Family - El Cerrito,CA

Updated on June 14, 2011
V.O. asks from El Cerrito, CA
18 answers

Okay, I have a 20 year old daughter and a 17 years old son still living at home. My husband and I were invited to my mother in laws for dinner on Sunday. Actually we go every Sunday and on holidays like Memorial day, Labor day, 4th of July....etc. She lives a couple of blocks away from us. Well my husband and I said we would be there, but we didn't check with the young adults. So on Sunday I was letting them know we were going to grandmas for dinner they didn't want to go. My son had plans already and my daughter just didn't want to go because she had a late lunch and wanted to stay home. Well my husband blew up, had a complete melt down. Saying they should go because grandma is getting old and likes to visit with them. He threatened not to pay their cell phone bills anymore, said he wouldn't pay for my son's hair cuts or pick him up from football practice. Called me a bunch of horrible names because I said they didn't have to go. In the end everyone was upset my husband left to his mothers early to complain about how awful my kids are. But we go every Sunday, I didn't think missing one dinner would cause such a war. What are your thoughts?

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So What Happened?

As I am reading through the responses I realized I forgot to say they are our children. Yes they are his and mine I guess I always say my kids, but they are both of ours. I am relieved that I am not alone on that if they miss a dinner it's not the end of the world. To the one response about how come I don't cook dinner for my mother in law, it's because she won't let me she is very stubborn. We have invited her to our house for dinner on several occasions and she says no. She insists on cooking and if I even bring a dish she gets upset. It's not only my family that goes to dinner on Sundays my sister in law and her husband go also. My daughter is in college and isn't working so she has no money to pay for her cell phone and I help my husband pay for the kids phone we split the cost, as I work full time as well as him. I will talk to my husband and my mother in law when they have cooled down. Although I just received a call from my mother in law saying she's still upset with my daughter and compared her to her other grand daughter and how she wont' help her with a ride or anything. So she's still upset and I feel has over reacted just like my husband.

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answers from Dallas on

Sounds like a major overreaction to me. 17 and 20 yr olds have a social life too.

It is not like they NEVER go see grandma and spend time with her. It is not like grandma flew in from cross country to visit everyone, etc.

I think Grandma and hubs should lighten up.

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answers from Dallas on

They are buttfaces! (buttface came from another post LOL)

Seriously tho.... jerks! Tell them the world does not revolve around them!

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answers from San Francisco on

I think being expected to be there every Sunday and for holidays is very controlling for MIL. You and your husband need to get on the same page and personally I think it is a bit much. The kids don't want to go...and shouldn't be forced to go...especially the adult daughter. I would feel a little differently if this was an every so often occasion...not a weekly basis...seriously that is over the top for expectations. I know families that meet weekly for Sunday dinner and I think that is special...but there are no expectations for people to be there every week. It is an open invitation for all. I think that is more healthy. MIL should not dictate what rules you have for your home...but it seems like your hubby doesn't want to make his mommy mad so he complies.

I think there are other issues here. It is not normal to be expected at the inlaws every week and holidays. Maybe try to compromise with your hubby and ask kids to attend once a month...or at least show up once a month to say hello and make the rounds then head out the door...since you live so close. The kids are gonna push and rebel if the relationship is forced..especially as they get older.
Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

Are these your kids or his kids too? I think if it is something that happens on a weekly basis that it shouldn't be a big deal that they are growing up and getting their own lives. If they still go on a fairly regular basis, I dont see the big deal in them missing it one time.

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answers from Seattle on

Sounds like a big overreaction from your husband. He didnt have to get his feathers ruffled over one dinner, and unless they were disrespectful and said something about their Grandparents then he was out of line.

I understand what he is talking about on some level about his parents getting older, and taking advantage of the time you do get to spend with them, but if you are going to their house and visiting regularly then it shouldnt have been a problem.

Maybe he is stressed about something, or something else upset him earlier that you dont know about. Try asking him later after he cools down and see what is going on. Might be more to the story.

Best wishes

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answers from Denver on

Its an excessive reaction, but I'm confused too. You say "my" kids a few times, so is hubby step-dad? If so, did it occur to you that maybe he felt that the "young adults" not wanting to go to grandmas was a snub to him? (even if he is the biological father, he could feel this way). I would think that you or hubby would have informed the 17 year old of the dinner plans when he asked for permission to make plans.. either ways, you should sit with hubby today and asked him why he was so upset. Did he feel shafted? Did he believe his mother was disrespected? Let him know that you want to understand his feelings, but he cannot blow up at you and call you mean names just because he's upset. Sunday dinners could be very important to him for many reasons. Then speak to the kids (yes, they're kids, especially since they don't pay their own bills) and inform them that every Sunday is grandma dinner day, and that it is a standing date. If there is something else that is coming up, if they can let you know so that you can inform grandma that she doesn't need to cook for them. Stress that grandma is getting older and enjoys their visits, so it would be nice for them to go.

