To dread becoming a M-I-L

(319 Posts)
Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:17:17

I'm sure this has been done to death, but as the mother of 3 ds I feel incredibly disheartened (and sad) about the utter intolerance shown towards MIL on mn.

I adore my boys (hopefully not smotheringly) and try to teach them to be compassionate, gentle and to look after themselves. I aim not to spoil them and to teach them how to be wonderful husbands and fathers. The majority of mil threads on mn are very negative and many are spiteful and generic about evil mil.

The only time I have felt sad about not having a daughter is when I read how little mil seem able to be involved in the lives of their ds and gc - do these posts come from mums of girls? Do these (often harsh) rules extend to their own mothers?

In this time of equality it seems wrong that the mil seems often to be required to be a doormat to be allowed access to her family. (By that I mean accept being merely "tolerated" by her DIL).

Obviously there are exceptions to this - and clearly there are some monstrous mil out there - but the prevailing theme is of total disdain and inequality towards mil. Please tell me I am being totally over sensitive and ridiculous. I really feel very sad at the thought of being "the enemy" by virtue of having 3ds.

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 11-Oct-12 07:59:15

x posted with you Partridge, I was referring to the lazy, feckless bit.
I found that having a mil like we seemed to share (your not my x's 2nd wife are you ?) made me more aware of what is not acceptable behaviour from a mil, and that sounds exactly like what you are thinking. I hope I am a good mil. The secret is knowing when to keep your mouth shut.

It's not the case everywhere. My dmil is far more involved with dd than dm is, because we live locally to her and she often helps with childcare, something we're very grateful for.

I think it helps if there's a bit of tolerance on both sides. I'm aware there are aspects to our parenting that dmil would do differently, but she mostly keeps her mouth shut about this. Early on dp and I worked what things were non-negotiable with dd (for us it was using safety equipment and not leaving her to cry), we talked about it with dmil, and other than those things I try to let dmil look after dd in her way (even if it means she feeds her chocolate and does things we wouldn't do at home).

Only4theOlympics Thu 11-Oct-12 08:00:38

For goodness sake you are right this HAS been done to death. Some people get on with their in-laws others don't. Some people get on with their own parents ,others don't. People rarely comw on here to say I need advice because everything is great! So you hear more from people with issues.

My mil is a stone cold bitch. In a way you are right though I do dictate the relationship. I ensure there is one! If just left to mil and dh she wouldn't have seen dc the handful of times she has.

FayeKinitt Thu 11-Oct-12 08:00:41

I agree OP. I know MN is for venting but honestly it makes me sad that MIL can seem to do no right.

I may not be entitled to an opinnion because I don't actially have a MIL (she was long gone before we had children) I also only have daughters. Part of me always feels a bit sad I'll never have a son, but at least I'll never be MIL to a DIL!

Unless one of DDs turns out to be gay I suppose!

HeathRobinson Thu 11-Oct-12 08:00:55

If you are nice to your dil, you'll get along fine.
I got on better with my mil than my mum. She was warm, helpful and generous with her time. What's not to like?

mummybare Thu 11-Oct-12 08:01:09

Well, my MIL is lovely. I always think how lucky I am when I see stuff on here and speak to people in RL who have more difficult relationships with theirs. But there are plenty of others like me; we just have no need to vent or ask 'AIBU?', so you don't hear about us!

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 08:01:35

You have to remember that you make your own relationship with grandchildren. As a DD I really couldn't have cared less what my mother's relationship with them was like- it was how I got on that mattered. You may get to physically see one more than another- that doesn't mean that you love her more. You may be like 'two peas in a pod' with the paternal grandparent.
People spout a lot of rubbish on here about grandparents favouring a DDs children- another thing I don't see in RL.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 08:04:31

I can't imagine why anyone would want their own mother at the birth!

picnicbasketcase Thu 11-Oct-12 08:05:16

You get what you give. Plenty of MILs are lovely. As long as you act like a normal rational human your DILs will like you. Can't remember which poster it is whose MIL sobbed and wailed and begged their son not to marry her all through their wedding... But don't do that.

DontmindifIdo Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:00

I don't understand why some mum's of boys (also have a DS so will be in the same boat) read AIBU and think "gosh, my DIL will hate me!" not "wow, I'd never behave like that!"

