To Help The Red Cross Click Here
Mother-In-Law Mall
A place to find great gifts!
and products related to mothers-in-law and other family members.

 
mother-in-law stories bd10358.gif
Mother-In-Law Stories
Worst Gift Archives
July 2002
(can you top this? - if so, press here)
mother-in-law stories bd10358.gif

<--Previous Archive        Next Archive -->

Latest Stories,
Click Here.

Latest Responses,
Click Here.


Worst gift:  FIL returned from an out of town trip with a gift for me.  It was a stuffed animal skunk.  He said he bought it because he saw it and it reminded him of me.

        Signed - Well, At Least The Dog Enjoyed It

RESPONSE:  Well, At Least The Dog Enjoyed It
You should have told him, "It was okay for him to keep the 'perfume' for himself.  After all, it suited him better than you."

RESPONSE:  Well, At Least The Dog Enjoyed It
At the next gift giving occasion, buy him soap.  Say that it didn't remind you of him.  In fact, it did just the opposite

RESPONSE:  Well, At Least The Dog Enjoyed It
If you're ever in one of those really cheesy roadside gift shops and you find one of those little animals made of dung (I think they're called "turd birds", or something equally cutesy), THAT'S a Christmas gift to hang onto, because it "reminded you of your FIL".

RESPONSE:  Well, At Least The Dog Enjoyed It
I laughed out loud - your sign-off was hysterical!  I wonder what hubby thought of that gift?

RESPONSE:  Well, At Least The Dog Enjoyed It
Oh, for crying out loud!  Are you sure he wasn't kidding around?  Besides, skunks are kind of cute, and some people have them as pets.  At least he bought you something.

RESPONSE:  Well, At Least The Dog Enjoyed It
Because it was so gosh-darned cute??  Nice FIL - NOT!!  I assume you are having some problems with him, and he has learned passive-aggressive fighting?  Good luck.

Worst gift:  This is an absolutely true story.  From my 1st (and now ex) MIL, I received a "USED" hair brush for Christmas one year!  It was complete with strands of someone else's hair (a stranger's) embedded in it!  She was not as mean spirited as my now current MIL.  She just had a very bad habit of picking up junk at garage sales.  Yuuuck!

        Signed - Mrs. B2

RESPONSE:  Mrs. B2
Ugh!  I'm thinking that you should have gotten her used tissues!

Worst gift:  It was our first Christmas together.  We were newly engaged.  My FMIL gave me a whole bunch of skimpy underwear with a note that read, "Just a little something for you to start making babies, asap!"  A few years later, and still no grandkids, she gave my hubby and I a mutual gift:  A homemade knitted blanket.  She told us that if we ever got divorced, she would like to be sure that her son gets to keep the afghan.  A few years later; and one grandchild, she gave us another "mutual" gift:  A reclining leather chair.  She made it clear that the chair was for her son so that he could have a favorite piece of furniture all to himself!  The list goes on, and on, and on.

        Signed - Why Even Say It's For Me?

RESPONSE:  Why Even Say It's For Me?
Does your MIL live with anyone, like a husband or another child?  If so, why don't you give a "mutual" gift to the other member living with her!!

RESPONSE:  Why Even Say It's For Me?
Please, oh please, make sure your next gift to her is something that SOMEONE ELSE can use.  Make it something that she can't use, and tell her it's a joint gift!

RESPONSE:  Why Even Say It's For Me?
Wow, your MIL is an idiot.  Maybe you should start giving her the same type of gifts.  Give her a nice highchair, and tell her you wanted YOUR son to have a comfy place to sit when he is at grandma's.  Give her some toys too, and tell her you wanted YOUR son to have something fun to do when he visits his grandma.  She'll get the message!

RESPONSE:  Why Even Say It's For Me?
I'm thinking of getting my DH his own chair just so my jerk in-laws can't do it.  Maybe two of them - one for his office and one for the house.  I thought I'd be making my in-laws happy by telling them how much I like to sit with my DH, together, and cuddle.  But, they protested, "OH, HE NEEDS his CHAIR."  I suspect that if I don't get him one of those recliners, they will.  I can't stand them sometimes.  You're the first person who posted anything like this, and you have all my sympathy (and your MIL is a jerk!).

Worst gift:  My MIL hates my guts, and hasn't spoken to me for three years.  Sure, she has talked ABOUT me, but never TO me.  For the first Christmas after my husband and I were married, I presented MIL with a beautiful dollhouse.  It took me countless hours (about 8 months) and $1500 to make a dollhouse that looked exactly like the home she grew up in.  I mean, I laid the hardwood floors inside plank by plank, and left out no details.  When she saw it, she just sniffed and walked off.  There was no "thank you" or anything!  Then, later, she had the nerve to tell me that she didn't want it!  Guess what my gift from her was?  It was a pair of dollar store pajama bottoms, in a size 3X (I wear an 8).  She said that I had put on a few pounds since having my daughter.  I still have the dollhouse.  That hag doesn't deserve it anyway.