I have a friend in her late 20's that goes to grandmas every Sunday for dinner, with her husband and daughter in tow. All of her aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and families go. Its a tradition that started when she was a kid. I think its awesome, and now her little girl will have many memories of her great grandma after she is gone.

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answers from Dallas on

Sounds like a major overreaction to me. 17 and 20 yr olds have a social life too.

It is not like they NEVER go see grandma and spend time with her. It is not like grandma flew in from cross country to visit everyone, etc.

I think Grandma and hubs should lighten up.

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answers from Portland on

I kind of feel like they should have known what to expect as you go every Sunday. Why would they not go or think they would not go?
But at the same exact time that is no excuse for your husband to call you names or scream at the kids.

All 3 were wrong in this case, in my opinion.
Also, thank you for explaining the 20 yr old, I was kind of weirded out by the "paying for their phones" when one is 20.

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answers from Honolulu on

Are they your kids or his or both?
You referred to them as "my kids..." and that your Husband complained to his Mom about "how awful my kids are..."

They are adult age children.
They were not told, ahead of time, about the dinner.
You both said, that you and your Husband would attend.
No mention was made of the kids, going or if they were invited.
The kids, were told at the last minute.
They already had plans.
They can attend next time... and be forewarned, about it ahead of time.

You said, you go to MIL's every Sunday and on holidays. So, there WILL be the opportunity for ALL of you to go, again, with the kids.

This is not their fault. Because, you/Hubby did not tell them, about the dinner. Ahead of time.

Your Husband should not be calling you horrible names.
He was mad at himself. Blaming you. And the kids.
He SHOULD have, told everyone ahead of time, about his expectations.
No one can read his mind.

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answers from Seattle on

You go every Sunday, which would imply that your kids go every Sunday and should expect to go every Sunday. But they waited until right before you were going to leave to say they don't want to go? Of course they shouldn't have to go, but if it is customary for them to go and they are expected, they should make sure that everyone knows well ahead of time that they are making alternate plans.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I also grew up with "dinner at the grandparents' on Sunday night". If there was a family dinner at my grandparents' house, I was expected to attend. It didn't matter what age I was, if I was physically in the same city, I was expected to attend. I WAS allowed to leave early, however, if I cleared with my grandmother first. But to skip the dinner altogether? Nope, wouldn't even have considered asking. BTW, what's your 17yr old son doing making plans for Sunday night when he knows that you have dinner at Grandma's every Sunday night? And your daughter doesn't have to eat, she can still sit at the table and show her love and respect for her family. I guess, my opinion is that if there is a "family" function and the kids still live at home and are being fully supported by their parents, they are part of that "family" and they WILL attend. It's respectful and courteous to the older generation and forces the younger ones to think about someone other than themselves for a second. Someday, when your kids are older and their grandmother is no longer around, they will thank you for making them spend time with her. At 17 and 20, all they can see is ME ME ME, so it's up to you to guide them.

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answers from Hartford on

Your husband over-reacted. Missing one or two token holidays or even a Sunday here and there isn't going to be a bad omen and it doesn't make you bad relatives. It sounds like your husband is fearful about his mother's age and maybe her health and feels that if he missed any time with her and she passed away the ONE TIME that he and anyone else didn't visit it would be devastating and disrespectful.

You and the kids? Stay calm and don't engage him on this one any more. Let him rant, and then let him take time to calm down and come to reason on his own. When he's ready to talk, then talk.

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answers from Charlotte on

Hi V.,

I haven't read the other posts yet, but I am shocked that your husband blew up like this, to be honest. I am guessing that either he is worried about her health, thinking she is going to be dead next year, and that is what caused an uncharacteristic display of such poor judgement, OR he is always this controlling over your kids, telling them if they don't make him happy that he will withdraw his fiscal and parental support from them.

Either way, this is a lose-lose proposition. I have to say that if my dad had done that when I was a teen, I would have dug my heels in the dirt, and though I would have gone, I would have sat with teeth clenched and not had one nice word to say to anyone but my understanding mother. And I would have fled from family as soon as I was able in that kind of environment. Your husband is just ASKING for your kids to never come home to visit her OR you two once they are out of his grasp.

Your MIL sounds just like your husband, and going over there every Sunday and holiday is enabling this attitude of hers. I feel so sorry for you - do you still have family? If you do, do you EVER get to visit them?

Don't be surprised when the time comes that your kids have absolutely nothing to do with grandma. If she is still alive when you have grandbabies come, she'll never see them...

