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scooterpig
04-08-2010, 08:54 PM
I am going to try and keep my own emotions and opinions minimal and just ask, what would you do? We are a family of 6 (see tag below) I brought the 4 children into the marriage, and we have been married for 3 happy years. It is a solid relationship.

For the past 4 years, we've gone to DHs uncles house for Christmas eve. We give gifts to the children there, which would be his 2 young cousins (9&10 y.o.) and his 3 adult cousins kids. His aunt does the same for our children, but his cousins never do. For our DD's birthday, we invited the in-laws. Cousin "A" and her DH and DS came, and again brought no gift. They also let thier DS peel the rubber duck wall decals off my bathroom, and throw rocks in our in-ground pool. :guilty:

Well, now it is cousin "A"s 30'th birthday, and she is throwing herself a party at the local pub. Really, just bringing a cake and some snacks, I'm quite sure she didn't rent the place out, and she probably is not providing the alcohol (I'm guessing..but I'm pretty sure.) She has already sent around an email invitation, and a follow up email to get an accurate count, and to say that as far as gifts go, "gift cards, or anything you think I might like" would be good.

Would you go?
Would you gift?
Would you continue to invite them to your own kids parties?

__________________________________________________ ______________

Onto the sister in law. Another gem.

Every year, for the past 4 years, we have also exchanged xmas gifts with the brother and sil at his parents house. Adults and children. This past year, since no one said any differently, we spent about $65 on them, and we received a home printed picture of the 2 girls in an acrylic (think $1) frame.

The brother and sil live 2 hours away from us now. It is thier DDs 9th bday. They are having a Memorial/Bday party for her, and like every party sil ever hosted, she asks that everyone bring a dish to share. I don't do this. If I host a party, I provide the food. It would be totally different if it were a joint idea, or a bbq on the 4th of July, but if it is for your own child, I don't think the guests should have to bring food. Not only that, but just to attend would cost us 4 hours driving time and gas, plus a gift. Plus food? When is enough, too much?

I could go on to discuss the parents, who showed up at my DDs 21st Bday with ..... *ta-da!* NO GIFT. :sad2: Same people who constantly refer to themselves as having "3 grandchildren." I guess non-biological children are not real children, or they don't count..or what? Please talk to me ppl. It's been building up over quite some time now. Since before we were married, and my children and I were officially/verbally excluded from the family photo because we were not married (we were engaged, and living together) When DHs grandfather died, the grandmother went back 3 years to dig up that photo that excluded us. Plenty of pictures at the wake, but not one pic or mention of my children.

I've been letting it slide, but I'm hurt, and that hurt has turned into bitterness. How would you feel? What would you do? Thanks, in advance. :flower3:

By the way, we are all pretty much equal, financially. No one sticks out as having substantially more or less to me.

hffmnheidi
04-08-2010, 09:07 PM
Four hours is too long to drive with food in the car, especially if milk based. I would go with a small gift or giftcard and just show up. I would explain that you are not bringing a dish because of the drive time. If they complain, tell them you'll be bringing a bottle of soda or bag of chips and that's it.

Have you ever thought of getting together and saying just gifts for the children under 18 at Christmas time? It might save everyone some cash and hassle of finding gifts for adults, especially if they are picky people.

As for the 30 year old's party, just show up and party. I don't think 30 is a big gift giving party except for her husband and children to give to her. If there's a scene about no gift, just tell them that funds are really tight right now and you figured she'd like your presence more than a gift. I've used it and really puts people silent and think about what's important to them stuff or family.

What about hosting a party at McDonalds for your kids where they do all the clean up and there's nothing for your guests to damage or ruin?

Purseval
04-08-2010, 09:09 PM
You haven't said one thing about how your husband feels. It's his family, right? If he doesn't care then just make excuses not to go, or spend next Christmas on vacation. Stop showing up and they'll get the hint. If you stop showing up and nobody cares you'll get the hint also and everyone will be happy in the end.

RumpleMom
04-08-2010, 09:11 PM
I don't have a lot of advice to offer, but my mother always said, "When someone does you dirt, you kill them with kindness."

My pastor says, "Return no one evil for evil."

You will be the better person for taking the high road. When the in-laws are driving me crazy I remind myself that somehow they did a wonderful job of raising their son so I would have a great husband.

vicki_c
04-08-2010, 09:15 PM
You haven't said one thing about how your husband feels. It's his family, right?

This was my thought as well. He should be addressing this with his family, or making the decision on how to handle.

kaytieeldr
04-08-2010, 09:22 PM
Would you go? Yeah, sure, why not? You don't have to stay long - have a drink (of your choice, since you're paying), a piece of cake, a bit of snack; wish her a happy birthday; leave.
Would you gift? As a matter of fact, yes. I buy her a set of rubber duck decals ;)
Would you continue to invite them to your own kids parties? If you continue inviting everyone else, yes, in the interest of family harmony. .

