Q&A: Your MIL and Mothers’ Day ownership?

Today's question:

"Here is an "anonymous" question…no way I'd post this with my name! Ever since we've gotten married I've send my MIL a card for mother's day. I've been a mother for 5 years now and not once has she sent me a card. She will call and wish me a happy Mother's Day though. She sends a card for everything else (birthday and anniversary). (And yes, this now sounds petty!)Is there some rule I don't know about…do Mother's Day cards only go one way generationally speaking?"

The devil is in the details, and it's the "petty" things that can eat away at us.

From my limited experience, some women have a big problem giving up the "I'm the Mom" identity to a daughter-in-law. I don't know if it's lack of confidence, or never having transitioned into a new identity that integrates other parts of who they are, but if you feel like your whole worth is in being a mother (and maybe you're not so sure of your skills in that area), and you feel like your child has left you to be with a daughter-in-law, then I can see how it would be hard to share the Mom role.

I'm not sure if you, as the daughter-in-law, can do much about it, except just try not to take it personally, because it really is more about her than it is about you.

You can decide to be a different kind of mother-in-law if your own child gets married someday. My own mother has made a very conscious effort to be as open and welcoming as possible to my brother's wife, and I can see how different their relationship is from my mom's relationship with her own MIL. It's possible, but it really has to come from the MIL, from what I can observe.

Thoughts? Who has a great relationship with a MIL or DIL and can identify why? Who has a bad relationship and can identify why? Who needs to vent about yesterday? Lay it on us.

67 thoughts on “Q&A: Your MIL and Mothers’ Day ownership?”

  1. I have a great relationship with my MIL (who’s a lot like my husband); my FIL drives me a bit crazy, but that’s another story.Anyway, on both his side and mine, daughters (& sons) give cards to the mothers but not the other way. This year, we gave cards to my Nonna, my Mom, and my MIL, while my kids gave cards to these 3 and to me. I view it as a day to honour the mothers in my life, not to be honoured as a mom by anyone other than my kids. I don’t think it’s a rule, but it’s generally what we do. I cannot ever remember my grandmothers ever giving anything to MY Mom on Mother’s Day, and they are/were very considerate gift givers.

  2. My family has always held that it is up to the child to honor the mother on Mothers’ Day. Outside that basic requirement, any other people saying Happy Mothers’ Day to you are gravy.So, in my family you do not HAVE to send your MIL a card because she is not YOUR mother. That you have sent a card is your choice because you are grateful she raised your husband. Says that you are a very nice person. Nicer than I, evidently. Your husband, OTOH, is the one who SHOULD send his mother a card… 😉
    Any expectations on my part of receiving anything from my mother are not going to get answered.

  3. See, I’m on the opposite side. My inlaws do send me a Mother’s Day card and I always think that is a little weird because I am not their mother. Obviously, it doesn’t bother me or anything but I would never expect to get one from them.

  4. I like that my in-laws send me a card, because it’s just another reminder that I hit the in-law lottery — they are kind, thoughtful people. That being said, I wouldn’t have blinked if they didn’t send me a card. I buy two cards for Mother’s Day every year — one for my mom and one for my husband to give to my MIL (not me). I’m firmly in the kids-celebrate-their-own-moms camp, and wouldn’t expect anyone to do otherwise.

  5. My MIL definitely has a lot of difficulty with the identity transition. Honestly, I can see why… it was her primary identity for a very long time. (As recently as a couple of years ago one of her sons was living at home, and largely dependent upon her for food, laundry, etc, despite being in his mid-30s.) Also, her husband died several years ago, so her other “wife” identity is also gone. I’m sure it’s not how she expected her life to be. She’s never had a career, or any other kind of consuming activity.Sometimes her behavior around this topic can be strange & off-putting, as in – she literally had no reaction at all when we told her I was pregnant with my first child. I also think that my life as a working mom, as well as my parenting style, are so different than her experience that she doesn’t quite “get” me. But I also agree that it is not personal, nor is she really aware of the impact of her behavior.
    I typically send cards to her for mothers’ day, or prompt my husband to do so, esp from her grandchildren.

  6. I have a great MIL and we have a great relationship. She sent me a card (as did my stepmother but NOT my mother). I sent cards to no one, but reached out to all of them in other ways yesterday.My hubby doesn’t seek out much contact with his parents (not b/c of issues, just because), so that leaves LOTS of room for me to be in touch with them. I actually wish that we had a lot more contact/interaction with them – I really enjoy my MIL and she’s fabulous with our son/her grandson. She’s very respectful of boundaries and doesn’t attempt to influence/control any parenting or life decisions we make (although they are happy to listen, comment gently when we talk about it). I think that’s the number one thing that makes it easy to be with them. The ILs are also fundamentally good, decent people. We all have our quirks, but there’s a good baseline relationship all the way around. We are lucky.

