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What should I do?

(11 Posts)
CaroleAnne Mon 06-Aug-18 16:40:30

In August last year on my husband's birthday we invited our son and daughter-in-law, my mother and sister to our home for a Champagne High Tea. Our daughter-in-law was in the kitchen helping with the washing-up. My mother remarked that DIL was doing what comes naturally, to which our DIL took umbrage as it must have hit a raw nerve. Consequently, DIL asked my mother to apologise which she would not do, as she felt that there was nothing to apologise for, and I thought that was the end of it - particularly as DIL had completely forgotten about it.

The next family get-together was for a birthday party at my sister's house for her grand-daughter's birthday party in May of this year, which included our son and DIL plus mother and sister. We all thought that we had had a lovely afternoon.

We had totally forgotten about the incident from a year before until last Saturday when we went to my sister's house for her other granddaughter's birthday party. However, this time our son and DIL could not be there. My sister seemed very distant and edgy towards me during the afternoon - so I felt that maybe she was just busy.

However, as we were leaving my sister informed me that at the previous party in May my DIL totally ignored my mother (who is 94) and what's more prevented the 4-year old granddaughter going anywhere near my mother. I feel that what my sister said is a defamation of DIL's character, as she was not there to defend herself. My sister should have dealt with this at the party in May when they were all there and not put it on my shoulders on Saturday.

This was a total shock to me as we all had a lovely time together in May and I didn't see anything untoward. My DIL is a kind generous person and would be mortified to know that they were speaking about her behind her back about something that would appear to have never happened. When we looked at photos from that day in May we saw that the very opposite had occurred - for example my mother happily cuddling the great-granddaughter whom was said to be kept apart from.

I feel that my sister is abusing my mother and her granddaughter for her own ends. Can anybody give me some guidance as to where to go from here, as I would like to keep my DIL and son out of this, as they were innocent parties in all of this.

Thank you very much for any help you can give me.

ContraryMary88 Mon 06-Aug-18 16:48:35

Do you mean using rather than abusing? I think that you should take the photos of your mother and your Granddaughter to your sister and just tell her , nicely, that she must have misunderstood the situation and you have
The photos to prove it!
It seems that as your DIL has moved on from the remark made by your Mother( which was extremely rude, but maybe allowances were made because of her age) then the rest of the family should forget it too.
If your sister mentions it again, then maybe a quiet word asking her what she is up to might be in order?

lemongrove Mon 06-Aug-18 16:49:09

What a strange situation, although it does seem your DIL took umbrage as you say from an innocent remark from your elderly Mother last year.
I would shrug the whole thing off if I were you, all these sensitivities floating around are just not worth worrying about.Certainly don’t repeat what your sister told you to any other family member.Nowt as queer as folk eh?

Melanieeastanglia Mon 06-Aug-18 16:51:10

I don't see why your sister should be distant and edgy with you. It doesn't sound (and you have photographic evidence) that your DIL did anything wrong. Even if she had done something wrong, it wouldn't be your fault.

Yes, I think your sister is in the wrong. If your relationship with her is usually good, could you perhaps ring her and say you don't like quarrels and could you go and see her and talk about it rationally. Take the photo with you.

Perhaps your sister could visit you so you are on home territory.

I don't understand why your DIL was cross at what your mother said to her in the first place.

FlexibleFriend Mon 06-Aug-18 16:58:06

Stuff and nonsense and not worth bothering about, if they have a problem let them sort it out.

Bluegal Mon 06-Aug-18 17:37:16

I find it all a bit strange like why someone would take such offence at a remark from an old woman (I guess in her day it was woman's work, women always did the cooking and cleaning?) DIL didn't need to make an issue of it really. Why would you bother?

Then don't understand why your sister has suddenly after so long brought it all up again?

Also don't understand why she was 'distant and edgy with you. Are you sure there isn't more to this? If not, non of it makes any kind of sense so I would ignore it all.

Newmom101 Mon 06-Aug-18 18:07:07

My grandmother makes comments like this to me all the time, usually I do call her out on it, not rudely, just stating that times have changed etc, as I don't want DD being influenced by the 'women's work' comments.

You seem to get on very well with you DIL and clearly know her well and have proof she didn't keep your GD away from your mother, so really I only see 2 options

- your sister dislikes your DIL and has made it up to get you to dislike her, which is barmy and a bit far fetched as going by your OP it doesn't seem like they see each other very often

-or secondly, your mother doesn't like your DIL and has been complaining about her to your sister, this seems a bit more likely to me. How is your mothers relationship with your DIL? And with your son?

Cold Mon 06-Aug-18 18:53:04

Do you think your mother is trying to to stir up trouble by complaining to the family? Why would she do this? Does she dislike DIL?

The original comment was pretty rude. I cannot quite decide whether your mother was implying that it was up to DIL to do "women's work" or whether she was implying that DIL was somehow inferior and that the maid/skivvy tasks should come naturally to her.

OldMeg Mon 06-Aug-18 19:54:44

Tell your sister to stop stirring up trouble. She is at the root of this and needs a good verbal kick up her derriere.

Nannarose Mon 06-Aug-18 21:26:43

The original remark may also have been meant kindly - we often gently tease a friend who always gets up to help and look after everyone!
But whenever an elderly person seems to be misunderstanding / saying strange things, I always wonder about dementia (and yes, I know it isn't always the province of the elderly!)
You don't say if your sister said she observed your DiL's behaviour, or if she is reporting what she was told by your mother. If the latter, then I would keep an eye on her,and (although I know some would disagree) quietly mention to close family that Mum seems to getting a bit muddled and saying odd things, please be aware.
I'd add that the 2 incidents are very typical of early dementia: meaning to say something and it coming out wrong, and forgetting that you have seen /spoken to someone.

CaroleAnne Tue 07-Aug-18 15:11:34

Thank you all so much for your input which has helped me to go forward and sort it out.
As Nannarose said was it my sister who actually witnessed the event or was it second hand information from my mother. That I will ascertain by asking my sister directly. Then I can put this ridiculous episode in the rubbish bin where it belongs.