not enough for a table, barely enough for 1 chair).  But, MIL didn't give us anything but gifts!  Now, don't get me wrong, I am not an ungrateful b!tch.  But, one of these gifts was TV TRAYS!!!!!  She had even bought us a gas grill (that's what was in the big box).  And, like I said, I am NOT ungrateful.  I appreciate the gas grill very much, but the point is:  She made such a big deal out of asking us what we wanted, and we never told her we wanted a gas grill.  We were very adamant about the fact that we didn't want presents and that it was more important to us to get a dining room table!  I felt as if the TV trays were a slap in the face, like she was saying, "I'm not helping you get a dining room table.  You can eat off these cr@ppy things!"  DH told me that she probably bought the grill before she asked us what we wanted (trying to make it look like what she did wasn't wrong).  And, my opinion on that is:  1)  Then why the he!! did she even BOTHER asking us what we wanted and get our hopes up.  2)  When she found out what we really wanted, why the he!! didn't she take the damn thing back and give us the $$ instead?!  Am I overreacting here, or does anyone else think this was a malicious thing to do (getting us TV trays instead of $$ for a dining room set)?  We can't even use the gas grill for another 6 months or so, when the weather warms up!!!!

        Signed - No Place To Eat


RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
Time to play bad guy.  It used to be bad manners to ask or receive money as a formal gift.  I know you keep saying that you don't want to sound unappreciative, however, you do.  If you don't like the trays, then sell or donate them.  If you don't like the grill, sell that.  That should bring in the money to buy an OK table.  I don't know what your cash situation is like, but have you checked moving sales?  I bet you could find a nice set for great price.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
I think that asking for money is quite tacky.  You should be grateful you got anything at all.  I have found that people rarely get you what you ask for anyway.  Somehow they think a "surprise" is better.  Return the grill yourself and keep the money.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
I bet she was asking for the rest of the family, and she probably had already bought the grill.  She was thinking ahead that you might enjoy it in the warm weather.  She probably got the trays so you wouldn't wreck your table until you got a dining room table.  Dining room tables are expensive.  Did you honestly think people would cough up that amount of money?  I think it was a nice gesture.  People get what they want to give.  90% of the time, I have not received what I have asked for.  People just don't think.  The grill was a nice gift.  I hardly think it was malicious.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
I think that if your MIL tends to be a malicious person, it is a malicious gift.  But, if she isn't, it could be more on the thoughtless (but not mean) side.  It's just a lesson to me to get people exactly what they ask for.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
Is it only this incident that is bothering you?  I don't think so.  Think about what is really bothering you.  Maybe it has something to do with MIL, maybe not.  Do address whatever that issue is.  As far as MIL's gift is concerned, no one really owes you a gift.  Try to enjoy what she gave you without any negativity attached to it.  Or, ask her for the receipts, and cash the gifts to invest towards what you really need.  Do thank her for the gifts, and then leave it at that.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
I have a wonderful idea.  Go to the store, buy some nice big juicy steaks, and have fun with the grill!  You can buy a nice kitchen table for 100 bucks at a discount department store.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
Is there a way you can take the gas grill back and get money instead?  Just wondering.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
I don't know your MIL, so I don't know if getting you the TV trays was malicious or not.  She may have been trying to help you solve your problem temporarily, until you can afford the table.  As for the gas grill, it is a very generous gift.  When she asked you what you wanted, she may have been asking on behalf of the other members of the family, and had already purchased the gift.  I don't think it's fair to expect her to return it, especially since it is something she obviously put thought into.  I think you may be overreacting a little bit, but I totally understand it.  I've done it myself.  These MILs are a constant source of discontent.  So, even when they mean no malice, or actually do something right for a change, it's hard not to look at their motives with suspicion.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
HEY, it seems your MIL is a b!tch with a good sense of humor.  If you look at it twice, and very carefully, you will see (I hope) that it's all very funny.  It actually ridicules her.  There is an ancient Hebrew saying that I will try to translate to English:  "He who hates gifts shall be granted long life."  If you really must do something, you can call her and THANK HER for the lovely TV trays THAT REALLY SOLVE YOUR NEED FOR A DINING TABLE.  Do it in a frank and earnest voice.

