"They don't see me enough".

(31 Posts)
curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 15:05:53

MIL said this about my children because they were being shy yesterday. I just smiled and moved on but was annoyed because:

1. they weren't being shy with her, it was someone else whom they hardly ever see, and being in a strange place (they usually see MIL at our house or theirs, and this was out, and the other person was completely new). MIL knows this, when she comes to our house the dcs come running to her.

2. It's a fucking dig and it's not fair. I do not have time to BREATHE. I had to skive off existing commitments to do my own daughter's birthday cake. I supermarket shop online when I should be working, I do laundry at home when I am supposed to be working, I do not have time to have a haircut, we are barely keeping afloat with everything we have to do: 2 small children, 2 adults, 2 full time jobs, and we have just moved house, and, for some reason, all kinds of major things have just broken and are proving hellaciously endless to fix. MIL lives about 6 miles away, does nothing, and has a car. IF YOU THINK YOU SHOULD SEE THEM MORE THEN COME THE FUCK OVER AND STOP TRYING TO MAKE ME ORGANISE EVERYTHING AND DO EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME.

3. For clarity, when I say "come the fuck over then", what I actually mean is: phone up, suggest a time, and come then. Not say vaguely "I'll pop over at the weekend". When? We aren't just sitting there for 48 hours waiting for something to happen. We will make time for you, gladly, but it would really help if you could give us a clue which bit of time would suit you.

4. or, as a radical suggestion, not that you have to, but you could maybe come round in such a way that actually helps me. If you were to sit with the dcs for 2 hours (which they would love), at a time arranged with me, which I know about, and can plan for, and then you actually show up at that time, and I could get on with something else, then this would actually be net gain in my life and be incredibly easy for you and YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO. You don't have to, but you know what, your life is a lot easier than mine so stop bitching at me.

AIBU?

NKffffffffabeee2d7X127640abcce Mon 29-Apr-13 15:14:43

Maybe you could take the opportunity next time you see/talk to her to raise her comment (which was both snotty and a dig) and ask for her help. As in, you're quite right, they would benefit from seeing their GM more and it would really help me with everything I am juggling. You could aim towards no. 4 - though I would tone down the terminology a bit.

NicknameTaken Mon 29-Apr-13 15:18:39

Agree with NK. Can you pretend you don't realize it's a dig and say all enthusiastically, "Oh, I'd be delighted. Can you come over this Saturday between 12 and 2 and take the dcs?" or whatever time.

She might be waiting to be asked. It's possible you're both simmering with resentment at each other because you are both waiting for the other to read your mind.

redskyatnight Mon 29-Apr-13 15:22:18

My parents are like this too.

They moan about not seeing us enough, fail completely to understand how hard we have to work to see them the amount we do, but yet won't ever lift a finger to help or make our lives easier.

It was neatly summed up by my mother one time when she said she was very happy to help but I was unreasonble for expecting her to help with what I wanted help with (!)

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 15:23:44

I suppose I should do this but it seems so hard to pin her down and then it becomes yet another THING that I am delaying lunch for hungry children or something, while she is breezily deciding to come along "a bit later" for some reason and I am watching the weekend descend into a car-crash of collapsing appointments.

I am spoilt by my own mum who works very hard to not put me out and helps as much as she can (though she is 200 miles away). when we were children she worked like a bastard and I found her scary and unapproachable. Now we are grown up she knows what our lives are like and can't do enough to support us. MIL on the other hand has not worked a day in her life and has no idea that we aren't all just pottering about at home all the time looking for things to do.

Pigsmummy Mon 29-Apr-13 16:36:30

Stop changing your plans when she is late? Eat without her if she is late, don't let your weekend fall apart if she is late.

EldritchCleavage Mon 29-Apr-13 16:49:01

Alternatively, take a step back and let your DH deal with her and make arrangements with her.

