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Author Topic: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?  (Read 16463 times)

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bah12

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2014, 01:09:32 PM »
OP here again - and thank you everyone for your ongoing comments. Just wanted to make it clear though that I never said the girls not going was an option - we told mil that we would work it out, even though I'm not happy with it because, as everyone's pointed out, that's their commitment. As I said earlier as well - this is not something I agreed to before lessons were started - they've never had a performance before and I hadn't expected this term to be any different - this concert cropped up just last week and mil had already set the dates based on her holiday and was just checking that it was okay - which I thought it was.

I would also not support their performances 100% - always have been there cheering them on and always will be - even if I do think the activity is not one I would choose.

My question was how to deal with mil when she is telling us how ungrateful we are and accusing us of not being fair when we are doing our best with a situation that is my fault because I didn't remember a probable date for the christening but has only arisen because she is on holiday again. If I stop them going to dance after this then we'll have a tantrum about the money she's spent on shoes - is there any etiquette approved way forward?
And no, I've never said anything remotely disparaging to mil - I really try my hardest to appease her hence me asking you sage folks for advice!

"MIL, I'm sorry.  I made a mistake and forgot about the Christening when I told you the 13th was ok.  I'm only human and I'm doing my best now to resolve this conflict and meet all our commitments. The girls will be there and they will perform on Sunday.  I promise.  At the same time, I made a commitment to my sister and nephew to be at the Christening, so that's where I will be.  It would be great if we could all watch the performance together on Sunday, but that's just not possible.  The most important thing is that the girls be there, and like I said they absolutely will be there.  You need to understand that it's not feasible to rearrange the christening around me.  I'm not going to ask my sister to do that.  I understand that you have invested time and money into this and for that I'm grateful, so in the future, I will make sure that I check my calendar first, so this type of situation is avoided."

Skibunny

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2014, 01:14:29 PM »
I really don't know - DH did expressly say 'we will work it out' but she's not spoken to us since!  Part of her vitriol seemed to be directed at my sister and the fact she wouldn't (couldn't!) move the baptism - even though it's nothing to do with my sister really - mil seemed to think the priest would be unreasonable to not move the date if we couldn't attend and we were of the opinion that we would be unreasonable to even ask let alone request!

Those words seem very reasonable bah12 - thank you

TootsNYC

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2014, 01:18:39 PM »
Quote
My question was how to deal with mil when she is telling us how ungrateful we are and accusing us of not being fair when we are doing our best with a situation that is my fault because I didn't remember a probable date for the christening but has only arisen because she is on holiday again.


To zoom in on this:

I think anytime someone gets unreasonable, the best way to handle it is to just act as reasonably as *you* can.
   Don't apologize, don't JADE, don't do or say things that validate their opinion, or that make them think you're taking them seriously or giving them any power.

Basically, be dismissive of their unreasonable points in a friendly, confident, forgiving way.
Keep things in perspective, devote an appropriate [i.e., appropriate to the importance of the problem, in this case, not that much] amount of energy to them; since the other person has lost -their- perspective, it becomes even more important that you keep yours.
(Someone has to be sane and reasonable.)

"Nonsense, MIL--this isn't a big deal. The girls will be at the performance, of course. This is just a logistical blip."

And then refuse to talk about it. Be puzzled. "It's settled though, the girls will be at the performance. We'll get them there somehow. I don't know what the problem is now. And I'm sorry, but I can't keep talking about this; I'm in the middle of something/the kitten's on fire."

So for now, never address it again. Just forgive her for overreacting, even if she doesn't ever acknowledge that she was wrong. She's human; she felt disrespected; she felt unsettled by the loss of control. Forgive her for those things, and just move on.

If she brings it up, be forgivingly dismissive. "It's all settle, though. This is not a huge issue, it's just logistics. The girls will be there."

Keep saying, "This is not a big issue--it's just some scheduling logistics."

If you try to persuade her that it's not "you taking her for granted," etc., you will only reinforce the idea that she *is* right, that this could be on the table as a motivation, etc.

Verbally dismiss the whole thing. Refuse to dwell on it. "I refuse to dwell on this--it's a simple scheduling problem." Walk away--don't you have to go to the bathroom or something?