RESPONSE:  No Place To Eat
I'm sorry, but if this is the only thing she has done, then yes, I think you are overreacting.  I don't see it as malicious, but maybe I'm missing something.  Why don't you and DH return the gifts for the money towards a table?  The grill is still in the box, right?  It seems that the store would take it back.  I am sorry, though, that you are upset.  I hope this year goes better for you.

Worst gift:  This Christmas, my MIL was "blessed" to have all three of her children, their spouses, and their children in her house for the first time in 10 years.  Her son and DIL haven't talked in nine years, and there have been some pretty vicious accusations and stories in their past.  SOMEHOW (my DH and I are still scratching our heads on this one) everyone has buried that hatchet without ever bringing up the fact that NINE years had passed, and everyone is getting along like nothing had ever happened.  On Christmas, my ILs were insistent that their DIL open their gift to her first.  They were laughing and giggling, anticipating the moment she revealed her gift.  Well, the poor girl opened it and I SWEAR that it looked like a small TOMBSTONE!  I gasped and threw my hand over my mouth.  And I even said out loud, "OH MY GOD.  IS THAT A TOMBSTONE??  You could see the look of fear and confusion in her eyes and she just smiled and looked around the room.  Well, it turned out that it was not a tombstone, but a leg of a concrete bench they bought her.  They wrapped all three pieces separately.  I haven't figured out whether my ILs wanted her to think it was a tombstone or not.  They have mentioned, many times, that they wish they had encouraged their son's divorce from her years ago.  But, they are also very simple folk.  I would be very surprised if this was planned.  Imagine my gratitude when I received a gift certificate to my favorite store (that's the only thing I "suggested" to her when she asked me, on five different occasions, what I wanted - I was amazed she actually listened).

        Signed - Is That A Tombstone?


Worst gift:  It all began at my wedding shower this past summer.  I received oven mitts and dish towels from my FMIL.  I was given more "thoughtful" gifts by the children who attended!  We received nothing, yes, nothing at all for our wedding (not even a card) from my husband's parents.  This Christmas, I felt dissed.  I received a box of chocolates with nuts.  I have a nut allergy, and this woman has known that fact.  And, she has known me for almost 7 years now!  My husband took pleasure in eating them.  The SIL got a beautiful bathrobe, movies, and CDs.  My husband got new woodworking tools and clothes.  My BIL received a very expensive workbench.  And I got chocolates.  OK, whatever!

        Signed - I'm Not The Nutty One


RESPONSE:  I'm Not The Nutty One
Don't give a damn about her gifts, and don't bother about giving her anything.  The best thing is to ignore her completely.  She will have really hard time swallowing that.

Worst gift:  My SIL (who still can't get over me marrying her only brother after all these years) gave me a basket of toiletries.  I am suspicious of the contents.   For starters, the "natural butter cream" is rancid, and I can't return it because the business telephone number is disconnected.  UGH! 

        Signed - I'm Only A SIL, Give Me Cr@p For Christmas!

RESPONSE:  I'm Only A SIL, Give Me Cr@p For Christmas!
Put them in a lovely basket with a bunny on top, and give it to her for Easter.

RESPONSE:  I'm Only A SIL, Give Me Cr@p For Christmas!
She sounds like a toxic person.  The best thing to do is stand up to her when she becomes overbearing and hurtful.  If you don't put your foot down now, her obnoxious behavior will continue.  And, when you do finally blow up, you will be the b!tch for all time.  Best advice about the gift - ignore it.  Buy her something really nice, and just kill her with kindness.  Make sure everyone knows how much you adore her.  And, when her rotten behavior rears it's ugly head, SHE will look like the a$$ that she is.

Worst gift:  I nearly cried when I opened my gift from my DB and SIL.  They had gotten it free (it was business merchandise), which was ok in itself.  But it was a slap in the face, in that it showed an utter lack of either caring or understanding who I am.  It was flamboyantly "bad" for some cool, bad, brave person.  But, I'm a quiet, inconspicuous person.  But I think the reason is less that they are either hostile or indifferent to me than it is that they just aren't gifted at present-giving.  I'm sure I've botched it too sometimes.  I think some people are good at giving presents - intuitive - and while they have other qualities, this isn't one of them.  But, I'm going to hide that monstrosity of a gift away where I don't have to look at it and feel badly!