JoiseyMom
04-08-2010, 09:23 PM
Well where to start first. No one has to bring gifts, and to expect them, just because your DD turned 21, is well, wrong. Would it be nice?? Yes. Was it required? No.

If the cousins never reciprocate gifts..then stop buying them gifts, but keep buying gifts for those that buy you guys.

As for the 30th party...what does your DH say? If you want to go, go. If they have never bought you guys gifts then I would give a funny card and that is all. If you don't wnat to go, then don't.

Do they invite you to their kids parties? If they do then you can, if you don't want them at your home, since they are ill-behaved, then don't.

Unless your DH wants to travel 4 hours round trip for a 9 year olds bday party I would pass. If he wants to go, bring a store bought box of cookies...they travel well!! As it is a birthday party, I would by a small gift the child. It's not the kids fault the parents are jerks.

And as far as your mil saying she has 3 grandchildren. Well she does. She obviously hasn't accepted you and your children into the family. There is nothing you can do.

You really need to talk to your husband.

I married my dh and brought 2 kids with me. I am also older then him. I was blessed though, my DH considers my kids his. My in-laws do too. At a NYE party soon after we were married, I was also pregnant with our DD. A friend of my bil congratulated mil on the upcoming birth of her first grandchild. My mil said nope..this isn't my first..and brought her over to our oldest DS and said this is my first, and then went to other DS and said this is the second one.

You can't control what your in-laws do or say or treat you. You can decide how much time you spend with them and how you let it effect you. Again, you and your DH need to talk about his family and how you wish to deal with these issues. I hope your DH backs up you and your kids.

Jana49
04-08-2010, 09:24 PM
The most important thing here, imo, is that your children are being left out, and if they haven't already noticed this, they will soon. Have you talked to your DH about speaking to his family about this? He should stick up for your (meaning yours and his) children. Once he married you, they are his children, too.

I think it is tacky, tacky, tacky to ask anyone to bring food to a birthday party. As you said, a bbq, or holiday dinner is different, but a Birthday Party?? Please! Go ahead and bring a non-perishable dish, if you want, but deduct the cost of it from whatever you normally spend on the present.

The grandparents are out of line when they say "3 grandchildren". I have 4 biological grands, and 4 step grands, and NEVER say anything but "8 grands" when someone asks how many I have now.

Also, dragging out the old photo was not right. One more thing your DH might want to mention.

If you want to go to the 30th b/d party, go, but I sure would NOT take a gift.

I can't stress how important it is for your DH to back you on these decisions. Talk to him and see what he says, then present a united front. Also, do not let these people hurt your children. If you won't stick up for them, who will?

Good luck!

Edited to say: Wow, while I was composing this, other popped in with similar ideas. Go for it!

disneymomofmyca
04-08-2010, 09:25 PM
I have HUGE problems with complete and blatant disrespect from my MIL. I always kill her with kindness no matter what but I totally understand that sometimes enough is enough! I am the type of person to always stand up for myself but my MIL is alone and lonely. She really started to step over the line and I have been really upset lately. My DH agrees with me 100% about her disprespectful comments and actions but neither of us ever say anything. Well, the other night she was on her way to our house and I was so upset because she had really crossed the line recently and I just couldn't see her. My DH stopped her on the road and explained that she upsets BOTH of us with her words and actions and that maybe it isn't the best time to visit. She genuinely apologized to him and told him to make sure I knew she meant no harm. I felt much better. We will now take a break from her for a bit and hopefully she will act somewhat normal after this. I actually felt quite awful after DH came back from talking with her so I had my DD7 call and tell her we will come visit her and go to the zoo at the end of the month.

I know this got long but I guess I needed to vent! Moral of the story is that maybe if you nicely confront them as to why they dismiss your children they may realize the error of thier ways...and the gifts...We started to do fun gift exchange games with a 10.00 limit. Maybe you could suggest something like that instead of spending so much money and getting nothing in return? I know xmas isn't about what you get but it does hurt sometimes when you put good thought into some one's gift and they in return put zero thought into yours.

poohfriend77
04-08-2010, 09:40 PM
Normally I would say that you shouldn't give gifts based on what you have gotten in the past. I don't think you should "keep score," especially if it involves kids who can't control the situation.

I also wouldn't have a problem bringing a dish to a family event, even if it was a birthday party for someone's child (although I would never ask others to do so). And I would probably go to a 30th birthday, buy my own drink, and take a card but no gift.

