To dread becoming a M-I-L

(319 Posts)
Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:17:17

I'm sure this has been done to death, but as the mother of 3 ds I feel incredibly disheartened (and sad) about the utter intolerance shown towards MIL on mn.

I adore my boys (hopefully not smotheringly) and try to teach them to be compassionate, gentle and to look after themselves. I aim not to spoil them and to teach them how to be wonderful husbands and fathers. The majority of mil threads on mn are very negative and many are spiteful and generic about evil mil.

The only time I have felt sad about not having a daughter is when I read how little mil seem able to be involved in the lives of their ds and gc - do these posts come from mums of girls? Do these (often harsh) rules extend to their own mothers?

In this time of equality it seems wrong that the mil seems often to be required to be a doormat to be allowed access to her family. (By that I mean accept being merely "tolerated" by her DIL).

Obviously there are exceptions to this - and clearly there are some monstrous mil out there - but the prevailing theme is of total disdain and inequality towards mil. Please tell me I am being totally over sensitive and ridiculous. I really feel very sad at the thought of being "the enemy" by virtue of having 3ds.

EmpireBiscuit Thu 11-Oct-12 07:20:14

So long as you treat your DIL is a reasonable fashion then there should be no issues.

My MIL has previously told me I'm not good enough for her son and he was classed as an "idiot" for wanting to be with me. A wedding and a GC later and I still can't forget what she has said about me.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:25:13

Oh I am prepared to embrace pretty much anyone they choose (and not in a domineering way) but there are so many unspoken rules about how a mil must behave - do these apply to dm as well? Would we be getting exactly the same arguments on dadsnet about their mil? I somehow doubt it.

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:26:00

Yanbu. Of course I would treat any dil with respect. Which should solve some issues. Bur there are a lot of people on mn who hate their moms regardless, i just have to hope ds doesn't marry one of those.

by the way i love my MIL and FIL. They are great, not perfect but neither am i. I love my ils
So there is hope. smile

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:27:20

There are unwritten rules. Dms are allowed to do things that moms are not.

Dbros wife is pg and mum is experiencing this at the moment.

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:27:43

That mils

SoupInaBasket Thu 11-Oct-12 07:31:04

I have brothers and my mum has said if I don't have kids she won't really be mil. As in, the job is the woman's mums.
I have often read out Aibu to my mother in law and we laugh about most of em. Se said she told her daughter to say right away if anything was off or she wasn't happy.
That said, she did feed gcs sweets in secret smile

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:31:46

What are the unspoken rules? I'd better get used to them.

Why do they exist? My dh is (post birth and bf) as involved as I am in the care of our ds. I thought we were all about equality? Most women woh so why should they be any more the gatekeeper of the gc than sons? I really am curious - it seems counterintuitive (or maybe counter productive) when we are trying to generate equality.

Katienana Thu 11-Oct-12 07:32:01

The thing is though, people come on here to complain. There is no reason to start a mil thread unless there is a problem. I don't really have a mil, dh lost his mum when he was 10. His stepmum didn't always treat him well but we have always.included her, had her on top table at our wedding and she is grandma to ds. However for practical as well as emotional reasons she won't have the same relationship with ds that my mum will. My mum was there for his birth for example, would I feel comfortable having smil watch me shit myself, naked, while pushing baby out? No. it's normal to be closer to your own mum. & when the time comes I will, I hope, understand that!

honeytea Thu 11-Oct-12 07:34:03

I feel sad how many people on mumsnet dislike/hate/get easilly anoyed by their own mothers! I didn't realise there were so many people as adults who have issues with their parents.

MummytoKatie Thu 11-Oct-12 07:35:40

My dh is one of three boys all of whom are married.

I feel genuine affection towards my ILs. They annoy me sometimes but no more than my own parents do.

My younger SIL seems to get on pretty well with them also. It's more complex as English isn't her first language so everything is through a language (and cultural) filter but it seems a good relationship.

Older SIL doesn't get on so well with MIL. They seem to rub each other up the wrong way. But she gets on better with them than her own parents (who she hasn't seen for over 5 years.)

Does that help?

Molehillmountain Thu 11-Oct-12 07:35:54

Fwiw, my mil is amazing. I am convinced that although she appears to be this way effortlessly it has been hard work treating me like a daughter (she has two ds). They are hugely family focused and she has never been judgemental and yet given good advice and words of wisdom on pretty much everything. She's given me space to take them on board or not and never given a hint of I told you so when she so could have. She has also helped me deal with my own family! I can't imagine what it's like seeing your son have a new key confidant and person in his life and she's walked that path brilliantly. I don't say that to tell you how lucky I am, which I know but to give hope to mothers that it is possible to be an essential part of your daughter in law's life. And she didn't have to see me as a teenager wink

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:36:26

Of course it is natural to be closer to your own mother (although personally I would've hated to have my dm - who I have a fantastic relationship with - to have been at any I my births - way too intimate for me and just for my dh - not judging anyone else).

However why doesn't that translate to men being closer to their own dm? Perhaps the same conversation would be going on on dadsnet - but I can't help feelin that the DIL are the decision makers when it comes to spending time together etc.

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:44:08

OP you just have to hope your sons meet and marry someone who is willing to compromise. Not just on visit etc.

But compromise in general and that they make decisions together.

IsabelleRinging Thu 11-Oct-12 07:45:58

I would say I am closer to my own mum than MIL (naturally) but I get on well and in no way (that I am aware of) do I treat their relationships with my dd differently- she sees them in equal measures.

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 11-Oct-12 07:46:39

Do you have a Mil ? if so is it a good relationship ? My mil was a cow, but that was because xh was her favorite child, no one was good enough for him. She was a good mil to his siblings partners. She was also generous to all the other gc, whilst my dc's were ignored. So I think it is your choice to be a good mil. If you tell your sons fly is dreadful and lazy etc the dil won't behappy, but if you are kind and supportive then you are setting up good foundations for all of you. I know several women who have very good relationships with their mils, so I guess people are quicker to jump on to moan, than to praise

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:48:34

Thanks for the reassurance. smile

Do you think we are raising lazy feckless boys who can't maintain such good relationships with their own dm? Or do you think it is an inherent biological fact?

ZombTEE Thu 11-Oct-12 07:49:25

Just be a normal, reasonable human being, and you'll be a fine MIL.

It really won't be that hard.

Be nice. Be considerate. Follow the Golden Rule. Just like life.


Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:50:25

blush I do not like my own mil.

In my defence I really really have tried for 10 years. She is spiteful, bitter, judgemental, misanthropic and fascist if that helps shed any light. wink

CreamOfTomatoSoup Thu 11-Oct-12 07:50:27

I find the grandmothering style of my MIL difficult because my mother brought me up completely differently. MIL is very 'smothery' to DS whereas my own mum is much harsher (advocates controlled crying etc). My style lies somewhere in the middle, but erring towards the harsher end. When DS was born I found it very difficult because MIL's protectiveness towards the baby came across as criticism of my style.
HOWEVER I know she just acts like that because she loves my DS and she is so caring. I think sometimes it is hard for Grandmothers to let go and realise their children are parents and they have to do it their way, this can cause a lot of tension.
When I go back to work PIL will be looking after DS for a day a week so they will have more contact with him than my own DM.

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 11-Oct-12 07:53:06

Partridge that really is something for contemplating. I am sure someone far wiser than me will come along to answer that.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:53:38

Why ffs? I don't think I am imagining the general antipathy towards mil. Obviously I will try to be nice, respectful etc but some mil on here (and in my experience) are damned if they do (interfering, domineering etc) and damned if they don't (cold, negligent etc).

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 07:55:01

I have 3DSs and I find that in RL it isn't a problem- you get a skewed view on MN because people post if they have problems.
We are only at the girlfriend stage but it is like a breath of fresh air. There seem to me to be several rules to make it easier.
1. You make a friend from the very first meeting, get to know them and have a friendship outside your DS.
2. You have a good relationship with your own MIL, you include her a lot, you see her on her own and you encourage your MIL and mother to be friends, you don't talk about her in a nasty way and your DSs grow up seeing this as normal.
3. You let go gradually, you give them roots and give them wings. You do not interfere. You encourage your DSs to have their own views and it doesn't matter if they are different from yours.
4. Once they are living together you remember DIL comes first, you are a visitor.
5. If they have DCs you don't give advice unless asked.

You can see problem MILs of the future on here, they are too controlling, they don't let go, they want to control what the DCs thinks as well as what they do, they want a girl friend that suits them. DSs seem to have more of a problem standing up to a 'devoted' mother.

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Thu 11-Oct-12 07:55:51

I have a son and a daughter.

I would not expect to be at the birth of dils children... dd's may want her mum (me!) there.

I think that dil would want her mum after birth, after all it is her mum, not just the granny.

I think dil would rather take advice friom her mum, it is easier to tell your mum to but out. I would offer to give advice if she needed it. but only if asked.

dil will want to see her mum more often, she is her mum. if the grancdchildren get taken along because she is the main carer, that is because she is the main carer not to spite me/(mil.)
some things happen because the dil has a stronger longer relationship with her own mother.

impty Thu 11-Oct-12 07:58:42

My MIL is lovely. Not perfect, but neither am I! My own mother, however, is awful! I have nothing to do with her, and my db ex's try not to either. And yes, she does have a little to do with him having 2 ex's I believe!

MIL always was nice to me, kept most of her differing opinions to herself, asked me how I do things with children and stuck to that. She really tried hard when they were younger, and I try hard now she's older to 'look after' PIL when they visit. I think it's all about respect, really.

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 11-Oct-12 07:59:15

x posted with you Partridge, I was referring to the lazy, feckless bit.
I found that having a mil like we seemed to share (your not my x's 2nd wife are you ?) made me more aware of what is not acceptable behaviour from a mil, and that sounds exactly like what you are thinking. I hope I am a good mil. The secret is knowing when to keep your mouth shut.

It's not the case everywhere. My dmil is far more involved with dd than dm is, because we live locally to her and she often helps with childcare, something we're very grateful for.

I think it helps if there's a bit of tolerance on both sides. I'm aware there are aspects to our parenting that dmil would do differently, but she mostly keeps her mouth shut about this. Early on dp and I worked what things were non-negotiable with dd (for us it was using safety equipment and not leaving her to cry), we talked about it with dmil, and other than those things I try to let dmil look after dd in her way (even if it means she feeds her chocolate and does things we wouldn't do at home).

Only4theOlympics Thu 11-Oct-12 08:00:38

For goodness sake you are right this HAS been done to death. Some people get on with their in-laws others don't. Some people get on with their own parents ,others don't. People rarely comw on here to say I need advice because everything is great! So you hear more from people with issues.

My mil is a stone cold bitch. In a way you are right though I do dictate the relationship. I ensure there is one! If just left to mil and dh she wouldn't have seen dc the handful of times she has.

FayeKinitt Thu 11-Oct-12 08:00:41

I agree OP. I know MN is for venting but honestly it makes me sad that MIL can seem to do no right.

I may not be entitled to an opinnion because I don't actially have a MIL (she was long gone before we had children) I also only have daughters. Part of me always feels a bit sad I'll never have a son, but at least I'll never be MIL to a DIL!

Unless one of DDs turns out to be gay I suppose!

HeathRobinson Thu 11-Oct-12 08:00:55

If you are nice to your dil, you'll get along fine.
I got on better with my mil than my mum. She was warm, helpful and generous with her time. What's not to like?

mummybare Thu 11-Oct-12 08:01:09

Well, my MIL is lovely. I always think how lucky I am when I see stuff on here and speak to people in RL who have more difficult relationships with theirs. But there are plenty of others like me; we just have no need to vent or ask 'AIBU?', so you don't hear about us!

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 08:01:35

You have to remember that you make your own relationship with grandchildren. As a DD I really couldn't have cared less what my mother's relationship with them was like- it was how I got on that mattered. You may get to physically see one more than another- that doesn't mean that you love her more. You may be like 'two peas in a pod' with the paternal grandparent.
People spout a lot of rubbish on here about grandparents favouring a DDs children- another thing I don't see in RL.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 08:04:31

I can't imagine why anyone would want their own mother at the birth!

picnicbasketcase Thu 11-Oct-12 08:05:16

You get what you give. Plenty of MILs are lovely. As long as you act like a normal rational human your DILs will like you. Can't remember which poster it is whose MIL sobbed and wailed and begged their son not to marry her all through their wedding... But don't do that.

DontmindifIdo Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:00

I don't understand why some mum's of boys (also have a DS so will be in the same boat) read AIBU and think "gosh, my DIL will hate me!" not "wow, I'd never behave like that!"

I get on better with MIL than my own mum, but then MIL has never acted like she has rights over our family, has never been anything other than gracious when we host them, has made me feel welcome in her home, feeds DS wholesome foods and biscuits , and understands the best way to spoil a grandchild is with time and affection, not plastic tat. MIL treats me as DH's partner, not a rival for her affections, she doesn't step in and make comments about how we raise DS or how we order our lives, she doesn't expect me to arrange DH's cards/gifts to his family, she doesn't treat me as an outsider, and she makes a mean mango chuntney.

So basically, if you don't want your future DIL to be on here whinging about you, don't be a horrible cow and expect to get away with it because you're the first woman your DS loved. Easy.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:05

It may have been done to death only4 but I haven't seen it done. Does that mean it can't be done again? Don't read it if it bores you.

wishiwasonholiday Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:06

I hate my mil and her partner (in first meeting his first words to dp were that I was an f*** to his mum for not letting her hold ds - she was stumbling around drunk!) but also dp sees how mean she is. Last year at Xmas she bought everyone but ds' (even the dogs got a present) a present. Ds aged 7 was in tears.

I would never treat a dil like she has me!

birdofthenorth Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:37

I love my MIL. Therefore don't feel the need to post about her much. The posts are skewed because people need a place to rant. The vast majority of married womn I know have good relationships with their MILs and are grateful for their support.

I would guess that of the rest-

-some are just not easy people to get along with
-some are otherwise nice people who can't cope with their DSs living life differently under the influence of a new partnership and struggle to form an appropriate relationship with their DILs
-some have had issues with their DS in the past and this has rubbed off on DIL (eg my SIL thinks her MIL was a bad mother, with some very real evidence, which has affected their relationship as her DH is not even on that good terms with her)

Kinora Thu 11-Oct-12 08:06:58

My mil is the kindest person I have ever met. Unfortunately, we don't really get on but this is due to our differing personalities. She can be quite domineering and I often have to bite my tongue when in her company. Despite this, we see her on a regular basis and the dc probably spend more time in her company than with my mum who lives within walking distance. We see her alot as dh is an only child and very close to her.

As with all other things in life, people are far more vocal if they have a complaint than if they have praise. So you're getting a skewed view of things and yes, I think you're being oversensitive.

If it makes you feel better, I have a great relationship with my MIL, she's lovely. And DH gets on well with my mum. I have a daughter and a son and when they are grown up I shall treat their partners with the same courtesy I would anyone else - as most reasonable people do, I think.

Jelly15 Thu 11-Oct-12 08:09:51

In RL all my friends, my sisters and myself didn't have great relationships with their ILs, especially MILs. As I am a mother of two DSs, 20 and 17, the time when I will possibly be a MIL is rushing closer and I hope I will have a good relationship with my DILs but in my experience the odds are against me.

KeithLeMonde Thu 11-Oct-12 08:14:32

YANBU. I have two sons. My DH is from a family of sons only. My MIL is lovely but she obviously feels like she has to walk on eggshells if she wants to be a regular part of mine and her GGCs' lives. Whereas my mum knows she can rock up any time she wants and be squeezed into our routine somehow.

I don't want my MIL to feel in any way excluded from our family. I have done everything I can to involve her, and of course she is just as much a grandparent to our kids as my own DM. However, I have to admit I feel more stressed and tense about MIL visiting (my own mum isn't the easiest, but having her here takes no extra effort), and I think that translates inevitably into us having a rather more strained and formal relationship.

DontmindifIdo Thu 11-Oct-12 08:15:01

oh and for balance, I feel very sorry for DB's DP, I'm sure my mum is a nightmare MIL! I only cope by living in a different county to her and seeing her in limited doses.

Only4theOlympics Thu 11-Oct-12 08:18:41

These threads appear every couple of weeks and they are a massive judgement on those who don't get on with their in-laws.

You don't think I wanted to get on with mine? I did everything in my power to be nice and friendly and gracious. I have got on brilliantly with every ex's parent's (sometimes better than I got on with their sons for large proportions of time). Turns out my mother in law does not like her own children much (despite them being decent humans), so she isn't likely to get on with their partners.

At the end of the day everyone is different. Everyone has different relationships. Why should other people having issues make you think you will?

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Thu 11-Oct-12 08:24:50

MILS are a woman who you're not related to....but whom you must share your precious baby with. That's hard for some women.

babybythesea Thu 11-Oct-12 08:25:31

I'm someone else who thinks it's skewed, because people are here to complain and ask for advice, not to say how great everything else. (Because that would sound silly - I love my MIL and we have a great time together - what shall I do?)

Also, people have as many issues with their own Mum, but mostly, with their own Mum, it's easier to say "Look, what you're doing/saying is stupid - stop it." Or words to that effect. It's far easier to say it to your own Mum than to your MIL because you know her better and there's (hopefully) a loving relationship underlying it all. You can be much blunter without risking offence. So a problem arises and you deal with it, whereas if it arises with your MIL you need to be much more tactful - so you come on here asking for advice.

Finally, have you noticed how many posts also refer to the DIL being the one who maintains the relationship? There seem to be a large number of men who marry and then leave all domestic arrangements up to their wife. The reverse doesn't seem to happen (men do all the arranging with her mother). My own DH is like this. He doesn't maintain a particularly strong relationship with his own Mum (he loves her but he rarely thinks to email her or phone her - she often sends him emails saying "Your mother would like to hear from you soon...."). When we had DD, the person who updated his mother on the progress of her new grandchild was me. He, on the other hand, only speaks to my mother if a) she phones and he happens to answer or b) they are staying with us (so it doesn't work both ways!). Now, most of MIL contact with us is with me and I pass news on to DH. I think there are an equal number of MILs who see as much of their grandchildren as they do because their DIL arranges it - if it was left up to the guys I think there would be a far more distant relationship for a lot of grandchildren and grandparents - certainly it would be the case in our house. not because DH is callous but because it just never sodding occurs to him to call them. (I do it because I think my MIL is a wonderful person and a fantastic grandmother and she and DD deserve to have as much contact with each other as possible, so if DH won't do it I'll have to. Not fair to punish them because he's a bit crap.)

The case that springs to mind is the thread from the last couple of days where someone invited her MIL to join them for a night on holiday (notice it's the DIL who asked her MIL, not the son - she says she does most of the organising meet-ups), and MIL seems to be intent on joining them for the entire break, meaning DIL won't get any time alone with her family unit. She now needs to get DH involved because he wasn't before (so she's hardly a horrid DIL for trying to include MIL when DH didn't seem to have thought of it) but MIL is unlikely to take kindly to being told by her DIL more specifically how many nights she could go for. If it ws her own mother, I'm betting it would much easier to say "Sorry - I didn't mean for you to come for the whole holiday, just for a night"

Gosh, what an essay. Sorry!

musicalendorphins Thu 11-Oct-12 08:25:54

I am not an actual MIL yet, but ds's gf more of less lives here, they will be marrying, and they are soon getting a place of their own. She has been his gf for 7 years, and calls me her MIL.
What I have learned (from my own really great mother-in-law).
Do not ever offer advice unless it is asked for.
Do not interfere with their relationship if there is a problem. Like, my brother wanted me to phone his wife (now ex) when they were having problems, to talk to her about it. I asked my mil what to do and she said don't get involved. It is between them and can cause hard feelings or complications in the sil relationship.
Don't gossip about their personal life to others. Be nice to her mother, even if she is a the most annoying person you ever met!
Always treat her like family. Never criticize her to your son! Always say things in a diplomatic way if directly asked. Like if your ds is stressed out something reassure him(them) it takes time to adjust to married life. That marriage is a 2 way give and take relationship.
Tell her what to call you. My mil never told me to call her by her first name or mother, ever. After our son was born, the hairdresser (we had the same one) was astounded I still referred to my mil as Mrs. X. But my mil never invited me to call her anything else! I was raised to not assume to use a persons first name unless introduced to them as "Ann" or unless they said "Please call me Ann".
I began to call her by her first name after that.