        Signed - Recipient Of Ill-Chosen Gift


Worst gift:  Worst gift?  Ha!  How about no gift.  My husband and I went to his mother's house for Christmas.  Everyone in the family had about 20-25 gifts to open - and me, not a one!  Not one!  Okay, if she didn't want to buy me one, fine.  She could have at least bought something for our house, since we just got married five months ago.  Even some $20 wine glasses would have been something.

        Signed - How About No Gift

RESPONSE:  How About No Gift
Until you start receiving gifts from your ILs, your husband is responsible for doing ALL of the gift shopping.  I would also tell him why he is doing the shopping.  If he drops the ball, DON'T pick it up.  Let him suffer the consequences.

RESPONSE:  How About No Gift
That is HORRIBLE!!!  I cannot believe how cold and callous your MIL was by not getting you even one gift!  I hope your husband pulled her aside later and blasted her.  There is NO excuse for that, and you have every right to not want to ever spend a Xmas again with that witchy MIL of yours!!

RESPONSE:  How About No Gift
Next year, return the favor and don't get her any gifts.  Plain and simple.

Worst gift:  One summer day, my MIL and FIL were over visiting.  When MIL finished using our washroom, she sheepishly came out and apologized for accidentally breaking the toilet seat.  Sure enough, the next time I went to the bathroom, I noticed that there was a huge crack in the seat.  Needless to say, it pinched my butt so hard it made me scream!  Of course, my MIL thought that was funny to hear screams coming from my bathroom (sick, warped sense of humor).  We ended up going out a couple of days later and buying a new padded toilet seat for obvious reasons.  Anyway, that was summer.  I will give you one guess what I got for Christmas that year!  I guess she thought it only seemed right to replace my toilet seat, since she was the one who broke it!  And, how timely - only 6 months after she broke ours.  Yes, she wrapped me up some cheap, white, hard toilet seat and thought it was the most thoughtful thing she had ever done.  At least it still had the plastic wrap on it so I knew it was not used - nothing would have surprised me.

        Signed - DIL With Extra (ugly) Toilet Seat

RESPONSE:  DIL With Extra (ugly) Toilet Seat
Obviously, the thing to do is to use the new toilet seat to frame a photo of your mother-in-law.

RESPONSE:  DIL With Extra (ugly) Toilet Seat
I must say, that's one of the funniest stories I've ever heard!  You should buy her a toilet lid cover with her picture printed on it next Christmas!  Of course, if she's that tacky, she'd probably love it!

Worst gift:  My MIL is so cheap.  For Christmas, she went to a glass outlet and got me a serving bowl that is so big and so deformed that I'll never use it.  I tried to put it out for a dog dish, but my husband hid it in the basement so mommy-dearest wouldn't see it.

        Signed - So Deformed That I'll Never Use It

RESPONSE:  So Deformed That I'll Never Use It
Do what a Southern Belle friend of mine does with such gifts.   "Accidentally" drop and break it.  Sweep up the pieces and say, "Oh, well, it wasn't a great gift anyway."  Then use the occasion to specify exactly what kind of gift WOULD be suitable!

RESPONSE:  So Deformed That I'll Never Use It
Just put it out next Christmas with some Christmas balls and lights in it so everyone can see it and comment on it.  You will get a good laugh.

Worst gift:  For my birthday, I didn't get anything from my MIL - not a card, nor a phone call.  I didn't think too much of it.  I have known her for almost 20 years now.  But, about 3 weeks after my birthday she sent me an email and told me that she was at a garage sale and bought me a 10 dollar coffee table for my birthday.  The email went on to say that the table had a marble top, and when MIL and FIL went to put it in the car, the top fell off and broke.  She concluded the email by saying, "So, I guess you won't get anything for your birthday this year!"  Did I mention that my MIL buys everything for herself and her family at upscale department stores?

        Signed - A Used And Broken Coffee Table

RESPONSE:  A Used And Broken Coffee Table
What a witch your MIL is!  DO NOT buy her any more birthday gifts and do NOT acknowledge her birthday.  Let her see how it feels to be ignored!


