Issues with DH's Stepmom trying to "Call the shots" (esp w holidays) rant

posted 2 years ago in Holidays
Post # 2
Member
470 posts
Helper bee

This situation really sucks. If I were you, I’d get “sick” on Christmas, so the stepmom would have her own christmas for herself. 

Post # 3
Member
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Her suggestions are not your problem, OP. You don’t have to follow them. Her expectations are not your problem, either. You don’t have to go to those holidays, either. There’s no need to make a stand. If she makes a suggestion and you want to tell her that you aren’t doing what she suggests, just tell her “no, we’ve decided we’ll do x instead”. If she tries to badger you about it… “we’ve already told you what we’re doing.”  No need to get upset. 

She doesn’t get a day in your children’s religious practices, so you don’t have to engage with her as though she does.

It’s tough, bc you’re probably used to negotiating/ discussing issues w family members who would rarely overstep…. so when they DID offer an opinion, it was worth engaging. She’s not one of those people. 

Post # 4
Member
8815 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

lowkeybridetobe :  Yeah, this isn’t about holidays. 

I feel like I need to stop her in her tracks and make it clear that we are not under her rule.” — You can’t change her behavior. The way to show you’re not under her rule is to stop doing the things she “expects” that don’t work for you. If you try to stop her from making demands (eg “stop her in her tracks”), that’s trying to control HER. That won’t work. Let her make her demands and then either go along with them or don’t, whichever works for you. If you’re not going along with her demands, don’t engage in the arguments she will inevitably try to draw you into. Just say “we’re not doing that this year.” Or “we’re not doing that anymore.” Don’t make any big announcements, don’t turn it into a big dramatic thing. Just be matter-of-fact. 

The key to this is, you and your husband need to be in complete agreement. If he agrees in theory but then waffles when push comes to shove, you’re going to end up looking like the bad guy. At that point, you’ve got a husband problem, not a StepMIL problem. If you’re both in agreement and he is willing to stand up to her, it should only take a few times before she realizes you’re not under her thumb.

Post # 5
Member
4060 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I don’t think this is actually about Christmas at all, because honestly “expecting” you to attend a total of 4 events in 2 years and contribute is really not offensive or over-stepping IMO. Families approach holidays differently: my husband’s side takes it as a great offense if I even OFFER to bring anything, whereas my mom would be offended if someone didn’t. People are raised differently, and this just sounds like personality differences with no one actually being wrong necessarily.

It sounds like you’re just BEC with her, and that’s really the problem. So I wouldn’t use expecting you to show up to Christmas dinner (which you say he usually does anyway) as the hill to die on. If you’re still upset about past comments, bring those up by all means.

Post # 6
Member
8815 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

lowkeybridetobe :  Also, regarding religion I agree with coffeecakez : . Not even worth arguing over. Nothing she says is going to make a difference, right? So why let it bother you? It’s like when grandma-to-be doesn’t like the baby name you picked out. So what? When someone has some power in a decision, it’s worth discussing and even arguing. When they have literally no control at all, who cares if they bitch about it?

 

Post # 7
Member
14925 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

You can’t change others, you can only change how you interact with them.  She “expects” you to be there and cook?  Too bad.  She can expect whatever she wants, and you’re not obligated to fullfill those expectations.  You can’t make an event she expects you to be at, tell her you cant make it.  Dont negotiate, dont be guilted.  She makes comments about religion or how you need to raise kids, so what?  Ignore it.  She can say whatever she wants, she can hope, she can expect, but at the end of the day, it’s not her choice and she has no control over YOUR decision so there’s need to get upset about it.

Post # 8
Member
472 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

I guess I am failing to see the issue with the holiday thing. It’s not like she is demanding that you both skip your own family’s Christmas to join hers. If you typically spend Christmas morning with his mom, what’s the issue with doing Christmas dinner with the stepmom and stepdad? Unless you can’t make it then just tell her politely you can’t go.

And I also don’t see the huge problem about telling your Darling Husband he had too much to drink at his wedding. People view those kinds of things differently…my uncle would gladly have 2-3 drinks with me while my mother freaks out if I have just one. I really do think you are blowing this out of proportions.

Post # 9
Member
1424 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Oh my goodness I felt like you were describing my DH’s stepmom. She is also extremely blunt, in charge, and sometimes is downright rude. She told us she “expected” us to travel 10-12 hours to spend Christmas with them in a cabin along with 12 of HER family members. We were going to sleep on a couch and help pay for the cabin. LOL. Before the wedding, I tried so hard not to rock the boat with her, but it got so much worse after Darling Husband & I got married. Now, I’m to the point where I *really* don’t care anymore, and we’ve gotten so much better about setting boundaries. If we are pushed into doing something, we just say no, that doesn’t work for us, and then we do not allow them to bully us into submission. No means no and we don’t even feel like we have to give reasons anymore. Start setting some boundaries now, and make sure your Darling Husband is on board. My Darling Husband also hates to cause issues, but sometimes you just got to step up and not take people’s crap anymore. Once you say no once, it really starts to get so much easier.

Post # 14
Member
4060 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

lowkeybridetobe :  OK, but again my point is those are your expectations because it’s how your family does things.

In my family, it’s expected we show up on Monther’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Easter. In my husband’s the same, as well as for their annual summer party. 

All I’m saying is that I don’t think the behaviour of expecting to see your kids on Mother’s day or Holidays is so bad.. Nor is expecting people to help you host large events you are throwing for them. Those are relatively standard things.

I think you dislike her so much because of previous incidents that you’re taking this specific thing more personally than is necessary. If the religion thing still grates on you, you should talk to her about it. But don’t make some big show about standing up against the expectation you show for Christmas when really you’re upset because of something else.

Post # 15
Member
2398 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

You sound super biased and judgemental. Like many other bees, I don’t see any problem with bringing food to a family get-together or having the expectation that one would attend family barbecues on holidays. My family would expect me to show up for Christmas in some manner, as well. And it would be incumbent on me to let them know if I wasn’t going to be able to make it. If you are so laid back, then be laid back. Don’t just brag about it and then start criticizing the in-laws. That doesn’t seem to be laid back at all. You seem to be wound pretty dang wound tight.

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