I read a book by Debbie Macomber recently. I’m not sure if your familiar with her or not. Her style is a small town kind of life and her characters are the “behind the scenes” kind of people. Like the people who own and run the business’s in her fictional small towns. Her books are usually “pick me ups” and easy reads and I enjoy her. I read so much that I’ve had to branch off of my “favorites.” I’ve added her books to my never ending search for good books.
While I was reading this book this thought came to me. There was a young couple who had a two year old and the woman was pregnant again. All very happy at the beginning of their lives. They had moved away from the town they both grew up in and were planning a visit “home” because the woman wanted to go to a new knitting shop in town. A friend of hers was opening it up and all the old gang were going to show support.
This woman was thinking of all the things she’d need to bring along for the little one and her mind was telling her that her mother had this and that and that even though both sets of parents lived in that town, they always stayed at her parents. She didn’t “feel comfortable” at “his” parents.
Has anyone ever heard this:
A son’s a son till he takes a wife but a daughter’s a daughter all of her life? (or something similar)
So this got me thinking, I have no daughters. None that I gave birth to anyway. I won’t get into mushy stuff but I feel my daughters in law treat me like their own mom’s. I don’t feel they treat me badly or shut me out of anything. Has that just been my good luck?
Haven’t we all heard that “girls” get all the jewelry after a mothers death? What if are no girls? Since I have no girls but I have one granddaughter, should she get all my jewelry just because she’s a female? Wouldn’t my own son’s enjoy seeing something I really loved and wore, on their wives? Who made these rules? I know this has caused many family feuds so this is no joke. I’ve seen families torn apart by petty jealousies. I plan to divide my things up by who liked what more and NOT by what sex someone is.
I met someone from bowling a few years ago that treated her in laws like…*insert word of choice here*…Her poor husband never gets to celebrate anything on the “real” holiday because he’s always being drug to her families for everything. She thinks it quite funny to be able to “lead her husband around by the nose ” and just see how far she can push him. I ended up giving that friendship up because I don’t feel you treat someone you love that way. She would “brag” about all her “plans” at bowling and I couldn’t listen to it anymore. I didn’t find it funny. If you love someone, why would you take away people they love? I always thought marriage was about giving and taking and trying your best to make your partner happy. I think her husband is just trying to keep the waters calm and not make any waves because then there’ll be a big fight and she’ll win as soon as she turns on the tears. But she’s pretty much alienated his whole family and I’m afraid there will never be a good relationship now. There have been to many hurts and to many exclusions. It’s her family first, like his doesn’t exist. I know his parents and they very kind hard working people and they would be such good grandparents but she won’t allow that either. It’s like her parents are the only ones who count. It’s very sad. All the aunts, uncles and cousins have been taken away from her two kids as well and who can ever have to many people love them?
I’ve often wondered about women who act like this, “calling all the shots” women. What their mothers are like and if they are just imitating them. If they were/are very over-bearing, immature, selfish and demand all the attention from their kids once they are grown and have have families of their own. Now they want to live through their adult kids. They called all the shots while the kids were young and want to continue to do so and maybe these kinds of women know nothing else. If their father’s were just weak men or were absent. (I know there are plenty of “calling the shots” men but men normally don’t do things like this). I know I am not like that. If it’s my turn to share a holiday, I make no demands because it’s not worth it to me and I know that in life, one needs to remember what we learned in Kindergarten, sharing.
So this leads me to wonder, if we only have sons, should we gear up for a lonely life of getting “leftover” holidays and family gatherings? Will our boys grow up just to leave us for what their wives want? If we throw a big stink, will our sons stand up for us? Come on, we all know couples like this where the man acts big and bad but is led around and told what to do by his wife. Like I said above, do some of these men just try not to make waves? Don’t they realize their “woman” is hurting the people who gave birth to him and love him and want to spend time with them too? Why does it seem like moor men have to give up what they really want for the wife? What’s up with this?
Why should anyone have to give up their family for someone? Doesn’t it seem like it’s men more than women who are forced to do this? Are some women just unreasonable and men just want to “keep them happy” despite what they really feel and want? Why do so many men seem to be afraid to admit what they want and how they really feel just in order to make someone else happy?
I’ll tell you this before closing, had Paul ever told me I had to “give up” my family for his, I’d have told him to go piss up a rope! He would have told me the same thing had I “forced” this on him. It’s unreal to me.
I hope that when my son marries I feel as close to his wife as I do my own daughters. I will say, however, that being a daughter and having sister in laws whom I love dearly, my mom was always closer to us daughters then she was the in laws…that’s not to say she didn’t love them…she did. But I also noticed that my brothers became more prone to be with their in laws on holidays then with their immediate family because their wives were very close with their own mom’s. That doesn’t make them bad..or wrong or make me not like them. Nor did it cause any fueds when my mom died. My sister in laws did get some things from my mom when she died that were special to them. But I do think that her wedding ring etc meant more to my sister and I then it did my sister in laws. Likewise when my dad dies my brothers will get his rings etc. does that explain it at all???? Oh and my one brother only has sons and they are all very close.
