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The Family Photograph That Excludes

This past June I made an appointment to have a family photo done. Just me, my husband, and my two grown sons. I called my boys to schedule a date and told them to wear nice blue shirts, dark pants, and nice shoes. (My husband and I were wearing this, too. Family photos in the matchy matchy style.)

Skip to last week my younger son (perfectly in dress code) shows up at the photo and we’re all sitting on a bench, waiting for my older son, C, to arrive.  15 minutes later he arrives with his wife, T, in tow…both wearing blue shirts, dark pants, and nice shoes. I pull T aside and explain that I want just me and my 3 important boys in the picture. However instead of gracefully bowing out what does she do? She starts sobbing and generally throwing a fit. She goes crying to C, and after about 5 minutes he comes over saying that if his wife can’t be in the picture then they were both leaving.  I consent and now I have a picture on my mantlepiece with my smug daughter-in-law staring at me all day.

How can someone be so rude? 0823-13

You did refer to this as a “family photo” twice so there is no mistaking your intent to have a “family photo” done that will be prominently displayed on your mantle.  So, it’s a “family photo” that deliberately excluded the one person who married into the family, i.e. your daughter-in-law.   If actions speak louder than words, you sent the clear message that she is not family and you don’t want her intruding in the family photographs nor do you want to see her face beaming out from that photo.    I suspect from C’s prompt decision to respond as he did to you that this may not be the first time you have expressed a desire to exclude his wife from some family occasion.     It was Shallow Stupid to not have scheduled a complete family photo session with everyone involved and then take other photos of father and sons, mother and sons, two brothers together, C and T, even daughter-in-law and mother-in-law to at least maintain an illusion of family unity.  It would have been profoundly Deep Stupid to have placed a framed photo center stage on the mantle broadcasting to the world that your family does not include spouses.    Because the bottom line is that C has left his nuclear family and started his own which does include your daughter-in-law and while you want to enshrine your nuclear family as it was before C married, that is not the reality as of now and it appears that C has no interest in facilitating your need to remind him, his father and brother that you should be the only woman in his life or this family.


{ 203 comments… add one }
  • David September 4, 2013, 3:42 pm


    My condolences on you and your husband’s loss. If I were your husband, I would put mom on time out until she apologized to you.

    OP, I feel bad for your daughter-in-law. Being told you aren’t a member of the family feels horrible.

  • Library Diva September 4, 2013, 4:26 pm

    Daisy, I am so sorry for your loss. It’s been nearly nine months to the day that I lost my best friend, who I’d also had for 12 years, so I can definitely sympathize. I’m also sorry for your mother-in-law. I have no idea how to advise you because you’re right…where on earth DO you go from there? Even if she ultimately apologizes, there are some things that you just can’t apologize for. This is not being under pressure and losing your cool. This is deliberate cruelty. These are the sorts of things you say to someone before you cut them out of your life forever just to get it off your chest. This is burning a bridge so you can’t be tempted to cross it. I can’t even fathom that kind of behavior from someone who loves and values their child and his wife.

  • NostalgicGal September 4, 2013, 4:27 pm

    I have had pro photos done… and I would have done the ‘one with the five of us’ and ‘one with absolutely everyone’ and even footed just one of ‘C&Wife’.

    Now after proofs are done, ordering just one of the ‘five of us’ if that is what I wanted, is legal; and. I might buy one of the C&Wife just to give to them with a nice frame for the holiday.

    I married INTO a large family and some of the politics I don’t need, but if they’d wanted JUST blood family I would have stood out (we have no children) as long as the others in that shot are JUST blood. Include one marryin and I would also be in the front, as if they’re in it, I’ll be in it.

    I won’t die if I am not in the picture. !!!!!

    I can see both sides of the missus; but. It could have been handled much better from both sides.

  • Hellbound Alleee September 4, 2013, 4:29 pm

    My engagement to my husband was pretty quick, and I was very worried that I would not be accepted into the family. I was on pins and needles when visiting (a whole new culture 2000 miles away from my own). About three months after we moved in together, his grandmother died. They are Catholics, and the service included a final viewing with “just the family.” I stayed behind, wishing for a private moment between my husband, his mother, and his uncle. He and my MIL took my hand and we all went to the final viewing before cremation.

    If anything could have sealed my relationship with his family, it was this, and I will never, ever forget the kindness they showed me. It’s been 9 years.

  • Janos September 4, 2013, 4:40 pm

    I don’t..see how the OP was rude..?