        Signed - Disgusted with the Hag

RESPONSE:  Disgusted with the Hag
Good for you for keeping that dollhouse!  You're right - she doesn't deserve it.

RESPONSE:  Disgusted with the Hag
Stop trying.  It's her loss.  If you feel you must give a gift, shop the same place she does - the dollar store.  Take pleasure in finding the most inappropriate gift in the entire store, even if you have to save it for months before the holiday.

RESPONSE:  Disgusted with the Hag
OMG!  That ungrateful, hateful woman!!!  I could just picture that beautiful dollhouse from the way you described it.  You obviously put a lot of yourself into making it so perfect for her, and to have her SNUB it, and YOU, like that is UNFORGIVABLE!!!  Does the woman not have a shred of manners or decency??  Almost anyone would be able to tell how much thought, work, and expense had gone into a treasured gift like that.  MY GOD, how sad that she couldn't appreciate it (and you for hand making such a precious gift).  You are SO RIGHT - she doesn't deserve it.  I'm glad that you kept it.  I hope you never gave her another thoughtful gift, or ANY gift for that matter, ever again!  What a WITCH!!!!!

Worst gift:  A jar of honey.

        Signed - Do I Send A Thank You Card??

RESPONSE:  Do I Send A Thank You Card??
I would.  And I would go way overboard, thanking her for her "sweet" gift, and telling her that she is the "bee's knees", and really lay it on.

RESPONSE:  Do I Send A Thank You Card??
Wow, I would love that gift.  I guess it just goes to show that people like different things.  I don't know if you should send a thank you card or not.  I'd say, don't.  I wish someone would give me honey, though.  For us it's a treat (honest!).

Worst gift:  When my DH and I decided to get married 3 years ago (after 2 kids, and 5 years together), we announced (just before Xmas 98) that we would be getting married in March '99.  My MIL MADE me a lace, SEE-THROUGH nightgown, and gave it to me on Xmas day (in front of all the relatives).  She mentioned that she thought that it was "something that DH would like" - OHMYGAWDD!!!!!  She also bought me a tight, "showy" shirt that my 6 month pregnant body obviously could not fit into at Xmas '00, and then she gave me a smock maternity type shirt for Xmas "01 (when my DD was 8 months old).

        Signed - Hoping For Gift Certificates

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Gift Certificates
Very, very bizarre.  I can't begin to understand the maternity smock (unless she was making some kind of "statement" about your weight).  And, the sexy stuff is just plain inappropriate.  It almost seems as if she WANTS to make you uncomfortable.  Further, I personally feel that when a MIL makes any kind of reference to her son's (and his wife's) sexual/private lives, whether through words, gestures or just a "gift", it's a little perverse.  MIL is crossing the line.  If I were you, I'd tell her that you appreciate her generosity, but that gifts of lingerie or references to anything to do with your sexual life, by anyone but your husband, make you uncomfortable.

Worst gift:  Well, she's not my MIL yet, but she will be soon.  So, here's what she's gotten me for gifts.  I guess they'd be really nice to someone else, but they just didn't work for me.  One Christmas, she got me a silver plated bracelet.  That would've been great, except for the fact that I'm allergic to most metals, and can only wear gold.  The next year, with my fiancé's input (he said, "Get her gold,"), they got me earrings.  Well, they're beautiful - they have diamond chips in them.  But, they're really small round ones that snap shut to form a complete circle.  They're so small that they pinch and hurt my earlobes, and it is so bad that I can't wear them for longer than 2 minutes.  Hopefully, she'll do better this year!

        Signed - Hoping For Next Year

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
OK, I'm giving your MIL the benefit of the doubt, and saying that she is trying.  But, right now she is hitting a lot of foul balls.  Take the earrings to a jeweler, and see if the earrings can be made more comfortable.  Also, you may want to consider platinum.  That is the only metal I can wear.

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
She sounds like she means well.  Don't read too much into FMIL's gift - she just doesn't know you yet.  And, if YOU don't tell her about your allergies, or what would be an appropriate gift, she may keep giving you things that aggravate you without any malicious intent.

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
The gifts seem nice enough.  You don't seem to be very grateful.  Unless there is more to the story, you are coming off as being very childish.

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
Is that all you have to complain about??  You must be looking for trouble with your future MIL if you're already whining about the nice gifts she bought you!!  You should be grateful that she thought of you and picked out something that was at least within the realm of NICE!!  Some of us don't get so much as a CARD on holidays, let alone gifts of jewelry!!!!  Grow up and count your blessings!!!

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
Ever heard of "It's the thought that counts".  I'm sorry, but you sound terribly ungrateful.

