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footballmom

Is there a difference?

97 posts in this topic

We were at a holiday party last night and a friend was showing me a video on her phone that her son and grandchildren made for her birthday last week. DIL was no where in the video and I ask where she was. My friend said "oh they take care of their own family for birthdays and Christmas". She said she never hears from DIL on her birthday in any way, that started the "you do yours I will do mine" discussion between about 9 women. Most said they had never heard of it and one ask this lady if she "did" for DILs birthday and she said she did. The lady continued asking the friend why she would do for someone year after year that will not even get on the phone to say happy birthday or send a facebook message. We all decided that there is a different "load to carry" by MILs.

Do you guys think the "load" is different. Do you send DILs a card/gift, or do you get a card/gift from MIL? If so, should the person not show some reciprocity when it comes time for the other's special day?

just wondering, as the you do for yours I do for mine seems to be popular, and I am not sure where it starts and stops.

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FBM, all of my 3 married sons goes shopping WITH their wives. They pick out our gifts and DIL's family TOGETHER. Each ask me what can Mr Jaci and I use. From the son and DIL who is more well-off than the other two, we get great gifts that they have put thought into. From the other two sons, its less and I'm ok with this. I dont want them to spend too much. I get a lot of "grandma" plaques.

Last year, two of our GSs gave us a gift. I know it was my DIL who did this, as my son would never think about getting a gift for GKs to give us. He's much too busy working. The gifts the GKs gave us will be treaured because they helped DIL pick it out. She took them to the dollar Store. They picked out a bracelet with grandma charms, and a tall cup with a "I love my grandma". Mr Jaci got a grandpa cup, and a little wooden plaque with something about grandpas. Cheap, yes, but oh how we love those gifts! The bracelet hangs from my van's mirror. My cup sits on my counter, holding pens and pencils. Mr jaci's cup sit on his desk, also holding pens. The wooden plaque is hanging above his desk.

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I don't get the you do for your's and I'll do for mine. Once we got married we became one unit, extended family included. We make decisions togeather on what to get and do for extended family.

My family and his family get along very nicely and when approprate both family attend the same functions togeather and have been invited to things at each others homes. My extended family including uncles, cousins and so for where always welcome at IL's and the same was true for my foo. I feel this way also about my DS extended family's I don't exclude DIL's foo. Guess I just come from family's that think the more the merry.

Yes I do believe MIL's do have a differant load to carry mothers of sons in particular.

I know when I first got married my DH used the phrase alot "my mother didn't do it this way" actually he start out a lot of conversations with "my mother" I do remember telling him at one point if you wanted a mother you should have stayed with your mother, I will do things my way!

If I was insecure that could have been the begining of alot of competition between me and her, but I knew who I was and who I wasn't. That MIL had nothing to do with and would have been blind sided by it. IMO

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I don't get it either, Justa. I'm just happy none of my DILs see it like this. Even my exDIL went shopping with my son and help pick out gifts.

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I believe the "load" to be different between parents and AC. I make a Birthday cake and dinner for each AC or ACIL. Yes, we give them thoughtful gifts. No, we don’t we receive anything on our Birthdays from every CIL. Is this the same as comparing babysitting and holiday visits? DIL1 views us as nothing but a road block to her happiness. It’s all about her, all day, every day, now and forever. As nothing, in her view, is about us, why would she buy us gifts? "Gracious behavior" is obviously not the answer she chooses from the "list of answers" to the question "why would I reciprocate?"

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ha, Treiffy yours sound like my xDIL, the best I can say about her is the x part (no grandchildren). I agree that there is a difference in the load with children (even adult) vs parents, and I sorta like that. The discussion we had last night and what I have never understood when it is talked about on here (first I have ever heard it said out loud) is when ILs "do" for DIL on her birthday, nothing to do with DS, but DIL considers it all her husband's place to do when it is the parents b'day, right down to the phone call or even FB post or a simple text. One lady said last night that it is to bad it can not just be "they did for me, so I will do for them" nicety. I guess I am centered on a phone call or text not just the gift.