Foster a friendship with her. Invite her to do stuff with you, even small stuff like running errands, or going to the gym, or shopping.
Bite your tongue if you hear a conversation where you disagree about something either of them say.
If they have children, follow her lead during pregnancy, child birth, visiting. If she isn't feeling well, ask her right away if you can be of help, need you to run to pick up anything.
Never criticize her to your son. Try and smooth over their troubles in a comforting way...without judging their mistakes. Don't comment on any mess! Always make her feel comfortable and loved.
Don't drop in without calling.
Love her like a daughter and try and put yourself in her place.

Only4theOlympics Thu 11-Oct-12 08:26:37

It is like going on relationships and giving up on your own because you think every man is an abusive cheating fuckwit. Of course they are not but people don't tend to post in relationships about their brilliant husbands.

musicalendorphins Thu 11-Oct-12 08:28:35

Sorry for the book blush

IKilledIgglePiggle Thu 11-Oct-12 08:31:01

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights........ nightmare DIL material right there

PurplePidjin Thu 11-Oct-12 08:33:08

My mum (10 minutes away, drives) has invited my MIL (2 hours away, doesn't drive) to stay for a few days when PidjChick is born so they can both visit asap.

It's because they're both rational, functional adults capable of thinking of others hmm

People only moan when things are bad. How many mates ring you up to say "Oh, god, my arse of a husband just showed me some respect, what should i do about him?"

Shoshe Thu 11-Oct-12 08:34:16

I am a MIL and love my DDIL to bits. After having a DS it was lovely to have somebody to go shopping with. grin

Her own mum lives in SA so we have become very close and I probably see more if her than I do DS

PeshwariNaan Thu 11-Oct-12 08:34:44

I dearly love my MIL! She's the best! She welcomed me to the family with open arms and treats me like one of her daughters. She calls to chat just with me sometimes. We exchange books. In short, we get along really well, and she understands exactly how to give us plenty of space at the same time. She is a fabulous MIL. They are out there!!

Shoshe Thu 11-Oct-12 08:37:09

I suppose it does help us to get on that we are very alike. DS in fact says he has married his mum. If one of us isn't nagging him the other us grin

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 08:37:18

Don't worry Partridge- everything is 'done to death' on MN - there is nothing new!
Every few months you get worry about being a MIL, shock that all schools are Christian, people who want guests to take off shoes, people who bag seats in cafes, child-free weddings etc etc etc- they are new to someone and if we didn't discuss them there would be nothing to post about!

xxxresixxx Thu 11-Oct-12 08:37:46

I love my mil.. I get on with her better than my mother. She is supportive, non judgemental and takes the view that if DH (her only child) is happy then she is too. I speak to her everyday and my dh sometimes jokes that he's been sidelined :-). It doesn't have to be a negative relationship!

economistextra Thu 11-Oct-12 08:39:14

Mil is unneeded aggravation IME. she drives a wedge between dh and I. I wish she would back off and leave us to get on with our lives. My advice would be to be kind and only as involved with gc as you and your ds/ddil feel comfortable with.

MrsRobertDuvallHasRosacea Thu 11-Oct-12 08:40:13

My Mil was a deeply unpleasant woman who had numerous children, but showed love and affection to the select few. She was manipulative and bullying.
Dh is damaged by her behaviour, and we saw her as little as possible...once a year before Christmas. We once went 2 years with no contact at all because of her behaviour towards us.
She died 2 years ago and I didn't go to the funeral.
Interestingly , dh has a much better relationship with his father now.

Softlysoftly Thu 11-Oct-12 08:43:26

YANBU, I personally have a good relationship with mil, we live nearer here than dm and she has the children a lot. She does thing that can annoy me, like giving dd a biscuit to make her feel better of I've told her off and turning up at hospital 10 minutes after I had dd2 while I was still sweaty and blood covered but I let it slide, talk to her about some stuff let other things go, tell her with a joke and a hug when she bugs me because I know she loves the DDs, that she loves me and DH and that if we all compromise we can be good friends.

But my sil hates her, she takes every damn thing the wrong way, sets bil against his mother it's awful. When I try to get her to compromise its impossible. I know at least 4 other RL friends with this issue.

I think a lot of women would be far more willing to compromise and let things go with a friend than they would with a mil. Everyone can be irritating but it seems like a visceral reaction when MILs do it. Perhaps it's an animalistic alpha female in the pack thing?

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 08:44:37

I have found that DSs have girlfriends very like me- it is a great help!

marshmallowpies Thu 11-Oct-12 08:49:48

I find this issue very upsetting as I have a lovely, kind-hearted, wonderful mum - but she and my SIL seem to rub each other up the wrong way and I can see, that despite adoring her, she can be a bit spiky...I wish I could say to her 'just don't be so disapproving and cats-bum-mouth at SIL and we will all get on better', and I wish I could say to SIL 'just cut her a bit of slack and don't take everything she says the wrong way'. Instead I sit there feeling stuck in the middle and miserable. I see my parents judging SIL about everything and wish they could just be a bit less harsh on her.

My own MIL is a bit full-on but lovely and I really do my best to make sure she enjoys being grandmother to DD. I have had experience of a really toxic MIL with my exP (although no children involved there), so I know how bad it can be.

cfc Thu 11-Oct-12 08:52:42

I love my MIL. She is different to my mother, that took some getting used to - but different isn't automatically bad, just different.

She's generous and kind and tries to be incredibly fair in every respect. She is intelligent and in any other generation, I believe, would be an awesome intellectual force to be dealt with in a professional sense. She's a fantastic role model for the girls in the family in that she believes education will set you free.

She's also brought up her boy (my DH) to be extremely loving, saying I love you to his family and kissing his dad for eg are de rigeur. Again, very different to my own family.

She also shows me where she went wrong - her boy (my DH) is incredibly spoilt! She's also a walkover for her DD my SIL. So she's well able to see her faults and remind me of them!

I love her. I really do, she told me she loved me in the family and I didn't reply Iwas not used to emotion like that! But she's taught me that life is too short to keep feelings to yourself. Hugs and kisses and 'I love yous' are free. Spare not the horses!

plantsitter Thu 11-Oct-12 08:55:58

Threads like this kind of explain the problem to me... depending on the age of your sons, your daughter-in-law may not even be born yet and you are already assuming she's going to be a cow! Why not trust your sons to choose well-balanced, thoughtful and kind wives/partners and assume they will be like that? Then you will treat them as if they are from the outset, and then things start out on an easier footing. Admittedly some people are horrid. But out of 3 sons you are bound to have at least one reasonable person for a daughter in law, surely?

By the way, I love my mother in law, but then she has never behaved with anything but sensitivity towards me and my children.

cantspel Thu 11-Oct-12 09:06:21

I am a mother of sons and i do worry i will be shut out my sons adult life by his wife.
It seems acceptable for a daughter to be close to her mother but if a son has to some how grow away. You see it all the time on here with men being called mummies boys and needing to cut the apron strings if the wife deems them to close. Some dil seem to think their needs must always come first and if that includes excluding the mil than that is ok as they are not their family.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Thu 11-Oct-12 09:09:45

YABU. I love my MIL and she is fully involved in DS' life. I'm closer to my mum but that's natural surely? I think it depends entirely on the personalities of the MIL and DIL.

DoubleMum Thu 11-Oct-12 09:15:34

My MIL is lovely and has always treated me like a daughter. I'm more likely to phone her than DH (a recurring theme it seems!) and while she has her faults and I'm sure I have mine, we get on extremely well. She adores the children and she does spoil them a little bit but not in a ridiculous way. The PILs live quite near us and while they still work, they will always help out with babysitting etc if they possibly can.
I wouldn't have wanted her at the birth of my children but I certainly wouldn't have wanted my own mother either!

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Thu 11-Oct-12 09:17:26

I am not as it happens KilledIgglePiggle I get on with my MIL. I was looking at it from a very base animal one if you like.

It's to do with the basic instinct to protect your baby.

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Thu 11-Oct-12 09:18:51

cantspel why lay the blame at the feet of the DIL when it comes to men growing away? My DH had a good relatoinship with his MUm but he can't be arsed to ring her...I have to tell him to. A lot of men are bloody lazy when it comes to staying n touch.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 09:21:18

If you have a basic instinct to protect your baby you will make sure that they have as many people as possible to love them.
A lot of the problem comes from DIL thinking that DH is a foundling! My DSs come with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts and uncles, cousins, old family friends etc etc and we are not going to disappear!

Strawhatpirate Thu 11-Oct-12 09:21:43

Don't worry Partridge you sound like you will be a nice MIL. I've had loads of problems with my MIL and would like to have a nice relationship but some of the things she does are too upsetting. For example two weeks ago I was sent to hospital from antenatal with suspected pre eclampsia and kept in for two days. When they finaly let me out MIL rang DH and demanded he visit her immediateley, when DH said no he was busy she said I was dramatic and putting it on. Just be nice and you will be fine.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 09:22:59

With the phoning you just bypass them-you can just as easily phone MIL and DH can phone your mother-you are all one family.

NervousAt20 Thu 11-Oct-12 09:23:24

I love my MIL, we've always gotten along really well and will go out shopping/ do errands or whatever together and it's always nice and easy I can relax and talk to her in confidence. She doesn't get overly involved in our lives but if she does DP is very good at saying enough a enough so I don't have to but i feel we have a good enough relationship that if I weren't happy with something we could talk about it, sort the problem and move on from it. I'm expecting the first GC and I hope it doesn't change our relationship but make it better. MIL has her way of doing things but I know she understands that we need to find out what's right for us

cantspel Thu 11-Oct-12 09:24:52

I am not talking about the ones who cant be arsed to stay intouch or make regular phones calls but the ones who do. Who still want to discuss their problems with their mum.
You often see a thread on here from a dil who thinks it is unreasonable that her husband has discussed a problem with the mil. Or the dil who wants mil to stay away from the hospital after the birth of a child but no account of what the father may want.

MaBumble Thu 11-Oct-12 09:31:45

My Ex MIL was awful. My current MIL is lovely. I have been a MIL in all but name for the last 10 years and I based my behaviour on being the exact opposite of my ex MIL. I have a lovely relationship with my daughter-in-law-to-be, we've even joked that if she & DS ever split (heaven forbid, I'd be devastated) I'm keeping her. Same with her lovely mum and my son.

Both of us MILs have got the daughter/son they were never lucky enough to have and they are now talking babies (Eeek!)

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Thu 11-Oct-12 09:33:55

I think a lot of men are a bit crap at keeping in touch/organising visits. It's certainly that way in our house so organising things does fall to me. And if the MIL is rude or judgemental to the DIL, then it's not unlikely the DIL will think sod it then, and leave it to her DH to sort out the visits.

It's happened here. My MIL is by no means awful, but she is judgy and she has been known to belittle and undermine me a bit. I let it slide, I don't make a scene or bitch about her, but neither do I go out of my way to involve her in our lives. And since DH doesn't either, she sees less of us than she could. She's not a bad person, in fact she's a very warm and loving mother and gmother, but she seems to struggle to treat me as an equal, as another adult woman. It' a shame really. Sometimes I wonder if I should try and speak honestly to her, but I worry it would make things worse.

LillianGish Thu 11-Oct-12 09:38:18

MIL are just people - and so are DIL! Some are nice some are horrid. My MIL was absolutely lovely - BIL's wife was always a complete cow to her (enabled by BIL in my opinion, who never stood up for her). She died a couple of months ago - I miss her a lot. Interestingly BIL was almost inconsolable - normally at this time of year we'd be having the conversation about who she would spend Christmas with (always us!). I feel happy now that we had all those Christmases together (and will have lots of MIL traditions to remember her by) - he feels sad because he'll never have another chance. Not sure what that proves really. Just wanted to get it off my chest. Thanks.

Baaartimaeus Thu 11-Oct-12 09:45:55

I think a lot of it comes down to personality - on both sides (MIL and DIL).

My mum and my SIL aren't particularly close. Sometimes we worry about this because my mum and I are really close and we're afraid she feels left out. But it's hard because SIL isn't very chatty, and when she visits she spends a lot of time in the bedroom rather than in the lounge chatting with us.

My mum makes a huge effort and after about 10 years (!) it did start to get easier and SIL chats a bit more to her. Funnily enough she's a lot more relaxed and open when my DB isn't there (e.g. on the phone) than when there's a group of us.

I like my MIL but have absolutely nothing in common with her, apart from both of us loving DH! We have a 44 year age gap and a huge cultural gap but we still manage to chat whenever we see each other.

When I was pregnant I was very conscious of the fact that I would rattle off loads of detail to my mum but that MIL wasn't getting the same from DH ('cos he's not very chatty). MIL doesn't have a daughter so I made a real effort to include her in my pregnancy as much as she wanted...which was quite a bit. It made me uncomfortable sometimes as she would ring me after every appointment and ask some very personal stuff (she used to be a midwife) but it came from a good place - namely her wanting to know that I was ok and unborn DS was ok.

She still rings me now after Drs appointments for DS, even though I tell DH and he tells her. I think she just wants to make sure everything is ok and I can't begrudge her that.

My reflex is still to tell my mum stuff but not MIL. But as DH rings his mum every day for a quick chat I figure he can update her smile

Bluegrass Thu 11-Oct-12 09:47:45

When I read MIL threads I do sometimes wonder where all the "controlling" men suddenly disappear to, as you do often get the impression that it is the DIL who controls the shots. The DH's relationship with his MIL (yes, there are two MILs!) barely seems to register. Whether he gets on with her or not almost seems an irrelevance, all the focus is on the DIL/MIL relationship.

Presumably this must come down to DIL acting as "gatekeeper" to the GCs, otherwise why would there be this difference? Any ideas?

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 09:48:31

But this is kind of my point fruitsalad - your mil sounds like a normal, fallible human being and yet she is being excluded for making a few mistakes. Any relationships take work and settling in to and yet it seems that if the mil infringes the rules (maybe she was having an off day) she is punished for it by being excluded. I can't see this happening to the mother of the daughter.

I am very heartened to see that this is not alway the case, but it doe seem to be the prevailing attitude. sad

APipkinOfPepper Thu 11-Oct-12 09:49:08

I think it also depends on the relationship between the MIL and her DS.

My DH doesn't have the easiest relationship with his mother, and most visits involve some kind of disagreement between DH and MIL - that wasn't too bad when we saw them once every few months, but now there are grandchildren, visits are much more frequent. I have tried to get on with my MIL but we are very different kinds of people, and it is hard to see DH get hurt by some of the things she says, so I can't see us ever being close.

panicnotanymore Thu 11-Oct-12 09:49:35

My MIL is an angel. I am not what she'd want as a DIL, but she is kind to me and treats me like a daughter. I love her to bits.

I was so glad when her other son married a laura ashley mumsy type, who is MIL's dream DIL. She now has someone just like her to cook sunday roasts and drink tea with in front of the fire (whilst the anti social types like myself go hiking up mountains in the rain and generally act in an inexplicably unfeminine fashion).

I get that my MIL might complain about me to her friends as I am not interested in family xmas, family holidays, all of that in each other's pockets kind of thing that she wants. I see them a few times a year, and that will never change. She is kind enough not to complain to me or H about it though, and that's the answer. MILs and DILs need to understand that although connected they are not related, and the bond is not the same as that between M and D. They are likely to have very different personalities, lifestyles, and ideas about life. I love my MIL because she accepts that. If she nagged on at me to be something I'm not I'd be on here complaining about her!

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 09:49:54

My MIL comes from a large family that was controlled by her grandmother. She has determined that she should now fill this role. She refuses to accept that we are adults and capable of making our own choices. She is divisive and constantly praises the achievements of my Nephews whilst putting down my DSs achievements. She has been publically rude to me throughout the 24 years I've known her.

Last night I was treated to half an hour of outrage and aggression because I'm taking DS2 away at half term and will miss her birthday. Once she accepted that I wasn't cancelling I was given an itinerary for my holiday and instructions as to what souvenir/gift to buy her on top of her birthday gift.

My mother had a similarly controlling MIL and learned from it. She supports without interfering and DH and the boys adore her.

MIL has chosen her path. It must frustrate her greatly that I never follow instructions. DH and I are approaching out half century and wonder how old we have to be before she'll recognise that we are adults.

Nobody wants to dislike their MIL I'm sure. It's a complex relationship that involves compromise on both sides. The new couple/family must be allowed to find their own way and make their own traditions with love and support.

Narked Thu 11-Oct-12 09:56:49

Marshmallowpies, why not tell your Mum?

Baaartimaeus Thu 11-Oct-12 10:03:52

It's true that MN is very MIL /DIL focused rather than MIL / SonIL but that's probably a) because it's mostly women on here and b) you'd be better off comparing FIL / SonIL relationships as an equivalent...

I think it's also linked to the fact that it's a relationship between two mothers. And as a quick glance on MN shows, no two mothers have the same opinion about every subject so it's bound to be a bit contentious from time to time, unless one mother stands back and lets the other mother choose. In this case, it should be the DIL choosing for her child, rather than the MIL choosing for her GC IYSWIM.

I'm very lucky that MIL respects our parenting choices even though they're very different to hers. But she also points out that DS is very different to DH as a child so it's normal to treat them differently. (e.g. DH was left to CIO because he was perfectly happy and never cried more than a minute whereas DS could scream for an hour if I let him, which I don't).

My DH really likes my mum. Though he is sometimes a bit nonplussed as she is totally different from his mum. MIL is very calm, quiet and steady. My mum is hyperactive and could talk for England. My family also makes a lot of jokes all the time which DH took some getting used to, especially as English isn't his mothertongue.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Thu 11-Oct-12 10:04:47

I take your point Partridge, but I think it's unfair to say my MIL is being excluded. I don't ever stand in the way of DH inviting her, I do my best to accommodate her visits and go to her when we are invited.

It's taken years for us to get to this point. For a long time I made much more effort.

I can't imagine my own mother acting towards my SIL as my MIL does towards me. Perhaps that colours my view.

Anyway, I will never stand in the way of her relationship with my husband or my dd's. I'm just saying that we could have all been so much closer if she was able to treat me (and DH as well, incidentally) as a competent adult.

I don't quite get this (and I have seen the sentiment expressed on MN a lot) - my MIL winds me up, but in the end a lot less than my own DM and it'S MIL (and FIL) I trust to have the kids over night, MIL (and FIL) we live closer to... DH isn't remarkably close to his parents but he phones them because he wants to talk to them whereas I phone mine because its my duty grin (I think you do get the duty calls less with grown up sons - they stay in touch because they want to, but if they don't want to they don't feel obliged to phone weekly).

I have 1 DD and 2 DS and don't think there is any special reason to think I will be any closer to any particular one as an adult based on gender, and I never really give much thought to being a MIL grin Who knows how that will work out, maybe they'll all stay single... (though I doubt it smile )

marshmallowpies Thu 11-Oct-12 10:17:00

Narked I have tried, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. I always try to defend my SIL to them - at least try to justify her actions even if I don't always agree with them - but I just get the sense my parents say 'yes yes dear' but then go back to thinking about SIL the way they did before.

CatsRule Thu 11-Oct-12 10:17:06

My mil sadly is a nightmare...and my dh has more to say about her bad behaviour than I ever have!

Our rules with regards to our ds applies to mum, mil and all. The only difference between my mum and mil is that we both already had a good relationship with my mum prior to ds and she also respects us as his however does not. Mil even admits this...admits she only wants to know our ds and not us, not even her own son!