    SHE was paying for the pictures, the DIL showed up UNINVITED and whined, cried, and threw a tantrum till she got to be part of something she wasn’t invited to be in.

    A lot of you are making a great deal of judgment on this woman when you don’t even know the full story.

    Long story short though..

    Those who PAY for the photos get to decide who’s in them, the son was RUDE for pushing that an uninvited person be part of something he was NOT paying for.

  • camlan September 4, 2013, 4:44 pm

    It is perfectly okay to want a picture of the nuclear family. Given the matchy-matchy outfits, maybe this has been a tradition in the family for years. No reason for a in-law to get upset about a picture tradition that been going on a long time.

    However, it is not okay to tell the family that a *family* picture is going to happen, and then exclude a member of the family.

    I have the same question as PPs–what’s going to happen when the grandchildren come along?

    My parents loved to have formal family portraits taken. A tradition of ours that started over 30 years ago was for the kids to have a few silly photos taken after all the formal, posed pictures with our parents. We’d do things like chorus line high kicks, or the chicken dance. Even though our parents have died, when we have the chance, say at a wedding, we’ll try to sneak in one “kids” picture with more silliness. I’d think it odd if a spouse of one of my siblings wanted to be in the picture, to be truthful.

    But *family* pictures? I can’t imagine not including all the in-laws. Heck, I don’t like some of them very much. But they are family.

  • Rosie September 4, 2013, 5:47 pm

    Wow, this submission and the following comments just make me so extra-glad for the relationships I have with both my DILs! Maybe I’m the odd duck, but to me, they are FAMILY. They married my sons, they are the mothers of my grandchildren. I never once considered them not to be my family. They are lovely women. We all have our different personalities, but we are all family, and I wouldn’t think to ever exclude them from anything.

  • BagLady September 4, 2013, 5:56 pm

    I don’t consider it a mortal etiquette sin for a mother to want a picture with just immediate family. One of my favorite family photos was taken at my mom’s 80th birthday party, with her and us four siblings (three married, one in a long-term relationship), sans partners. That’s the last picture I have of my second brother, who died less than a year later.

    However, when OP’s DIL turned up dressed for the photos and expecting to be in them, instead of her “No! You’re not family!” reaction — which was inexcusable — OP should have included her without a word, *then* requested some shots of just her, husband and sons. (And if it’s not going to break the bank, a few with other combinations — just the sons, just her and DH, just older son and DIL.) Around here, photographers charge by the hour, different combos of people don’t cost extra, and extra prints are only expensive if professional framing is included. No sitting includes just *one* shot.

    And I’m not a big fan of dressing matchy-matchy for photos unless the subjects are (a) identical twins and (b) want it that way, but different strokes.

  • RC September 4, 2013, 6:01 pm

    Oh OP. You should be ashamed of yourself! You handled this very poorly, were very rude, and you’ve potentially damaged your relationship with your soon by forcing him to defend his wife, who he has chosen to love and spend his life with.
    I do hope, OP, that you read these comments, and bring yourself to offer a heartfelt apology to T, perhaps even offer to take her to lunch and begin to get to know her *as your family*, which is what she is.

    @Daisy – you poor thing. I’m sorry for the loss of your dear kitty and I hope you find solace in the fact that you have married a wonderful man who, like C in the story, who stands up for you.

  • Katie September 4, 2013, 6:13 pm

    I really hope the OP takes this as a lesson and changes her attitude. This is not just about a picture. It’s about the OP’s view of her son’s new family. The more stunts she pulls like this, the less likely the OP will be welcomed in her son’s new family.

  • L.J. September 4, 2013, 6:34 pm

    I saw a post here or on the message board awhile ago in which a MIL gathered her husband and sons around the table to discuss something and when the DIL tried to join, the MIL told her, “This conference is only for real members of the Smith family, not those who married in.” The DIL responded, “Then I guess you can’t be part of the conference either.”

  • babs September 4, 2013, 6:34 pm

    Reminds me of when my girlfriend’s MIL wanted a portrait of 3 generations of the men in their family and wanted to include their natural born grandson, but exclude her son, not in the bloodline but adopted by her husband. Sure, it wouldn’t be a true representation in the purest sense, but both my girlfriend and her husband said absolutely not would they exclude one of their children and make him feel like he wasn’t a part of the family. MIL didn’t back down and the picture wasn’t taken. How sad!