That being said... I think the real issue is that his family goes out of the way to show you that you and your kids are not accepted. That's not OK, and ideally should be address by your DH. I'm sure your kids notice and are hurt by the fact that they are treated differently than the "real" grandkids. Ask your DH to explain to his parents that he will not tolerate disrespect to his family. If nothing changes, then I would probably send my regrets for birthday parties, and let it be known that you won't be exchanging Christmas gifts, etc. It might cause problems with the in-laws, but I think it's more important to protect your children from a hurtful environment.

OceanAnnie
04-08-2010, 09:50 PM
You are so bad, kaytieeldr!! :laughing: But I like your suggestion. :)

I was thinking for the 30th birthday party, if DH was on board with you, we wouldn't go. If he wanted to go, I'd take card with a donation receipt/ inscription of, "A donation has been given in your honor to... (a worth while organization that she would like).". It was beyond tacky to make mention of gifts and suggest gift cards. I'd skip it if I could.

Your children should be treated equally. That is a problem and should be a problem for both you and your DH. How does he feel about it? If you want to avoid a confrontation, I'd suggest no more gift exchanges.

You can't change people. But you can steer the course towards a more pleasant destination. It sounds very stressful. Take control of what you can, limit your stress as a pp mentioned and be creative. Whatever you do, let your DH handle any communication about things that need to be addressed. :hug: I wish you well.

scooterpig
04-08-2010, 11:10 PM
Thank you all. Just being able to talk about it, and hear others views is really helpful. A lot of good advice here too.

I'd love my DH to address the issue of the children being left out, but he hasn't, even though I've certainly made him aware of what was going on. A little about DH, he is all about avoiding any confrontation at all with his family. He loves them, and would be totally ignorant to all this, except that I've mentioned it. He also understands my point of view, but finds it easier to avoid than fix or figure out. He is pretty ignorant, in general. Not dumb, definately not dumb, but socially ignorant (he is a musician - tech geek type) In fact, I think his mother is socially ignorant too. When her only daughter had her baby shower, the mother didn't even bring her camera. She didn't even bring her camera to her sons (and my) wedding either. She grabbed a couple shots on her cell phone. :sad2:

I mean, who does that? :confused3

cm8
04-08-2010, 11:18 PM
:hug:, they seem to have no respect for you or your children bottom line. I don't think you owe them anything. I do think your husband needs to let his family know what it is doing to you and the children, It will only get worst. :flower3:

StephMK
04-08-2010, 11:51 PM
Do the cousins exchange among themselves or their kids and specifically excluding yours? Or are they just not big gift givers? I think for the upcoming functions, just decide if you want to go or not & plan accordingly. I wouldn't stress or worry about bringing the 30th bday girl a gift. I would get one for the DD if you go & just bring a bag of chips & call it good.

I think it is easier to just accept them as they are and just adjust your thinking not to expect much. Now if they are specifically excluding your kids, I'd change the functions you attend or address it. Otherwise, I don't think things will change. I'm sorry you're having trouble w/them.

trainingupmy4princes
04-09-2010, 01:43 AM
I have issues with inlaws as well. Our situation is different in that these kids are DH's but I'm not his first wife (even though he is my first marriage). I was even hinted at during my first pregnancy that I shouldn't have been looking to have kids since he already had 2 from his first wife. :confused: Now granted I hadn't planned on having quite so many but God has chosen otherwise. :goodvibes But, my kids do notice how DH's parents treat them dif. than mine. They don't go out of their way to spend time with them. My mom is the grandma they think of when you say grandma. :lovestruc I have gone from anger to bitter to praying for a forgiving heart and back around. It's a struggle but just means I need more praying. :thumbsup2 I can't control his family but I am accountable to God on how I treat them.

If you want to go to the party do if not don't. If you don't want to buy gifts then don't. As far as the mother not recognizing your kids it's her loss. She's missing out on something and she may regret it later. ;)

scooterpig
04-09-2010, 07:00 AM
Some of the words here have been very healing to me. Thank you all, this has been bothering me for so long.

There doesn't seem to be a formed plan among these people to treat us like red-headed stepchildren (pardons, to all the actual red headed step children who may be reading this) I think they are just ignorant, and tacky, tacky, tacky. Self centered, definately.

I'll probably just continue to distance myself emotionally and reduce the time we spend with the in-laws. What a shame though. I would have liked to feel like part of the family, and I feel that my children and I have plenty of good times and memories to offer. As I go through this, I am making sure to learn how NOT to treat other people.

scooterpig
04-09-2010, 07:04 AM
By the way...dancing pickle...LOVE IT! http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w280/Austinsarg1213/dancingpickle.gif

shalom
04-09-2010, 09:29 AM
She didn't even bring her camera to her sons (and my) wedding either. She grabbed a couple shots on her cell phone. :sad2:

I mean, who does that? :confused3

People without social skills? :teeth: The first time my MIL met my parents, she told them my then-fiance "was always the weird one." :rolleyes: Not one person on hubby's side replied to the wedding invitation; when I tried to get a number from my MIL, she was no help at all, and didn't understand why I was worried about it until I pointed out that my parents were serving a dinner at the reception and wanted a ball park figure so they'd know how much food to order. She kind of got that, at least.