The one thing my mil has taught me is about how I don't want to parent and about the kind of mil I will strive not to be.

I know people with great mil's and I wish our relationships with dh's family were different.

Baaaa you make a good point "I think it's also linked to the fact that it's a relationship between two mothers. And as a quick glance on MN shows, no two mothers have the same opinion about every subject so it's bound to be a bit contentious from time to time, unless one mother stands back and lets the other mother choose. In this case, it should be the DIL choosing for her child, rather than the MIL choosing for her GC IYSWIM."

Quadrangle Thu 11-Oct-12 10:24:07

I don't think you are being over sensitive and ridiculous. I think you are right. It would be an interesting subject for someone to write a Psychology dissertation on. ie. Why it is.

Narked Thu 11-Oct-12 10:24:10

That's sad Marshmallowpies.

freddiefrog Thu 11-Oct-12 10:28:48

My MiL is a nightmare too, but my kids adore her so I tend to put up and shut up unless she's being really out of order (and she has been really out of order to me in the past)

I have as little to do with her as I can get away with but I do encourage a my kids and DH's relationship with her (despite what she's done to me, she's fab with my girls and they adore her) and never stand in the way or stop them seeing each other (well, it's mostly Skype these days as we're 200 miles away).

It's always me reminding DH to ring her or organising birthday cards and visits but she thinks I'm an evil bitch who is stopping contact with her son

gasguzzler Thu 11-Oct-12 10:29:37

OP, I understand as I worry too, however I know that my own mother is very loving to my SIL's and that it is possible to get along with them from her example.

However, here's my checklist of not what to do based on my own experiences with my own MIL.

1) When you meet your future DIL for the first time, do not pass feedback on to her that your husband (future FIL) does not like her and that you need to talk to him about being nicer to her. That is off to a bad start. When people meet FDIL and say nice things like, you are very pretty, don't say hmff, I can't see it myself.
2) When your son gets engaged, do not start to cry, say "why" and slam the phone down.
3) When future DIL talks to you about the wedding plans, do not say to her face that you want nothing to do with it, that non of his relatives will probably come, that you are not contributing and that you do not want SIL to be a bridesmaid.
4) On the day of the wedding do not go round telling everyone that the bride is anorexic if she drops 6 kilos for the wedding. Also do not tell everyone that says, oh you look beautiful, that she does not normally look like that. Also do not walk into the room when your FDIL is getting dressed, look her up and down and then walk out in a huff.
5) Do not refer to your sons house, car and furnishings as "my sons stuff" when DIL has an equally well paid job and contributes just as much, if not more to the household. Also do not tell your DIL that she should get SIL round to help me decorate the place as she has better taste than me (which she really doesn't).
6) When you are at your DIL and DS's house do not spend the whole time telling DIL that she is incompetent and that she is "stupid".
7) When DIL invites you on days out, weekends away, holidays and buys you nice presents (because she stupidly believes she can make you see how lovely she is really) do not accept these things and then say, "I want nothing off you".
8) Do buy your DIL small Christmas and Birthday gifts, even if it sticks in your throat. When you don't you give her the impression that you seriously dislike her.
9) When DIL has children, do not make it all about you. You didn't have 7 years of fertility treatment to get them, have pregnancy problems and you didn't deliver and nurture them. Do not tell DIL that she is doing things all wrong and do not tell DIL that her kids look nothing like her, but do look like you.
10) And finally, when your DIL starts to treat you with indifference because she has matured and realised that you are not going to come around and that she is no longer going to put up with your toxic behaviour, do not turn around and ask in astonishment what you did to deserve being treated in such a terrible way by someone who your son married.

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 10:43:52

What gasguzzler said.


Do not announce at the first ever family meal that you have no intention of paying for FDIL

Do not ask you friend to ring your son to check that he really wants to get married and tell him that he can say no at any time.

Try to find something to admire in your DIL.

Try to remember what she does for a living. (I am not and have never been an architect nor do I work for the council).

Do not deliberately construct an entire buffet around the one item your DIL cannot eat.

Try to forget that your grandchildren share genetic material with your DIL and love them anyway

Remember that you do not own other people.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 11-Oct-12 10:45:08

its a weird one and as a mum of many sons i think about rather a lot.

my own mum is a wonderful mil to her dil thats to be expected because she actually picked her for my brother,shes also a great gp to my nephews( db's and sisters dc's) and to my eldest child. how ever she struggles with me and my other dc's. but as much as i love her dearly we have always struggled to have a decent relationship and out of my dc's the only one who isant really a carbon copy of me is my eldest who was also the first gc. she does try really hard with my other dc's but its blatently obvious to everyone that its hard work for her, if she goes through one of her phases where she is unkind or oversteps with me or my kids i have no problems telling her to fuck the fuck off to the far side of fuck and only stop fucking off when she has decided to behave like a reasonable human being. it works for us and as a result we all maintain a fairly decent relationship.

over the years ive had several different types of mil one i really liked but she thinks i took advantage of her wonderful can do no wrong son despite the fact that i was 15 and he was 31 she hasnt even spoken to me in the 18 years since her son dumped me his latest wife activly dislikes her and im not sure why.

one who very much treated me like second wife second best,falling overherself to treat first wife very well (never caused an issue for me as first wife was lovely and is still a friend) but practicly ignored me and will have no comunication with me refuses to even let first wife give me her phone number and also wont see any of my kids her gc's i think its because shes still shuffering from dh's death and belive that i stole him off first wife i didnt there were 2 years between the divorce that first wife instigated due to her meeting someone else and him meeting me.

ive also had one who stalked me after i broke up with her son (who was violent) she knew he was violent to me but decided to help and show her support by refusing to comunicate with him or let him darken her doorstep thus leaving him with no where else to go and then guilting me into letting him stay longer,she was a nightmare one who thankfully i no longer have to deal with ever again as i now have a indefinainte junction against her.

i do know that when my own ds's have kids i will never behave like that i will do my best to never offer advice re kids/marrige/politics unless im asked and remember that my children are mine but my childrens children are theres i had my turn to decide how to parent and how involved i wanted gp's to be when my children have there own children it becomes there turn to be incharge and thats how it should be.i will be as involved as they wish me to be and supportive of there decisions no matter what

CatsRule Thu 11-Oct-12 10:45:51

Gasguzzler...if my mil had another son I'd we could share a mil!!

Dogsmom Thu 11-Oct-12 10:46:12

I think there's a lot of truth in the saying 'you have a son until he finds a wife but you have a daughter for the rest of your life'.

Biologically we are different, I know we go on about equality but personally I like being a woman and although I am no less equal I am different.

If I think about every man I know be it my Dad, husband, brother or male friends all of them see less of their parents than the females I know, it's just the way they are, they all concentrate on their own day to day life and the people in it which are usually the wife and children.

My husband is a very loving man, the kindest man I know however it's always me who pushes him to ring his partents or to go and see them so maybe in their eyes I am the DIL who took their son away when in fact it's me making the effort to keep in touch.

He has a son from a previous marriage who he adores and smothers but I can already see his son, who is 10, starting to drift towards his own interests and my husband regularly has phonecalls to say to turn up later or not at all because his son has made other plans whereas a friend of our with 3 daughters is never postponed as the girls always want to see their Dad above any other plans.

I know all men aren't the same and there will be some who do maintain regular contact off their own backs but I do believe they are the minority and inevitably there will be inlaws who wrongly assume it's the woman in his life who is making him lessen contact.

Tanith Thu 11-Oct-12 11:06:08

Do you plan to gossip spitefully behind your DIL's back?
Will you undermine your sons' marriages at every chance you get, try to drive a wedge between them because you don't approve of their choice of partner?
Will you accuse your DIL of being an evil bitch and say hurtful thing to her and about her?
Will you ride roughshod over her parenting style, insisting you know best?
Are you planning to dismiss her methods and ignore her wishes, doing things your way, whether in front of her or behind her back?
Will you expect visits, holidays and anniversaries to be on your terms and your son and DIL have to fall in with your plans or you'll throw a strop?
Do you expect continual, unlimited access to your grandchildren and will you tantrum if you don't get it?

If you read the above list in horror, vowing never to do any of it, you'll be one of those lovely, considerate MILs that are so much appreciated by their DILs and you have no need to worry smile

Bluegrass Thu 11-Oct-12 11:08:58

Dogsmom - personally I wouldn't put that down to biology. Families are structured differently all around the world, and expectations are also different. I think what you are describing is a Western cultural phenomenon.

I suspect that men also don't contact their parents quite as much as there is more if an expectation that men are supposed to sort out problems on their own, and so any sign of reliance on their parents (particularly on their mothers) may be interpreted as a sign of weakness or a failing (which is a shame but even on here people are sometimes suspicious of men seeking advice from their mothers). Contacting their fathers to discuss specific issues like DIY or trouble with the computer is IME exempt from this!

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 11-Oct-12 11:10:58

Bluegrass you left out sport !

elliejjtiny Thu 11-Oct-12 11:12:18

I have 3 sons as well and I worry sometimes about being a MIL. I get on really well with my own MIL and she was there for the first part of my labour with all 3 dc's (the latent bit when I still had my clothes on!). It's good to know that my good relationship with my PIL increases my chance of having a good relationship with my FDIL's. DS1 is planning on having 100 children so I don't think me having access to the DGC will be a problem, DS1 and DIL will probably be desperate for my (non controlling) help I'm sure grin

MrsHoarder Thu 11-Oct-12 12:05:57

I get on will with my mil, been too see get with just me & ds many times. But see would have damaged that by intruding into the hospital/first couple of days at home. Yes I wanted my mum thereCNN but I was topless nearly all the time, and putting blood out. Mum cleaning the bathroom/sitting with me whilst I bf etc was different.

I also suspect mil's noise was out of joint fire to my mum getting to babysit first, but as this was due to me needing medical attention I'm not getting into that.

I intend to encourage ds to see it as normal for him to takehis children out for the day. How many woman beg for a day off whilst their mil would be delighted by a visit grim their son and gc?

Katienana Thu 11-Oct-12 12:37:32

I know it's not totally relevant to the,topic but my mum was brilliant during the birth, I needed the extra encouragement to push, and from a practical point of view it meant one person could pass me had and air while another was on water duty. It didn't take anything away from dh at all plus he totally loves my mum and she loves him like a son.
My dm also had a dil they get on really well because my mum is supportive, gives advice only when asked, and has told db before if he has been out of order - she wouldn't automatically side with her son.
I do get on well with my in laws but prefer fil company he has a lot more personality than step mil and if we see him alone he will talk about dhs mum which he won't do in front of smil as she is jealous.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 12:38:22

So kind of a mixed bag. Thanks so much for everyone's stories - less depressing than I thought. What is depressing however is peddling that shit about a son being a son til he gets a wife. As a mum of only boys I actually find it quite offensive.

I have raised my boys with a lot of love and care and have hopefully brought them up to be loyal, emotionally intelligent and not lazy enough to forget their own parents. I would like to give men the opportunity for autonomy and independent thought - not assume that they are going to be brainwashed by an evil wife who will erase all memory of their family of origin sad.

I hope that the time and effort I am investing in their upbringing and self esteem will help them to make the best choices for wives. And it goes without saying that I will be the best mil I can be. I hope mostly to be a friend to a dil - it would be lovely to have that relationship with a grown woman having no daughters of my own. I can't pretend that this doesn't preoccupy me though and sadly some posters attitudes over the 7 years I have been on mumsnet help explain the ridiculous gender bias towards having girls at the moment.

gasguzzler Thu 11-Oct-12 12:42:35

I think you reap what you sow and if you do not have a good relationship with your DS and he does not keep in contact then you need to ask yourself a few questions. Maybe my family are different, but both my brothers are on very good terms with my DP's. One lives about 10 miles away and he is there 3 times a week. His children are always at my parents place. In fact my DP's looked after their 3 children most weekends (and not her mum) as they worked weekend shifts to earn more. My other brother lives a few hundred miles away, however is on the phone every other night, takes my DPs on holiday (he pays) every year and invites them down all the time and my DB takes my Dad golfing and DSIL takes mum to the spa. If I or DP's want something, we contact my brothers directly. My brothers buy all our presents, send cards and maintain communication. I would never dream of going through my SIL as a gatekeeper to my brothers nor would my parents. That is not a slight to my SIL's we love them dearly and they know it. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure my MIL says that she wishes she had more daughters as a sons a son till he gets a wife etc. However I can tell you that my MIL doesn't want to know my husband. She doesn't even know his mobile no. or where he works. She totally favours her DD and my husband sees this and just keeps away.

Before you diss DIL's please remember that many of us had good intentions that were drowned somewhere along the way. I would have dearly loved to have a nice MIL and I would have spoiled her rotten, cherished her and had her live with us and looked after her when she was older. I can honestly say that if one of my DIL's did a 5th of what I have tried to do for mine, I will be one lucky MIL.

LettyAshton Thu 11-Oct-12 12:49:16

Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall's (sp?) mum wrote a book on being a good granny. She said that as a mother of sons you have to accept that you are Granny No. 2.

Even if your mil is fantastic, most people will still feel more comfortable with their own mother, or want to call her first. It is virtually impossible to be even handed.

That being said, I have seen on MN (and in real life) some utterly horrible dils who are very possessive and think their dhs should ditch their entire family. They are probably quite unpleasant people in all areas of their lives and I suppose we just have to pray that our dss team up with nice reasonable women [scared emoticon !]

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 12:50:43

Tbh OP I do have some sympathy with you as I have sons too but that phrase about the evil wives got to me a bit.

I think you're worrying about something that may never happen. The majority of my friends get on brilliantly with their MILs. It does seem to me that you are expecting the 'evil wife' to take your son away and if you carry on thinking that way it will be a self fulfilling prophesy.

I'm not expecting to be friends with any future DIL. I am expecting to be friendly. There's a difference. Just relax. If you've brought your boys up with love then they won't forget. wink

AdoraBell Thu 11-Oct-12 12:55:54

Have you seen the thread about someone's parents expectations around Christmas? It's not just MILs who cause friction, sometimes it's a DM or DFwink.

My own MIL actually wrote a letter to the other DIL congratulating her on severing the bond between mother and son, and she used to do "nice" things "for" me and say, mustn't tell (the other) DS as I didn't do anything for his wife. Don't do things like that and you should be okay.

I can't help thinking my OH got off scot free, my mother died shortly after we married so he doesn't have an MILenvy

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 13:00:41

But can't you see that advice like accepting you are granny no 2 is very hurtful? And is probably written by someone who has at least 1 dd (and sounds smug to me btw). It reinforces and legitimises this attitude that the mother of a son is somehow less important and a bit of a second class citizen.

What if one of my ds is a sahd? Would that still make me granny no 2? Why is someone even committing to print that there is a set hierarchy? Maybe I am being very naive but this really gets to me and reinforces inequality.

Why can't I be a friend to a dil? I would have thought that would be an ideal situation - one to aspire to surely? Not something undesirable...

I was not assuming that I will have evil dil - just that phrases such as the one about a son being a son til he finds a wife perpetuate the myth that all daughter's in law aim to desperate their husband from his family.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 13:03:27

Separate not desperate - that'll be a freudian slip by me. blush

Yes I did see the Christmas thread. Yet again - poor mil angry (but also poor op - my mum has been christened controller of Christmas by dh and applies similar pressure from February)

whistlestopcafe Thu 11-Oct-12 13:04:02

As other posters have said if you treat the dil with courtesy and respect she will afford you with the same in return.

I have sons so it is something that is at the back of my mind. I'm actually looking forward to becoming a mil. My mil hasn't always got it right, in the early days her behaviour towards me was downright mean! Its fine now and our differences are due to us being very different people, there is no longer any mil/dil tension. I've learnt from her mistakes and having been in a difficult mil/dil relationship I hope that I will be able to have empathy with the dils.

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 13:04:50

You may end up friends but I don't believe you should assume that it's how things will end up. Just be friendly, supportive and welcoming and you won't have a problem.

charlottehere Thu 11-Oct-12 13:07:43

I am expecting my first boy after 3 girls and do worry about this too. However, my MIL is a compplete PITA. sad

EldritchCleavage Thu 11-Oct-12 13:08:42

I do get a bit cross that all the emphasis is on the women. Why do women think that their DILS will dictate how things go? Where will your sons be in all of this? Will you be communicating with your DILs and not your sons? Do you expect your sons will simply be opting out of everything and letting their wives dictate? If so, why, and what will it say about your relationships with your sons and their upbringing?

If my son has a partner and children I won't suddenly be bypassing him to deal with my DIL. Nor will I be riding roughshod over her and what she wants.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 13:12:25

I agree eldrich as you will see from the majority of my posts. It does sadly seem that the dil runs the agenda a lot of the time.

WhenLifeGivesYouLemons Thu 11-Oct-12 13:15:09

My MIL is fantastic... It's my own mum that's the problem due to her MH issues and general unkindness.

I think that the only problems that really become an issue is when the MIL starts to domineer and take control or delegate how to care for DC's or if they are toxic (as my mum very much is).

You sound like a well balanced person that shouldn't have to worry about some of the MIL horror stories that are out there.

EldritchCleavage Thu 11-Oct-12 13:17:00

In my case, my DH did not have a good relationship with his late mother (understandably) and I knew better than to go barging in either trying to make closer ties or fighting his battles. She made a real effort once grandchildren arrived, which was nice, but while I happily participated in it I never took on any responsibility for the relationship (beyond cooking them nice meals when they visited). What the PIL got in terms of contact and treatment was the direct consequence of how they got on with my DH. I do wonder if some PIL don't like to admit that and so blame the DIL for a lack of involvement.

elizaregina Thu 11-Oct-12 13:17:04

loads of people i know get on and dont get on with mils, people usually come on here because they are having a hard time, people dont normally post when things are going well as there is no reason too.

some things i have noticed with mils is where they dont have a good relationship with thier son, the fractures only become more clear when son marries or has children....

or son is in grip of tottaly controlling mother who needs to suck up as much control as she can to feel worthy as a person etc...and has nothing better to do.

probs with dils come when mils are controlling and want to prove they are top dog, putting dil down etc..

WhenLifeGivesYouLemons Thu 11-Oct-12 13:17:10

Just to clarify when I said "I think that the only problems that really become an issue is when the MIL starts to domineer and take control" It is equally problematic if the DIL goes toxic and controlling too. As some of the other posters have said it is a two-way street.

bochead Thu 11-Oct-12 13:18:03

I honestly don't get why so much of the onus for men maintaining the relationship with their birth familes once they marry is dumped on their partners heads to such a degree upon marriage. I often read MIL threads and find myself blaming the man in the middle for being such a wet wipe. Are so many modern men really lacking in backbone?

I have no intention of sending out into the world a man incapable of calling his old Mum on her birthday, or of helping his own MIL do the grocery shop as she recovers from a hip operation unprompted by his wife.

I'm convinced if you raise your boys with decent ethics. eg not totally self-entitled,spoiled, lazy brattish man-child types, but who know how a washing machine works and take personal responsibility for their own social relationships then You stand a good chance of having a great relationship with your DIL.

My sister is married to man whose Mum had 3 lads. He's a great bloke and so sis has developed a close relationsip with her MIL. Her MIL gets on with her other DIL's too. No reason they shouldn't - she raised 3 fantastic men and their wives and girlfriends appreciate this wink.

elizaregina Thu 11-Oct-12 13:18:58


"What the PIL got in terms of contact and treatment was the direct consequence of how they got on with my DH. I do wonder if some PIL don't like to admit that and so blame the DIL for a lack of involvement. "

totally 100% right there!!!

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 13:19:37

My DH chooses to have very little to do with his mother. I 'run the agenda' otherwise he'd never call or visit. He has bad memories of her behaviour when he was young and actually refused to get married if she was present.

