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.

Prarieflower Mon 15-Oct-12 17:34:54

Op interestingly one of the many reasons I have issues with mil is how she behaved when my twin boys were born.Her dd had a girl 2 months later and she was an utter cow ie not the slightest bit interested in my boys,dressing up the gd,going on and on about her and taking reams of photos (but few of the boys),going on and on about gd as if my boys never existed.There was a dvd clip we weren't supposed to see of her fawning over gd the day after the birth saying she'd never,ever seen such a beautiful baby errrr what about my boys then????hmm

The final straw was when we went to a garden party when I'd just had dd.We had 2 15 month old boys and a newborn.Mil dressed gd in some hideous dress complete with a bonnet,grabbed the pram of gd,proceeded to parade her around,loads of photos,introducing her to all and sundry whilst dp and I were left with 2 15 month old walkers and a friggin newborn near another bloody lake!!!!She plonked herself down on the baby rug with gd we'd bought for dd so we couldn't sit down,sent fil off to buy her a Pims and ignored us all day.We were run ragged running around after the twins,sil had the day off to socialise.hmm

What I'm saying is some mother in laws are worth the venom,some are lovely and MN is the place to vent if needs be hence the many threads.

whizmum Mon 15-Oct-12 17:29:44

OP, my MIL had a horrible MIL. She was very manipulative and used to getting her own way. FIL was an only child and they all lived in the same village so had to find a way of getting on.

MIL was very practical about how to handle things. I learned a lot off her. I am sad because she died too soon for me to give back all the respect she had given me.

My mother did not like her MIL and thought her daft coz she did not do things like her family, so I am glad to have had MIL as well.

My DS has been engaged (scarily young) for the last three years, so maybe I will be a MIL at some point. I like her because he likes her and they make each other happy. She is not perfect but they are very young, so you have to just forgive any little 'slights' and let them grow. I really hope they do not split up.

seoladair Mon 15-Oct-12 17:18:07

This is such a puzzling thread.
OP (and Iggle), if you are open-hearted and kind to any future partners your sons might have, then hopefully you will have good relationships with them. You both sound a bit scary in some of your posts!

Apols for ramble and lack of paragraphs! blush

Some MILs are lovely, some are tolerable, some are horrible; they are just like every other part of society, but this gets skewed on mumsnet because of the demographic of people who mainly post on here. I really do not have much in common with my ILs, they are outspoken and opinionated, but for the sake of my DH I grin and bear it when we go to visit. However, this does mean that quite often i need to vent about the ILs after we have seen them. I don't generally do it on here, but i guess some posters do get things off their chests on mumsnet and that maybe results in an imbalance in MIL posts. My less than brilliant relationship with ILs has been exacerbated by the fact that DD is their only granddaughter, (three other GCs, all boys) and MIL doesn't think twice about making sweeping comments about gender without ever considering how DH or I will perceive them. I think depending on the type of community you live in, gender can still be very relevant. DH is from a farming family, very traditional, very very male orientated. DH no longer works for the family business, having gone to college and then made a life of his own away from the farm, but his middle two brothers, who both have little boys, still live near home and work for the family business. bearing in mind that DH is thd eldest of four boys and they have no other GDs the ILs would enjoy having a GD, but has not been the case thus far (DD is almost 3.) DD is treated a bit like an afterthought and ILs are completely unable to relate to girls. When latest GS was born, MIL said to me, with a straight face, we are so pleased for DB that he had a little boy, it would have been so difficult for him otherwise. hmm presumably this relates to succession planning and decisions on who will take over thr farm in the long term, but frankly, why should being a girl be a barrier?!

I don't really know what my point is other than to say that some people are very gender biased (and I don't think it is always anti boys) and in my experience, these sorts of issues can cause strain between families. My experience with my MIL certainly colours my view of mothers with all boys, but I do realise that in fact she isn't really representative!

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 15-Oct-12 16:27:38

"But english there are gender disappointment threads on here all the time and its always boys that engender disappointment"

that's just not true though, on the gender disappointment threads there is always a mix, AND there are always people who seem to have selective vision and go on there saying "see its always boys".. when there's plenty of posters with disappointment issues about girls.. for some reason people choose to either not read or not believe those ones???? its very strange!