My mom had wanted a picture of hubby as a child to put up at the reception and his mom brought some that she was "pretty sure are [hubby], although some of them might be [his nine-years-older] brother." :upsidedow Not only were her social skills iffy, she couldn't see why accommodating other people's feelings really mattered. I loved her dearly, but that's probably partly because, when I asked him where he wanted to live once he got out of the Army, hubby replied, "I don't care, as long as it's at least a five hour drive from my mother's." :rotfl: His mother expects any children closer that that to spend their weekends at her house, y'see.

I agree with those who say your husband has to deal with his own mother. Hubby's older brother's second wife had finally had enough of MIL (who was outright rude to her), told her hubby at a party he could stay but she wasn't going to, and walked out. Older brother told his mother he was not going to put up with her treating his wife that way, either she could apologize or she could live without them in her life, and he walked out, and they didn't see MIL for six months. Then she showed up on their front porch and, although she never apologized, she did treat SIL better. I am sure that part of the reason we got along is she knew hubby would do the same thing his older brother had if she came down on me, so she worked at the relationship as hard as I did.

While it's unfortunate that your husband won't stand up to his family for you, remember that they may have wounded him in the past to the point that he may be just as happy keeping his distance from them. :sad1: I've known guys who were very loyal to their family and wouldn't hear a word said against them, when the truth is, that family had not treated them well growing up. Family loyalty runs very deep with some guys, where keeping the peace is far more important than their own comfort, so it's not surprising when guys like that consider family loyalty more important than the comfort of their own wife and children. If they're willing to sacrifice self, then it's not surprising they're willing to sacrifice others. That isn't right in my book, but guys seem more likely to see their wife and children as extensions of themselves in some sense than I am. :confused3

I'm glad you can recognize the pattern behind your MILs actions and maybe be able to distance yourself from things a little bit that way. Intellectual knowledge doesn't end emotional pain, but sometimes it can ease it enough it's tolerable until you can work your way clear a bit. :grouphug:

Mic
04-09-2010, 09:31 AM
We dealt with a similar situation from my in-laws for years. I had 2 young daughters (3 and 1.5) when I married my husband, who had no children. We had a son, then a daughter pretty quickly. When my husband's grandmother died, my two daughters were not listed in the obituary at all, not even as "step" grandchildren. My daughters were later offended in middle school when my husband's sister referred to them as "step neices" even though her brother was the only father they had ever really known, and we had been married for 10 years! I used to worry about it, and I was angry, but I couldn't change his family. My daughters are now 21 and 19, in college and doing well. Some of the "step" cousins are not doing so well, and we see them only on holidays. My oldest daughter is getting married at Disney World in August, and guess who is not invited to the wedding? It bothered my husband, too, but I could not ask him to stay away from his family. The grandparents passed away, and I can definitely live with seeing the aunts once or twice a year.

shortbun
04-09-2010, 10:10 AM
Hi! I would stop buying gifts for the families who don't buy gift for your kids. I would buy a plastic tub of potato salad for any family meal I was expected to drive 2 hours and bring food. Get it at their local grocery right before you show up at their door. Buy the birthday girl a drink for her birthday and take a nice card. This is a hard thing to do but get on their level. Perhaps you are making them uncomfortable with your extravagance. Spend the money on your kids. My Mom was weird about my sister and brother's long term dates or live ins at gift giving time. She didn't feel they were 'family' because there was no marriage. I can see her treating a child brought to the family differently too-not saying it's right, just saying she would not have done it to be intentionally mean, just that there is a mindset in some people that can not wrap their brains around legitimizing certain people. It's awful that children would be slighted...but I don't think it means they are not valued. Weird, I know. Try to get beyond your feelings and make it about them-not about you. Shrug it off and tone down your expectations as well as your generosity. They probably don't even appreciate it, ya know? Good luck and try to focus on good stuff. In other words, don't let the idiots drag you down!! lol!

monorailsilver
04-09-2010, 10:23 AM
[For Cousin A, I would get her some flowers. You can get some for $5 if you look really hard & who wouldn't like flowers!!!

For the other party, make a box of brownies (<$5) & bring that. Oh & get a wooden picture frame & paint it!!!

Planogirl
04-09-2010, 10:29 AM
I would quit giving gifts to the grownups. The kids are a little more complicated because they aren't the cause of all of this. You might want to take the high road there.

Ugh, families....

scooterpig
04-09-2010, 12:00 PM
You guys are all so wonderful.

I am really agreeing with the idea of getting a nice card or spending $5 on a plant or flowers for Cousin A. I've seen bouquets at the grocery store, and they're actually very nice.