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
Poor you, your FMIL buys you jewelry, and it's not perfect!  No offense, but there are people here with bigger problems.  Did she KNOW you're allergic to silver, and maliciously buy you something you can't wear?  Or was it an honest mistake?

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
I'm sorry, but you are being very harsh and ungrateful.

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
You have nothing to complain about.  At least they are trying.  They probably haven't gotten a chance to know you better.  But be grateful that she is nowhere near like some other MILs.  Count your blessings!!!

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
At least your MIL tried!  A lot of the DILs on this site have MILs who deliberately give them insulting, despicable gifts.  I hope you give your MIL credit for making an effort.  She may be just one of those people who has a hard time buying gifts for others.  It's the thought that counts!

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
Disappointing, I'm sure, but these gifts don't sound calculated to insult or express hostility to me.  I'd keep the old maxim "It's the thought that counts" in mind.  And, be grateful that at least from this small anecdote, they seem to like and accept you.

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
I know you aren't being ungrateful, but you sound ungracious to say the least.

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
It sounds like your MIL is trying.  It sounds like she didn't know that you were allergic to most metals, because she did get you gold the next year.  And, from the sounds of it, they were nice earrings.  They had diamond chips in them!  Okay, so they are so small that they pinch your ears.  It sounds like she didn't do it on purpose.  I'm sorry, but this is really not a worst gift story, IMHO.  I would love to receive a thoughtful gift like that, even if they were too small.

RESPONSE:  Hoping For Next Year
You have future in-laws who willingly upgrade you from silver-plated to gold and diamonds, and you're complaining?  Have you looked at what some of the other women posting at this site have gotten from their in-laws?  Dish "towels" - in my family, we call them dish rags!  Used T-shirts!  Clearly, they are TRYING to please you, but it sounds like that's a tall order.  Perhaps one day they will get tired of trying, and turn you a cold shoulder.  Then you may find yourself looking back and wishing that you had been more appreciative when you had the chance!

Worst gift:  I had to share a worst gift story from my sister.  She received a t-shirt with General Hospital (the daytime soap) Nurse's Ball on the front.  It was dated a year or two earlier than the actual year that she was given the gift.  My sister isn't into soaps at all, and her MIL isn't pressed for money.  I think she used it as a rag.

        Signed - Suffering DIL

Worst gift:  This isn't a story about my MIL, but about one of my cousin's MIL.  She and her now-husband had a nice vacuum cleaner on their registry list.  Her MIL told her that they could remove it from the list, as she gotten them an even better vacuum cleaner.  Imagine their surprise when the "better" vacuum ended up being purchased from a thrift store.  In fact, there was duct tape on the cord to cover exposed wiring.

        Signed - New Bride Electrocuted By Thrift Store Vacuum

RESPONSE:  New Bride Electrocuted By Thrift Store Vacuum
Are you sure the vacuum came from a thrift store?  At my baby shower, I got an obviously used, stained, portable nylon crib from a cousin who I'd never dreamed would give me a "used" gift.  Years later, I worked up the nerve to gently mention it.  She was stunned.  She thought she had bought a brand new port-a-crib!  Someone must have pulled a fast one on the store she bought it from, and "returned" an old crib in a new box (which was resealed by the store).  So, when my cousin bought it, she had no idea that it had ever been opened!

Worst gift:  I am not what you consider "small".  I wear a size 16 in pants.  I know MIL ("The Hag") knows this, because she has helped me pick out pants on shopping trips.  Anyway, DH's family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) has a big gift giving party a few days before Christmas.  You draw a name at Thanksgiving, and buy a present for that person.  Then, at the party, everyone takes a turn opening their present in front of everyone else.  The Hag drew my name.  It was finally my turn, and I opened my present.  It was a pair of blue jeans.  There was other stuff that I needed more.  But, I was grateful - until I pulled them out of the box.  I couldn't have squeezed my big toe into these things.  As I was looking for the size, the Hag announced, in front of everyone, "I didn't know what size you wore, so I just got you a size 6.  You can just exchange them for your size."  And, for some reason, which I have yet to figure out, everyone started laughing.  I was humiliated.  This was back in my "meek" days, so I just sat there fuming, not saying a word.  I just don't understand why she had to buy me jeans, when just a coffee mug would have been just fine.

        Signed - How Embarrassing

RESPONSE:  How Embarrassing
She really could have tried getting closer to your real size, if she had forgotten your exact size!  Or, as you said, gotten a coffee mug or anything that does not have different sizes.  She is obviously plain mean!

RESPONSE:  How Embarrassing
I suspect that people laughed because if you are a 16, and the hag gave you a 6, everyone knew it would be too small.  And hence, the laughter was at your expenses.  But, I know some people laugh because they are embarrassed for you, or don't know how to react to an uncomfortable situation.  Shame on the hag for doing that to you.  She set you up for sure.

