Dear Snarky – My MIL Has Gone Quarantine Crazy and is Planning a Party That I Don’t Want

Dear Snarky,

 My mother-in-law is driving me crazy. I had a baby in February and since the lock down went into place she has been blasting me with texts, phone calls and emails about how when the shelter in place is lifted we’re going to have the “most amazing baby christening party of all times.”

 It’s gotten pretty bad. She even has a Pinterest board of party ideas and from everything I’ve seen and what she’s told me this woman thinks my husband and I are going to be hosting a party for like a hundred people.

 I have so many problems with this. The first one being I don’t want a huge christening party and second we can’t afford to basically throw what from the Pinterest board I’m seeing looks like a wedding for our baby. I’m on maternity leave and my husband was furloughed from his job so we’re cash strapped and the last thing we want to do with any money we have is blow it on a party as soon as the quarantine is lifted. #mortgage

 How can I get my mother-in-law to understand this is not what my husband and I want and that it’s not going to happen?

 Signed, Trapped

Dear Trapped,

 Let’s start with the positives. It’s wonderful that your mother-in-law is so invested and excited about her new granddaughter. I’m sure it’s hard on her that she hasn’t been able to see the baby as much as she would like. I also think all the party planning is a way for her to channel that frustration and a quarantine distraction.

 That said, it’s never too early to start setting boundaries with your MIL. You need to explicitly, and girlfriend I mean in writing, share that you and your husband will not be hosting a large christening party for your baby girl.

You also need to give a quantitative figure of how many people you will be up for inviting to the party. This is because words like “small” or open to interpretation. One person’s small party may mean 5. Another person’s may mean 500. I suggest sending a very kind email where you share that, you will be drawing the line at (insert number here) people.

 Again, be gentle with your mother-in-law. She probably means well. But to protect her feelings and your wallet now is the time to send that email about what your plans are so when all this is over no one can utter those two phrases that have doomed many, many, family relationships, “I never knew” and “You didn’t tell me.”

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at 😉


5 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – My MIL Has Gone Quarantine Crazy and is Planning a Party That I Don’t Want

  1. Lisa k Waller says:

    Maybe I am reading the letter wrong, but I don’t see where the letter writer wants any kind of party. Which is her & her husband’s perfect right.

    A drive by christening sounds perfect.

  2. Kris H. says:

    Does the MIL expect the letter writer and her husband to host the expensive and elaborate party that she is suggesting??? That’s nuts and completely unreasonable. But, as is often the case, family dynamics can be a bit delicate sometimes, and this may be one of those times that her husband (MIL’s son) should be the one to put his foot down with his mom if they really want no party at all. Sadly, I have seen first-hand where some MIL’s won’t take anything that their DIL requests seriously–it MUST come from her son in order to understand that something will be different than expected, even if DIL specifically stated what she did/didn’t want (luckily not me, but my SIL. After observing that dynamic, I always ask that my husband talk with his mom for any big plans to make sure it comes from him. That way it can’t be interpreted as a power play from me. Luckily, he’s almost always on the same page as me; unfortunately my SIL and her hubs aren’t always on the same page, and MIL uses this to her advantage).

    Now, that said…. If MIL wants to go to the expense and effort to host the party herself, at a location other than the new parent’s house, that could be a compromise. New parents could go and stay as long as they wanted, and they have a built-in excuse to leave whenever they’ve had enough (“Thank you all for coming. This has been a wonderful party. Please, stay and enjoy for as long as you want, but unfortunately it’s time for little Suzy’s nap, so we have to go now”.)!

    Better yet, letter writer could play up this angle with her MIL. “Oh, Mary, we would love for you to host a shower for our baby! Just let us know the time and place, and we’ll be there. But remember, little Suzy is on a schedule and naps from 9-12 in the morning, and from 2-5 in the afternoon, so we won’t be able to stay long. All the stuff you’ve pinned on Pintrest looks awesome! Can’t wait to see how it all turns out.”

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