  7. I’m a mil with a great dil. She’s a Hallmark girl and I’m not. I’ve given in a bit to Hallmark, but rarely on the day. She’s sooo great about seeing to it that granddaughter does something nice for me. I did buy dil a lovely present, though. We’re different, but always even. True love but, as she says, it took a lot of work. Husband of dil and son of mine helped enormously in softening the edges for each of us.Yesterday, because I believe that MD should focus on the “active” mother, I had a great breakfast with them, took a walk, then left them and gave MD to dil. I try to do that every year. (Had dinner with a close friend to round out a great day.)

  8. I wonder if the MIL in this scenario is just giving herself permission to take the day off?Mother’s Day is hard for lots of reasons, but I find one of them for me is the mulit-generational celebrating. It isn’t like a birthday where only one person is celebrated so often the grandma/mom/daughter is a juggling act.

  9. Hmmm. I’ve always just considered Mother’s Day as something that flows “up” the generational tree. So I send cards to my Mom and Grandma, my kids give to me, their grandmothers, and their great-grandmother, and my husband may or may not remember to send a card to his mom. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day aren’t big deals in his family. I make sure the kids include my in laws in their card giving, but my husband is on his own. I got cards from my mom and MIL on my first mother’s day, but otherwise not.I’d just let this one go, and assume that your in-laws follow the unidirectional style of Mother’s Day celebrating, particularly if this is the only thing souring the DIL-MIL relationship.
    But in general, I think days like Mother’s Day work better if you don’t expect a lot out of them, so perhaps I am a bit out of the mainstream on this.

  10. My husband takes care of the stuff, in general, for his mother. She is a former drug addict & I don’t like her much at all. He is really good about it, taking our kids to see her, getting her a card. That’s about it, we don’t do much for her on any holiday, nor she for us. I don’t get things from her or for her. We get along, I just don’t care about her.My grandmother sent me a card and I called her. We live far apart. I am terrible about remembering to get cards. I got one from dh and I for my mother and had the kids each make her a card. We took her out to brunch, but she paid for it, so that was weird. She didn’t want me to know, but her timing was bad & I found out. It was expensive and we don’t have much money, but still, we were going to pay. I get her a gift and she gives me a check. Money is my favorite gift, so that is perfect for me 🙂
    DH and I are not card people. We do not give them to each other nor to our kids. That has set the tone for the future and I do not expect that our kids will expect a card from me for anything, nor I from them. Calling me is good enough.

  11. Yeah, I’d say the daughter-in-law here is expecting a bit much, and that Moxie’s response is also slightly excessive. I mean, it’s possible that her mother-in-law refuses to relinquish the starring role, but I wouldn’t count this as evidence; in my view, children celebrate their own mothers on Mother’s Day. Both my parents and my in-laws do tend to give me cards, but I don’t in any way expect them and would hope they don’t feel obligated. It’s the card from my four year old that I treasure.More broadly, I agree with Barb, above, that these inter-generational days take tact and forbearance. Both my mother and my mother-in-law care more about Mother’s Day gestures than I do, so I try to be gracious about ceding the day to them. And I try to keep in mind that my own feelings may change as my kids get older — right now I have the challenge but also the luxury of having the little ones right there with me all the time, and I can anticipate a time when it will feel much more consequential to have their attention and presence on this particular day.
    So it’s lovely of Nancy Kirk to make Mother’s Day about the “active” mothers in her life, but in some ways it’s the no longer so active moms who may need it more. I didn’t get to sleep in, I endured a long car ride, and I collapsed into bed exhausted at the end of it, but I have my babies to snuggle and tuck in.

  12. In my family, it tends to be one way. The girls got me a card/gift, I got my mom a card/gift (back in March when it was Mother’s Day in my home country). Don’t know what ex did this year, but in the past he would have something to his mom from him. The card to my mom is from me, not me and the kids. I didn’t get anything from my mom (nor or in March), but she did wish me a Happy Mother’s day when we spoke yesterday. I didn’t expect anything from her and to be honest I’d find it a little strange if she sent something.Just reading the comments, I wonder if part of the tension is we all have different ideas of what we’re celebrating. Some are celebrating *their* mother, others are celebrating all mothers. Others, like me are celebrating, but also railing against the Hallmarkness of it all. Then you throw in the rest of our internalized expectations and we have a recipe for a lot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

  13. I don’t necessarily think it means that the MIL is having trouble transitioning roles. Receiving a card has different meaning to different people. To some, it’s not as important as it is to others. It also could be that the holiday is not as meaningful to MIL as other holidays and birthdays (or she thinks it’s not meaningful to DIL–who knows, maybe MIL thinks she’s pegged her DIL the *right* way by not sending a card and instead calling).