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When DH and I both worked outside the home full time the gift buyer was whoever had more time or we would go together. This time of year is extremely busy for DH. He would enjoy toy shopping so we went to dinner and tried to do the other shopping then as well. When I stopped working and the kids started to get older most of the shopping was done myself. I do a 50-50 Internet and physical shopping. If I can't go to the trouble to hit the "confirm order" button because the recipient of the gift was an IL, I would not blame DH in the slightest when it snowed if he only shoveled his side of the driveway.

I am very lucky that my DIL and I have a relationship of trust, admiration and respect. I overheard her speaking to one of her friends about me last night and I was bursting with joy. Sometimes if one forgets about receiving in a relationship and just focuses on the giving you get back twice as much.

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I think the load is different for men and women. I know for a fact that without MIL or my SILs (that married into the family) that neither FIL or BILs would remember my birthday or buy holiday gifts. The entire load of birthday and holiday stuff is carried by the women in DHs FOO. It often strikes me as very funny that my married in sister in laws do everything for their husbands, yet their husbands still claim -I- don't do enough for the ILs. When in reality, we are the only couple with a male (my DH) who does the shopping for his family.

I suppose I could get upset that FIL doesn't personally call me or buy me a card or gift, but I take MILs gesture as one from him too. Whatever DH does for the ILs comes from me too, whatever I do for the ILs comes from DH too. I give the same courtesy to MIL and FIL.

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Snow is our "6-8 month a year, all day, every day chore". Elaine, what about the driveway? Sorry to be dense.

footballmom, oh, the text? Ha, sorry my bad. Hmmmm. Would DIL1 text us if it wasn't all about her? Resounding NO.

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Trieffy, you are going to have to (when you are ready) tell us about your DIL, it sound like it might give my special snowflake a run for the money. I would gladly give over the crown for the most unlucky MIL alive.

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We do the "you do yours, I'll do mine" thing when it comes to certain parts of our relationship, but certainly not all of it. Gifts and cards are almost exclusively picked out by me. My DH just doesn't remember people's birthdays, other than our kids, unless I remind him. He works so much anyway it's not really like he has time to shop even if that were something he'd enjoy (and it's not). I do give a card from DH and I and a small gift from our girls to MIL and FIL on their birthdays. DH usually signs the card and that's it. MIL also gets me a card every year for my birthday, and usually gives me flowers (often cut flowers from her garden, the same ones that I carried in our wedding, very pretty coral-colored lilies). I don't FIL knows about his "singature" on my card, LOL. So I think our load is about the same; we don't want the other forgotten and we know the men won't do anything! I will also remind DH he needs to call his brother and grandparents on their birthdays, which he happily does but which would never occur to him.

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footballmom, you may keep the crown.

DIL2 is the best DIL a girl could ask for. DIL2 (herself) and DS1-DIL1's children much more than make up for DIL1.

EDIT and add

A quote from the internet may explain DIL1. We live very near “THE skier’s mountain that attracts the best of the best. The county claims to have more billionaires per capita than any other in the USA. This is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The town is, at heart, still a country town with lots of shops selling cowboy gear. In between those shops though are some of the most expensive clothing boutiques and art galleries in the world. The Millionaires Cowboy bar is a regular movie setting and is adorned with pictures of the actors who have visited there.”

DIL1 would say “yes please”, if she read that glowing description. She’s looking for more than our son provides.

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This is an interesting question. I think it is somewhat generational. Back in the day, men worked and woman stayed home. Gift giving was considered "woman's work". That has changed. I think it also depends on the type of person your AC marries. If they are self centered, it's always going to be just about them. This was a situation I found when I had step children. We did for my IL's and we did for my Step AC and no one saw the need to do for us. My wandering point is... I think each married couple works this out between them. I've always taken an active role in choosing gifts, not so much for the person receiving the gift, but to help DH. In my FOO we have simplified gift giving and it has been so much more fun. We don't give on expected holidays, we give when we find something that the other person would just absolutely love to receive. It is always a surprise and unexpected joy to realize that someone thought of you and sent somelthing.

