'My mother-in-law sent my son a Christmas present and it made me uncomfortable.'

Anyone who’s been married knows that a relationship with a mother-in-law can be difficult to navigate – and that’s especially the case if she’s a former mother-in-law – but still a grandparent to your child.

This is the situation one mother recently discovered, which compelled her to post about it parenting forum Mumsnet; with the issue being her ex-husband‘s mother’s gift for her son.

Writing under the name Tig33, the woman revealed that her former mother-in-law mother sent a Christmas present to her son, which she felt uncomfortable with.

In a post called “DS Christmas present from Ex’s mum“, the woman asked the forum if they thought she was being unreasonable.

“I left DS’s [darling son’s] dad 12 years ago when DS was one due to his unreasonable behaviour, ” she explained.

“Ex’s behaviour since has demonstrated that I made the right choice for DS [darling son], ex has been very unreliable with contact and financial support and we have got to the point when the last time he saw DS was last February (so missing DS birthday and Christmas).”

Tig33 then reasoned that because of the limited contact, her son isn’t familiar with the extended family on his dad’s side. Nevertheless, the former mother-in-law unexpectedly sent her grandson a Christmas gift, which, the mum felt, was unusual; a ‘tree top adventure’ at a location near where the mother-in-law lived.

“Out of the blue, she sent him a card with a note asking for details of his school holidays. DS [darling son] was not super keen to go but is a very polite child so said he would go so I emailed her with the dates,” the mum wrote.

“She replied to say that she would come and pick DS up on the Saturday and they would meet up with the rest of the family (including DS dad) on the Sunday. Travel is involved. This means DS staying over with her which DS doesn’t feel happy to do.”

The original post. Source: Mumsnet

Tig33 explained in her post that because both she and her son were uncomfortable the intimate nature of what accepting the gift involved, she attempted to offer alternatives which removed the prospect of the sleepover, but was told, “that does not work for them”.


She also didn't want to drive her son herself, considering the reception she received the last time she saw the family.

After explaining the story, the mum asked the group, “Would I be unreasonable to say sorry that does not suit us, DS can’t make it?”

The mother received the support she was seeking from the group, with many members agreeing she was within her rights to say no on her son's behalf - and that his feelings in the situation should be paramount.

“DS’s feelings come first and he doesn’t want to stay overnight,” one person wrote.

“This should be about your son and what he wants," said another. "Stick up for him, what ex-mil [mother in law] and co is not really relevant as they are so underinvested."

Other were more direct: "Don't give them options, tell them! You're his mum."

Many of the commenters were especially uncomfortable with the concept of the sleepover with people the son wasn't familiar with.

“I’d also not let him stay over," said one. "but I’d allow myself to be the bad guy to save his embarrassment. So it’s not ‘sorry he can’t stay over because he doesn’t want to’ but ‘sorry, I don’t want him staying’."

The bluntest piece of advice was from one person, who encouraged the mum to think of herself, first.

"I wouldn't worry about rocking the boat with your ex's family! They sound like a bunch of sh*ts," they advised.

Have you ever been in a similar situation with your mother-in-law? Tell us in the comments below.

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