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 15:46:36

But english there are gender disappointment threads on here all the time and its always boys that engender disappointment (on that point go to the website engendered and see how many people on there want boys - not many) and that is a microcosm. So I don't think I am being disingenuous.

Having said that, obviously I think boys are wonderful and was not remotely disappointed when I found out ds3 was a boy. But this is not all I'm about... I worry about all the usual things mums of 3 young kids worry about too - screen time, bullying, health... I just don't write threads about 'em and spend far more time enjoying my kids and trying not to moan about lack of sleep. wink

ScrambledSmegsEvilTwin Mon 15-Oct-12 15:45:23

PS She never met my mum, there's a whole boring backstory there involving illness etc. Dad stepped up. He didn't even consider that his sisters would, as they live so far away.

ScrambledSmegsEvilTwin Mon 15-Oct-12 15:43:34

'Lonely old age?!' My paternal grandmother had 3 children - 2 daughters and a son. Who was it looking after her in her old age? My dad!

People stereotype. Stereotypes are often completely wrong.

grin Glad to hear it Partridge - not having met you though, how could anyone reading the thread go on anything but the thread... I have never, ever come across the attitudes to gender of children quite the way you describe them in RL, though I constantly come across people expressing the certainty that the ideal family is "one of each" I have always got the firm impression that the silly people who think parents should some how be "trying" to have this supposedly "perfect" family set up don't see 2 or 3 or more boys any more negatively than 2 or 3 or more girls... I have never, ever heard the "lonely old age" if you don't have girls... but I admit to having a girl (and 2 boys)... I actually worried about having a girl because I didn't want to unintentionally replicate the relationship I have with my mother, with her, and thought I'd prefer lots and lots of boys, but of course I wouldn't change her now grin

ScrambledSmegsEvilTwin Mon 15-Oct-12 15:32:13

Partridge - are we reading the same thread?! I've seen so many lovely, positive posts about MIL's on here. Are you focusing on the 'bad' ones by any chance? Which, in the main, aren't 'bad' as such, merely pointing out that some people have serious issues which negatively impact on their relationships with DILs and other family members.

For example, I've seen on another thread today that a lovely MNer had to stop caring for her seriously ill young daughter (who subsequently died, several weeks later) in order to cater and host a birthday party for her MIL. Who has also managed to make the death of her granddaughter all about her shock. Now, you can't tell me that kindness is required there. Sometimes people are just really selfish and nasty, whether or not they are MILs.

Flipside - as I've already said, my MIL is great. She drives my DH bonkers sometimes grin but I've always been able to see her point of view and calm DH down, just as he does for me with my mum.

It does sound like your relationship with your MIL is the main reason for your worries about the future relationship you will have with your DILs (and consequently, your sons). I find it very interesting that you are determined to 'be nice' about your MIL and her behaviour. It's really lovely that you want to rise above it and appreciate her for the great person she has raised in the form of your DH. However, sometimes it's healthy just to vent in a safe, anonymous place (online forum, diary, in a thunderstorm, wherever!) so that you can move on and let go of any negative feelings you may have. Bottling up bad feelings can result in negativity bursting out all over the place, I should know!

Sorry, I realise that sounds completely wanky and pseudo-psychoanalytical bollocks. Feel free to disregard! But please be aware that there are a lot of people on here who adore their MILs, and it's actually very sad for us when sweeping pronouncements are made about everyone hating their MILs.

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 15:31:50

I hardly bore a 6,4 and 1 year old with my woes about their hypothetical future! I am not a martyr or self absorbed in real life. In fact believe it or not I have a pretty healthy sense of humour. I am not even very down at the moment - in fact I am treasuring my kids in all their Santa believing, puddle jumping lovely innocence at the moment. Life is good.

