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how to get mil to butt out Update post 38 - she's at it again


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#1 imamumto3

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:03 PM

we are having the family Christmas lunch at our house this year.  

so far, mil has told me

- I have paid too much for the ham
- I should have bought a pre cooked turkey
- I am doing too much

she has also bought the pudding, is making the fruit cake and wants to make the trifle, even though I have every thing organised.  

how can I gently get her to butt out?

Edited by imamumto3, 08 December 2012 - 09:47 PM.


#2 samemnik

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:06 PM

You can't, she has years of experience on you at this.
Just make sure the alcohol is chilled and plentiful and the pain will be less...

#3 MGB

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:06 PM

Just tell you are happy with what you have organised, thanks anyway.

I'd be stoked if my MIL was going to bring all that, one less thing to worry about organising.

#4 M1B2G

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:14 PM

If you have not already bought the stuff for the trifle and the other things then save yourself a bit of money and accept some but not all offers...

#5 FeralZombieMum

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:15 PM

QUOTE (imamumto3 @ 02/12/2012, 07:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
we are having the family Christmas lunch at our house this year.  

so far, mil has told me

- I have paid too much for the ham
- I should have bought a pre cooked turkey
- I am doing too much

she has also bought the pudding, is making the fruit cake and wants to make the trifle, even though I have every thing organised.  

how can I gently get her to butt out?

Are you asking everyone to help contribute to the cost? If so, then I could understand her comment about the cost of ham. If you're paying for it all, then just ignore her. wink.gif


Although you are hosting it, you have to remember that some people do like to continue some of their Christmas food traditions, otherwise it might not feel the same, IYKWIM.

For example, it might not feel like Christmas for her without the regular pudding, and the usual trifle, so I wouldn't get too upset over that.

#6 Wise Old Owl

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:15 PM

QUOTE (Mrs Mel @ 02/12/2012, 04:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just tell you are happy with what you have organised, thanks anyway.

I'd be stoked if my MIL was going to bring all that, one less thing to worry about organising.


Coming from someone who was secretly hoping MIL would host Christmas at her house this year instead of it being at mine again - I would be thrilled with that.

You have inspired me to write out exactly what I want to have for Christmas lunch and start delegating though  wink.gif

#7 Kitty Fantastico

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:16 PM

I'd let the comments go in one ear and out the other.

If she really wants to make the desserts, let her. Less work for you. But if you still want to make your own , do it. You can't have too much dessert over the holidays. tthumbs.gif

#8 CallMeFeral

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:16 PM

Let her make the trifle, and be gracious about her help!

For the rest, go "Ah well, I'm fine with it" and maybe she'll get the message...

#9 ubermum

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:18 PM

I've heard homicide is effective for mil's. I even fantasize about it at times.

#10 Propaganda

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:20 PM

I think you have no option that isn't going to cause you some annoyance. You either let her butt in, or you be firm with her. Letting her butt in will bother you, being firm with her will no doubt bother her. You won't win either way, so just choose which you think will be less painful.

#11 cameo

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:31 PM

There is not too much that can be done really.  You can let her do a "small" task if you like, like the trifle or just keep repeating that you are o.k.

For some MIL's or mothers, it can be hugely confronting passing on the baton to their daughter/daughter-in law.  It can be a battle of control as well, not liking someone else having control of it all.

We did Christmas last year - not for the first time - and had about 13 adults and 8 kids or so.  I had it all sorted and pre planned most stuff but MIL really struggled.  Despite me telling her I would do the turkey, the stuffing, etc she really struggled to let me do it.  She bought everything even after I said no, and came round with FIL to make me watch Gordon Rasmsay's Christmas menu on Iview.

In the end I gave up and she did the stuffing, the cranberry, the turkey preparation and the gravy.  I had slight satisfaction though, as my last minute stuffing made on a whim, was hugely successful but no one ate her fancy Gordon Ramsay one.  Even she admitted it was horrible and mine was lovely.  ph34r.gif ph34r.gif  

I tried not to take it personally but to realise that she finds it hard to let go..



#12 Unatheowl

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:32 PM

I have some similar issues with my mil.  My tactic is to give her a job or task to occupy her.  That way the attention is off what I'm doing and she concenrtates more on what she's doing.  Ask her to do the dessert or to organise nibbles.  Works for me.

#13 MarigoldMadge

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:34 PM

My mil and my mum haven't done Xmas at their house in nearly a decade but will always bring something and comment about the effort and cost of the hosts efforts...

