My MIL doesn’t like me at all. She’s one of the typical moms who doesn’t want her son to be stolen away by another woman, so my existence alone is enough for her to resent me.
It doesn’t help that I don’t practice her religion and that we don’t plan on baptizing our children. This is a mutual decision between my husband and I. For a little extra context, she sends me bible verses and quotes about being subservient to your husband on a regular basis to get under my skin.
After telling her very nicely and calmly to stop once, she had a full blown meltdown/tantrum about how I won’t let her save me, so I just ignore her messages now.
My daughter (4) loves Christmas. She loves decorating the house and helping bake the cookies and she gets to pick the tree out this year. She’s so excited it’s literally so adorable, she’s been talking about it since July.
She also is a very firm believer in Santa. She already has a mile long list of things she wants him to get her. Side note: she isn’t spoiled at all, some of the things on her list are random items she sees at the grocery store or things on our shelves.
Our dog that we’ve had for six years is on her list. She just likes writing them (AKA making me write them)
My MIL was over today and my daughter was asking me to add another random item to her Santa list. As my MIL heard her say it, she immediately responds to her saying that Santa isn’t real, and that me and my husband are who buys the gifts under the tree.
This obviously went over like a lead balloon with my child, but my MIL looked pretty happy with herself for the storm she just created for me and for breaking my daughter's heart.
I immediately told her to pack and get out of my house and that she wasn’t welcome near my baby anymore.
She tried to respond that she did us a favor and that our child shouldn’t be thanking a man who doesn’t exist for the nice things we do for her, so I responded that it was a rich statement coming from someone who has spent their entire life praying to a man who ALSO doesn’t exist.
I also told her I was very sorry she let the devil breed hate in her heart, then I slammed the door in her face.
Husband is completely on my side and is completely shattered that his mom ruined something so special for our daughter, but we’ve received a few texts and calls from his siblings who think I was out of line and that I should be apologizing to her.
I’m still so angry that I can’t really judge for myself if I’m in the wrong or not, but really don’t think that I am. I think she crossed an uncrossable line and that I’m justified in not letting her have a future relationship with my daughter or any other children we might have later.
Not looking for advice, just to talk and vent.
Here were the top comments on the original post.
I teach sixth grade History and come across students who still believe in Santa every year. If and when it comes up and some kid says he’s not real — I adamantly say he is.
If they argue that they caught their parents putting gifts under the tree or shopping — I tell them Santa outsources because it’s a lot of work to deliver all over the world and the elves unionized, so he uses parents as subcontractors.
Just a thought.
For what it’s worth, we don’t perpetuate Santa to our three year old but we also don’t say the truth. She knows about him from TV but also knows which special gifts are from mommy and daddy or grandma.
Same with religion, which has only come up a little since her great grandma died this year and she was confused. I say she’s in Heaven for lack of a better word.
Also, good on you. Your MIL sucks.
NTA. Stick up for your baby. Also, you're not wrong lmao
Absolutely piss on that woman. It’s not her place to tell you how to act in your marriage (subservient to your husband or whatever she’s thinking) and it’s not her place to parent YOUR child.
I’m so glad to hear husband is sticking to his guns on this. This is an impossible situation and I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this.
I hope daughter's heart heals and that she gets back some of the unbridled joy she deserves. Don’t let the siblings get into your or husbands head on this one. If they’re just as insensitive they can get cut off too. My blood is boiling for you right now.
Quick TLDR for anyone who doesn’t want to read my last post: my MIL told my daughter Santa isn’t real and then had a meltdown because my husband and I limited her contact with our daughter because of it.
Since the events from the last post, things have only escalated in terms of her behavior. We’ve kept our stance on not letting her see our daughter and we’ve had limited contact with her ourselves, but she’s tried to find ways to circumvent my husband and I to gain access to our baby.
She started sending our daughter presents that are clearly from Amazon but with gift notes that say “from the REAL Santa” and “Grandma will see you soon!” and other insane things like that.
We’ve been documenting all of this, and we started donating all of the toys and clothing to local charities or to our daughter’s school’s community pantry so a child with nothing can have them instead.
We’ve also had my husband’s sister call us and tell us his mom is on the verge of being suicidal because we took “her only happiness” away from her, to which we replied that she should be checked into inpatient if she’s making those kinds of claims.
Sorry if I sound cruel but I won’t let someone manipulate me like that.
We hadn’t heard from anyone regarding MIL in a week or so, so we started to feel like maybe she was calming down and accepting that this situation was caused by her own actions. What we didn’t remember was that she’s authorized to pick our daughter up from school.
Yesterday, I got a call from the front office of her school saying that my MIL had called and said she was on her way to pick our baby up for “a surprise adventure” with grandma and to make sure she was waiting in the office so they could leave as quickly as possible.