My husband and I just had another conversation about this. He says he wants to participate in our family more, kind of like, prove it to his family, rather than state it to them. I'm actually a bit surprised, and touched by this. He wants to be more aggressive with making a list of things that need to be done to the house/yard. He wants to form a family budget. I'm going to try and make it to some of these parties (I have avoided for a year or so now) and scale down my gift giving (kids always get a nice gift, but I'm all for grabbing chips or bringing soda to a party that is 2 hours away) I don't want to be the cause of DH seeing his family less and less (although he seems hurt as well by all of this, and it has already resulted in him seeing them less and less) This way, we don't have to be close, but we also don't have to make an issue, either.

As far as my children being treated like less than the other grandkids; this is still an issue. I guess I'll just have to put it on the back burner again for a while, and give DH a chance to put his plan into action. I have to remind myself that one of the reasons I fell in love with him was because of his gentle nature, and his ability to internalize problems rather than be so outwardly controlling and vocal ~ like my other bfs in the past had been.

Thank you all for talking to me. Your comments are all very much appreciated.

riley2008
04-09-2010, 01:25 PM
I was reading and agreeing whole heartedly with everyone's comments - and still do on the gifting and birthday party issues, but then I saw the ages of your children.

Your oldest DD is only 8 years younger than your DH. How does she feel about the step grandparents? My father remarried when I was 18 and there is no way that my step-mother's parents would every be consider "my" grandparents and vice versa. They are great people and we like each other, but .... My brother was only 11 when our father remarried and he doesn't consider them his grandparents either. I guess it's never been an issue for us. We were much older when my mother remarried, so I certainly don't even consider any of step-dad's family mine. I've been invited (and attend) family functions, but no hard feeling there.

I guess what I'm saying is that it is really okay for you and DH to have a great marriage AND for you to get along with his parents, even though they haven't established a grandparent bond with your kids. No biggy. (What have you done to help that bond be established? It's defitnely much easier when kids are infants or toddlers as that's all they've known. For example, my boys only know my step-dad as their grandfather and that's the way it should be [they have 2 grandpas on my side of the family - my step-mother wanted to be called by her first name from my boys until her first grandbaby was born, then she asked if they could call her Mi-Mi].)

Now, your SIL's :confused3

ShannonMB
04-09-2010, 01:51 PM
OP, sounds like you are figuring some of this out, and I'm glad for you! I would just do a "no gift for me, no gift for you" policy for the adults in all occasions and situations. Something thoughtful but CHEAP for the kids whose parents don't reciprocate. It sounds like it's a pretty big family, so I doubt if any of the cousins are starving for gifts. Really, you know how things are with your OWN family about getting gifts, and you are just learning how this family does it. Take their lead and do what they do. :thumbsup2

The grandparents treating your kids like 2nd class citizens is REALLY hitting home with me. AND bothering me! I brought DD into our family, but I've been with DH since she was a baby. My DH is one to show up to major family functions, etc, but even though we live in the same city we don't socialize with his parents on a weekly basis, etc. On the other hand, DH's brother has 2 little girls who are 6 and 4 (my DD is 9), and they use the GPs as babysitters, so see them all the time. I guess at some point she decided that whoever sees her the most gets the most gifts.

MIL is a MAJOR control freak, and numbers everyone's Christmas gifts based on the order in which they are to be opened. And everyone has to sit around while she doles out these gifts and they are opened, one at a time, based on the number. A few Christmases ago, I was so P*#$%ED off (sorry, the word angry doesn't cut it) my face was red and I actually went in the bathroom and cried. MIL was passing out gifts. Okay, number 1, Casey. Number 2, Bella. Number 3, Casey. Number 4, Bella. Number 5, Casey. Number 6, Bella. Number 7, Lily (my DD). Lily got probably 1 gift to each of their 5 or 6. Even my FIL kept whispering to her, "give something to Lily". Her reply, "Just WAIT! I have them numbered!" My poor little DD (probably 5 at the time, whispered in my ear, "Mommy, does Gramma Lynda have any presents for me?"). GRRRRRRRRR Now I don't know if her problem is that Lily is not her "blood" GD, or if it's because we have never used them as free babysitting and therefore don't see her on as regular a basis. But I SWORE I would never subject my DD to that again. It still makes my blood boil. This also caused plenty of problems between DH and me, because his answer to it was "Oh, she gets plenty of gifts from your side of the family, and if she thinks she needs more, she's being selfish". I pointed out that my problem is NOT the amount of presents, and I can even see her getting more for Casey and Bella since she does spend more time with them and probably knows their interests better, etc. But the whole, wait in line for your number to be called and make it perfectly obvious to everyone including the 5 year old that she is being passed over, IS NOT OKAY!