But I understand as its a way of not admiting defeat, that they are still capable of contributing to a family feast. My aunt brings the most god-awful rice and bean salad to every Christmas but it makes her feel like she's contributing and we all force a mouthful down.

Let it slide, it's a big deal to pass on the hosting Christmas duties to the next generation.

#14 imamumto3

Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:47 AM

QUOTE (ZombieMum @ 02/12/2012, 07:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are you asking everyone to help contribute to the cost? If so, then I could understand her comment about the cost of ham. If you're paying for it all, then just ignore her. wink.gif


Although you are hosting it, you have to remember that some people do like to continue some of their Christmas food traditions, otherwise it might not feel the same, IYKWIM.

For example, it might not feel like Christmas for her without the regular pudding, and the usual trifle, so I wouldn't get too upset over that.


I know that she likes a traditional christmas dinner so we are doing the whole turkey, ham, pudding thing.  


QUOTE (cameo @ 02/12/2012, 07:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is not too much that can be done really.  You can let her do a "small" task if you like, like the trifle or just keep repeating that you are o.k.

For some MIL's or mothers, it can be hugely confronting passing on the baton to their daughter/daughter-in law.  It can be a battle of control as well, not liking someone else having control of it all.

We did Christmas last year - not for the first time - and had about 13 adults and 8 kids or so.  I had it all sorted and pre planned most stuff but MIL really struggled.  Despite me telling her I would do the turkey, the stuffing, etc she really struggled to let me do it.  She bought everything even after I said no, and came round with FIL to make me watch Gordon Rasmsay's Christmas menu on Iview.

In the end I gave up and she did the stuffing, the cranberry, the turkey preparation and the gravy.  I had slight satisfaction though, as my last minute stuffing made on a whim, was hugely successful but no one ate her fancy Gordon Ramsay one.  Even she admitted it was horrible and mine was lovely.  ph34r.gif ph34r.gif  

I tried not to take it personally but to realise that she finds it hard to let go..


I understand that it is hard for her.  I think she would really like to host christmas herself as she has done for years, but they just aren't capable of managing all kids etc in their small home.  

But on the other hand, I think that if they arent going to have christmas at their house anymore they have accept that either me or my sils are going to do things our way in our house.


QUOTE (Unatheowl @ 02/12/2012, 07:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have some similar issues with my mil.  My tactic is to give her a job or task to occupy her.  That way the attention is off what I'm doing and she concenrtates more on what she's doing.  Ask her to do the dessert or to organise nibbles.  Works for me.


I already have the stuff for the trifle, thats why I said I would do it.  Im fine with her doing a pudding & fruit cake.  What I cant get her to understand though is that none of us younger adult family members or the kids like pudding, trifle or fruit cake so I will do another dessert for us, she keeps telling me that I am doing too much & we dont need all those desserts.  

As for the price of things, I dont know if I am going to get people to share the cost yet.  I (& my sills & bils) prefer to pay a bit extra & get free range & no additives or preservatives.  mil just looks at cost & thinks a coles or woolies brand ham is just  fine & doesnt look at the bigger picture.

My other thing is that I dont want my sils to have to do bring anything as one has a newborn & one lives quite a distance away.  I also have some elderly relatives coming I don't want them to feel like they have to bring anything either.  I thought mil could help on the day with veggies or plating & serving nibbles , but im just as happy for her to sit & give my newborn nephew cuddles  wub.gif.  As she has done family christmases for so many years, I want to give her a break where she doesnt have to stress about it

#15 Imaginary friend

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

QUOTE
As she has done family christmases for so many years, I want to give her a break where she doesnt have to stress about it




I can see you mean welll with this comment - but as others have said, your MIL probably wants to contribute something and feel her experience and talents are still worthwhile - I would listen to her advice and smile and nod and accept some offers of help and not feel the need to do it all yourself.

#16 starseed

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:13 AM

Christmas brings out the crazy control freak in MIL's I'm sure!

My ex-MIL is a lovely woman, so sweet...but mess with her xmas (even in a helpful way) and she get's a little nutty.

