Ready to Explode! Need Advice

Updated on March 25, 2012
L.L. asks from Spring, TX
39 answers

Okay, I need some advice. Am I way off base here????? My son is engaged to be married in a couple of months. My son and 2 grandchildren have lived with me for the past 3 years and this is his 3rd marriage. His fiance does not live with us and we see her about once a week. She and I don't have a what I call a close relationship but we get along.

Yesterday we had a horrible rain storm. On my way to work I passed a school bus that had been in a fender bender on side of the road. After calling the school I was told it was indeed my grandson's bus. I immediately went to the school to make sure he was okay and called his dad, told him about the accident and assured him everyone was okay. I then went to work. Today I get a text from the fiance stating (and I quote) "next time there is an incident with one of the kids, plz have the courtesy to let me know what is going on".

Here's my it just me or does that come off rude? These are not her children (yet). I notified the parent that has custody. I didn't even call the kid's mom because it was so minor and no one was hurt. The school sent a note home to parents. The school didn't even call. I don't feel it's my job to call her. If my son didn't feel the need to call her then I don't feel I should be put in a position to be responsible to communicate to fiance's or ex-wives. After 2 marriages I try to not get in the middle and leave all the communication stuff to my son.

I'm all for keeping a good relationship but this is only one of many rude texts that she has sent me and I'm REALLY getting tired of her disrespect.

I want to reply but not when I'm mad. When I reply I want it to be tactful but to the point and let her know that my son is responsible to communicate with her, but I'm not sure how to phrase it. I forwarded the text to my son so he will know what was said. I told him I didn't want this type of communication from her and how I felt about it. I'm sure he will say something to her.

Anyone have any tactful replies I can use? I have to remember that the relationship with my son and grandchildren are at stake if I handle it wrong - but I'm not going to be held hostage to her demands. I feel this is only the beginning.

What can I do next?

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answers from St. Louis on

"I am so sorry you felt out of the loop. I just assumed my son would want to be responsible for telling you."

& yes, you deserve better. She's being a witch. :)

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answers from St. Louis on

Just my two cents it sounds like it is coming from both sides. You say you don't have the best relationship with her. She saw it as once again you excluding her, even though it wasn't. You are seeing her text in the context that you didn't leave her out and from that perspective it is rude.

So what I am saying is it does sound rude but it was probably defensive.

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5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yes, it comes across as snippy. Take the high road and let it go. You did the right thing by calling their dad, leave it at that. You know you are right, try to take comfort in that. I know, I know, easier said than done. But life will always be easier if you take the high road.

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answers from Columbia on

eesh...I don't think you're going to like my suggestion.

"I am so sorry. To be honest, it didn't even occur to me. I'm just so used to dealing with Son on these things. I will do better. Again, I meant no offense and you're absolutely right - you are going to be a parent of two soon! In the moment, none of that even crossed my mind. Sorry."

I suggest this as a) you are the elder and can take this 'teaching opportunity' to show her how adult families get along. b) your relationship with her is not a reason to exclude her on issues involving the kids; and c) it seems you DID consider texting an ex.

What if you were the fiance and your future MIL didn't say a word when your two step-kids-to-be were in an accident? You went to great lengths to communicate - to Son, to School - heck you even WENT to the school. That's a lot of worrying and activity you had without mentioning anything to her.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would say to her "Gosh Susie I am so sorry that I upset you. I am not used to having any of my son's wives take such an active interest in his children. While I am grateful that you are stepping up to this role, I'm a bit more comfortable communicating through my son, I assumed he would tell you".

What does your SON want, as far as the relationship/communication between his mom and his new wife? I guess that would be my question.

I'm glad your grandson was OK.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Apologize to her and tell her that you thought her fiance would call her - you figured that the "chain" of calling would go into effect. Do this because she is already acting in the role of soon-to-be mom and wants to feel included. Do it because you want her to "like" you. Maybe this marriage will stick, and they will move out on their own. Do it so that she will still want you to be involved with the children after they are out of your house. ESPECIALLY do it if they are all going to still live with you.

It might grate at you, but you'll benefit in the long run.


8 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I wouldn't reply to her text at all. I really wouldn't.