  14. I would find it extremely odd to get a mother’s day card from my mom or MIL (if I had a MIL–she passed before I met my husband). I’m not their mother. Maybe your MIL thinks the same way, if she is kind on other occasions.

  15. I received a card from my IL’s but not my own mother. I sent a card to my mother and sent cards to my MIL and mother from my son, their grandson. My husband sent his mother a card. I used to send cards to my grandmothers when they were still living.I thought it was nice that my IL’s sent me a card, but I wasn’t offended in any way that my own mother did not. My IL’s are card crazy and send them all the time, almost to the point where they are no longer special.
    I guess I subscribe to the school of send your own mother (or mother figure) a card and make sure the grand children send cards to their grandmothers. I will give gentle reminders to my husband to send his mother a card, but I won’t become a nag about it.

  16. …it would never occur to me to send a Mother’s Day card to my daughter-in-law (if I had one). Huh. My mother-in-law did send me a card, which was really sweet, but I certainly didn’t expect it. My mom didn’t send me a card, and I don’t think she should have. We sent both of them cards that the Little One “helped” with.

  17. Mother’s day is on 3 differnt days for the 3 mothers in my life (different date in the UK, Aus and Italy) Think its the same for Fathers day too. I am so not a card sender, nor am I a Hallmark kind of gal. If I happen to remember I call, otherwise i don t bother. Having said all that, I do think it is something that flows upwards too. I certainly wouldnt expect either my mum or Mil to even mention it, but then again, that’s just me.

  18. I send mothers day cards to my mothers in law from my son, but my husband is their son and he needs to be the one who “honors” his mothers on Mother’s Day. Same for Father’s day in my opinion. My husband isn’t close to his step-mother and isn’t much closer to his mother. I feel bad because they don’t get “honored” as much as my mother, but hey – my mother has been a better “mother” than my husband’s mothers. (Terrible divorce, stories of his mother “giving him up” the step mother wanting no part of him etc…) And I agree, it’s an upwards flow for the honoring…

  19. I didn’t send or receive a card from my MIL, because, in my view, she’s not my mother, and I’m not hers. Sometimes I do prompt my husband to remember a card or flowers, but it is always from him, and not from me. And when we went to brunch with her yesterday, we wished each other a happy mother’s day.My husband typically doesn’t get me a card either, although he does help my daughter make one and/or prompt her to do so. And then he does all the baby-wrangling so I get a break.
    If you’re not my child, I pretty much have no expectations.

  20. Perhaps she’s just not a card person?I’m not a card person, AT ALL. I don’t place any emotional value on the giving or receiving of one (such as, “She really loves me because she sent me A CARD!”).
    I think they’re nice gestures and everything, but….maybe her MIL is like me and isn’t really into cards?
    I’ve kind of noticed this with some people – if you don’t send them a birthday card in their head it means you don’t care as much about them (or…something?) And, as a person not really into the card thing I’m kind of like….IT’S A CARD.

  21. I picked right and got an awesome man and turns out his mom is cool too (don’t get me started on FIL though). She gave me a small gift for mom’s day- I am the mother to her grandson after all. It does make a little more sense to just go from younger to older, but I don’t think that should be the fly in the ointment.

  22. My MIL lives in PA and we have very little interaction with her, which is fine by me as she is perfectly nice, but annoying. But I just want to vent a little about the fact that I feel like I’m never going to get to do what I want for MD until my own mom is dead. And I feel shitty even thinking that, because I should be enjoying that my mom is alive and emerging from the serious health issues that have been a huge blow to her and our family for the last three years. But I feel like I just want to focus on my wonderful children and fabulous husband and have the day be a little bit about ME, and not have to plan things around what my mom wants to do. Selfish, much? Her own mom lived far away from us, so she always got to do whatever she wanted on the day. And she has some need to celebrate MD on the actual day, so it’s not like she’s OK with having lunch with my family on Saturday, so we can do our own thing Sunday. This year we tried to coordinate with my brother, his wife, and their new baby so we could have a whole big family thing, and with one thing and another it was a clusterfuck of gigantic proportions, topped with my husband and me being super-annoyed at my bro that once again our immediate family is doing the heavy lifting of family togetherness while my bro pops in when it suits his schedule, if it even does. (He skipped an event with the other side of my family on Saturday.)Well, this is too long already, thanks for letting me vent, Moxie. Better luck next year, maybe?