I appreciate your opinion. lwayswright but right off the bat, let me ask you this. You said:
“My sister in laws did get some things from my mom when she died that were special to them. But I do think that her wedding ring etc meant more to my sister and I then it did my sister in laws. Likewise when my dad dies my brothers will get his rings etc. does that explain it at all?”
This says to me that it was what it meant to your sister in laws but what about your brothers? They looked down and saw those rings on your mother the same way you did. It’s not about what “they” want it’s about your brothers. The same could be said about your dad’s jewelry. We all have different memories of our parents so why do women get the “jewels” and men get the watches and the “men” jewelry? There is often times much more jewelry from the mom and the boys get left out so often.
Remember that no matter your sex, you remember your mom.
Marriage is about giving and receiving. That marriage most likely will not last if it continues that way. I saw a situation as you speak of on Dr. Phil, and the mom was very hurt by her son and daughter-in-law. The man needs to stand up for his family and needs and be a man!
Eric and I compromise on everything and try to see both sides of the family when we are in town. My family is much bigger, so sometimes we do more with my family than his. But, if Eric ever tells me he wants to miss one of my family events we do or we split up. Christmas was a promise to my mom I’d be at every year when Eric asked for my hand in marriage! Luckily, Eric’s family gets together not on Christmas, so it works out.
That sounds like crap, that a mother has to lose her sons. I’m not giving mine up ever! I’ll play second-fiddle to their wives, certainly, I agree that the wife will be the first woman in their lives. But I’ll always be the Mama. I hope I get lucky and that my daughters-in-law will consider me their Mama too, with all the spoiling-rotten that that will entail.
As for inheritance, that seems to be such an individual matter. I think the things most likely mean more to the biological children, be they sons or daughters. It is such a difficult issue and so hard to make it fair, if indeed that is possible at all ever. But I don’t think decisions should be made based on the gender of the potential recipient.
I can relate to this because I have only one child… a son. He’s my ONLY child, I hope that he meets a nice women who treats him as her equal. I’m not sure how I’d react if this happened to us. If Bailey always went to her family for holidays? How in the world is that fair?? I can’t even begin to imagine how hurt I would be. Thank goodness I have Jason…I can hear him now!! You should hear him stick up for his Mom, I know he’ll do it for Bailey’s mom!!!! 😉 And I hope that Bailey speaks up like his Dad does. I don’t see my family during the holidays…not because Jason doesn’t let that happen but because they all live 1000 miles away. If they did live here, we’d either A) take turns or B) make time for both.
I’m not sure why some women do this. I know a few couple that are like this. The women wears the pants so to speak. Yes I know men that do to but I can guarantee you that during the holiday’s, that changes. Maybe because the women think, he’s a man, he doesn’t really care one way or the other where he is on Christmas or Thanksgiving as long as there’s food, right? No I’m pretty sure he’d like to see his family and even if not I’ll put money on it that his parents would love to see him and their grandchildren. Do they think about that? Chances are they don’t. They may think differently when they are put on the back burner when their children are grown. As for things that are inherited, I think Joy has it right. Whatever one person liked the most. I don’t have much jewelry, my wedding ring will go to Bailey for either his wife or his daughter or son. My birthstone ring will go to Bailey for sure because that was from my father. The diamond that Joy has already given me will, again go to Bailey. I also have a niece who is very close to me so I may give her somethings. Kinda makes it easier when you only have one kid!! This is a great topic Joy!!!
Tim and I are only children, so when our parents die, everything is willed to us already. Of course, it’s a little weird to think that we’d end up with all the jewelry that we gave to my MiL in the first place, but that’s another story.
When it comes to parents, well, my situation is different. My mom is a single parent, I grew up without my dad, and oh, she’s not straight either. Or sentimental, for that matter. She was a bit upset when I got married, but only because she thought I was getting married to avoid being a single parent (not like I loved Tim to death or anything!). My mom and my husband have a lot in common, so he doesn’t mind visiting – I do, but I have unresolved issues.
My in-laws are wonderful people, and my MiL treats me like the daughter she always wanted. We do the major holidays with them, because they’re religious and my own mother doesn’t mind (except Thanksgiving, that’s at our house). My husband is still very much their son, though, and he’s expected to spend time with them as often as he can (he lives close) – and he does it because he feels he owes it to them. So I guess in our case, it’s the opposite – I was a daughter until I got married, and my husband will always be their son. I try not to think about it to hard, because when I do, I start resenting it. So things are good, because I think them so! : )
“When you take in a daughter-in-law, you lose a son.” You may think whoever had written this must have a daughter-in-law like the one you had described.