    There’s been a whole lot of bad blood between these ladies and it didn’t start with the pictures. If OP were gracious (and I’m a mother-in-law and have been in some pretty dicey situations where I had to swallow hard and go against my own wishes), she should have thought fast, done what the admin suggested, and arranged a variety of poses including one with the couple by themselves and her husband, herself and sons. Who cares how much the extra sittings cost? OP didn’t bring up cost as an issue, just the fact that she wanted a picture with her and her “3 important boys.” (What the heck does that even mean?) It’s a small price to pay in the long run – even if the price wasn’t that small. Parents do that, especially to keep peace.

  • SJ September 4, 2013, 6:59 pm

    Could you really not take at least ONE photo with just parents and songs and at least ONE photo with everyone? Then just print the one you want and frame that one?

    Seriously, she had to take time out of her busy schedule, get her kiddos ready, all for a misunderstanding only to find out she wasn’t invited.

    OP, I think the gracious thing to do would have more than one photo taken (in iterations to keep all happy) and not tell DIL that she wasn’t wanted.

  • Kate September 4, 2013, 7:04 pm

    This whole situation just seems too complicated for anyone to truly be objective, or understand the whole story.
    My mother-in-law-to-be made me feel very unwanted in the early years of our relationship. My fiance and I have been together for five years, engaged for four, and living together for one. The first three Christmas’, I was not allowed to come around on Christmas day, and he couldn’t come to me, and the same rule applied to birthdays – his and mine, as well as the rest of his family. And I understood the first year, the second year was frustrated, and by the third I was crying because she told my fiance ‘Christmas is only for families’ – and so I felt very excluded. The fourth Christmas resulted in a huge argument before she finally allowed me to visit – because I and then my fiance put our foot down.
    My worry was, if this was allowed to continue, then the suggestion would forever be that I wasn’t part of the family. And then, when we were married and had our own children, what would happen? ‘Sorry sweetheart, you and Daddy are going round to Grandma’s, but I can’t come because I’m not family?’
    So I wonder if this situation was similar, that this photograph was the culmination of months/years of problems.
    I personally would understand if my MIL-to-be wanted a photograph just her, her husband, my fiance and his brother – I would be okay with that, and believe I would be okay with that even once I’m married – but only if there were plenty of other occasions when I was able to feel like family. When you’re never included, it becomes very difficult, but if you’re sometimes welcomed and sometimes politely asked if you could step out on this occasion, that’s much easier to accept I think.

  • SJ September 4, 2013, 7:09 pm

    On my previous comment, I misunderstood and thought that C ALSO had kids. The OP never said that, my mistake.

  • LawGeek September 4, 2013, 8:09 pm

    The phrase “explain that I want just me and my 3 important boys in the picture” made me think that this story is actually satire written by the daughter in law about her mother-in-law’s horrid behavior. No one actually speaks that way, do they?

  • crebj September 4, 2013, 8:19 pm

    I’m with the admin. OP could have asked for different groupings: herself with DH, sons together, entire clan, son and DIL. Yes, she was footing the bill, but this act will cost her far more than the sitting fee.

  • MonkeysMommy September 4, 2013, 8:52 pm

    Honestly OP, you sound like a nightmare MIL and I’m glad your son stood up to you as he should. The only one rude here was YOU. When she arrived, you should have graciously allowed her in without causing a scene- she’s his WIFE. Besides, don’t people usually take multiple photos?! I know we did when my inlaws had them made- and yes, I was included. I hope she laughs every time she sees the photo.

  • Angel September 4, 2013, 9:25 pm

    This is directly for the OP: There’s no question in my mind that you blew it with your DIL. The sad part about this is, you will never understand what you did wrong. Good for your son for standing up to you. I have no doubt that your DIL “threw a fit” as you basically slapped her in the face when she showed up to be in the family photo. I don’t know of any sitting fees that are so exorbitant that you cannot have different groupings of “family.” But honestly what did you expect her to say or do when you tell her you don’t want her in the family photo. At all.

    Try seeing things from your DIL’s point of view for just a minute. How would you feel if your husband’s mom excluded you? Did this ever happen to you? And if so, turning around and doing it to someone else will not make you feel any better!

  • Kate September 4, 2013, 9:48 pm

    Letters like this make me pretty glad that my husband isn’t very close to his mother. I know he’ll always take my side and we won’t have to deal with things like this.
    OP, there’s nothing wrong with a picture of you and your sons, but why couldn’t you do a ‘whole family’ one with your daughter in law as well? Like it or not, she’s part of your family.