Well, the next Christmas came, and in the spirit of keeping the peace, I (against my better judgement) showed up again. (And did I mention that this whole fiasco has to take place on Christmas DAY, never mind that I would like to start our own family Christmas traditions). I believe my BIL and his wife actually spoke to my MIL about the whole situation, because it has gotten better each year, and SIL actually pulled me aside last year and said to me, "Thank goodness Lynda seems to be being a little less ridiculous with the gift giving lately!" I never said anything to anyone about it, but it was just SO obvious, they must have stepped in. Heaven knows my DH didn't, which I am still bitter about. Mama's boy!!!! GRRRR Thanks for dredging that up for me, OP. Now I'm mad at DH!!! :laughing:

Sorry so long, AND no advice. Guess I just had to vent about that, too. Step or no, I know I will always treat all my *grands* the same, if I'm lucky enough to be blessed with them!

Bren's Mom
04-09-2010, 02:11 PM
OP, in our home we believed that families are designed...not born. When you love someone and choose to have them as a permanent part of your life and home...they're family.

Dh and I have been together 10 years this coming August. Next month will be our 5th wedding anniversary. :lovestruc We have a loving, committed, happy life together. He brought to our marriage a son, we had a 2nd son together. From the moment we chose to be together in a long term committed relationship, that first child was 'ours'. To us, that meant me family could choose to be a part of our lives, or not, but that we were a package deal. We got no resistance from any of my family members, ever, and I don't expect that we would have...but they knew right up front this was it. Once our 2nd son was born, we let everyone know that gifts for holidays were never required nor expected, but that if they chose to bring one for one child, they had to bring one for both. It is what it is, our job is to protect and love BOTH of our children and we do. Thankfully, our extended families embrace this.

(And for the record, we believe this goes the other way as well...I accept and embrace my stepson's mother. She is a part of my family, the family *I chose* to have. I'm not always her biggest fan, but I am kind and cordial and welcoming to her. I attend events that her family has when my dh wants to attend and wants me and our little one to be at. Because that is what families do, we support one another.)

It is up to your dh's family to set the ground rules for his family. It's fine for no gifts to be exchanged, but he needs to let his brother and his parents know that if they are going to give gifts out, they cannot exclude the kids of the same age group just because they're not 'his'. So, if they only give gifts to kids under 18...then your 21 year old shouldn't expect one. But if they are giving one to the brother's 21 year old (if there were one) then they'd be expected to give one to yours...or choose to wait until you and your kids weren't there. If it were me, I'd just tell my parents that if they can't comply with this...we won't be there on the holiday.

As for inviting these people to your children's birthdays...if your dh wants them there then invite them...they're his family. If they don't bring a gift, oh well. Feel free to watch their kids carefully, though, and to say something if their behavior is destructive! :scared1:

As for going to the cousin's 30th b-day...go if your dh wants you to go. Bring a small gift, the $5 flowers is perfect, and a nice card. Your dh will appreciate your effort, and that's all that counts...it's only one night of your life...but your relationship with your dh needs to be cared for until the end of your life. :goodvibes

book_junkie
04-09-2010, 04:00 PM
Something else you may want to consider is that they may never warm up to your kids, and never act the way we think they're "supposed" to- this has happened with acquaintances of mine who have been in your shoes (previous kids into new 'families' where they weren't quite as accepting) and in my family situations... Something that helped me (I don't have kids- whole different kettle of fish) aside from talking to my hubbie about it was getting a couple of books from my local library about button pushers and figuring out HOW they pushed my buttons and why, and I worked to rewire my buttons so that those people can't press them any more- certain things won't trigger the smash my fist into your face response. Nasty to kids is a whole different level- but maybe working to figure out why the other issues tick you off so much might help? Just a thought....

Then again, I've also avoid certain relatives for a few years for some incidents that are beyond rude, so, hey...

What I've done is sent gifts to the kids in families who are talking to me, cards to the ones who aren't, and donations to a particular charity in the person's name for anyone over 18 for the holidays (last holiday our donations were made to food banks). For birthdays since we're in Texas and the rest of the family is scattered, we send e-cards or birthday cards, and if/when we get together we celebrate then by going out to dinner or something. If it's a child, then there's a gift sent on time, what we can afford.