But this is a Chinese aphorism. Throughout history there must have been many such Daughters-in-law for the sages of the past to coin such phrase.
I believe you have what you nurture. If you follow your heart in raising your children, boy or girl, you will have them till the day you die. If you do not cherish the meaning of a family and do not realize that children are a blessing, you do not have those things anyway. I believe as long as a person continues to follow their heart and shows it through their actions, they have nothing to fear. As far as your possessions go, who cares? Once you are gone they will do what they want with them anyway! You can express your wishes, of course…but, bottom line…they decide amongst themselves! So, I guess I am trying to say this…I do not attach son,daughter,mom,etc to people. I look at them by what their name is and what they are all about. I believe by doing this, I truly understand them. I would hope they would do the same with me! Nice article.Gets you to think!
In the perfect world maybe.
I think this is partly cultural, partly individual. And largely understandable.
Marriage is, of course, an adjustment for all involved. There is usually some level of tension during the early years between the in-laws, and how each person handles this can determine how close the family stays thereafter.
Think of it this way. Marriage is in some respects a loss to both the husband and the wife. Both have necessarily been cut off from their families in some respects (unless, of course, they were already cut off). They seek to fill the gap within the spousal relationship or through new relationships with the spouse’s family / friends. If that doesn’t happen, it’s not surprising that they would go back to their own parents/siblings for comfort.
So one question is, in our culture, which gender is most likely to be missing something in a marriage? In families with both daughters and sons (my parents had 3 of each), it may be observed that the sons are a little less sentimental about nuclear family stuff. I’m not sure why – is it because the nuclear family usually involves more “mom/girl” time than “dad/guy” time? In my family, my mom passed along a lot of wisdom about mom/relationship stuff – raising kids, etc. – and she’s the person I would always go to first if I had a dilemma in those areas, even if my MIL was a terrific mom. Similarly, my dad was a great guide for thinking through spiritual dilemmas. I can’t picture my SILs coming to my parents about these types of matters if they could first talk to their own moms / dads about them. These are things most young women continuously think about; I’m not sure if it’s equally true about men. The things my brothers would check back with Dad about would be how to fix a household mechanical problem or whatever; not day-to-day stuff. They do talk to my parents sometimes about relationship issues, but usually not until things have festered for a while. Both of my sisters (one married, one not) are in contact with my mom on a daily basis about every little dilemma; while my brothers are more likely to call on Mother’s day / birthday and show up for the big holidays. And frankly, I don’t think my parents feel all that bad about this.
I also think a lot of moms find it easier to like their daughters’ husbands than their sons’ wives, and perhaps vice-versa. Maybe there is a feeling of more judgment among women – or maybe it’s because it’s easier to judge someone of the same sex, because you have a greater knowledge base to judge from.
Luckily for us, each of my married siblings married someone whose parents live very close to my parents, so there isn’t a lot of tension over whose parents to visit on holidays. Well, at least among the parents. The young wives seem more likely to feel tension with the in-laws than the young husbands. Why? Is it because they are actually judged more, or because they are just more sensitive to the inevitable evaluations that go on? I know that in my family, some of the things my sister’s MIL has said to her have been truly unacceptable – cursing her, outrightly accusing her of immorality and greed, etc. I can see why she dreads to go to her inlaws’ house. But she doesn’t try to restrict her husband from spending plenty of time there, provided he at least pays due respects to his in-laws. Now, if the in-laws lived in distant cities, they might have to split up at the holidays, because I know she wouldn’t give up her family to “bond” with his, just because of how awfully they treat her. And his mother would never let him (or her) live it down if he didn’t visit.
As far as family heirlooms, I’d go with whoever really showed an interest in them, regardless of blood. But I’d make sure each child knew of my plans and that there was something of importance for each of them. Nothing sucks more than having an intended kindness turn into a feud.
I mentioned culture at the beginning because this question reminds me of another series of cherished conversations I had with one of my Asian-born exes. He expected me to have an exaggerated reverence for his family and thumb my nose at my own. When he heard that I was financially helping my family, he about blew a gasket, and started quoting ancient Asian scriptures stating that “a daughter is a debt” and that it was always up to a “girl’s” family to support her, that it’s beyond shameful for father or brother to accept any help from a daughter/sister; while a son glorifies his family and himself by doing the exact same thing, and it would be beyond shameful if a married couple didn’t have the husband’s widowed mother living with them (with the wife serving her day and night), partly so that she could force the paternal traditions on the wife and children. I found it interesting that the East and West have nearly opposite views of who is going to be closest to the parents after marriage.
Myself, I don’t have in-laws, so I get to just sit back and observe.
I think it’s disgusting for a woman to keep her kids away from her spouse’s parents. I think it’s really just wrong to break up a family like that just for your own sense of power in the relationship.