RESPONSE:  A Used And Broken Coffee Table
Hey, it's that thought that counts!  What a loser your MIL sounds like.  I guess I should be glad that I don't even get a phone call.  My birthday is totally nonexistent where my IL's are concerned.

RESPONSE:  A Used And Broken Coffee Table
Your MIL and my MIL must've been cut from the same mold.  When it comes to spending money on herself or her precious, perfect daughter, she will buy only the best.  No amount of money is too much.  But, when it comes to my DH and I, it's usually from a yard sale or the dollar store.  As a matter of fact, for our wedding, she gave us a card with 5 dollars in it and gave us the old, "As you know, daddy and I are on a fixed income and this is all we can afford.  We're sorry," BS speech.  We found out that a year later at her daughter's wedding, MIL gave daughter a large cash gift.  Oh, and one more thing.  Just this past Christmas, SIL and her DH got brand new kitchen chairs.  My DH and I got a used iron (from a yard sale, no less) and some plastic hangers.  I totally sympathize with you.  All I can say is, "Hang in there, and remember - she won't be around forever!

RESPONSE:  A Used And Broken Coffee Table
She did that to hurt you.  And it worked.  She will continue to do things to hurt you until you are pounded down to feel like nothing, which is what she wants.  That was no gift - for anyone!  Now that she's set the precedent, don't wish her a happy birthday ever again, or get her any gifts for any occasion.  If your spouse feels the need to do this, fine.  But don't sign the card.  Ignore her completely.  If she ever questions why you have ceased to give her gifts, just remind her of the broken table and say, "I don't want any gifts from you, and I won't give you any gifts either.  It's simpler that way."  As difficult as it may be to take a stance, this is how respect is built.  And, right now, that b!tch doesn't respect you.

Worst gift:  My MIL is one of the most greedy and deceitful people you will ever meet!  Not to mention, a high candidate for "Bitch of The Year" Award.  About 2 years ago, my MIL gave me some handmade pillows for Christmas.  I remember commenting on the fabric pattern, saying how pretty it was (it really was pretty - I wasn't grinning and bearing it, for once).  She told me where she got the fabric.  Well, about 3 months ago, my MIL came over, and had the nerve to ask for "her" pillows back!  HER pillows!  They were a gift to me, but they're still HER pillows.  She said she was redecorating her bedroom and thought they would, "look just lovely" in there.  My hubby and I told her, "No," and that she had no right to ask for them back since they were a gift.  MIL kept yelling in our faces that they were "hers" and she wanted them back.  Since I couldn't take her ugly, hairy face with her horrific, 2- pack-a-day cigarette breath in mine anymore, I got the pillows, shoved them in her flabby arms, and walked away.  And, do you even want to know what she REALLY did with those pillows?  She put them up for sale!  Even better, in her description of the pillows, she said they were genuine designer pillows.  I feel sorry for the person who believed her and bought them.  Every time I see her reach for another one of her cancer sticks, I think, "That's right.  Keeeeeeeeeeeeep suckin' them down," with a grin.

        Signed - I Can Buy My Own Damn Pillows, Thank You!

RESPONSE:  I Can Buy My Own Damn Pillows, Thank You!
I love the ending to your story.  "Keep sucking them down."  That was great!  Too bad your MIL is a moron.  I love your attitude, though.

RESPONSE:  I Can Buy My Own Damn Pillows, Thank You!
My God, is she senile?  I hope someone puts me out of my misery if I even BEGIN to become ANYTHING like her!  YIKES!  Honestly, it's hard for me to believe her mind is working even close to properly.  Do you suspect Alzheimer's disease, or anything?

RESPONSE:  I Can Buy My Own Damn Pillows, Thank You!
She's a miserable person who hated that you liked (i.e. felt good) those pillows.  She wants you to FEEL BADLY because she hates herself.  I had a MIL who'd give gifts.  If I made the mistake of showing how much I liked something, she'd register it.  Then, under some pretext, she'd drop in unannounced, and ask for it back.  One time, a couple of small paintings were given to her.  She got rid of them on us.  Then, when I said I loved the artist and may buy a couple more, she took them back.  Years later, when we were at her house, I accidentally came across them on the floor in a storage shed, covered in dust!!  Regarding one "gift" I liked, she even had the gall to say, "Actually, I wasn't supposed to give this to you!  I'm in trouble now with my sister!!"  The next time she gives you a gift (in fact, every time from now on when she offers you something), say, matter-of-factly, "Now, are you going to ask for this back one day?  Because if you are, we don't want it."  Keep saying that for every gift, until she gets the point.  PS:  From now on, give her a carton of her favorite cigarettes as HER gift!!!

