Author Topic: would like to give MIL a thank you gift but not sure what would be appropriate.  (Read 3638 times)

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TootsNYC

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This in particular makes me a little twitchy:

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-for you to remember this day should I ever step wrong or hurt your feelings or break a boundary in the future, and therefore be more forgiving, or reassert the boundary without anger

I know you didn't mean it this way, but it almost sounds as if you'd hope to use Curtain Day as a "get out of being a jerk free" card sometime in the future. You don't earn that card by doing favors. You earn it by not being a jerk. If someone has a pattern of being kind and loving and supportive to me, but does or says something hurtful one time, I'm likely to chalk it up to "she's having a bad day -- no biggie." But if she has a pattern of being judgmental, critical and unpleasant to me, all the hand-sewn curtains in the world aren't going to persuade me to give her a pass.


I don't get why you are so twitchy. If you know I didn't mean it that way, why did you accuse me of meaning it that way?

The part of your post that I bolded is *exactly* what I meant. Remember this day, and my actions, and put that in the mix as know each other going forward.

The part of -my- that I bolded is where I tried to point out--it's not that my hypothetical DIL is supposed to cave; it's that she's supposed to remember my basic good will for her, and not demonize me while she's in the process of re-establishing boundaries.

cross_patch

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This in particular makes me a little twitchy:

Quote
-for you to remember this day should I ever step wrong or hurt your feelings or break a boundary in the future, and therefore be more forgiving, or reassert the boundary without anger

I know you didn't mean it this way, but it almost sounds as if you'd hope to use Curtain Day as a "get out of being a jerk free" card sometime in the future. You don't earn that card by doing favors. You earn it by not being a jerk. If someone has a pattern of being kind and loving and supportive to me, but does or says something hurtful one time, I'm likely to chalk it up to "she's having a bad day -- no biggie." But if she has a pattern of being judgmental, critical and unpleasant to me, all the hand-sewn curtains in the world aren't going to persuade me to give her a pass.


I don't get why you are so twitchy. If you know I didn't mean it that way, why did you accuse me of meaning it that way?

The part of your post that I bolded is *exactly* what I meant. Remember this day, and my actions, and put that in the mix as know each other going forward.

The part of -my- that I bolded is where I tried to point out--it's not that my hypothetical DIL is supposed to cave; it's that she's supposed to remember my basic good will for her, and not demonize me while she's in the process of re-establishing boundaries.

Well, I can't speak for baglady but for me also it read that way. And even with your explanation, it does still seem like previous good deeds are a get out if jail free card. It reads to me like the weight on that one day is disproportionate, and  that your previous enjoyable day doesn't prevent someone from being angry with you in the future- to say otherwise feels quite manipulative to me.

RubyCat

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Jumping in a bit late but I don't see this as manipulative or a potential get out of jail free card. I see it as two older women in the family, reaching out and creating a bond. They're treating her as part of the family and it's a beautiful thing. If that bond is nurtured and allowed to grow the relationship between the two older generations and the younger, it will continue to deepen. There does not appear to be anything calculated or cynical in that.  If I have good history with a person - family or not- I am more comfortable maintaining healthy boundaries. We often forget that boundaries do not mean only who or what we keep out, but also who or what we allow in to our lives. There is a lot of give and take in good relationships.

Even though I already knew it on an intuitive level, it wasn't until I read 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, that I truly recognized that all relationships have their own balance sheet of credits and debits. It sounds cold to put it like that but it is true. I don't think I know anybody who is calculating enough to consciously go keeping a tally, or do things solely to get "credits". I don't think the older women in this family were looking for "credits" but having formed a bond with this new mom by treating her as family, she and they are more likely to look past minor slights and more be forgiving of the mistakes that we all make.

cross_patch

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Jumping in a bit late but I don't see this as manipulative or a potential get out of jail free card. I see it as two older women in the family, reaching out and creating a bond. They're treating her as part of the family and it's a beautiful thing. If that bond is nurtured and allowed to grow the relationship between the two older generations and the younger, it will continue to deepen. There does not appear to be anything calculated or cynical in that.  If I have good history with a person - family or not- I am more comfortable maintaining healthy boundaries. We often forget that boundaries do not mean only who or what we keep out, but also who or what we allow in to our lives. There is a lot of give and take in good relationships.

Even though I already knew it on an intuitive level, it wasn't until I read 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, that I truly recognized that all relationships have their own balance sheet of credits and debits. It sounds cold to put it like that but it is true. I don't think I know anybody who is calculating enough to consciously go keeping a tally, or do things solely to get "credits". I don't think the older women in this family were looking for "credits" but having formed a bond with this new mom by treating her as family, she and they are more likely to look past minor slights and more be forgiving of the mistakes that we all make.

I think you may have misread- I don't in any way think aussie_chick's mil and gmil are being manipulative, I think they are doing a lovely thing and don't think they were looking for 'credits' either. I (and I believe baglady) were responding specifically to toot's framing of the situation.

TootsNYC

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And my framing of the situation wasn't manipulative either. It certainly wasn't intended to be.
  I didn't intend the "doing a nice thing" to be a get-out-of-jail-free-for-being-a-jerk
card. And if you read my whole post, I don't think you'll see it that way.

My basic point was, "When I do nice things for people, and show them how much I care about them, I hope that they will remember that -should- (not when) I ever make a misstep (not "be a massive jerk")."

Or, you know, this:
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If someone has a pattern of being kind and loving and supportive to me, but does or says something hurtful one time, I'm likely to chalk it up to "she's having a bad day -- no biggie.


I included the phrase "hurt your feelings," which I see as not being the same same scale as "doing or saying something hurtful"--a language difference, I know.
   But I was thinking of the sort of accidental tricks of wording, or something minor--not actually being a true jerk. In fact, I should have included the word "accidentally"; it's what I meant.

I live this w/ my MIL. She pushes boundaries all the time--she's not nasty, it's just that to her, the natural position of the boundary is in a different spot. So I don't get all pissed off when I feel I need to reassert the boundary; I just reassert.
   And I had a specific, real-life example in mind: I was telling my MIL about my wedding dress, and how  I was saving money, and she offered to buy my dress for me. I was nearly insulted--it seemed that she was telling me my plans for my wedding dress were not good enough.
    But I remembered what kind of person she is (the kind who would come sew curtains in your house, and care deeply for you), and I was able to hold the annoyance and anger at bay long enough to hear what she was really saying.

That's what I meant.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 06:53:53 PM by TootsNYC »

Lynda_34

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I like the idea of sending photos of the nursery when it's all done, with the curtains prominently displayed. Nobody can resist being told -- or better, shown -- how a gift they gave is being used and cherished.
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figure out how to position yourself and your infant in front of the curtains and then send then framed pix of you or your son holding your infant.  No selfies.