When I got this call I literally grabbed my bag and walked right out of my job to be able to get to the school before she did. I also made sure her school knew that my daughter was NOT to be released to anyone other than myself or my husband.
After getting off the phone with me, the school decided to contact the police and to put the school into a “soft lockdown” which is when they don’t let kids leave classrooms and make sure all the doors to the buildings are secured but they don’t announce it to the kids so no one gets scared.
On my way to the school I called my husband and told him to meet me there and what was going on, and he actually made it to the school before I did.
When I got there the police were questioning my MIL, and upon seeing her car packed full, I could tell her little adventure was meant to be a longterm sort of thing. She was actually going to try to steal our daughter from us over SANTA!
The police took her away and her car was towed as well. When she was loaded into the squad car, her and I made eye contact for a brief second. She tried to keep her scowl, but quickly her face crumpled and she started sobbing about how unfair this all is.
She started crying even harder when the door was shut on her. As justified as we are, this was really hard to watch. I don’t know how the legal system works to be honest, but I’m hoping we can request that she be put into a mental health facility as opposed to a jail so she can receive the help she very clearly needs.
We also filed for a restraining order against her and we took her name off the pick up list at school.
My husband's siblings have reached out to us and are completely horrified by what happened, and all said in their own way that they never expected things to escalate like this. While it was annoying to have it come to this before having their support, it is refreshing to have everyone on the same page about this finally.
In terms of our daughter, we chose to let her finish the school day so she wouldn’t know what had just happened to her. I received a lot of helpful advice in my last post about how to fix the damage my MIL caused and we tried a few of the things we were told to do but I can sense that my daughter just isn’t into it the way she used to be.
Her wishlist hasn’t been added to since. My BIL has offered to dress up as Santa and get caught putting gifts under the tree to help reignite her excitement, which my husband and I both appreciate and are looking forward to.
We also plan on sending her a letter from Santa telling her how excited he is to visit her and our dog this year, and I’ll let you all know how this works out in the next update.
BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE SECRETARY THAT CALLED YOU!!! Is that standard protocol? To call the parents if anyone other than them comes to pick up the child?
So I feel like trying to make her believe Santa is real again after being told he wasn’t isn’t the best idea. Because eventually she will find out he really isn’t real and that’s going to crush her a second time.
Also she may resent you for telling her grandma lied to her about Santa and that he is really real and then she’ll realize you lied and he isn’t real.
Since unfortunately that bubble has been popped maybe you can start making up or doing more things around Christmas and tell her since she’s a big girl now she gets to enjoy more things at Christmas then just believing in Santa!
I feel like it’d be better to make new memories of why to be happy around Christmas than to lie again and give her false hope.
I wish you weren’t right but you probably are. I’m trying not to be selfish but I’m personally devastated to be losing this special tradition with my daughter.
I’ve looked forward to this since I was a teenager and now it’s been stolen from me as well as her and I just wish none of this ever happened. I truly just wish my MIL had stayed an annoying bible thumper instead of turning into a deranged kidnapper.
My nanna never waited until Christmas Eve to wrap presents. She would just wrap them as she got them. One year we questioned if Santa brought presents, why did she wrap them? She, the absolute genius, without Missing a beat said "Oh I wrap empty boxes. Santa uses his magic to fill them with presents."
And we accepted that. Maybe you could try something like that, but like make it sound like you're letting her in on a secret.
I know in Canada, the kids can write to Santa at the North Pole, and his postal code is H0H 0H0.
I used to work with one of the people who volunteered to respond (it sounded like every town has it's own collection of volunteers to do this) and she also worked at the K-6 school that the kids all go to.
So she knew most of them (<1500 people in town and surrounding) so she could write back things like "thanks for thinking of your baby brother and I know you're so proud of him". She would then hear the kids at school talking about how Santa knew things that weren't in the letter.
I hope your daughter can work through this. I'm not a huge Santa fan myself, but I would NEVER tell someone's child he doesn't exist. There's not enough magic in this world to begin with.
Good school for calling and confirming! Yikes! I cannot imagine how terrifying that was. I would be bringing whoever called you flowers! Or maybe the whole office for their quick actions.
OP added more info:
I know for sure she has an attempted kidnapping charge but I don’t know the others off the top of my head. Since she was technically allowed to pick her up from the school I was told it might not stick but our restraining order should stay in place so she won’t be able to contact us again even if she is released.
The school has also had her trespassed so she can’t come back there without being arrested.
I don’t understand what her plan was in the long term. She would not have gotten very far before we realized our daughter was gone, and I’m pretty sure her car has tracking on it because she’s still paying it off.
It would not have been hard to find her, and the charges would be so much worse had she actually successfully taken our daughter with her. This all being said, we still aren’t sure where she planned to drive her to and it makes us sick knowing she probably planned this for awhile before doing it.