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If you host your parents or ILs for shabbos meals....
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amother




OP


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 6:33 pm
.... what if anything do you do beyond what you would do for a regular guest to make them feel special?

I overheard my MIL on the phone this morning tell my dh that she and FIL "feel like chopped liver" every time they come to us for a meal. This really hurts me and I am trying to figure out how we did or said anything to offend them or make them feel ignored. I can't come up with anything. I go out of my way to make sure to accommodate their dietary needs and we always sit them next to us or close to us, make sure they are included in conversation, make sure kids spend time chatting with them, etc. I really don't know where I've gone wrong and my gut tells me it's all in her head but I'm wondering if you have anything special you do at your home that we can incorporate because even though I don't think I am in the wrong, I hate they they feel this way.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 6:42 pm
Some people just don't want to be appreciative or happy.
Sorry, that's my baggage. Just invited parents for YT and they told us that they want to come for a different one instead.
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oneofakind




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 6:47 pm
Can you make them the center of attention at certain points like, "Zaidy, can you tell us your experience in ....?" or have kids go over and ask MIL to read them a book or play a board game or show her their new shoes/sticker album/ song/dance...
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amother




Gold


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 7:08 pm
Maybe they just feel like you treat them like just any guest.
Perhaps seat your fil at the head of the table. He should make kiddush/hamotzai.
My fil won’t take the head, but he sits at the foot (which I guess makes it the head), he makes kiddush & hamotzai and my kids know to serve Tatty first (we learned the Halacha together at one point- I think from the circle) but when Zaidy is here, expect him to tell you to take it to zaidy.
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amother




Slategray


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 8:30 pm
As a bubby, I can tell you what my kids do for us:
Seat DH at head of table. They always ask him to do Kidduh & Motzi but sometimes he doesn't want to.
Always serve him first
Make the foods we like
One of the kids brings a little stool to put under the table for my feet

We don't sit back & wait to be asked, we participate in conversations, as the kids how school is going etc.
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sky




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 8:37 pm
Zaidy sitting at head of table and making hamotzi and kiddush is very cultural.
When we got married my father in law said he was moichal it all
My DH asks my father every time. My father does make his own kiddush due to minhag but declines all other kibbud.
The Halacha of order of serving isn’t so clear cut. We try DH should tell kids to serve Zaidy first or 2 people will serve at same time.
Grandparents always give kids brachos first.

It’s nice to ask father to day dvar Torah or lead zemiros if that’s his thing. But have to be realistic if young kids.
I seat grandparents in middle of kids because I know they enjoy that - but again it depends on the type.
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Jewishfoodie




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 8:39 pm
Okay! I can handle this one!
There are some people who eat by me and they come with a good attitude. They want a good meal, some fun conversation, and to chill.

There are some people who come to eat at my home already carrying a bad attitude. "how will they insult us this time"? Is written all over their faces.

I make the exact same food for both sets of people. We have the same types of convos.

Guess what? The people who came with a good attitude had a fabulous time and sometimes even call me after Shabbos or Yom Tov to thank me for whatever they chose to thank me for.

The people who came with a bad attitude? I get feedback for WEEKS about how I knew they were allergic to sesame seeds but I had challah on the table and I spoke about kids when their great niece doesn't have any... On and an and on...

Same food! Same conversation!

Different attitudes.

I cannot change them. But I can change how I react to getting the negative feedback. No snark. No passive aggressive response. I apologize and insist that I hope next time will be better for them.

I change nothing that I do.

I just don't feed their drama-fest. (word? Not a word?)

Trust me. If you are doing your best, move on. Life is waaaay to short to let trolls, anonymous people, mean people, angry people, hurt people, or even dumb people ruin a happy day for you.

Stay Happy.
And to quote a lovely ima here.. Stay happy, rinse, repeat..

(remember : for people to get 'insulted' they are making that active choice. "I choose to be insulted because..." it was their choice. Nothing you would have done would have made a difference. If you would have given them a dvar Torah, the head of the table, caviar, u name it, they would have found another reason. Because they CHOSE to be insulted. Choose to not let it bother you please. The world is full of lovely people who would be sooo grateful for a Shabbos invite. Invite THEM. See the difference with your own eyes)
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 10:16 pm
Jewishfoodie wrote:
Okay! I can handle this one!
There are some people who eat by me and they come with a good attitude. They want a good meal, some fun conversation, and to chill.

There are some people who come to eat at my home already carrying a bad attitude. "how will they insult us this time"? Is written all over their faces.

I make the exact same food for both sets of people. We have the same types of convos.

Guess what? The people who came with a good attitude had a fabulous time and sometimes even call me after Shabbos or Yom Tov to thank me for whatever they chose to thank me for.