The last xmas I had with her was my DD's first xmas, I was married to her son & mother to her grandchild and since everyone else in the family had roles on the day I wanted a role to be part of the family so I asked if I could do a dessert. MIL always used to do the Sara Lee "frozen in a tin foil tray" kind of desserts and I LOVE making lush cheesecakes and stuff so I offered to make the most divine lemon curd cheesecake. It was all planned and fine for me to do so but on the day when we were all ready for dessert out comes the tin foil slop desserts and she put my cheesecake away and wanted to save it for having with the leftovers after xmas! I could see the veins in her neck pulsating and steam starting to come out of her ears when the family all talked her out of it and brought the cheesecake out- hilarious and such a power struggle over a freaking dessert! She DID NOT want my cake on her table lololol  wacko.gif

Good luck OP- at least there is still time to get things sorted. I think it's fair to do another dessert if the kids won't eat trifle, fruit cake and pudding. And I understand what you mean when you say MIL will need to begin to allow you and your SIL's to do things slightly differently if it is at our homes now. It's all just part of life- things don't stay the same forever.

#17 FeralZombieMum

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:21 AM

QUOTE (imamumto3 @ 03/12/2012, 08:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know that she likes a traditional christmas dinner so we are doing the whole turkey, ham, pudding thing.

Ahhh, but even though you're doing the whole turkey, ham and pudding, there will still be some variation in tastes.

One year we had Christmas lunch with one of DH's parents, then had tea with his other parent. Neither did a traditional Christmas lunch, and their puddings and custard (it was brandy) weren't the taste I was used to, so it didn't 'feel' like Christmas to me.

QUOTE (imamumto3 @ 03/12/2012, 08:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I understand that it is hard for her. I think she would really like to host christmas herself as she has done for years, but they just aren't capable of managing all kids etc in their small home.

But on the other hand, I think that if they arent going to have christmas at their house anymore they have accept that either me or my sils are going to do things our way in our house.

I can understand if this was for something like your child's first birthday - but it's for a celebration that involves extended family, so other people should be allowed to bring a dish if it's part of their tradition.
It may not be a 'control' issue with her either - if she's done the big lunch in the past, then she might feel bad if she doesn't contribute something - I think this might take some time for her to adjust to doing nothing, so I would try and be thankful for her willingness to contribute.

QUOTE (imamumto3 @ 03/12/2012, 08:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I already have the stuff for the trifle, thats why I said I would do it. Im fine with her doing a pudding & fruit cake. What I cant get her to understand though is that none of us younger adult family members or the kids like pudding, trifle or fruit cake so I will do another dessert for us, she keeps telling me that I am doing too much & we dont need all those desserts.

Yes, I understand that - but as I said, it might not feel like Christmas to her if she doesn't have those - and given she's done the lunch in the past, I'd allow her to hold onto some of her tradition for a little bit longer.
My DH's aunt makes a flaming Christmas pudding that she brings along to family gatherings. I tried it once and it was quite strong, but I forced myself to finish it so I wouldn't offend. She seems to be delighted to be able to bring her pudding along to each event, but I started to notice that many people didn't touch it. After one gathering she'd left and I was helping to clear up, and DH's uncle was complaining about this pudding - saying that no one likes it and they wished she'd stop bringing it, and he wished she'd take it home with her because now they were stuck with it, and she always does that and she doesn't listen to people when they suggest she doesn't bring it. ohmy.gif
Both the aunt and uncle are inlaws to my MIL (so they married into the family), so it wasn't a tradition for DH's family. The Christmas pudding is part of what makes this aunt's Christmas, so I think sometimes you have to suck it up if it helps someone create their Christmas magic.


#18 Katie_bella

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:36 AM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 02/12/2012, 07:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've heard homicide is effective for mil's. I even fantasize about it at times.


roll2.gif  roll2.gif  roll2.gif

This is exactly what i was thinking!

You could always make your own trifle and have a trifle-off....a bit of healthy competition on xmas day is always fun!

drink, drink and then drink some more....thats what i would do (if i ever get an xmas where i'm not pregnant or bf'ing again cry1.gif )

#19 imamumto3

Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:56 AM

QUOTE (ZombieMum @ 03/12/2012, 09:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ahhh, but even though you're doing the whole turkey, ham and pudding, there will still be some variation in tastes.

One year we had Christmas lunch with one of DH's parents, then had tea with his other parent. Neither did a traditional Christmas lunch, and their puddings and custard (it was brandy) weren't the taste I was used to, so it didn't 'feel' like Christmas to me.


I can understand if this was for something like your child's first birthday - but it's for a celebration that involves extended family, so other people should be allowed to bring a dish if it's part of their tradition.
It may not be a 'control' issue with her either - if she's done the big lunch in the past, then she might feel bad if she doesn't contribute something - I think this might take some time for her to adjust to doing nothing, so I would try and be thankful for her willingness to contribute.