Nothing to do with me at all but if it makes it easier for her to blame me then so be it.

I've used it as a learning experience. My sons will be given the freedom to grow up and mature in a way my DH wasn't

AThingInYourLife Thu 11-Oct-12 13:20:16

"What are the unspoken rules? I'd better get used to them.

Why do they exist? My dh is (post birth and bf) as involved as I am in the care of our ds."

Have a look at what is between those brackets.

None of your sons will be pregnant, give birth, or breastfeed.

The women who do these things for your grandchildren might want the support of their own mother.

You are your sons' mother, but that doesn't mean their wives will think of you as a mother, even if they love you dearly.

My Granny and my Mum get on well. My mother does a lot of caring for her now she is elderly.

Granny has always been massively respectful of my mother's right to run her own home (to my Granny, this is a woman's role) and always butted right out, despite my mother being an appalling housekeeper, and my Granny a very good one. She is way more bossy with her own daughters.

I think that there is a lot to be said for her approach.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Thu 11-Oct-12 13:20:34

I think it's fair enough that the MIL will be granny no.2 when it comes to the birth and the immediate newborn period - because that time is more about the mother than it is the child.

But certainly when I was growing up I never thought of my dad's parents as less important than my mum's. I was close to all of them. I couldn't tell you what it was like when I was very small.

EldritchCleavage Thu 11-Oct-12 13:21:46

Thanks eliza. And I agree with you bochead. I see so many threads about men who can't send their own parents birthday cards, but nag their wives to do it, and MIL who ring the DIL to complain they haven't got a card/thank you note/invitation to something.

elizaregina Thu 11-Oct-12 13:22:39

"I do get a bit cross that all the emphasis is on the women. Why do women think that their DILS will dictate how things go? Where will your sons be in all of this? Will you be communicating with your DILs and not your sons? Do you expect your sons will simply be opting out of everything and letting their wives dictate? If so, why, and what will it say about your relationships with your sons and their upbringing?

If my son has a partner and children I won't suddenly be bypassing him to deal with my DIL. Nor will I be riding roughshod over her and what she wants. "

absolutly, my DH cant speak up at all to his DP's they blamed everything for thier relationship on something else before I came along, and now its my fault.

They never talk to him, they dont know him, and I have leanrned over the years they are not interested in him and probably dont like him!

they are miserable and critical over stupid things when they see him, they make him feel miserable and then wonder why he doesnt want to see them much!

MY MIl blamed me for basics that she should have taught him like basic grooming!!!!!!!!! she said i wasnt doing my duty to him!!!!

moajab Thu 11-Oct-12 13:24:33

Why should mothers of sons accept that they are Granny no2? I never viewed my paternal grandmother as any less of a grandparent than my maternal one.

AThingInYourLife Thu 11-Oct-12 13:26:07

"I honestly don't get why so much of the onus for men maintaining the relationship with their birth familes once they marry is dumped on their partners heads to such a degree upon marriage."


This is my bugbear!

DH and his mother have a relationship I just can't fathom.

He loves her and she him, they are thick as thieves when they get together, but they barely keep in touch between times.

I do not want to manage his relationship with his mother, but now it's my DDs' relationship with their Grandma too, and I think it would be nice to have more regular contact (we live far away).

It isn't because he doesn't love her. She is awesome.

He is just so shit at keeping in touch.

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 13:29:40

My paternal grandmother was challenging. My mother learned to bite her lip, get on with things and never make the same mistakes.

She was never considered to be a grandmother no 2 but there was never much love from her so my brother and I more naturally gravitated to the grandmother who played with us, laughed with us and didn't criticise our mother

elizaregina Thu 11-Oct-12 13:30:49

BUT I might add, it was ME who encouraged him to spend that bit extra on them for mothers day/fathers day, bdays etc, it was me who said think of the positive things and go that bit was me who encouraged him to keep up some sort of contact, this is inspite of them being utterly vile to ME.

PILS cannot see thier own behaviour - they refuse to think anything is wrong with them, they always say in conversaton how " normal" they are when they are anything bloody but, and are willing to blame thier relationship with thier son on anyting but themselves.

I know for a fact they think i have now cut them off from thier son, from what thier friends have told me!

I am sure anyone listening to my MIL would immedialty class me as one of those horrid DILS.

in my case my mistake was try and help DH build bridges to family.

thankfuly someone that knows my MIL very very well said " dont worry we all know what YOUR dealing with!!!"

IKilledIgglePiggle Thu 11-Oct-12 13:33:08

A son is a son until he takes a wife.....Sorry but what utter bollocks, and as for being granny no2, you can shove that right up your arse Fernly-Whittingstall Snr,

I have 2 DSs and I can assure you that I will awlays be in their lives, not in an interfering way of course, I have lots of plans for myself when DSs and DD fly the nest, but in no way will any future DIL come between me and my wonderful boys, whom myself and DH have nurtured from birth and hopefully into fine young men who can decide for themselves to contact their parents.

ledkr Thu 11-Oct-12 13:34:03

I'm a mil and adore my dil and she me. I don't interfere unless she asks and then tactful I see DVD all the time too cos we do things together with our children.
My mil is nice but incredibly manipulative and likes to get her own way. I continue to be stunned by her overpowering and controlling behaviour. I'm sorry to say that some of the criticism for mil is justified.

ledkr Thu 11-Oct-12 13:35:59

Dgs not DVD

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Thu 11-Oct-12 13:37:15

IgglePiggle you sound a bit like you're EXPECTING some girl to come along and brainwash your DS's!

If they are as wonderful as you say, then you won't need to "assure" anyone that you'll always be in their lives will you? They just WILL no matter who they marry!

ethelb Thu 11-Oct-12 13:37:27

I think it all boils down to unrealistic expectations around the birth of the child, particuarly the first tbh.

I DREAD having to see my inlaws right after the birth of any children. They are really bad aroudn ill people (as they never get ill for some reason) really stary and quite self absorbed.

However, I also realy look forward to them as grandparents in the long run, but I do think that being mistreated right after you have come back from hospital (with some potentially embarrassing problems) is a big cause of problems. If you are feeling vunerable you are naturally going to feel like you want to be with your own family and that needs does need to be respected.

You are worrying prematurly though. Speak frankly with your son about future realtionships and their own family, as to make a broad generalisation I think families of sons don't tend to do this (as opposed to my mother who has been fussing about me geting married and having babies since I was 17) and for my DP anyway, less than perfect relations with his family were a massive shock and caused further problems. Good luck!

ledkr Thu 11-Oct-12 13:38:40

I think women take the responsibility to see their family alone if necessary whilst men often expect wife and kids to go with them , just my own observation

PropertyNightmare Thu 11-Oct-12 13:39:05

Most women are always going to be closer to their mothers than they are to their MILs. As such, maternal grandparents etc are likely to have a closer relationship with and more access to any grandchildren. MILs who suck this up and still smile sweetly are likely to go far and have a pretty decent relationship with DILs. I have one Ds and 3 DD's. When it comes to D's having children, I won't expect to rush to the hospital or to the house to see DIL and the baby. I'll wait till I'm invited and I won't be even slightly put out that DILs mother will most likely be welcome far sooner than I will be. It is natural and understandable. Some lunatic women don't seem to get this though. I reckon I'll be an alright mil.

Woozley Thu 11-Oct-12 13:39:50

If you have sons, how do you know you will get daughters in law? You might get sons in law. And vice versa.

lisianthus Thu 11-Oct-12 13:40:19

*I don't understand why some mum's of boys (also have a DS so will be in the same boat) read AIBU and think "gosh, my DIL will hate me!" not "wow, I'd never behave like that!"

I get on better with MIL than my own mum, but then MIL has never acted like she has rights over our family, has never been anything other than gracious when we host them, has made me feel welcome in her home, feeds DS wholesome foods and biscuits , and understands the best way to spoil a grandchild is with time and affection, not plastic tat. MIL treats me as DH's partner, not a rival for her affections, she doesn't step in and make comments about how we raise DS or how we order our lives, she doesn't expect me to arrange DH's cards/gifts to his family, she doesn't treat me as an outsider, and she makes a mean mango chuntney.

So basically, if you don't want your future DIL to be on here whinging about you, don't be a horrible cow and expect to get away with it because you're the first woman your DS loved. Easy. *


BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Thu 11-Oct-12 13:40:37

That's well said Property SOME MILS think that their DILS baby is also "theirs" somehow and they have rights. They DO have some right of course...but not if they are not pleasant.

Partypartyrings Thu 11-Oct-12 13:44:25

Partridge perhaps your sons will be gay and you'll never have to deal with any DIL.

Just a thought, you're worrying about stuff that a. hasn't happened yet and b. may never happen.

FYI, I'm assuming your sons are snuggly sweet little bundles of love right now? Wait till you've lived in a house with them through their teenage years, you may find the prospect of another woman 'taking away' your hulking great hormone ridden adult male child somewhat easier to cope with.

ledkr Thu 11-Oct-12 13:45:26

+ethel* you are spot on. I had pil here awaiting hospitality and against our requests the minute I came home. They wouldn't leave even when asked to and wanted to stay, I will never forget trying to having my first pooh with fil occasionally trying the door to see of it was free. Truly awful and hard to forget or forgive. This is definitely the cause of a lot of probs people should weigh up their own excitement against the needs and wishes of the new parents and baby,

IKilledIgglePiggle Thu 11-Oct-12 13:47:13

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights I'm not expecting a girl to come along and brainwash them at all. I fully intend to have my own life and interests and I'm sure I won't be obsessed by the minutiae of my grown up sons lives, but I will always try to stay connected to them and I can't see how them getting married should change that.

Why should I expect to be granny no2, it's not happening.

I do have a DD thought so maybe I should send my DSs off to find work ( can an 8yo still get a job cleaning chimneys) and concentrate on her.

gasguzzler Thu 11-Oct-12 13:52:11

So basically, if you don't want your future DIL to be on here whinging about you, don't be a horrible cow and expect to get away with it because you're the first woman your DS loved. Easy. *

Most sense I have seen on here. Thanks Lisianthus.

DontmindifIdo Thu 11-Oct-12 13:53:27

My brother's gay, his poor, poor DP having my mum as a MIL. <shudder>

Bathjelly Thu 11-Oct-12 13:58:26

My mil is a lovely lady. I have 2 DSs, and have to admit, that when I was pregnant with ds1/ a new mum, I kept her at arms length, as my own mum lives abroad, and it was her I wanted. I'm sure this couldn't have been easy for her.
My mil was/is always very respectful of this, and we are very close as a result of her giving me as much space as I need. I now make a conscious effort to include her in as much of DSs lives as I can, as much because I enjoy her company than anything else. I hope she knows how much I appreciate her as a friend and a mil.

whistlestopcafe Thu 11-Oct-12 13:58:49

The problems with my mil arose because dh was the first person to leave home and mil didn't want any change to her family unit. It took a very long time for mil to accept that her children were adults and she treated her adult children's partners like children too.

I'm 40 and when we go out she will ask me if I need the loo and If I don't she will make a comment about being cross if I need to go later. She is very disapproving of women with careers and she told my ex boss that they were putting too much pressure on me!

We have a fairly normal relationship now as over the years she realised that her interfering was driving us away. She has a very controlling relationship with dh's brother and family. She still accompanies dh's 37 year old to GP appointments, she regularly turns up at his place of work with homemade muffins for his colleagues and asks for progress reports on her little boy.

Jusfloatingby Thu 11-Oct-12 13:58:59

I have read stories on her about MILs that made me shock and I didn't blame the OP for being upset/annoyed/ready to do murder.

But I have also read petty, silly, self centred criticisms from DILs who seem to treat their MILs like shit - not wanting them to hold the baby or push the pram or buy treats for DGC or complaining because MIL likes to call around once a week to see her grandchild. I imagine some of these MILs at home in tears because they feel so excluded and that is not acceptable either.

I think it just comes down to personalities really. Some MILs are rude, insulting or overbearing. Some, probably most, are perfectly fine. Some DILS are precious little cows. Some, probably most, are very reasonable. Hopefully your sons will marry the latter, OP.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 14:01:49

I had a baby last year, so I do remember what the post partum period is like. My ds3 was on a ventilator for a week and I had a 3rd c-section, so would have welcomed any help and attention from a mil - unfortunately mine is just not like that.

But beyond bf and birth I really don't see the difference? This is a very very short time in the life of a gc. My dh is just as involved with my dc as me and I will expect my ds to be with their own kids. Therefore providing my sons are not feckless, useless bastards and I'm not the mil from hell and give dil some space after the birth I should be ok? I do not want my son to be a son til he finds a wife and I do not want to be, by default, grandmother 2. All those making that assumption seem to be in the slightly smug position of having at least one dd.

PropertyNightmare Thu 11-Oct-12 14:02:02

Igglepiggle, seriously man, cool it a little or you are going to end up estranged! So what if you are no. 2 grandma?! As long as you have a great relationship with your Ds, DIL and grandchildren the maternal grandparents input is surely irrelevant. Don't frame it as a 'competition'.

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 14:05:54

OP you had a baby last year? Your other sons will be young as well?

Why are you worrying now? You have no idea what they will be like as adult men. My oldest is 18 and I'm still learning about him. grin

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 14:06:13

And igglepiggle I find your attitude v refreshing. I sometimes find in rl that parents of mixed families seem less involved with their sons. It is like they have the "luxury" of relying on their daughters for the future. sad

Disclaimer: I also have a useless brother who is crap with my mother.

ethelb Thu 11-Oct-12 14:10:14

@partridge I agree that after the first couple of weeks there should be no difference.

Just a point about no2 grandma. You are only no2 grandma if you let yourself be. If you consider being asked round after the DILs parents to make you no2 grandmas then you will be no2 grandma. If you consider DIL using her family christening gown/crib mattress(!yes for real) instead of yours to make you no2 grandma then it will. But if you choose not to fuss about these things then it just doesn't matter does it? You are making it hard for yourself otherwise.

ShushBaby Thu 11-Oct-12 14:10:40

I've just written a long post about my mil then deleted it. All I need to say is that, although she is essentially a kind person with a good heart, our relationship is difficult (from my point of view, not sure what she thinks!), and for ALL the stereotypical mil-dil reasons: interfering, judging, thinking sun shines out of dp's arse etc.

It perplexes me a great deal why/how so many mil-dil relationships seem to be like this. It can't just be about individual personalities surely? That would be too much of a coincidence- there are too many common factors. I can't help but think that there must be something about the mother-son and then mil-dil dynamic that can often lead to these clashes and difficulties.

And I really want to figure it out before my son grows up. There can be very few women who set out to be a difficult mil and it's something I desperately want to avoid.

lisianthus Thu 11-Oct-12 14:15:36

cheers gasguzzler, but I pinched it from Don'tMindIfIdo. I thought it was extremely sensible. There's a lot of borrowing trouble going on here.

PropertyNightmare - abosolutely. When you set it up as a MIL so that you see it as being in competition with the other grandmother, you are turning it into a game with "winners" and "losers". Just appreciate your child, your DIL and your GCs FGS without comparing what you think you get with what you think someone else is getting.

OP "Therefore providing my sons are not feckless, useless bastards and I'm not the mil from hell and give dil some space after the birth I should be ok?"*

YES! That is, unless you are thinking of your potential DIL as someone from another species who will act differently from any other normal person. And don't blame her for something for which your son is responsible.

LettyAshton Thu 11-Oct-12 14:15:44

IgglePiggle: "but in no way will any future DIL come between me and my wonderful boys"

Er, hate to say this, but can't you just see someone on MN posting that this is what their mil said and all the other posters piling in and agreeing that she sounds like an interfering old bag and should butt out?

monsterchild Thu 11-Oct-12 14:17:12

My MIL is nice, she's a bit depressed (and cries a lot) which I find confusing and awkward, and it's hard to have a conversation with her. I'm also going to have the first GC in their family! So I am working very hard to keep communication open and to not take offense at her odd behavior.

She is a lot nicer than my Dm, but she's not a generous or socially skilled.

I am going to have them down after the birth, but not right away. She likes to say she wants to help, but when you ask her to do something, she doesn't actually do it. She often does the opposite. Which again, I find confusing, so I don't ask too much.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 14:18:03

the intolerance is only shown to MILs who over-step the line and you really are only going to read about the worst ones on here.

I think as long as you are honest and open with your DILs and you don't expect to be under their feet all the time (unless invited) then you will be fine.

What I find remartkable is the amount of involvement some parents expect to have with their grown children's lives. Surely part of being a parent is sending your children (male and female) out into the world to be able to live independent lives with whoever they choose to shack up with?

Too many parents want to see their adult offspring on a daily basis, too many grandparents want to have 'alone time' with their grandchildren. Too many parents think that it's normal to want to see their grandchildren alone and against the wishes of their parents. Too many parents continue to think of their adult children as if they are still babies/children.

ThatBintAgain Thu 11-Oct-12 14:23:01

I try really hard with my MIL. She is quite often hypercritical and a total cowbag. However, she's like this with DH as well, so I guess it's just who she is. I'll probably never have a daughter now and I occasionally get the odd pang that I won't have a close relationship with my sons that I have with my mother. Having said that, I have lots of female friends who can't bear spending time with their mothers. So I guess it's all just down to chance, personality, etc. I figure if I just focus on having a lovely relationship with DSs and bring them up to be decent well rounded men, they will probably make wise choices with regard to who they want to settle down with, and so long as I don't act like a dick I would hope that everything will be as harmonious as possible. grin

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 14:24:35

Do you think this goes for both sexes duelling? I tend to think the maternal gm get away with far far more.

blisterpack Thu 11-Oct-12 14:24:51

A lot of MIL/DIL problems that I see come from MILs wanting to bulldoze their way into the new family, especially as a competition with the maternal grandmother.

And wanting to be your prospective DILs friend is an unrealistic expectation. Why not just focus on being a loving MIL, because that is what you will be. Before our wedding DH said to me that he will be getting not just a lovely wife for himself but a daughter for his parents hmm. I soon put him right of course - I wasn't looking for parent substitues, I have my parents thank you very much they will just be my in-laws. Statements like that will only get backs up.

thebody Thu 11-Oct-12 14:26:57

Can I boast about my sadly now departed mil...

She had 5 kids, first at 17 and last at 25( my dh)

She was funny, kind, generous, treated me like a daughter even tho she had 3 of her own, never interfered and always gave (if asked) cheerful helpful guidance stressing how well I was doing as a new mom.

I now have 4 kids lads 23 and 21 and girls 13 and 12 and hope that if I become a mil I will be like her.

Always interested but never entitled.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 14:28:15

I don't want to be a mother to a potential DIL but I think it is ridiculous and depressing that two grown women can't aspire to be friends. I hope my DIL are more mature.

AThingInYourLife Thu 11-Oct-12 14:28:56

"Why should I expect to be granny no2, it's not happening."

You will be whatever number granny your son and his wife decide.

If you start off with that combative attitude you might find yourself relegated to Granny no.3.

thebody Thu 11-Oct-12 14:29:49

Blisterpack, my ils said just this at our wedding and I thought it was lovely, I did gain 2 parents in my eyes and was treated like a daughter.

Can't see how that got your back up.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 14:30:54

Plus blisterpack you are reinforcing the worst stereotypes of DIL - that the mil is not entitled to any expectation of friendship from the woman that loves her son. I will bend over backwards to follow the rules but I will not totally subjugate myself and let a DIL treat me like shit. I would tackle that head on.

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 14:31:11

OP when your boys are old enough to be marrying you will see exactly why friendly is better than being friends. How many real friends have you got that are twenty five years older than you?