Worst gift:  For Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law decided to give him 2 tickets to a Professional Hockey Game that was several states away.  They announced this to the whole family, as though it was such a big deal, and claimed how they spent two years working on getting the tickets (since the seats were so close to the ring).  We live in the northeast.  They only gave us the tickets, no airfare or hotel was included.  Plus, the game was on a Wednesday, and it was Valentine's Day!  They only did this to mess with us, and try to break us up, and to ruin our first Valentine's Day together.  I found out that the brother lied when I traced the tickets.  The guy at the box office told me that there was no way anyone can buy tickets that far in advance, since the season seating isn't done till the summer.  The tickets were bought in October, two months prior to Christmas.  We were forced (by the family) to go on what turned out to be a trip that cost us over $1,000 - money we did not have.

        Signed - Ruined Our First Valentine's Day

RESPONSE:  Ruined Our First Valentine's Day
I don't see how you could have been forced to go to a game you didn't want to go to.  You obviously had to make arrangements to get there.  I think that if your DH was so insistent that you go, the problem is with him and not the IL's.  If your DH agreed with your feelings, why go?  Obviously, this is something he really wanted if it was such a big deal with the family.  Your Valentine's Day could only be ruined if you let it be.  You were still together, that is what counts, isn't it?

RESPONSE:  Ruined Our First Valentine's Day
How do people force you to spend $1000 of your own money to go somewhere you don't want to go?  You need to stop this now.  You should have given the tickets back.

RESPONSE:  Ruined Our First Valentine's Day
Why did you go?  You could have sold the tickets.  Yes, they were insensitive and rude with their gift choice, but they didn't force you to go on a $1,000 trip.

Worst gift:  Worst gift, huh?  OK, here goes.  One year, I got (ready for this?) window cleaner!  No kidding.  MIL had just gone to a designer glass factory and bought new crystal and a stained glass window.  And, she thoughtfully picked me up a bottle of this "special" glass cleaner.  That's it, that's all I got.  My house has just never been clean enough for her.  The same year, she gave my daughter a bracelet.  When we turned the box over, it said, "Free with your purchase of (very expensive brand name) perfume (the woman is extremely wealthy).  Sigh - aren't families fun?

        Signed - Sparkly In The Northeast

Worst gift:  The first year that my husband and I were married, we spent the Christmas holidays at his parent's home, at the request of my MIL.  After driving almost fifteen hundred miles, sleeping in separate rooms (DH in his "old" room, me on the cellar couch), treating my MIL, FIL, and two BILs to Christmas Eve dinner, and spending over one thousand dollars on gifts (my MIL actually gave us a list), my DH received an Oxford shirt (pink) and I received a (broken) music box that my MIL had picked up at a garage sale.  At first, I thought they were kidding.  To my horror and surprise, it was no joke.  This has to be the worst gift I have ever gotten.

        Signed - Christmas Joke?

RESPONSE:  Christmas Joke?
That would be the LAST time that I ever broke my back for the In-laws.  I would tell MIL, "No," to her requests for coming during the holidays.  Spend your holidays either alone or at your parents house where you are treated with RESPECT!  What did your DH say about this?  Never again would I darken their doors or do something "nice" for them, NEVER!

RESPONSE:  Christmas Joke?
Well, your mistake is the first sentence.  "The first year that my husband and I were married, we spent the Christmas holidays at his parent's home, at the request of my MIL."  Adopt a policy of once bitten, twice shy.  For next year:  Q: Can you come to us for Christmas?  A:  No.  Q:  Here is our present list.  A:  No.  Personally, I *HATE* present lists (beyond the "here's a few ideas if you get stuck").  It's too impersonal (what's the thought involved?), and these manipulative persons (insert appropriate word) just use it to get expensive things.  My MIL has, as far as I can recall, never asked for anything that was inexpensive.  Usually, she asks for a joint present (for her and FIL) bought in advance *AND* she wants something else as well!