RESPONSE:  How Embarrassing
Most women have an eyeball for approximate sizing.  MIL might have forgotten you wear a 16, but no way did she think you were going to fit into a 6!  It sounds like she actually meant to embarrass you.  My grandmother-in-law once asked me, in front of a room full of people (on my first mother's day), what size I wear "in case she ever wants to buy me clothes for a gift".  I wore a 22 at the time - and she was formerly a clothing retailer, so she should certainly have known I was big enough that I wouldn't want to announce my size in public.  Besides, she was 80+ and wheelchair-bound at the time, and she was not likely to trot off to the store to go buying clothes for ME or ANYONE ELSE.  Know what I told her?  I said, "I'll tell you my size if you show me your birth certificate (she was known in the family for lying about her age!)

Worst gift:  For the past 10 years (since I've been in the family), my in-laws have given me dish towels for Christmas every year.  I DON'T EVEN COOK!!!

        Signed - I Don't Even Cook

RESPONSE:  I Don't Even Cook
Oooooo, talk about a blatant hint.

RESPONSE:  I Don't Even Cook
I assume that your in-laws don't give their darling son house wares for gift giving occasions.  I bet he gets something he likes - something he really needs.  It appears that they are either very traditional and believe that women should do the housework (gag), or they just hate you and want to put you in your place (as nothing more than the cleaner of their son's stuff).  The next time you receive dish cloths, mention that you're thankful for the thought, but that it doesn't seem fair that one gender has to do housework because they possess different body parts than the other.  If your MIL has a mind of her own, and gets past the offense she'll probably take, she should agree.

Worst gift:  My MIL and SIL leave the price tags on gifts.  I guess it is so that we know how much they cost.  Like it matters!  MIL went on a trip and brought my daughter a ton of gifts.  My husband got a nice pair of silk boxers and a few other things.  I got 3 bracelets (5 cents written on each price tag), and a straw purse that was about the size of an eyeglasses case, with no lining or anything.  I tried it out, and I can't fit my bare necessities in it.  Anything that I put into it falls out, because there is nothing to hold the purse closed.  I threw it into my daughter's costume box.  I would have rather have gotten the pocket change that she spent on my presents.  At least I could put that towards getting a divorce lawyer!!!

        Signed - Shouldn't Have Married

RESPONSE:  Shouldn't Have Married
I hope it's more than just your insensitive in-laws that are making you long for divorce.

RESPONSE:  Shouldn't Have Married
It was so tacky of her to leave the price tags on.  I know, it would be better to get nothing than to get gifts like that.  She's either very careless or passive-aggressive, or both.

RESPONSE:  Shouldn't Have Married
Can I ever relate!!  My MIL also would leave the price tags on gifts.  One Xmas, she gave my DH a bunch of really nice, pricey things, and she gave me a gaudy pair of see-through lace panties, complete with price tag.  I didn't even try to figure out the message behind them as I placed them in the garbage can.

RESPONSE:  Shouldn't Have Married
A divorce lawyer?  Why?  You didn't say anywhere in your post that your DH was an awful one.  I have an awful MIL too, but I wouldn't divorce my DH over it.  That is, unless he was always on her side and never stood up for me.

RESPONSE:  Shouldn't Have Married
When you open the gifts with the prices tags on them, why not say, "Here, I think you meant to remove these," and hand them the tags.  Better yet, ask them if you can have the receipts next time too, so you have the option to exchange the gifts!

RESPONSE:  Shouldn't Have Married
If you want a divorce lawyer already, you have no business being married.  I think we have all discovered in this site that we all have evil MILs.  Too many people get married today with the idea that if doesn't work out, they will get a divorce and find something better.  You can always find something wrong with a person if that's what you are looking for.  Marriage is about two people working together to make it work.  I don't have a perfect marriage.  It's hard.  But I love my husband and children, and I want to make it work.  Now, if you take my ILs, I would be A LOT happier, but I am not going to plan a divorce because of them.  Just accept the gifts and be polite.  Don't let them accomplish what they set out to do.  You will be a lot happier if you just ignore them.  Spend as little time with them as possible.

