MIL 60th birthday - AIBU or help me get some perspective

(141 Posts)
Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 18-Feb-14 12:16:44

I've posted about MIL before. Basically, I find her a very selfish person. That's fine - she's entitled to be so.

We have a 14 month old DS and a 4 week old DD. my parents are the antithesis of PILs and give us a huge amount if practical and emotional support. They are "doers". So they'll just arrive with meals and pitch in with cleaning etc. MIL sends weird passive aggressive emails saying she wants to "help" more but won't actually do anything practical. And, when she's with the DCs, isn't very good at putting their needs above hers - eg she'll have DS shrieking with hunger in his high chair whilst she has her lunch first etc.

It's MIL's 60th birthday and she wanted to have an evening meal thing. Again, she's quite entitled to have that but we felt that wouldn't be possible fir us given the age of DS in particular. And we live over a hundred miles from the PILs so it would have been a long drive home later. Staying with them isn't practical. But the main issue is that 14 month old DS needs to be in bed.

Instead, we suggested going out for lunch with the PILs as MIL always saying she wants to see the DC etc.

So it was agreed that we would travel to the PILs and take them out fir lunch. They would then have their evening do that day. Fine. We would go up and down in the day (long round trip) to facilitate this. Plus I am exclusively expressing to feed DD due to latch probs. but that's ok - it's only one day and I bought an in car charger for the expressing machine so I could sit in the car and do that.

Last night, MIL phoned DH to say that, actually, she would prefer to have her hair done in the afternoon so we would need to cancel the lunch and she would like DH to come to the evening do. The DCs and I can stay at home - ie she's not bothered about seeing them

For the avoidance of doubt, I want to be very clear that I entirely respect MIL's right to have whatever kind of celebration she wants for her birthday.

What is getting in my nerves is her self-avowed wish to see more if the DCs. Despite making no effort to come and see them and then turning down the opportunity to do so to have her hair done.

I'd quite like to say something to MIL, should the opportunity present itself, but I won't. Because at the end if the day, she's the one who choses what kind of relationship she has with the DCs.

AIBU re this

Greatnorthrunner Tue 18-Feb-14 12:44:26

Sorry cross post.

cromwell44 Tue 18-Feb-14 12:44:41

I sympathise with the unhelpful grandparents but best to smile and nod.
The birthday issue is a bit different - maybe a lunch and evening party in one day is a little bit much for MIL and she wants to get ready for her big party on the day. I personally would prefer to send DH to the party and stay at home with the children. It's fair to say my DH wouldn't be thrilled though grin.
Maybe invite them to lunch at a venue that suits you to celebrate the 60th at another time. Your timing and venue to suit your circumstances.

Cocolepew Tue 18-Feb-14 12:47:21

YANBU, mil appearred in our house last night crying and moaning she hasn't seen DH for weeks. He said I was working but she just kept saying but you're my son confused.
I eventually threw her out because DD2, 12yo, was sitting on the sofa and MIL completely ignored her, didn't even say hello.

Mutley77 Tue 18-Feb-14 12:55:09

God she sounds just like mine except mine would never have agreed to the lunch but would totally have thrown her toys out of the pram about us not going to the evening.. The whole photos thing by a pp really strikes a chord with me.
Thank god my Mil lives 2000 miles away and I ignore it unless we are seeing her and we then muddle through!!

FuckingWankwings Tue 18-Feb-14 12:55:20

What a horrible baggage she sounds.

I'd expect my DP to read his mother the riot act if she said she 'wasn't bothered' about seeing her GCs. I'd be having words with him about why he hasn't picked her up on that. I'd certainly expect him to tell the truth to people about why you weren't there, and would be pissed off if he didn't.

Longer term, when/if in the future she suggests meeting up I'd avoid it a bit I'd use the phrase 'I'm not bothered about seeing you' but I'm petty and vindictive

And ask them politely but firmly to pull their weight when they're at yours. 'MIL, please could you load the dishwasher for me?', 'FIL, your turn to make the tea', etc.

OneStepForwardTwoBack Tue 18-Feb-14 12:57:10

Having spent a day with my own mil yesterday, I don't what the answer is, I really don't. I think families need to be redefined. The title 'mother' in law and 'daughter' in law places an expectation on both parties who often have no relationship other than the fact they happen to be related to the bloke in the middle! I'd just let them get on with it if I were you, if he's happy to go alone and you're not bothered about going. Sounds like she might want her son to herself? I am going to get myself a really good hobby before I become a mil !!!!

