Monday, April 11, 2011

Help This Woman: The Birthday & The M-I-L

We recently got an email from a very nice lady asking for our advice, but we didn't have any brilliant solutions for her because we're morons.  We thought maybe you all could help her figure this one out.  If you know what she should do, please let her know in the comments section.  Don't be afraid to be creative.  


I have a problem and I could use some advice.

I consider myself a pretty level headed person and (generally) mom. My particular issue with pregnancy tends to be my lack of filtration. The hubs loves it because (apparently) i'm wicked snarky and he thinks it's hilarious. This lack of filtration has led to two things:

If the wearer of this expression is
extremely pregnant than you
should run like hell.

1) High blood pressure situations = crying
2) A strong desire to set someone on fire when they make me put on my Maude face.

Now, I have a TERRIBLE mother in law. I'm talking mental illness, pity junky, selfish, awful woman. And everyone knows it, but they let her get away with it. This is the same woman who called my husband and said "I hate you, I never want to speak to you again" on his birthday. She ruins every single family event and holiday. She's a lunatic. BUT, I have to invite her to things and I have to let her see her granddaughter because (unfortunately) you can't pick your family. Did I mention she also has a crazy sister and a crazy mother who are equally crazy but unmedicated?

The Problem:

I'm coming for you
and I'm crazy as hell.

I will be really, super pregnant when my daughter's second birthday comes around. And no matter what I do, I can't convince my husband that being this pregnant and unstable is a good reason to not invite his awful mother. Oh I should mention that my daughter is terrified of her and has nightmares every time she comes around. We actually had to kick them out of our house on her 1st birthday because they ruined the party. Any suggestions on a general party I can do for my lil one's 2nd that will pacify their need to be involved but keep them out of the real celebration with the people that genuinely love my kid? Something that will keep them out of my house and hopefully keep me from setting that awful woman on fire?

Any advice would me much appreciated.

Crazy Preggo with a Party Pending

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. You don't have to suffer an evil bitch just because she's family. If she treats you and your family like crap then she's not invited. I'd have more leniency if DD was very fond of her (the only reason we have contact with FIL is because he's good with DS, we spent almost 2 years not seeing him), but in this case it sounds like it's hard on your DD too.
    Cut her out, you'll feel 100% better for doing it - and think how much more fun the party will be. If she complains, let your inner pregnancy-voice shine and let her know exactly why.
    Being family doesn't get you a pass to treat people like dirt.

  2. What about taking your daughter, a couple of her little friends and their parents to a place like Chuck-E-Cheese for a previously determined amount of time for her birthday. Invite the MIL, make sure it's a weekend where there will be a TON of people, then...pull the fire alarm and loose the MIL in the impending chaos? :P

    But seriously, have the fake celebration in a public place where there are lots of people and perhaps screaming kids. Most likely, your MIL will hate it and either make an excuse not to come or leave early. At least here's hoping she will....

  3. What about taking the birthday girl to an indoor play place? Or if she has a best friend then take them both on a little trip somewhere close for an overnight. Just special for her. I don't know where you live so I don't know what the weather is like there or what things there are that she might be able to do. That might help others to form more idea :) I hope it goes well no matter what you do.

  4. What about a kids-only (no family) birthday party? Just play-group friends or neighborhood kids and their parents? Not a mother, so I don't know if that would be against etiquette, but it would probably be more fun for the kids and you.

    To pacify the crazies' need to be involved, you could have a mini celebration out at a kid-friendly restaurant with the family. A Friendly's, if they're in your area.
    Then, at least she'll just drive the waitstaff crazy, and you can give them a REALLY big tip.

    Good luck!

  5. I don't know where you live but if it's nice enough out I would try holding a party at a playground. Ask a good friend to make and bring cupcakes, get a few tray's of sandwiches catered and get hubby to grab six flats of juice boxes and a few bags of pretzels! Bring a lawn chair and your camera. That is all you should have to do! but hand your camera to the good cupcake bringing friend so you can be in some pictures, but I understand if you skip that part being pg and all! lol! Then if mil decides to be a jackhole you can call the police and report her for public drunkeness (honest officer, she seemed to be swaying and slurring her words!)
    If it not so nice out see if you can rent a community center witht he same plans except you are going to have to convince hubby to rent a blow up jump house to keep the kids happy instead of the free slides and play structure!!
    Good luck!!

  6. I've had the same problem in the past, but it was one part of the family hated the other, and certain people couldn't play nice and tended to ruin everything! I might suggest having a very public birthday celebration (with the crazies) to keep the insanity outta your house, and then have a real celebration with everyone else.

  7. Why don't you just have her (along with any other required crazy family member) meet you at a fun kids restaurant and call it her "family" birthday party? You know-- a loud public place, yummy fried food, waiters that sing to your daughter and give her free ice cream. Then, you can have the "real" party another time and not feel bad that she did not celebrate with you. I am going to think about this letter every time I feel like complaining about my in-laws! Good luck!!

  8. I'm a bit lost...why do you even associate with these people? I have CRAZY in-laws too, and have completely shut them out of our lives. My children do not need to be around crazy people. Well, except for me. ha! I don't believe we 'have' to subject ourselves or our children to awful people. And...if they are relatives...even better reason to tell them to keep the hell away. I see only a win win situation if you just shut them out. Works for me, and we all live in a tiny little town.

  9. Maybe do an outing at a local park with a playground? Ask MIL to bring something that is extremely non-vital, so as to make her feel included...then tell her the party starts an hour later than it actually does!
    Good luck!

  10. Fake party for the people you really don't want to have involved at McDonald's/skating rink/park/other public place where you can ignore the REALLY unwanted person/give them crappy tasks to 'help' you with (buying a birthday cake? Saves you the money, and they feel they 'contributed' altho she'll probably never let you live it down!), then have the REAL party with the people you love to death another day at home/your precious little one's favorite place. It's what I've done. ;)

  11. Yikes!!!! She sounds like a real "winner". My suggestion, meet the crazies at a restaurant for dinner, celebrate the birthday with them, have a little cake and go home. Save the party for those that don't terrify your is her day !

  12. You and your poor daughter! You can enlist the help of all the other party goers to keep her away from you. Like a people shield.

    Or you could just say screw it and blame it on the pregnancy. I mean if you offend her, whats the worst that could happen? She'll still be crazy and mean, but you and your daughter will have a lot less nightmares. and you can always blame it on the pregnancy. "Oh you know hormones."

  13. My suggestion, PUBLIC PLACE. Have two little celebrations. One for the people who you love and who love you back and a 2nd in a public arena (juice joint with play structure, Kid friendly restaurant etc), for the people who you would prefer to set on fire. You are far less likely to pull out the zippo when you are surrounded by people who don't know your history with the riff raff. (Those who love you should not attend this 2nd event because even though you may find your inner zen garden they may love you enough to take up the cause).

    One who gets it.

  14. Anyone, be it family or not, who brings that much discomfort to your loved ones (including yourself), does not deserve the pleasure and privilege of your company, let alone your hospitality at your event. Explain this in a letter and inform her that until she feels like she can behave herself in public, she will not be a part if your life. When she agrees that she can handle herself, start small with a much less important get together, preferably in a public, neutral place. I'm sure this approach will cause major ripples with her and your husband, but your voice is important too. Stand your ground.