I get on better with MIL than my own mum, but then MIL has never acted like she has rights over our family, has never been anything other than gracious when we host them, has made me feel welcome in her home, feeds DS wholesome foods and biscuits , and understands the best way to spoil a grandchild is with time and affection, not plastic tat. MIL treats me as DH's partner, not a rival for her affections, she doesn't step in and make comments about how we raise DS or how we order our lives, she doesn't expect me to arrange DH's cards/gifts to his family, she doesn't treat me as an outsider, and she makes a mean mango chuntney.

So basically, if you don't want your future DIL to be on here whinging about you, don't be a horrible cow and expect to get away with it because you're the first woman your DS loved. Easy.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:05

It may have been done to death only4 but I haven't seen it done. Does that mean it can't be done again? Don't read it if it bores you.

wishiwasonholiday Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:06

I hate my mil and her partner (in first meeting his first words to dp were that I was an f*** to his mum for not letting her hold ds - she was stumbling around drunk!) but also dp sees how mean she is. Last year at Xmas she bought everyone but ds' (even the dogs got a present) a present. Ds aged 7 was in tears.

I would never treat a dil like she has me!

birdofthenorth Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:37

I love my MIL. Therefore don't feel the need to post about her much. The posts are skewed because people need a place to rant. The vast majority of married womn I know have good relationships with their MILs and are grateful for their support.

I would guess that of the rest-

-some are just not easy people to get along with
-some are otherwise nice people who can't cope with their DSs living life differently under the influence of a new partnership and struggle to form an appropriate relationship with their DILs
-some have had issues with their DS in the past and this has rubbed off on DIL (eg my SIL thinks her MIL was a bad mother, with some very real evidence, which has affected their relationship as her DH is not even on that good terms with her)

Kinora Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:58

My mil is the kindest person I have ever met. Unfortunately, we don't really get on but this is due to our differing personalities. She can be quite domineering and I often have to bite my tongue when in her company. Despite this, we see her on a regular basis and the dc probably spend more time in her company than with my mum who lives within walking distance. We see her alot as dh is an only child and very close to her.

As with all other things in life, people are far more vocal if they have a complaint than if they have praise. So you're getting a skewed view of things and yes, I think you're being oversensitive.

If it makes you feel better, I have a great relationship with my MIL, she's lovely. And DH gets on well with my mum. I have a daughter and a son and when they are grown up I shall treat their partners with the same courtesy I would anyone else - as most reasonable people do, I think.

Jelly15 Thu 11-Oct-12 08:09:51

In RL all my friends, my sisters and myself didn't have great relationships with their ILs, especially MILs. As I am a mother of two DSs, 20 and 17, the time when I will possibly be a MIL is rushing closer and I hope I will have a good relationship with my DILs but in my experience the odds are against me.

KeithLeMonde Thu 11-Oct-12 08:14:32

YANBU. I have two sons. My DH is from a family of sons only. My MIL is lovely but she obviously feels like she has to walk on eggshells if she wants to be a regular part of mine and her GGCs' lives. Whereas my mum knows she can rock up any time she wants and be squeezed into our routine somehow.

I don't want my MIL to feel in any way excluded from our family. I have done everything I can to involve her, and of course she is just as much a grandparent to our kids as my own DM. However, I have to admit I feel more stressed and tense about MIL visiting (my own mum isn't the easiest, but having her here takes no extra effort), and I think that translates inevitably into us having a rather more strained and formal relationship.

DontmindifIdo Thu 11-Oct-12 08:15:01

oh and for balance, I feel very sorry for DB's DP, I'm sure my mum is a nightmare MIL! I only cope by living in a different county to her and seeing her in limited doses.

Only4theOlympics Thu 11-Oct-12 08:18:41

These threads appear every couple of weeks and they are a massive judgement on those who don't get on with their in-laws.

You don't think I wanted to get on with mine? I did everything in my power to be nice and friendly and gracious. I have got on brilliantly with every ex's parent's (sometimes better than I got on with their sons for large proportions of time). Turns out my mother in law does not like her own children much (despite them being decent humans), so she isn't likely to get on with their partners.

At the end of the day everyone is different. Everyone has different relationships. Why should other people having issues make you think you will?

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Thu 11-Oct-12 08:24:50

MILS are a woman who you're not related to....but whom you must share your precious baby with. That's hard for some women.

babybythesea Thu 11-Oct-12 08:25:31

I'm someone else who thinks it's skewed, because people are here to complain and ask for advice, not to say how great everything else. (Because that would sound silly - I love my MIL and we have a great time together - what shall I do?)

