To ask how I put a stop to this

(95 Posts)
Pleasehelpmeout1289 Mon 15-Feb-16 17:37:07

NC as unsure if these details may out me. I apologise for the length of the post but wanted to give as much info as possible.

Basically DP & I have been together almost 10 years and have 3 DC together aged 6, 4 and 3 months.
Since I first found out I was pregnant with DC1 MIL has been extremely overbearing. She bought herself a cot, Pram, high chair etc for her house which at the time I worried about because I didn't want DC to sleep over but over time due to extremely high pressure from her and myself basically being a wimp he started to stay occasionally.

As time went on she would visit on a set day and time every week and stay for hours and then as we had DC 2 started taking them one day a weekend too. Of course I greatful for the help and I know alot of people would kill for free time and having someone looking after their child so they can have a break but this is slowly getting me really really down.

MIL appears as sweet as anything to most people, however she is constantly putting me down, criticising me, belittling my parenting etc. Underhand snide comments with a sweet smile that make me fume, about my weight or family etc, but mainly about my parenting. Things like telling me my middle child was too old for pull ups at night when he was 3, he was traumatised wetting the bed and bone dry in the day, my dr told me that night time toilet training comes naturally and couldn't be forced so keep him in pull-ups but this didn't stop her comments or not putting one on when he slept over then telling me he was dry all night when he and my eldest told me differently. Other things like taking them for haircuts without asking and telling me it didn't look nice when I took them to the barbers myself and that they should go to hers (within the poor kids earshot so they were shot down showing off their new hAircuts). That kind of thing.

What is getting to me is that this is now a regular thing. They are collected Saturday lunchtime and dropped back home Sunday lunchtime. My middle child sobbed his heart out yesterday saying he didn't want to sleep but despite me telling him he didn't have to if he didn't want to, she then proceeded to pretend to leave talking loudly about going to the park, so of course a 4 year old hears the word park and wants to go. He left crying with her saying if he wanted to go to the park he had to sleep. I couldn't collect him myself as she lives too far and I can't drive. I felt awful all night knowing he'd be upset but he willingly went so I couldn't tell him his brother was going and he wasn't (my oldest likes sleeping over).

If we want to take the children out we have to reschedule 'her day' and are
made to feel guilty for it. I just want to spend time with my own children without having to arrange it.
In the past when I have tried to stop a weekend with little notice Due to family emergencies etc I get text abuse by FIL that MIL is crying, upset and I've ruined her weekend etc. It's horrible the way I'm made to feel for cancelling and they are ruthless. That side of the family all hears about my 'crime' and I get a frosty attitude for months for upsetting her after 'all she does' (which I never ask for - she imposes these things).

I don't know what to do, so far I have not let her have my youngest but I can see she's itching to get her too. I don't want this all again with her, and I want the other two DC to stay less often but I know she's going to go mental and make our lives hell. I know I need to grow a backbone and speak up but I've let it go on for so many years I don't know how. I'm very intimidated by her, she isn't violent but she is toxic and very manipulative and I don't know where to start.

The kids enjoy going, the oldest loves sleeping over, I'm not going to stop it completely because I know they love her as much as she loves them but this is impacting hugely on our lives and I'm so stuck. Please help, where do I start? I was young and easily swayed at first and I regret letting it get to this point. Any advice? Please be gentle, I know this is my fault for not speaking up sooner and standing up for myself!

acasualobserver Mon 15-Feb-16 17:42:31

You haven't said what DP thinks about this. You ask where you should start - with him I think. If you present a united front you should be able to manage MIL's interference.

Salmotrutta Mon 15-Feb-16 17:44:18

What does your DH say about all this?

It sounds like this could be a difficult thing to stop but could you start planning days out and be very breezy about it "Oh they can't come next week as we are visiting friends/going out" then gradually up the "outings".

You need to get some control back here but it will be hard I think.