The incident is over now, you did the right thing by contacting your son who is the father of your grandchildren. It's his responsibility to let Woman A and Woman B know what happened. If you couldn't have gotten in touch with your son, that might have been different, especially if there were injuries involved, but none of that was the case.

I don't know what other things she's texted you, but texts can be misinterpreted. I don't know that what she texted was all that rude other than to infer that it wasn't courteous of you not to contact her as well.
Don't take the bait and get worked up.
If she's not cool with her own fiance being the one to tell her something like this, that's between the two of them.

You're not being held hostage to anything.
She's probably just feeling like since she's marrying your son that she should be on speed dial for you.

Since it wasn't a true emergency, I think you covered the bases.
You have nothing to feel badly about. Don't respond and let this one go.

Best wishes.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I would not reply at all. Let your son take care of it. Not all messages require a response.

Yes, it sounds rude but she may not have intended it that way. If she says something to you in person just tell her that you called their father and it's up to him to call her if he wants to. You were on your way to work and needed to be quick about it. Say you had no idea it would upset her. It just didn't seem important.

I suggest that she's feeling like an outsider since she doesn't live with the children. It's a problem she will have to deal with. You can't help her except to include her when she's at your house.

At some point you might want to talk with her and your son about how you try very hard to stay out of the middle, that you're used to communicating with your son and will continue to do that.

I agree that you did nothing wrong. Apparently she is extra sensitive which is understandable considering the circumstances. As you said they're not married yet. Her relationship with you and the children and possibly even with your son is in limbo.

FYI My daughter is married to the children's step father. I still only call one of them, whichever one is least apt to have their work interrupted. In circumstances such as yours I'd probably have called my daughter because she is my daughter and the communication didn't require action. It's a pattern of communicating we've had since she was a child. And her husband would not have taken offense. But then they've been married for awhile.

I do remember that we had to spend more time being clear about establishing protocol for communication at the beginning. You're in the beginning of establishing a relationship. I would consider that she is just letting you know she wants to be a part of the loop. You saying that you want to call your son and let him tell her is a reasonable boundary for you to state. Just as it was reasonable for her to let you know she wanted a call, tho she could've stated it in a more diplomatic way. Now it's time to talk and decide how this sort of thing is to be handled.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would nicely respond that you were on your way to work and just assumed your son would call her. Perhaps we should work out a "communication plan" for the future because sometimes I simply don't have time to make more than one phone call."

I don't think she's trying to be rude or offensive, I think she's just trying to figure out her role as a step mom and also trying to let you know that she wants to be involved in things concerning the children. Honestly, I think that's a good thing.

It is very hard to come into a "ready made family." Give her some time to make the adjustment and feel secure in her role as stepmom.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You know, there are just too many holes in the story of your relationship with the woman to give you good advice.

Based on what I do know from this post....I think you boo-booed big time. She will be your grandchildren's mother, (albeit step-mother) through marriage, in a matter of weeks. She is the woman in your son and his children's lives right now. If the accident happend after the wedding, she would definitely be responsible for those kids and if it were bad enough, the school would have been obliged to inform her as much as your son.

I know you said this accident wasn't a big deal. But IMO, if you thought the accident was big enough to call your son, then it was a big deal to you and as your future daughter-in-law she would probably concur with your feelings. And because of her emotional investment in this relationship, and her future marriage to your son and his children, she definitely has a right to know too.

Sounds to me like there is a lot of tension between the two of you and it's clouding your feelings and judgements of her. If she's sending what you perceive as rude e-mails, have you stopped to wonder what percipitated her reactions and responses? Have you considered you may be reading too much into the e-mails because of your true feelings about this woman?

As for her urgency and response, for all you know, maybe your son got mad at her because she came off uncaring because she didn't know about the accident.

If I were in her shoes, I might also think your ignoring her with important family news despite a pending wedding might harken a troubled future in this family...or at the very least with you.

Playing devil's advocate, her e-mail sounds more like a frustrated and deeply hurt person...not someone trying to be rude or put you in your place. If you feel you are being cut out of the family picture by your husband's mother during a semi-serious family crisis what is it going to be like if something that is even more important or serious happens? Being ignored would hurt deeply and create emotional wedges where there needn't be. It was a breach in protocol...the same as saying you are not are not do not matter.