  15. I wish I had something funny to add, but I don't. I do, however, have a question ... does she live at least a little farther away? If so, you could say that - since you are pregnant and need to take it as easy as possible - you are going to just go visit people instead of having a big party. Then you can have a small party for the people in town and then visit her without having her ruin the party. If she lives three doors down from you (like my MIL does) then you're screwed.

    Hope you get it all figured out ... sorry about your MIL, I know how that goes.

  16. We have the tradition at our house of the Family Party (meal) followed by the Kids Party (aunts, uncles, grandparents "excused" from the mayhem of the rampaging toddlers/youngsters/middleschoolers hyped up on sugar).
    It has the advantage of recognizing the relatives, who tended to get ignored in favor of the Friends during a combined party. The kids always think the Kids Party is their real party anyway, so anything not ideal that might have happened at lunch/brunch is quickly forgottten in the festivities following.
    We starting out inviting the family to stay for the mayhem if they chose, but they only chose that ONCE. We're cheap, so we've always had both parties at home, but we could just as easily do restaurant. Good Luck!

  17. OH MYLANTA! If this person wasn't your mother-in-law, would you feel the need to be around her? She gives your child nightmares...nuff said. "Grandma" (and I use the term loosely here) does not need an invite. Why let her to continue to ruin your baby's birthday?

    When one does not behave, then a time-out is in order. A big, fat, hairy, time out. And longer than the "one minute per year of age" that the "experts" speak of.

    If your husband claims you are putting him in the middle or forcing him to choose between his wife and his mom, he is WRONG. He picked your side when he married you.

    The woman who boffs you trumps the woman who birthed you.

  18. Screw it don't invite her! Who needs that!? You're going to lose either way, so I say suck up not inviting her and deal with that later. At least you'll have a peaceful party. And if you HAVE to do something, have a little tea party with the mad hatter grandma and everyone play insane AFTER the party. MIL or not, you can do what you want. Try to keep it on the down low but if she finds out...maybe she'll figure out she's a douche!

  19. What about a family dinner at a restaurant to celebrate - that way you can leave at your pleasure and *hopefully* the whole being in public thing will keep the crazy down.

  20. Option 1: Tell the MIL from Hell that the child's party will be held at the local mental illness treatment center as part of a fundraising idea. Ask MIL to show up dressed as the new mascot, Sparky the bi-polar bear. If she shows up, it could solve a few problems.

    Option 2: If the rest of the family is understanding about how wacked out MIL is, maybe they can be co-conspirators. Plan a small, short public gathering at a pizza place for the MIL to celebrate the lil one's bday, but have another celebration planned at your home that someone will accidentally forget to tell the MIL about.

    Option 3: Let your preggo freak flag fly. This MIL may have legitimate problems, but part of me wonders if she just acts like a spoiled brat because she knows she can get away with it. It seems that maybe noone's ever put her in a time-out. So, let her have it, snarky guns a-blazing. You've got the perfect excuse (hello preggo hormones!) to tell her exactly what's what. Personally, anyone attempting to traumatize my child badly enough to induce nightmares would be on my own personal flambe-list. If the worst that would happen is that she would never show her face at your home that so bad? Perhaps you could set some ground rules for her, such as "the first thing you do that upsets any member of this family or my child and you will be shown out the nearest door (or window, whichever is closer)" would be fair. But perhaps she could benefit from the surprise of fully armed and operational nastiness that is a very, very pregnant woman.

    That's all I've got, cause that's an ugly situation. I wish you the best of luck! (And I don't actually recommend setting people on fire. I am not a professional and my advice is not legally binding in any way. Gotta get that disclaimer in just in case you actually take the Zippo to the MIL. lol)


  21. Mrs. Darling says..

    I'm going to make this quick and not even bother or ommiserate becasue I imagine anyone that will comment has had a crazy mil-sil-ail to deal with...

    1)Make sure that all and sundry know this party that you will "have" to throw is the official for reals party. Nothing upsets a crazed mil more that thinking that they are not privy the top rung of invites.

    2)Have the party at a park or something. Reserve a space there if necessary but make sure the place is wide open with lots of playground or nature diversions that allows you to duck behind a bush when you strat to be engulfed in crippling rage.

    3) Make the lovely people at costco/BJ's/etc. you new found pal and have them provide bulk picnic food plates and cake. This is in no way time for you to prepare anything but yourself for the party.

    4)Keep it to a schedule (ie starts at 12 pm and runs to 2:30) so you can bolt as soon as the magic ending hour strikes.

    5)Enlist your own Kate or Lydia as wingman. If mil get so much as five feet near you your wingman will spring into action and drag you to do something really improtant across the park.

    6)Let your husband know that you are doing this for him and only for him. No two year old needs a big party. No pregnant woman should be expected to throw a big party. Impress upon him that on this day that you celebrate the lovely gift that you already gave him (your daughter) and all the while provide nourishment and life to the next little blessing that you will bestow upon thim (your new baby)you are allowing his mother to berate you and generally make your life miserable for over two hours all in the name of your love for him. Hopefully he will fall to his knees in awe when faced with your breathtaking self sacrifice.

    7) Later that evening...when all is quiet and happy celebrate with the people you love.

    Good Luck

  22. i've met my grandmother three times in my life, all as an adult, and in each instance her behavior was cruel. i applaud my mothers decision to cut her out of her life - protecting me from the cruelty she experienced growing up. what is the husbands motivation for exposing his loved ones to his crazy ones?

  23. OMG I think we might have the same MIL....luckily I only deal with her. She made a scene the entire week before our wedding, the night of our wedding, and about every other week since then.
    The way we finally kept the peace here (my parents loathe my MIL so they won't come if she's here) is to have three "celebrations". We do a small kids party - no more than 1 friend per year (so this year my 6 y/o had six friends to a gymastics place) and we do a small "dessert and presents" celebration with the ILs. Then we do a family dinner out with cake and presents with my family.
    Good luck. If she keeps making your children miserable, I say cut her off. My kids enjoy the monster in laws so we make an effort but the trauma in your case doesn't seem to have any positive results.

  24. My solution is to NOT throw a party this year. "I'm just too pregnant this year, it's just too much work to have a bunch of people at my house..."

    Have someone on YOUR side of the family host a little get-together, (for YOUR side of the family), at which there just happens to be cake and presents for your daughter. (OMG, what a surprise! Thank you family!)

  25. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with my mother-outlaw. Oh wait, this is a different mother-outlaw....damn they make too many of the same model. Anyway...if your husband is refusing to not invite his manipulative and evil relatives....get revenge on both him & her by doing the party at somewhere like Chuck E Cheese. Your daughter will love it, your hubby will be running after her like a critter from Looney Tunes, and since it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with her, your mother-outlaw will be miserable. Problem solved. (Insert evil grin here)

    BTW, I really am sorry you're having to deal with that whole thing. I've lived it for 8 years now since we had our first kiddo & it doesn't really get any better, so you have to find more creative ways to deal with the insanity.

  26. Invite her and if she misbehaves, let the fires of hell loose and tell her what you really think. Best case scenario, you never have to see her again. Worse case, you have to call the cops and calling the cops at a kid's birthday party makes for a fantastic story in a couple years when the cringe factor subsides.
    Best of luck!