Katedotness1963 Mon 15-Feb-16 17:44:26

Every weekend? When do you have family time? There's no way I'd go for that! Maybe once a month from Saturday lunchtime till Sunday lunchtime. She sounds like a nightmare...

Hissy Mon 15-Feb-16 17:44:51

Woman up. She is anti-you and will poison then against you.

Make other plans

Let her cry

If fil dares to send abusive texts, block him.

You've sleepwalked into this. Change what you can as soon as you can. There will be a storm to ride, but it's your family.

Take it back!

Pleasehelpmeout1289 Mon 15-Feb-16 17:45:28

DP and his mother don't get along at all. He knows what she is like but avoids her as much as possible. She tends to do all the arrangements through me as they can't talk without arguing, they really clash. He sees her for what she is and won't take any of her crap and she hates him for that and has a very strained relationship because of it. If he tries to sort anything it will be seen as him trying to be awkward to hurt her.

MooPointCowsOpinion Mon 15-Feb-16 17:45:48

Your MIL is a toxic cow. But you barely mention your DP, what is he going to do about it? What did he say when his mum let your middle child hear her talking about the park and he saw his child sobbing?

RubyRoseViolet Mon 15-Feb-16 17:45:51

You are going to have to stand up to them and it won't be very nice! I had a similar situation with my own ex mil. She was unbelievably controlling and manipulative. I really do sympathise.

Finally, when myself and my dp split up, I found the strength to put my foot down. I never stopped her seeing Dd but I made it clear it was on my terms. She reacted with hysterical tears and all sorts of nastiness until I eventually said "ok, you either calm down and behave reasonably or you don't see her at all". Would you believe it worked and, 6 years on we now have a very good relationship!!!

Hissy Mon 15-Feb-16 17:46:08

Even if you don't have DP support... If it comes down to it, if you were to LTB over it, you'd get every other weekend with them...

Think about it...

MooPointCowsOpinion Mon 15-Feb-16 17:47:19

I'd say your phone is broken can she call DP instead, make him deal with her then.

Hissy Mon 15-Feb-16 17:47:35

X post... If your mil is too toxic for her son, then she's too toxic for your babies.

Get his backing and do your own thing. Let it go nuclear, doesn't matter.

Salmotrutta Mon 15-Feb-16 17:48:31

You really do need to stand firm OP.

Just keep making other "arrangements" to go out and be civil but unmovable.

And let her put on the tears - you can't possibly keep handing over your children every weekend because she demands it!

Pleasehelpmeout1289 Mon 15-Feb-16 17:50:06

Thanks everyone, I thought I'd get a lot of people telling me IWBU and to be grateful for her help etc!

acasualobserver Mon 15-Feb-16 17:50:31

DP and his mother don't get along at all

Could he be a good ally when you start to put your foot down? As I said before, a united front is needed. I agree with a pp who suggested making arrangements that disrupt this fixed routine.

Pleasehelpmeout1289 Mon 15-Feb-16 17:52:55

He would quite happily help me out with this but it's just figuring out how without being ripped to shreds.
We have arranged days out before and she just uses the old 'ok well we will swap to insert day here instead. I will take them to school the next day!'

Purplepicnic Mon 15-Feb-16 17:55:15

No one here is going to tell you anything else than to grow that backbone and stand up to her. Because that's the only solution.

AndersArms Mon 15-Feb-16 17:55:39

I think you need a weekend away OP so there is no alternative day available. And maybe DC need to start an activity for the weekends. And then family time, visiting other family (yours?) and DC birthday parties etc mean it will become a bit more ad hoc.

lizzydrippingsghost Mon 15-Feb-16 17:56:06

grow a thick skin and dont engage in conversations
mil- im picking the dcs on saturday
you- no we already have plans maybe next week bye
dont budge on it
when she criticise you just do a pa oh really ok
let her know she as to ASK, NOT TELL YOU if she can have the dcs
stick to your guns dont let the emotional blackmail get to you and if the family give you the cold shoulder fuck em
your in charge

Purplepicnic Mon 15-Feb-16 17:56:23

You'll be ripped to shreds whatever you do. There is no way to avoid it. You just have to weather the storm.