  • Barbarian September 4, 2013, 9:53 pm


    If you ever wonder why you are not spending as much time with your grandchildren after they arrive, think back on this incident and your bad behavior.

  • PM September 4, 2013, 10:11 pm

    I think it’s all about how you phrase it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting photos of just your biological kids together, though it’s a nicer gesture to include a separate set of photos including inlaws/spouses, etc. My own beloved MIL asks for us to take photos of just her biological kids all of the time at family functions. The difference is that she A) always takes group photos including the spouses and children first and B) when she asks for the “bio kids only” shots, she very politely asks, “Hey girls, (meaning me and my SIL) would you mind stepping out so I can get a shot of Fred, Barney and Pebbles together?” And then she thanks us when we comply.

    If the OP had been the least bit polite in her request instead of scolding and exclusive, she would have gotten a very different result.

    Bottom line, family photos should be something that brings families together, not establishes a class system. Pretending that your children haven’t married by excluding their spouses, trying to maintain the image that your core family group hasn’t changed since you were the mother and “in control” is frankly, sort of creepy.

  • Tami S September 4, 2013, 10:13 pm

    Hi…this is the daughter-in-law…my mother-in-law called a few minutes ago about. Now everyone on the internet. Thinks I’m a tacky heathen too. Now that I’ve read the comments I’m relieved to see that’s not true.
    Those that said that the story sounded like it had a background would be correct. However I won’t go into all the things my mother-in-law has done because I’m trying to be mature about this.
    However…to say this story is biased is an understatement. I’ll start with this piece of infot as It does pertain to the issue. My MIL has never liked me as her son’s SO. We met when we were in 6th grade and started dating in high school. C and I went to colleges about an hour apart. After we graduated we moved into a tiny apartment together and got married, bought a 4bdrm in the suburbs near a big city, and now have twin daughters on the way. (Baby girls get here in November! So excited!) However since we did get together when we were 16 my MIL feels that C and I are simply infatuated and will divorce any day.
    MIL called C to arrange the photo and gives him the dress code. Never once did she specify that she wanted only her nuclear family. So we get there, we’re waiting for the appointment, MIL pulls me aside as we’re about to go in. I forget the exact words but they were along the lines of ‘I can’t believe your nerve. I just want MY family in the pictures.’ And the few choice names she reserves for me. If I hadn’t been 29 weeks pregnant (now 32!) with her grandchildren I might have been able to stay together. However since i was…I kinda started sobbing and me being me that includes hiccups and a blotchy red face. However I resigned myself to waiting while they took the pictures and consideres myself lucky she scheduled them in a shop across from a Cinnabon. However C worried about the fact that the photographer is positioning them and I’m no where in sight comes out to find me. Sobbing over a box of mini cinnamon rolls. Admitedly when he asked me why I was upset and not in the photo room I could have done better than “Your mom hates me and doesn’t want me in the pictures.” C did insist on me being in the photos and his mom huffed and said okay. I’ve seen the photos btw and I look red and blotchy and my smile is a bit fforced.
    In the end I think I could’ve reacted better but I didn’t so I take responsibility for making an uncomfortable situation even worse.

  • Tami S September 4, 2013, 10:31 pm

    Also no…not the first time. Which is why I said that I would have stayed together…at least externally. When I’m not a bucket of hormones I can control my emotions until I get home….usually…

  • cdubz September 4, 2013, 11:50 pm

    Thanks for replying, Tami S. It’s good to have a bit more information. Congrats on the babies!

  • cdubz September 4, 2013, 11:52 pm

    And I think MIL is really going to regret this incident when those beautiful babies come.

  • Amy September 5, 2013, 12:50 am

    It can be hard to blend someone into a family. It doesn’t always happen automatically. For example, my sister in law and I didn’t start out the best. I was living out of town and the first time I saw her, she said practically nothing to her. I was hurt and thought she didn’t like me. What I failed to see was that this poor girl was thrown into a big family gathering, a little shy, and that’s all it was. I’m glad our relationship has grown to the point that I can call her both family and a good friend. The thing is, when things don’t start off well at the beginning, extra effort needs to be made. At the beginning, it’s usually a simple misunderstanding that can grow into two people doing hurtful things to each other for years. MIL or DIL should have nipped this in the bud at the beginning, but it’s not too late. If MIL is reading all of these comments, I hope she reaches out to DIL, perhaps takes her out for coffee, and has a good long chat to hopefully start stearing the relationship into the right direction.

