Author Topic: Yes, I do mind...  (Read 8559 times)

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Redneck Gravy

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Yes, I do mind...
« on: September 30, 2013, 03:33:19 PM »
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.     

 

 
 

 

Pen^2

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2013, 03:43:05 PM »
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.

doodlemor

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 03:48:00 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 03:52:43 PM by doodlemor »

gramma dishes

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 03:51:41 PM »
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'.

heartmug

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 04:27:41 PM »
Yes, unless your tone was harsh with her you really have nothing to apologize for.
One option in a tug of war with someone is just to drop the rope.

LadyL

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 04:30:43 PM »
A lot of times when people feel defensive about their own choices, they will lash out at others who do things differently to try to justify their method as better. Maybe SIL has a bit of a martyr complex about "serving" (literally and figuratively) her family being her #1 priority? And you struck a nerve accidentally by calmly and politely refusing to pursue similar martyrdom at your event at your home?

I mean, even if you had snapped at her, it was such a ridiculous request that I'd cut you a break. Unless the child was about to faint from low blood sugar, or needed to take medication with food on a very strict schedule, there is no reason they couldn't wait 10 minutes.

MommyPenguin

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 04:43:10 PM »
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.

It's possible that the child thought more along the lines of, "<OP> says she can't make me a sandwich because she's serving dinner in 10 minutes... that must be because she's too busy.  I'll ask grandma if she can make me one."  Rather than thinking about it as going over her head.  Or she may not really understand that people get to make decisions in their own houses, and think that her grandmother is still in charge over her and so she should be able to get her a sandwich.  At least, we'll hope so!

I agree that you were totally fine, OP.  Your house, your rules.  And it doesn't even have to be that you object to the children grazing all the time, it could just be that it's your kitchen and you don't want to be tripping over somebody making a sandwich when you're 10 minutes to having everything done and probably have things cooking and finishing and the table to set, etc.  It drives me crazy when my kids are in the kitchen at that time, too, unless they have specific things they're doing like setting the table or starting the dishwasher.

And of course, asking for a sandwich when a meal is on the way would be pretty much considered rude anyway.  Can you imagine if the hostess is running around trying to get dinner on the table in 10 minutes, and an adult guest came in and asked for a sandwich?  We would definitely consider him rude, because he's implying that he doesn't want to eat what the hostess cooks, and (more implicitly) that the hostess's timing for her meal is not adequate because he wants to eat NOW.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 04:45:50 PM »
Agreeing you have nothing to apologize for. I'd ignore her coolness and just keep acting like nothings wrong.

As LadyL said, she's feeling defensive, especially since her DH is already nagging her about the habit. And the habit could have been born out of the need to be constantly busy. She may be one of those people who is uncomfortable sitting down and having a chat for 20 minutes. I'm like that sometimes with my family. I'd much rather be up piddling around the kitchen doing something mindless and chatting with you then just sitting at the table having a long conversation. But I know my SIL thinks the habit is disrespectful if I'm not giving her my complete attention so I try not to do it with her. My sisters on the other hand are completely content to try to carrying on an in depth conversation while I'm baking cookies or cleaning shrimp.

Roe

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 04:57:58 PM »
Please don't apologize.  I know you'll want to but it will only make SIL try that approach again if she doesn't get her way. 

You didn't do anything wrong.  Your house/your rules.  Not only that, but it's HIGHLY rude for anyone to expect different food than what the host is serving. Granted, the child is young but your SIL shouldn't have asked you for sandwich fixins.  That's very rude! 

MommyPenguin

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 05:03:54 PM »
Agreeing you have nothing to apologize for. I'd ignore her coolness and just keep acting like nothings wrong.

As LadyL said, she's feeling defensive, especially since her DH is already nagging her about the habit. And the habit could have been born out of the need to be constantly busy. She may be one of those people who is uncomfortable sitting down and having a chat for 20 minutes. I'm like that sometimes with my family. I'd much rather be up piddling around the kitchen doing something mindless and chatting with you then just sitting at the table having a long conversation. But I know my SIL thinks the habit is disrespectful if I'm not giving her my complete attention so I try not to do it with her. My sisters on the other hand are completely content to try to carrying on an in depth conversation while I'm baking cookies or cleaning shrimp.