Worst gift:  When I was 18, I was a broke university student.  My parents, on one income, gave, till it hurt, to my aunt and her children.  My mum wore hand-me-down clothes, but would give my aunt hundreds of dollars regularly, because she claimed to have no food in the house.  When we would visit to bring over food, firewood, money, etc., I would notice $100 plus perfume on her dresser, new brand name clothes in her wardrobe, and, finally, a new computer in my cousin's room.  I had no transport at university, so my aunt told my mother that I could have her daughter's old bike, as she didn't need it now that she had bought a car.  It was the ONE generous thing she ever did for our family.  Months later, my cousin demanded the bike back.  I gave it back, only to find out that she had sent it to the DUMP!  Pursued by drunk men on my way home from school, I angrily recalled this, as I would have been able to outrun them if I had had the bike.

        Signed - Molested For Lack Of A Bike

RESPONSE:  Molested For Lack Of A Bike
If you were physically and/or sexually attacked, get some help.  Don't blame your attack on the lack of a bike.  The attack took place because some very bad men wanted to hurt you.  The bike may not have saved you.  You need to speak to someone to work this out.  I hope you are not letting those bad men stop you from finishing your education.  The best thing for you to do is to let the bad experience make you stronger.  PLEASE get some help.

RESPONSE:  Molested For Lack Of A Bike
It's great that your parents helped out your aunt and cousins when they needed them.  But, why did they do so at the sake of their own family???  I had an aunt like that, always claiming to be broke and have no food for her 3 kids.  There was no food in the house for the kids, but she never lacked for anything.  My mom came up with a good solution.  Since they lived a state away, she just bought them gift certificates for the local grocery store.  That way, she HAD to buy food for the kids.  I understand always wanting to help out your family, but why couldn't your cousin give you a ride if she had a car???  I would cut ties with them.  It sounds like they are just using your family's generosity.

 

Worst gift:  It's not so much the gifts I receive (unless you count the time I asked for blue bath towels and got red and beige, or the time I asked for jewel toned kitchen towels and got forest green and maroon).  It's the fact that she doesn't even know how to spell my name after 6 years.  This past Christmas I received three gifts with my name spelled differently on each gift tag.  Talk about moronic.  And hubby is too "shy" to get involved.  Oh, well!

        Signed - Frustrated
        ( respond to this story )        ( I can top this )

Worst gift:  I went shopping once (probably the last time) with my MIL at a discount bargain store.  She was looking for something to send to her sister who lives on the west coast.  She found a picnic basket for five dollars.  A couple of months later, she gave me a present for my birthday.  It was the same picnic basket.  How nice.

        Signed - The Umbilical Cord Is Choking Me!
        ( respond to this story )        ( I can top this )

Worst gift:  For my 30th birthday, my MIL gave me a paper weight.  Oh, sure, it was nice and heavy.

        Signed - I'm Being Choked By My Husband's Umbilical Cord!
        ( respond to this story )        ( I can top this )

Worst gift:  For Christmas this year, my MIL actually bought us presents - which is something she tends never to do (not for Christmas or birthdays - not ever).  Well, I got two handkerchiefs, and a little package of 5 white buttons!  Hmmmm.  What do you say when you open that up?!

        Signed - What Do You Say?
        ( respond to this story )        ( I can top this )

Worst gift:  There is a long story that preempts the gift my MIL gave me for my shower, but that falls under another category, so I'll just stick to the gift.  My DH and I have been married for 4 1/2 months.  For my bridal shower gift (which she declined to attend by marking my mother's invitation "return to sender"), my overweight, mustache bearing MIL gave me a very skimpy, lacy, bright purple nightie.  EWWWWWWW!  What was she thinking about when she made this purchase?  "Oh!  Wouldn't my DS love this?!?!"  Over the years she has inundated me with clothing gifts that I would never wear.  She only lives a mile away, and sees me often enough to know what my tastes are.  But, she continually buys clothes that are too large and meant for a 50 something year old (I'm 28 and a size 6).  She also knows that I like sunflowers.  So, she always manages to find the biggest, tackiest sunflower item she can find.  I don't like sunflowers anymore.

        Signed - DIL Of The Beast
        ( respond to this story )        ( I can top this )

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