Also, people have as many issues with their own Mum, but mostly, with their own Mum, it's easier to say "Look, what you're doing/saying is stupid - stop it." Or words to that effect. It's far easier to say it to your own Mum than to your MIL because you know her better and there's (hopefully) a loving relationship underlying it all. You can be much blunter without risking offence. So a problem arises and you deal with it, whereas if it arises with your MIL you need to be much more tactful - so you come on here asking for advice.

Finally, have you noticed how many posts also refer to the DIL being the one who maintains the relationship? There seem to be a large number of men who marry and then leave all domestic arrangements up to their wife. The reverse doesn't seem to happen (men do all the arranging with her mother). My own DH is like this. He doesn't maintain a particularly strong relationship with his own Mum (he loves her but he rarely thinks to email her or phone her - she often sends him emails saying "Your mother would like to hear from you soon...."). When we had DD, the person who updated his mother on the progress of her new grandchild was me. He, on the other hand, only speaks to my mother if a) she phones and he happens to answer or b) they are staying with us (so it doesn't work both ways!). Now, most of MIL contact with us is with me and I pass news on to DH. I think there are an equal number of MILs who see as much of their grandchildren as they do because their DIL arranges it - if it was left up to the guys I think there would be a far more distant relationship for a lot of grandchildren and grandparents - certainly it would be the case in our house. not because DH is callous but because it just never sodding occurs to him to call them. (I do it because I think my MIL is a wonderful person and a fantastic grandmother and she and DD deserve to have as much contact with each other as possible, so if DH won't do it I'll have to. Not fair to punish them because he's a bit crap.)

The case that springs to mind is the thread from the last couple of days where someone invited her MIL to join them for a night on holiday (notice it's the DIL who asked her MIL, not the son - she says she does most of the organising meet-ups), and MIL seems to be intent on joining them for the entire break, meaning DIL won't get any time alone with her family unit. She now needs to get DH involved because he wasn't before (so she's hardly a horrid DIL for trying to include MIL when DH didn't seem to have thought of it) but MIL is unlikely to take kindly to being told by her DIL more specifically how many nights she could go for. If it ws her own mother, I'm betting it would much easier to say "Sorry - I didn't mean for you to come for the whole holiday, just for a night"

Gosh, what an essay. Sorry!

musicalendorphins Thu 11-Oct-12 08:25:54

I am not an actual MIL yet, but ds's gf more of less lives here, they will be marrying, and they are soon getting a place of their own. She has been his gf for 7 years, and calls me her MIL.
What I have learned (from my own really great mother-in-law).
Do not ever offer advice unless it is asked for.
Do not interfere with their relationship if there is a problem. Like, my brother wanted me to phone his wife (now ex) when they were having problems, to talk to her about it. I asked my mil what to do and she said don't get involved. It is between them and can cause hard feelings or complications in the sil relationship.
Don't gossip about their personal life to others. Be nice to her mother, even if she is a the most annoying person you ever met!
Always treat her like family. Never criticize her to your son! Always say things in a diplomatic way if directly asked. Like if your ds is stressed out something reassure him(them) it takes time to adjust to married life. That marriage is a 2 way give and take relationship.
Tell her what to call you. My mil never told me to call her by her first name or mother, ever. After our son was born, the hairdresser (we had the same one) was astounded I still referred to my mil as Mrs. X. But my mil never invited me to call her anything else! I was raised to not assume to use a persons first name unless introduced to them as "Ann" or unless they said "Please call me Ann".
I began to call her by her first name after that.

Foster a friendship with her. Invite her to do stuff with you, even small stuff like running errands, or going to the gym, or shopping.
Bite your tongue if you hear a conversation where you disagree about something either of them say.
If they have children, follow her lead during pregnancy, child birth, visiting. If she isn't feeling well, ask her right away if you can be of help, need you to run to pick up anything.
Never criticize her to your son. Try and smooth over their troubles in a comforting way...without judging their mistakes. Don't comment on any mess! Always make her feel comfortable and loved.
Don't drop in without calling.
Love her like a daughter and try and put yourself in her place.

Only4theOlympics Thu 11-Oct-12 08:26:37

It is like going on relationships and giving up on your own because you think every man is an abusive cheating fuckwit. Of course they are not but people don't tend to post in relationships about their brilliant husbands.

musicalendorphins Thu 11-Oct-12 08:28:35

Sorry for the book blush

IKilledIgglePiggle Thu 11-Oct-12 08:31:01

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights........ nightmare DIL material right there

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