  • Toia September 5, 2013, 3:14 am

    I am not married but on my dads side if the family I have 4 Great Aunts and there’s my Grandma. They all have sons and all but one is married (some more than once). I have a lot of anecdotal exidence to prove that mother’s-in-law and daughter’s-in-law can miss a lot in translation. Very quickly a misunderstanding can turn into a mother being kept out of her sons daily life.

    To the OP put yourself in your her place. You are married to someone’s son and if you where in that situation you would feel hurt as well. Your son has invited this woman into his life and you should also that means she will and should be included in family pictures, as she is now family. Mothers tend to place ther sons wives in under themselves in importance in their sons lives. Just as you would not like your husband not to have a woman more important than you should not wish your son to have anyone more important than his wife.

    I’m sure you where embarrassed by the scene in the store in the future clear words of intent will prevent this from recurring. You can address issues in a less public space or hopefully not have to all.

  • just4kicks September 5, 2013, 3:58 am

    @Tami: I think any sympathy your MIL thinks she’s gained in all of this just went out the window with your clarification. Not only did she not want her son’s wife in the photo, she did not want her DIL who is pregnant with her granddaughters in the photo! That’s beyond tacky, rude and hurtful in my opinion. It’s a good thing “mom” is SO fond of photos….it may just be the only way she’ll ever get to see her beautiful grand children!!!!
    Congratulations to you and your hubby, many blessings to the four of you!!!!
    To the OP: Shame on you not only for making a pregnant FAMILY MEMBER cry, but to call her and rub her nose in the fact you posted your own dirty laundry on the internet for all to see. In my book lady, you are the “tacky heathen”!!!

  • Kate September 5, 2013, 4:03 am

    Tami S – I’m glad to hear your side, I think it clarifies it more. Because you didn’t ‘go crying to’ C, you’ve left and he has sought you out, there is a history of this behavior from your mother-in-law and your behavior is emotion not manipulation – Congratulations on your pregnancy by the way!
    Maybe you ought to have reacted better, but I think all pregnant women are a more emotional, and that’s hardly your fault. I’d say perhaps it would have been better if you and your husband had checked when the arrangements were being made if she wanted to include you, then the two of you could have talked it over well in advance and decided action rather then at the shoot.
    In general though, I think your MIL is far more at fault then you. I’m also curious about this turn of events – she called to tell you she put the story on the internet? And called you a tacky heathen? Did she acknowledge that the majority of people seem to think her own behavior was pretty crass as well, or was she calling to tell you she as right?

  • Easily Amused September 5, 2013, 4:55 am

    OP was wrong- just so wrong here. If Tammy S is really the DIL, then I am doubly disappointed in OP’s treatment of her. Shame on you, OP for being so selfish that you couldn’t even try to make her feel welcome. Keep it up , and you won’t have the privilege of knowing your grandchild.

    Yes, for those of you so concerned about the money, the one who foots the bill makes the choices- but when the choices are selfish and mean spirited there will be an additional price to pay. You reap what you sow, and OP is going to have a bitter, lonely time in her old age if she doesn’t find a way to love the woman her son married. I didn’t say like, but she does have to choose to love. To my mind, liking is a feeling, loving is a choice. CHOOSE to be kind, CHOOSE to be gracious, CHOOSE to give a rat’s behind about how she feels. This will work miracles. Seriously, Grow Up.

  • Aangel25 September 5, 2013, 6:27 am

    @ Daisy
    I’m so sorry how you have been treated by your MIL. As having had some outrageously insane ex- in laws myself. You have done everything reasonably possible to get along with your MIL. She definitely has some serious problems. For your health and peace of mind, I would wash my hands of her. If your husband chooses to have a relationship with her, let him.
    After many slights, comments and insults by my husband’s family. I choose not to see them. He celebrates holidays and family events with them. I celebrate them with my children. It just wasn’t worth the hurt. At my in laws 50th anniversary, my children were asked to get out of the picture. It was to be only “biological” family. I said sure. I was very hurt when I noticed several step, half cousins and siblings included in the picture. That was just one of many.