I for instance didn’t know my father’s extended family almost at all, but not because of my father’s or mother’s choice, but rather because the extended family was mostly ultra-religious and didn’t want anything to do with us.
Those books you write about at the beginning seem wonderful, Joy! My mom’s going to be in the US starting tomorrow – which should I ask her to pick up for me? Which is your favorite?
Emily, I really liked 20 Wishes, The Manning Brides and The Manning Grooms, 8 Sandpiper Way and Back on Blossom Street.
I really have liked everything I’ve read from her but like I said, they are very light and not deep books at all. To be blunt, they are kinda sappy. But I need that sometimes.
I disown my own family lol oh dears
I do wonder if we all don’t take the whole statement too literally? I think SKL may have touched on some pieces of this in her comment.
When you marry you are in essence are creating your own family. While the goal isn’t to ‘give up’ the family that raised you, in our Western culture it is not uncommon to separate yourself by thousands of miles from the family that raised you from a child to begin anew as an adult with a new partner. In Eastern cultures I believe it is more commonplace to keep the family unit intact, with generations of family often living together.
The feminist part of me wants to jump up and ask, “So does that mean that women kick-butt in the relationship?” But I think all too often it’s just traditional gender roles to some degree. I’m the youngest and the only daughter. It often seems to me that there first will always be one sibling out of a group that will somehow become ‘caregiver’ whether they want to or not, and 2nd that that role will often fall to a daughter IF there is one to be had. This thought didn’t cross my mind until the first time my mother was ill and I was helping her in and out of the shower. I thought to myself that I couldn’t imagine either one of my brothers bathing my undressed 70 year old mother. I have no doubt they would have cared for her because they love her, but differently…not like that….
But perhaps I stereotype….
My husband’s family ALWAYS has the holiday on the day, they just won’t budge, whereas mine always ends up moving the holidays around to accommodate all of our schedules. I appreciate my mother’s flexibility, but feel bad that she always must give up ‘the day’. I think part of it is that my brothers are 20 years older than I and she’s been dealing with holiday schedules and spouses a lot longer than my in-laws. We have had holidays, and so have my brothers where we CHOOSE to come home on our own and our spouse chooses to join their family for the holiday. It doesn’t happen all the time, but over the years as parents age and time becomes valuable no one has hurt feelings if someone chooses to see their blood relatives over their in-laws. It’s understandable. They send their best wishes and all is well.
I have a son and a daughter so it will be interesting to see the differences when the time comes.
I share.Now both my boys are married.Its working out ok.This year they both go to their own in-laws for cmas day.I had them all last year and I will have them next year,so sharing is good.I have 2 daughter-in-laws.They are both different,yet I love them the same amount,but I love them for all they are and all they bring into my family and make our family complete.As for when I die,my sons have reguested some of my jewelry as has my only daughter.I will be fair,as I have always been.They no i have no favorites.There reguests are different,so it will all work out.My one son wants my moms family ring that I now have,and the others are ok with that.Its ok for sons to want a piece of there past too.Whatever they do with it is up to them.
“A son’s a son until he takes a wife” is definitely true in my case, but it is not my DIL’s fault. I get along great with my DIL, I just love her and we get along great! I had a wonderful mother-in-law to learn from.
I have one child, a son. When my son was younger we were very close, but it seems that once he started dating seriously, he started treating me differently. I know it’s not anything my DIL has influenced, as he acted this way before he met her.
He can barely bother to give me a hug when we haven’t seen each other for years. When I hug him, its not reciprocated. Recently when I had a very serious surgery, he didn’t even bother to check on me.
We do talk quite a bit, he tells me he loves me when saying good-bye. But his treatment towards me is sometimes just cruel and hurtful. If you knew him, you wouldn’t believe me. But my husband sees it too.
Nothing ever happened between us to cause a rift. I think, (and I may be all wrong) that some young men think they have to be totally devoted to their wife/girlfriend, and cannot show concern or affection to any other woman, even their own Mom. At least that’s all I can figure out. And he didn’t learn this from his Dad, his dad was loving towards his Mom. I do know one thing for sure, it is very hurtful.
Thanks for letting me vent.
I understand this totally, I have had the same situation and thought it was something I did,
I feel there is a distance growing between my son and myself and it is so hurtful, and
depressing. I really don’t know what to do next, I am almost ready just to move away and
call it quits.
