A woman recently asked for advice about dealing with her in-laws. She was turning 40 and was excited to celebrate, but was she wrong to be mad at her family when they didn’t seem to care? Here’s what she had to say:
The Dispute Started Over Dinner
“My husband and I go to dinner at his parents’ with his brother and our SIL every Sunday. The last 3 weekends, all the talk over dinner has been about what my father-in-law is doing/wants for his birthday. For example, a zipline activity, trip, birthday party, and gifts.”
The Woman Didn’t Think This Was Fair
The woman couldn’t understand why the focus was on her father-in-law’s birthday. It was still many months away, whereas both she and her sister-in-law had birthdays coming up much sooner. The woman was about to turn 40—didn’t that deserve some fanfare?
Her Father-In-Law Had A Milestone Coming Up Too
“There has been one mention of what me and my SIL want for our birthdays. All the focus has been on his birthday. I understand that a 70th is a milestone, but so is my 40th, and I’m tired of hearing about how great his is going to be.”
The Woman Spoke Up
Things reached a tipping point when the subject of the father-in-law’s birthday was raised again at another dinner. The woman suggested that they should focus on her own impending birthday first. But she wasn’t totally selfish: she also wanted to discuss plans for her sister-in-law’s birthday.
Nobody Paid Her Any Attention
Not even the woman’s husband responded to her interruption. They were all so laser-focused on making sure that the patriarch of the family had a good time that they seemed to have forgotten she existed. It drove her crazy.
The Woman Loved To Bake
Because the woman was a very talented baker, she was responsible for making the family’s birthday cakes. She made a point of asking her sister-in-law what kind of cake she wanted in front of the rest of the family, but her mother-in-law wanted her to focus on her father-in-law’s celebration.
The Woman’s Mother-In-Law Gave A List Of Demands
The woman’s irritation only increased when she received a long text message from her mother-in-law the next morning. Again, the mother-in-law was prioritizing her husband’s birthday, even though it was still months away.
The Mother-In-Law Wanted Everything To Be Ready
Even though other people had birthdays first, the mother-in-law was already fixated on getting the perfect cake for her husband. The woman thought that her mother-in-law was being a bit hasty, but her mother-in-law just wanted to warn the woman in advance.
The Woman Couldn’t Take It
She snapped back at her mother-in-law that she was planning things very much in advance. She knew that the response was a little passive aggressive, but she’d been pushed too far.
She Felt Invisible
Even though her 40th birthday was a month away, the woman felt like no one was making any effort to celebrate it with her. Sure, they’d asked her what she wanted for her gift, but this was her big four-oh. Shouldn’t they be doing something more?
Was The Woman Right To Feel Annoyed?
The woman recognized that her father-in-law turning 70 was a big event in everybody’s life. But she didn’t understand why it had to be the entire focus. Having birthdays wasn’t something unique to him, and it upset her that he seemed to get all the attention.
People Were Divided
One person understood the woman’s problem but urged her to solve it herself: “You’re turning 40. If you want to make your birthday special, form your own committee to organize it.”
However, other people were far less sympathetic to the woman’s plight. One person said, “Are you sure you are turning 40? You seem like a 15-year-old teenager,” while another added, “You all sound exhausting. Plan your own damn party.”
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