  23. I have a great relationship with my MIL – she doesn’t mess with me and I don’t mess with her, and when we’re together a couple times a year, we have fun. It would never occur to me to send her a card on mother’s day though – she’s not my mom! (I’m not much of a card sender anyway, but it’s definitely Mr. C’s job to take care of his folks on these holidays.) Nor would I expect anything from anyone except my own kid (provisionally with my husband’s help while she’s small). I know there’s a lot of BS on TV about flowers and diamonds and whatnot, but why do we allow a charming little holiday to be escalated into a Big Deal where we can all be disappointed? It’s getting as bad as Valentine’s Day IMO, and it seems like these big celebrations are there to distract us from the need for actual support of parents in this country. (humph.)

  24. so, i’m sort of not sure how i feel about this one. i got a card and a (rather large) gift from my MIL and from my mom. i think my mom’s was just an excuse to give me stuff. 🙂 i think my MIL’s was thoughtful and sweet but also an indication that she likes to take over in certain ways (she made me a scrapbook of my daughter’s first year…which i specifically told her i wanted to do…so it’s like an extra photo book on top of the one that’s already in the works).i do agree with moxie that some MILs have trouble letting go of the “mom” role. i find that is true with my MIL, in the sense that i think sometimes it’s very hard for her to think of us as not kids but as adult parents who are actually keeping it all together pretty brilliantly, considering.
    that said, i do not send in mother’s day cards. honestly, i forgot to send my own mom one because my entire household was sick this week. so i suck at the “getting stuff in the mail on time” thing, but i only felt guilt for my mom, not for my MIL. that guilt should be on my husband.
    but the thoughtfulness of thinking of me (both my mom and my MIL called to wish my a happy mother’s day) is so sweet. regardless of my random and varying issues with my MIL and my parenting, i consider it a “welcome to the club; we are honored you are here” thing, not a territorial thing.

  25. Funny, my first Mother’s Day I didn’t get a card from my MIL and I was hurt–but only because, like the OP’s MIL, she was a “card person” and sent us cards for every possible occasion, not just birthdays and anniversaries but Easter, Valentine’s Day, even Halloween. (Turns out she couldn’t find a “Happy First Mother’s Day” card.) I didn’t get a card from my own mother and wasn’t offended at all because she never sends cards for anything.Honestly, though, if your MIL remembers and calls every year, I’d say it’s probably not a snub.

  26. I read this as the MIL sends cards for everything, and calls on Mothers Day. Could not a call be considered at least as–if not more–personal than a card? It sounds like the MIL is trying to break up the monotony–she sends cards for most things, and for the rest, she calls. I find it fairly easy to send a card and not even think about what I’m writing. A call, though: That requires being present for a conversation. Maybe this is a wonderful thing?

  27. I got a present from both my mother and my MIL, which think is fine, but wouldn’t have been how I thought things would have been before I had children. I think it’s just another way for them to say “thanks for having grandchildren for us!”. Also, they both like to shop. I gave my mom flowers and my husband did some gardening for his mom and sent her a card. Last year we had both moms over on the day (plus my BIL and his wife), but this year I just wanted to spend the day with my family as I have an infant and wanted some quiet time after what was randomly a very busy month.I think next year I’ll have both the moms over again as without that, it just turned into kind of a normal day in our house after breakfast – we ended up cleaning some, and just goofing around with the kids.

  28. I am not a card person, either. The expense of it bothers me ($11 for 3 cards at Hallmark…sheesh!), the non-greenness of it bothers me, and I’m just not sentimental in that way. My mother died when I was 18, so Mother’s Day was always a sad day for me until I had my own children. Now it’s a day where I just want to see what little crafts or things they made for me.I wouldn’t want to split the day with my MIL, mostly because she’s not my favorite person. My step-mother lives far away, but if she lived closer I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the day with her, either. When we had more ready cash, I would send them both flowers, but things are tight this year, so cards had to do. One of my BILs sends me a Mother’s Day card every year, which is sweet, but so unnecessary.
    It’s like when people give me plants…I appreciate the gesture, but honestly, it’s just one more thing for me to take care of. I think I’m tired. ;o)