I have repeatedly said how heartening many of these threads are. But in rl as on here I am sometimes made to feel a second class citizen as a mum of only boys. When my mums best friend called after ds3 was born she opened with "haha you're going to have a lonely old age aren't you!" and nobody can deny the gender bias towards dd at the moment. I get that all the time. That and only that is what depresses me. And I am not imagining it. I see a counsellor as supervision for counselling training myself and I talk to her about this stuff so I believe I am processing it in a healthy way. So enough naysaying about me being a whinging old misery guts please. It doesn't stack up with how my friends/dh see me at all - you are misjudging me.

Partridge I'm not, we all bring our own baggage to MN with us and my mother is my baggage - she (despite being an intelligent woman) is entirely emotion driven and uses emotional blackmail and tears to get what she wants (she's not "toxic" or "narcissistic" and wasn't a terrible parent, she's just increasingly self absorbed as she ages and always has been one of life's self styled martyrs) and your posts put me in mind of her...

I know I don't know you and its quite likely you aren't remotely like her - you just sound like her on this thread (though her topic is slightly different as she is a mther of only daughters)! I remain sure that you are down about other things atm and are re-focussing on the idea of losing your sons to DIL at some theoretical point in 20 or 30 years time to distract yourself, but you are utterly ignoring everything anyone says that doesn't back up your pessimistic vision of the future and of relationships between grown up sons and their mothers... If you let this frankly quite odd concern (for a mother of only young children to be dwelling on) show you are quite likely to drive your sons away all by yourself, without any other women (who are now probably babies or unborn) involved!

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 15:02:09

madwoman please don't make any assumptions about what kind of parent I am/will be.

boschy Mon 15-Oct-12 14:42:49

My MIL told me "when your DIL has a baby, it's exciting and of course you're worried. When your own DD has a baby it's the best thing in the world, but you are so much more anxious about the whole thing."

I think that told me pretty well where I and her son's children stood in PIL's affections - and funnily enough it is reflected in the relationship to this day.

naturalbaby Mon 15-Oct-12 14:40:07

only on MN. In RL most of my friends rely on their MIL's to help with their dc's and the children have lovely relationships with their GP's.

I have 3 ds's too and am trying not to get myself worked up about random possible scenarios that may or may not be my future.

Prarieflower with a lot of parenting decisions I think "what would my mother have done" and then do the opposite - I think loads of women actively try NOT to parent the way their mothers did grin your post about the garden could have been written about my own mother (not MIL) although they don't have the dual carrigeway... She thinks she is supervising children if she is in the garden too, gardening, but she doesn't actually think to watch them - my 2 year old nephew fell in the freezing cold stream in her garden and his 4 year old brother had to run to get her to get him out (luckily he was unharmed) and for the next few weeks she told the story over and over blaming the 4 year old for not watching his brother and "perhaps" pushing him in... This is my own mother not MIL... MIL I trust (for all we have very different views on a lot of things and she drives me up the wall with her criticism of my below par housework standards...) and the PIL are the only ones who have the dc overnight.

Who you trust depends on the individuals, not which of the grandparents gave birth to which parent...

I think this is a silly thread and am going to hide it soon ;o

OP whether you stay close to your sons depends on you, but being pessimistic, clingy and mopy about it probably won't make them want to spend lots of time with you as they grow up, girlfriends/ wives (or boyfriends - who knows - they are still only little) aside!

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 14:34:31

Sorry prairie that sounded aggressive. It wasn't meant to.

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 14:32:56

Ugh. My mother is not the uber female in my life. I am thanks. My husband would feel very disaffected and pissed off if my mother tried to play some Victorian matriarch. I agree, there is a lot of depressing rubbish spouted about gender. Unfortunately it is spouted and endorsed by far too many people. Even on this thread (and not all by mewink)

Prarieflower Mon 15-Oct-12 14:32:44

Dd and I clash.My mother and I clashed.I find boys far easier but re parenting I parent how my mother did,I can't help it.My mother and I are a lot closer now but will never be in that joined at the hip way neither will dd and I.Dd and I are close in a mother/daughter way not in a best friend way, far too alike and I'm dreading the teenage years.I'm very close to my boys too,in some ways closer as we understand each other better.I find girls scary.grin

Prarieflower Mon 15-Oct-12 14:27:37

Well let's hope you get on well with your dil and gparent her children in a way she's happy with.

