Post # 1
I am getting really irritated with Mother-In-Law. My sister is leaving for military boot camp in five days. We have had the typical, close sister relationship for the past twenty years. Her decision to join the military has been extremely hard on our tight-knit family. Needless to say, my weekend is going to be filled with events surrounding her send-off. Friday night is dinner with our immediate family, Saturday is a huge party with extended family, and Sunday I want to just spend some time with everyone at my mom’s. Over the past few days, Mother-In-Law keeps asking, “So, when is your sister leaving?” and, “Are they having her a party?” Every time, I tell her that my sister is leaving next week and the party is Saturday, surrounded by a weekend of quality time. MIL’s follow-up response is always: “Well, (BIL)’s birthday is next week, so we’re gonna have to have him a party at some point this weekend.” The thing that is so annoying is that when she says “we” are gonna have to throw a party, she means ME. She expects ME to do it. For one thing, I am busy with something I find far more important this weekend. Another, I can’t stand BIL, so why am I the one being held responsible for his birthday party? Why isn’t his WIFE doing it? Or one of HIS sisters? Anyway, he’s gonna be 26. I’m pretty sure the whole birthday party thing dies down sometime around your teen years (with the exception of milestone birthdays). Even our seven-year-old niece just does the whole intimate dinner at a restuarant thing now (by choice). It should suffice for Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law to take BIL and his wife out to dinner, and let that be that. But, Mother-In-Law wants a party and all of the sudden I am the freaking family event coordinator. Don’t get me wrong, I love planning and hosting parties. But, on my own time and free will.
I do not want to skip any of my sister’s events to host a birthday party for a 26 year old when he has a perfectly capable (when sober) wife. Yet, I am afraid MIL is going to be pissed when I don’t participate or even show up for the party. So, what would you do? Am I obligated to host and attend this birthday party, or should I just tell Mother-In-Law no, flat out?
Post # 3
Stand up for yourself and just say NO. Sheesh! She expects YOU to plan something for HER son? Some people are really unbelievable.
Post # 4
She is being passive aggressive by not asking you outright to host the party.
You can make her aware that you will not be hosting the party if you choose. It would be kind.
Or, the next time she says “we are going to have to throw a party”, you could say, “I’m sorry that I will have to take a pass on both the planning and the party. My weekend is full as my sister is leaving town.”
Post # 5
I’d tell her NO. Your BIL is not your responsibility! If she wants him to have a party so bad she can throw it herself.
Post # 6
@ItWasntMe: Yeah, it’s a really difficult situation. DH’s sisters will likely not even bother showing up to the party, at all, let alone put any effort into any sort of planning. Yet, Mother-In-Law will still be paying their bills and sweet talking them next week. But, If I refuse to plan and show up for the party, she’s gonna be disappointed in me. I guess she’s just gonna have to be disappointed, though. If she wants a party for BIL, she can go buy a cake from the grocery store and make dinner herself. Or, like I said, BIL’s wife can do it. If it were my Darling Husband, I’d be doing the cooking, cleaning, and decorating myself.
Post # 7
I agree with OPs, tell her you are very busy and do not have time to plan or attend a party for BIL. Your sister leaving is way more important than a 26 year olds party. Tell his wife to plan it.
Post # 8
The thing is she knows my weekend is full, but is acting as if there is absolutely no possibility that BIL’s party can be pulled off without me being there. Instead of saying to me, “We’re gonna have a birthday party for BIL this weekend, I hate you can’t make it!” She is saying it as if the party will not be able to happen if I choose to go spend time with my family. It is sort of like a guilt-trip kind of thing. Mother-In-Law wants all of her children and grandchildren to get together for every miniscule event. If her daughters skip these events, which they ALWAYS do, she makes constant excuses for them and they are immediately forgiven. Her daughter, who was also a Bridesmaid or Best Man in my wedding, left my WEDDING RECEPTION fifteen minutes into it and didn’t say goodbye to her brother or myself. We searched high and low for her for thirty minutes. DH’s other sister didn’t even bother to come, period. Yet, the excuses from Mother-In-Law were endless. If Darling Husband and I had walked out on one of their weddings, we’d never hear the end of it.
Post # 9
@julies1949: exactly. As always.
Post # 10
I would just tell her to let you know what the plans are and you will see if it is something that works with the plans you have already made, or maybe Darling Husband could stop by for a little bit. And leave it at that. She can be disappointed.
Post # 11
@ieatunicorns: DH will likely be at his brother’s party if it’s on Sunday, which will likely be. I am going to my mom’s alone Sunday. So, it’s not like Mother-In-Law is upset Darling Husband won’t be there, because he will be. She wants both of us there.
Post # 12
I’m terrible with passive-aggressive because I don’t generally put up with it at all, and that can cause er, problems. So maybe take this one with a grain of salt.
First of all, DO NOT volunteer to host a party. Even if she were to ask you outright instead of being annoying about it, you are not into it, you’re busy, and you’re probably already emotionally drained about your sister leaving. This is not the time for you.
Second, I don’t really “get” why YOU are the one she’s selected because you’re the SIL. That’s frankly, weird. Your Mother-In-Law or BIL’s wife are more logical choices, plus 26-year-olds are capable of planning their OWN parties.
So, this speaks more about me and the type of person I am in these situations, but when I say don’t put up wtih passive-aggressive, I believe in calling them at their own game and forcing them to be upfront. The next time she brought it up, my response would be a polite, but balls-out: “MIL, you seem concerned regarding the weekend events with my sister. Are you hoping that I’ll be able to plan or help you plan a party for BIL?” And then WAIT for a response–it’s important that you get her to take ownership of her own intentions. If she asnwers yes or no, your response is still the same: “Oh good, because–/Oh dear, that won’t work because I’m afraid I’m just stretched too thin right now. I’m afraid I won’t even be able to ATTEND BIL’s party. But BIL deserves a wonderful birthday and I’m sure that you guys will give him a great one. I’ll tell Darling Husband to bring an extra six-pack on my behalf.”