We recently hosted my son’s third birthday party..a family and friends affair at our house. The party was scheduled from 3-5 p.m. As some family members had to come from a city an hour away, we told them we would have sandwiches and other food and they were welcome to stay after the party to visit and they indicated they would. My mother in law is staying at our house.
At about 5:30, most of the other guests have left and I’m left with my husband’s family (they are the ones from out of town) so I get out the sandwich fixings. I let everyone know to make themselves a plate. Next thing I know my MIL comes over to my husband and says, “My other children would like to take me out to dinner, is that okay?” Husband, rather stunned, says nothing. I mention that my daughter is going to be upset that her grandmother is leaving to go eat with everyone else and she says she knows, but that she’ll be back later. I didn’t know what else to say in the face of such rudeness.
So off they go to a dine together at a nice local restaurant, don’t invite us along and leave us with FIL (who isn’t married to MIL anymore and lives in a nursing home). I’m left with a ton of food, kids who want to know why they aren’t invited and a lot of resentment towards these folks. The people who made the holidays miserable for us because we, due to religious commitments, didn’t spend all of Christmas Eve with them.
I think MIL should have insisted everyone was invited, if there was going to be a party somewhere else, but in any case, it was rude to let us buy food they didn’t intend to eat. (We’re talking ten people, so it isn’t a small amount of food.) Am I not being reasonable? 0317-12
Just so I get the story straight, is your Mother-in-law living with you or merely staying with you for the night after the party? If she lives with you, I can see how your husband’s other siblings would like some time with her.
The main issue as I see it is a lack of communication. The “other children” are not communicating their desire to have some time with Mom and not communicating that they are declining the offer of dinner by the OP. The OP’s husband says nothing instead of going to his siblings to ascertain what is going on. I’m not a big fan of hoping things blow over or somehow we all will grok each others meaning via some mind meld over time and distance. One has to speak up and say something in order to clear up the misunderstandings. I’ve seen way too much drama nurtured in a family because of everyone’s reticence to talk about potentially offensive behavior or misunderstood words and voila! Presumptions are made, offenses taken root and the drama has begun. Had I been the OP, I would have gone back to the siblings and asked, “Did I misunderstand your acceptance of my offer of dinner after the party?” Husband may have asked, “Is there a reason we appear to be excluded from this family outing? Have we offended you in some way?” This places the conversational ball in their court with an expectation that a reply is being sought.
It’s a shame that Mom has been put in the middle by some of her children and I would encourage the OP and her husband to avoid any appearance of doing likewise. Is Mom aware that the other children had been invited to stay for a casual dinner and accepted? If she was, it is disappointing she did not address the matter with a question or two of her own. But if there are family members who create family drama because there is only one answer you can give to them otherwise the drama commences, people cave right into it to avoid that drama. It’s “peace at all costs”, usually they are the ones who sacrifice to keep the peace. It’s manipulative and selfish which is why I encourage the OP and husband to do the right thing regardless of what the other relatives do. Communicate honestly and forthrightly, be gracious when others are not, and never, ever put Mom or the kids in the middle of a dispute as this is unkind.