It will help if you feel confident that you are having the proper reaction (and dwelling on your resentment of the whole dance thing, and MIL herself, will undermine that confidence, so try not to give them mindshare, is my advice).
   Then you can simply act on that confidence.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 05:02:38 PM by TootsNYC »

Goosey

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2014, 01:21:33 PM »
Could your MIL be upset that you and your husband won't be seeing the recital?

I would just apologise for your mistake and promise they will be there and ignore everything else.

Skibunny

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2014, 01:32:41 PM »
Thanks Toots - sage advice indeed.

Goosey, we will see the performance on the Saturday - and normally if the girls are performing over a few nights/days then we will split attendance between us so they've got support every night so that's not unusual in itself either!

miranova

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2014, 01:58:26 PM »
Your MIL is being completely unreasonable to even suggest that your SIL change the date/time of the christening. 

BeagleMommy

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2014, 02:50:15 PM »
"MIL, this was a miscommunication and I apologize for that.  I will not ask my sister, or the priest, to rearrange something on account of my schedule.  DH and I will see the girls dance on Saturday.  We will make arrangements to get them to the Sunday recital, but we will not be there."

TootsNYC

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2014, 05:04:28 PM »
. . . DH did expressly say 'we will work it out' but she's not spoken to us since! 

This sounds like an opportunity for me to use my newest favorite phrase:

Least said, soonest mended.

So, since she's not continually berating you, just never, ever bring it up again.
Give her space to back down, mentally; space to get over it. Pretend it never happened. Why amp up the drama?

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2014, 10:36:51 PM »
I'm kind of surprised so many people support leveraging the children's hurt feelings and disappointment against the MIL in order to try and control her behavior and get her in line with the OP's preferences

These are the OP's kids and the OP's responsibility. She agreed to the dance classes at very little expense and trouble to her (and yes, 30% of the weekends is what I would call little trouble for an enriching extracurricular activities for three girls). She agreed to the date of the recital. But somehow the MIL is the unreasonable one when the OP tries to pull out of the obligation?

The girls should go to the recital. The OP should go to the baptism. This was an error in communication, but the girls should absolutely fulfill their obligation to their fellow dancers and the school.

I disagree. I think the MIL pulled a bit of a "bait and switch" on the OP's family. The deal was, was that MIL would pay for dance lessons, and drive them to dance lessons 100% of the time. Now she's only driving 70% of the time. That means the OP has to play "taxi" once every three weeks. On her only free day, I can see why she'd be annoyed.

Going forward, I think the OP should:

1. See if MIL is willing to pick up the girls on Sunday for the dance recital;

2. If MIL cannot (or will not), see if her DH can take the girls somehow (by bus? taxi? etc).

3. If her DH cannot do that (remote area - no public transport? Taxi too expensive?) then I personally think the OP should apologise for the double booking, but tell MIL that it's just not possible for the girls to attend.

Bottom line: the OP should absolutely attend the christening, and shouldn't pull out just to ferry her daughters to this dance recital. 

sammycat

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #69 on: May 09, 2014, 01:38:11 AM »
I don't see the MIL making any accommodations or compromises here. She wants everything her way, and her way only. If the recital was that important to her she'd have come home early to attend the originally planned Saturday performance, instead of demanding that an extra one be putt on for her benefit.  I'm flabbergasted that this was even an option. What if the other performers had had things planned for the Sunday as well?  Depending on the ages of the children, are they even up to doing all these performances?

For her to even suggest for one second that the christening be rescheduled completely blows my mind. The utter gall of it is disgusting. I wouldn't have even mentioned the idea to my sister as the idea is so preposterous.

I would tell MIL that the family is going to the christening and that she (MIL) is responsible for collecting the kids from the church or after party and getting them to the recital and taking them home again afterwards. I wouldn't skip any part of the christening. This is all on MIL, and she needs to step up to the plate, and be inconvenienced if necessary

sammycat

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #70 on: May 09, 2014, 01:40:20 AM »
Your MIL is being completely unreasonable to even suggest that your SIL change the date/time of the christening.

