to think that being a MIL is not a bed of roses

(144 Posts)
loverofwine Thu 27-Dec-12 20:03:21

I am mum of x4 boys. No Granny No 1 for me (tho DS1 is only 7 so a way off yet).

Yet still I wonder when they have all flocked the nest and coupled off (if they do) what the future holds.

Strikes me that being a MIL is hard work. Damned if you do damned if you don't.

My MIL is a nightmare but then my family account for 80% of her grandchildren so she likes to be very involved.

Just wonder what I need to be doing to psychologically prepare myself for the day I get a DDIL and how to love her/make her love me.

thoughts on a postcard pls

ledkr Fri 28-Dec-12 23:10:27

The problem is I think that it's easy to forget how you felt when having and raising small children.
I love dil but was a typical know all granny when dgs was born.
I then had another baby myself and was reminded of a few basics such as what you do doesn't necessarily make them good sleepers or that leaving them to cry wasn't easy.
Dil loves to remind me of this when advising me on childcare.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 23:15:38

I've seen it done both ways, tip toeing around the DIL and telling her how it'll be and she can join in or not but don't complain if you're then "left out". Neither ends well for all concerned but I know the tip toe'ers don't see any more of their children than the other kind so hopefully there's middle ground but if not I'll be leaning towards the this is how our family do it and unless there's a very good reason not to, join in.
All the grannies in our extended family are brought to the hospital by the sons to meet the new babies, why the heck wouldn't they be ?

LetsFaceThePresentsTheyrePants Fri 28-Dec-12 23:34:24

If the MiL is a generally reasonable person, I think some DiLs who want to keep MiLs at arm's length almost resent the love their DH has for his mother - as if it somehow 'takes away' from the DH's love that is then available for the DiL. It's as if they haven't quite grasped that love isn't a pie. and the more you give, the more there is.

At least, that's how I felt when I was very young about the poor mum of my fiance. I would so apologise to her if I met her now!

I can't quite forgive my current MiL for the abuse my DH suffered at the hands of one of her 3 husbands or for her complete indifference to my 3 kids.

But then I do recognise that I'm a far from perfect DiL.

And this is where all you fab people on MN come in with your useful opinions/experiences to add to our own hindsight.

x

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Dec-12 00:30:21

I'm quite surprised that anybody feels its acceptable to tell an adult who has just become a parent that unless they have a good reason they have to fit in with what they want them to do.

In your family it may be perfectly acceptable for grannies to be taken to the hospital during the 6 hours of recovery before discharge but in some its not. It does not mean that the ones who don't do it love there mums less.

No harm in asking but if you are told no then that means that at that particular time you are not wanted nor needed, if your reaction to this would be a temper tantrum or putting your foot down or attempting to change there mind or manipulate them then you will probably end up being considered to be a mil/ gp from hell who showed no respect towards the parents when the parents wishes should have been the most important consideration.

That will do nothing towards fostering a good relationship with the parents.

OTheYuleManatee Sat 29-Dec-12 00:39:59

You'd be forgiven for thinking that every DIL hate her MIL if you went on MN alone. But MN is skewed in the same way as the news: nobody bother to start a thread about how nice their MIL is, just like no articles get written about all the people who walked home and didn't get mugged.
Mfor the record, my MIL is lovely grin

forgetmenots Sat 29-Dec-12 00:42:26

Agree it can be difficult from both sides - have seen both DILs and MILs be differing degrees of unreasonable. If both sides are fairly normal, with human faults and failings and the ability to apologise and be fair, there shouldn't be problems.

mosman I think the people who are challenging you are only doing so because you sound reasonable but it sounds like you're assuming there will be a single 'way of doing things' in your family, even when your sons are adults with ways and new families of their own, and they're trying to caution you against that assumption, for your own sake. (FWIW, In my family grannies would be at the hospital too usually without invite or question, but equally if any new mum in the family wasn't feeling social and needed time, everyone would adapt to that for her sake as a new mum).

Mosman Sat 29-Dec-12 00:52:11

I would absolutely start out all very reasonable and accommodating but not feeling sociable after a difficult birth is understandable, stating from day one of pregnancy nobody is visiting for a few days is not.
There will be no tantrums from my side life's too short but equally don't throw one in return if you push your mother or mil out and then when the "baby" is a bit more work than you hoped and you wouldn't mind a bit of time to yourself that you find people have found something or someone else to occupy their time.
I have seen with friends time and time again exactly that scenario and it's ridiculous.