I'm glad your DH is willing to make the effort to step in and step up and start treating the situation like it should be. Hopefully he'll be able to make his family realize that these kids are ALL his kids and therefore all THEIR family, and they better start being TREATED like all the family. I understand about not wanting to be the person inbetween him and his family (OH BOY do I understand), but when they start mistreating KIDS, that's a different matter entirely....

hugs and happy thoughts your way... :hug:

aduck126
04-09-2010, 04:40 PM
i would go to the cousins pub party, but just not bring a gift. i feel like that would piss her off more than not going at all. Especially because she lists gift ideas, so incredably rude.

i would skip the 4 hour drive for the birthday party, that would just not be an option. Maybe send her a card, with nothing in it of course.

i had a similiar situation with my DH and his family for the portrait. They did a family portrait and we were engaged and were like a month out from the wedding but i wasn't allowed to be in the picture(we dated 4 years prior to getting married as well). and of course they have the family wall of pictures (probably about 20 pics) they are all of his brothers and their wives and they don't have any of me. all the pictures of DH are of him by himself.

aduck126
04-09-2010, 04:53 PM
When her only daughter had her baby shower, the mother didn't even bring her camera. She didn't even bring her camera to her sons (and my) wedding either. She grabbed a couple shots on her cell phone. :sad2:

I mean, who does that? :confused3


my mil told me that she wanted to show me the pics from our wedding not even kidding there was 1 picture of me getting my hair done the rest were all of my DH's brothers and her grandson. They didn't have any ceremony pics, not even a pic of us together! it was ridiculous. There was like 15 pics from the wedding (none of us) then the rest of the roll of film was of when they went to visit Dh's other brother and pics of their family and his kids. Its not that they dont just like me, it seems like they don't like DH that much either

they had more pictures of my brother in law's dog than they had of their own sons wedding!!!!

eliza61
04-09-2010, 04:53 PM
For the past 4 years, we've gone to DHs uncles house for Christmas eve. We give gifts to the children there, which would be his 2 young cousins (9&10 y.o.) and his 3 adult cousins kids. His aunt does the same for our children, but his cousins never do. For our DD's birthday, we invited the in-laws. Cousin "A" and her DH and DS came, and again brought no gift. They also let thier DS peel the rubber duck wall decals off my bathroom, and throw rocks in our in-ground pool. :guilty:
.

Would you go?
Would you gift?
Would you continue to invite them to your own kids parties?

__________________________________________________ ______________

Onto the sister in law. Another gem.

Every year, for the past 4 years, we have also exchanged xmas gifts with the brother and sil at his parents house. Adults and children. This past year, since no one said any differently, we spent about $65 on them, and we received a home printed picture of the 2 girls in an acrylic (think $1) frame.

The brother and sil live 2 hours away from us now. It is thier DDs 9th bday. They are having a Memorial/Bday party for her, and like every party sil ever hosted, she asks that everyone bring a dish to share. I don't do this. If I host a party, I provide the food. It would be totally different if it were a joint idea, or a bbq on the 4th of July, but if it is for your own child, I don't think the guests should have to bring food. Not only that, but just to attend would cost us 4 hours driving time and gas, plus a gift. Plus food? When is enough, too much?


I've been letting it slide, but I'm hurt, and that hurt has turned into bitterness. How would you feel? What would you do? Thanks, in advance. :flower3:

By the way, we are all pretty much equal, financially. No one sticks out as having substantially more or less to me.



Op,
I have pretty much one sort of silly rule that I remember all the time when dealing with family and believe me, my family is a dozy!!! :scared1:

You cannot determine peoples behaviour, you can only determine your response to it

So here are a few of my general rules when dealing with family. :rolleyes:

1) I love children, I don't like rude, ill behaved destructive little monsters. Destroying property in my house is never allowed. I try not to discipline other peoples children but I do discipline out of control guest. If you don't take control of kid destroying my house, I WILL!!

2) Enough is too much when you decide not to do it. I actually had a neice a few summers ago, get married. Girlfriend sent me an invite to the shower with my gift picked out!! She had the nerve to tell me she knew my dh and I could afford it and wanted to make sure she got exactly what she wanted. I would tell you what I said to that but this is a family show.


3)IMO, gift giving is a way to show your appreciation of some one or a congratulations etc. I have never felt it was mandatory. I too rarely invite people over my house and ask them to bring a dish unless it is a "pot luck". If I invite folks over for dinner as a general rule I supply the food and drink. I have had guest ask if they could bring any thing but I've never invited then said bring food. So I would probably jsut bring a gift for the birthday person and that's it.

Remember: Good friends are God's way of making up for our family.

melancholywings
04-09-2010, 05:06 PM
Is it a cultural thing for the BIL's wife to have family bring food? DD has a friend who has a huge family and when they get together for anything it's normal for everyone to bring lots of food. So I don't think it's tacky - it's just different.

The family that only gave a picture - is it possible they are having money issues? Or find the gift giving stressful? I'm pushing for a 'home made' xmas this year. Some of my family might fight it less exciting. I don't care - I worked hard on my gifts and money is tight.

As for the inlaws. As for all the parties if you're not reving to go I'd opt out and mail a gift to the 9 year old. Or if your DH really wants to attend have him do the leg work.