  27. she sounds like my sister in laws mother in law (follow that?) really- they stopped inviting her. the drama it caused was less painful than the drama SHE caused.

    stop inviting her.

  28. Yeah, I'm sorry, but WHY does she need to be invited? You need to protect your family, and inviting this lunatic in is not doing that. Maybe if she gets very pointedly left out of family functions she'll get the clue. OK, probably not, but your kids do not need to be exposed to her.

  29. if your MIL is really as awful as you claim, then you need to use your powers of snarkiness against your husband and get him to man up! he needs to be the one that tells his mother she is not welcome at your daughter's party if she is just going to make the event all about her and upset your child. i don't see how he can even allow this to happen if it upsets your daughter so much. your MIL is (technically) an adult, and if she can't behave like one then she should not be allowed the privalege of seeing her granddaughter. your husband needs to grow a pair and stand up to his mother! you should not be worrying about things like this is your condition.

  30. Is a location party an option? Children's museum, bounce house arena, etc. If it's a place where there is a distinct "kids area" then said psychopathic flesh eating MIL can't be involved. Even a park could work, assuming your MIL doesn't dig the sandbox. This is what we did for my daughter's first birthday, when a few of my relatives endangered my baby's bliss (and safety). Here's hoping you find a solution! (You could always spike her drink, too. Heavily. Just sayin...)

  31. Public places are good, but they're a one-time solution. You need to get this woman under control, and YOU CAN DO IT. You have the best leverage in the world: your kid.

    Step 1: get your husband on board. Explain the plan and get him to commit.
    Step 2: Pick your venue. MIL's house is perfect. It needs to be a place that you can LEAVE at the drop of a hat, without your daughter feeling like she's the one being punished. No Chuck-e-Cheese, no fabulous kid place.
    Step 3: Have the event. The very MOMENT that your MIL begins to misbehave, you keep your temper and hit your script, which will go something like this: "I'm so sorry this is not working for you. We'll see you next time." When she throws a motherfarking fit, you keep your cool and your class, and you stay on script, "I know, I'm so very sorry this isn't working for you, we love you, bye." and get the hell out, immediately. No lingering good byes, just head for the door and DO NOT STOP.
    Step 4: Repeat at the next event. Keep your cool, keep your class, stay on script. You are calm, you are polite, you would not dream of making her so uncomfortable, you'll see her next time, love you, bye.

    She will learn, very quickly, that her only access to her grandkid depends on her acting decently.

    Caveat: you must maintain the high ground. Do not waver from calm, classy, reasonable. The more she froths at the mouth, the clearer it is just WHO is unreasonable. If you lose your temper, you lose the high ground. That's why you know your script going in, and you don't deviate.

    Best of luck.

  32. I have crazy in laws. In fact they could be your in laws.

    We have drawn the line. Behave or get out & away. It's always lovely when your in laws start talking about suicide and how they want to die a child's birthday party.

    Sit down before the party and talk expectations and consequences.

    I can't believe people are suggesting 2 parties. That is subterfuge and it sends a bad message of we have to deal with Grandma & the crazies dishonestly.

    If your daughter acts up there are consequences, why should it not be the same with grown ups?

  33. I agree with above. I would love to say "Screw that! If they're gonna be ugly they can't come!" But that's not reality for most people. For most of us you have to grit your teeth and endure your inlaws. I vote for Chuck E Cheese's. It's loud and chaotic! She may even say she's not coming just to avoid it! Its easy to lose her there if she's acting up and at the end you can just leave-- she wont be able to linger after the party to "chat" ! And make sure your husband knows it's HIS job to act as a buffer and keep his mother away from you as much as possible! Good luck!

  34. Hmmm, some of these comments sound well, interesting. I say go for the easy option and have a small family only party to appease crazy MIL. Something simple at the house, some ballons, decorations and a small cake. Maybe a family BBQ type thing if you live in a place that the weather is nice? That way she is happy she got to come to her grand daughters birthday, job done. THEN have a second party the way you wanted to where you wanted to but don't tell MIL you are having it. Just invite your daughters friends and the people you really wanted to come in the first place. Good luck! I must say I am sorry you have to deal with such an awful MIL!

  35. The problem as I see it is your husband and his failure to step up and be the protector and head of his family. This should not be 'your' problem. He is trowing you under the bus by expecting you to handle his mother...that way he doesn't have to. You and your husband should be coming up with a compromise that will work to keep you and your children out of a stressful situation. The only reason he thinks your sparky personality is cute is because it keeps him from doing his job. I would refuse to go along with any plan that included his mother and her lack of filter. If he doesn't step up, then do something then make a plan and exclude him and his mother.

  36. Every single idea I had has already been posted - bonus points for the party at the looney bin. A couple of things I'd like to reiterate tho ...

    Honey, you are PREGNANT, show yourself some grace!! You are building an actual human being, and that is hard work. You don't need to do anything big for your daughter's 2nd bday, she's not going to remember it anyway. And if your friends judge you for not hiring CoCo the clown and stiltwalkers for a second bday, they're not real friends anyway. Your REAL friends will be the ones that realize just how super-duper pregnant and unfiltered you are, and volunteer to do everything for you. These are women that you will love forever.

    I really liked the idea of having a meal for family before the insanity of the party. My parents and inlaws rarely come to the little kid parties anymore because their grandchildren are so busy playing they ignore them completely. Awesome idea, I think we'll integrate that one ourselves.

    I think the more serious issue here is why your husband thinks that its ok for this relationship to continue in its current state. (I loved the line about the woman he boffs takes precedence over the woman who birthed lol). But this isn't just about driving YOU nuts, as so many of us battle, she's hurtful and mean to him, as well. Why does he think its ok for him to be treated like that? It isn't.

    Family isn't just genetics, its who you surround yourself with that are loving, supportive and encouraging, and people that you want to be those things to. My husband and both grew up in strange families and our dealings with our family is now limited. My very good friend completely separated herself - and her children - from her mother because the insanity was just too much. It really is ok to tell them to stay away, but your husband needs to realize that and be the one to do it.

    Above all, don't set fire to her ... she's not worth the jail time.

  37. Been here...Did this. Told MIL about party,cause she was asking anyway, and told her WHY she's not invited. Said MIL came anyway and was promptly shown the door. There is no reason YOU or your daughter or husband should have to put up with anything she does.Just tell her and her croneys you're all sick of her actions and you're not going to put up with it anymore. Why can't people just get along? And some things are only illegal if you tell someone...

  38. I say you tell her that in your about-to-pop condition, you really can't risk your health and sanity by putting together a big party. AND right now, with your snark-inducing hormones, take advantage of that "condition." This may be the only time you feel you can totally tell her off! Tell her SHE is the biggest concern for you in regards to your health and sanity and send her, your little one, and your husband off on a "special grandma birthday outing." Chances are, she probably doesn't want to be anywhere near YOU anyway, right? Forget the big public party. Who needs that chaos? Send the three to a local children's museum, aquarium, or zoo. She gets to spend the time she thinks she's entitled to spend terrorizing your little family. With your husband being the only other person with them, he doesn't get to go hide and talk to the guys (which is what happens around here at kid parties) and he will have to oversee everything unlike a party at your house where you are both busy with entertaining and probably sometimes lose focus of exactly what is happening with MIL or with DD. This ensures his focus always be on DD and DD will have plenty of distractions from MIL with the attractions of whatever venue you've chosen. Then, do the other party if you want, and use your temporary snark to tell her you're having one, and she's not coming. She got her "special" time and you won't tolerate her ruining everyone else's celebration. You can do it. I never could, but my SIL can and does and it is a sight to see.

