In laws forget son's birthday help!

Kelly - posted on 12/21/2012 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I am having some trouble with my in-laws, specifically my mother in law.
My husband's family, especially Mother in law, has never respected me. This shows itself in a number of ways, including refusing to acknowledge my own last name, which I didn't change to my husband's after we married. They refuse to come and visit us, but instead expect us to use our holiday time to come visit them. For the first 5 years of our relationship my mother in law refused to call me by my first name, instead using "her" or "that girl" to refer to me.
We now have a son, whose first birthday is Christmas Day. To date, 3 days before Christmas,we have not received a single birthday or Christmas Card for our son from my husband's family. I do not know what to do, if anything. I am heartbroken for my son, because I want him to know his cousins. If he didn't have any cousins on that side of the family, believe me I wouldn't have any contact with them. But I really want my little guy to have at least some contact with them as he grows up.
Looking for advice, especially regarding the in-laws lack of acknowledgement of son's birthday/Christmas.

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Danielle - posted on 12/23/2012

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Since they are not your parents and they apparently don't even care to speak to you, then I would leave it up to your husband to address the issue. It sounds like you have family on your side who are willing to be in your lives - cherish and appreciate THAT. DON'T let his parents affect you. You have no control over your in-laws. You can only have control over yourself and your actions (or reactions). But you are letting THEM control YOU by letting them upset you. You have a young child who needs to be loved and cared for and who doesn't need a mommy who stresses over some old people who don't seem to even care about or love him. Stop letting them get to you. Let go of it AND them. Be happy and get on with your lives and raise a wonderful young boy. It might actually be for the best if the in-laws weren't an influence in his life anyway considering the fact that they're turds.... If there are other members of your husband's family that you would like to have contact with, then go ahead and initiate the contact. Handle any slights you may experience from the in-laws with grace and good manners (and maybe a bit of short-lived sadness to think what they are missing by not wanting to be in your lives). Otherwise, do not waste any more energy or emotions on the in-laws. If you do maintain contact with other members of that family, be sure to not speak ill of the in-laws. Good luck!

[deleted account]

There is nothing to do about it. Take it from someone who has lived this scenario, my kids are 6 and 8 and hardly have a relationship with my self centered MIL. Celebrate your son's life with those you both hold dear and forget the others who couldn't be the least bit bothered with you. It is easier said than done when your feelings are hurt but that is who they are. MOVE ON and let the bad feelings roll off your back. Be cordial when you see them and don't say anything negative about them in front of your son, he will form his own opinion of them as he grows. If you want to pursue the matter, have your hubby have a talk with his family about their approach with you, specifically his mother. I wouldn't have this conversation alone with her because it has the potential to be twisted into something you didn't mean. Always remember that she is your husband's mother and while she may be hurtful to you, it doesn't mean you should go tit for tat with her. Doing so would cause resentment and ruin your married bliss.

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I agree with Dove--cut them off. Stop inviting them, stop sending gifts and cards to them, etc. If they want to be a part of your life, they can make the effort, if not, you won't miss them--you'll just have less drama.

Also, if they shower the cousins with gifts and attention and neglect your son unless you force them to make an effort, it is probably best he doesn't know the cousins that well because as he gets older he will notice the difference and it will hurt his feelings. It's better for him to just not be close to that side of the family. Furthermore, cousins are no more important than friends. In fact, I don't know mine, and I'm fine. I have very wonderful, close friends, and I would take them any day over the cousins I barely know how to talk to.

Barbara - posted on 12/22/2012

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First you have my sympathy with your lack of relationship with your in-laws. Your main concern is your son if I read correctly. It won't serve him to plant negative thoughts and feelings in his mind so you must Packaway your feelings so your son does not pick them up. He does not know the other kids or grandkids get more attention.

As for talking with your husband about this, If you wish to do so you must take the opposite approach. Not nagging why don't you Da da da. Rather admire him for how he is able to handle his mother's lack of attention to his son. That is if you must say anything at all. I believe there is no use in saying negative things to anyone. Good luck.

Dove - posted on 12/22/2012

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So why don't you just cut your losses with them and focus on your side of the family for your son?

They aren't treating you any differently than they always have... and while it sucks... it's not exactly 'fair' for you to expect something different and get mad when they don't reciprocate. Some people suck and blood/marriage ties don't always make a family. The love, connection, and commitment is what makes a family and your in-law's have proven that they aren't family.

If your concern is the cousins... have you made connections with the parents of these cousins without involving your mother-in-law?

Diedria - posted on 12/22/2012

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i know your pain my inlaws live a block down the road and do for all other grandkids and nothing for our son he's 4 and i don't even think of them as a card or gift wont arrive all cuz they r mad that their 45 year old baby boy married me so they r mad and ignore our son good luck and just focus on your family my family gives enough love kisses and cards God bless and enjoy your family

Amy - posted on 12/21/2012

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Yes but your husband should be the one to address the problem with his parents. Since he continues to allow it you should let it go, if your husband will not put his foot down and demand respect then you should limit your interactions with them.

Kelly - posted on 12/21/2012

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Hi Jodi
the in-law grandparents have travelled all over the country to visit the other siblings/kids but not us. They are perfectly willing and capable of travel.

I am not expecting cards/gifts from the cousins, just acknowledgement from the grandparents. They travel each year to one grandkid's place, have a party, special activities, etc with that grandkid but not even a card for my kid. They were invited to come, but refused.

I might find it easier to "let it go" if this weren't a pattern of behavior, of disrespect and disinterest towards me, and my husband. As I mentioned before as an example, it was only recently that my mother in law addressed me by my first name. She refuses to even talk to me on the phone.

Amy - posted on 12/21/2012

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Unless your husband shares the same feelings as you I would just let it go. Even if he does share the same feelings as you he's the one that should bring it up to his parents and he should be able to express his disappointment. It could be the grandparents are waiting for an invite to a birthday party, usually parents do a small gathering for close relatives like grandparents. As far as cousins go I don't think you should expect them to send something, again if you hosted a party maybe but I don't expect family to give gifts, I actually prefer they didn't because they already have way too much stuff.

I would also say since you seem to be closer to your side of the family maybe you should focus on them and not your husbands side.

Jodi - posted on 12/21/2012

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Do the other grandkids live closer? Maybe the distance is an issue. My in-laws have never visited us in 11 years, but I don't have an issue with it. I totally understand - my FIL won't drive further than a few km from home for various reasons. I think when you start counting, you are asking for trouble.

And you may still get a card or gift. There are still 3 days. How do you know they haven't done anything?

Kelly - posted on 12/21/2012

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Hi Jody
We have company coming for Christmas from my side of the family so can't go anywhere. They will be here for the next 2 weeks.
And we have gone to visit in-laws at least every second year for the last 15 years, and they have only been here once in 15 years. Our visits are not reciprocated even close to fairly.
Mostly I am feeling badly, unsure of what to do because the in-laws make a big deal (visits, cake, cards, special activities) with the other grandkid's birthdays, and my son is being treated differently. Seriously not even a card? I don't think this is right.

Jodi - posted on 12/21/2012

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Well, there are 3 days to go......I am assuming you are not seeing them over Christmas (your comment about them expecting you to visit them lends me to believe you are equally refusing to visit them as they refuse to visit you)? Maybe they are mailing something and planning to call on Christmas Day!

Why won't YOU visit THEM? If your heart is breaking so much that you want your son to know his cousins, I am not sure why you won't.

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