General Etiquette > Family and Children

Yes, I do mind...

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Redneck Gravy:
BG: One of the things my SIL does would drive me crazy and I have never said anything because it's her home, it's her family and it's none of my business how she runs these things (I wouldn't do it this way but TOTALLY NONE OF MY BUSINESS).     

It's not that she doesn't cook (because she rarely does) it's that she feeds all the grandchildren one at a time and something different for each of them (she also used to do this with her own children) and they are allowed to walk through her home with food in their hands all the time.  SIL does not have custody of any of her grandchildren but she has them almost ALL of the time it seems, particularly on weekends.

While we are sitting at her kitchen table visiting they come to her one at a time with requests.  For example: 6:00 Child A asks for a bean burrito and she gets up and fixes one, 6:20 Child B asks for a peanut butter sandwich and she fixes one, 6:40 Child C asks for a fruit pie and SIL gets up and gets her one.  6:45 Child A wants a drink of milk, SIL fixes one, then at 6:55 Children B & C both want a drink of koolaid, so of course she fixes each of them one.  Sigh, for the next hour or so one or another child is in there wanting something every 10-15 minutes and she fixes that child the one thing.  I asked her several times if we needed to get up and make dinner for the kids.  Oh no she said, I just fix them whatever they want.  Needless to say, you can't have a whole conversation without being continuously interrupted.   

Again, her house her rules - let's be clear that I do not say anything about it, never have, never will, I think it's weird but it works for her. 

I hosted an early dinner a couple of weeks ago on Sunday afternoon and invited Bro and SIL.  While I didn't actually invite the grandchildren she brought two of them to dinner which was fine and didn't really surprise me.  They usually play pretty good with my grandchildren so it's a non-issue for this conversation - but just get an idea of how they act at her home and apparently at others.

Child A wanted a sandwich before the barbecue was ready and I told her she would have to wait that we were all having dinner together in a few minutes.  She went and asked SIL if she would "make me" make her a sandwich.

SIL asked if "I minded if she made her a sandwich" and I calmly said, "actually yes I do mind.  We are all going to sit at the table in a few minutes and eat together and she will have to wait like everyone else."  And I said this as politely as I could, I was aggravated but I did not use a pissy tone, it was almost apologetic because I do not want to offend SIL. 

I don't feel like I was out of line here, my house, my rules.  And we did sit down in about 10 minutes to eat.  While Child A never said anything else about it, SIL seemed a bit cool the rest of the day.

A few days later Bro called to say that SIL mentioned how rude I was to Child A.  Bro said, "why because she doesn't feed everyone at her house one at a time?"  Apparently this has started a big uproar between them.  He says that he has been after her to stop doing this too, it drives him crazy. 

Well, grand, now I am the troublemaker between them! Sigh.  SIL is not a drama queen or special snowflake, she does some things differently from how I do them, some of her ideas I adapted with my own kids through the years and vice-versa. I don't want anyone to think I don't like or respect SIL, I adore her and we talk on the phone several times a week but we don't get together very often.  I haven't heard from her since the "incident"  we have texted a few times - but both of us have been very busy too, we discussed this before the bbq weekend, September's calendar was overwhelming for both of us.   

I left her two voice messages she hasn't returned either call.  Any ideas?  I am not inclined to apologize, I don't feel like I did anything wrong.  And if she is mad at Bro she needs to address with with him.  I don't want our friendship sunk but she is obviously angry and avoiding me.  Should I be prepared to apologize?

I am sorry that she got her feelings hurt or whatever it was that made her angry.  I'm not sorry I made her granddaughter wait to eat with the rest of us.     




I don't see that you did anything wrong here. As you pointed out yourself, it's your house, so you get to use your rules. And your rules are hardly unusual.

Unless you spoke to SIL more harshly than you realised or intended, then you're fine. It seems like your brother at least is aware that she's not a poor wounded duckling in this story, and hopefully anyone else she tries to gossip to will see things the same way. She might not normally be a drama queen, but she seems to be being one now by talking with other people like this days after the non-event. And avoiding you after something like this is childish and ridiculous. Are you sure nothing else happened that might have seemed insignificant to you? Because if not, then she's being very immature about this. I'd stop trying to contact her for a few days until she's cooled down or come to her senses or whatever. So, if you're going to say anything, don't apologise for what you did (you did nothing wrong), but if you feel you must, apologise for being unaware that she didn't know how meals were done in your home, and mention that you're glad that now she knows. If she brings it up, "But it's just a sandwich..." just repeat ad nauseam: "That's not how we do meals in my house." And use lots of bean dip.

I think that SIL reacted the way that she did because she does know that her short order cook thing is not the norm.  Perhaps she also realizes that the children are likely not getting balanced meals that way, either.

I don't think that you have any reason to apologize.  It sounds like your brother has been annoyed with this for awhile, and that your **normal** response to the child was just the catalyst.

I would probably just ignore this for now, and if brother brought it up again I'd tell him that I didn't want to get into the middle of things with his wife.  I think that it's likely she will calm down and be back to being your friend.  I would call her for necessary information sharing, but otherwise wait for her to return to normal.  She probably misses your friendship, too.

Edited to add - The child was rather cheeky to try to get her grandma to make you bend to her will.  I hope that she is not any older than 4.

gramma dishes:
Don't apologize.  You have nothing to apologize for. 

You've made a few attempts to get in touch with her and she has either been unable or unwilling to respond.  I'd say the ball is now in her court and when she's ready, she'll get in touch with you.  Until then, I'd just leave her alone and not go 'begging'.

Yes, unless your tone was harsh with her you really have nothing to apologize for.


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