RafflesWay Tue 18-Feb-14 12:58:26

Lucky escape IMO gobb - she sounds a bloody nightmare! Was she going out to lunch with you with messy hair then? Why not let your DH go at a reasonable time if possible and invite your lovely DM round for a "girly" evening once little ones are in bed. Will make you feel so much better if feasible.

How much should we be going out of our way to facilitate a relationship with the PILs, given that it will require a lot of running by us?

Not very, tbh. If there were reasons why they simply couldn't make half of the running, that would be different. They just dont actually want to.

So, you owe them nothing. Continue to invite them, and go there to visit when it seems appropriate, but don't spend time coming up with alternatives if they're being difficult. You know that you are not 'denying them' the chance to have a relationship with the GC, they are opting out of it and not prioritising it. Their loss.

WelshMaenad Tue 18-Feb-14 13:07:33

Your situation is frighteningly similar to mine, a few years ago, even down to conflict over MIL's 60th.

I actually snapped a few months later, sick of biting my tongue, and t's her precisely what I thought big her and her passive aggressive nonsense, and informed her that they either made a proper effort to build a relationship with my children or withdrew and stopped bothering because I wasn't having them confused and fucked about any more.

She's alright now. Way away from perfect and still frequently drives me nuts, but I can deal with the nuts because she does bother for the kids now and they love her.

Do it. Release the pent up anger. You can blame it on post natal hormones!

falulahthecat Tue 18-Feb-14 13:08:39

Does your DH want to go on his own? :/

Essiebee Tue 18-Feb-14 13:10:09

Delighted that neither you, or MIL, think it right for young children to attend the 60th birthday in the evening; our rare meal out last Saturday evening was ruined by a screaming baby in the restaurant, from 7.30 to after 11pm, attending exactly that. The baby was exhausted; mother's idea of soothing him was to let a party popper off in his face(he went rigid and had hysterics) and Grandma never went near him. Enjoy a peaceful evening with your children,oh, and stop making such a big issue out of it.

Devilforasideboard Tue 18-Feb-14 13:11:01

maras2 will you be my MIL please? You sound lovely!

Devilforasideboard Tue 18-Feb-14 13:12:30

Haha! 'Peaceful evening' with a 14mo and 4wo. Haha! Good one...

maras2 Tue 18-Feb-14 13:19:11

AW that's lovely Devil . We're lucky in that all of our lot love the craic . We are blessed with our SIL and DIL and of course the DGC's.

girlywhirly Tue 18-Feb-14 13:43:15

Ah, so your DC are trophy grandchildren, to be shown off in photos with MIL and bragged about to anyone who will listen to what a wonderful GM she is.

I think your DH should be frank and honest about why you aren't there with the DC when people ask. I think he will probably get there in time for some of the dinner as these events never run on time, but because of this it will finish late and be a long drive home late as well.

I would pull back from actively facilitating the PIL's visits and trying to fit in around their demands, unless it is a special occasion. Do ask them to do specific jobs to help when they are staying, or get DH to. And do take a lot of photos of the DC with your mum and send MIL copies! As you naturally see less of the PIL's photo opportunities with them will gradually decrease.

diddl Tue 18-Feb-14 13:51:33

TBH, I think that your husband should be saying no to her.

That you have offered what works for you as a family in regard to her birthday, but she has said no.

It would also be the last time I suggest any form of compromise.

Just a simple yes or no from now on.

MrsAmaretto Tue 18-Feb-14 14:40:10

I'm in the same position and have decided to stop going out my way for people who can't be arsed to spend time with me or my kids. I was close with my grandparents, they took me on days out, walks, baking etc but my kids aren't going to have that with the pil. That's fine with me now as I can't make their relationships for them.

The fact that the don't lift a finger when they visit pisses me off though.

WipsGlitter Tue 18-Feb-14 14:44:55

Could you not have stayed with them or close by to facilitate you going to the party? There's obviously other young children going to be there - how are their parents managing.

We've brought our kids to loads of evening things with no major incidents. It gets them used to staying up late occasionally.

It it were me I would have booked a hotel, gone to the meal and if DS fell asleep carried him to the car and bed.