Worst gift:  My worst gift is an ongoing saga.  Every year since I've been with my husband (about 10, 5 of them married), he has received a big sum of money for his birthday, along with another gift (usually tied to the money theme).  About 4 years ago, MIL announced that this gift shopping ordeal is too hard, so that from then on, my husband and I would only be receiving cash for occasions.  Please note that MIL is in her early 50s, does not work, and has a fair amount of disposable income.  She LIVES to shop for herself, so picking out something for someone else wouldn't be an inconvenience - just something that would require some thoughtfulness.  In any case, we didn't know what to say, so we said nothing.  Every year now, I receive a fairly large sum of cash that is concealed in a related gift (i.e., a new purse).  The problem is this:  I am expected to report to her about what I spent the money on.  There are certain strings and rules attached to this gift that I don't understand, except that I have broken them every year so far.  The first year, I spent the money on the house, indulging in those little luxuries that stay at home moms don't often purchase, and a bit on myself for personal items (like toiletries and underwear).  This was criticized as being too practical, and not enough for myself.  So, the second year I went to a salon and got my hair done, went to a makeup counter and got my face done, and spent a lot of money on cosmetics that I hardly ever wear.  There was still some money left, so I bought a few small gifts for my children, as I don't often buy them something that I feel is just "from mom".  I got in trouble for buying "for the kids" with MY money.  The following year, I just gave the money to my husband to pay off some debts, and then told her that I had used the money towards a large household purchase, and that I felt really good about being able to contribute.  That wasn't good enough either.  Last year, I took the money and stuffed it in my underwear drawer, and then I used it to pay for our family outings all summer - everything from lunch at a fast food hamburger restaurant, to a whole day at our local theme park.  I was really happy to be able to pay for all that stuff with the kids.  Of course, when I reported back to MIL, she gave me a hard time again for not spending it on myself for something "fun".  I don't know what to do about this.  My birthday is next week, and I dread getting this money.  I'm seriously considering donating all of it to some radical environmentalist group!  I don't want to be ungrateful about receiving a very generous gift, but I feel like it's not worth it.  I would rather receive whatever gift she chooses to "wrap" the money in, without the money.  I've never been dissatisfied with any of the items she has bought for this purpose.  In fact, I still have them all, and love them for being practical and thoughtful gifts that I wouldn't have bought for myself.  What do you think I should do?

        Signed - Rolling In It?

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
I think you should just spend the birthday money the way you want.  If MIL was really controlling, she would give you a gift certificate, or quit giving you the money altogether.

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Here's what to do with the next birthday cash-wad:  Tell her you're putting it aside to give back to her for HER birthday!

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Just buy whatever you want, and lie about how you spent the money.  Tell her you bought this very expensive outfit and some accessories.  How will she know?  If she asks to see it, tell her it's at the cleaners.

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
I suspect this is one of those miscommunication, rather than malice stories.  What is your MIL's personality?  Is she just a critical person?  It sounds like she is a downer who is unsatisfied with things - a critical person who doesn't realize the stress she has caused you.  She thinks she's doing something nice for you by giving you the money "for yourself", and doesn't realize that you are happy spending it on outings or household things.  Maybe you need to just nicely tell her something like, "MIL, I really appreciate your generosity each year, it's fantastic.  But, you know, when I tell you about how I spend the money, no matter what I do with it, you always seem to criticize me.  I'm sure you don't mean to hurt my feelings, but it does hurt my feelings.  I will keep telling you what I do with the money, but could you please refrain from criticizing my choices?  It makes me feel like there are strings attached to the money, which I'm sure you didn't intend.  But, that's just what I end up feeling like.  Please, let's work this out, because I know you don't intend to make me feel as if I'm not doing what you want - you just want me to enjoy this money, and I do."  Say something like that.  Be nice, but let her know that she's criticizing you.  She probably doesn't even realize it, and that's just how she interacts with people.  Is she quite a bit older?  This reaction (spending choices never being "right") sounds like my 85 year old grandparents.  They are so nervous about spending money that, no matter how much you have and how you spend it, they have to criticize it.  It's a knee jerk reaction that really has nothing to do with the individual being criticized.  Does your MIL act like this to others, or is she singling you out?  This is probably more a personality issue on her part than a vendetta or feeling about you specifically.  Good luck!

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Sounds like your MIL is a control freak.  I thought that what one does with a gift given to them is their business - as long as the giver is thanked nicely.  Some of the things you did with the money your MIL gave you sounded like "fun" things.  What is her problem, and why do you have to report everything to her?  Is she asking for receipts from you to account for all the money she gave you?  It sounds like you have put the money to many good uses, and enjoyed spending it.  And, so, why should your MIL get on your case???  One year, for my DH's birthday, my MIL sent my husband a card.  She said that she had made a donation in his name to an orphanage in Central America that she heard of through her church.  That is SO out of character for my MIL, and my husband was dumbfounded.  First, his mom is totally racist (she opposed our marriage because of MY race, and she favors her blonde-haired grandkids).  She is not the type to make such charitable contributions.  It'd be different if it was to MADD - which the family has ties to due to my FIL being killed by a drunk driver.  Second, it is not like that orphanage was a pet charity of my husband's.  It was just weird because my MIL isn't like that at all, and has never done something like that.  Yet, she would be LIVID if she didn't get a nice gift from us, like clothes.  My MIL has money, and if she wanted to give money to the orphanage or another cause, that is great.  I just don't think she should have done it as a birthday gift for my husband - especially if it is something he does not have ties to.  That sounds cold, but I don't mean to be.  Be happy with the cash you get - even if your MIL does pester you about how you spent it.  Lie if you have to - just to get her off your back!