Yes, I understand that - but as I said, it might not feel like Christmas to her if she doesn't have those - and given she's done the lunch in the past, I'd allow her to hold onto some of her tradition for a little bit longer.
My DH's aunt makes a flaming Christmas pudding that she brings along to family gatherings. I tried it once and it was quite strong, but I forced myself to finish it so I wouldn't offend. She seems to be delighted to be able to bring her pudding along to each event, but I started to notice that many people didn't touch it. After one gathering she'd left and I was helping to clear up, and DH's uncle was complaining about this pudding - saying that no one likes it and they wished she'd stop bringing it, and he wished she'd take it home with her because now they were stuck with it, and she always does that and she doesn't listen to people when they suggest she doesn't bring it. ohmy.gif
Both the aunt and uncle are inlaws to my MIL (so they married into the family), so it wasn't a tradition for DH's family. The Christmas pudding is part of what makes this aunt's Christmas, so I think sometimes you have to suck it up if it helps someone create their Christmas magic.


she is bring the pudding she likes & the fruit cake.  That I am fine with.  I am making the trifle because I already have the ingredients.  What I am not fine with is being told that we should only have pudding, fruit cake & trifle.  most of the people dont eat these things so I want to do another dessert that they will eat, probably a pavlova or  fruit platter.  Mil is telling me that im being over the top & dont need to do another dessert.  So the people who dont like pudding, cake & trifle would miss out.

So, im saying to her, do your stuff you want, but let me do mine too.  I also want to do things my way.  Mil might like to do a pre cooked turkey at her house, but I want to cook from raw, so let me do it & I  dont want her to tell me in a condescending voice that I have made the wrong choice & that pre cooked is nicer or I should cancel my ham order because it is cheaper elsewhere.

Oh why does balancing old traditions & introducing new ways got to be so hard.  Maybe it wouldnt be so hard if I didnt have a mil who has to be right on everything!




#20 boatiebabe

Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:12 AM

The baton has been passed in my family from mum and my aunt to me (and my sister who takes the sous chef role) over the last five years.

It took a couple of years for the 'oldies' to relinquish their stranglehold on Christmas lunch.

The first year I was adamant that I was going to do it all on my own. I did but it nearly killed me (and bankrupted me too!) so I have learned to ease off a bit and accept help and assign tasks.

We have Christmas each year for about 16 to 20 people and it is at our house because we live on the beach and have the best set up for hosting groups.

Everyone now has their jobs and items to bring and it works a treat. I let the 'oldies' do their favourites and incorporate it into what I am doing.

Five desserts? Awesome! Plenty of doggie bags and leftovers for the week ahead.

As annoying as your MIL might be, I would just nod and then go do what you want to anyway. Let her bring what she wants but do what you want to as well.

We now have a pretty relaxing day. Swimming most of the morning (after present opening) and then we set about getting everything ready. Everyone is happy and no one person has to do too much!

#21 Ice Queen

Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:45 PM

Buy a bottle of Moet or something really expensive and yummy.  Secretly put it by your chair in the morning while kids are opening presents and just keep chugging it down.

By lunch you will be all fuzzy and laughing at the bad cracker jokes.  biggrin.gif

#22 emlis22

Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:48 PM

I can't get over the fact you don't like trifle! huh.gif

Make the pav. Tell her she is welcome to bring her desserts as it provides more options.

Tell her if she doesn't want to eat the turkey and ham, she doesn't have to.

I feel like she's just trying to be a part of it still; so let her bring her desserts, and keep your champagne at hand.

#23 Natttmumm

Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:50 PM

Id just let her bring as much as she wants to. Less for you to do!!

My MIL butts in and brings heaps of things - even when we plan it she brings extra things too. Then she rings the night before and tries to change it to her house.

We just say no and let her bring what she wants.

Im over trying to stop that and care about it

#24 Ally'smum

Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:00 PM

Given that my ILs turn up empty handed, eat more than everyone else and hint about taking leftovers home, I will happily trade with you!

By saying you have paid to much for the ham shows that she cares about you, mine would say "expensive ham? we will have more then!"

#25 Missy Shelby

Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:05 PM

Just let her bring what she wants and if it doesn't get eaten then too bad for your mil.

My mother in law never organised anything much for Christmas so count your lucky stars that yours is original.gif




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