  29. My mother in law is an attention wh*re (excuse me) and LOVES being made a fuss over, which totally bugs me. So we know around every mother’s day that it’s going to be a thing. First we’ll suggest something, she’ll play coy about not wanting to do anything (so we’ll insist – see above: needing attention), and then will talk about how she heard about all sorts of other lavish Mother’s Day celebrations that are always less that what we’ve decided to do.Of course, all of that said, she’s also a very sweet and kind person, she just never matured a day over fourteen, and genuinely has no idea how ridiculous she is. She’s also not a person who is into her daughters-in-law (her sons are THE BEST EVER), nor really her daughters either (at least compared to her sons), so the fact that she didn’t even wish me a Happy Mother’s Day was not surprising or expected (even though we spent all day together, and I cooked FOR HER and her other daughter-in-law).
    I know my husband appreciates that I tolerate it, but I wish she was more generous – it would never occur to her to wish anyone Happy Mother’s Day – her mother is dead, and so that’s it, mother’s of her grandchildren not withstanding.
    It used to really bother me (this behavior in general), but I know it’s not personal – she’s just like this. I have to remind myself of this, however, on Father’s Day when she makes a fuss over her sons & two son-in-laws. SERIOUSLY. She’ll call me & ask, “What are you doing for DH for Father’s Day? What does he want?” but she doesn’t want anyone to give a better present than she does, so it’s a whole weird game where I have to remember to deep breathe & let it go. It’s hard, but I try. Can’t say I always succeed.
    I really like the “welcome to the club” sentiment expressed by teachergirl above. That’s very sweet and a heartfelt acknowledgement. More supporting, less competing among mothers.

  30. I’d find it really weird to get a Mothers Day card from anyone other than my kids – I don’t think the lack of a card from your MIL speaks to any sort of underlying issue at all. I generally feel that some occasions are just between the people – my Mom sends me a card every year for my wedding anniversary and I find that very odd – she’s not the one I married!

  31. I think the founder of Mother’s Day would want Anonymous to take a step back and realize that her expectations are not aligned with many people’s understanding of the occasion.As a general rule, if you can see a way that someone does not intend to offend or slight you, you should go with that. I think a lot of the PPs have offered great perspectives on how else to see Mother’s Day honors.

  32. We’ve always operated on mothers (and fathers) days only going up the generations. Up your OWN generations. It’s just how it seems to be here. It’s for YOUR mother/grandmother/etc. Not someone else’s mother, and not for your daughter even if she is a mother cos she’s not YOUR mother. Only exception being husbands helping the kids out when they are too little to do anything themselves.I’d never dream of getting my MIL a mothers day card, and I’d be totally creeped out if she sent me one, in a “doesn’t she have any boundaries!?” way. It would, to me, seem totally inappropriate. Like she was trying to insert herself into our family. She is not my mother, and I am certainly not her mother – the addition of the wrong direction as well as wrong family makes her sending me one twice as creepy as if I sent her one. And yes I’d also think it was weird if my mum sent me one (it’d actually make me worry something was seriously wrong with her, it’s that weird.).
    I think OP should stop giving her MIL mothers day cards – that’s her hubby’s job – and be grateful her MIL has respected the familial boundaries. Having a MIL who doesn’t overstep them is a thing to be valued!

  33. I have never gotten a card or call from my ILs on MD; I do not expect such (unconsciously always following the model that MD is for the mothers, though in my family my dad makes a huge deal out of MD and I’m not that into holidays and kind of resent his pressure). OTOH, I would not be offended or think it was weird if my MIL sent me a card. I would probably think it was sweet. I am not her mother, but I am the mother of her very small grandchildren, and I think any words of support and encouragement a young mother gets, the better.

  34. We always give a card to my mom and my mil, but I only get a card back from my mom. My kids give cards to me and to each Grandmother as well.My issue is more that my mom and mother in law expect us to drop everything to see them on mother’s day and I get 10 whole minutes first thing in the morning for my mothers day.

  35. I think its appropriate to wish all moms a happy mother’s day. But the whole buying things – cards, gifts… That just doesn’t matter. My MIL texted me a happy mother’s day greeting and I made sure she got a box of chocolates from her son and grandkids and texted her back happy mother’s day. My husband called her and wished her a happy day also.Unless the MIL is vindictive and rude – I don’t think there’s cause for concern here.