    Really though, I think the best advice is to have wild and crazy preggo sex to induce labor the night before the party so you have to cancel it anyway!


  39. I am a big believer of Actions= Consequences. If a person is a nasty, awful person, then there are consequences to that and that would be not being invited to a child's birthday party.

    The problem that I see is that Crazy MIL has made this all about her, which is exactly what she wants. When it should be all about your daughter and her big day. I feel like this is going to continue to get worse and worse if you cater to the crazy.

    Bad behavior should not be rewarded, regardless of whether a person is 6, or 60. You can't control her, but you can control your family's exposure to her. I would not let her anywhere close to the party. Like the ladies said above, just because she is family, does not give her the right to act like a crazy b***h.

  40. Frankly, I'd probably just announce that you're not having a party after the disaster last year, and then just do a quiet immediate family celebration. For my son's 2nd birthday this year we just made his favourite foods (mac n cheese, corn on the cob, and buffalo wings!) for supper, had a cake (no ice cream, since he's lactose intolerant) and sang happy birthday while he opened his present. He thought it was amazing, it didn't over-stimulate him, scare him, or otherwise disturb him, and it was a lot of fun for myself, my husband, and his brother and sisters.

    If that's not an option for whatever reason, I definitely agree with having the party somewhere public that has a playplace suitable for your little one. Is she horrified at the idea of McDonalds, or Chuck E Cheese, or that sort of place? If so, I'd choose the place she's the least likely to agree to go to!

  41. You need two separate parties! It's the only way to go. For my oldest's last birthday we actually had to have 3 separate parties to separate all the crazies from each other and from ruining my daughter's fun party. It worked out fabulously! Just don't let them know when the real fun party is or that there is going to be another party. I say do the fun one and then have the crazy, I mean family one. I agree with the other people that you should do the one with fam in a public place like Chuck E Cheese or some other sort of indoor play place. Good luck!!!

  42. Two words: Fake. Party.

    But - and this is key - make sure the one you invite your M-I-L to is some place you can leave - no worries about kicking her out of your space. When the crazy gets unbearable, just grab the car keys and run.

    Then have an awesome _real_ birthday party for your daughter. Although I would consider hiring some bouncers for the door. Just in case.

  43. My stepmother makes every family event event about her and ruins everything. She threw a tantrum at my wedding because my dad didn't include her in his speech, then at my daughter's christening she started bawling at the church (for NO reason) and made a big scene because she was not asked to be in a photo with my mother and MIL! Seriously? My dad had an affair with her - why on earth would my mother want a photo with her. It was nice enough that she didn't push her down the stairs of the deck! So when DD's 1st birthday rolled around I just neglected to tell them when and where. They never asked, I never i have the bonus that they are not in my city or on facebook so no photos to tell on me. I'm sure they knew there was something they weren't invited to but they kept quiet about it. I told my father that I love him but I can't have her ruining events and making everyone generally uncomfortable. I may invite them when she graduates from College, but until them...I'm done!

  44. All we have to do is coincide our parties with the schedule at the Bingo hall. When that fails to work for us, we do the family dinner in a public place with a liquor license. I get there early down a margarita and make sure there are appetizers on the table as everyone arrives.Not only is it rude to talk with food in your mouth bu there is always a chance of choking. I think Steven Covey refers to that as a win-win situation(or is it Charlie Sheen)

  45. I have a crazy mil so I sympathize. In my situation though my kids are treated fine and they like their grandparents, so my husband and I deal. Do you want to know when we stop dealing? It's when our kids become exposed to the craziness. This person gives your daughter nightmares. Let me reiterate.






    NIGHTMARES She should not be invited. Period. Someone who causes mental anguish to your child should not be invited to said child's birthday party!!! Or any other event for that matter.

  46. Are you sure you aren't married to my brother? In my family, my mother is the nut job. Here's what you do: Hold a very fun birthday party sans crazy in-laws the weekend before her actual birthday. You must hold the good one first so that nobody spills the beans to them before the fun party and you have to invite them to both. The weekend after her actual birthday, have a family only party inviting the in-laws at a place like Friendly's or Applebee's. If you have any cross-invites swear them to secrecy about the other party. These people are probably aware of the craziness so they'll understand. If the crazy in-laws ask why none of the birthday girl's friends were invited, pull the pregnancy card. Say you are feeling very tired this time around and felt it best just to celebrate with family.

  47. I just wanted to say how much I can relate to what you're going through. My MIL is bi-polar and is so freaking selfish and acts all innocent and they all let her get away with murder and just blame it on her being bi-polar. She's blantantly lied to me and it's just oh well that's just Mom. My SIL is a horrible wench who thinks she is better than everyone else and her husband - well there's not enough space to get started on him. However as nice as it'd be to just shut them out as some on here suggest it's just not that simple. Family is family and no matter what that's still my husband's mother. Luckily my daugther isn't scared of her but she's not allowed to babysit cause she can't be trusted.

    I agree with everyone else - PUBLIC PLACE. Tell your hubby he has to deal with her and keep her away from you - his Mom!

    Good luck - I can so sympathize!

  48. Not what you want to hear when you are uber pregnant and would just like to spend time napping...but hold two parties.
    I suffer a very similiar family situation to yours and dual parties has been the only thing that has kept us all sane and bbq-inlaw free.
    As many have already suggested, we hold a very public party where people (especially the one we can't stand) can come and go anytime. Usually a pizza place with an arcade, a park or at a play place depending on the kid and time of year. It takes care of the social obligation of being around psycho family rather nicely. We then hold a very hush-hush party for the little one.
    That party is for just the kid. We make it their special day with no pressure from family. Often we hold a slumber party for their friends on the same day. Lots of pictures get taken and since most everyone is on facebook we post them there with comments of "we decided to take a fun trip today!"
    Sneaky, underhanded, whatever you want to call it...I have to be the one to do damage control whenever this horrible person comes around so therefore I am going to choose the battleground.

  49. There's a perfect article for you on Huffpo today!

  50. I don't think you are under any obligation to spend time on a regular basis with an untreated mentally ill woman who gives both you AND your daughter nightmares. Give her one holiday a year, then let her deal without you the rest of the year. She will never change her awful behavior if everyone around her lets her keep getting away with it, and she will certainly never get mental health treatment it sounds like she needs. Spoil your daughter and yourself and don't even invite her.

  51. If your daughter has nightmares about this woman, that is reason enough to cut her out completely. No ifs, ands, or buts. Just because she's family does not obligate you to tolerate her ridiculous antics. She had her chance to be involved, and she's blown it. There is absolutely no reason in the world to put your daughter through that, especially on her birthday.

  52. I absolutely applaud Paula R-T's contribution.

  53. Go out to dinner with her somewhere. Pawn it off as a "special" celebration with Grandma. It has a definite beginning and ending. She can really only do damage to the waitstaff, who can be given a good tip. You can leave fed and without her. Have a super-fun party the next night.