I think you and your daughter to be need to come together and air things out for the sake of your grandkids and your son. You certainly don't want to be a factor in yet another divorce. Which if you have been known to do these sorts of things with the past wives, you could very well have been. How sad for your son and his children. It's tantamount to "meddling" in the most sneaky way...and truly wrong and manipulative.

Don't jump to conclusions. Don't do passive-agressive moves (that's what this is by the way). Be a peacekeeper and give the woman a chance. You may find he has finally found the right one.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I am the type of person that would have called/texted BOTH parents. Heck when my husband was in the ER I sent group texts to keep everyone updated. I have also done this when there have been issues at the school with other parents. It doesn't take much to send a group text to all involved. With that said I would probably call her directly as say something like
"Suzy I am sorry if I offended you by not letting you know about the accident. This is text from you caught me off guard - in a good way, though. I am so glad to know that you care so much for the kids, you are going to be an asset to this family. I will make an effort to let you know if anything happens to make sure I let you know too."

Honestly I think you are taking this a bit personal b/c it has just been you, your son & his kids until now. Also keep in mind that texts can be impersonal as they are short and to the point most of the time. It seems like you do not like her (nor the ex-wives) and if that is the case you need to address that situation/issue within yourself.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You did the proper thing, you notified the parent with custody. If you reply to her snippy text say something like, "I will make sure that (your son's name) knows to contact you in the event this ever happens again." And tell your son the same, that he can let her know, HE is the one marrying her, if they have worked it out that she is to be informed it his responsibility to do so.

You're right, it's only the beginning, hang in there and don't be held hostage! Set the tone for your ongoing relationship now.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

Back when my husband was my fiance, he got very sick and ended up in the hospital, unable to call me. His parents determined that I didn't need to know because I wasn't a wife. I was sick with worry and crushed that they thought so little of how frantic I was to know that my fiance was okay.

I don't feel like her text was all that rude. She just wanted to be included, which is better than her not caring about the kids.
Giving her the courtesy of being in the loop isn't being held hostage to her demands.

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answers from Houston on

I do not think what she said was rude at all. I think she is simply concerned b/c she cares for the kids too... and wants the family to know it. Even though it was minor, it can still be scary for kids

I would reply, "'I'm sorry, I called my son, I figured he would call you if they needed anything. Thanks for being concerned, I appreciate it, I'll let you know in the future if something happens". That way, even if she was intentionally being rude, you are handling it gracefully.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Trying to see the situation from the other (rude) person's point of view might be helpful. She's the newcomer to the family, eager to be seen as a working part of the family, eager to be included and respected. It sounds like her ways of trying to include herself are not well-phrased, but she may also feel up to this point that "established" family relationships are not opening up to include her. She may even have a painful history of other people or groups not including her. Thus, the insistent attitude her text.

Unfortunately, the written word can often be heard in a variety of "tones" from friendly to abrupt, and this is also a cause for grief if we hear "abrupt or rude" in our heads, but the tone of the writer was perhaps "friendly but urgent." It sounds like this woman does lean toward the abrupt – does she also come across this way face to face?

Because she'll be a member of the family with whom you'll have to communicate into the future, it would be helpful if you could learn to be as relaxed and non-defensive as possible, and learn techniques for keeping your own tone as gracious as possible.

There are two terrific approaches I've been practicing, and have been happy with the results so far. One is Non-Violent Communication (, which will help you learn a whole process of "tact," and giving and asking for mutual respect.

The other is called The Work, which will help you think past phrases like "not going to be held hostage to her demands" and put you in a more relaxed, and less defensive, state of mind. It's sad but true that once we become defended toward someone, our flexibility decreases in all future interactions with that person, and things do not generally go so well. That defensiveness, though understandable, is not usually necessary, and life is way more fun without it. Check out for a slew of videos showing people doing The Work, and free downloadable resources for trying it yourself.

I wish you the best!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I think she was a bit rude in how she wordded it BUT I think you were somewhat petty for sending it to your son to try and start a fight. What was the purpose of fowarding it? To feel like hes choosing you instead? to have her yelled at or reprimanded?
You're essantially making him choose between his mom and fiancee and honestly she should come first if shes going to be his wife but she probably wont. With the ways things are starting it seems he may be heading for divorce already. I would back off if I was you. I could never live next door to a MIL. Not because I cant get along but because men tend to rely on their moms and revert to childish behaviour when moms are around. Some men act diferently and do put their mom first which doesnt make a wife feel that great
i'm sleepy that may have been horrible advice
be glad she cares

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answers from Seattle on

"I'm sorry. I will let you know next time"

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answers from Boca Raton on

Oh boy, that's tricky.

