MIL always asking me if I have sorted the kids out for school

(80 Posts)
bengal38 Sun 10-Feb-13 22:38:32

My son is 12 and my daughter is 9. Every night my MIL phones to ask if I have sorted them out for school. I ask her why and she says just asking.

Kbear Mon 11-Feb-13 14:38:25

How about saying "when I have smoked this fag and drunk my Strongbow, it's next on my list"...

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 14:31:31

She phones you every day???

Pagwatch Mon 11-Feb-13 14:24:21

Yes, I do see what you mean.
With my mother I tend to gently get out of her what is going on because the problem is usually miss communication rather than anything and she would be bothered if she thought I could assume her intentions were mean spirited.
She usually gets in a tiss trying to do the right thing iyswim.

exexpat Mon 11-Feb-13 13:47:39

Thanks, Pagwatch.

I think we all read & respond to posts on here through the filter of our own experience (and can't convey tone); I saw the OP as something very like the kind of thing my mother would say, which would annoy me, and I would pull her up on it. But of course we know nothing about the characters of the OP and her MiL, if there's history of this sort of thing being an issue etc etc.

Pagwatch Mon 11-Feb-13 10:39:10

Fair enough exexpat.
smile

exexpat Mon 11-Feb-13 10:37:49

Pag - the OP said she'd already asked why the MiL kept asking, and didn't get all the 'oh, it was a nightmare for me...' stuff, so she's asking how to take it from there.

I suppose my response is in the context of my relationship with my mother - I've always been fiercely independent (and she's known me for 45 years so she knows that), while she has tendencies towards being anxious, overprotective etc which have got worse as she has got older, and also since I was widowed and moved back to the UK.

We have a good relationship, speak every day and so on, but sometimes she slips into old habits, and when she has asked about/reminded me to do something I am perfectly capable of doing without interference for the 5th/10th/umpteenth time, I have to remind her, fairly bluntly, to back off a bit.

Works for us, but I can see that it might come across as excessively brusque in the context of other people's family dynamics.

Googol Mon 11-Feb-13 10:36:51

exe I didn't find your comment rude.

My mother used to put this sort of stuff on me all the time, then she would tell my family that I couldn't cope without her help, that I was such a burden to her, that I imposed on her life but she had to do it to help me.

She is a full blown narcissist though. grin

I would use a comment like exe wrote every once in a while to try to establish some boundaries and get her to back the fuck off. She's be all upset, she was only doing it because she cares, I was so sensitive and misunderstood her. Typical emotional abusive crap.

So it depends on how your MIL is with you OP. If you're not sure try the nice approach first and see how she reacts but as she's been doing this for years then I suspect you may need firmer boundaries with her or use one of the amusing comments suggested (I like the drug running one) to anticipate her comment.

valiumredhead Mon 11-Feb-13 10:19:26

The other way it reads is that she is asking you OP IF you have time to chat and if you've done the bags/packed lunches because if you haven't she'll ring later.

BollyGood Mon 11-Feb-13 10:16:51

Caller ID!

EyesCrossedLegsAkimbo Mon 11-Feb-13 10:15:41

Just tell your DH to answer the phone every single night. He'll soon get sick of it and get her to stop.

BollyGood Mon 11-Feb-13 10:15:41

Is she a bit lonely OP or needing to feel useful? PIL can be really odd. My FIL tells me when our oven needs cleaning?? And on several occasions he has moved my pans when i am cooking to the back hob ring, my children are nowhere near the cooker when i am making dinner. We are very safety conscious and more than adequate parents of 3 well behaved children! I used to get really offended now I just ignore him. The funny thing is he doesn't tell his other son and my SIL to do things for fear of upsetting them yet they are messy, kids always late for school, house a tip among other things. But that seems to be okay with him !! Obviously I have never said anything about that out loud and never would.

Pagwatch Mon 11-Feb-13 10:14:31

I am not a huffy offence taking sort but in all honesty I would think you were pretty rude because your comment includes assumptions about the calls being tight lipped judgements and nagging which may not be what is going on at all.