  • PM September 5, 2013, 7:00 am

    Given the DIL’s post, I have to wonder what the heck the MIL was thinking. “Hmm, let me alienate someone who is a few weeks away from giving birth to my grandchildren. Good plan!” And the fact that the DIL was in fact carrying said grandchildren and the MIL STILL didn’t think the DIL merited a place in the photo or even the least bit of kind treatment says SO much more about the MIL than it does the DIL. I also think it’s incredibly telling that the MIL didn’t mention in her post that DIL was pregnant. If these posts are accurate, shame shame shame on the MIL, and good luck to the DIL because it’s only going to get more complicated.

  • Abby September 5, 2013, 7:07 am

    OK, now with the DIL’s additional information, something really does not add up.

    So, OP writes a post where 75-80% of the commenters say she is at fault, and defend the person she wants to send to Ehell. I would expect OP to react in one of two ways- either post a comment defending herself and further demonizing her DIL, as most OPs do when the comments don’t go the way they were expecting, OR (far less likely, but still possible) get a little perspective, realize they are out of line, and apologize. The OP in this situation supposedly reads these comments, yet calls up her DIL and says, I posted this story on Ehell, and everyone agrees with ME that you are tacky. That is a pretty short lived ruse that will end as soon as DIL gets an internet connection. At no point does OP come back and give any more information that would make her look any better.

    I can only conclude that OP is actually DIL or, given the difference in writing styles, someone in DIL’s camp posing as the MIL.

  • Shannan September 5, 2013, 8:09 am

    Tami S, thank you for responding.
    Is your mother- in- law delusional or just manipulative. How can she say “everyone on the internet thinks you’re a tacky heathen”? I can totally understand if you keep her at arm’s length after the babies come……..she’ll probably insist you stay @ home Christmas Day while C & the babies go to her house so she can have ONLY those who are important to her that day.

  • Wild Irish Rose September 5, 2013, 8:27 am

    @Amanda H.: Several years ago, my in-laws invited all their sons and their sons’ families to be in family photos, and one of my sisters-in-law suggested matchy-matchy clothing. My MIL agreed, but made it optional. Doing this would have meant buying four brand-new outfits for my family, and money was tight, so we opted not to do the matching thing. So my in-laws and my one BIL’s family are all in matching clothes, while my other BIL and his family, along with my family, wore whatever we wanted to. My other SIL mentioned that no one had told her about the matching thing or they would have done it too. My MIL made the comment–in front of me because she could–that wearing matching clothes “makes you look more like a family.” I disagreed–I think it makes you all look like you work at the same restaurant, but what do I know? In the end, my MIL wasn’t crazy about the pictures–not because some people wore non-matching clothes, but because the matching was too much. Oh, and did I mention that she didn’t like the clothes I wore for the “formal” picture? Some people just can’t be pleased no matter what you do.

  • Wild Irish Rose September 5, 2013, 8:31 am

    OP, let’s hear from you now, since your DIL responded.

  • Anonymous September 5, 2013, 8:55 am

    The easy way to politely circumvent this whole mess would have been to call it a “family of origin photo,” or “a photo of Beauford, Bella, Billy, and Bobby.” Maybe there’s a reason not to include the DIL, that has nothing to do with her as a person–for example, maybe you had the same photo taken as a young family, when the boys were still growing up, and you want to retake the same photo now that they’re all grown up, and put them side by side on the mantelpiece. That’s not rude; that’s an artistic choice. However, it’s best to do this only if you have a generally inclusive attitude towards your sons’ significant others, and other family members who join in the game later on.

  • Chicalola September 5, 2013, 8:56 am

    @Tami S. You poor thing. I realize there may never be a close relationship between you and your MIL…..but I’m so happy your husband stands up for you. That is so important!!! Congrats on your babies!!

  • Firstwife September 5, 2013, 8:59 am

    This happened to me, married two years, visiting in-laws on the other side of the country, hired photographer. Knowing there was the big deal picture op, I had schlepped a very nice dress on the trip, donned make up, and arranged my hair, only to be told this was family only. Of course my 6 month old daughter would be in the photographs because she was blood.

    In our case, I was in none of the pictures. I was tremendously hurt. I cried, but didn’t let MIL see me. I also realized the MIL thought I was the first wife and didn’t want her photoshoot ruined. That my daughter would always be a part of DH’s life, but he would come to his senses and I would be an embarrassing memory. 38 years and three children later, we are still married.

    After all this time, I do now have a good relationship with MIL, but it is completely due to my making an effect to ignore her horrible behavior. She seems to have convienently forgotten how ugly she was the first five years we were married, but I haven’t . I have forgiven, but not forgotten.