I would kiss up to her big time because clearly she is going to be running his life, and accordingly the lives of your grand-kids. I highly doubt this is the first time she has exhibited this immature behavior. But the bottom line is you have to play smart Grandma. Because when it all falls apart, and chances are it will, you want to have that relationship with your grandkids to be as strong as ever (no interruptions from the new Mrs.).

With that in mind I would text back "OF COURSE I WILL - WHAT WAS I THINKING? I'M SO SORRY. XOXOXOXO"

This may not work now that you tipped your son off that you're not happy (because you know he's not the most diplomatic knife in the drawer and will run tell her).

Play smart here. I've seen this sort of situation go very badly.

Good luck. I'm on Team Grandma.

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answers from Spokane on

Ditto what Sue H. said.

I agree, put the responsibility of communicating with her on your son. I would never expect my MIL to contact me unless she was unable to get ahold of my husband.

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answers from Minneapolis on

It would have taken you less than a minute to send a "mass text" to your son's fiance and the child's mother simply stating what had happened and that the child was okay. If I was the child's mother, I definitely would have wanted to know. If I had been the child's future step mother, I still would have wanted to know.

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answers from Dallas on

I, too, am a stepmom. However, your obligation was to notify your son and perhaps the kids mother, nothing more. If your son chose not to notify her after that then the fiance's issue should be with him, not you. I know that sounds harsh, but until they are married and your son lives with her instead of you, then she is not part of the family, especially since you say she isn't around much.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Hang on--it's going to be a bumpy ride.

I'd tell her that since the kids live with YOU right now and YOU saw the bus YOU took the extra step to take the time to make sure it was a minor incident, as you suspected. Tell her that if you had needed her, you would have called immediately and thanks, it's nice to know the kids have another adult to count on IN CASE of an actual emergency.


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answers from Houston on

I think that it was fine that you did not include her. Sorry, but right now she is not relevant, and I am a second wife telling you this. Your relationship is with your son, the father. He is unmarried. It's up to him to share the info.

I don't think that you shoudl respond to the text; let your son address it. If she insists on having that talk with you, gently tell her what you told us. She's got balls, though, for saying that to you, I think.

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answers from Houston on

In the end result, what do you want from her?
A meaningful relationship for your son and
someone who has endearing feelings for your
grandchildren. For her to have a close
relationship to your grandchildren, you may
want to communicate more with her concerning
them. You would want her to let you know
those things concerning your son and
grandchildren. So let it start with you.
Good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think it's totally rude. What makes it rude is the inclusion of "have the courtesy." If she just said, "next time, please let me know too, I'm worried," then that is polite. By adding the other phrase, she intimates that you owe her something that you failed to provide. I don't think it's the same at all as not telling a fiance if something happened to your son. I'm sure you would let her know in that situation so she wouldn't worry if she was trying to reach him. I would simply say that you assumed your son would call her.

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answers from Dallas on

Yes, that was very rude on her part.

I agree with not replying at all and letting your son talk to her. Maybe when you see her face to face, say something but don't respond to the text. When you do see her, I would start it off positive, with I'm glad you want to have a great relationship with the children, and I know you care about them. I'm just letting you know, I let my son know, they are his kids, and he should have let you know, it wasn't for me to notify you unless I couldn't get a hold of him. And if she gets mad and says something stupid like, I'm going to be his wife, say, "yes, and a good marriage take great communication." and walk away.

Hugs going out to you, I know you love your grandbabies, hopefully your son and talk and make her understand.

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answers from Austin on

For the sake of your grandchildren, do EVERYTHING she asks with a smile. It will pay dividends in the future. She may have meant it in a rude tone or she may have meant it out of concern. (Texts are bad that way.) I would just assume she meant it out of concern and that she is going to be a wonderful mom to my grandkids. You have the choice of thinking it was a good thing or a bad thing. Do I live in "La la land" sometimes? Yes, but I want to always think the best. Then the next time I would see her, I can smile instead of feeling that nausea that some people can create in you. Wouldn't she feel good about you if you responded with, "Oh, I am so sorry. I should have called you. Thank you so much for your concern for my grandkids. They are so lucky to have you in their lives" and mean it.