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Your MIL sounds like she's actually trying to urge you to do something nice for yourself, as opposed to simply putting everyone else's needs first.  Look at the comments she's made:  You should treat yourself, you shouldn't buy something practical - but something luxurious, you should buy something special.  It sounds as though she's urging you to enjoy this gift for *you*.  There are much, much worse problems to have with a MIL than to have one who's trying to recognize you as more than her son's wife and her grandchildren's mother.  Next time she gives you a gift, write her the usual thank-you note (I'm assuming you were raised to do so), and mention what you're doing with the money.  "Dear Mother Moneybags - Thank you so much for your generous gift.  I treated myself to a morning at the local spa, where I had a massage and pedicure, and thought often and happily of how lucky I am to have someone like you in my life."  This satisfies her curiosity as to what you did with the money, and you're off the hook.  And, if you *really* need the cash for day-to-day living, well, fudge a little.  Buy yourself a shower massager and a bottle of nail polish, and treat yourself to an in-home pampering - it's the spirit, not the letter of the intention to which you should respond.

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Wow.  It sounds like you and your MIL get along OK  Maybe she means well, but she's a little bit misguided when it comes to this yearly gift.  She's really burdening you by demanding an "accounting" of how you spent the money, and then complaining.  One option you have is just to relax about it, and go ahead spending it the way you have (it sounds like you've used it very well - I can't imagine what she has in mind!).  You could just keep spending it the way you've been doing - the best you know how - and keep telling her when she asks.  She'll complain - but it doesn't sound like there's any "bad vibe" going on between you two.  Maybe you can just enjoy both the way you decide to spend it (despite her protests), and the fact that she wants to give you money to spend on YOU.  I hope I'm getting it right about your essentially good relationship?

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Why don't you invite your MIL out shopping to help you spend the money?  You can say, "MIL, why don't we go shopping and see if we can spend the birthday money you gave me?"  That way, you can get an idea of what she would like for you to have, and you can have a great time.  After all, you will be with a shopping pro.  I think it's really generous that she gives you so much money as a present.

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
No matter what a gift is, be it money, clothing, or a gift certificate, once it leaves the giver's hands, they have NO SAY in how it is used.  I had this problem with my mom for years, and finally had to inform her of this little fact of life.  Tell your MIL that using the money for your kids DOES make you happy, and the ways you use the money are your decision.  Anything that reduces your stress or provides you with pleasure should be enough of a "for-you" present.  Worry less about her reaction, or put the money in a vacation stash and take a cruise.

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Well, if you want to get the point across that she is crossing the line, how about this:  "Well MIL, I spent it on a gigilo.  He took me all over town and then gave me a night of fantastic sex.  After she almost dies of a heart attack, say, "Just joking MIL.  Don't worry, the money went to good use.  More to drink?"

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Well, firstly, it's not a bad position to be in - she gives you cold hard cash instead of something you might not like.  Having said that, I can sympathize with you over her constant hounding - it is not good manners to nag people about what they spend their own money on.  The next time she asks you what you bought with the gift money, ask her what she thinks you should have bought with the money.  And when she tells you, smile your biggest, most angelic smile, and say, "Well, would you ever?  That's exactly what I DID spend it on."  It's silly behavior in response to a silly question.

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
Tell her, "MIL, I DO spend this money on myself, for what I want to do with it.  While this is probably not the way you would spend it, I am doing exactly what you have told me to do with the money.  What I do is MY idea of fun.  Although I get a great deal of enjoyment out of your generous gift, I'm sure I won't spend it 'properly' this year, either.  Would you like the check back?"  If that doesn't shut her up, nothing will.

RESPONSE:  Rolling In It?
It sounds like your MIL is a very nice person.  I know you feel funny about receiving a lot of money from her every year, but she is really trying!  It also sounds to me like you spent the money on wonderful things, and it is really nice that your MIL allows you to do so.  I would not worry too much about how she reacts when you tell her what you spent it on.  Just say, "I know that you wanted me to spend the money on myself, and I did!  I had a wonderful time (give an example), and I wouldn't have been able to do it without you, MIL!  Thank you very much for providing the means by which I accomplished this thing!"  I don't think she could have any objections to that.

Worst gift:  When I was pregnant, MIL gave me some maternity clothes.  I thanked her, and said that it really wasn't necessary for her to go and buy me maternity clothes.  MIL replied, "I didn't."  The clothes were (gently) used, and I am not above wearing hand-me-down maternity clothes (as women often swap/trade/loan maternity clothes).  The part of this story which is really freaky, and what makes it a worst gift story is that MIL said that they were her maternity clothes!  No, they weren't relics from 30 years ago!  MIL said she likes to wear maternity clothes around the house because they are "so comfortable".  Uh, ever heard of sweat pants and an oversized T-shirt for comfort, MIL?  Maternity clothes are mostly big in one place (the abdomen), so I wasn't buying her "comfort" story.  I think her wearing maternity clothes was a matter of personal preference.  Is it just me, or does anybody else find it creepy that a post-menopausal 50-something-year-old woman likes to dress up in maternity clothes?

