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Peace-offering gesture for MIL?

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Old 06-30-2008, 04:43 PM   #1
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Default Peace-offering gesture for MIL?

Okay, like a lot of women, I don't get along with my MIL. I know that it really hurts my DH and I want to make a gesture of peace, but can't figure out what would be good enough. To be honest, I know that I will never like her or respect her, but there HAS to be something I can do to alleviate some of the tension. I'm sure that there are people that will scold me for that statement, and I understand that line of thought, but I'll stay away from reasons for now - nobody wants to read that book!

I've been planning on going to visit my grandparents this weekend since April and because my BFF just had a kidney transplant and lives two miles away, my going out of town this weekend is the perfect opportunity to "kill two birds with one stone". Well, MIL called in June and announced to DH that she was coming to visit, but DH had forgotten that I would be out of town. So, DH has to call her a week or so later (she called the day before we left on vacation) to inform her that I would be gone and she flipped out, saying that I was doing this on purpose to avoid her. I've played around with not going home to visit because of this, but DH forbids me from doing so.

Any suggestions on anything I can do to smooth things over? A gift to give her? I've thought of sending her a letter, but I don't know what to write. I refuse to lie to her. The next time we expect to see her is Christmas, so there's got to be something I can do in the meantime to keep this from being an issue when we get there. (Yes, this is a grudge that would normally be held and argued about 6 months later.)

Any ideas? I'm desperate to bring the peace for DH's sake.

~Kim
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:36 PM   #2
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If you are going out of town, is there some sort of local item at your grandparent's you could get her as a gift ? Something like a jar of local honey, or a local artist's thing.
That's always thoughtful.
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:58 PM   #3
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i think your mother in law is being unreasonable, but if you really want to make peace, you should try to organize a visit to her...(if at all possible).
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:14 PM   #4
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Wow... I am impressed that you would be so thoughtful! Sounds like you're a great DIL, even if your MIL doesn't appreciate you. I hope DH already explained that he is the knucklehead who forgot about your plans.

I'm guessing you don't have kids. They can strain the in-law relationship, but they also provide a conduit for peace overtures.

My thought would be to try to make sure the gift is right up her alley -- caters to her taste or some interest of hers. It would be very specific to her, so I don't have any suggestions. It would be great if you could find something on your trip, like fiberlover suggested. You could say you "thought of her when you saw it" with no other explanation for the gift.
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:16 PM   #5
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Fiberlover: Thanks for the tip. I'm going to San Antonio, which she hates, so a "themed" gift might not be great, but picking something up "just because I thought of her" would probably be good.

Mescelestus: I agree that she's unreasonable, but she lives 9 hours away and won't answer the phone if I call her to work things out. She also hangs up on me "accidentally" when I call from DH's cell, so a visit is probably out.

DH and I talked a minute ago and he said I should just forget about it. It's really hard to when I know that it affects him so much. I think that he takes it harder than he admits.

I had a thought that I should crochet her an afghan and send it to her in October or something so that she has it by the time it turns cold there. What do you think?
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by yoyoma View Post
Wow... I am impressed that you would be so thoughtful! Sounds like you're a great DIL, even if your MIL doesn't appreciate you. I hope DH already explained that he is the knucklehead who forgot about your plans.

I'm guessing you don't have kids. They can strain the in-law relationship, but they also provide a conduit for peace overtures.

My thought would be to try to make sure the gift is right up her alley -- caters to her taste or some interest of hers. It would be very specific to her, so I don't have any suggestions. It would be great if you could find something on your trip, like fiberlover suggested. You could say you "thought of her when you saw it" with no other explanation for the gift.
Thanks! And it looks like we were on the same page with the "thought of her" gift.

Nope, no kids, although DH and I are sure that kids will cause more strain. She scoffs at our parenting philosophy so we know there will be some battles to fight when the time comes. (One of my smallest peeves is that she gave my 1-yr old nephew soda, 4-8 oz at a time, and cookies on a daily basis against her other son and DIL's wishes.)
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:20 PM   #7
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Good idea, Kim - maybe with barbed wire along the edge? Just kidding.