  54. That is a very sad, well-written, but sad story! I am genuinely sorry that is your experience. I am a big advocate for drugs (for the mentally ill, that is). My best advice is to have two celebrations in honor of your daughter's 2nd birthday. We usually do this simply because of logistics, but I think it would make more sense to get your M-I-L, and all the family folks who either are as crazy as she is or understand the situation, out to a nice family restaurant. Then you can do whatever you want with your child's playmates and their families. If they (the M-I-L and crew) question this double celebration, simply be honest and say that it would be too chaotic to have everyone together to celebrate and you want the party with your daughter's little girlfriends to focus on the kids. I hope this helps. And at the risk of being offensive, I will be praying for you...

  55. I haven't read the other responses, but where is your husband?? This is HIS side of the family and HE needs to deal with them and protect your daughter and you from these loonies! If he does not, then it's time to square up and let flip the b*tch switch. There is no reason you daughter should have her birthday ruined by this sad excuse for a person. So pls tell hubby to find his pair and deal with his famiy. You're pregnant and need nothing but bliss and pampering.....

  56. Voting for McDonalds

  57. If she is giving your daughter nightmares she should not be invited. It would be a little different if your daughter had a loving relationship with her. Your daughter deserves to be able to enjoy her own party.
    Your first priority is to protect your children. This woman is scaring your daughter and stressing you out which is not good for the baby.
    Just because she is family does not mean you have to invite her. Your husband should be the one to deal with her too.

  58. I get the IDEA of 2 parties but you are pregnant so, no. Just no. One party, in a loud public place of your choice, 2 hours, everyone goes home. You can EASILY excuse yourself from the lunatic whenever you need to to check on the cake, make sure little Timmy isn't going to fall on his head, even pretend your morning sickness has come back. Whatever. And when it ends, you don't have to toss her nasty ass out. (I also really like the idea of just letting loose on her and blaming it on hormones later but not everyone could pull that off.)

    That said, this needs to end. If your hubby can't cut her out, you need to. Yes, your marriage could take a hit if he really has some need to be around this lunatic but at the end of the day, your child is more important. What more does your child have to do to scream for help than have nightmares as a one year old???

    Good luck!

  59. When I could no longer handle my MIL, just have kid party. I don't care if she is insulted as she has little to do with my kids unless it makes her the center of attention. She stirs up trouble and makes comments to my step MIL that noone hears...and when the step "attacks" she plays victim. Hubby has tried to talk to her but it doesn't change she is no longer invited to parties. I am tired of my stress level going through roof because of her behavior. You do what makes your child happy....she doesn't like it? Throw her own party!

  60. Cardinal rule #1 of parenting: Protect your children at all costs.
    That being said, if your MIL's behavior causes your daughter to have nightmares, it is your job to protect her at all costs. This includes not exposing your daughter to that toxin.
    I wouldn't have two parties. I would just not invite her. It isn't just a matter of her making adults feel uncomfortable, she has serious negative effects on your poor child. If your husband doesn't agree, maybe a night on the couch will sway him.

  61. My two cents: having more than one party does not make things easier on YOU. Even if the parties aren't terribly difficult, you still have to arrange 2 parties. I think you should just come right out and tell your MIL what you think. I have a crazy SIL, and both my husband and FIL are too afraid of her to ever confront her when she goes batsh*t. But since she isn't my sister, I don't really care what she thinks of me, and I flat out tell her "You are being a crazy b*tch. You are harming your relationship with your family members." The first time I told her this, she didn't talk to me for a year. (Not exactly a punishment for me.) But here's the the funny thing: now she respects me and treats me better. She knows she can't pull her crap with me, so she keeps herself in check. I've never threatened to cut her out of our lives, I just don't cater to her crazy. If you are honest with your MIL she may be hurt and angry, but then it is up to her to decide how your relationship proceeds. And now she knows you aren't going to let it slide.

  62. I can relate to this madness. My MIL is very harsh. She NEVER has a filter. Unlucky for me, my husband thinks she walks on water. She can be very manipulative and acts like "oops, I didn't know calling you fat would offend you" (actually happened 3 months after I gave birth to my child). She also has a sweet side and would give or do anything for you, so it really throws you off. She creates drama and a whole lot of anxiety for me. Luckily she lives 800 miles away and only visits about 4 times per year.

    So I'm going to suggest what worked for me. I wrote her a long letter explaining how her actions affected our family. I put down ground rules in a very take it or leave it manner. I told her I was going to publicly call out her actions and ask her to leave if they were inappropriate.

    It.... worked! She did write a pity me letter back, but I ignored it. My husband is a little bitter, but he will eventually get over it. When they come to visit, they now stay in a hotel. She filters what she says (to me at least). Life is much easier with clear boundaries established. I am not her friend, I am her D-I-L. I demanded respect and received it.

    Hopefully you can do the same. And if not, set her of fire. You're pregnant, no one will blame you.

  63. Let hubby bring your daughter to a " family birthday lunch" at a child friendly restaurant by himself. If he insists on keeping the crazy in his life let HIM deal with it. Then plan your daughters party for her and her friends and the normal positive family in her life.
    As for the reaction your daughter long as she has a safe loving environment at home she will get through it. I was raised by the crazy and it is amazing what kids can overcome.

  64. Tha crazies will always be there until someone really puts her in her place. There are a lot of great suggestions here.

    I like the one that says don't have a party....

    Ask her what her plans are for the month. Plan it on a day she has something else to do....then when she freaks and says you didn't invite me you can say..."oh, I'm so sorry, you said you had other plans so I didn't want you to feel obligated to come."

  65. Your husband needs to stand up to his Mom. Period. YOU, his kids come first - NOT his MOM. Tell him to get a BACKBONE.

    good luck!
    And no, you don't HAVE to invite this "person!"

  66. Note: Chuck-E-Cheese isn't that great of an idea for a 2 year old. Or a crazy mother-in-law. 2 year olds need a lot of following around. Just saying.

  67. I have an absolutely wretched MIL also so I feel your pain!!! Why do you have to invite her? It's your daughter she's giving nightmares to, it's your house, your party, you'll be very pregnant and you don't need the stress. DO NOT INVITE HER. Tell her straight up why. If/when she gets nasty about it hang up and refuse all further contact. That's what I had to do.

  68. Pregnancy makes me loose my filter and become pretty snarky too, unfortunately most of it ends up aimed at my husband, since I have to be careful at work, he doesn't think it's so funny :)

    I didn't read through all of the comments, so I apologize if this is a repeat, but definitely pick a loud, crazy, public place. Chuck E Cheese is a good one, as would be any loud kids play place. If that might frazzle your nerves a bit though another public option would be a public indoor pool (if it is too cool for the outdoors at the time- outdoor pool would work too), just make sure it is open to the public so there will be others there besides your party, aka, people who couldn't care less if their kids irritate the hell out of your MIL. (I did Chuck-E-Cheese for my daughter's 2nd and the indoor pool for her 3rd.) That way, maybe not quite so noisy, and you can choose to stay in the pool the whole time except a couple minutes to cut the cake. The pool is great for pregnancy and chances are good your mother-in-law will have no desire to get in so she won't be able to get to you, or your daughter if you keep her with you :)

    If all else fails, pop a few pills in some brownies just for MIL at the start of the party ;)

  69. Your daughter getting nightmares after seeing her grandmother is a HUGE red flag to me. Has she ever alone with your daughter? I mean *ever*? Even for a few minutes? I'd be wondering if G-ma had abused her.