My mother plays a huge part in my dc's lives because she's deserves to be.My mil gets what she puts in.

I have sons and a dd.I'm fully aware my son's wives(or girl friends or boy friends) will have their own mother from which they'll take a lot of their mothering experience from.My way of doing things will have to take a back seat and I will no longer be the uber female in my son's lives.

EldritchCleavage Mon 15-Oct-12 14:20:34

I have to say I don't get it. I certainly don't plan on putting DS gently aside to concentrate on DD once they are adults. The idea is alien, and repellent. Some people do talk a lot of shite about children and gender, it depresses me.

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 14:20:29

And btw I am under no illusions that my sons are fallible and that plenty of women will probably be good enough for them.

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 14:18:57

So said by a mother of a dd (I know you have ds too - but it's not the same).

Of course people can vent about mil. I am venting too about the fact that I think a lot of mil get a hard time. Am I not allowed to?

I repeat that I do not believe people with a dd can possibly understand how hurtful it is for other people to constantly make assumptions about the biological imperative to be closer to dds like you just have. You just can't. Sorry. I adore my sons and I would like to actively participate in their future (and yes gc will hopefully be part of that). So shoot me.

Prarieflower Mon 15-Oct-12 14:09:32

YABU

I think some mothers have problems with the significant other women in their sons lives which becomes worse when gc arrive.I think mothers then vent on MN as this is where mums hang out soooo you see a lot of neg mil posts.

Some mils I'm sure are lovely,many sadly are not and I don't think it's fair to make mums feel crap when they vent.I haven't vented but I've read many a post with I identify with.I'm unfortunately afflicted with a problem mil and it continuously makes me sad.It's not something I wished for.

I have a very difficult relationship with my mil.She's bossy,tactless,selfish,lax re looking after children,impulsive and at times extremely controlling.To be frank at times she's more difficult to handle than my dc.She has good points but these can often pale into insignificance.Like dp I used to let mil behave how she wanted before the dc but after the dc sorry my children come first.

My mother is a huge part of my dc's lives and the only person I trust to leave them with.She follows my rules re safety to the letter(she's actually more safety conscious than me).I wouldn't trust my mil for half an hour and I've never left them in her care.She continually over rides my parenting eg her garden in which she has 2 ponds and it is very near woods and a death trap of a dual carriage way.I told her countless times to keep the back door locked and not to let them out unattended.When dd was 3 and we were going to a distressing funeral I had to get ready after a 2 day drive through France.I turned my back for half an hour and she'd let dd out(into the garden with the gate wide open) who ended up in one of the ponds(thankfully the shallower one of the 2 because "grandma said she could"(I'd said she couldn't).

Or there was the time she thought it would be ok to drag my 3 4 and 5 year olds over 4 lanes of speeding dual carriage way traffic to get to the woods the other side because she wanted to.I said absolutely not and she argued and said I was being too fussy(in front of my dc).She's dumped my dc on London underground trains to get a seat after being told to hold their hands at all time.....I could list hoards of other examples.

My mother holds down a full time job but always puts all her grandchildren first and spends a lot of time with all of them(even those far away).Mil never visits,only once a year not in winter(because of poss ice)or summer(because of her garden).My parents give up hours of their free time even though they work(mil doesn't).Mil moans she never sees the gc but when we visit she makes it clear that it's an effort having us to stay.We can't afford the petrol to visit a lot yet mil is loaded and manages expensive holidays at all time of the year.We're expected to do the 4 hour journey with 3 kids in bad weather if we want the gc to see her which we do.

I'm happy to list all the reasons why I have such a fraught relationship with mil but I don't feel I should have to justify it.It's horrible having stressful relationships with inlaws. Mothers generally parent the way their mothers did and probably have more in common.I think often mils have a chip re the maternal grandmother and to be perfectly frank think dil aren't good enough for their ds.

One good thing re my tale of woe is I'm learning exactly what not to do when I become a gm to my dil's children.smile

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