  36. I agree with @Cloud’s intuition – “I’ve always just considered Mother’s Day as something that flows “up” the generational tree. So I send cards to my Mom and Grandma, my kids give to me, their grandmothers, and their great-grandmother, and my husband may or may not remember to send a card to his mom.”And if you care, this particular view also happens to be correct according to old school American etiquette as per Miss Manners:
    “Mother’s Day presents should be provided by the child, according to their ability. The most appropriate presents for such occasions are made, not bought. This is therefore a marvelous opportunity for you to encourage your child to choose presents from among the wealth of refrigerator art, ceramic whatnots, and two-inch square woven pillows that every parent with custody has around the house.”
    And also, Amen @Slim: “As a general rule, if you can see a way that someone does not intend to offend or slight you, you should go with that.” Yep.

  37. I would find it downright weird to get a MD card from my MIL and I don’t think that’s an abnormal reaction (and the comments here would generally support it). I bought my own Mother a card and some flowers and nagged my Husband to phone his. My oldest kids made me cards at school (also bought presents there – with the money I gave them(!) – at the MD stall). I have given my Husband grief (and have been genuinely hurt) about the fact that there was nothing otherwise special about MD for me. Maybe that’s selfish but I have 3 young sons and would have really appreciated feeling a little cherished. Didn’t want gifts or expensive meals out – just wanted to feel special and have a little fuss made. I know this is a little off topic but I do wonder whether I’m being a princess about this. Husband is a very good husband, father and human being but not an emotional man – he doesn’t understand (or play) the currency of charm and romanticism! Everytime someone has asked me whether I was spoilt by my boys on MD it’s felt like a little more salt in the wound. Are my expectations too high?

  38. This is fascinating and also makes me a bit tired to read how much of a Big Deal Mother’s Day is for some people (and how much work it sounds like for some of the moms here!!!).In our family, I’m the one who tracks birthdays and stuff, and we usually order gifts online and I make cards because I like being crafty. So I typically provide the blank cards for hubby to write to his mom and grandma. I also order the flowers/gifts/whatnot for my mom, MIL and grandmas, but mostly just because I’m better at keeping track of that stuff and don’t mind.
    But I don’t expect anything “down the tree” so to speak. I did get a lovely sort of day off from toddler-wrangling, and a nice family breakfast today (so we could avoid the Sunday crowds) and that kind of low-key gig is just how I like Mother’s Day. And in fact, time alone is just about the best present anyone could give me 😀

  39. Pero, en general, creo que días como el Día de la Madre funcionan mejor si usted no espera mucho de ellos, así que tal vez estoy un poco fuera de la corriente de this.like me están celebrando, sino también contra la barandilla de la misma Hallmarkness todos. A continuación, se emite en el resto de nuestras expectativas internalizadas y tenemos una receta para una gran cantidad de sentimientos de dolor y malos entendidos.

  40. My thing is that I love getting mail (non-bill mail, anyway), & I figure most people do, too. So this year I sent cards to my mom, MIL, both of my husband’s grandmothers, my mom’s best friend (basically family), my best friend’s mom (who is like a second mom to me), and two of my longtime friends (most of my friends don’t have kids). I signed my husband & daughter’s names to the in-laws’ cards. Both of my grandmothers are dead, or I would have sent cards to them, too.My parents sent me flowers and a card, and my daughter made me flowers and a vase at her daycare (with her babysitter’s help, since she’s 2). My husband bought me a card & had Alexandria draw on it – but he also cleaned the house, made dinner, and took care of Alexandria when I got called into work.

  41. Seems familial expectations play into this more than anything else. My side cards/gifts to all mothers in the family, both up, down and across the family tree. However, on my husband’s side of the family, cards only go up the tree. And he sends his own. I wouldn’t take it personally; it probably just doesn’t occur to her.

  42. For me, it is about being kind and generous year round. My sisters freak out because our mom rarely sends cards on birthdays, holidays, etc. But whenever we are together mom showers them and grandkids with attention and gifts. So i do NOT get why they are so sensitive about the cards and gifts coming on the exact day. I am not fond of my mil, but i am always respectful and friendly and generous with her for my kidd sake and the sake of it feeling like the correct, human way to be. On mothers day, sometimes we celebrate together with mil and fil, sometimes not. If not, then i do not send a card or buy a gift, because i usually buy things (perfume, wines, flowers, dishes, clothing) throughout the year when we get together. Also, mil is not my husband’s mom ( she passed away when he was 18) so she is not like a mother to husband or me. Yes, she is like grandma to our kids, so like i said i am generous and kind to her throughout the year. I do not send a card to my mom, but i always call and give gifts and time when we visit – we live on different continents. And my mom does not care anyway. If she did, i would send her a card.To anonymous with the question, i would say that mil does a lot for her throughout the year, does call her on mothers day, and that is plenty- so don’t sweat this.