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FBM, you asked where it starts and stops, that's a good question. I do believe in reciprocity in relationships, in fact, I think it's one of the biggest things you can do to maintain a good relationship. However, I think people have to be mindful about the individuals involved. Not everyone is going to put the same emphasis on their birthday and holidays as the next person over does.

I could care less about my birthday, I don't understand people who make a big deal about theirs, but I'm not going to judge them. I try very hard to remember birthdays and send a text or call. Sometimes I'm late. DH is worse than me. So if anyone knows us, they know that we really did truly think about them by calling or texting.

DHs FOO thought for some reason when he married me that I would do it all and they would get from me what he wasn't giving to them. I was blind sided, the first time we couldnt make it to a birthday party (late notice) and gave them a birthday card was a federal crime from the way they reacted. It was not enough. It meant we didn't love them, I was mean and rude and judgemental for GIVING THEM A BIRTHDAY CARD. How they collectively managed to come to these conclusions after I did something nice for them is beyond me. I was told I should cancel my previous plans to attend their birthday party in order "prove myself" to them.

Meanwhile, I'm happy as a clam to get nothing and have my birthday pass as another day. I'd rather not spend any part of a celebration for my birthday with them. I don't like being the center of attention, I don't want gifts, I don't want to be sung to and have it recorded and people snapping pictures at me. Yet, they want me to do it for them. What??? No.

So, knowing me and knowing them, what level should the playing field be set at?

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Treiffy, DH and I do things as a partnership. I would expect him to shovel my side of the driveway if he is shoveling his. If I'm buying a card or gift for my FOO I can take care of his FOO as well.

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FBM, I do think you're right to point out the imbalance of a MIL sending her DIL a birthday card (etc) but not vice versa...I also like that folks have pointed out that FIL doesn't seem to have a role in the birthday acknowledging in that scenario.

In our house, we each keep track of birthdays for our own FOOs and take the lead on what to do to celebrate them. That has meant different things for different years. I do always send the ILs a personal message on their birthday. It does seem the least I can do. They have sent the occasional card for my birthday. MIL still reminds her sons of birthdays within the extended family, and I do have to admit that it is my goal in this generation to break the "it's the woman's responsibility to track birthdays" and make sure my son feels both capable and responsible for remembering and acknowledging family birthdays. I cringe to think my son would have to rely on his wife for that.

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Elaine, gotcha. Snow’s a big ordeal, tractor out of the barn, plow, tractor in the barn, tractor out of the barn, plow, repeat ad nauseam. If you had an easier system, I was all ears.

Footballmom, I read more of your background posts. Your xDIL and my DIL1 seem to use similar thought processing to arrive at their modus operandi. We and our son are means to an end. DIL1's desired end is not a ranch 20 miles from nowhere.

DIL1 severely limits my motivation to stay to the high road. When I have evaluated the mental cost of voluntarily staying above the fray with no meaningful reward from DIL1, well, hmmmmmm.

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Personally I don't mind being the one that makes sure the gifts are bought and delivered. As much as I hate to shop, sometimes I do find it enjoyable to shop for others rather than myself. I just don't like it when it gets to the point that I'm second guessing myself what i should get as a gift.

Case in point, I usually do the shopping for the Dirty Santa exchange with DH family. I usually ask DH what he would like or any ideas on what I should look for in a gift that he is giving. This year he didn't have a clue. I'm just scrooge this year as I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas Spirit, so I told him that was THE one gift I was leaving up to him to take care of. I don't remember a time in our marriage that I wasn't the one who did the shopping, planning, gifting from our end, but I more times than not had DH input if he didn't go with me physically to take care of these things and many times he would willingly go for me as long as I gave him a list of what to buy.

MIL has always reciprocated for DH, myself and our kids on behalf of FIL. My mom has always done the same on my dad's behalf. I'm finding that DIL sometimes does it on behalf of DS, but she has a begrudging attitude. I would rather not have any reciprocation at all if there is going to be an attitude to go with it.

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Guess I just come from family's that think the more the merry.