The people who came with a bad attitude? I get feedback for WEEKS about how I knew they were allergic to sesame seeds but I had challah on the table and I spoke about kids when their great niece doesn't have any... On and an and on...

Same food! Same conversation!

Different attitudes.

I cannot change them. But I can change how I react to getting the negative feedback. No snark. No passive aggressive response. I apologize and insist that I hope next time will be better for them.

I change nothing that I do.

I just don't feed their drama-fest. (word? Not a word?)

Trust me. If you are doing your best, move on. Life is waaaay to short to let trolls, anonymous people, mean people, angry people, hurt people, or even dumb people ruin a happy day for you.

Stay Happy.
And to quote a lovely ima here.. Stay happy, rinse, repeat..

(remember : for people to get 'insulted' they are making that active choice. "I choose to be insulted because..." it was their choice. Nothing you would have done would have made a difference. If you would have given them a dvar Torah, the head of the table, caviar, u name it, they would have found another reason. Because they CHOSE to be insulted. Choose to not let it bother you please. The world is full of lovely people who would be sooo grateful for a Shabbos invite. Invite THEM. See the difference with your own eyes)


So yes, your point is 110% correct.
The question is what to do with those you are obligated to invite, who chooses to be miserable.
If it was stam community members, you choose to be friends with those who are positive and bring out the best in you. But as they say, you can pick your friends but not your relatives.
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Jewishfoodie




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 10:29 pm
amother [ Aubergine ] wrote:
So yes, your point is 110% correct.
The question is what to do with those you are obligated to invite, who chooses to be miserable.
If it was stam community members, you choose to be friends with those who are positive and bring out the best in you. But as they say, you can pick your friends but not your relatives.


So long as YOU did YOUR best, (not their best) there is literally nothing left to do! You honored Shabbos, and you honored your guests. You made Hashem proud. Who else really matters?

I can't please everyone no matter what I do. And I go out of my way. My conclusion : some people will never give you the satisfaction of being please by anything you do. That goes firmly in their court. Not your headache. You did everything right.

I have those people in my life. And I recently had a little heart to heart with one of them. I told her honestly, "if you come to my Simcha looking to be insulted, you'll find a reason. If you come looking to have a great time, you will. Your choice.. But I hope you choose to share in the Simcha with us."

Only time will tell

(I can't begin to tell you just how obligated I am to invite these particular folks..)


Last edited by Jewishfoodie on Sun, Sep 08 2019, 10:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Brunette


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 10:29 pm
That is so awkward! Are you sure you heard correctly? Is this in or out of character for her?

I applaud you for not just getting defensive. Very humbling and inspiring.

Without referencing the conversation you overheard I would tell them you are so happy when they come and ask them is there anything you can do to make sure they enjoy themselves. Or DH can ask. If they don't let you know you are not mind readers and then its just about doing ones hishtadlus and letting it go -- maybe it is someones attitude or a real misunderstanding but there would need to be some productive communication to resolve.

It could be something no one would think of : while I can't imagine a reason for a MIL to say that, in terms of making guests happy I have asked and been told things I wouldn't have realized like a chair and special pillow for a nursing mother or like a blow up mattress we used wasn't so comfortable things like that. Or a mattress that had gotten too old to be as comfortable as we would've liked it was time to replace it. And these people were not being picky I was glad they told me. And no one got insulted!

hugs and hatzlocha
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amother




Copper


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 10:45 pm
Jewishfoodie wrote:
So long as YOU did YOUR best, (not their best) there is literally nothing left to do! You honored Shabbos, and you honored your guests. You made Hashem proud. Who else really matters?

I can't please everyone no matter what I do. And I go out of my way. My conclusion : some people will never give you the satisfaction of being please by anything you do. That goes firmly in their court. Not your headache. You did everything right.

I have those people in my life. And I recently had a little heart to heart with one of them. I told her honestly, "if you come to my Simcha looking to be insulted, you'll find a reason. If you come looking to have a great time, you will. Your choice.. But I hope you choose to share in the Simcha with us."

Only time will tell

(I can't begin to tell you just how obligated I am to invite these particular folks..)
[b]
I am going to borrow this and use it next time my mom comes.
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amother




OP


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 11:04 pm
Really appreciating the responses.

I hadn't thought to put FIL at the head of the table. (And truthfully, it's not my chair to give away -- that would have to be DH's choice). I don't think FIL would be at all comfortable with that. (My MIL on the other hand I could see wanting to take over his chair - she does like to be front and center). Every man makes kiddush and hamotzi here so DH offers FIL to go first but he refuses.