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 16:54:45

Eldritch - I do pretty much - but this is why it is not "enough" - DP doesn't proactively seek her company much, and for some reason she is more inclined to contact me than him, and actually I get a bit pissed off about that because it's part of the social stuff = women's work = they have time to do it while men are too busy, thing. I guess what I am saying is: that was clearly a dig, the status quo doesn't suit her, and I think it was meant more as a dig at me as I am the one she always contacts

EldritchCleavage Mon 29-Apr-13 16:58:52

Aha, well that is very annoying.

If you just said to her 'That was a dig, and unfair. We'd like to see you more too, just ring [DH], make a firm arrangement and stick to it, and that will work better for everyone. The ball's in your court' how would she react?

Panzee Mon 29-Apr-13 17:01:45

Have you tried taking them to hers? That way you have a bit more control over keeping to time. Assuming she doesn't go out when she's supposed to be waiting in!

NeedlesCuties Mon 29-Apr-13 17:04:42

YANBU.

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 17:08:31

Eldritch [faints] you want me to say what? [fans self]
Maybe a milder version would be good though? [thinks hard]

Panzee, we could visit her (and do sometimes) but this is problematic because she doesn't offer meals and when you have small children it always seems to be nearly lunchtime or nearly tea time, so I tend to invite her over so I can just include her in that, rather than wonder where the next meal is coming from, knowing that she is not going to offer it. Also, selfishly, the whole "she watches them while I do stuff" works better in my house because that is where the stuff needs to be done (having just moved, and having to move again soon). Also, the little one is quite little so I would prefer not to just leave her with them and be miles away (tho it would probably be fine).

SarahAndFuck Mon 29-Apr-13 17:08:52

I took the step back with my MIL (when I was still speaking to her) and it became part of the problem she had with me.

She used to complain to DH that I (and her other DIL) were not making her feel welcome enough in our homes.

She would be offended if I didn't speak to her on the phone when she rang to speak to DH, but often he would chat to her for two minutes and I was on the phone for a good hour. If we visited them or they came to us, DH could carry on as normal and completely ignore them if he felt like it, to watch TV or read the paper or even go out, but I had to be right there on hand to provide entertainment the entire time.

It was very much, as you say OP, that this was somehow woman's work even though she is DH's mother.

And yet at the same time, if she felt that I had slighted her in some way, usually just by being busy when she rang or not stopping everything to accommodate her, it suddenly became very much DH's problem to speak to me and put me in my place (she said that once, those exact words).

Leaving DH to have a relationship with them was somehow twisted into stopping them from having a relationship with them.

I wish you luck sorting it out because it can be a bloody minefield.

SarahAndFuck Mon 29-Apr-13 17:10:32

Stopping them from having a relationship with HIM, that should say.

Crikey curryeater, I know it is a serious issue but you wrote your OP so well that it brought a smile to my face. How I wish you could actually say some of those things and then whip out your phone to snap the expression on her face and then post it on your profile page

<<evil>>

I think aiming for #4 would be great. My mum means well but is very flighty so I accommodate that by emailing or texting her several times in the run-up to the event. "Mum you're coming at 2 tomorrow, is that right?" - "See you at 2 this afternoon" - "don't forget I need to leave at 2 for my appointment" etc. I'm sure it pisses her off but it does mean she is usually around on time!

This is much less of an issue now that we live in different countries, of course, but if they are visiting us and she is for example fetching the DDs from school, I still do the same thing. "Don't forget that pickup is at 3.20" or whatever.

KeatsiePie Mon 29-Apr-13 17:18:25

YANBU. And this is not helpful, but I found your OP very funny. It's too bad you can't put it to her that way b/c it's pretty much perfect.

I think what Eldritch is suggesting is a good idea. I'd personally leave off "that was a dig" b/c she'll become distracted by it and get all huffy about how it was not a dig, etc. But I agree: treat it like an offer, repeat it back to her as the kind of offer that would work for you, and take her up on it.