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 14:33:19

Plenty. Including the godmother of my youngest. Because we are all grown ups. I am not looking for a BFF to swap sex tips with. Mature friendship is much more than that. I am 34 btw so not a desperate old bint trying to be down with the kids.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 14:34:22

"I tend to think the maternal gm get away with far far more."

why do you think that and in what way? What do maternal grandmothers get away with more?

jellybeans Thu 11-Oct-12 14:35:10

I have 3 DS also (and 2 DD). I also have nightmare MIL. She wanted me to abort DD1 and has been hideous. However years later we are reasonably friendly and she has always seen the kids/us. I defo agree that if you are nice to DIL you should be fine. Don't just treat her as a brood mare. MIL admitted that she was lonely when DH left (she was married!) and 'scared on her own'. Also she said she and DH were the main family, me and the kids were merely his extended. So if you don't do any of that you should be fine. I know many people who get on fab with their in laws and in every case the MIL is nice to DIL and doesn't just act like they want the son and kids pretending DIL doesn't exist, and they don't criticize.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 14:35:49

"but I think it is ridiculous and depressing that two grown women can't aspire to be friends. I hope my DIL are more mature."

depends on what you mean by friends?

AThingInYourLife Thu 11-Oct-12 14:36:53

I don't think you need to be friends with your MIL. It's a very particular type of relationship that involves a type of forced intimacy, and it requires a lot of forbearance on both sides.

DH's mum is an wonderful woman, but when we stay with her for week-long visits (less when she comes to us, because I am at home) she gets on my wick.

The way DH and I describe it is that your own mother is mad in a way you are accustomed to. Your spouse's ma is just as eccentric, but in ways you find disconcerting.

I think women who dread becoming MsIL and who expect it to be a competition are looking at a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I've never seen a thread about a woman dreading becoming a DIL and what a bitch she expects her imagined MIL to be.

blisterpack Thu 11-Oct-12 14:36:58

That's just it, a friendship doesn't just happen Partridge. The only thing you can do to bring it about is to be a loving MIL to your DIL. The fact that you are using words like "I will not subjugate myself and let a DIL treat me like shit" and "tackling it head on" doesn't bode well.

blisterpack Thu 11-Oct-12 14:39:07

thebody, it must have been different for you because it came from them. For me because it came from DH it sounded like it was going to be one of my wifely duties!

LexiLoganberry Thu 11-Oct-12 14:40:48

I don't always get on well with my MIL but I try really hard to be fair, if I'm annoyed by something that my PIL does then I do ask myself if it would bother me if it was my mum and it sometimes helps me to keep perspective.

It works the other way as well, my FIL has recently done something that has ended up costing us alot of money, inconvience and is making us feel uncomfortable. My DH is not sorting it out properly because it's his parents and has openly admitted that had it been one of my parents who had done this then he'd be insisting I sort it out, so my point is it's not just DIL that can be difficult.

It's more common for MIL's to feel distant from the DIL than from there own DD's but it's not an absolute.

My MIL believes that my DM should have first dibs on spending time with my DD, I don't she is just as much a GM as my DM is and just as important in DD's life.

You won't have the same relationship with all of your DIL's some you will get on better with than others, some may want to involve you alot, others not, we can't get on with everyone.

Hopefully you'll get great DIL's, we're not all horrible. Some DIL's are horrid but so are some MIL's.

You also have to bare in mind that poster's often just need to vent and it's easier/safer to do that on here than in RL. There are threads about wonderful MIL too, just not as many of them.

PropertyNightmare Thu 11-Oct-12 14:41:54

Blister is right, OP. You need to calm right down. You sound like you are setting yourself up for a battle. Don't be surprised if you get one....

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 14:43:03

Oh well you're 34 and you have babies. I'm staring 50 in the eye and have older teenagers. I get on brilliantly well with DS1s girlfriend but there's no way we are friends or ever likely to be.

You are worrying about something that may never happen. You don't even get on with your own MIL. Ask yourself why that is and make sure you behave differently

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 14:45:39

I'm not. I'm v rational in real life. But I feel that my brother, my rl experiences and a lot o threads on mn make depressing reading for future mil. I genuinely don't think it is something you can understand if you have a dd.

AThingInYourLife Thu 11-Oct-12 14:46:14

"the worst stereotypes of DIL - that the mil is not entitled to any expectation of friendship from the woman that loves her son."

Nobody is entitled to expect friendship from anyone.

It has to be freely given on both sides.

My MIL is not my friend, she's my MIL. I like her very well, and despite myself I do get involved in reminding my husband to ring her/that it's her birthday/that we should visit.

She's an amazing grandmother and I wish my DDs saw more of her.

But friends? No, although my parents might count her a friend and vice versa.

LettyAshton Thu 11-Oct-12 14:52:39

What bothers me is if ds marries someone with "fun" parents. I know a woman whose son's in-laws are loaded (yacht, third homes etc) and even worse, super-fun so that she is the old, boring granny in the pokey house who is a chore to visit. This is a bit of a fear lurking at the back of my mind!

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 14:53:45

I don't understand your worry although I understand that you are worried. I don't have any daughters and there aren't any girls in the extended family either.

I understand that while you have young children they are the centre of your world and you can't imagine ever being anything other than the centre of theirs. That would be unhealthy if applied to an adult child. If you are friendly, welcoming and supportive there is no reason why you should have any problem.

ScrambledSmegsEvilTwin Thu 11-Oct-12 14:54:10

OP, for someone with very young children you sound far too worried about something that will happen in the dim and distant future! And as a previous poster has said, be prepared for a possible son-in-law, instead of a DIL.

My experience: my MIL has only boys, and is absolutely brilliant. I see her with or without DH, as since she's retired she can come over during the week to see DD and me - ok, mostly DD! I never get a word in, toddlers eh smile

She is genuinely loved by pretty much everyone - she keeps in touch with BIL's ex-girlfriends and counts them as friends. BIL is fine with this, btw! BIL's first girlfriend is now practically one of the family, and DH counts her as the sister he never had.

I realise that she's probably quite a unique person in this respect. However, my mother, who is more reserved and potentially more opinionated, is also a wonderful MIL to my SIL. She thinks SIL is fantastic (I'm sure the feeling is mutual), and when/if DB and SIL have children I hope that she will continue to respect boundaries (as she did with me) and offer valuable love and support when needed. I'm sure she will.

DontmindifIdo Thu 11-Oct-12 14:54:45

My MIL isn't my friend, she's DH's mother and DS's grandmother and she's bloody great at both jobs. I like her, I respect her, however, she's not my 'friend'.

I think Maternal Grandmothers are often seen as getting away with more as normally, their 'bad' behaviour are trates that their DD has seen them doing growing up, have learned how to deal with them and the expectation of what is and is not acceptable has been taught over the DD's life. However, when a MIL displays similar bad behaviours, if the DIL hasn't been raised to see them as acceptable, she won't and will be more likely to call her MIL on it, when if her mum did the same thing, she's less likely to think of it as bad behaviour if that's always been the way her mum's behaved IYSWIM (I think I've worded that very badly!)

ethelb Thu 11-Oct-12 14:56:00

op if it makes you feel better I don't post on MN about how awful my MIL is as we get on and I quite like her and look forward to making her a gma one day.

My FIL on the other hand....

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 14:57:04

Expectation that you will both try to be friends. Of course you may have a terrible personality clash.

Oh well perhaps I am a naive Pollyanna. Or perhaps I am have some deep undealt-wth sadness about not having a daughter. We have decided not to have any more kids.

PropertyNightmare Thu 11-Oct-12 14:58:39

The thing is, you can't force a relationship. Your DIL will know and most likely trust and feel at ease around her own parents. She may in time come to feel the same way about you too. Until she does though you are on a hiding to nothing if you think that challenging dil and/or demanding 'equal rights as a grandparent' is going to get you anywhere other than disliked. Be calm, be friendly, be understanding. I honestly would not mind waiting a couple of weeks to see a grandchild if DIL felt that she wanted space etc. I would not care that her own mum might be visiting daily. Don't expect alone time with grandchildren etc. DIL might take years to feel ok about doing this. If your ds is sensible them he won't risk rocking his marriage by pressurising an understandably anxious first time mum to do anything with regard to her dc that she does not feel 100% happy about. Be cool and your DIL will have a decent relationship with you.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 14:59:23

"I genuinely don't think it is something you can understand if you have a dd. "

I only have a son. I won't have any more.
I don't assume that any future DIL will hate me. I don't assume that any DIL will want me under her feet either. I hope my DS will always put the needs of his family before mine while still considering me, but then I don't expect that I will be expecting to have my own way when it comes to being around his family.

DontmindifIdo Thu 11-Oct-12 15:00:19

LettyAshton - my parents arrive with gifts for DS everytime they see him and have holiday homes we can visit, but they are hard work, so DS sees more of MIL and adores her. I also remember that the grandmother I enjoyed visiting was the one in the council house with nothing but we made scones and played with old toys, dug up the garden and had fun, my other grandmother 'came from old money' and wasn't anywhere near as much fun. We saw them both about the same (probably every other week) it was poor granny I adored. Children see though the 'stuff' crap much more than adults.

babybythesea Thu 11-Oct-12 15:02:32


"I agree eldrich as you will see from the majority of my posts. It does sadly seem that the dil runs the agenda a lot of the time

Do you think this goes for both sexes duelling? I tend to think the maternal gm get away with far far more. "

I have been at work this morning and this thread has gone mad.
But, I think there are good reasons for what you said in the two separate posts above.

1). The DIL probably does run the agenda, although I don't like the term 'gatekeeper' that keeps cropping up. I think this results when the son essentially hands over responsibility for keeping in touch to his partner. This is what my DH has done. It wasn't new - after he left home he travelled for five years or so - his parents heard from him three times during that period. When we got married and I met them (they live overseas) I decided that they were lovely people and I wanted them involved as much as possible, especially when DD came along. I do all the contacting. I'm not the gatekeeper, but if we were to fall out they'd all but lose contact with dd, not because I forbade contact (I wouldn't do that - they are wonderful grandparents) but because DP is a useless arse. It's not entirely aimed at his parents - when he goes away for work he never calls me - it's just how he is. He was brought up in a family where women did all that family stuff so he doesn't see it as his role (and to be honest, this is the least of my problems with his 'traditional' up-bringing). Bring up a son who is capable of picking up the telephone or emailing all by himself and that gatekeeping issue will vanish. I run the agenda because if I didn't, it wouldn't get run, and MIL wouldn't have a big portrait of herself by DD hanging on her wall. I organised the painting of it, the sending of it etc.

2) My Mum does not get away with more. But if there is a problem between us I tell her straight - I don't post on here asking for advice. If MIL and I ever fell out then I'd be worried about the aftermath, the implications for DD in terms of contact (especially with DH being crap) etc and be on here asking for advice. I've had far more falling outs with my mum than with MIL but I know that underlying that is a loving relationship where we can talk frankly, and get cross, without it having long term effects. I don't have that history with MIL.

PeppermintLatte Thu 11-Oct-12 15:05:43

It's a tough one, all i know is that i have alot of male cousins and their mums (my aunts) are very involved with their grandchildren. So it doesn't really ring true that all mums of boys don't get a look in.

I do think it's different with boys, they go off & do their own thing when they grow up, the majority don't want to go shopping with their mum's or go for coffee with them, whereas the majority of daughter's do. It's just genetics, nothing personal, and every man i know still loves their mother dearly & still goes to their mum's house for a sunday roast or dinner or a cup of tea, just not as frequently as a daughter would.

If i'm ever a MIL, i'm pretty sure we'd be friends, i'm very tolerant and i love people. I'd like to think we'd go for the odd coffee or the odd meal and build a good friendship before GC's came along. I'd also expect her to want to be around her own mum more, it's her mum. I'm exactly the same with my mum.

thebody Thu 11-Oct-12 15:05:50

Yes blister I can see that point. It is different.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 15:10:00

Obviously dueling - but shouldn't the maternal mil extend the same courtesy to her sil (immediate birth notwithstanding)? This is where I believe the inequality lies - nobody has suggested that on this thread so far.

AThingInYourLife Thu 11-Oct-12 15:11:33

"Expectation that you will both try to be friends. Of course you may have a terrible personality clash

Well MIL and I don't have a personality clash. If she wasn't my MIL, and I had got to know her in a a different way, I can imagine being her friend

My family all adore her. She's really great fun. smile

But she's my husband's mother and my daughters' grandmother and that just seems to take precedence.

Distance definitely has an impact here - we stay in her house twice a year, there's no casual dropping by.

But I hope I'm a passable DIL. I certainly want her to be as big a part of our lives as possible.

thebody Thu 11-Oct-12 15:12:05

I can see sons are a different breed, they phone for a chat once a week, do forget birthdays etc but if I text them or their sisters do then they are right back at us and if there's an emergency( we have had a lot this year) then they are home like a shot..

Dds are younger but love the gossip and shopping/ hot chocs and I think that is just how most mother sons relationships are.

I hope I will be as friendly, welcoming and as involved as good manners and common sense dictates to my future dils, and yes I hope we will be friends as well as family.

nemno Thu 11-Oct-12 15:16:32

I am determined to be a lovely MIL and I am already well into trying to be. I only have sons and I've always tried to consider that any girl I meet (friend or girlfriend) might end up being my DIL. So far I've got on fine with the girls that have been longterm girlfriends. And I miss one ex a lot, nobody considers how hard it is when you have established a great relationship and then suddenly without warning that person is out of your life (clearly this happens with the Exs of either gender child).

I knew I had to be extremely cautious because of witnessing the terrible relationship between my mother and my brother's wife. They are 2 perfectly normal women and I can see fault on both sides (pretty equally) that has led to a really sad relationship. And one that affects the entire extended family.

Jdub Thu 11-Oct-12 15:17:20

I hope for the following:-
1) that I become a mil one day
2) that I always manage to hold my tongue, and NOT criticise or judge, or make ANY hurtful comments regarding the decisions of my sons and their partners
3) that I never make people feel they have to tread on egg shells around me
4) to realise that my way is NOT the only way to do something

thebody Thu 11-Oct-12 15:17:29

To add I have read some truly shocking threads on here of mils staying during labour and delivery( unasked and unwanted) and pushing their way into wards and houses to grab the baby and 'take over'

I think this is a case of gross rudeness and entitlement from anyone, mother or mil, I certainly would never visit a new baby unasked and never force my way in anywhere... Grand child or not I would wait to be invited.

thebody Thu 11-Oct-12 15:18:27

Well said jdub.

Bluegrass Thu 11-Oct-12 15:26:55

I think you see a key difference immediately after a DIL gives birth. From my experience if the DIL wants her mum there and wants to get her mum involved as much as possible her DH is required to support this, even if his own opinion is that she is overbearing and annoying and he's rather she F off out of the house and leave them alone!!

Conversely of course, if the DH wants his own mum involved, staying over etc then it is usually tough luck unless she has a fantastic relationship with his wife. He is usually left waiting for "permission" to get his own parents involved in a way that his DW won't feel she has to.

I guess that situation can easily be interpreted as granny 1 and granny number 2 if you want to think of it as a hierarchy.

IKilledIgglePiggle Thu 11-Oct-12 15:28:33

Yes but jdub, what if your DIL judges you and you have to walk on egg shells around her, which is pretty much th OPs point, it shouldn't all be one sided.

My statement about not allowing myself to be granny no2 just means that I won't allow myself to be sidelined in favor of the maternal grandmother, why should I, I would speak to my DS and say how I felt, if that makes an awful MIL to be then so be it.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 15:31:51

"Obviously dueling - but shouldn't the maternal mil extend the same courtesy to her sil (immediate birth notwithstanding)? This is where I believe the inequality lies - nobody has suggested that on this thread so far."

I think if the son-in-law finds his mil to be intrusive and over-bearing then yes, he has as much right to feel pissed off. However I do think that there are some situations where a daughter needs their mum (giving birth/after labour would be one) and that a husband should consider his wife's needs when it comes to stuff like that. That parents to be should talk over what they expect and what they are comfortable with and a decision should be made by them after fair discussion and without the involvement of the grand-parents.

What some in-laws (and some parents) end up doing is putting what they want over the needs of their children/sil/dil etc. This is where troubles begin.

I think grandparents in general (or mil/parents where there are no grandkids) should keep opinions to themselves unless expressley asked, should stand back and wait to be invited and should do so with good grace.

Jdub Thu 11-Oct-12 15:46:30

If I've given her cause to judge, as in my own bitter and painful experience, then fair play - judge away.

Someone who can stomp over the feelings of others and ask if we can change our son's name as it sends her equally insensitive husband 'into a rage', can be deemed 'high maintenance' at the very least. And I will make it my mission to NEVER be such an insensitive hypocrite.

ShushBaby Thu 11-Oct-12 15:50:31

Bluegrass I think it is a new mother's perogative to call the shots on who stays immediately the birth (I say this as someone who is 35 weeks pregnant and has told my dp that I can't handle his mum staying until at least a week after birth, so my view is totally subjective!).

After I gave birth to dc1 I felt incredibly vulnerable, a physical and emotional mess, I was beyond tired, was getting to grips with breastfeeding, hobbling aruond due to stitches etc etc. My partner was brilliant, but I found the presence of mil and some other people very draining, and my dignity in my recovery undermined by it being somewhat 'public'. What's more mil would talk and talk to/at me (she talks about herself a lot) and it drove me to tears. She did do a lot to help and to 'nurse' me but I still felt invaded.

This time I want my mum and partner (and dd) there, and other people to visit for a couple of hours at a time then bog off again. I'm the one who will have just given birth, it has a huge physical and emotional impact. So I think it's right that I, rather than DP, should call the shots over who stays.

Bluegrass Thu 11-Oct-12 16:04:23

I don't disagree, just saying that from that point on there is a very clear difference in "status" between the GPs, and I think it can often continue long after the birth.

Jusfloatingby Thu 11-Oct-12 16:12:45

To be honest, it's easy when you're talking in the abstract to say 'oh when I'm a MIL I won't have a problem with the maternal Grandmother being more involved. I will be happy to stand back and wait to be invited' etc etc.

But often, when the baby actually arrives, people will feel very differently if they perceive they are being excluded, DGC smiles at maternal GM but makes strange at paternal GM etc.

AThingInYourLife Thu 11-Oct-12 16:14:34

"I won't allow myself to be sidelined in favor of the maternal grandmother, why should I, I would speak to my DS and say how I felt,"

But your DS might well side with his wife.

It's not within your gift to insist on not being sidelined.

Your best chance of that not happening is for your son and DIL to want you around.

People who are looking for a row, watching with a beady eye to make sure they get what they feel they deserve, and who have very definite ideas about how everything should be, tend not to be very popular.

If you want to be around a lot, your best strategy is to be someone they enjoy spending time with.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 16:14:39

"I don't disagree, just saying that from that point on there is a very clear difference in "status" between the GPs"

But this assumes that one GP ends up with a better or different bond with the grandchild doesn't it? Which is not necessarily true. GP no1 (the new mum's mother) is there to support the new mother, not to score points regarding the grandchild.

There seems to be some belief that GM no2 won't have a special bond with their grandchild unless they can be there immediately after the birth but this is so untrue. GP no2 (using that phrase as it differentiates not because I actually believe there is a 1 and 2) will have plenty of opportunity to spend time with a grandchild and there's nothing special about being there constantly in the first weeks.

Ideally both sets of GPs get see their grandchild and fuss over the mum and then back off but it makes perfect sense to me that a new mum might want her own mother there to help rather than someon elses mother.

Jusfloatingby Thu 11-Oct-12 16:21:31

I agree Duieling, but one poster has said that if the wife does not want to leave the baby alone with the paternal grandparents, and feels like this for a few years, her dh should support her. Some DILs just take it too far and have to make some compromises. Not allowing loving grandparents to take the baby out for a walk or next door to show him off to the neighbours or whatever and carrying on like that for a few years would not be acceptable in my view.

AThingInYourLife Thu 11-Oct-12 16:25:25

I think it is entirely reasonable for the parents to decide when/whether to leave their children alone with someone else.

People vary enormously in when they feel ready to do that.