VestaCurry Sat 29-Dec-12 00:53:38

My MIL was so lovely and I really miss her, she didn't get to see her gc grow beyond toddlerhood, dc1 just about remembers her and we have plenty of photos around as reminders.
She was a great role model and I hope I can be as kind and decent as her.

forgetmenots Sat 29-Dec-12 01:00:52

vestacurry sad

I know what you mean mosman. I'm the outcast DIL (well, wife of the outcast son, more truthfully) but I've seen outcast MILs who are expected to be at beck and call for a mere glimpse of their dgcs. Not pleasant.

TheCatInTheHairnet Sat 29-Dec-12 01:15:58

If I listed the "crimes" my mil has done over the years to all her children in law, you would be horrified. But, I adore her. She is so, so kind and all of the stuff that pisses me off, I have to let go as I know it's only coming from a place of good. She isn't trying to judge us, she just wants the best for us.

When I gave birth to my 4th child a year after my 3rd, she came every single week (we lived well over an hour's drive away) just so she could take out No2 and No3, while No1 was at school. She was worried they would feel overlooked. At the time, I worried that she felt I wasn't coping when I knew I was, but now I can honestly look back and think, "How great is it that she did that for me".

So, in answer, I hope when I am MIL, even if they find me annoying as hell half the time, they learn to love me as much as I love mine.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Dec-12 02:14:10

Mosman I quite agree that gp's should not be used because of there good nature.

It's the reason why I have never not once in 20 years with any of my children ever used a gp for childcare, if my kids have been on a planned day out with them then I may have used that time to do my own thing but I have never and will never ask them nor will I expect them to feel obligated to do me favours in exchange for a relationship with my children.

But I do disagree that its not ok to decide in advance that you may want a couple of days peace with your new baby. It's a perfectly reasonable choice to make and one that if you made an issue out of could destroy any goodwill between the parents and grandparents.

There are certain times in people's lives where there wants and needs should legitimately over ride others wants and needs with regard to other adults, it does not matter if you don't like it but the first couple of days after child birth that person is the mother of the baby then the father of the baby not the grand parents.

Mosman Sat 29-Dec-12 02:21:26

Well we shall have to agree to disagree on that point and given the age difference between you and my son it's unlikely you shall end up producing my grandchildren so we should both be happy with that. Phew.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Dec-12 02:26:11

Out of interest what would you do if the mother of your sons baby did not wish to have anybody round for 2 days?

Mosman Sat 29-Dec-12 02:34:29

Oh I would definitely completely ignore her and probably take the baby home with me and lock us in the spare room together hmm

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Dec-12 02:36:18

grin that made me laugh so much I nearly woke the baby up

As a Mil if you have turned up at the hospital and been asked to wait a few minutes never take it upon yourself to barge in as ur dil maybe having an internal that she would rather you didn't see!
It's also not the best idea to ignore your dil and say to the baby that nobody will ever love them as much as you do even when the very lovely midwife points out that its not the best thing to say in the hearing of a new mother and then still insist that no the baby will only be loved properly by you and no one else - and she wasn't even joking hmm
Mismanagement you scare me a small bit!

forgetmenots Sat 29-Dec-12 09:59:03

grin mosman, pmsl.

Oh god, richperson - sounds awful!

GreatCongas Sat 29-Dec-12 11:17:59

In my experience a good mil also helps with the crap and doesn't jut want the good.
She may have visited after I have given birth as she wanted a cuddle but she also did all my laundry and gave me her credit card details so I could watch tv while stuck in hospital. She give my children too mich at christmas grin but but she also prepares meals that are gorgeous but require minimum prep so we don't have to do anything on our anniversaries.
She checks with me before doing new stuff and is happy to take my op ion on board but will also express her own. I'm not always right, neither is she. I'm probably too hippy for her, she's slightly more conservative than me but all it takes is give and take and treating each other like decent human beings.
We have our own relationship above and beyond the fact I'm married to her son. If he ever left me I would miss his family hugely but oddly I know she would go out of her way to make me still feel included as I am the mother of her grandchildren and more than that I like to think we are friends

soverylucky Sat 29-Dec-12 11:29:28

Quite simply my MIL prefers to spend time with her dd's children than she does with her ds's children. My children are old enough to see this for themself. It breaks my heart.

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