Phineyj Mon 29-Apr-13 17:21:14

YANBU, I have relatives like this. FWIW, I don't think people that don't work outside the home and haven't ever (or not since the dim and distant past) will ever really get it. I would suggest you make a regular arrangement where your DP takes the DC over to your MIL's, but if she is a bit flakey and your DP not keen to get involved, I can see that would be more hassle than it's worth.

Loa Mon 29-Apr-13 17:22:43

If it happens again - bright smile shrug - and say well you know where we live - then move the conversation on.

I do sympathize - we move several times with small DC - and it used to really upset me that they'd offer to do things but when I made suggestions it was never that they could do.

The family could never even watch the DC while I got on with stuff - if I tried doing things I'd have them follow round and then the DC would follow as well. They would literally follow me round the house talking at me.

They could helpfully point out all the stuff that needed doing while requiring that I sit and entertainment them hmm.

Thankfully the DC got older and more able to entertain the family and themselves.

Phineyj Mon 29-Apr-13 17:25:51

She doesn't offer meals shock shock

curryeater Mon 29-Apr-13 17:28:23

Do you think that is bad, Phiney? She lives on benefits basically, I think she shops frugally for one and a family of 4 descending for tea would put a big dent in her income

EldritchCleavage Wed 01-May-13 12:10:50

I don't think it is bad, in her circumstances.

aldiwhore Wed 01-May-13 12:15:00

My mum says stupid things when around her friends, things that have no relation to the truth, actual events or happenings.

It's bloody annoying.

YANBU.

My mum has said something very similar. "I don't see them enough"

I might have once said, "Well if you hadn't moved to the other end of the country when I got pregnant (not the reason they moved) you might have seen them more often!" This was a mistake. It implied that my mum was WRONG to follow her dream and move, she wasn't at all, but it certainly wasn't my doing and I certainly will not tolerate being made out to put no effort in!

I did clarify that with my mother's friend, as my mum has stormed off.

Ah well.

gotthemoononastick Wed 01-May-13 12:25:12

"I too say stupid things,because I am so nervous of saying or doing the wrong thing."...not me ,but a dear kind gentle, sad friend who cannot do (buy, visit, gift, knit,phone) right for doing wrong!

wealthypensioneriamnot Wed 01-May-13 12:42:36

Can I just speak up for MILs generally .....just a teeny bit please?

When my children were small I used to fall into bed like a zombie each night as I was so tired ....I also have to be honest and say that I was also bored some of the time . I loved my in laws , who lived many miles away, but seeing them always seemed to involve my doing all the socialising/emotional /cooking etc. legwork , rather than their lovely son ! So, I was actually quite glad that we didn't see them too often. I felt resentful that I was the one who seemed "responsible " during their visits .

I am now a mother in law and a grandmother and we are very careful not to visit too often or generally impose ourselves on our son and daughter in law. Also , we are now retired and having had a very busy and stressful working life we are now making up for lost time and go on lots of holidays /weekends away etc. As a result our son and DIL think that we don't visit enough !!! It's not that we don't love our family it's just that we want to do other things with our lives ....but also that we want them to live their lives without any interference .

We help out whenever there is a problem....teacher training days etc and have looked after the children when they want a weekend away for birthdays , anniversaries etc. We are also always available if there are any emergencies and would be there like a shot .....BUT.....we have done the childcare /working /juggling etc. that parenthood involves and now want to enjoy life a bit .

Not quite sure how this answers your original posting now....senior moment ?.....but just to say that sometimes parents/in-laws can't get it right !!We either don't visit enough or visit too often . Being a MIL is no picnic when you are trying to second -guess what other people want or don't want .

kerala Wed 01-May-13 12:52:19

I wish you could email your post to her OP! It sounds maddening.

My ILs are commitment phobes and will not give us firm dates for their visits which is really annoying as they live abroad and I host paying guests so NEED TO KNOW what their dates are. They dont tell me so I book in paying guests and they get huffy but what am I supposed to do? They are retired so don't see why committing to dates is such an issue for them perhaps they are hanging around to see if they get a better offer grin

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