        Signed - Visibly Shuddering

RESPONSE:  Visibly Shuddering
I agree, it's really strange to keep your maternity clothes around for all those years - and actually wear them.  My MIL gave me maternity clothes from a thrift shop with $1.99 price tags on them.  I wasn't in a position to need them, and feel she should have asked me before buying them.  I put them right in the goodwill bag.

RESPONSE:  Visibly Shuddering
Yes, that is creepy all right.  Is your MIL particularly big in the middle?  Are you sure they're really maternity clothes that she actually wears, or was she making this up for some other strange reason to get you to take the clothes?  If not, I would think she has some fixation about the idea of being a maternal figure, hanging on to her youth, or hanging on to the memories of the days where she was the main woman in her own young children's lives.  If this woman is really wearing maternity clothes, I would not be surprised to hear if she babies her adult children, and wants to take over some of the mothering of her grandchildren.

RESPONSE:  Visibly Shuddering
Is your MIL a big woman?  Or does she maybe have health problems that cause swelling in her stomach region?  I really don't think it is too unusual to wear clothes that make you feel comfortable.  Some women wear men's clothes (like their husband's shirts) because they are comfortable.  Be thankful for the clothes, and if you don't like them, don't wear them.

RESPONSE:  Visibly Shuddering
Sorry, but you need to get a wider horizon.  My sister is also overweight, and she buys 90 percent of her trendy clothes at the mum-to-be section.  Yep, some people still like to dress in clothes that are nicer than sweatpants and a t-shirt, although they are overweight.

RESPONSE:  Visibly Shuddering
Sorry, Visibly, but often there is a lot more room in maternity clothes EVERYWHERE, not just round the belly.  Plus, if she has a fat stomach, she might honestly find maternity stuff more comfortable.  I know that both my mother and I (neither of us exactly on the slender side) have bought something that looked lovely and fitted well, only to realize, when we looked at the label, that it was a maternity outfit.  That said, you probably have grounds for getting the creeps from your MIL anyway.  So, if she is just wearing the maternity stuff to try and recover her "lost youth", then yes, I agree that she's weird.

Worst gift:  For Mother's Day I received a dish cloth.  Not a pair or a set of dish cloths - just one dish cloth.  ONE.  HA HA - Funny!!!!  Oh, I received this from my MIL (who, by the way, hates me).

        Signed - Blueheart

RESPONSE:  Blueheart
That's just tacky!  Maybe you should wrap it up and give it back to her for Christmas.

RESPONSE:  Blueheart
Your MIL sounds like a heinous person!  But, I don't know if that is worse than the fact that my MIL AND my own mother NEVER bother to even wish me a Happy Mother's Day.  I don't get a gift or a card, NOTHING!!!  It is like the world revolves around them because they are mothers, and they both totally forget that I am a mother too.  I don't care if they give me anything.  Just an acknowledgment that Mother's Day is a special day for me too would be nice.  I would cut the dishtowel into shreds and send it back to your MIL!  Maybe then she would get the message!

Worst gift:  We were given a lovely cabinet with dead butterflies in it.

        Signed - Dead Butterflies

RESPONSE:  Dead Butterflies
Did you ask her if the dead butterflies were part of the gift, or did she want them back?  LOL!

Worst gift:  My husband and I had been dating for about five months, and his parents had never met me.  We lived in the west, they lived in the northeast.  My husband and his father talked about sex once.  When my husband went off to college, his father handed him some condoms and told him to be responsible.  They certainly had never discussed specifics, and nothing about our sex life (or whether we even had one yet).  Well, my husband opened up a package from his father, and it contained a book called "The Secrets to Better Sex".  On it, his father has attached a note that said, "I think your GF will enjoy this."  He managed to insult both of us in one gesture.  The ultimate evil in-law gift!

        Signed - Our Sex Life Is No "Secret"

RESPONSE:  Our Sex Life Is No "Secret"
Inappropriate maybe, but not necessarily evil.

RESPONSE:  Our Sex Life Is No "Secret"
OK, it's weird and inappropriate.  But, it may not have been intended as an insult.  I can see someone who is very tactless giving that book - without intending to offend you.

RESPONSE:  Our Sex Life Is No "Secret"
I think you are overreacting here.  I can imagine a man giving a grown son a sex book as a joke gift, and writing a joke.  My ex and his son (my stepson) joked about sex all the time.  And, it was often done in the manner you describe.  Was your DH offended because he and his dad don't have the kind of relationship that allows sex talk?  Was it possible that your FIL was making a poor attempt to treat his son as an adult, and just one of the guys?  If this is the only issue you have had with him, I think you may have misinterpreted the gift.

