My mom has been planning a baby shower for me, which is great. She lives out of state, and so do my father, his wife, and my stepsister. My mom is doing the bulk of the shower planning, since she initiated the idea, but my stepmom, sister, and stepsister also have roles they're playing in it. They are all on the same page and all seemed to be working out really well. They were all similarly awesome during my wedding planning.
Well, my mom thought it would be polite to include my mother in law in part of the planning. My MIL lives about an hour away from DH and I. MIL is very controlling and high-maintenance, so my mom decided it would be a good idea to give her one specific task - food. That way she's included, but she can't take over the entire shower, which she would be inclined to do.
A bit of background: MIL is very, very pushy. She has been the only woman in the family for a long time (she has three sons including DH and a very passive husband), so she is used to planning and dictating everything that goes on. She's been very fortunate that most of the time, people humor her and follow her plans. She assumes that every holiday will be at her house and clearly has a problem if someone else attempts to plan an event besides her. Christmas was a nightmare. DH and I hosted it for the first time at our house, and all she did was try to control every aspect of the holiday and was actively campaigning to not have a holiday at our house again. She did this by loudly making comments all through Christmas, such as "We'll do it normally next year," and loudly asking my brother-in-law, "What do you think of the Christmas here? Not the usual, right?" Very rude. During our wedding planning, she tried to force multiple tacky ideas on me that had no relation to the theme or feel that DH and I had picked, and she INSISTED upon adding a bunch of random acquaintances of hers and ex-spouses of distant relatives to the guest list. Our guest list was supposed to only be about 100 total, and her list alone was about 200. When we told her we couldn't invite that many people (as we ourselves and my father were paying), she ignored us and just kept repeating, "You have to. You have to include everyone." She has tried to control and decorate the guest room in our house, she makes plans for us without asking, and she interrupts me whenever I speak. She also likes to talk about how much everything costs in her house, and will do things like give us a gift card to a restaurant, but then tell us we can only use it to treat her and her husband to dinner.
So it was no surprise that MIL couldn't just plan the food aspect of the baby shower. She immediately started trying to control the decor and favors, which my mom had already planned for. My mom was shocked but still tried to be polite. Then MIL informed my mom (not asked, but informed) that she was adding about ten people to the guest list - all friends of hers who I have never met, and distant, out-of-state relatives. Keep in mind that the original list had my immediate family, DH's immediate family, and my close, personal friends. My mom still tried to be diplomatic with her.
The sh** really hit the fan when my MIL saw the shower invitation. Because so many people are involved in the planning - my mom, stepmom, sister, stepsister, and MIL - my mom thought it would be the simplest, most concise thing to do to write "Given by DMH1687's family" on the invite. That covers all the women involved. Well, my MIL went crazy. She thinks she should be separately acknowledged on the invitation and wants a clear distinction between "my family" and "her family." She wrote my mom a dramatic, pissy email explaining how she would be bowing out of the shower and planning her own, because she wants her own family to be better represented. My mom was flabbergasted. So I wrote to my MIL and told her that she was being unreasonable and self-absorbed, reminded her that the shower isn't about her, and that I will not be attending any such separate shower that she tries to plan. I also told her we're going to have to talk about a lot of things, since she has a pattern of controlling behavior and I don't want it affecting me, my husband, and my baby for the rest of our lives.
She has since tried to push BACK into the original shower, sent multiple bullying emails to my mom, and sent me multiple letters that explain how many "allies" she has in the matter (a list of people that "support" her) and try to pit me against my mom. I have stopped responding to her completely.
How would you handle this? Obviously these issues go much deeper than a baby shower.