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Mother-in-Law Slammed for Banning Son's Wife From Christmas Tradition

Newsweek 11/29/2022 Sophie Lloyd

A man refusing to defend his wife from his "holiday tyrant" mother is being blasted online.

In a post shared to Reddit's Am I the A******? (AITA) forum on November 20, u/user119975444 said that every year his mother asked the women in the family to submit a "sample" of a Christmas dessert.

His mother then decides which recipes would make it onto the "food menu" for Christmas Day, but every year, his wife's efforts have been rejected.

After the most recent exclusion, user119975444's wife has decided not to go to the mother-in-law's Christmas celebration this year. This has angered the poster, who called his wife "unreasonable."

Since being shared, the post has received over 25,000 upvotes and more than 2,500 comments, many from users berating the man for not defending his wife and siding with his "bully" mother.

What to do when a tradition is causing trouble

Sam Zand—a licensed psychiatrist, chief medical officer at Better U, and the CEO of the Anywhere Clinic—said that traditions are not always a good thing.

"It seems that several members of the family are emotionally affected by this tradition," he told Newsweek. "While traditions have value, we may want to consider reform."

In this particular dilemma, Zand recommends that the poster communicate with his mom and let her know that this tradition is hurting people's feelings.

"As taste is subjective, and no one can definitively say one platter is 'better' than another, perhaps it's time to encourage mom to be more inclusive and ameliorate the power struggle that seems to have evolved," he said.

'Flat-out bullying behavior'

In his post, user119975444 explained that his mother has rejected his wife's dessert entry every year. His wife is now convinced that her mother-in-law is deliberately excluding her, although both the poster and his mom deny this.

"So many times my mother has told her that she's being honest and keeping the guests best interest at heart," he said.

"Yet my wife still thinks that my mother is deliberately excluding her."

This year, his mother requested "cookie samples," with the poster's wife going above and beyond with her attempt.

"My wife took it as a challenge and to be honest she worked really hard to make a good sample and sent it to my mother days ago," he continued.

As usual, his wife's sample was rejected. Tired of trying to appease her mother-in-law, she decided to stay at home for Christmas this year.

He wrote: "I came home from work and found my wife upset. I asked what's wrong and she told me that my mother rejected the sample she sent and decided to exclude her baking from the food list/menu for Christmas this year.

"I didn't know what to say but she then told me she was backing out of the invitation to attend Christmas with my family."

A stock photo of a man telling his wife to "talk to the hand" while she tries to reason with him. The poster called his wife "unreasonable" for refusing to spend Christmas Day with his family over a "cookie sample." JackF/iStock/Getty Images Plus © JackF/iStock/Getty Images Plus A stock photo of a man telling his wife to "talk to the hand" while she tries to reason with him. The poster called his wife "unreasonable" for refusing to spend Christmas Day with his family over a "cookie sample." JackF/iStock/Getty Images Plus

User119975444 tried to talk his wife out of it, telling her she's being "unreasonable" to not attend over a cookie sample.

"We had a full on argument about it and she stated that my mother caused this but I told her that my mother is pretty serious and careful about the food she offers to the guests since we are going to have relatives coming from all sides of country," he said.

"Later I heard her cry despite telling her that her baking is amazing and people have preferences that's all.

"AITA for insisting that her decision was unreasonable?"

Reddit users backed user119975444's wife.

"Holidays meals are about sharing and togetherness," wrote Plastic-Appearance30. "Not channeling your inner jailhouse Martha Stewart/prison warden over making the 'perfect spread.'"

ZealousidealWin8128 agreed, writing: "For years and years your wife has tried her hardest to appease your mother, had pushed herself to the limit, and has been left completely and utterly demoralised each and every time by a humiliating tradition enforced by the holiday tyrant."

Either_Coconut said: "This is flat-out bullying behavior, and it's sad that OP can't see it."

After reading user119975444's update, in which he said his brother's wife was also bowing out of the festive get-together over her own rejected cookie recipe, users accused his mom of "having favorites."

"This whole thing stinks of 'no one is good enough for my precious boys!'" commented kenda1l.

"Just MIL's way of telling her she doesn't really belong in the family," said certain_people.

Holidays seem to bring out the worst in families. A newly married woman who plans to leave her husband alone on Christmas Day over a family feud was recently slammed by Reddit users, and a mom being tricked into hosting Christmas dinner for 15 people was urged to take a stand.

In our most recent What Should I Do? column, we asked two experts to advise a pregnant woman whose brother is pressuring her into giving up her PlayStation for free, so he can give it to his children as a Christmas present.

Newsweek reached out to user119975444 for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

Have you had a similar Christmas dilemma? Let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money, and work, and your story could be featured on Newsweek's "What Should I Do? section.

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