FullMoonDiva Mon 15-Feb-16 17:56:53

I'd just arrange things for you all to do on a weekend (as in you, dh and children), a breezy 'oh dc's won't be able to stay next weekend as we have plans' rinse and repeat. If fil texts you abuse I'd just text back and tell him I'm not going to apologise for arranging quality time with my own children and whilst it's lovely they enjoy having them over its not going to be at the detriment to you and dh spending quality time with them anymore-therefore every weekend doesn't work for us any longer. If they carry on with the dramatics then a simple 'look you either behave like reasonable adults or you won't have them to stay over again simple as really. Children are at school all week and we deserve time as a family too without you trying to dictate. Contact me again when you can behave as adults or not until.
Got no time for shit off other people about my own kids, I'm the parent I say what's what and if people don't like it tough shit.

Oh and as for the criticising you pull her up each and everytime, stop letting her mug you off in front of your children.

RubyRoseViolet Mon 15-Feb-16 17:58:29

You sort of have to agree with your DH about what you're going to say and then you have to say it and stand firm. Absolutely firm. For example you might say "we're happy for you to have the DCs once a month if that's convenient for us all but not every week. You can visit etc but not have them at yours". Prepare for the resulting hysteria and stay calm. Make it crystal clear that you are in charge.

If the fil calls and says mil is crying say "I'm sorry to hear that but things had to change. I'm tired of being walked all over. They are our children, not yours." Do not give in to them.

FullMoonDiva Mon 15-Feb-16 17:58:33

'We have arranged days out before and she just uses the old 'ok well we will swap to insert day here instead. I will take them to school the next day!'

No sorry that doesn't work for us I prefer them to stay home on a school evening but thanks anyway. We'll let you know the next time they are available for a sleepover.

Illmakeitwork1 Mon 15-Feb-16 17:59:11

Gosh I could've written this about my MIL! I completely sympathise. I have a 10 month old and as soon as baby was born MIL bought a cot, pram, toys, clothes all for her house, it completely freaked me out and reminded me of that film The hand that rocks the cradle! Within a couple of weeks of baby arriving she'd designated one day a week to be 'her day' with baby, just like you it was thrust upon me and would turn up and barely get through the door before asking if baby was ready and then taking baby out for hours walking and coffee shops etc. Tbh I didn't know whether it was normal or whether I was being weird for objecting. My MIL has gone on and on asking when baby will be staying over and I've refused so far. Now baby is being weaned she keeps questioning my judgement on the food (we eat healthily) and keeps wanting to give baby things like boil in the bag fish, ice cream and chocolate puddings! If i dare to cancel one of her days I get an angry text and she'll call my DP to tell him how disappointed she is.

Don't worry about whether you should've said anything sooner, it doesn't matter, grab the bull by the horns now. You can be gentle to try and minimise the backlash, I would start by saying you don't enjoy having the boys stay with her every saturday night anymore as you feel they are growing up so fast and you miss that time with them, everyone being so busy during the week with school/work etc the weekends are precious family time. Tell her she can have them to stay every other Saturday night and stand firm don't give in! As for your middle son don't make him go if he doesn't want to, it's not fair and it should be an enjoyable experience not something he dreads. As for your little girl I would approach it completely differently as she hasn't started up the routine with her yet, and I would say not until she's older from the start. Tell her you are going to use the time the boys are with her to do special mum and daughter bonding stuff together.

Try and remember she doesn't have a 'right' to take your children every weekend if you don't want her to, they are YOUR children.

acasualobserver Mon 15-Feb-16 17:59:17

Present her with your joint decision as a fait accompli. "DP and I have decided that it would be best for our family if the children came for a monthly visit." Then put on your hard hats and weather the ensuing storm. That's the deal - she either takes it or leaves it.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Mon 15-Feb-16 18:00:45

Well, as sure as shite I would be out for the full day next Saturday.

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