Woman Turns Mother-In-Law’s Passive-Aggressive Check For Tattoo Removal Into A Beautiful Donation
Although it's entirely possible for married people to have wonderful relationships with their mothers-in-law, it is nonetheless sadly common for that relationship to be fraught with friction. And while the specifics of each conflict with in-laws can vary in a wide variety of bizarre ways, most of them stem from the common issue of an in-law's unwillingness to respect the couple's boundaries.
This phenomenon tends to be more blatant when the in-law's own child doesn't take a stand against it, but it's not unheard of for a problem in-law to still act out in subtle ways when the couple acts as a united front. But rarely does this frustrating situation yield as positive of results as it did in one woman's story.
A chance relationship
In a post to Reddit's r/JUSTNOMIL community, a 31-year-old woman explained that she's long had issues with her 43-year-old husband's mother.
She also acknowledged that a significant age gap exists between them but that it's never been an issue for the couple in their three years of marriage and six years of knowing each other.
Shaky ground with the mother-in-law
However, that age gap has long been an issue for her mother-in-law, who has never approved of the relationship.
And that's been evident in the way she's treated the woman.
One particular bugbear
The woman explained that their age difference has often compelled the mother-in-law to treat her like a rebellious teenager rather than the adult woman who married her son.
But one particular sticking point for her is the fact that the woman has tattoos.
Needless to say, she feels differently
By contrast, the woman couldn't be happier with all of her tattoos. She didn't specify what they depicted but said they were done well and they have great personal significance to her and their identity.
In her words, "I can't imagine myself without them, and my husband loves how they look on me."
Mama had been warned
Although the mother-in-law had previously made her feelings on the woman's tattoos clear while the couple was dating, the husband had privately told her to drop it.
But when a special birthday dinner for the woman loomed, she proved that wasn't something she could do.
Not just an average birthday bash
Three years before she made her Reddit post, the couple hosted both of their families for the first big event they'd had since the wedding.
And since the occasion was extra special, everyone brought the woman a gift.
An underhanded present
Although the woman had planned to open the gifts after everyone left, her mother-in-law specifically requested that she open the envelope she gave her immediately.
And when she did, the woman discovered it was a $500 gift certificate for a tattoo removal business.
More confused than anything
The woman genuinely had no idea why her mother-in-law would think she would want this, and her explanation didn't do anything to lessen that confusion.
The mother-in-law said that since the woman was now married and planning to have kids, she assumed she would want to remove her tattoos.
An awkward situation
Although the woman gave her half-hearted thanks out of politeness, she and her husband were stunned by her mother-in-law's actions.
But when they got home, the husband called his mother and let her have it.
Mama didn't budge
While chewing her out, the husband told his mom she would need to return her gift certificate and get her money back.
However, she refused, saying that the woman would want it someday.
Nothing of the sort happened
But in the three years since receiving this passive-aggressive gift, the woman has actually added three more tattoos to her body.
Meanwhile, the gift certificate has sat in her kitchen junk drawer.
Baffled and amused
It shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that commenters weren't on the mother-in-law's side at all. And they were just as confused by her flimsy reasoning as the woman was.
As one user put it, "You mean, everyone doesn't get their tattoos removed when they get married?"
Amused but not impressed
And while the mother-in-law's overall attitude rubbed people the wrong way as well, they respected the woman's patience in dealing with her.
In the words of one of them, "Bravo for you! Tats aren't my thing, but I've seen some amazing ones on other folks. Eff your MIL's arrogance and condescension."
Others found this bristling at their tattoos familiar, with one relaying that their mother both hated the fact they had them and that the tattoos were on the person's arms. But as they saw it, there's no point in getting body art if they can't enjoy it.
And as they added, "I have a good-paying job with a great company, and they don't care if employees have tattoos, colored hair, etc."
Commenters were also relieved to hear how supportive the woman's husband was to her and how unwilling he was to go along with his mother's behavior.
And that was especially true when the woman revealed something cute.
She's not the only one with tattoos
In a supplementary comment, the woman mentioned that her husband has since had her name and their daughter's name tattooed over his heart.
And while that meant a lot to the woman in and of itself, those tattoos also gave her more mischievous thoughts.
Imagining a reaction
And she suspects the mother-in-law will be able to see it the next time they visit and use the pool.
She said, "She's definitely going to see her baby angel has been corrupted by his evil millennial wife soon!"
But what to do with the gift?
One user admitted to being petty enough that they would have retaliated by getting a "horribly offensive" tattoo but was relieved to see suggestions from cooler heads in the comments.
And those suggestions tended to fall along the same lines.
The most tempting option wasn't possible
One suggestion became especially popular once it was revealed that the second-most popular one might not be feasible.
In other words, many commenters suggested the woman use the gift certificate to get herself more tattoos.
More specific than they realized
However, one user pointed out that the business in question was unlikely to be a tattoo shop but one that specialized in laser removal.
As such, it was more akin to a business that uses similar techniques to remove hair than anywhere a tattoo artist was likely to work.
A little out of touch
Another commenter also wondered exactly how far the mother-in-law expected the $500 gift certificate to go.
In their words, "She's funny if she thinks $500 is enough to completely get rid of multiple tattoos! Does she even know how many sessions it takes and how much a session costs?"
A worthy cause
The majority of users suggested donating the gift certificate to organizations that help ex-gang members and felons remove tattoos that reference their old lives.
Because when they want to turn their lives around, those tattoos can both serve as painful reminders of past regrets and give strangers the wrong idea about them.
A similar suggestion
Some of these commenters also suggested donating to a women's shelter because it's hardly unheard of for people fleeing a dangerous relationship to have their ex's name on their skin.
As one user making this suggestion said, "The company got paid. Might as well not let them have free money, and you get to do a good deed."
Taken to heart
After reading these comments, the women updated her original post to express how blown away she was by such a wonderful idea.
And it turned out she wouldn't have to go far to put it into action.
A powerful opportunity
It just so happened that one of the woman's friends is the director of a restorative justice organization.
With that in mind, she asked this person whether she knew anyone with tattoos of hate symbols they'd come to regret.
Couldn't have come at a better time
And indeed, the woman's friend was working with someone with an infamous hate symbol tattooed on his arm.
She also mentioned that he's since become so ashamed of who he used to be that he hides it every day.
His story hit home
For the woman, that shame and the fact that he was trying to turn away from his former iconography carried a personal meaning.
In her words, "This is particularly significant and powerful for me because I'm Jewish."
So, as a result, a gift certificate that otherwise would have sat in a junk drawer could now be used for a positive purpose.
Once the woman heard what she would be helping along, she dropped it off with her friend.
Glad she brought this up
So while she initially wanted to vent about her mother-in-law with a bizarre story, the woman's conference with Reddit made a difference.
And she was as stunned that this happened as anyone.
A statement of gratitude
Since none of that would've been possible if she hadn't reached out to the Reddit community, she thanked them for their support.
As she put it, "I'm really pleased that something that started as a disrespectful slight from my mother-in-law turned into this."