That's a good point.

You know, I find that during dinner, I'm hopping up and down constantly anyway.  The kids need refills on their drinks, or ask for another serving.  I realize I forgot the napkins when the 3-year-old decides her sleeve will do.  The baby drops her sippy cup on the floor a million times, and often needs alternate food so that she doesn't eat every single item on the table, leaving none for anybody elsle (she gets served the same as everybody else, don't worry, she just has a big appetite paired with a propensity to drop stuff down her diaper or on the floor).  Sometimes I finish my drink and want another.  There have been many times in which I'm scooping out second servings for multiple kids before I get to even try my first bite of food.  (Yes, I could make them sit there and wait until everybody has finished their first plateful, but I think it's more productive to keep them eating.)

Promise

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 05:10:01 PM »
You were absolutely fine in what you said. The fight isn't between you and SIL, it's between her and her husband, but she's taking it out on you, perhaps, because she's displacing her anger. Stay out of it and let them work out their house rules. You just stick to yours. And next time, she'll know where you stand since you already set your boundaries and stuck to them.

Lynn2000

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013, 05:13:38 PM »
POD to the others, I don't think you have anything to apologize for, and I would just ignore any coolness/distance from SIL for the time being.

I don't think you should consider yourself the cause of trouble between SIL and your brother--they apparently disagreed on this issue before, and it was only their discussion of your (perfectly reasonable) comment that got out of hand. Their discussion/argument style is certainly not your fault. If your brother brings it up again and you don't want to "take sides," you could change the subject or outright ask him not to discuss conflicts with you. Turn it back on him--as I said, it wasn't your comment but rather their argument that caused the rift between them (which is hopefully not really anything so dramatic as a "rift" anyway, because this is such a small thing).
~Lynn2000

figee

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 06:02:22 PM »

You didn't do anything wrong.  Your house/your rules. 

And this is one of the most important things a child can learn as well.  I remember being bewildered a few times about the different way people did things, and my friends being confused as well.  In my house, it was expected for the children to set the table (from the age of about 6.  It was a little bit hit and miss for a while.), help clear the table (when old enough to manage the plates), and possibly serve desert (ice-cream and/ or yoghurt.)  We asked for permission to start eating, put knife and fork down between mouthfuls, elbows were off the table, didn't speak with our mouths full, only drank water with meals, and waited at the table until everyone had finished eating before asking to be excused, clearing the table and then heading off to do whatever.  I didn't know the rules and had to ask my parents for clarification when friends did things differently.  So I learned that some places, kids didn't set or clear the table, started eating whenever, ate with the TV on, and that in that context, it wasn't considered rude.  Their house, their rules.  Important lesson to learn early.

TootsNYC

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 06:40:42 PM »
Quote
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?


Least said, soonest mended.
I think your next step is to completely leave it alone.

Technically, you don't know that your SIL is mad at you--anything BIL said to you should be technically "erased." (Sure, you heard it, but he really should not have said anything to you. So, for you it's like anything you hear by eavesdropping--you pretend you didn't hear it. Once you can't pretend that, then you pretend that it wasn't particularly important, or that you felt you shouldn't trust it or act upon it, that you should reserve judgment or reaction until there was something more concrete.)

Don't even bring it up. Ever.

If SHE wants to discuss it, she can bring it up.

Then you act sort of surprised. "Oh, I'm sorry you were upset--it certainly wasn't a judgment against anyone. It's simply that as the hostess, this is how I prefer my dinners to go, and so I explained that to Kid and to you. I'm sure you can understand."
   Feel free to add, "It was nice to sit with Kid at the dinner table, I enjoyed having her company. It felt like we were all together for a bit. Even if it was fleeting."



This is Bro's wife, yes?

You never comment on a marital spat, and this is absolutely a clash of values between them. It has NOTHING to do with you.

You aren't the cause of this. SIL is. Maybe Bro is. But it has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with you.

ladyknight1

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Re: Yes, I do mind...
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2013, 07:04:08 PM »
You were fine. I am so glad you stood up to her and the kids. The house rules go for everyone.