The more joyful you are around her, the more comfortable she will be with you. Then there is a greater chance that your relationship can be more than just civil, but it can revolve around the two of you working together to bring up happy kids. Remember, the bottom line is not about how you feel or the reality of her feelings, but how can you make sure your grandkids are happy.

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answers from San Francisco on

You did exactly what you should have done, it is up to your son to deal with this woman. I hope they are moving out of your home and SHE is not moving in!

On the other hand given your son's irresponsible beavior over the years, perhaps SHE figures that she will be taking on family (step childs), care and feeding as well as HIS???

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answers from San Antonio on

If they are really a couple, you should only have to relay a message to one of them. If my MIL has news, and she talks to my husband, she doesn't then dial my cell phone to make sure I got the message, unless we are later talking about something else, and she has another reason to call me. If her fiance does not give her a message she thinks she should have gotten, that is between the two of them.

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answers from Detroit on

My first thought is get off the text with her and respond with a phone call. The communication is a already a challenge between the 2 of you, meaning you are in a spot where you have to create a better relationship for your son and the children so in order to do so maybe you should stop texting because texting can sound one way when a person means another.

Start there. No I do not think you were responsible for calling your to be daughter in law, even if they were married a call should have been made to one or the other and it would be up tp them to communicate it to the other spouse.

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answers from Birmingham on

How about "It is his responsibility, not mine, to relay any information to you regarding his children."

Short and to the point, direct and not rude.

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answers from College Station on

I would talk directly to the fiance and MAKE her understand that after 2 other wives, you are out of the loop of communication. You tell your son and it is His job to tell the various other women in his life whats going on.

As for the texts, I would ignore them. Tone does not come across in words (yes, I am giving her the benefit of the doubt). If it really gets to you, talk to her. You can't put your son in the middle of your relationship. That helps nothing and no one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I have to be honest here, I'm ready to explode with you. I don't have advice but I can tell you that you have better self control than me and the posters here seem to be be much nicer than me or just smarter. Good Luck cause unfortunately I think you are going to need it. This kinda reminds me of a scene from a lifetime movie.



answers from Austin on

Don't text her back. Text wars never end well. Call her to talk, and be confident. Explain in your most calm and loving way that it is your son's job to communicate these things to her (as well as the mother of his children) and that you are actually trying to avoid stepping on toes. Does she expect you to make 4 phone calls every time you know something they don't? Then you would be "that MIL." You know what I wouldn't be able to win. But also explain that you will do your best to keep the lines of communication open with her.



answers from New York on

Text back, "I spoke to their father regarding the incident and that is moar than enough. TTYL."

TTYL = talk to you later.

Very rude, I agree with you. And I say any person who *thinks* she is mature enough to marry a man with children, should be mature enough to handle it when the garbage she doles out to her elders comes right back to her. No need to be tactful when she did not bother to be tactful with you. She didn't even call you, she texted, complete with adolescent-style texting ("plz"). You are her future mother-in-law and you deserve much more respect than that.



answers from Dallas on

I would just tell her well I let him know and I figued he would pass along the message to you.

That way she can blamb him for not feeling the need to let her know right away. his responsibility not yours!!!

Good luck and God Bless!



answers from Dallas on

I didn't read all of the responses, but texts are not the best method of communication because they convey nothing about tone at all. She could have been freaked out or upset, but all you sensed from the tone was rude. I agree with what Judy P said. They are engaged, so she is more than just a girlfriend. It sounds like she cares about the kids, which is good. Maybe the best thing would be to NOT communicate by texts?



answers from Houston on

If you feel this is "only the beginning" then perhaps you could respond tactfully this time, make sure your son understands what's happening and not being instigated on your end, and from now on perhaps simply ignore any "rude" text or verbal comments from future DIL.


answers from Dover on

I would either not reply or reply with something like "I notified John and left it for him to relay any necessary information to your or their mom since I was running late for work".

Next question: Rude for NOT Texting?