My son married a woman with two daughters and they now have a baby boy. Even though I’m not particularly fond of my son’s wife, I make it a point to remember her and her daughters on birthdays and at Christmas. I try very hard to pick nice gifts and often have a little financial strain doing it. The problem is that neither the mother nor the daughters ever acknowledge my gifts.
I know I’m not going to get a handwritten note, but a phone call would be nice. These ladies all have phones that never leave their hands. They could spare a few minutes to talk to me. I’ve asked my son about this and he says he’ll get on them about it, but another Christmas has come and gone without a word from the girls or their mother. What should I do?
Your statement that you aren’t “particularly fond” of your daughter-in-law leaves lots of room for interpretation. Is she just not taking good enough care of your precious baby boy, or is she generally drunken and disorderly? Either way, I think it’s clear that this woman knows you aren’t fond of her. Her refusal to acknowledge your gifts could be a little passive-aggressive payback.
If those girls are old enough for phones, they are old enough to learn the facts about gift giving etiquette. Turn this into a teaching moment. Tell them that it is bad manners to not thank people when they send you something. A phone call is okay. Tell them that the next time you send them a gift you expect a thank you. And if you don’t get it, there will be no more gifts. Then make good on the threat. I bet you’ll start getting those thank yous, at least from the girls.
As for the mother, you owe it to your son to at least try to like his wife. She must have SOME redeeming qualities. Focus on those and pick your battles when it comes to her faults. Draw the line at anything criminal or unsafe, but try to ignore the little things. Maybe she IS a poor housekeeper or dresses like a floozy. Your son picked her and if you want a good relationship with him, you’ll have to find a way to get along with her.