I just don't get all this angst that goes on here about children staying up a bit late once in a while and a bit of a change in routine.

whiteblossom Tue 18-Feb-14 14:56:42

Every kid is different. We got a lot of "oh well so and so's kids are able to go/cope". My ds can't and if family can't understand that-tough their loss. It's OP call if its too much for her kids.

Particularly as my IL's never ever help and sit looking at you expectantly. I suspect OP's IL wouldn't lift a finger.

I don't see why OP should stay in a hotel given what she has told us. Why pay for a hotel and possibly end up leaving half way through a meal, No way would MIL be happy if OP's DH left with her to help with kids. OP would have to drive so DH ends up with a cab?

Stay at home OP.

bakingaddict Tue 18-Feb-14 15:22:20

My own mum is a bit like that Gobbo and it's only recently that i've lost the anger and resentment I felt towards her. Sometimes your expectations of how a grandparent should be doesn't always meet the reality but i've accepted that's just the way my mum is.

I live 200 miles away and when we go to visit my family I tell my mum we will be doing x,y,z if she wants to join in that's fine but if she'd rather go off shopping with friends or visiting friends even though she knows 2 months in advance when i'm visiting with the kids then I accept that's what she'd rather do. It is very difficult because I battled for years with feeling that by not wanting to spend time with her GC's that she was rejecting me but she is just selfish. She has always lacked the ability to consider other people. I do love her but I now just manage my own expectations of her

girlywhirly Tue 18-Feb-14 15:54:04

Exactly what I was thinking whiteblossom. A 14 mo and a 4 wko to keep quiet and get fed at the same time possibly as trying to eat your own meal, no help from IL's.

It would be stressful to say the least, as well as trying to express breastmilk under said stress.

ValentinesMassacred Tue 18-Feb-14 16:06:25

Ironically, DH's 4 little girl cousins will be at the meal and they were desperate to see DD and DS. I really hope that DH will, politely and factually, explain why we're not there

but they were never going to be at the meal because you already said you didn't feel able to take them to an evening do - you offered to go for lunch on the same day as her birthday dinner. Nothing wrong with not wanting to take them to the evening do, but it's not down to MIL that they won't be there to see their cousins.

SweetApril Tue 18-Feb-14 16:32:03

YANBU but she will never change. My mum has a tendency to be like this when she puts her mind to it. Lucky for me my MIL is like your mum!

Also I read your "husband and the spare room" thread the other day and really I want to say that I've been there with the whole exclusive expressing/latch problem thing and it's truly crappy and tiring and a total arse-ache. All of the PITAs of both bottle and breastfeeding and none of the joys and conveniences. And the tedium of it is so draining that there is very little energy left for dealing with and/or ignoring annoying MILs and partners. For me it was a good few years ago now but I completely feel your pain so massive, massive congratulations to you and a huge amounts of thanks and (eventually) wine

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 18-Feb-14 17:03:01

Sorry - should have been clearer re the cousins. They are all 10+ so hence old enough to attend the evening meal and considerably older than our DC so can't be benchmarked against them in terms of the reasonableness of staying up late

If the lunch had still been on, they would have seen our DC as the plan was that we met up with them pre or post the lunch for half an hour ir so specifically so they could see our DC before we went home.

They will travel up from London to attend so would have been about the whole day.

wips - can't stay with the PILs as no room. Rightly or wrongly, both DH and I feel it's not fair on DS to stay up that late. We're not routune led and he has basically set his own course. However, he's jaust too alert now and would be too excited to sleep in his pram. He also is a child who loves his sleep. We're very lucky in that he sleeps through and has for ages. But he starts having a meltdown if he's not in his bed by 7:30. So he would cry through out the meal - which really wouldn't be good for anyone

After spelling to DH, apparently MIL has not actually extended an invitation to me or the DCs. She just wants DH there. In a h event, neither of us are minded to make the effort of travelling and getting hotel too s etc when our invitation for lunch has been turned down in favour of a hair appointment. In any event, The last thing we would want to do is enforce our presence on MiL

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 18-Feb-14 17:10:58

sweet - thank you! Annoyingly, our enforced separation has been working quite well and I have been getting a fair amount of sleep as DH feeding til 12 during the week and then just done this weekend's nights.

Am quite glad I wont have to be out in a restaurant car park expressing in the car though!

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