Dear Annie: My husband and I drove a long distance from our home to help our son and his wife with their move from another state. They have two infant daughters, and we wanted to help in whatever way we could.
The first morning, my husband went with our son to the bank, leaving me at the house with the movers. My daughter-in-law stayed in her bedroom with the babies. The movers’ questions were directed to me, and my daughter-in-law didn’t come out of the bedroom until my son came home. It was hard to believe she wouldn’t want to be involved in the decision-making process about where her furniture should go.
On the fourth day, our son went back to work, and we were left to fend for ourselves in the morning while his wife slept in. At 11 a.m., we decided it was time to leave, and we cut our stay short. We called our son on the way back home and explained the situation.
In seven months of our son saying everything was “fine,” they never initiated any contact. There were no acknowledgements of Christmas and birthday gifts, much less a thank you. There were no phone calls. Now his wife is demanding an apology from us, saying we were rude to leave so abruptly.
We believe this was inappropriate behavior on her part. What is your opinion? – Disappointed Parents
Dear Parents: We think you will have ongoing problems with your daughter-in-law. She was rude and ungracious. But she is your son’s wife, and he is disinclined to stand up to her. You will have to work through her if you wish to maintain a relationship with your son and grandchildren. Apologize, even if it sticks in your throat. If she avoids you by staying in the bedroom, don’t make it a problem. Learn to keep your negative opinions to yourself. Remain upbeat and positive. Always be nice to her. Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.