RESPONSE:  Our Sex Life Is No "Secret"
This sounds like something my parents would do.  I wouldn't be insulted.  And, I know that they would have meant it as a joke, and not to be insulting in any way.  But, if there are bad feelings behind your relationship with them, I can see how you would see it as insulting.  Basically, only you know whether it was meant as something nasty or not.  If it is the first time you have felt hurt by them, I would just let it go.  Everybody has a different sense of humor.  It would be a shame to let something like this ruin an otherwise good relationship (if that was the case).  Good luck.

Worst gift:  Okay, here it goes.  My MIL and I got along great until the day we told her we were engaged.  For Christmas one year, I got underwear.  It was not sexy Victoria's Secret stuff either.  I actually got some big old discount department store special granny panties!  That was my gift - 3 pair of old lady undies.

        Signed - Granny Panties

Worst gift:  My MIL is so tacky.  When we had our baby, we signed her and my mom up to receive coupons for diapers, formula, etc.  My mom always forwarded them or gave them to me when we would visit.  MIL kept them all, wrapped them in Xmas paper, and gave them to me as my Xmas gift.  HA!  She then had the nerve to tell me that she had to pay for the formula samples (I knew better).  She is such a liar.  For the next holiday, I am expecting shampoos samples or other mail freebies.

        Signed - Sampled DIL

RESPONSE:  Sampled DIL
What a loon!!  Maybe you should send for all the freebies you can get on the Internet, put them all in a basket with a bow, and give it to her next Christmas!  LOL!

Worst gift:  Not only is this a worst gift story, but it involves my ex-MIL!  We were discussing which colors we liked and disliked.  I assumed this was a relatively safe subject for discussion, unlike every other topic.  Usually our discussions end up as polite, yet pointed listing of reasons as to why I am a less than suitable wife for her son, and an unfit mother for her grandchildren.  Little did I know, she was planning another all-out attack on my already faltering confidence in these arenas.  I had just given birth to my third child, and was still carrying some "baby fat".  I happened to mention that I disliked lavender, because all the clothes that were made for large women seemed to be available in that color.  She agreed, stating, "It does make you look like the broad side of a barn."  We moved onto other "safe" topics, like why one brand of storage container was better than another.  My life was a living he!!.  This conversation was forgotten until the following Christmas when I opened her gift to me.  Lo and behold, there, lovingly wrapped by the department store, was the most HIDEOUS polyester lavender sweat suit that I had ever laid eyes on!!  At this writing, I am four years divorced from "The Little Prince".  I am 110 pounds lighter.  And, much to her dismay, I am still the mother of her grandchildren.

        Signed - Escaped From Hell

RESPONSE:  Escaped From Hell
Congratulations on your escape!  That sounds like it deserved a celebration!

mother-in-law stories bd10358.gif


 


The Sister Knot, Apter
The Sister Knot
Why We Fight, Why We're Jealous, and Why We'll Love Each Other No Matter What


Secret Paths: Women in the New Midlife
Secret Paths
Women in the New Midlife


Working Women Don't Have Wives, Dr. Terri Apter Working Women Don't Have Wives
Professional Success in the 1990'S


To See More Books By
Dr. Terri Apter
Click Here.


           Back To The Top - Click Here

Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind
    

Site search Web search


DISCLAIMER: 
All advice on this website is for informational and entertainment purposes only.  All responses are from reader submissions unless specifically noted otherwise (such as Dr. Terri Apter advice page).  We do not endorse any of the advice.  We provide it to you as a service.  We can neither guarantee the soundness of the advice, nor make any claims as to the outcome of following this advice.  We provide it for your entertainment only.  Should you choose to follow any of the advice, it is solely at your own risk.  This is not intended to substitute for obtaining advice from appropriate sources and/or professional counseling.  We recommend you consult an appropriate professional, counselor, and/or a trusted advisor before taking any action based on this advice.  B A Squared, LLC and www.motherinlawstories.com make no representations or guarantees regarding any information dispensed on this site.

Your privacy is important to us.  Click here to view our Privacy Policy.

Copyright 1999 - 2011, B A Squared, LLC.  All rights reserved.  Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of B A Squared, LLC is strictly prohibited.  All materials submitted (written or otherwise) to www.motherinlawstories.com become the property of B A Squared, LLC.  Submission of any material (written or otherwise) constitutes your permission for B A Squared, LLC to use, edit, reproduce and publish this material (in whole or in part) in any way it deems appropriate, and releases B A Squared, LLC from any and all liability associated with the publication of said material.

CONTACT US: To contact us for any reason, please use the email form on our Help Page which you can get to by clicking here, or email us at webmaster@motherinlawstories.com.