ShannonMB
04-09-2010, 05:13 PM
my mil told me that she wanted to show me the pics from our wedding not even kidding there was 1 picture of me getting my hair done the rest were all of my DH's brothers and her grandson. They didn't have any ceremony pics, not even a pic of us together! it was ridiculous. There was like 15 pics from the wedding (none of us) then the rest of the roll of film was of when they went to visit Dh's other brother and pics of their family and his kids. Its not that they dont just like me, it seems like they don't like DH that much either

they had more pictures of my brother in law's dog than they had of their own sons wedding!!!!

OMG, I think we need a new sticky called "OT-MY MIL is a crazy person!" :lmao: One more thing about mine. She and FIL came over to our house last summer for a cookout. DD was dying to show her the scrapbook her class had made at the end of the year. She tried to show her, and after barely glancing at it, MIL pushes it aside and whips out a stack of 400 pictures of the birds and other random wildlife in her yard. Yes I know you are a bird lover/watcher/picture taker. If you could pretend to be interested in my DD's project she couldn't wait to show you, then I can pretend to be interested in your bird pictures for the next hour and a half. :rolleyes:

annsteere
04-09-2010, 08:54 PM
Apparently this is a minority opinon, but I think some of what bugs you about your MIL is asking a lot.

A grandchild is the child of your child. Children that you had with another man don't meet that definition. It would be nice if she built a family relationship with them at this point, but stop beating your head against the wall that she doesn't consider them grandchildren. Maybe your DH can dream up a word with her that would describe your kids in a way that fits.

A family photo that doesn't include a live-in makes sense. You weren't family at the time.

You ARE family now. Try to work out a future that makes sense for all of you.

Look to ways to build a future with these folks that works for everyone.

Achieving that with the SILs might be a challenge. . . .

MommaluvsDis
04-10-2010, 12:31 AM
I truly don't know how I've survived my mother-in-law for the 27 (almost) years my DH and I have been married.

Dh had a previous marriage which resulted in a wonderful son. Not a problem with me, I knew ALL of this going in. I did the best I could do. I had no children and had never been married before DH. We had 2 sons together. Up until nine years ago when DMIL moved into one of our houses, she called our birth children "Your Children" when she spoke of them to me. Her first GS was just that, her GS.

This went on, as I said until she moved into our smaller home and I started taking care of her, she's 91. Now, she goes out of her way to do equally for all 3 boys.

I said all of that to say this: I put up with her "stuff" and hurt for a lot of years because of DH who, of course, loves us all dearly.


Did he try to talk to her? Countless times. I love him all the more for that. She did something right.

Evi
04-10-2010, 01:56 AM
Four hours is too long to drive with food in the car, especially if milk based. I would go with a small gift or giftcard and just show up. I would explain that you are not bringing a dish because of the drive time. If they complain, tell them you'll be bringing a bottle of soda or bag of chips and that's it.

Have you ever thought of getting together and saying just gifts for the children under 18 at Christmas time? It might save everyone some cash and hassle of finding gifts for adults, especially if they are picky people.

As for the 30 year old's party, just show up and party. I don't think 30 is a big gift giving party except for her husband and children to give to her. If there's a scene about no gift, just tell them that funds are really tight right now and you figured she'd like your presence more than a gift. I've used it and really puts people silent and think about what's important to them stuff or family.

What about hosting a party at McDonalds for your kids where they do all the clean up and there's nothing for your guests to damage or ruin?

you said everything I would say to a t. Don't stress it and follow plan given above.

scooterpig
04-10-2010, 02:25 PM
Omg Aduck, just omg. You're so beautiful, if you were my DIL I'd plaster pics of you and my son everywhere. That being said, your BIL's dog must be quite a handsome character as well. Tough call there. Especially if the pooch was formally dressed. :cool2:

Well, we went to COUSIN As party last night. I actually pushed to go, DH was feeling lazy. His cousin is his age though, and they have some friends in common, and we don't really visit much or see any friends at all, so, I wanted us to go. Also, our DD21 and her bf went. We really had fun too. We brought a gift, and signed if from DH & I as well as DD & her bf. The gift was inexpensive, but something I think she'll like (Pandora style bracelet) I brought a camera, and good thing, too, because no one else seemed to. The birthday girl had a blast, but oddly enough, she pulled me aside to tell me that her own father and her (step) mother spoke with her earlier that day, and did not even wish her a happy birthday. It took very little effort on my part to show up, and I do think she really appreciated it. I'm going to take a guess that at one time or another, almost everyone in the family has had their feelings hurt, or have had to turn the other cheek at being overlooked or underappreciated. I think if I lower my expectations, I might be ok.

I even sang karoke. I'm glad I went. popcorn::

OceanAnnie
04-10-2010, 02:32 PM
You sang karaoke? I bet you did have fun! :) Good for you for going and being a good sport. I'm sure it was appreciated.

I'm the camera person in the family too. :flower: