Travel to Tacoma, Washington
May 18, 2009 3:38am CST
My son, wife and grandbabies live in Tacoma, Washington and I live in North Carolina. I've made two trips to Tacoma to visit and each time I was there, my daughter-in-law made my life miserable. During my first visit, the house was quite messy, so when they went out for a while, I cleaned up, ran the vacuum and loaded the dishwasher. Well, you would've thought I committed the original sin. She went off on me, calling me every name in the book. My heart was broken; all I was trying to do was make her life a little easier and surprise her and my son at the same time. The second visit was for their wedding. During the rehearsal, all of her friends and relatives totally ignored me like I wasn't there and at the rehearsal dinner, I got stuck in a corner by myself and no one (not even my son) ever inquired as to my welfare. During the entire visit, I was a nervous wreck, so afraid that she would go off on me again that at the reception hall (I was not included in decorating the hall or none of those festivities; I was assigned the task of cleaning up their house), I started having bad chest pains and could not breathe. An ambulance was called and the diagnose was congestive heart failure. Please keep in mind that I did everything they asked me to do, including send them money each month, which I really didn't have, but did anyway ($70 a month), etc. When I got let out of the hospital, she let me have it; telling me I was crazy, sick, etc. All of this because my son was looking on line for a place for me to move in to to be closer to him and the grandbabies. I cannot begin to explain the extent to which she told me off; and me just out of the hospital. I desperately want to see my son (who will not take sides; says it's between his wife and me) and my grandsons, but wonder of the wisdom of going back there. Please tell me what you think?
18 May 09
I think that she is very disrespectful and rude. YOu are the mother of their grandchildren and her husband is your son. There are so many different kinds of love and the love that he has for you is not the same as his love for his wife or his children. She is just jealous and this is so wrong. I have 2 DIL and I love them so much. They are wonderful women and we have such fun together when we all meet. We share housework etc and they do all the cooking. I am so sorry for you. I would have loved my MIL to clean my house when I had 3 boys in 3 years! All she did was to come and sit down and criticise me and you are obvioulsy not like that! Of course you want to see your son. I iwell pray that it all works out o.k. for you. Your son should not allow you to be disrespected in any way. You gave birth to him and hios wife should thank yoU for that!
• United States
18 May 09
The problem here (that I see anyway) is that she did not discuss anything with her daughter in law. Obviously if her son and daughter in law did not even introduce her to people at the wedding/rehearsal/reception, THAT was extremely rude and there's no excuse, but the whole thing is bigger than this. I am a daughter in law, a daughter, and a mother. I have a five year old daughter and a 19 year old daughter, as well as a 17 year old son. MY mother is excellent, she does not butt into my life, she discusses things with me, asks me, or waits until I ask her for help - if I need it. She doesn't just come on over, take over my children, rearrange my house, etc etc. I have a mother-in-law too and when she lived here, she was REALLY BAD, butting in, rearranging my house, buying stuff for my kids that they didn't want OR need, undermining me, yelling at my kids, etc etc etc. It was extremely frustrating and on top of it, I was pregnant during some of this, and I was really sick! Now that she moved to another state, I actually enjoy talking to her. She acts normal. She doesn't do anything weird any more. If she did, you can bet I'd be spitting mad and I'd definitely put my foot down. As a parent of a 19 year old, there's something I have to say. When your kids are grown up, you have to step back. You can be there to help them when they ask but it is not okay to smother them, to get overly involved in their lives when they have a fiance, a wife or husband, and children. I know that people do not like to pick sides either but honestly, when you get married, that person then comes first. I would put my husband and my kids ahead of my parents every time - my husband and kids are my immediate family and my first priority. My parents should (and do) have their own lives, hobbies, responsibilities etc. They aren't (and shouldn't) be overly involved or interested in what I do for the most part I don't feel that she's jealous. If my husband put his MOM ahead of me, you can bet I'd be angry. He's an adult and he married me, know what I mean? This is not kiss up to mommy time any more. I've even explained that to my son. Someday I will have a daughter in law. I want to have a good relationship with her, but part of that will lie in what I told my son already - when he has a longtime girlfriend or wife, that's what is most important in his life then, not what me and his dad think, or what we want. When he is an adult, the decisions are his, completely. We are there to love and support him, but he does not have to be concerned about our influence any more at that point. If he moves away, that's between him and his wife. If/when they have kids, that's their business too. I'm sure I will love my grandbabies, but I'm not going to butt into their lives and ruin things for myself. There are just some boundaries that need to be there sometimes. I wouldn't feel it was disrespectful to make sure I cleared something with my daughter in law before I just did it, no matter what it was. Stepping on her toes would be sufficient reason for her to be upset, even if I didn't mean to. I have to say that because I have BEEN there, had my toes stepped on. I am also very grateful to my MIL for having had my husband but she has to remember he is a man, not a little boy.
19 May 09
I appreciate what you are saying mommyboo and understand where you are coming from in this discussion. Your points are worthy and deserve merit and I agree with them. I am coming from a different cultural background in my adopted country which I would not deny that it has made an impact on me and I am accustomed to this way of thinking in mnay respects. I had the MIL from HELL. somneone who actually left me 8 months pregnant in an empty house when my husband was not there with not even a chait to sit on. She was not a good human being. Having said that I did and would not argue with her or disrespect her in anyway as she was my husband's mother. My husband dealt with his mother - not me. I made a vow to be the best MIL to my 3 sons and 2 of them are now married. I give help when they need it and love them all.I am even good friends with my first son's ex with whom he had a daughter. She knows that she can depend on me in any emergency etc and we have a meal together etc. I have never interfered in my son's lives and , like you, made it clear to them that their wives come first before their mother. I am not clingy towards them and despite being widowed do have a good social life etc. Having said that, I live in a society that is not ageist. Older people are respected. It is a family orientated society where grand mothers play a crucial role in the upbringing and help with the grandchildren. There is no way that my sons or daughter would allow anyone to disrespect me by arguing, ignoring, cursing, bad language etc. They would speak to their wives - I would not be doing that. Her son should have found out the problem first. I have tidied up my DIL's houses and they were grateful! I took an integral role in their weddings - not house cleaning. Being ignored at a wedding is nore than disrespectful. Do you understand where I am coming from? I hope so. I do enjoy your discussions. Many blessings
• United States
20 May 09
I do see where you're coming from. The culture here is just a little different, and I actually agree with it, even if it seems 'ageist'. I have no expectation of being put up on a pedestal when I am older, and that's probably a good thing. I'm not sure what in the world I would do if it happened lol. I also feel that just because someone gave birth to another person, it doesn't make them the queen of the world, especially if they constantly overstep boundaries that the couple or family tries to put in place in order to make their lives their own. Where I live, multi-generational living is not the norm, and while a lot of parents do provide care for their grandkids on a regular basis, that is something that I don't feel okay about. My mom lives two states away, and even if she lived close, it would just probably mean she'd visit us several times a week or we'd visit her - together, me and the kids or our whole family. It would by no means entail her taking care of my kids while I went somewhere else. I would feel like I was taking advantage of her, she already raised me and four other kids, there's really no reason she should have to raise any more lol. My MIL lives a state away, and even if she lived close again, like I said, there'd be no dropping kids off with her either. I'm sure we'd visit, get together, but my point is that I do not share parenting with anybody other than my husband. I just don't. Help when I need it when I've asked, sure, I'll take it if I trust you and know you'll respect my guidelines, but help when I haven't asked? Nah, no thanks. I guess I sound super picky but on the flip side, I feel many people are not picky enough.
• United States
18 May 09
I think you should write you daughter in law a letter or send an email and let her know you meant no offense with your behavior. I think you should let her know you want to be a part of their life and you will try to do anything pssible toward that end. What else can you do?
18 May 09
Dear lady, my heart feel ache when I read your story...You really don't deserve to be treated like that...your daughter-in-law don't or probably won't understand how you feel...sounds like your daughter-in-law is not mature enough to understand a mother's love towards their children. I can't never understand how you felt back then, but I hope you can be patience and gather your strength to face them. I pray for you dear..wishing that someday, somehow, somewhere they will realize about how you felt and treated you better.
• United Kingdom
18 May 09
I am so sorry that you daughter-in-law made your life quite miserable. She must have been feeling tired or something not to have made her house tidy and clean before your arrival. I think that she was really rude to you. It was awful that you got chest pains and had to go to the hospital. Your daughter-in-law was still saying nasty things to you after that. Your son is in a difficult position and he is being wise by not taking sides. I hope that things will improve in your family life. Good luck. I traveled around Weston Australia and was able to visit my cousin in Esperance. She and her husband were polite and kind to me. Hopefully next time you go to Tacoma in Washington you will get a warmer welcome and politeness from your daughter-in-law.