Jusfloatingby Thu 11-Oct-12 16:35:31

I don't think it is reasonable to refuse to allow paternal grandparents (unless there is a specific issue for concern) to spend any time alone with their grandchild for several years. That is just not a normal attitude in my opinion and deeply hurtful to the grandparents.

airforceone Thu 11-Oct-12 16:46:22

OP, I understand where you're coming from and it's not fair. As a DIL with a one year old, I think I can explain why you just have to accept the status quo (if you really want to know).

DIL tend to be close to their mums regarding birth and babies because they're the same gender and can share the madness as women together. That's why it doesn't translate that boys should be closer to their mums too. If anything, becoming a dad is an experience that would bring a man closer to his dad. Unfortunately that's just the way it works. And MIL do have to wait to be invited just a little bit more. That said, if you have raised your boys to appreciate women of compassion and grace (and set an example of that), you can count on your DIL making the effort with you. Another thing to think about is that pregnancy and motherhood take a very physical toll on women, who could be said to have 'earned' the right to a bit of mothering themselves at this time. Of course they will want their own mothers to do it, meaning that the home will be slightly more open to her side of the family at that time. If you want to be more than an honoured guest, you will have to get the marigolds out as your DIL is probably not going to show you her sore nipples unless you've fostered a very good relationship with her up to this point (which is unlikely, given how 'tit for tat' your attitude seems to be!). As this is a time when your sons will be under a lot of strain, they might value your husband's support and wisdom at such a time. You're in a good position to second whatever valuable advice he can give!

This issue seems to make you feel defensive and vulnerable. I'd like to point out that women marrying into a family often feel incredibly vulnerable, and many MIL don't behave well at this time. Make sure you do! (And don't try to suggest your sons should be just as close to you as their wives are to their own will only lead to bloodshed!).

An afterthought: I've often thought that MIL whose DIL have a terrible relationship with their own mothers sometimes benefit from that sadness because there is a space for them to mother as well as grandmother.

Jins Thu 11-Oct-12 16:47:19

I would have thought that loving grandparents would have no problem spending time with their grandchildren.

Seriously if you are kind and supportive and welcoming most DILs will meet you more than halfway.

airforceone Thu 11-Oct-12 16:47:33

Sorry, just realised that first paragraph ending with 'if you really want to know' sounds a bit offense intended smile

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 16:49:31

Some mils are nice but even the nice one's can deliberately or accidentally make their daughters in law feel like shit about being a mother. It's like weeing on a tree.

babybythesea Thu 11-Oct-12 16:49:42

Giving birth and the aftermath is not a nice experience, in general.
The first few weeks seem to involve a lot of nakedness, painful weeing, blood, hobbling and tears. Both sets of parents would have had to stay with us - neither set live near enough to 'pop in'.
It's not because I don't like my MIL, it's that I'm not comfortable with someone I actually don't know that well seeing me in that state. To be fair, I wasn't that comfortable with my own parents seeing it either. It's just that I was more comfortable with them than anyone else. By contrast, DH was functioning normally, was dressed, could pee without weeping quietly, and so had no issue having people he's not totally familiar with staying in the house.
When DH is the one who has been through it (if he were to have an operation, say) then his Mum can come and stay. When it is DH stumbling around semi-dressed and wondering what the hell has happened to his body then it will be of course his mother he will need, and she will be welcome, as I will mostly be dressed and cool, calm and together.
The first bit of time is not about spending time with the baby to establish a bond, it's about keeping new Mum sane while her body puts itself back together.
After that, it shouldn't make much difference which side the GP's come from.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 16:49:44

People just tend to get silly with babies and the poor baby has no choices!
You may possibly be no.2 Granny before they can walk and talk, but once they can do both those they make their own relationships with grandparents. Quite probably they are both equal, but different-they may favour one if they get on better with one but it isn't anything that a parent can control. As I DC I wasn't remotely interested in my mother's relationship with people-it had nothing to do with me-I favoured my maternal grandfather above all others.
You have to be relaxed about it-whether the mother or the MIL -and don't crowd them. The baby won't remember and you have years to make a relationship.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 16:51:24

Oh yes, the mothers in law who won't leave, who knock on the bathroom door, who can't take a hint even when you're doubled over aaahhhhggg yes.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 16:51:36

Your mother is a MIL too-my DH gets on well with mine but he wouldn't want her at the birth or with us all the time.

airforceone Thu 11-Oct-12 16:56:00

babybythesea, that's exactly what I was trying to say smile

elizaregina Thu 11-Oct-12 16:58:34

The problem is also alot to do with the GP perception of themselves.

My DF is elderly - disbled - has a weak bladder - and yet cannot see that he is un suitable to take my DD anywhere alone.

If they go to the play park after 20 mins he will need to pee.

I do not allow him to be alone with my DD out and about, I wouldnt even leave him to baby sit in the house in case he had a heart attack.

I love my DF alot!!! BUT he cannot see how unsuitbable he is to baby sit.

Having said that - he doesnt push or ask either.

I am sure his feelings are hurt a bit but its tough.

PILS On the other hand did have DD alone for 99% of the time, and she came back miserable, shell shocked - not herself, and MIL with her cleaning obsession would wash her - even if she was there for only a few hours!

Again, they see themselves as wonderful people, who are so kind and amazing inspite of a very expensive therapist telling them otherwise re their son.

MIl talks as if DD is wild about her - but when I saw them together at a family do, DD didnt go up to MIL ONCE, NOT ONCE. Yet she had just spent a week there due to us being v ill!

a little humilty would go a long way!

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 17:06:49

Someone once posted on here that they couldn't imagine their DH wanting his MIL to visit and hang around for ages after he had the snip. I can see what they mean.

Jusfloatingby Thu 11-Oct-12 17:08:06

In your case Eliza there are issues as to why you wouldn't leave the baby alone with grandparents. My father, in the last few years before he died, was very unsteady on his feet, slept a lot, wouldn't have been able to lift a child etc. It would not have been possible to leave a child on their own with him even though he adored his grandchildren and was a wonderful grandfather. My mother, however, is very fit and capable and well able to bring a small child to the shops, change a baby's nappy and so on. She would be extremely hurt if my sil had refused to ever allow her to mind her DGC or take them on an outing anywhere. Luckily my SIL is lovely and would never have behaved like that.

IKilledIgglePiggle Thu 11-Oct-12 17:34:55

airforceone Well, done. Yours is possibly the most patronising post on the a DIL with a one year old......that really made me laugh.

As a DIL with 3 DCs, I call bullshit on your whole post. There is more to having children than the birth, you needing your mother there isn't the issue.

Oh and why can't a son be as close to his DM as his wife is to her DM, how on earth would that cause bloodshed.

You have proven the OP to be totally correct

airforceone Thu 11-Oct-12 17:35:15

And MIL can really be dreadfully insensitive because they're like excited children at a time when the DIL's own mother tends to be concerned and soliticious about her own child as well as well as very excited. This care for DIL is crucial because it has a knock-on effect on the baby's health. IMO you should stop thinking about how you might not get a fair deal as a grandparent, and start thinking about what your DIL will be going through to give you the gift of a grandchild. I think they've earned the right to call the shots a bit.

After the birth of my DD, I was unable to walk unaided (severe SPD) and was on a complicated timetable of painkillers that only DH seemed to understand. I was trapped upstairs and in excrutiating pain. MIL came to 'help' when our baby was a few days old (cue pushing the pram up and down the street taking photographs, and ironing, which was wonderful). She saw that I was reliant on for DH for everything including toileting and food (every movement was agony but he was really gentle and careful). I left the house once in the first month, and then it was to be carried down the stairs by paramedics, to get into an ambulance on a stretcher.

Despite having had the opportunity to observe our desperate circumstances at first-hand, she and FIL harassed the socks off us a few days later, when DH refused to take our two and a half week old baby to a family dinner (60 miles away), held in honour of DH's hot-shot asset-something-or-other brother who had 'flown in for the evening'. When DH explained that it wasn't fair either to take the baby so far away or to leave me alone in the house for so long, they replied that they'd assumed I wouldn't want to come and anyway, I clearly was able to leave the house since I had managed to get into an ambulance?? hmm They felt their 'rights' as grandparents were being overridden. Watch and learn, OP!

airforceone Thu 11-Oct-12 17:38:58 was a little tongue in cheek if I'm honest. But I really don't care about being patronising. The OP was asking questions she should really know the answers to. And if I was her DIL, I would be playing a very different tune.

Signet2012 Thu 11-Oct-12 17:40:22

My mil is great. I have a much more natural and happy relationship with her than I do my dm.

Partypartyrings Thu 11-Oct-12 17:46:27

OP, I don't mean to be rude, but this is completely bonkers.

It has not happened yet, and may never happen.

What if future DIL's parents live on the other side of the world? What if they have already died by the time she has children?

Come on- what's the real issue here? Cos this aint it.

sudaname Thu 11-Oct-12 17:57:25

Another one here with a fantastic m-i-l. She has four sons no DDs and every single one of her D-i-ls love her to bits. l often bemoan to her how we cant make the usual m-i-l jokes about her as none of us have any issues with her whatsoever. We all even go to her and slag off her DSs over a cuppa when they are getting on our nerves grin and she even joins in and agrees that her youngest/middle/whatever son has always been grumpy/lazy/stubborn or whatever the misdemeanour is one of us d-i-ls is moaning about at the time.

She says when asked that her secret is never ever to interfere, to only offer advice or help if and when she's asked for it. But she is always there to talk to and is a great listener.

She is nearly 80 now and not in the best of health and l can very easily get tearful even at the thought of her not being around, l would be lost without her sad.

elizaregina Thu 11-Oct-12 17:58:46

airforceone you poor poor thing!!

i didnt have the physical in capacity you describe but mentally did as I had just lost my brother and had to organise a funeral and deal with my own squabbling selfish family, as well as care for my disbabled difficult father and we were in the middle of a house renovation!!! ( DD came early).

MIL came in - to " help" and did nothing but moan ( not at my invitaion), and was obvioulsy looking around for cobwebs and stuff to then attack me with a few days later....saying why hadnt i been ....." nesting", i said i was fucking NESTING but had a funeral to organise and lots of people coming into our house - on the day of the funeral WEDNESDAY, i went into labour on THURSDAY and had the baby SUNDAY!

she wasnt intereted in me at all - i was simply a conduit for her grand child.

the very first thing she said when she came to the ward hours after DD was born, was " ooohhh nooo she looks like you" then lots of comments to DD " when you come to MY house I will give you DECENT food" and remarks about her lovely much cleaner house.

sadly air force - some of us are just cursed with immature - emotionally stunted sad cows basically who are totallly selfishly self obsessed and its no wonder thier own sons cant be bothered with them or cant deal with them and its no wonder they then dont go on to see or have a relationship with their GC as they would like too.

I totally agree with you re : looking after the mother too, sadly I lost mine and didnt have that support at all...i would have gladly let MIL have some of that role!!! But it was clear just how lilttle she thought of me, after that birth!

This time round - she doesnt even know I am pregnant - and if she does know after stalking us at the school gate - she wont know anything else about it, i have had to cut them off this time for my own sanity! She doesnt know or have a good enough relationship with her own son to ask him.

i think reality hits home - have a shit crap relantionship with your son - what do you expect when they marry or GC come along???

steben Thu 11-Oct-12 18:10:49

From my experience and my friends I think you have valid concerns - I do think it is a difficult relationship. My own relationship with my mil is not great BUT having said that I do my best to respect her, organise all birthday/Xmas gifts and encourage DH to contact her. However we are in no way close, have nothing in common and I share very little of myself with her. For geographical reasons we don't see a lot of her and I have to say that the effort and thought I have put in in the past has not been reciprocated and age makes her preference for her son in law very obvious. I would never ask her advice on anything DC related and a lot if my friends relationships with their MILs are the same - on fact I know several who would never consider spending Xmas with their in laws, or even taking it in turns because they just don't see the need. Personally I don't think that is fair but the balance does seem, rightly or wrongly to be weighted in the maternal families favour.

steben Thu 11-Oct-12 18:12:59

Oh and fwiw I don't think my mil and I would have gotten on if we had encountered each other outside of me marrying her son - complete personality clash and literally the only thing we share is the love for son/DC.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 19:11:40

Luckily I find exactly the opposite in RL to steben. My mother sees much more of my SIL and brother and their DCs because of geography -they get on fine and have gone away for the weekend, just the two of them. I can't think of any of my friends who are unfair over Christmas-it is always taking turns.
In my experience women who have good relationships with their own extended family are quite happy just to extend it further. The secret to me seems to be to mix the families. My mother has been on holiday alone with my ILs. PIL from first marriage are friends with PIL from second marriage, my mother spends a lot of time with her DIL's mother. I think that if your DCs are brought up in this way they just take it as normal. There must be some very wet men around if they only see their ILs at Christmas. We have already had DSs girlfriend for several Christmases-she actually enjoys it!

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 19:24:23

airforce I had a baby last year . He was in nicu on a ventilator for a week, I had horrific spd and had just had my. 3 rd csection. I had to be on my feet 6 hours after the csection as they wouldn't let me take the hospital be into nicu to see ds. This I have experience of traumatic births, so please don't patronise me as if I have never experienced childbirth.

I am not talking about the birth or immediate aftermath. The gc life will obviously encompass slightly more than this. And funnily enough I would like to maintain relationships with my own sons too - not just the DIL and gc. I am postulating that some DIL can be divisive in this respect and I am heartened to read that lots are not. You are also extrapolating a lot of rubbish from my posts - pitying my future DIL and suggesting I am tit for tat. I have said that I will try my utmost to bra good mil. But I do have experience of being a DIL and a mother - so please stop patronising me.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 19:25:11

Sorry for typos. On iPhone. Hospital bed and thus obviously.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 19:29:36

And yes, it is barmy. I suspect it is a reaction to the premium put on having daughters in the media, on here and in rl and also the palpable disappointment hat people showed when 3rd dc was another boy.

ladydayblues Thu 11-Oct-12 19:31:51

I have 3 MILs

My father in law married 3 times. My OH is from 1st marriage and always lived with his father and what/who ever was the latest wife plus there was a "partner" of some years also, who turns up occasionally.

As a result my OH loves all these women and refers to them all as his "Mum". They all are at every family event because they are all mothers of some half brother/sister. It left me baffled and confused. I didnt know who to form a relationship with. In the end I am very close to "mother" no 2 because we have a similiar personality. I am polite with No1, but cant fathom her on top of which she is Gay so I am not sure what her partner is to me in the set up and my OH calls her his step-mum! No 3, I am wary of as I think she clearly thinks I might run off with my FIL, who yes is quite lecherous!!!

Sometimes I am heartily sick of them all because they all want to bend my ear of how awful my FIL was in the 60s, whilst OH and FIL are convinced thats its all one big lovey dovey set up.

I would dearly love to just have one MIL that I can go to lunch & shopping with like my sister's lovely MIL.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 19:32:20

Fwiw very few posts are proving that iabu to dread mil-dom.

Molehillmountain Thu 11-Oct-12 19:33:42

Sudaname-don't even get me on what I would be like come the day we don't have my mil. I just hope enough of her patience and wisdom will have rubbed off to enable me to cope. I had a weird thought the other day- this is how normal people feel about their mothers. I have never felt that about mine sad.

Quadrangle Thu 11-Oct-12 20:04:40

I got on quite well with my MIL pre kids, but then she did get my back up once I had had children by giving unwanted advice and being quite insulting about it. If she had followed the advice that sudaname's highly thought of MIL gave, it would have been much better ie. "She says when asked that her secret is never ever to interfere, to only offer advice or help if and when she's asked for it."

riskit4abiskit Thu 11-Oct-12 20:08:25

My mil is sooo lovely and kind, her taste isn't my taste when it comes to presents or ways of doing things but I always remember that she does everything from the best of intentions.

Sometimes its best to bite your lip and keep quiet, I'm sure I am annoying in multiple ways but she would be too nice to say so!

sudaname Thu 11-Oct-12 21:02:15

Molehill me too - l never got on with my own mother and my m-i-l is more like my mum really.

Oh and did l mention she is mad as a box of frogs. She once bought one of my s-i-ls a sexy santa outfit for a Christmas stocking filler for a joke and then asked her 'how she got on ?' I was sat next to my DS-i-l and she sprayed tea all over me when she asked her grin.

Then there was the time we were sat on her bed late one Saturday night waiting for the doctor as she had taken ill with stomach pains and had 'forgotten' she had recently been diagnosed with gallstones. She had for some reason phoned Childline for advice instead of NHS direct (the wrong number off the TV must have stuck in her head) and 'even they didnt know she had them' hmm so it couldnt be that (it was).

Then there was the time the whole family went out to an Indian restaurant (including DCs) and the waiter brought out a very large most phallic shaped Naan bread you have ever seen and put it on the table right between me and DM-i-l sat opposite. Well we took one look at each other and that was it, absolutely crying with laughter and obviously we couldnt say why because of the DCs who kept asking what was wrong. The more we tried not to laugh, the more hysterical we became, right through the whole meal blush
Have never been so relieved to see plates cleared away in my life, could hardly breathe. grin

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 11-Oct-12 21:41:39

partridge it really is fairly simple if you treat the baby like a doll try and undermine the parents or go for oneup manship or act like a cunt you will have serious problems.

if you dont then its fairly likly you wont have problems

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 21:48:17

sudaname you sound lovely and your mil sounds amazing. Pissing myself about childline.

WhenLifeGivesYouLemons Thu 11-Oct-12 21:52:44

Get well soon partridge. Try and relax and enjoy your new baby instead of thinking about being a milgrin

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 22:04:47

It is all down to personalities and the individual-it is like wanting a girl so they can be best friend-the girl may not want to be your best friend! Don't get huge expectations and you won't be disappointed.
Your DCs may emigrate, not have DCs, be gay, any number of possibilities-therefore not worth worrying about. Enjoy them at the time and leave the future to take care of itself.

goinnowhere Thu 11-Oct-12 22:20:19

Just try not to be a pain in the arse and you'll be fine. My MIL is difficult, but I will always be polite and kind. However my DH prefers to spend time with my DParents although he looks after his own. That is the reason we see more of them. They moan less, and are helpful and fun. That's my advice, make sure your sons enjoy being around you.

Molehillmountain Fri 12-Oct-12 00:18:23

My dmil has her mad moments too. She recently told me that early on in dh and my relationship she used to find the containers from my daily disposable contact lenses and thought they were condom packets blush. Two a day, every day! That's the thing-if my dm had said that to me I'd die inside but she can get away with it, along with her not so great cooking and taste in furniture and jam my mother wouldn't give house/fridge room for. Feel sorry for my mother making all the effort in just all the wrong ways. And sad that it's taken me fifteen years to truly learn what makes a home one that you just want to go home to. I digress. Give everyone oodles of love and space to grow, allow them to leave and form relationships their way and you'll be a great mil. Feel like starting a sister thread in the style of Rudyard Kipling's "If"z

gasguzzler Fri 12-Oct-12 00:31:00

One thing that comes across in these posts is that MIL's want to be highly involved with their DIL, DS and the birth and upbringing of their GC. It seems like you are all getting into a tizz over things that are going to happen in 20-25 years time. For me, yes of course I want a loving relationship with my DIL and GC. However, when my children are in their late 20's/ early 30's (about the time they may get married and have kids) I will be past retirement age and approaching 70. I don't think I'll want to be looking after my GC all day whilst DIL goes to work, or for 1 or 2 days a week or a regular sleepover. I plan on playing golf, travelling the world and selling my house to go live in south Spain (health permitting) with a glass of red in my hand. I actually remember my own mother telling me that she didn't want to spend all her free time looking after my DB's kids, but she had no choice. She told me that "I've had my kids, I don't want to bring up another set" and she actually felt a bit resentful that she had to take on a major childcare role for DIL/ DS. I can quite honestly say that my own MIL wants to parent my children, but I doubt I'll feel that way when I am older. I think I'll love it if my DIL and DS and family come to stay with me in my flat in Spain (if I get one) for a free holiday and it will be fab to spend time with them, but I really do not think I am going to be the type of granny that wants to be hanging out her washing and changing her children's nappies and be round there all the time.

gasguzzler Fri 12-Oct-12 00:35:41

My Aunty also got into a lot of trouble with her DIL because DIL asked her to look after her son 3 days a week whilst she went to work so she didn't have to pay for childcare. My Aunt said no because she is now retired and has a great social life. As far as she is concerned she worked all her life and brought up 4 kids. Now her and DH are retired she wants to enjoy herself, go on holidays and weekends away, play bowls and golf. She loves her DGS but doesn't want to look after him all week. She said no and DIL went mad accusing her of favouring her DD's kids and didn't speak to her for 6 months!

halloweeneyqueeney Fri 12-Oct-12 00:48:00

thing is OP, nobody is gonna start a thread saying "AIBU to think that things are ticking along fine with the MIL, she's annoying at times but generally nice and we get on fine"

If you look there's probably as many threads about toxic parents as there are about annoying MILs, so I'ld say the answer to:
"Do these (often harsh) rules extend to their own mothers?" = probably yes

As a mum of boys I do not think there is anything UR about restricting the amt of access a MIL has if they cause more grief than life-enhancement.. but I think that applies to everyone! I don't think being family is a licence to be a shit! I don't care if its my family or DH's family or even DH himself.