I do serve my ILs first and make sure they have comfortable chairs and they are asked to speak and share something at the table. My MIL loves good wine; DH always opens the best bottle for her and gets up to pour and keep her glass full. Kids are very attentive to their needs too. When they decide to leave, even if we still have a table full of guests, we walk them several blocks towards their house.

It does seem like MIL just wants to be unhappy here unfortunately. It really hurts me. We have a very open home, we entertain a lot and it means so much to me that people come here and have a good experience - good food and company, singing and divrei Torah and just a really beautiful overall uplifting experience and really people seem to love to come here often.... except my ILs who rarely accept invites, complain when they come or go around telling people we hardly ever have them over -- which is true but misleading as it is not due to lack of invitations.
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amother




Brunette


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 11:26 pm
well then thats a different story
if she said that to DH then id ask him to find out what that means

but if the attitude is such then just let it go

not easy
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amother




Gold


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 11:32 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Really appreciating the responses.

I hadn't thought to put FIL at the head of the table. (And truthfully, it's not my chair to give away -- that would have to be DH's choice). I don't think FIL would be at all comfortable with that. (My MIL on the other hand I could see wanting to take over his chair - she does like to be front and center). Every man makes kiddush and hamotzi here so DH offers FIL to go first but he refuses.

I do serve my ILs first and make sure they have comfortable chairs and they are asked to speak and share something at the table. My MIL loves good wine; DH always opens the best bottle for her and gets up to pour and keep her glass full. Kids are very attentive to their needs too. When they decide to leave, even if we still have a table full of guests, we walk them several blocks towards their house.

It does seem like MIL just wants to be unhappy here unfortunately. It really hurts me. We have a very open home, we entertain a lot and it means so much to me that people come here and have a good experience - good food and company, singing and divrei Torah and just a really beautiful overall uplifting experience and really people seem to love to come here often.... except my ILs who rarely accept invites, complain when they come or go around telling people we hardly ever have them over -- which is true but misleading as it is not due to lack of invitations.


Sounds to me like you are doing everything right and this is her issue, not yours! Time to take a step back and let it go right past you.
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amother




Goldenrod


Post  Sun, Sep 08 2019, 11:38 pm
OP, I am sorry for what you are going through.
Sometimes we do the best to honor parents or in-laws but they want honor in a different way and it is very painful.
Honoring parents is a big one because it is a hard one!! Dont fall into the trap of drama, mechlokes, hate, no intensity. Try to do it in a neutral manner, no hating, no loving.\
Keep honoring them. Life is about Jewish Torah values no matter how hard the going gets! May hashem repay you.
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DrMom




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Sep 09 2019, 2:05 am
Are you inviting other guests in addition to your ILs?
Perhaps they would prefer to be the only guests?
Perhaps if you are inviting them along with others they feel as if they are on par with the other guests in terms of importance?
(I am guessing)
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myname1




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Sep 09 2019, 3:25 am
DrMom wrote:
Are you inviting other guests in addition to your ILs?
Perhaps they would prefer to be the only guests?
Perhaps if you are inviting them along with others they feel as if they are on par with the other guests in terms of importance?
(I am guessing)


I was going to say the same thing. Your home sounds wonderful and it sounds like you really go all-out for your guests, especially your ILs. The only thing that stood out to me was that you said they sometimes leave when there are still other guests at the table. If it's possible, maybe they would prefer if you could have a family meal together without other guests.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Mon, Sep 09 2019, 3:28 am
myname1 wrote:
I was going to say the same thing. Your home sounds wonderful and it sounds like you really go all-out for your guests, especially your ILs. The only thing that stood out to me was that you said they sometimes leave when there are still other guests at the table. If it's possible, maybe they would prefer if you could have a family meal together without other guests.


I know mine would, but when they come for a 3day Yom Tov, 6 meals of togetherness is WAY to much.
(So is 4)
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WhatFor




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Sep 09 2019, 4:05 am
Your DH needs to tell his mother that you go out of your way to do your best, and that she should let him know in advance about anything specific she wants done, you're happy to accommodate. He can also tell her that if she's unhappy with anything in the moment, to please let him know so he can fix things.

If she says nothing in advance or in the moment, and complains afterward, tell her next time please let us know so we can make things good for you in the moment. "I wish you would have told us." Rinse, repeat. Since it doesn't sound like she's giving specific examples, sounds like she just wants to complain.

What I hope I'd be able to not do, is twist myself in a pretzel trying to guess at what might please a complainer. She needs to use her words directly to communicate or be grateful for the hospitality she's getting.
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Squishy




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Sep 09 2019, 6:35 am
How do you overhear someone on the phone? Were you listening on an extension?

Going forward, don't listen to their conversations because you will only aggravate yourself. Your mil doesn't sound easy.
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