    General craziness can give grown ups nightmares because we can extrapolate all the potential future insanity. Kids don't think like that. Kids process things in a much more straight forward manner. Something specific had to have happened at some point in time that is leading to this reaction and I say until/unless you know what it is, she should not be around your kids.

    Ever. At all. Period.

    Have whatever kind of party you want where ever you want it. Don't tell her about it. Make it clear to anyone who is invited who knows her that she is not to be told, and anyone you think would ignore this should not be invited either. I'm not some kind of paranoid extremist, but I seriously think the safety of your daughter may be at risk here.

    Good luck.

  70. Hi- I've been lurking for a while and due to yet another family crises caused by a crazed MIL, I'm climbing out of the cave. My family has been coping with years of crap, all in the name of family, and we are done.

    So, first off, I'm sorry that she has to go through this it just sucks.

    My first thought is that her daughter is two and small children don’t need a lot of glitz or people, they just need people around that will show love and affection. That could mean no party, or something smaller with just a few family members that you know will be respectful. There is no right or wrong, just what works for her and her husband. We have a big family and having big parties every year was draining. So we had a huge party for my son’s first b-day. Now we keep the parties simple and include only his close friends. Our son prefers this much more anyway.

    We didn't tell anyone that this was our ongoing strategy; frankly it isn’t any of their business. We do have a SIL that believes that every b-day should be a huge gathering of the clans and gets pushy when we tell her that we don’t have any big plans. Just because she thinks this should be the norm, doesn’t mean that I have to satisfy her. If she wants a huge party, she can throw one.
    My second thought is just because someone is family doesn’t mean that they have to be part of your life. My MIL pulled a similar stunt with my husband, called and heaped un-deserved abuse on him for no other reason than he’d told her that we’d rather have family visits at our house. He chose to spare her feelings and didn’t mention that our son was a toddler putting everything in his mouth, and there was dog poo (she hoards) all over her house. He even offered to pick her up for visits but this somehow made him ungrateful and selfish- we were undeservedly keeping her from her grandchild. This abuse was coming from a woman who was frequently so drunk that she forgot to feed her children on a regular basis. It was hard for my husband but he told her- this was the deal, take it or leave it- she took it.
    There should be a frank discussion about not inviting the MIL because of her history. I understand feeling obligated to have interaction, but they can control the how and when, it doesn’t have to be at the party. If the MIL is invited, he should attempt to set some ground rules, and if the MIL won’t agree then she doesn’t come.

    Bottom line, just because someone is a family member doesn’t mean that they get to treat you or your children badly, nor does every need require pacifying. Just because it is a child’s birthday party, doesn’t mean that family is automatically involved.

  71. There's something called boundaries. Your mother in law does not have any and neither will she give herself any of her own volition. You are the only ones who can set up and enforce the boundaries for your family. So enforce them. The only "have to" that matters is "have to" do what's best for your family. If something does not jive with that, the answer "no" comes in handy. Use it and grow strong. No fake party. Just no invite. She will not like it. So what? It's not like being kind and including her will change her into a considerate person. It's just one more way for her to try to manipulate you.
    For more info check out Cloud/Townsend's book called Boundaries.

  72. You definitely have my sympathies! I agree with everyone who says:
    - You DH needs to step up.
    - Your MIL needs to be out of the picture.
    - Protecting your daughter comes first.
    I can relate to the two things holding you back: Being a nice person and being non-confrontational. Those two qualities make it hard, I know. But please know you have a ton of support and sisters out there rooting for you! <3

  73. I didn't have time to read all the previous comments, so maybe someone suggested this already. But my two-year-old LOVES to go to the bowling alley, which also happens to be one of the best places to go (other than maybe a death metal concert) when you want CERTAIN things to be lost in a bunch of noise. Have her Daddy help her use one of those special kid ramps to bowl while you park your pregnant self nearby to snap pics and guzzle nachos (I know some will huffily debate whether a pregnant woman should be hurling heavy balls around, so maybe just pass on that part. On the other hand, I wouldn't mess with a Maude-faced preggo with a ten-pound ball in her hand, so unless your MIL is the fearless kind of crazy, maybe you'll want to at least hold one as MIL repellent?)
    You could plan to have your real pals come by your house for an afterparty once the MIL has had her allotment of inclusion at the lanes. xoxo C.

  74. Have two parties! Have a little party for your daughter and her friends (and their parents), and then do a dinner or something for family. The dinner will be bad, I'm sure, but at least you'll have memories (or anticipation) of the "real" party to get you through it.

  75. Have there EVER been so many responses to a post??? I guess the overriding theme here is to have two birthday parties, and if you feel up to it, go for it. However, since you are crazy preggo, this may be too much work-even for something outside. How about asking a VERY good friend to hold the party at her house. Then you can have a little more control over who is invited (sorry, my friend is really helping us out since I am soooooo preggo and we have a VERY limited number of invitees...and i HAVE to invite all of her friends) Or something like that. No matter what happens, someone is gonna feel put out and disappointed. Let it be your MIL. your pregnant and don't need the aggravation. Now, as for your husband, write down what you are feeling since he seems to think that you crying over everything is hysterical (I would kick my husband for pulling that kind of crap-but that's just me) and explain to him that it is HARD to be pregnant, chasing after an almost 2 year old (I know this for a fact because I just went through it last year) and neither you nor your daughter needs or deserves any more aggrivation. If he can't keep his Mom in check, then do the party, if possible, without him. He is your husband and it is his JOB to protect you and HIS DAUGHTER from harm. Mental or physical.

    Good luck! And I am only posting as anonymous because I don't know how to get my name on it! I'm Cat!

  76. Setting her on fire seems like a good idea to me!

  77. Dear girl, you have my sympathies-- I have a bats**t crazy MIL, but I didn't know it (she lived in another state) and she MOVED IN OUR HOUSE. For. A. Year. So I totally get you, and then some. Here's the deal: We are supposed to protect our children. Mommy Rule #1. That means that if someone--anyone, family included-- is making our kid's life miserable or scary or dangerous, that person gets REMOVED. How you do that is up to you, but I do know a couple guys in Special Ops ;) There is no reason to subject your child and family to the trauma and stress that your MIL gernerates. Cut her out. Tell her why if she asks, and stick to your guns. Your husband needs to be involved in this, obviously. And if the MIL calls you a crazy b or worse, that's her problem. You aren't. You are a good mommy, and you obviously care about your family. I'm rooting for you!

  78. This one is a no brainer. You invite her to a fake party a week after the real party. Then you cancel the fake party 5 days prior. With this glorious excuse '' i'm too pregnant". who can argue with that? That way you had the party, had a great time, and you weren't paranoid about what she was going to do and/or say.

    If this woman is truly as unstable and nutty as you make her out to be... then you need to keep her as far away from your children as possible. You shouldn't feel bad or guilty for lying to her. If however you DO feel uncomfortable lying to her- than you don't despise her enough to keep her away from the party. Ultimately the decision is yours and i'm pretty sure you already know what you're going to do.

    best of luck!