What if the mils reaction was then 'oh god. I just used to find the lunch boxes/pe kit/homework book gathering so stressful, I was just trying to sympathise and make sure you were not snowed under. Do you really see me like that -judging you and nagging? I can't believe it. I thought we got on......'

Why not just ask? Why be brusque and accusatory?

Just asking. Not being accusatory grin

Unless she's double checking your answers, it sounds to me like she's lonely and using the only common ground she can think of for a chat. If the question itself bothers you I would suggest thinking up a single line reply and repeating it every evening, e.g.. "they get themselves sorted now". Might take a while, but she'll think of a different opener eventually. The other option is to feed her your own opener, e.g. "hello MIL, did you manage to get any washing done with today's rain/did you manage to get into town and get XYZ, etc.

That said a phone call every night would drive me mad and I would have to find a way to politely reduce that. Perhaps you could say, "I'm too busy to talk tonight I'm afraid, can I call you back tomorrow evening?" and gradually get her down to every other night? Then maybe work on getting it down to a chat every Tuesday and Friday evening or whenever.

Does you DH speak to her much? Does she have other family/friends to talk to? Does she have a good relationship and contact with her GC?

GrimmaTheNome Mon 11-Feb-13 10:08:00

Its probably just a habitual opening...don't get upset, just reply yes/no/they sort themselves out and then ask her how she is or something. Or just say 'oh hello, how's things'.

You've less than 10 years to go before she'll have to find a new opener!

Arithmeticulous Mon 11-Feb-13 10:06:11

What does she do in the school holidays?

VonHerrBurton Mon 11-Feb-13 10:01:39

"im glad you asked mil. Actually if you don't mind going to Tesco for me - I need ham, carrots, bread and some yoghurt. Oh, there's a pile of uniform to iron as well when you get here, im snowed under. So nice of you to offer - see you soon love you' ;)

exexpat Mon 11-Feb-13 09:59:35

I just think that if a family member is doing something on a daily basis that seriously irritates you (enough to post somewhere like MN for advice on how to deal with it) then a bit of honesty is better than fuming about it. But then my family aren't huffy, offence-taking sorts, and judging by what I read on here, some people's families are - which is why I asked, 'how would she take it if...'.

valiumredhead Mon 11-Feb-13 09:57:45

There is a fine line between honesty and rudeness - especially with someone who is clearly just trying to talk.

Pagwatch Mon 11-Feb-13 09:57:10

Blimey exexpat, I couldn't say that unless I really truly believed she was trying to be rude. It's pretty hostile.
If I felt I was about to explode I might just ask
'have you noticed you always ask if I have it the dc ready for school. Is there a reason for that - did you find that job a nightmare or are you checking I've time to chat?'

exexpat Mon 11-Feb-13 09:56:37

Really? How is it rude? Just honest, no personal insults or anything.

WhichIsBest Mon 11-Feb-13 09:56:04

It just sounds to me like she has got into a habit, in her way of starting conversation, or checking in. I wouldn't get offended by it myself.

Floggingmolly Mon 11-Feb-13 09:53:51

It's a conversational opening, exex, some people's conversation runs along very predictable lines. I doubt she really wants to know, or would welcome the news that she's both boring and predictable.

valiumredhead Mon 11-Feb-13 09:49:36

Dear God, that is SO rude exe I would never dream of saying that to anyone let alone my MIL shock

exexpat Mon 11-Feb-13 09:46:27

How would she take it if you said something along the lines of, "look, MiL, I know you are probably just trying to show a friendly interest, but please understand that I am finding it very irritating to be asked this every day. I am a competent adult and I am perfectly capable of taking care of my children without constant reminders. If you want to call for a chat, that's fine, but this feels like you are checking up on me."

(I've had to say something similar to my mother once or twice)

valiumredhead Mon 11-Feb-13 09:40:36

Seeker I have noticed dh ALWAYS starts a conversation with my mum with " Nice shoes MIL" grin

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