I do too. And I'm the primary shopper in the family so I never minding getting the gifts (and still don't in most cases). But after years of everytime MIL liked whatever event, gift, card etc and DH getting all of the credit (and I mean her pointedly thanking DH even when he would say that it was my idea or whatever), and any times she didn't like it me getting the blame, I got tired of trying. You can be worn down. So now we do the "you take care of yours, I'll take care of mine," just out of self-defense because it was making the relationship worse. He just gets her gift cards and states very clearly that it's from him. No more complaints...

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So, what is the difference when a DS gifts on behalf of his wife? I guess I'm not seeing it, it seems like a lot of people are perfectly fine with gifting for their husband but seemingly does not think a husband is gifting on behalf of his wife.

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Tinker - that's a very good question. And then you have an outlier like my MIL who apparently likes it better when the gift is not "from" me at all...

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When DH and I initially started living together, we each bought gifts for each other's parent, and DH for my brother and vice versa at Christmas time. We did this up until DS arrived, and then we sort of got thinking "Where does DS's name go?". We ended up splitting the list - I do my family and he does his, but all the gifts say "From New Mama, DH and DS". And everyone still gets the same number of gifts, ie where MIL got two separate gifts before, one with my name and one with DH's, she now gets two gifts from all of us. My brother does all the shopping for our side of the family too, and SisIL for hers.

Birthday's are different. DH doesn't like a big to-do about his birthday, maybe an Facebook message or a HBD from my family if they see him around then in person. Just his mother and I usually get him a gift, and the odd time FIL remembers (ILs are divorced). FIL hasn't a clue when my b-day is, so it never gets acknowledged by him. MIL does send a small gift for mine, and when hers rolls around it's now a joint gift from all of us and we organize a cake/decorations/balloons for her. It wouldn't bother me if she didn't send something for mine, it's just not that big of a deal to me.

I know this may be a generational thing, but I just don't see why it's the woman's responsibility to do all the gift shopping or birthday tracking. DH was over 30 when we got married, and was quite capable of doing it on his own until then. So just because we're now married, he doesn't get off the hook. It's also why I don't feel it's up to me to maintain his relationships with his family for him. I'll always support his and DS's relationships with both his parents and his extended family, but I don't see it as my job to remind him to call, push him to go to family events or organize visits. He never would be expected to do those things for my family. We share everything else - finances, chores, parenting, - and we both work so I don't think that should all be on me.

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For a long time, I did all the gift buying for my FOO and my IL’s. But, this all changed after my IL’s 50th wedding anniversary. I put so much work into this party and the gift, and was hurt by the response to it. I realized afterwards that I needed to stop putting energy into gifts for my IL’s. So, I’ve handed the reigns over to DH and washed my hands of it. He buys for his. I buy for mine. We sign our family’s name to each gift regardless of who receives it. He may bounce a gift idea for his FIL or MIL off me, but that is the extent of the energy I spend on it. We are both good about honoring bdays, so there are no hurt feelings. It is a good solution for us!

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When I was first married DH and I bought gifts, cards together for both sides of FOO. When I stayed home with the kids it somehow became my responsiblity to do all the gifts for both sides which I didn't mind doing until it was DH who critisized my choices for his mom or dad. I got mad and said after that year it was up to him if his parents got gifts. He would wait until the last minute, pay triple the fees for shipping to get there for Christmas but he did it.

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Tink for me there would not be much difference if I knew for sure that DIL didn't begrudge the fact that she's the one who actually made the effort for the gift, card, etc. It would be from the both of them if this was the case, but it's not, so I would rather not have any acknowledgement at all than one where she felt it as an obligation to fulfill and let it be known.

The more I think about your question though, I guess the difference is that when a MIL gifts her DIL there is an actual effort being made on the part of the MIL and it is known for definite (or at least in my case it is), but when a DS does the buying of the gift instead of DIL there isn't much effort being made on DIL part toward MIL directly. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that the reciprocation is being equated with how much effort was put into it. Does that make sense? I also think alot of it depends on how well known a fact it is that the couple does the "you do for yours, I do for mine". If it is well known then MIL also knows that the effort has not been made on DIL part only her DS. Just as the opposite would be, I would suppose, if a MIL to a SIL would also know that there wasn't any effort being made on his part rather than her DD.

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