  79. Speaking as the child of a severely bipolar unmedicated alcoholic who really like other people's medications (Soma, Valium, etc.) I can tell you -- you CAN pick your family!! My mother died one month before I got pregnant for my first child. I hadn't spoken to her for almost 2 years before she died because I told her to chose, Drugs or me. She chose wrong. I do not feel guilty about not having a relationship with her at the end, because the relationship I had with her for the 27 years previous was so very detrimental to me. I can only imagine what she would have done to my kids. If she is as bad as you say she is, keep her away from your children. If your husband has a problem with it, then HE can be the one to take them to HER house to visit. And the first time they come home saying anything even close to scary, put an end to that. He will stand by you, I'm sure. Do what's right for your kids.

  80. Here's my suggestion: Record your husband relating what happened at your daughter's last birthday party. Have him call your voice mail. Then PLAY IT BACK SO HE CAN HEAR IT.

    Let him hear in his OWN voice and his OWN words just how bad it was LAST time. Betcha it will at least give him pause and make him consider whether inviting them for a second round is a good idea.

  81. Your child has nightmares. The stress levels skyrocket. Hateful words are spewed and people are torn down and hurt. And well that's just the way it is because she is crazy. There are some eccentricities one must put with in every family. This is not one of those times. For your family's mental well being it is time to say no more and that begins with your husband drawing the boundaries. BTW your kids share the crazy dna...what you do now will ensure they grow up stable healthy loving adults. I speak from experience.

  82. This woman sounds like a real peach, much like my own MIL. Her shenanigans led me to read the book "Toxic In-Laws" which was suuuuper helpful in many ways. One, it gives helpful advice for getting your husband on board with backing YOU up. This is crucial for dealing with any demon MIL, not only when your filter is turned off due to pregnancy or just being sick of her crap. Two, it gives you permission to cut this craziness out of your life, and tells you why you need to do it. You can evaluate the damage this lady will do to your marriage and your offspring, and tell her that this is the limit of what is acceptable. It gives you good ways to set good, clear limits, and stick to them.

    In my case, we ended up cutting off all contact with the ILs. MIL especially was deliberately trying to come between my husband and I by making everything seem like a choice between me and them, and we couldn't have it.

    Good luck!

  83. I can think of two options. Call her up (because if she goes off the map you can just hang up) and tell her that she is not invited to your daughters party and tell her exactly why.

    Option two is to have two parties. One on the weekend with the kids and their parents (go all out). Then have one later (with just them) during the week in the evening. Have a home cooked meal with cake and ice cream right after. This accomplishes two things. One there wont be a lot of people around, so if the schmidt hits the fan there wont be any witnesses. And being that it's later in the evening you can kick them out with the excuse that it's getting late and it's time for baths and bed.

    That's what I would do.

    Sharron from Flo-ri-da ;)

  84. The video camera is your friend. When we have bad behavior at our house we begin recording either with the cell phones or video camera. Generally that stops the behavior in its tracks. We tell them so it's so that the offending party can see what they look like when they act so outrageously.

    So either your MIL will stop, leave, or you'll have footage you can threaten to play at future events (which may deter her from attending. ;0) )

  85. Please imagine this situation through your daughter's little eyes.

    "Gma acts all crazy! That scared me. When I went to my crib and slept, she acted scary in my dream. I cried, Mama came and picked me up and hugged me and made me feel all better. I went back to my little warm crib. I sure hope I don't hve that dream again.
    But at my birthday party? Where I was having fun turning 2? The scary-dream lady was THERE. She was eating my birthday cake. SHe wanted me TO SIT ON HER LAP.
    Wonder what I'm going to dream about tonight when I go to my crib, tucked in with the stuffed dog Scary Dream lady gave to me."

    Enough for you?

    Scary Dream Grandma is bad. She makes your baby scared. Think of it through her little tiny eyes. Those eyes look at YOU, the Make Me Feel Safe Mama.

    What are you going to do?
    --kate in Michigan

  86. I agree ... cut these crazy people off. I've dealt with a very unstable family member for almost 18 yrs, my Father-In-Law is an ass who cares nothing for anyone but himself. He abused his wife & kids in every way possible. And yes, every family event was ruined or made more stressful by his being there. It took the rest of my husband's family & I standing up to him to get him out of our lives. Especially if she is traumatizing your daughter, she has no reason to be there. You know what? Invite her to the party & let those unfiltered comments fly. Who the hell cares, if she's pissed off in front of everyone else then maybe she'll avoid family gatherings from now on. Oh yeah, the videotaping idea is GENIUS!

  87. I like the video camera idea. It wouldn't help this year, but you could make it a 'tradition' of showing some hi-lights from last year's party and make sure she sees just how awful she's acting. Sometimes people just don't know, or don't want to acknowledge how they act towards others.

  88. Wow. Loved reading this, posting, comments, and all. I SUPER applaud Paula R-T's comment, though, beyond all the others. Definitely need to get a handle on this crazy lady, and don't want to make your little one feel bad if you have to leave a fun public place kid party because of nasty Granny. I think getting hubby on board, sticking to the "I'm sorry this is making you so uncomfortable, we'll leave now, see you next time, bye" script and smiling until your teeth break is the best way to go. I think your other viable choice is simply to not invite her, period, 'cause she gives your daughter nightmares. Good luck--would LOVE to hear a follow up about what you ended up doing! Best wishes on a continued healthy pregnancy and a safe and healthy delivery of your new little one! :-)

  89. If your MIL was a pedophile, you wouldn't feel obligated to include her in your child's life, and give her access to your child, just because she shared some DNA. You wouldn't put your daughter in the same room with someone who would randomly punch or stab her, either. Clearly, your MIL is mentally abusive AT LEAST. Kids don't generally have nightmares about being with their grandparents. You have NO OBLIGATION to make this woman happy, at the expense of your sanity, your child's mental and emotional well-being, and your husband's sanity. In fact, you have an obligation to protect your children from ALL harm, and that includes blood relatives who see nothing wrong with being so horrible that children in their family panic just at the *prospect* of being in the same room with them.

    You don't owe this woman an explanation. You don't owe her courtesy. You *certainly* don't owe her an invitation to anything. ever. again. STOP COMMUNICATING WITH HER. She is using all contact with you and your family as an opportunity to inflict intentional emotional distress. If her behavior is bad enough that it's giving children nightmares, I call bulls**t that she's unaware of what she's doing. If she's mentally ill but not getting the necessary help, that is equally intentional, and in no way obligates you to provide targets for her demons. Get caller ID. Don't answer when you see her number. Erase messages without listening to them. Change your email account, and erase any messages she sends. If she shows up at your door, don't answer. If she gets loud and obnoxious and refuses to leave because she "knows you're in there", call the police. If she shows up at a party, call the police, BECAUSE YOU DID NOT INVITE HER. They. will. arrest. her. For exactly the same behavior she's been displaying this whole time. If anyone else in that family feels like taking on the mantle of Head Emotional Abuser, give them the same treatment. Oddly, it's more humane than any treatment they have thus far given you.

    After you have commenced radio silence, it sounds like time to get hubby and your daughter some counseling. If a grown man still feels obligated to deal with a mentally ill abusive mother who is now abusing his own child, he needs a LOT of therapy. And it's important to let your daughter know that that kind of family environment is not okay and will not be tolerated, and give her the tools to work through what has already been done to her by this woman. Heck, make it family therapy, and get some yourself, because I know I'd need some therapy in your shoes after dealing with this whole mess.

