1. Marissa

    My husband and I each get along with all of our in-laws. In fact, I’m closer to my mother-in-law than I’ve ever been with own mom. I truly believe the feeling is mutual; however, when it comes to holiday gifts, I am given a check for half of what my husband receives. Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t feel entitled to receive anything, and I’m grateful for what I’ve been given. It offends my husband, though, and it makes me feel a little like I haven’t really been accepted as part of the family. I think my in-laws would be mortified if they realized that we have that impression, but I’m wondering if it would do more harm than good for my husband to bring it up to them. I’m open to advice, but I also want to put this out there for other families who may be unintentionally giving the wrong impression to their loved ones.

    • I’m uncertain why they don’t give the same amount. Is this something your husband could bring up with them privately?
      “Mom, Dad, I’m sure you don’t mean anything by this, but I’m uncomfortable that you give me $100, but only give Marissa $50. Couldn’t you give us both $75, or just take us out for a nice meal?”

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Maybe the next time this comes up your husband could encourage them to write one check for both of you? Something like, “you shouldn’t waste a check writing us separate checks! It all goes into the same bank account anyway. In the future, you can just write us one check for the total you want to give both of us.”

      • M M Thomas

        My mother gives one check to my small family. Dh considers it mine although we use it for family things. My FIL makes out the family check to me although I consider the money dh’s. We still use it for family things. I don’t know, if in your situation, I would bring it up at all. Could you just shrug and chock it up to MIL’s excentricity?

    • Vanna Keiler

      Hi Marissa. My advice would be to leave it alone, and not to offer any suggestion to your husband. I may go so far as to dissuade him from saying anything to his family. I think your husband, as their son, may likely always receive gifts which are viewed monetarily greater (or are greater) than yours. I do not think they intended nor felt you or he would view it as any slight. On the contrary, I think it is wonderful that you are included and given a gift as well, and it sounds like you have a great relationship with them. I would continue to be gracious, squelch your husband’s suggestion and appreciate the fact that your husband’s family loves him and adores you.

  2. Kate

    Often I’ve heard people’s outgoing voicemail message say something like this, “Hi, you’ve reached so-and-so. Please leave a message and I will return your call at my convenience.”

    The phrase “at my convenience” doesn’t really sit well with me, because I feel like it’s implying that the person you are calling thinks their time is more valuable than yours.

    What do you guys think? Am I being too persnickety?

    • Nonnie Mowse

      Hi Kate. We have an off-putting message on our machines too, that caused quite the kerfuffle within the family until they understood it was for the benefit of telemarketers. We also have two phone lines, and the message on the unlisted line is even more stern. Some things are just sacred, if we didn’t give someone our unlisted number they shouldn’t be calling us, especially during dinner or late evening. So maybe this is the reason for the turn of phrase? It isn’t the most charming of messages, but perhaps the day they recorded it, they’d had enough of unwanted calls? While I want to try to be sympathetic to someone who must do that job to keep a roof over their head, even with caller ID there are sometimes storms of calls we just would like to go away. We want them to know that no matter how often they call, if we do not know them they will get nowhere if we answer, and hopefully they give up after they realize they will only ever get an unfriendly machine.

    • Elizabeth

      Kate, I have to agree with you, I don’t love that turn of phrase. If they said “at my earliest convenience,” at least that would imply some measure of priority. As you reported it, the phrase really just means “I’ll call you back when I feel like it.” I suppose this is the truth for phone calls, right? We do call people back when we feel like it, barring any emergency. But it doesn’t sound so nice. Why not just say, “please leave your phone number, and I’ll call you back.”

  3. Marissa

    Thank you all for the kind suggestions! I will leave it up to my husband to decide if he wants to bring it up with his parents. If so, I’ll show him your great ideas! I’ll just assume the best of my in-laws and remember this someday if we ever have children-in-law.

    • Elizabeth

      I just wanted to share my experience, which is the opposite of yours. My in-laws always give me, their daughter-in-law, the larger gift (and it’s often quite a bit larger) rather than my husband. I have no idea why they do this, I have my suspicions, but I’ve always just chalked it up to eccentricity. It really doesn’t matter, because they money is “ours” and we decide together how to spend it or we put it in a mutually-accessible account. I would really not read this as any preference on their part, or any indication that they don’t love you.

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