  • AS September 5, 2013, 9:17 am

    WOW! OP… I can’t believe you want to exclude your DIL in “family photographs”. Do you consider your husband your family, and vice versa? If yes, then your son considers HIS wife his family too. And you have no right to claim otherwise. The sooner you accept this, the happier everyone will be.

    I used to make it to the “family photographs” of my husband’s family even before we were married. I had tried to stay away, but his parents urged me to join the pictures. I was even given a family T-shirt when they had a get-together with his extended family before were married.

    My mother had passed away unexpectedly before my husband and I were married, but she had met him while we were dating. My dad was looking for a “family photograph” for his living room, and he found the only photograph with all 4 of us (I am their only child) and has framed it. It is not even the greatest photograph. But he says that that was the only one with his entire family, and he’ll not have anything else.

  • Mae September 5, 2013, 9:37 am

    Sooo… The DIL writes in to clarify the relationship between her & MIL and not a peep from MIL? AND MIL called DIL to tell her that she submitted the story? When the majority of posters say MIL is in the wrong?

    I agree with @Abby, comment #134- something does not add up here. I think it’s very strange that not only MIL *not* mention the pregnancy, but she also never said that “T” had actually left the studio and “C” sought her out.

  • julia September 5, 2013, 9:45 am

    @Abby – there were quite a few people who defended the OP’s desire to have only her nuclear family in a portrait, and were willing to believe that the DIL was manipulative, etc.

    Considering how tone-deaf the OP was in telling her own story (where she no doubt thought she came across as completely innocent and wronged but many people did see her plain dislike of her DIL and nastiness in trying to exclude her from a “family” portrait), I don’t have a hard time believing that if/when she read the comments, she only truly saw the ones that were on her side.

    That the DIL is pregnant with her grandchildren and MIL still couldn’t make room in her family for her… MIL is going to be one lonely old lady some day. But still, I am sure, convinced that it’s everyone else that’s terrible.

  • AMC September 5, 2013, 10:23 am

    To OP, I beg of you, for the sake of your son and grandchildren, please examine your own behavior. You may not like your DIL and she may have her own faults, but acting hostile toward her will only make your son resent you and drive him and your new grandbabies away from you. When that happens, you’ll only have yourself to blame. You posted on Ehell for a reason, probably because you thought us Ehellions would side with you. Well now a solid 75% of commentors are telling you you’re wrong. Maybe that should tell you something. Please, for your grandchildrens’ sakes, find a way to be civil to your DIL.

  • knitwicca September 5, 2013, 10:30 am

    My own mother was the type to very deliberately not include my sisters-in-law in all family events.
    She referred to them both with a sneer. However, she treated my then-husband as gold.

    When my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, my brothers and I threw a huge party for them. Complete with a professional photographers. Once the party began, my mother demanded everyone’s attention then loudly stated “I want a family photo.” My brothers, their lovely wives, my husband and I all began moving toward the area where the photo was to be taken.
    My mother then, just as loudly, stated “I only want REAL family” while looking pointedly at my sisters-in-law. My husband began to back away. My mother said “Oh, Husband’sName, YOU are family.”

    I refused to be in the photo unless it was “blood family” or “all family” but not if my mother was going to treat my sisters-in-law so badly.

    The saddest part of this story is that those same sisters-in-law were the people who were available to help my mother at the end of her life. (I live a great distance away) They treated her with kindness, compassion and steadfast thoughtfulness.
    They treated her much better than she ever treated either of them.

  • NotThumper September 5, 2013, 10:47 am

    For those who are having trouble believing that the MIL could behave so horribly consider yourselves lucky that it’s never happened to you! My MIL was a nightmare, she adored me-don’t get me wrong- but she was still a NIGHTMARE. I won’t go in to detail about what went on but I will say this; all of her bad behavior entitled her to see her first and only (thus far) grandchild a total of 3 times in the first year. Each time was for about an hour and the first two times the baby was asleep. She never held her until she was 8 months old.
    Harsh? You bet! Necessary? Damn straight!

    Things have vastly improved once she started listening and understanding (or at least trying to) me. She’s very careful now about what she says or does in an effort not to step on my toes. She’s not perfect but I appreciate the effort and on my end I have gotten better at understanding her as well.

    OP’s little stunt should probably entitle her to a little Time Out as well, though I would leave that up to her son’s discretion. Though it seems to me that he is aware of what his mother is like and has his wife’s back, as he should.

    @ Tami- Congrats on the babies!