  43. As far as the no card thing goes… dh and his family are all simply awful at such things. Birthdays, anniversaries, all no big deal. Maybe, you’ll get a call. Maybe. If I got upset at every card I didn’t get we’d have never made it this far. I just don’t give them enough power to make me upset over stuff like that.There is so much water under the bridge with my MIL. She is absolutely diagnosable, untreated (self-treating?) and so has all of these crazy coping mechanisms developed to make it through. Frequently in the past this has meant bad news for me and mine. Mother’s Day is the least weird holiday we celebrate, actually. She calls me to say thank-you for making her a grandmother. I make sure my ds makes her some artwork. It’s all good.
    Now if I could get her to stop signing my dead mother’s name to all of my Christmas and birthday presents (when she actually goes through the effort of getting me anything). She barely knew my mother. I was very close with my mom. I miss her everyday. It has nothing whatsoever to do with MIL. I try to focus on her own weird sentiment, but it ends up feeling intrusive.
    Also, a dear friend in her 70’s once told me that it is 10 times harder being a good MIL than it was being a good mother — especially to DILs as opposed to SILs. DILs don’t miss a beat and the adult relationship between mothers and sons is so very different than mothers and daughters. It is easy for a MIL to screw up. Someday I’ll be the MIL. It infuses compassion into the whole equation for me. Any kind of effort or restraint shown my way by MIL is acknowledged.

  44. My mom makes SUCH an effort to include me in the Mother’s Day honors – she buys me a card and a present every year. So sweet. Even my Gram gets me a card. But my MIL isn’t so good about it. And my husband’s grandmother (who passed away a year or so ago) never acknowledged anyone but herself for those types of things (not even her own daughter) so I guess it was learned behaviors.It’s crazy to think that someone could be so hurt by her MIL’s behaviors (my MIL’s MIL was HORRIBLE to her until the babies started popping out) but then doesn’t try to make it easy on her own DIL when the time comes. My MIL hasn’t been horrible, but she never made it easy on me. She’s not very warm and she was never very welcoming. Ah well. At least my husband stands up for me!

  45. This has been touched on a little bit but what comes through quite clearly here is that maybe some of our resentment about not getting “reciprocity” from mothers-in-law is because somehow our partner’s/husband’s responsibility to recognize their own mother has fallen to us. That’s where the first change has to happen! It’s easier not to resent your MIL when you’re not the one buying her card/present/chocolates ON BEHALF OF her actual child.Part of my problem with Mother’s Day is that we have a mandatory (on pain of guilt-trip) extended family gathering with my husband’s family (aunts, cousins, etc. etc.) that we can never get out of, so any Mother’s Day plans we make as a nuclear family (or with mu Mum) have to work around it. And it’s always scheduled during young children’s naps! So my day is never particularly relaxed or easy.

  46. The response is a total overkill. In most families, mother’s day greetings flow generationally up. You and your husband can send a card to your MIL, but I would not expect her to return the gesture. Your kids should give them to you (facilitated by your spouse/partner if they are young.) People, relax already, not everything is an intentional affront your role/identity/precious feelings.

  47. Hmmm…this year I got a small gift from my MIL. We had invited her and FIL for brunch on Mother’s Day (usually we go to visit my mother or spend it just the 3 of us). I honestly can’t remember what she did past years or what my own mother has done (just a call this year to wish me happy mother’s day, I think). I don’t expect something from my mom or MIL, but I do appreciate it. As some others have said up post, I think of the day as celebrating the mothers in our lives.The only person I absolutely WANT a card from is my son. This is the first year he made one for me himself. The only thing I WANT from DH on that day is to sleep in (i.e. he’s the child wrangler) and some time to myself to do something completely indulgent (i.e. something I don’t usually do) and relaxing.
    I am definitely the gift / card person in our family. If we’re seeing my MIL on Mother’s Day I’ll pick up some flowers from both of us or remind DH to do it (depends on who is child wrangling that day). He’s not much of a card giver (to my chagrin), so I leave that to him for his own mom. I buy my mother a card and small gift. My mom is always giving to others and I like to get her some treats when I can.

  48. Nun, wenn ich bekommen konnte, sie solle aufhören Unterzeichnung meiner toten Mutter den Namen, um alle meine Weihnachts-und Geburtstagsgeschenke (wenn sie tatsächlich geht durch den Aufwand, um mich etwas). Sie kaum kannte meine Mutter. Ich war sehr zufrieden mit meiner Mutter zu schließen. Ich vermisse sie jeden Tag. Es hat überhaupt nichts mit MIL tun. Ich versuche, auf ihre eigene seltsame Gefühl zu konzentrieren, aber es fühlen sich am Ende aufdringlich.