I read this and thought; How can I help my family. My mom misses seeing my neice on holidays and wants Christmas morning for atleat 5 hours with my neice–her grand daughter. My brother and sister in law can only give 3 hours. I know they are trying to be fair, however my mom is hurt. My brother has early Christmas morning with the in laws and then my mom and back to her family. Her family also has Christmas eve and my mom wants more time as the in laws get more time. What do I do to assist them in communicating. My Christmas morning will be tension filled as well because they are not communicating well. I can’t understand why if they celebrate Christmas eve and Christmas afternoon into the evening–why can’t Christmas morning be for our mother. Also my mom is disabled and has battled cancer for the last 22 years and all she looks forward to doing is spending time with her grand daughter. I wish people would talk before it all blows up in there faces. Help Christie
I think its different for every individual. I think some people get along great with their mother-in-laws and some don’t. I am married into a family of 3 daughters and 1 son and let me tell you it is not fun!! My mother in law does not treat me as one of her own daughters and I am constantly left out of everything, which leads me to not wanting to spend any time with them. My husband really doesn’t seem to mind that we do everything with my family, probably because his mom never gripes to him about it. She has 3 other children (2 with children), besides him, so she is content! I love being with my family, its comfortable and I feel like I can be myself. I would probably enjoy spending more time with my in-laws if I felt like an equal and not an outcast!
PS…I found this blog entry by looking up the quote “A son is a son until he takes a wife…”, I wanted to see where it originated from!
Some times it takes a mediator. I spoke with both my mother and sister-n-law and got them talking via email for now. I can only hope that mothers teach their children that some day they will have in-laws and to treat them with respect as the same as their parents. Exceptions such as those toxic relationships that do more harm then they could ever good–avoid those. All any family wants equal time with their loved ones. I said the my sister-n-law that they say, “hurt people hurt people; Loving hurt people will get through it with love and agree to disagree when appropriate. I know this sounds simple, it can be if you just sit down and talk; not through email as you can’t get the same effect in email as you will in person. Christie J
I raised both of my sons alone and it was the three of us against the world so to speak. I thought I had raised my sons to be caring and thoughtful and respectful men. My eldest son was married last August and I hardy ever hear from him anymore. I understand I won’t see him as often as he is now a married man, even though he only lives 45 miles away, however once he got engaged the drama began. Even then his wife-to-be showed no respect whatsoever to me, his family, or respected his familial relationships that he has had his entire life. It was all about what she wanted. The wedding plans were a nightmare for me and I was excluded from everything, even the wedding invitation. He even ‘forgot’ to plan transportation for me from the church to the reception! He told me ON his wedding day, to just ‘bum a ride’ with someone! Obviously, I had become expendable, I no longer existed.
Since meeting his wife he has become a thoughtless, mean and inconsiderate jerk. This past Christmas was the last straw. They made all of their Christmas visiting plans while consulting with her family but not his. I was totally unaware of what was going on and my son nary gave me or my feelings a thought. We have family traditions as well, and they were not respected or taken into consideration at all by either one of them. It was all about her and her family. On Christmas and New Years. Subsequently, we never had our family Christmas which was devastating for me. Whatever day I could have it, it wasn’t good for them! I was not a priority. Finally, in January, he pencilled in his brother and I and finally came and visited for a few hours. I was so excited to see my son and my DIL I made preparations to make everything special for them both. However, when he arrived he was alone. She refused to come because I was unable to go up to their house on Christmas Eve as I have Christmas Eve here, plus I had to get ready for our family Christmas the next day. I was disappointed about it as well, but it had nothing to do with them. It was not ‘all about her’ but she made it that way. So she stayed home out of spite. She is very insecure and my son says he feels that he is in the middle. He can’t be in the middle unless he puts himself there, but all I know is that I can’t take her lack of respect for me any longer. I have bent over backwards to get her to include me in her life since she IS married to my son, but I have been so hurt so many times that it is effecting my health. If she wants to act this way, there is nothing I can do about it, but his behavior towards me and the things that he has said to me hurts so badly I can’t even explain it. He says he’s not close to her mother, so why should she be close to me? HUH???? When I tried to explain my feelings to him about how hurt I was that I they didn’t have any respect for me or for our family traditions, his response was ‘get over it’. !!! Who talks that way to their own mom? Now they are pregnant and I am just sick about the drama that will be coming down the road if this continues. The one time I tried to reason with her she blew up in my face, told me to be quiet, and turned to my son and said “I told you to ‘straighten her out’! ??? She was hysterical. Apparently she becomes completely unglued and out of control whenever she doesn’t get her own way. What immaturity and disrespect! My other son calls her Screaming Mimi and can’t believe his brother is happy, although he insists that he is. I still can’t believe my son married this girl.
All a mother wants is for her son to be happy, but I don’t see how this is going to end well, unless, at 37 years of age, he is so desperate to be married and be a dad that he’ll put up with anything, even having to disrespect and ignore his own mother and his entire extended family! I’m now in my 60’s and live alone but he never calls just to talk or to see how I am.