I don't expect acess to GCs just because I'm family, I hope I will continue to be an asset to my son's lives and work at building relationships with their future partners and kids. I don't think it should be an automatic right

ordinaryprincess Fri 12-Oct-12 01:38:06

Is Mumsnet prejuidiced against MILs?
How old fashioned!

OP I wonder if you know what it's like in the first couple of months after a baby? Unless you know how to cook and clean silently, producing huge dinners on whatever you can find in the shop around the corner, you'll find there's just no no time to even think about things like this.

Relax! The autumn leaves are beautiful. Your future DIL are children. Pray for them smile

Valdeeves Fri 12-Oct-12 02:23:39

I totally agree with one of the posters - the key is to make a friendship outside of the son. Then when the baby is born just don't make demands
or give advice. Go through your son and ask him what is needed and make it plain that they must state if you are out of line.
It's a difficult path - just lower your expectations and you'll be fine!

exoticfruits Fri 12-Oct-12 06:55:12

Very true- if you started a thread about toxic mothers it would be full in no time- plenty of women have huge problems with their own mother.

Well said halloweeneyqueeney

I think the OP sounds a bit down generally and is in hospital by the sound of it so having time to over think things and get herself down about something that really isn't worth worrying over for years or decades yet!

Bubblemoon Fri 12-Oct-12 11:44:13

Have you read Joanna trollope's Daughters in Law. It's about a mother with three sones and her DiL.

Partridge Fri 12-Oct-12 11:45:49

Not in hospital now but v prone to over thinking blush.

I agree with the point about people not coming on to say how great their mil is. What alarms me is the volume of totally unreasonable people who post on a thread that usually starts with a legitimate mil gripe. Lots of them come wading in criticising their own mil for wanting to touch their precious child/love their own son etc. I think we all know them.

sudaname Fri 12-Oct-12 11:50:27

Yes l agree she does and it brings to mind a very good saying someone said to me the other day when l was being pessimistic about an unknown outcome.

She said ' Well lets not run up the path to greet trouble halfway ' or ilk.

l thought yes that is very true and could even become a mantra of mine if only l could remember it properly. smile

Jins Fri 12-Oct-12 11:54:38

Why don't you get on with your own MIL OP? I'd be interested

justbogoffnow Fri 12-Oct-12 12:02:09

I have sons. If they find partners, have children etc I just hope we all get along reasonably well. I would just play things by ear and see how they go.

PeppermintLatte Fri 12-Oct-12 12:03:41

remember OP, your son's can have as many girlfriends/wives over the course of their lives, but they will only ever have one mum. you'll always be in their life and very important to them, even in the unlikely event that you don't get on with DIL.

also, nobody will ever love your sons as much as you do, it's not possible. gently remind them of that when they are teens wink

as i said earlier, i would make friends with my son's girlfriend (if i had a son) i'd love to go for coffee, lunch, have the odd say shopping etc.. that comes naturally to me as a person anyway. i would imagine that if you were friend with your DIL before any kids come along, you'll always be friends and she will likely come to you for advice and always welcome you with open arms.

i think the MIL's who have trouble, are the ones who don't bother to get to know DIL's before kids come along, the ones who don't appear to keen to have anything to do with you but then want to take over or interfere once kids come along.

AThingInYourLife Fri 12-Oct-12 12:05:19

"What alarms me is the volume of totally unreasonable people who post on a thread that usually starts with a legitimate mil gripe."

What alarms me in the sheer volume of threads just like this that are basically saying that women are such bitches you dread your son marrying one.

I hope my girls marry men with nice mothers.

WhenLifeGivesYouLemons Fri 12-Oct-12 12:05:43

I don't know if this is a comfort, but the MIL's/DM's that are a pain in the bum tend to have warning signs a mile high and are not only nasty to their DIL's/DS's but to everyone else too.

Again, it sounds like this isn't something that you have to worry about. You seem to have a lot of self-awareness and make a considerable effort to be polite. You'll be a sound MIL grin

sudaname Fri 12-Oct-12 12:06:42

Oh hello Partridge - you're back ! we were just talking about you blush - all good though grin.

Thanks for saying l sound lovely btw - l do my best.
Oh and on that note - l am a m-i-l too so that's another nice most of the time one for your list.

I am actually an ex m-i-l x 2 passed my relationship skills onto both my DCs obviously sad and l am still on good terms with both my ex d-i-l and ex son-i-l and l didnt take sides when they split from my own DCs either.

Plus just to make you feel even better , l still see my DSs two DDS as often as distance allows and as much as l did before their parents split up and l am sure that is largely due to my stance mentioned above. It may be very temting to take your own DCs side in a break up but doesnt bode well for future when DGCs are involved.

Am pretty sure all in all you'll be fine grin

AThingInYourLife Fri 12-Oct-12 12:08:01

"also, nobody will ever love your sons as much as you do, it's not possible. gently remind them of that when they are teens."


Yeah, that's the route to emotionally healthy men. grin

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Fri 12-Oct-12 12:18:42

Why do we never have FILS complaining?

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Fri 12-Oct-12 12:20:00

Peppermint you'd love to have coffee with a DIL if you had one? And go shopping...but she'd never love your son as much as you.



sudaname Fri 12-Oct-12 12:21:13

Probably too scared to hmm

Only joking OP it's ok - as you were !

sudaname Fri 12-Oct-12 12:32:02

I think you can love someone as much as their parents/children whatever but just in a different way.

My DH and l have both said we love each other as much as we do our own children and some people are outraged by that <shrugs> as if we somehow dont love our own children as much as them or as much as we should. It's just a different kind of love and is such a 'total' emotion that you cant really differentiate in strength from one sort to another

That's just in my/our opinion of course.

sudaname Fri 12-Oct-12 12:33:31

- as much as they love theirs - that should have read.

AThingInYourLife Fri 12-Oct-12 12:46:52

Agree suda, the whole measuring love thing to prove how devoted you are to your kids creeps me out a little.

DuelingFanjo Fri 12-Oct-12 12:56:28

love should not be conditional imo.

Partridge Fri 12-Oct-12 12:58:27

Jins, I think I wrote a pretty comprehensive list of her "qualities" up thread. It is interesting though because my husband is lovely. Emotionally intelligent, warm, compassionate, prone to sentimentality. They are a different species.

She has at various times told me (and more often him behind my back) that I have married a meal ticket, am an extravagant wife, fat, that she hates the name of our youngest ds etc.

She is so negative, judgemental and critical that I find her company for more than a hour utterly joy-murdering. She would like dh to be married to hazel Irvine. Not a slightly chaotic, slightly fat but very loving toff (in her words).

I have tried - for nearly 10 years - but as my husband says, she just isn't a very nice woman. It makes me sad. I'd love a lovely, involved mil. When I asked her to take the baby for a walk last time she was here while I prepared for ds1 party she said she would rather not. hmm

I actually feel v disloyal venting about her like this. Despite everything she must have done something right because she produced my wonderful dh. I'm paradoxically (sentimentally?) rather fond of her. Go figure.

Partridge Fri 12-Oct-12 13:01:36

Another example if her personality is that when dh was very ill he was offered a drug trial to improve his quality of life. She refused as she didn't want her neighbours to see an ambulance pulling up in their cul-de-sac. Very typical of her. She also didn't tell dh his dad had died. When he rang her the next day she said;

"will you be coming to the funeral then?"

Partridge Fri 12-Oct-12 13:02:07

Sorry her dh, not mine!

OP, you will probably be fine as a future MIL so long as you are not the type of woman who places the burden of her identity completely on the shoulders of her children/grandchildren, or who expects her adult children and her grandchildren to be her sole source of entertainment and social life in retirement.

My MIL is exactly that type of woman, and she is exhausting. I didn't think women like her actually existed until I met her. Things that have seriously irked me have ranged from:

1. Showing up at my house unannounced and proceeding to criticize the way it's kept. It is DIL's house - a fellow grown woman's - not just DS's, and the adult son is not a boyish extension of MIL, but actually a grown man.

2. Calling constantly. Constantly. Every two days. Whining to my DH as soon as he picks up the phone that he "never" calls her (at that rate, why would he?). And if there is no answer on the landline, she tries his mobile. And if there is no answer on his mobile, she then tries the landline again.

3. Whining that she is bored and alone all day at home while her husband works, but refusing to do anything pro-active about it - like sign up for volunteer work or maybe a painting class - because "oh but I have low confidence" and "oh but I can't go all the way to the bus stop at the end of the road, the walk is too long" and "oh but it's too late for me to learn how to drive". She is constantly negative.

4. Demanding - literally demanding - to have her grand-daughter sleep over hers during a school holiday and then throwing a shitfit when we informed her that actually, we didn't need Grandma to babysit this time, as we'd taken time off work to look after our own kiddo ourselves.

5. Threatened to call my DH's ex-wife during said shitfit, and ask ex-W if MIL could see DSD ... unless DH started bringing DSD around to MIL when MIL wanted.

6. Belittling me (her DIL!) when I backed my husband up during a parenting argument. And told me I would "understand" someday when I had my own kids why my MIL spoils DSD and my niece. She did this because I pointed out that her grand-daughters don't love her because Grandma lets them rule the roost - they love her because MIL is their grandmother, full stop.

7. Little interferences - as if she's trying to be the mom instead. Showing up at my DSD's 6th birthday party (at our house) with a cake, seeing the cake we got her (because we didn't ask MIL to bring a cake), and then saying "oh you already got her a cake, did you?" Listening to me say I was going to buy DSD some warm-weather PJs for a summer holiday abroad, and then going out to buy them herself before I could get a chance to. Buying DSD a skimpy, completely inappropriate bikini, even though she knew DH would never let her wear it and would order that it be returned. Doing things like cutting DSD's food, dressing her, brushing her teeth for her, putting on her shoes for her - even though DSD should absolutely do these things herself.

Respect cuts both ways. My MIL can be generous - she is very generous with her time WRT babysitting DSD whenever we need her, and she is very generous with her money as well. But she is also extremely self-absorbed, highly critical of others, and hyper-sensitive to criticism if DH tries to tell her enough is enough. She has some very valid needs for adult companionship and friendship, but she is too lazy to fulfil those needs properly and continues to try and burden her adult children and grandchildren with those needs.

The short version is: get your own life and be a well-adjusted adult; acknowlege your boys (daft as they might seem) are grown men. Treat their households with the same respect you'd expect from anyone else. Your DILs will probably like you just fine.

Partridge Fri 12-Oct-12 14:09:16

But probably I'm afraid that whilst I see lots of what you are saying about your mil as unreasonable I'm afraid you also come across as very combative - looking for problems and attributing the worst possible motives to someone who genuinely seems rather vulnerable an lonely. And this is why worries me.

It's easy for me to say as I'm sure that cumulatively these things understandably get you down - but she seems to love her gc - yes maybe she is a bit indulgent but you seem determined to call her on every last thing. Why is it not feasible that she is low on confidence? I have suffered depression and believe me the idea of getting out of bed in the morning, or even attending to personal hygiene was overwhelming. I couldn't have contemplated getting a job.

Equally why can't a mother and son speak every day? Perhaps he doesn't want to - but it is not intrinsically weird. I speak to my mother several times a day and because I am a woman nobody judges this.

I just implore DIL of now and the you're to be kind. That's all.

Partridge Fri 12-Oct-12 14:10:18

The iPhone 5 is fucking useless for typing. Sorry.

PosieParker Fri 12-Oct-12 14:11:27

My MIL is a bitch. She is not allowed, along with her misogynist husband, in my home.

blisterpack Fri 12-Oct-12 14:26:52

"also, nobody will ever love your sons as much as you do, it's not possible."

It's also worth remembering that once they grow up they will not love you as much though. That kind of love will be for their children and spouse and I fully expect that with my children.

babybythesea Fri 12-Oct-12 14:49:16

"Fwiw very few posts are proving that iabu to dread mil-dom" Partridge

I think I'm reading a different thread.
I've seen a lot of posts saying how much people like their MILs, sometimes more than their own mothers.
I've read posts by people explaining clearly why they are unhappy with their MIL, where there are clearly issues.
Not one person has said "These are my babies and this woman has no right to get to know them". Most people have acknowledged the right of their MIL to have a relationship with her grandchildren. People who don't want their MIL in their life seem to have ample reason for it. Many people seem to make lots of effort even when their MIL is being a nightmare, precisely because they want their children to have a relationship with their grandma.

You say that someone like probably comes across as combative - but in some respects so do you a bit - determined to see a problem with a DIL who isn't even in your life yet. I think if you chill out a bit and are a nice person to be around it'll be fine.
Maybe accept that there might be a moment when your DIL wants her own mum more than you (eg immediately post-birth when she's leaking blood and milk and in pain for a week or so). Doesn't mean you are being excluded from your grandchild's life, just that she's trying to recover without it being a spectator sport! Other than that, unless you turn out to be difficult and beligerant, I really don't see why you are anticipating issues.

Partridge, I know exactly what it's like to be incredibly lonely, to the point of feeling suicidal. But I also know what it takes to get out of that place - more than a supportive family, it takes your own individual effort. Right now, despite every family member's best efforts to help her, my MIL is comfortable with her unhappiness and comfortable flinging that unhappiness at everyone else she loves. She would rather remain unhappy than do something about it.

Kindness, in the meantime, does not equate to letting my MIL have her way all the time, especially when her way involves taking over my household and not letting DH or me have a shot at the fun part of being the parents. I think you'll find several MIL-hating threads on MN are concerned with exactly that: Grandma is happy to leave the shitty part of parenting - (the discipline, the rules, the boundary enforcement, etc) to you, but she wants to take over or get first shot at the fun parts (buying the presents we said we would get, showing up with the birthday cake we wanted to bake, etc). Most of us here actually look forward to being mothers and no, MIL (or my own DM for that matter) is not welcome to step in and do the fun part for us. It's not okay.

Kindness does not equate to letting MIL smother us, letting her ignore our requests for some privacy or boundaries, or tolerating emotional blackmail/abuse.

Other people's mothers don't act like this. I have a brother. My own mother is a very reasonable, together woman with her own life and her own hobbies. She calls him occasionally, but she does not act the way I've described so far with him. She does not mourn that he is a grown man who has flown her nest; she takes joy in the fact that despite her mistakes, she still managed to raise an intelligent, confident and independent man. I wish my own MIL would see things a bit more like that.

And I don't mean just some of the fun parts. I mean nearly all of the fun parts. And I mean getting upset when you try to carve out some of your own fun parts with the kids.

Partridge Fri 12-Oct-12 15:00:10

I am not loosing sleep over this at the moment - but it does bother me for the future. Seriously I have a very full life with lots of friends and hobbies. I just love my kids and hope I get lucky with DIL. I don't think that is too weird.

probably your post smacks uncomfortably of the "pull yourself together" approach to depression. Of course you have to want to help yourself, but presumably you can remember what it is like not to be able to see the wood for the trees? I hope my DIL would be more compassionate.

Eventually, you have to do that, though. Whether it's visiting your GP, or calling a helpline, or taking the advice of the son who actually does want you to be happy. You do have to pull yourself together at some point and start doing something about it. Spending years of your life refusing to do anything about your depression and low mood will emotionally exhaust even your most affectionate family and friends.

Yes, I remember not seeing the forest for the trees when I was depressed, but I also knew it wasn't my family's job to make things better for me. My DH and my DSD cannot be at his mother's side every day. That is what my MIL thinks will make her happy, and when she doesn't get exactly what she wants, she acts like a bitch. When that starts to become a pattern, well ... what does she, or anyone else, expect? Sorry if that's harsh, but wallowing in your living room going "Ah, me" for several years isn't going to win anybody sympathy points. Lashing out at the rest of the family because you feel depressed about your own circumstances won't do it either. I feel sorry for my MIL, but not in the way she wants me to. I hope she gets the help she needs. But I cannot do it for her, and neither can DH.

I'm sure you will get along fine with any future DILs. My MIL is hard work - something her own son and daughter both told me before DH and I got married. I think a lot of other women here have hard work MILs too, and that's what they write about. Sometimes, we would also like a shot at doing some of the fun Mommy stuff, or at least have a dialog with MIL before she just up and does it or up and buys it.

LettyAshton Fri 12-Oct-12 18:29:26

What I suggest is Patridge converts to Sikhism. It is customary for the dils to come to live in the husband's parents' home.

Otoh, perhaps you may end up like my sister. Her gd lives with her during the week (she is 3) and goes home to her parents at the weekend so they can pursue their careers without any childcare issues. But then they visit for lunch every Sunday too. And my nephew calls my sister at the very least five times a day every day. Unbelievable!

PeppermintLatte Fri 12-Oct-12 21:41:12

Athinginyourlife grin i know! maybe i won't remind my kids of that when they are teens!

BigWitchLegsInWaileyTights maybe i worded it wrong, i don't mean it in a point scoring way, but IMO nobody can love your kids in the same way as you, the one who created them or gave birth to them does. of course any future DIL would love my son fiercely (if i had one, i don't! i have a DD) but it would be conditional i think, whereas a mother's love, in most cases, is unconditional.

Blisterpack oh i understand that. that's how it should be. the woman's husband and kids or the man's wife and kids come first. i don't think when you're a grown up your love for your parent's lessens, it's just that your love for your partner/husband/wife and kids is stronger.

ilikemysleep Fri 12-Oct-12 21:59:06

Partridge - I haven't read the whole thread - but I was a mum of 3 DSs - now have a DD too - and I have always been aware of this dynamic. I get on ok with my MIL, though we have had many wobbly times before my eldest son was diagnosed autistic when I said 'I think he's autistic' and she replied 'nonsense, he's just rude because you mollycoddle him' in various ways over a period of about 5 years.

Anyway, this is my plan with my DILs. When they are pregnant I will warn them that I will undoubtedly give them a load of well meaning but outdated advice, and may well try to be bossy without meaning to, and may well be excessively irritating by doing stuff 'wrong' with the baby. And that what they must do is nod and smile, tell me, and decide whether the degree of 'wrong' is harmful to the baby respectively! Or just tell me to butt out grandma as if I am their own mother. I will warn them that I am a big know all about raising babies 2001-2010 vintage and will not be able to resist passing on this sage advice, though I will try very hard.

I am hoping that this will set the stage for me to be as interfering a granny as I wish a granny who shows respect for her DIL as a parent and with all cards out on the table. I will also try to say 'do you mind if I..' or 'Would it help if I..' when I can.

Partridge, we can do this!