  49. Moxie, I agree with your take on the whole MIL thing and some MILs just not being able to handle the transition. I don’t think you were responding as much based on the actual ‘card’ issue as you were the overall issue. Those of you have good relationships with your MILs are lucky.My MIL announced the birth of my son on FB as
    “My grandson Z is here. Baby is doing well….so are Granddaughter, Daddy and Mom.’
    It was hurtful. Maybe I am overly sensitive, but I am pretty sure most people say, “Baby and Mommy are doing fine” since they are the two that directly go through the whole birth process.
    When she visited after the first grandchild was born, she took about 200 pictures and the camera went down each time I held my daughter.
    Your explanation actually helps me understand it differently. Over the last several years, I have learned to just deal when they come and visit and, since my kids are 3 & 5 now, just let the grandparents take over and get some time to myself. As much as I can!
    I wish she gave her part in it all more thought. If she were just a bit more generous towards me as the Mother of ‘her’ grandkids, I would be more generous with extending more offers for them to visit and for longer, but, as it stands, I just extend as much as I can tolerate, which is not as much she would like, I know.

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  51. It did help me lose some of the baby weight. It also hepeld stuff tighten back up. Something to do with the hormones that are released because you are ****** feeding. BF is also a great way to bond, the cheapest formula available, and the best stuff for your baby.

  52. Great open-ended advice. I eeslciaply like #10. I have often calmed an otherwise hysterical baby that way when I couldn’t figure out what the heck was wrong. Both my kids really love to be outside, as I’m sure almost all children do.And, although it’s trite, I would truly say my best advice is:enjoy the moment even sleepless nights. It passes very, very fast. Not while you are in the moment of course, but now with my second child, I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. I am always trying to do better with this.Also, lower your expectations (with respect to meals, cleanliness, hygiene, productivity, infant sleep and eating schedule, etc.) low expectations is the key to happiness I heard that in a TED talk!

  53. These are really great tips. My doula cetinls often ask me for parenting advice or sources of advice, books and things. They want to be sure that they’re doing The One Right Thing. I always tell them just what you said you have to figure out what works for YOUR family.

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  56. HOW does it benefit bnisuess owners? I think that valuing maternal/child health is great and certainly companies who approach their workers as humans have better employees and help maker a kinder world. BUT, these regulations as far as I understand also tie some mothers’ hands because short term contracts are harder to negotiate in these heavily unionized countries. So, once you get mommy tracked it can be hard to get out of. I think requiring companies to prove that they work with the mother to accomodate nursing needs would be more useful and less regulatory. This system seems to pitch women against each other in a new and terrifying way. Women who don’t take all the time allotted can probably move up quicker than women who take all of their breastfeeding time /maternity leave/etc.

  57. I read about this a few weeks ago and was also apalled. I can very much ratele to your comment about your milk supply decreasing and the guilt you felt when you had to supplement. My employer at the time was very supportive (we even had a dedicated lactation room), but I don’t think the general public really understands the stress of trying to nurse a baby while also working full time. I am now the head of HR at an organization and have had to defend an employee who was taking breaks to express milk. Luckily, in NY, we have the law on the side of nursing mothers. Employers are required to provide nursing mothers with breaks (which may be unpaid) to express milk and a clean private space to do so. It was only one small battle, but I think it made a difference:)

  58. I agree with Natasha, sort of. I really think eoevyrne should give it a try but yeah, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Moms have enough to worry about and don’t need to be bullied or guilt-tripped over that.My experience was pretty rough at first, but in the end I worked through breastfeeding exclusively, to alternating with formula, to introducing solids etc and finally OMG, so embarassing nursing as a comfort until my child was almost 3 years old! That was never my plan, but she was very determined I feel like I should be wearing Birkinstocks and munching granola as I type this. Wow She finally weaned about one month before her 3rd birthday

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  61. I can related to this MIL vs. DIL dilemma. It’s been 26 years now and I still don’t have a name apparently. I am categorized as ‘Brian’s wife’ or ‘my sons family’. All invites for Mother’s Day celebration are ‘come celebrate for mom’ never ‘for mom and Patty’. It’s gotten old over the years but I just let it go. There is a clear sense of entitlement that I just don’t get.

  62. Mother’s Day is owned by my MIL and I don’t think she even cares that I am a mom also. It is a day that stresses me out to the max.

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