My son always had a good head on his shoulders and was usually a good judge of character, so I don’t know what’s going on here. He married the kind of girl he said he would never marry. Since he was almost 37 when he married, we all think it was a ‘now or never’ situation and he jumped at it. She was engaged before to a man she had been with for 7 years and he dumped her two weeks before the wedding, then met my son two weeks after that. I was, and still am concerned this is a rebound situation for her since is also in her 30’s. He said it didn’t bother him which floored me. Her sister had just had a baby, the first one in the family and I couldn’t help but see that she wanted be a mom asap as well.
Also, she still had deposits on the first wedding that she would lose if she didn’t marry within two years, so they used the same photographer and florist and I think she even wore the same dress, her sister’s. This entire last year has felt like a huge nightmare that you only read about. Unfortunately, it was my real life.
Your story is so similar to mine except for the rebound part. My DIL was actually super nice until she got her “made to order” ring. I have not seen either of them on a personal level since the day of their wedding. My husband and I have been pushed/hurt to the point we are selling everything we own and I am working on a transfer away as it just hurts too much to know your own son and his wife live 10 minutes away and never give you the time of day. They find time to hang out with my son’s dad and his wife who really never did much to help my son growing up. So I can sure see why they would want to reward him for being there for him less growing up and punish me for always being there for my son and his friends.
We are just going to leave and enjoy the rest of our lives together exploring other parts of the country. When the going gets tough, I know, they will come to the one who always fixes things but quite frankly they are going to have to figure it out on their own. I just can’t allow myself to cry anymore over this.
I am so sorry for you Carol. This sounds just horrible. I am very fortunate with my daughter in laws. I do know family like this though and sadly, it will end for them. Nobody can live forever being told what to do and how to do it at every turn.
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I had tried very hard for years to make my son’s wife feel like a daughter. I paid for the wedding, did the gowns as she requested, paid for most everything. Her own mom raised her walking the highways and camping, so there was no traditional family values there at all. She even showed up late to the wedding. Now since the wedding, my daughter in law has become a totally different person. She is extremely jealous if my son and I speak on the phone. I do not go to their home, even though it is a few blocks away. I only go if invited by her, and she makes it so uncomfortable, I leave shortly after arriving. I have always had a hands off approach with my son’s life since he became an adult, but she does not allow his friends around, now no one in his family is allowed around. She says it takes too much time away from his time with her. I though I raised my son better, as we had strong family bonds, but he allows her to set all the rules. He is miserable but does not stop it. I think it all depends on the woman our sons marry. My son thought he could ‘save’ her, (she was a stripper when they met). Obviously, he could not, and it has cost him dearly. I just hope some day he wakes up.
Thanks for stopping by Denise. That is terribly sad. I’m very lucky and I know it.
Joy, what a great blog! Unfortunately, I find myself in the same situation as Carol.
I raised my two boys as a single parent and despite the differences I had with their dad, I made sure that they had a relationship with his family. Even during the first couple of years after our divorce when their dad didn’t seem to have time for his every-other-week visitation, I called his family and asked if they would like to see the children.
My former mother-in-law is no longer living, but my former father-in-law is. We are extremely close and there are times when I have called him for advice. He and his new wife are so precious–they drove two hours to come to my new mother-in-law’s funeral out of respect for me and my husband.
I think there is a lot to be said for how you raise your children and I believe you teach your children how to treat others. I thought I had done a good job in this area, but I find myself questioning my own parenting abilities. My dad was abusive to my mom and to me and my siblings. But when he developed Alzheimer’s Disease, I became his primary caregiver. It was difficult, but I can honestly say that a lot healing took place for me during that time. I was able to forgive my dad and work through some past hurts. While I was caring for him, my youngest son was still in high school, but he was frustrated by my late arrivals most nights.
One night, he asked me if I was ever “gonna be home” again. I sat down with him and told him that his grandfather was very sick and as his daughter, I wanted to take care of him the way he had cared for me (even though it was mostly room and board). I told him that I thought it was important to honor your parents because they had given you life and helped you become the person you grow up to be.
I only wish I had been able to have that conversation with my oldest son. His wife is very disrespectful and her family gets every holiday and every special occasion. Even though my son and his family live 15 minutes away, I only see them a couple of times a year. I am not allowed in their house without an invitation. So, I am missing out on being a part of my son’s life and have no part in the lives of my precious grandchildren.
As I write this, my youngest son has been in Afghanistan for two weeks. I struggled with the relationship between me and my oldest son before, but now that my youngest son is in harm’s way, I struggle more. I had hoped that the deployment would bring my oldest son and me together, but nothing has really changed. He seems to have little regard for me as a parent and my family is left out of everything.
Carol, I don’t know you, but I will pray for you. It is a very difficult thing to feel that you have “lost” your son for no other reason than that he married. You should never “lose” someone you love. When your child marries–whether male or female–you should simply gain another family member whom you love and cherish as the person who brings joy to your child’s life.