  90. I have two magical words for you: Restraining. Order. Barring that, I say it's time to cut loose. There's no reason at all to censor yourself when they attack. There's a brilliant saying that I think goes along with this. "Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet." In this case, I recommend verbal evisceration over physical violence. ;P

  91. I have a MIL who seems to be related to yours. Drama and craziness to the extreme. My advice really concurs with everyone else make it in a public place and invite a ton of people so all you really have to do it say hello and goodbye to her. I'm sorry that your DH doesn't understand (esp being preg and all) but just do something else every time she upsets you. I used to go to the bathroom while I was pregnant. (which by the end I probably needed to go anyway lol) good luck and I hope everything turns out great for your DD 2nd bday

  92. That would be one reason I'm glad my in-laws have never been into parties and celebrating. Seriously, hubbs and his siblings never got b-day gifts, just a cake or pie of their choice on that day.

    Now, I come from a huge family, and can't afford gifts for all the rugrats around. So, I very early on said we wouldn't "do" family parties for birthdays. Our solution has been the kids get a party or outing with friends, usually on a Friday or Saturday before or after the actual birthday. Then, grandparents are invited over for dinner, cake, and ice-cream on the birthday. No pressure, no stress, just a much more routine evening. The grands get to say their birthday wishes, the kids get the fun party with friends, and I don't have to pay for a huge party.

  93. I think it's a bit unfair for the commenters to assume that her DH isn't in her corner. He is probably more conflicted than she is about his mother and needs the help of his wife to see that it's okay to let go of the guilt and fear his mother has instilled. As the daughter of a bat-schmidt manipulative woman myself, it was my husband that helped me see that the only thing I can do to help keep my relationship with my mother drama-free is to set consistent and clearly communicated boundaries with her, and to follow through on them. So maybe, Preggo, this situation is your opportunity to help your husband finally come to terms with his mother's issues. Set your DH and your family free from her grip.

    If your DH doesn't want her our of your child's life entirely, then you both need to agree on what the boundaries you wish to set with the MIL are. I agree it's always a good idea to meet toxic people in public, but for your own sanity, don't go to a Chuck E. Cheese or other screaming-kid-mecca. Just have a small family-only lunch at a family-friendly restaurant like Cheesecake Factory. You both should agree that if she starts to insult you or your children or your guests, your husband will quietly take her aside and ask her to leave. If she makes a scene, more than likely the manager will be called over and she will humiliate no one but herself.

    Then give your daughter the birthday party you want to give her.

    But after the whole party drama has settled, you and your DH need to take stock of whether or not your MIL is worth keeping in your daughter's life. If you show him that you will support him and help him no matter what, his decision may surprise you.

  94. If you must do something with her, how about a quiet family dinner with just you guys and her.

    However, if my child was having nightmares and was terrified of any member of my family or husbands family they wouldn't be allowed near them. Just because she is his mom doesn't mean she deserves to be around your kids.

    My mom is looney, but not harmful so she can visit with kids, but I'm not leaving them in her care.
    Hubby's mom is a little less looney so she can watch them.
    Hubby's dad is not in our kids lives at all because of the poor choices he has made.

    Do what's best for your daughter, not your MIL

  95. Having dealth with crazy relatives myself, here's what I would do:

    1. Buy your husband a pair of balls (preferably new, not used) so he can actually try to protect his wife and children from crazy people.

    2. Inform your MIL that she is NOT invited to your daughter's party because she scares the schmidt out of your child and, as a responsible mother, you will NOT allow crazy people near your offsprings, family connections be damned.

    My late FIL was a raving sociopath who was allowed by everyone to play emotional games with family members, both adults and children. Everyone but me, of course. My reasoning was that, if a family member was a sexual predator, I would not allow my kids near him. Well, my FIL was an emotional predator, which in my book is also nasty, and I got my husband to agree with me. My MIL started seeing my point, too, after she dumped the abusive bastard when she discovered that he was blowing through their life savings on booze and his mistress.

    In quick order, he married his mistress, had a stroke, got dumped into a lonely seniors' rehab facility by his new wife, and eventually died. And my kids never had to deal with his crap. I love a happy ending.

  96. i do not have any advice but i can say with certainty that i relate. once, when i was pregnant, i got so mad at my husband that i punched through the walls at my mother and father in law's house (where we were staying)... in multiple places. now my mother in law is a pretty cool gal and didn't spite me for it, so it worked out. but yeah, hormones!

  97. I have to comment from the point of view of the grown child who put up with the bad grandparents. We always spent every holiday with my fathers family instead of my mothers family who lived only 30 minutes away. My fathers family was ok but did not treat our family, including my father, as nicely as the "favorite" daughter and granddaughter.

    My mothers side of the family is nice and funny and loving. My maternal grandma died when I was ten and I now feel much sadness that my mom was too scared or obedient to let us spend more time with her and that side of the family.

    When I think of all the time and energy wasted with the family who didn't really like us very much I feel very sad, uncomfortable, mad at my mom. Basically, I try not to ever think about those people, it actually makes me sick to my stomach to think of the situation. My parents finally have limited contact with them but it's too late now to have a close relationship with my maternal grandmother who is gone forever. Also, my mother is EXTREMELY regretful she let this situation go on.

    These people were not even that awful to me, I didn't even realize they didn't like me until I was older and smarter. The points I'm getting at are

    -it's your job to protect your family

    -life is way too short to waste on this crap

    -bad people in your life take up room you could be spending with good loving people

    -your children could be pissed you subjected them to this year after year

    -you are teaching them to submit to manipulation and bad behavior instead of standing up for themselves

    -it's amazing how good it feels to get rid of bad, toxic people like this. It can even let you gain distance and feel pity for them and actually deal reasonably and maturely with their behavior which in turn can change how they treat you.

    -it only gets worse (it did for us) and involves more people you love being subjected to these situations. I can't imagine letting adults treat my daughter the way I was treated.

  98. Ask your husband if he wants to ruin your daughter's birthday by inviting a woman who terrifies her? Then don't invite her. It's your daughter's day, not his.

  99. I would not invite someone who my daughter is terrified of. I don't really get along with my in-laws. But she is very loving to my daughters {her granddaughters} which is the only reason I invited her to my daughter's birthday party but if she made her cry or my daughter is terrified of her. I would have no qualms about shutting her out including invitations to big events.

    I agree. It's your job as a mother to protect your daughter and that unfortunately includes toxic family members. Just because they are family doesn't mean they get a free pass to behave crazily or cruelly to the point your daughter is afraid of her. I would absolutely put my foot down on this matter. No ifs ands buts about it.

  100. 1) She gives your daughter nightmares!
    2) You are pregnant, there is no reason to plan two parties or subject YOURSELF to Chuck E. Cheese
    3) Square up on your husband..SHE GIVES YOUR DAUGHTER NIGHTMARES

    Ok I have some IL issues but so far things go ok with my DD, the first time they don't my husband and I have agreed they are DONE. Whatever you do it's her 2nd birthday, she probably won't remember it but YOU will make it a good day for HER, YOU and the Hubby.




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