    @Daisy- In my opinion I’d cut that woman out like a cancer! I truly believe that it speaks VOLUMES of a person the way they react to animals. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my beloved cat in 2009, 4 days after his 17th birthday. I’d had him since I was 8 years old. Nothing has devastated me quite like losing my boy. I have a daughter now and though it is true that having a cat is not the same as having a child the differences to some people are extremely minimal. I loved the cat more than I thought humanly possible (until my daughter of course). Even though it will be 4 years since his death this October and I have 4 new cats it still stings and occasionally I still get teary. Everyone grieves differently, for different reasons. Don’t let some manipulative witch make you feel worse. Besides, it sounds like you’ve got a damn fine man sticking up for you!
    Dear Daisy, I leave you with this poem that was given to me when I lost my fur-baby, I hope it brings as much comfort to you as it did for me.

    Grieve not, nor
    speak of me
    with tears, but laugh and
    talk of me as if I were
    beside you.
    I loved you so….
    Twas Heaven
    here with you.

    -Isla Paschal Richardson

  • The Elf September 5, 2013, 10:54 am

    I agree something is weird, Abby. Maybe it’s just denial? After all, some commenters favor MIL, including the first. Maybe she just didn’t read past that?

    If we assume Tami is in fact the DIL in question…… The additional information really eliminates any possibility that this is a simple misunderstanding or manipulation on the part of DIL. You could still argue the who’s paying argument, but that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of rudeness. It just points out that you can still be rude AND have control over a situation. I was worried that perhaps I was reading too much into the tone of the post based on my own experiences with my FIL, but not if Tami’s post is accurate! “However since we did get together when we were 16 my MIL feels that C and I are simply infatuated and will divorce any day.” Yup, I know that feeling well. FIL has said much the same, for the same reason. You’d think after more than 20 years together he’d figure that I’m sticking around, but I guess not.

    Congrats on the babies, Tami!

  • Sarah Jane September 5, 2013, 10:55 am

    Gotta agree with Abby here…something doesn’t add up.

    But there are a few comments I still need to get off my chest.

    For those of you who say, “If Mama pays, Mama gets what she wants…” : Puh. Leeze.

    She might be “paying” for a professional portraits, but her “payment” does not include the expectation that her GROWN sons will take time out of their schedules to show up in what they probably consider dorky attire to take a photo FOR HER. Because this is clearly FOR HER, as is evidenced by her intent to exclude DIL.

    If these photos she’s “paying” for were intended for everyone else, then she’d have considered the feelings of everyone else.

    No matter how much money she’s “paying”, she doesn’t *get* a photo with “her boys” if they don’t show up. And if she’s not careful, I can think of at least one of them who might not show up next time.

  • Ana September 5, 2013, 11:01 am

    Or, @Abby, perhaps you are the OP trying to put the blame back on your DIL because you’re upset that everyone is sympathizing with her AND she found out about it?

  • Ergala September 5, 2013, 11:20 am

    Abby I agree with you 100%. This just sounds way too dramatic and the follow up by the DIL paints the MIL out to be the classic “EVIL EVIL MIL”. I don’t buy it. I made another post about how there are a LOT of interesting assumptions being posted on this story, and a lot of people are putting their own personal in law issues onto the OP. And I find it absolutely ridiculous how many people are throwing the OP into Ehell for wanting ONE picture with her sons and husband. And the very interesting assumptions stating that she hates her DIL and excludes her from everything.

    Now usually when a FU is done on a story by the OP and they clarify people jump all over them saying they should have added that information in to the post and therefore are probably lying to make themselves look better. I find it quite intriguing that the “slighted party” in this case posts and drags the OP through the mud to make herself look even more victimized and people are giving her virtual hugs and telling her “there there…you’re right, she’s evil”.

    None of this makes sense, and I think the DIL absolutely is a drama queen and could have handled herself 100%. As an adult she should be able to compose herself, yes even while pregnant. If I had fallen apart every single time I felt slighted while pregnant with both of my children I probably would have spent all 9 months bawling in a corner. I had moments where I was an emotional train wreck, but I realized that I was exactly that….a train wreck… a few days later. I was excluded from a hunting trip when I was 4 months pregnant. I was really upset and I really wanted to go turkey hunting. But my fil said no. Just he and my husband went. Was I incredibly upset and offended? Yup. Then later that evening I realized that 1) I was pregnant….he didn’t want that responsibility if something happened. and 2) He probably wanted some son and father time in with my husband. No biggie. I got over it.

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