Thanks for dropping by Martha. I hope you come back again sometime.
I’ve heard this statement many times and I believe it’s very true. I have a daughter-in-law who really only needs me when she wants something. My son is a wuss and won’t cross her for anything. They have a son, but between her and her mother, he’s growing up as a wimp. They don’t think he should be in sports because he “might get hurt”…wah, wah, wah….and if he says he doesn’t want to do something, his dad will say yes he needs to do it but mom and grandma will say no, and he gets his way. He learned very early on that he would work them like a fine fiddle and does. However, when he comes to our house, he knows that we have a united front and he has to do what is right. I always thought since I had no daughters, a daughter-in-law would be great, but it hasn’t quite turned out that way. I have a lot of things she’d like to have when I’m gone, but I think charity will benefit more.
I believe that this saying is true…..as for my son when he lived at home, we were very close knit along with his sisters. They were like the 3 muskateers! Now that he has married, both my daughters and myself have been kicked out of his life because of his wife. She includes all her family in all her activities and even to when it comes down to the kids…its all her family. As far as my son and family is concerned, we might just as well be strangers. Quite strange that when it came to financial assistance, we were as good as gold….when it came to buying a car and she couldn’t get credit . . yep, i signed on the dotted line and financed the car in my name. So listgen up people…the amount of financial gratuties that I did for that girl was shoved right up my backside. So when the saying comes round that your son is your son until he takes a wife….oh how true it is! He has shunned all of his family out of his life unless he needs something like money or a favor!
well it doesn’t always work that way. when my son married, I treated his wife as though she were one of my own….when Christmas came around, she actually cried saying that “You’re not even my own family yet you treat me as though I were”…well…that changed right after the kids came along. I have been so upset I sought professional help because I couldn’t stand not having my son around (we live 5 minutes away…it might as well be an ocean apart)! And, he doesn’t see it. He has her put on a pedestal so that when she says jump, he says how high. They both work yet she’s too tired to clean the house and when it comes to house work, its my son who does it all. When it came to the kids, he’s the one who takes care of the kids while she has her nights out with the girls (I found out that she loves “dirty dancing” with her male friends). So, all in all, I feel bad for you because I certainly know what you are going through. And no matter how much you do for them, it still comes back that you are shunned by her and thus so does your son….and he will side with her no matter what…..so, sad to say, a son is a son til he takes a wife…..
Boy am I glad I ran across this blog it describes our situation perfectly.I have a younger brother who is married to a “calling all the shots woman” I will call her the “victim” because that is what she always is. I could write a book about her, but I will tell you one thing and it will give you enough insite to the type of person she is. Years ago she gave my brothers dog away. After she let him search for the dog she informed him that she had given it to the pound and maybe the next time he will clean the “poop” out of the yard. What kind of a person does this to someone they love???
The “victim” despises my mother so much but has yet to give us examples of what she has done. SHe just doesn’t “feel” like part of our family. It has come to the point that after 15years of her **** we are sick of it. I am sick of it. The “victim” will not let my brother take the kids over my parents house, but her doors are always open to them. You know why her doors are open because she knows they are not stupid enough to ever go over there again. Enough about the victim this is about a “son” My brother lets her treat his mother this way. My brother has let her come between his family, my brother is the one who is not taking his kids to see their grandparents. I am ashamed of him. I will continue to be the best daughter I can, He is a grown man and is responsible for his own decisions and actions. For all you “victims” I hope your sons do the same to you. I hope you feel as abandoned by your son has my mom does hers. For all you sons out there allowing this to happen, I hope you can man up and do the right thing before your parents are gone. If not, I hope the guilt on your shoulders is a great burden to you
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I am sure that when the son marries his mother is cast aside forever. I have a son & daughter-in-law that sounds just like some you have described above. My daughter-in-law says what goes & sets the rules in the family. My son is a big wimp & allows her to rule. They live closer to her family & believe me, they are always in and out of their house constantly, so much my son has aired his disapproval to me (should be telling his wife not me). I live away 100 plus miles and make an appointment to visit, and I visit about 1-2 times a year for an hour or so at a time. Usually when I do go visit them, her family shows up and interrupts my visit with my son & grandkids. My daughter is just as controlling as my daughter-in-law though. Her husband does the same thing and just allows it. I have nieces that are the same way. I would say it is very common and some don’t see it or would not admit it. I believe it has something to do with the girls today getting their way most of their lives and they are spoiled rotten. So they marry a man they know will give them their way & continue spoiling them. My late husband and I tried to equally visit our parents or alternate the holidays. I believe we comprimised more on everything than they do today. My husband was not a wimp and no one controlled him. He certainly let me know if he did not agree & not to push him. It is sad that these men today will not stand up to their wives. One day they will get tired of it and these women could find themselves very lonely.