Good luck,

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answers from Washington DC on

They are active, young adults.

If your 20 year old is still living at home - I'm HOPING they are going to college and paying rent...IMHO.

However, hubby was 50/50 on the meltdown....especially if it's a TRADITION to go on Sunday's...the kids should've said something to you in advance about not being able to go...the daughter? well - too bad. she should've gotten off her butt to go.

You never know how long you will have your grandparents for. I lost my mother's parents when I was 10 and only got to meet them once that I remember (we were military and lived in Hawaii) and my dad's parents lived a while but long story..

fact remains - family should be important....wish my parents lived closer
wish my MIL was still alive to see my boys grow up!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like your husband is a chip off the old block. Like Mother like son. That's a shame.

If you have been going over there EVERY SUNDAY for years, then your son and daughter should have expected this. If you husband was so upset that they missed one Sunday, then I recommend that your daughter miss a Sunday more often because of something having to do with school or her boyfriend or something to wean your husband and mother from expecting them EVERY SUNDAY.

I love to have my children over, and am disappointed to not have them over. BUT I don't put that kind of pressure on them to come over. I do my best to make them want to come over. We play games and have a good dinner and the grandkids play with one another. The moms really like it when the grandkids play with each other. So we provide a place for them to do so. If they don't come over, that's life. All I ask is that if they visit their in-laws, they visit us. If they don't, that's life too. But I NEVER loose my temper and fly off the handle.

I would also make something to take over to your mom's home. A new recipe that you want her to taste. Something unique you want her to try. (I grow boysenberries. The kids were delighted to come over and have homemade boysenberry ice cream.) The kids love boysenberry pie or cobbler. I also raise blackberries. MMMMM good stuff!!!!!

If I was your son, and I was treated like this, I would go to college far away. When I got a job and got married, it would be far away. There are fights worth fighting. This fight is one where you could fight the good fight and loose the war.

If I was the dad and his mom, I'd apologize to your kids and ask, but not demand, they join you for dinner.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Appleton on

First of all the things he said were totally off base. Is he always so controlling? No one should be called any kind of name. You son is a minor and he is responsible to take care of him. If your daughter is 20 and wants a cell phone she should have a job and be responsible for her own phone bill.
I understand that it is a weekly plan for you but the kids are old enough to have lives of their own. And since Grandma lives only a couple of blocks away they can go visit her whenever they choose. It might be nice for her if they went over to play cards or just visit and not have her work so hard preparing a dinner.
Since she is getting older why is she making dinner and not you?

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answers from Harrisburg on

If you are a close knit family, then it has become a family tradition to go every Sunday, and I could see how your husband would take offense. In this case the tradition should not be broken. This is what you have started basically. However, you are a family unit to yourselves as well and your kids are adults/teen who have a mind of their own. . So either you stop going to grandma every Sunday and holidays, and make it once every other Sunday or so everyone is happy and it breaks the routine, or both you and your husband go and let the kids not be so obligated EVERY Sunday to go. For a kid, that can become monotony especially if they don't particularly look forward to it EVERY time.

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answers from Biloxi on

See, I think that children, no matter what their age, who are dependent on the parents for everything (roof, clothing, food, phones, etc.) should be expected to go along with the Sunday dinner thing. Especially when it has been a long standing tradition - they knew it was Sunday and that Sunday means dinner at Grandmas. It's kinda' like the price they have to pay for being completely supported by the parents.

When I was in my early 20s I still lived at home. Dad paid for everything, even tho' I worked and went to school. There were many Sundays when I struggled out of bed after a late, late night, and went to my Aunt's house for Sunday lunch. Did I want to? Not really, but it was part of being a family and made my father happy.

I wound up be the grandchild that took my Grandmother grocery shopping and errand running every Saturday. I groused and complained and bitched to my sister b'c she never would. But, in the end, I had a wonderfully close relationship with my Granny. It was worth skipping an outing or two with my friends to be with her.

That being said, it sounds like everyone over-reacted. Have the kids call and apologize to Grandma and promise to be there next Sunday. And let them know that you expect them to be available on Sundays from now on. Have everyone in your house apologize to each other. Everyone handled it poorly, IMHO.

It is family, it is a tradition. Sure, it can be a drag for your children- but they will be self supporting and out eventually and then can make their own decisions.

Good Luck
God Bless

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answers from Dallas on

They are buttfaces! (buttface came from another post LOL)

Seriously tho.... jerks! Tell them the world does not revolve around them!


answers from Los Angeles on

if they are living under your roof and not paying any rent, i would make them go. its obvious that you all have this family time at grandmas house every week, so your son should not have made plans and your daughter should have known to not have a late lunch.
and when your husband gets upset about something, you should take him off to the side where the kids can not hear you disagree with him.

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