POD. It blows my mind TBH.

sammycat

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #71 on: May 09, 2014, 01:48:00 AM »
OP, based on your MIL believing it was appropriate to request a second recital to meet her schedule (not only impacting your schedule, the teacher's schedule, and the other families' schedules) it appears your MIL is used to making some pretty demanding requests. I'd have a hard time dealing with someone who was so focused on her own needs.

In your shoes I wouldn't so much resent the taxing the kids on Saturday as I woudl the fact that dance is prohibiting the one day a week that your family can plan full family events, especially if this is a year round or 6 month program. One of the reasons I loved Little League was not every Saturday had a game. Most games were during the week. One of the reasons I didn't like soccer was every weekend had a Saturday game.

If your girls enjoy dance and you really want to keep Saturdays open for family activities, I'd start looking for another program. Just let your MIL know that while you appreicate her wanting to support her long time instructor the schedule doesn't meet your family's schedule and you need a program that has weekday lessons. Maybe your MIL has enough "pull" to get the classes rescheduled.
[/i]

Bolded: I agree. I refused point blank to sign my kids up for any activities that met regularly on a weekend as I like to have those days free. They attend scouts on a week night and go on lots of weekend camps and activities (with DH) which would've caused a problem had they had a regular sporting (or whatever) event on Saturdays.

Italicised: I'm not sure if you're serious or not, but why should the other students and teacher be inconvenienced and/or have their current satisfactory schedule changed because MIL has the influence/is self centred enough to want things her way?

ladyknight1

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #72 on: May 09, 2014, 07:31:14 AM »
We have weekends booked for 3 months solid, because my DS is a Scout and he works summer camp. It isn't easy, but it is what we have chosen to do. If someone else tried to schedule us on other weekends I would not allow it. We have little family time during the week, and weekends are precious.

MIL isn't having to give any type of compromise. OP, I think you and your DH should talk with your daughters and see if dance is something they want to pursue after the recital. You might be surprised by their response.

It seems like MIL is living vicariously through her granddaughters.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 07:56:36 AM by ladyknight1 »
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

lkdrymom

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #73 on: May 09, 2014, 07:53:39 AM »
To me it looks like the MIL is upset that the OP will not be attending the Sunday recital with her. That is totally out of line.  I agree the kids should be there on Sunday as they committed to the recital (even in error).

I totally feel for the OP.  My daughter got involved in cheer leading and the coaches expect the girls AND the parents to dedicate their lives to the sport. Not only are you running your kid to practice several nights a week and all day games on the weekend....the coach would schedule tournaments with very little notice. I would be fine if everything was presented to us at the time we signed up but it never was.  More and more events were added as time went on and EVERYONE had to participate. Often cheer leading would continue on with tournaments after football season ended. You could not plan a thing from August -December. One time the coach gave us two weeks notice that she signed us up for a tournament the weekend before Christmas. A lot of parents grumbled but still went along. The following year I offered my daughter cold hard cash not to join again (she was in other sports during the year so this was not a main interest for her, more social than anything).

GrammarNerd

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Re: Have I goofed/How to deal with MiL?
« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2014, 10:06:14 AM »
A thought just occurred to me.....

OP will see the recital on Saturday.  Special performance on Sunday was arranged, for the most part, by MIL and for MIL, if I'm reading that correctly, even though others will attend.  OP has already said that the girls will be there, but possibly not OP/DH.  Not an ideal situation with the double booking, but OP is trying to make it work.  But MIL is still bent out of shape.

Since the dancing was all MIL's idea in the first place, I just wondered if MIL might be one of those types that will have a hidden agenda, and will be planning to make the Sunday recital all about her, and how wonderful she is for paying for the lessons for the DDs and taking them to the classes, yada yada yada.  All and sundry will hear about her sacrifices, and how wonderful she is for giving her granddaughters the opportunity that they never would have had without her!  So she wants OP there to be an audience to this testament of how wonderful MIL is.

There seems to be a reason for MIL to be a little miffed, but not so bent out of shape that she would want OP's sister to cancel a christening!  The circumstances don't seem to warrant the reaction.  So I was trying to think of another reason that she could be SO upset that the OP wouldn't be there, and that's what popped into my head.  It could be way off base, but I have seen things like this play out.