I am sure glad that I have company in this area. My son and DIL visited me recently and the visit turned into a fiasco. I live in Florida and they live in Toronto. He accused us of monopolizing his time. This being, taking them for breakfast, nice dinners, the beach and shopping. At the time, they were quite happy until on one of these occasions, my son took my driving directions instead of her’s. She came home angry and refused to come out of her room. He seemed to be ok because he told me that she has done this before and would be all right after some time.
He was fine until they returned to Toronto. He informed us that we manipulated him into doing things and my DIL was annoyed that he would not stand up to us. As it turns out, he informed us that he is so annoyed because we attacked his wife and does not need us to be happy.
She has problems because from the beginning he never wanted us to know about her family which was not a traditional one. This is my only child whom I love with all my heart and I tried very hard to accept his wife into our family. Infact, I paid for vacations before and after they were married . She was very happy doing things with us before they were married . I gave him the best education and he is a very successful lawyer but cannot see that she needs help. She makes things up . For example, she told him that I want him to leave her and come to live with me in Florida. I informed him that he has it all wrong , because I have already done my part. All I want is a little respect and a chnace to spend time with them on occasion not full time. His final conversation was that he does not need us to be happy and will no longer respond to my emails.
My brother recently married and we never see or hear from him anymore. His wife has gone to great strides to include HER family in everything. Why do women feel the need once they marry, to separate their new husband from HIS side of the family and bring him into HER family? Is this something biological?? I am engaged to a man and for some reason that I can’t explain I don’t feel drawn to be close to his family. I want him to be closer to my family… just like I accuse my sister-in-law of doing! I can’t help it. I have to believe this is something biological because every woman I know is guilty of this behavior.
Maybe it’s good that you’re noticing it now, before you’re married. This is something that you should sit down and discuss with him. I know when I married, my then-fiance and I discussed it… one biggie was Christmas, and it ironed itself out nicely. His family is very Catholic. They have always had a big Christmas Eve Dinner, followed by Midnight Mass. The presents were exchanged on Christmas Day, but they weren’t the focus. My family, however, traditionally does a big bash on Christmas Day, even getting together with family from halfway across the country. I never wanted to miss that! So the holiday worked out nicely for us. Chirstmas Eve with his family, Christmas Day with his, and the 26th on our own couch in a coma from all the running around and eating!!
Easter, Thanksgiving, the rest of the holidays, we just kind of alternate. And now that we have a child, and live in a different state, we try to juggle things with both families – sometimes they come to us, sometimes we go to them.
As for the “separating men from their mommies” issue.. maybe that’s it. Maybe we women want to be the ONLY female influence in our guy’s life. We don’t want them to be too close to their moms because WE want to be the woman who comforts, feeds, consoles, etc., our guy. It’s a territory thing.
Ashley – make friends with your future Mother-in-law. She doesn’t have to be your best friend, but trust me, you do NOT want her to be your enemy. After all… someday, she’ll be your kids’ grandma. And you want that to be a loving, respectful relationship. Your future husband’s family might be quirky or weird, but as long as they’re not abusive, they’ll be a wonderful source of support and learning for you and your new family.
Laura, this is an old post. Did you notice all my mistakes??? I cringed a few times when I read it!!! How appropriate for today!
I did. and I giggled, too. I figure, it just goes to show you how far we’ve come. I have to learn your brevity. This one is LONG!! like mine are now. You write much shorter posts, now, and I need to learn to do that.
Thanks so much for this site, I feel so much better knowing this is happening to other mother’s of sons, so sad, but I guess misery loves company. I feel I can cope with this situation a little better.
Yep, a son is a son until he takes a wife. Hurts so much to to settle for the leftovers and take what you can get. My grandson will know someday why his “other” grandparents didn’t get to see him very often..
My mother chanted the old “A son is a son until…” thing all her life. In the case of my brother and me, it was very true: once he got married he basically “divorced” the family. I didn’t expect that to happen when my son married…we had always been close and I really felt that I’d “won the daughter-in-law sweepstakes” and just loved her. Unfortunately, after a few years of marriage I got kicked very firmly to the back burner. I have never been a controlling parent, so am surprised my son never visits (although he visits his in-laws – who live a mile away – often with my DIL), rarely calls, and even on the winter holidays I only get to see him if we join my DILs family for dinner, etc. This entire scenario escalated this year to the point I was asked to give his MIL a shopping list of Thanksgiving and Christmas…along with preparing half the food and taking it over there. I complied for TG but have decided to skip Christmas. My parents have both passed in the last few years and my brother lives across the country (and hasn’t had anything much to do with HIS family for 20 years), so why bother? BTW, I don’t really think any of this ever occurs to him, and I doubt it occurs to my DIL: her Mom (much as mine was) is a VERY passive-aggressive controller) and I put the blame squarely there.