I know she has bailed on you a couple of times so would not fret too much about her when she finally decides to visit. Your DH sounds like a really OK guy. Maybe you should try to forget about it for now and enjoy your visit with your family.
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:22 PM   #8
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Hey, i'm a MIL. I have a wonderful DIL and she gave me the most precious gift on earth, my adorable grandchildren. I'm not sure what caused the fall out, but kids will make a difference. I do admire you for trying to settle some things now. By all means, be honest. one lie leads to another. Just write her a short note. It's easier to put on paper with no chance for misundestanding. Tell her you had already made plans, what they were and why. Let her know that you will miss seeing her and would love to get to know her better. A small gift would be thoughtful. Hang in there, she is the mother of the man you love and will be the grandmother of the children you will both love.
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:23 PM   #9
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Wow. Your MIL sounds like a piece of work. Usually when someone posts that they have MIL issues, you can read between the lines that it goes both ways. But it truly sounds like you're trying your best ... if only for your DH's sake ... and she just won't even try to meet you 1/2 way.

Bleah.

I think the crocheted throw sounds like a nice gift and it's personal and showed you put time into it (rather than just picking out something at the store which is always an accusation she could give you about a bought present). And really if she fusses about getting a special hand made gift from you, it just makes her look bad.

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Old 06-30-2008, 06:39 PM   #10
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I find your husband impressive -- he obviously knows her very well and has probably learned how difficult it is to make her happy. He may be upset that you two don't get along, but I would have to doubt he holds much responsibility on your end.

Is she aware that you are visiting your best friend as well -- if she is and is still trying to make you feel guilty, I have to say she is not a very considerate person.

I say enjoy your trip (and the visit you miss!!) and relax. Enjoy "your family" (you and your husband) and let her work on finding her place.

(P.S. -- my mother-in-law used to give all the nieces and nephews junk and break their parent's rules constantly -- but, she passed away when my oldest was 1 1/2 years old and I've come to realize that even though they can be horrible to deal with, my kids have really missed out on her love and attention)
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:49 PM   #11
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(P.S. -- my mother-in-law used to give all the nieces and nephews junk and break their parent's rules constantly -- but, she passed away when my oldest was 1 1/2 years old and I've come to realize that even though they can be horrible to deal with, my kids have really missed out on her love and attention)
I hope that her love and attention is what we can expect from her. I'll gladly take that in exchange for bending food rules.
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:50 PM   #12
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Good idea, Kim - maybe with barbed wire along the edge? Just kidding.

I know she has bailed on you a couple of times so would not fret too much about her when she finally decides to visit. Your DH sounds like a really OK guy. Maybe you should try to forget about it for now and enjoy your visit with your family.
Ha! Ruth, you always get it right!
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:52 PM   #13
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my mil hates me, always has and always will. i just don't care anymore. but i did make a scrapbook for her without her knowing it, and it almost brought her to tears. and when she is on a good polar swing, she will still thank me for it and it's been 2 years.
it does get a little tricky collecting pictures without her knowing, but its do-able. whatever gift you get her, make it all about her........cuz i'm sure it is always all about her one way or the other
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:18 PM   #14
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I don't think your MIL deserves a gift.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:43 PM   #15
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I may be confused, but I was thinking that maybe you wanted to have a gift there for her at your home (not one you get on your trip for her)...since she'll be visiting your home while you're gone? If that's correct, then how about that you some how get some flowers for her (either her husband can pick them up or you can even have them delivered to her when she's there)...and say on the card (and/or get a nice card for her that will be there for her when she arrives) saying how much you are sorry that you weren't able to be there since you had planned your trip prior to knowing that they intended to visit during the time...how sorry you are, that you hope she enjoys her visit, to make herself at home, etc. If she's pissed, then you've done all you can and she has issues...do your best to not let HER issues be YOUR issues.

I have a MIL who I don't particularly like, and there were some issues with her during the early part of our marriage (we've been married 33 years). So I decided I would make myself as invisible to them as possible and stay out of my husband's relationship with them, and guess what, it has worked well. We did have children, but since they live so far away and really aren't able to travel, and we didn't travel there very often, they're just not close to our children, though I'm sure they love them...but it seems to have worked for everyone. We were very close to my mother while she was alive, so our children did have a wonderful relationship with their grandmother (on my side). My husband has been fine with it all...but he's the type of person who goes with the flow.

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