Partridge Fri 12-Oct-12 23:09:45

Haha thanks ilikemysleep. It's refreshing to hear how much you care about your boys and haven't stopped thinking about investing in the mil relationship and the potential pitfalls just because you have a dd.

Honestly I literally had a friend who had recently had a dd after 2 ds tell me how great and what a relief it is now she doesn't have to worry about shared interests/ old age any more. Very tactless and putting a large burden on a 4 month old baby! I can't imagine not caring about my future with my ds just because I had a dd. I probably need to toughen up a bit, but it's been a bad week of listening to people saying how nice it is for a friend to get a daughter after a ds etc. I get this all the time. Some people ask me if I am disappointed ds3 was a boy - this when I nearly lost him when he was born. Unbelievable. hmm

Partridge I think your friend (who has just had the dd) is the one with problems - and oh my goodness her poor baby dd (not poor now as a baby but in later years) - what if they just have nothing in common/ conflicting personalities. What on earth makes her assume she will have shared interests with her DD? The only thing my mother and I have in common is shared interest in family members, and even then its not the same kind of interest, absolutely nothing else in common at all, and she is the human being on this planet with the greatest talent for winding me up in the space of a 5 minute phone call, let alone face to face!

Will your friend's world fall apart if her daughter chooses to live her own life, pursue a time intensive career and have children at the other end of the country and not have much time to spare for her mum, if she only phones once a week, or what if dd decides to emigrate to Australia when she is 23 - will your friend's world fall apart even if both dss live round the corner? Setting herself up for disappointment as surely as you are worrying over a theoretical situation 20 or 30 years in a possible version of the future...

ShanghaiGangsta Sun 14-Oct-12 01:41:48

Mums of DD's, have you ever thought that your daughters may never get married? Not sure if you are aware of this yet in the UK, but i believe there is a phenomenon happening in the world at the moment where there are more females than males being plus other things. For example, I believe the amount of single women in the UK has tripled over the past 3 decades. I also believe 1 in 5 women under 50 in the UK are childless, although I personally think it is a lot higher and will get a lot higher as divorce and single numbers increase. In the more modern parts of East of North Asia you will read many articles in the paper about how they have record numbers of single women in their late 30's as the birth of females outstrips males and how the local men there now seek wives from places like China and Vietman. I do not know the statistics of these issues in the UK but I sure would be interested to see some up to date numbers on who is marrying who in the UK these days.

From my own personal point of view, my DH has 2 sisters, one in her late 30's and one in her 40's, both childless. My Mil was a smug mum of girls and took zero interest in me, our wedding or the birth of her 2 GC as she had her own DD's. she never got to arrange weddings with them, nor be at the birth if their children, nor got to hang out with them and their kids all the time like I know she would have loved to. She even has toys that she is still saving for their children, that she didn't want mine to have. Now my Mil is starting to realize that my 2 may be it, but as far as I am concerned she can whistle for it.

Don't bank on your DD's giving you GC's. Out of my close family, in-laws and friends only half of us have children. Be nice to your DIL, she may be the only one to give you your GC's!!!

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Sun 14-Oct-12 21:39:07

Shang , of most Mothers of DDs I have thought that this is a possibility. But marriage doesn't magically bring children you know...even UN married women can have children you know...

And equally....a DIL may not have my advice is to be nicce to everyone...and not just for potential grandchildren. hmm

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 12:18:25

I agree. It has been slightly hijacked about gc. I'm more worried at the moment about staying close to my 3ds.

DuelingFanjo Mon 15-Oct-12 13:16:00

you do mention grandchildren specifically in your posts though. Maybe that's why people have focused on it?

EldritchCleavage Mon 15-Oct-12 13:42:31

Shanghai, reading your post I am remembering the holiday when I met PIL.

MIL and I were sitting chatting and she looked at me and said 'I don't think our [SIL] will ever have kids' and looked at me significantly (I was to all appearances very much the career woman unlikely to want kids at the time) as if to say 'Please give me some'.

She strongly favoured SIL over my DH, to the point of heartbreak for him, but as soon as I came on the scene she realised if she wanted to enjoy GC she should start backing a different horse. Cue MIL's better relationship with DH and, thankfully, a deeper rapprochement with him just before she died.

Prarieflower Mon 15-Oct-12 14:09:32


I think some mothers have problems with the significant other women in their sons lives which becomes worse when gc arrive.I think mothers then vent on MN as this is where mums hang out soooo you see a lot of neg mil posts.

Some mils I'm sure are lovely,many sadly are not and I don't think it's fair to make mums feel crap when they vent.I haven't vented but I've read many a post with I identify with.I'm unfortunately afflicted with a problem mil and it continuously makes me sad.It's not something I wished for.

I have a very difficult relationship with my mil.She's bossy,tactless,selfish,lax re looking after children,impulsive and at times extremely controlling.To be frank at times she's more difficult to handle than my dc.She has good points but these can often pale into insignificance.Like dp I used to let mil behave how she wanted before the dc but after the dc sorry my children come first.

My mother is a huge part of my dc's lives and the only person I trust to leave them with.She follows my rules re safety to the letter(she's actually more safety conscious than me).I wouldn't trust my mil for half an hour and I've never left them in her care.She continually over rides my parenting eg her garden in which she has 2 ponds and it is very near woods and a death trap of a dual carriage way.I told her countless times to keep the back door locked and not to let them out unattended.When dd was 3 and we were going to a distressing funeral I had to get ready after a 2 day drive through France.I turned my back for half an hour and she'd let dd out(into the garden with the gate wide open) who ended up in one of the ponds(thankfully the shallower one of the 2 because "grandma said she could"(I'd said she couldn't).

Or there was the time she thought it would be ok to drag my 3 4 and 5 year olds over 4 lanes of speeding dual carriage way traffic to get to the woods the other side because she wanted to.I said absolutely not and she argued and said I was being too fussy(in front of my dc).She's dumped my dc on London underground trains to get a seat after being told to hold their hands at all time.....I could list hoards of other examples.

My mother holds down a full time job but always puts all her grandchildren first and spends a lot of time with all of them(even those far away).Mil never visits,only once a year not in winter(because of poss ice)or summer(because of her garden).My parents give up hours of their free time even though they work(mil doesn't).Mil moans she never sees the gc but when we visit she makes it clear that it's an effort having us to stay.We can't afford the petrol to visit a lot yet mil is loaded and manages expensive holidays at all time of the year.We're expected to do the 4 hour journey with 3 kids in bad weather if we want the gc to see her which we do.

I'm happy to list all the reasons why I have such a fraught relationship with mil but I don't feel I should have to justify it.It's horrible having stressful relationships with inlaws. Mothers generally parent the way their mothers did and probably have more in common.I think often mils have a chip re the maternal grandmother and to be perfectly frank think dil aren't good enough for their ds.

One good thing re my tale of woe is I'm learning exactly what not to do when I become a gm to my dil's

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 14:18:57

So said by a mother of a dd (I know you have ds too - but it's not the same).

Of course people can vent about mil. I am venting too about the fact that I think a lot of mil get a hard time. Am I not allowed to?

I repeat that I do not believe people with a dd can possibly understand how hurtful it is for other people to constantly make assumptions about the biological imperative to be closer to dds like you just have. You just can't. Sorry. I adore my sons and I would like to actively participate in their future (and yes gc will hopefully be part of that). So shoot me.

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 14:20:29

And btw I am under no illusions that my sons are fallible and that plenty of women will probably be good enough for them.

EldritchCleavage Mon 15-Oct-12 14:20:34

I have to say I don't get it. I certainly don't plan on putting DS gently aside to concentrate on DD once they are adults. The idea is alien, and repellent. Some people do talk a lot of shite about children and gender, it depresses me.

Prarieflower Mon 15-Oct-12 14:27:37

Well let's hope you get on well with your dil and gparent her children in a way she's happy with.

My mother plays a huge part in my dc's lives because she's deserves to be.My mil gets what she puts in.

I have sons and a dd.I'm fully aware my son's wives(or girl friends or boy friends) will have their own mother from which they'll take a lot of their mothering experience from.My way of doing things will have to take a back seat and I will no longer be the uber female in my son's lives.

Prarieflower Mon 15-Oct-12 14:32:44

Dd and I clash.My mother and I clashed.I find boys far easier but re parenting I parent how my mother did,I can't help it.My mother and I are a lot closer now but will never be in that joined at the hip way neither will dd and I.Dd and I are close in a mother/daughter way not in a best friend way, far too alike and I'm dreading the teenage years.I'm very close to my boys too,in some ways closer as we understand each other better.I find girls scary.grin

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 14:32:56

Ugh. My mother is not the uber female in my life. I am thanks. My husband would feel very disaffected and pissed off if my mother tried to play some Victorian matriarch. I agree, there is a lot of depressing rubbish spouted about gender. Unfortunately it is spouted and endorsed by far too many people. Even on this thread (and not all by mewink)

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 14:34:31

Sorry prairie that sounded aggressive. It wasn't meant to.

Prarieflower with a lot of parenting decisions I think "what would my mother have done" and then do the opposite - I think loads of women actively try NOT to parent the way their mothers did grin your post about the garden could have been written about my own mother (not MIL) although they don't have the dual carrigeway... She thinks she is supervising children if she is in the garden too, gardening, but she doesn't actually think to watch them - my 2 year old nephew fell in the freezing cold stream in her garden and his 4 year old brother had to run to get her to get him out (luckily he was unharmed) and for the next few weeks she told the story over and over blaming the 4 year old for not watching his brother and "perhaps" pushing him in... This is my own mother not MIL... MIL I trust (for all we have very different views on a lot of things and she drives me up the wall with her criticism of my below par housework standards...) and the PIL are the only ones who have the dc overnight.

Who you trust depends on the individuals, not which of the grandparents gave birth to which parent...

I think this is a silly thread and am going to hide it soon ;o

OP whether you stay close to your sons depends on you, but being pessimistic, clingy and mopy about it probably won't make them want to spend lots of time with you as they grow up, girlfriends/ wives (or boyfriends - who knows - they are still only little) aside!

naturalbaby Mon 15-Oct-12 14:40:07

only on MN. In RL most of my friends rely on their MIL's to help with their dc's and the children have lovely relationships with their GP's.

I have 3 ds's too and am trying not to get myself worked up about random possible scenarios that may or may not be my future.

boschy Mon 15-Oct-12 14:42:49

My MIL told me "when your DIL has a baby, it's exciting and of course you're worried. When your own DD has a baby it's the best thing in the world, but you are so much more anxious about the whole thing."

I think that told me pretty well where I and her son's children stood in PIL's affections - and funnily enough it is reflected in the relationship to this day.

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 15:02:09

madwoman please don't make any assumptions about what kind of parent I am/will be.

Partridge I'm not, we all bring our own baggage to MN with us and my mother is my baggage - she (despite being an intelligent woman) is entirely emotion driven and uses emotional blackmail and tears to get what she wants (she's not "toxic" or "narcissistic" and wasn't a terrible parent, she's just increasingly self absorbed as she ages and always has been one of life's self styled martyrs) and your posts put me in mind of her...

I know I don't know you and its quite likely you aren't remotely like her - you just sound like her on this thread (though her topic is slightly different as she is a mther of only daughters)! I remain sure that you are down about other things atm and are re-focussing on the idea of losing your sons to DIL at some theoretical point in 20 or 30 years time to distract yourself, but you are utterly ignoring everything anyone says that doesn't back up your pessimistic vision of the future and of relationships between grown up sons and their mothers... If you let this frankly quite odd concern (for a mother of only young children to be dwelling on) show you are quite likely to drive your sons away all by yourself, without any other women (who are now probably babies or unborn) involved!

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 15:31:50

I hardly bore a 6,4 and 1 year old with my woes about their hypothetical future! I am not a martyr or self absorbed in real life. In fact believe it or not I have a pretty healthy sense of humour. I am not even very down at the moment - in fact I am treasuring my kids in all their Santa believing, puddle jumping lovely innocence at the moment. Life is good.

I have repeatedly said how heartening many of these threads are. But in rl as on here I am sometimes made to feel a second class citizen as a mum of only boys. When my mums best friend called after ds3 was born she opened with "haha you're going to have a lonely old age aren't you!" and nobody can deny the gender bias towards dd at the moment. I get that all the time. That and only that is what depresses me. And I am not imagining it. I see a counsellor as supervision for counselling training myself and I talk to her about this stuff so I believe I am processing it in a healthy way. So enough naysaying about me being a whinging old misery guts please. It doesn't stack up with how my friends/dh see me at all - you are misjudging me.

ScrambledSmegsEvilTwin Mon 15-Oct-12 15:32:13

Partridge - are we reading the same thread?! I've seen so many lovely, positive posts about MIL's on here. Are you focusing on the 'bad' ones by any chance? Which, in the main, aren't 'bad' as such, merely pointing out that some people have serious issues which negatively impact on their relationships with DILs and other family members.

For example, I've seen on another thread today that a lovely MNer had to stop caring for her seriously ill young daughter (who subsequently died, several weeks later) in order to cater and host a birthday party for her MIL. Who has also managed to make the death of her granddaughter all about her shock. Now, you can't tell me that kindness is required there. Sometimes people are just really selfish and nasty, whether or not they are MILs.

Flipside - as I've already said, my MIL is great. She drives my DH bonkers sometimes grin but I've always been able to see her point of view and calm DH down, just as he does for me with my mum.

It does sound like your relationship with your MIL is the main reason for your worries about the future relationship you will have with your DILs (and consequently, your sons). I find it very interesting that you are determined to 'be nice' about your MIL and her behaviour. It's really lovely that you want to rise above it and appreciate her for the great person she has raised in the form of your DH. However, sometimes it's healthy just to vent in a safe, anonymous place (online forum, diary, in a thunderstorm, wherever!) so that you can move on and let go of any negative feelings you may have. Bottling up bad feelings can result in negativity bursting out all over the place, I should know!

Sorry, I realise that sounds completely wanky and pseudo-psychoanalytical bollocks. Feel free to disregard! But please be aware that there are a lot of people on here who adore their MILs, and it's actually very sad for us when sweeping pronouncements are made about everyone hating their MILs.

grin Glad to hear it Partridge - not having met you though, how could anyone reading the thread go on anything but the thread... I have never, ever come across the attitudes to gender of children quite the way you describe them in RL, though I constantly come across people expressing the certainty that the ideal family is "one of each" I have always got the firm impression that the silly people who think parents should some how be "trying" to have this supposedly "perfect" family set up don't see 2 or 3 or more boys any more negatively than 2 or 3 or more girls... I have never, ever heard the "lonely old age" if you don't have girls... but I admit to having a girl (and 2 boys)... I actually worried about having a girl because I didn't want to unintentionally replicate the relationship I have with my mother, with her, and thought I'd prefer lots and lots of boys, but of course I wouldn't change her now grin

ScrambledSmegsEvilTwin Mon 15-Oct-12 15:43:34

'Lonely old age?!' My paternal grandmother had 3 children - 2 daughters and a son. Who was it looking after her in her old age? My dad!

People stereotype. Stereotypes are often completely wrong.

ScrambledSmegsEvilTwin Mon 15-Oct-12 15:45:23

PS She never met my mum, there's a whole boring backstory there involving illness etc. Dad stepped up. He didn't even consider that his sisters would, as they live so far away.

Partridge Mon 15-Oct-12 15:46:36

But english there are gender disappointment threads on here all the time and its always boys that engender disappointment (on that point go to the website engendered and see how many people on there want boys - not many) and that is a microcosm. So I don't think I am being disingenuous.

Having said that, obviously I think boys are wonderful and was not remotely disappointed when I found out ds3 was a boy. But this is not all I'm about... I worry about all the usual things mums of 3 young kids worry about too - screen time, bullying, health... I just don't write threads about 'em and spend far more time enjoying my kids and trying not to moan about lack of sleep. wink

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 15-Oct-12 16:27:38

"But english there are gender disappointment threads on here all the time and its always boys that engender disappointment"

that's just not true though, on the gender disappointment threads there is always a mix, AND there are always people who seem to have selective vision and go on there saying "see its always boys".. when there's plenty of posters with disappointment issues about girls.. for some reason people choose to either not read or not believe those ones???? its very strange!

Some MILs are lovely, some are tolerable, some are horrible; they are just like every other part of society, but this gets skewed on mumsnet because of the demographic of people who mainly post on here. I really do not have much in common with my ILs, they are outspoken and opinionated, but for the sake of my DH I grin and bear it when we go to visit. However, this does mean that quite often i need to vent about the ILs after we have seen them. I don't generally do it on here, but i guess some posters do get things off their chests on mumsnet and that maybe results in an imbalance in MIL posts. My less than brilliant relationship with ILs has been exacerbated by the fact that DD is their only granddaughter, (three other GCs, all boys) and MIL doesn't think twice about making sweeping comments about gender without ever considering how DH or I will perceive them. I think depending on the type of community you live in, gender can still be very relevant. DH is from a farming family, very traditional, very very male orientated. DH no longer works for the family business, having gone to college and then made a life of his own away from the farm, but his middle two brothers, who both have little boys, still live near home and work for the family business. bearing in mind that DH is thd eldest of four boys and they have no other GDs the ILs would enjoy having a GD, but has not been the case thus far (DD is almost 3.) DD is treated a bit like an afterthought and ILs are completely unable to relate to girls. When latest GS was born, MIL said to me, with a straight face, we are so pleased for DB that he had a little boy, it would have been so difficult for him otherwise. hmm presumably this relates to succession planning and decisions on who will take over thr farm in the long term, but frankly, why should being a girl be a barrier?!

I don't really know what my point is other than to say that some people are very gender biased (and I don't think it is always anti boys) and in my experience, these sorts of issues can cause strain between families. My experience with my MIL certainly colours my view of mothers with all boys, but I do realise that in fact she isn't really representative!

Apols for ramble and lack of paragraphs! blush

seoladair Mon 15-Oct-12 17:18:07

This is such a puzzling thread.
OP (and Iggle), if you are open-hearted and kind to any future partners your sons might have, then hopefully you will have good relationships with them. You both sound a bit scary in some of your posts!

whizmum Mon 15-Oct-12 17:29:44

OP, my MIL had a horrible MIL. She was very manipulative and used to getting her own way. FIL was an only child and they all lived in the same village so had to find a way of getting on.

MIL was very practical about how to handle things. I learned a lot off her. I am sad because she died too soon for me to give back all the respect she had given me.

My mother did not like her MIL and thought her daft coz she did not do things like her family, so I am glad to have had MIL as well.

My DS has been engaged (scarily young) for the last three years, so maybe I will be a MIL at some point. I like her because he likes her and they make each other happy. She is not perfect but they are very young, so you have to just forgive any little 'slights' and let them grow. I really hope they do not split up.

Prarieflower Mon 15-Oct-12 17:34:54

Op interestingly one of the many reasons I have issues with mil is how she behaved when my twin boys were born.Her dd had a girl 2 months later and she was an utter cow ie not the slightest bit interested in my boys,dressing up the gd,going on and on about her and taking reams of photos (but few of the boys),going on and on about gd as if my boys never existed.There was a dvd clip we weren't supposed to see of her fawning over gd the day after the birth saying she'd never,ever seen such a beautiful baby errrr what about my boys then????hmm

The final straw was when we went to a garden party when I'd just had dd.We had 2 15 month old boys and a newborn.Mil dressed gd in some hideous dress complete with a bonnet,grabbed the pram of gd,proceeded to parade her around,loads of photos,introducing her to all and sundry whilst dp and I were left with 2 15 month old walkers and a friggin newborn near another bloody lake!!!!She plonked herself down on the baby rug with gd we'd bought for dd so we couldn't sit down,sent fil off to buy her a Pims and ignored us all day.We were run ragged running around after the twins,sil had the day off to socialise.hmm

What I'm saying is some mother in laws are worth the venom,some are lovely and MN is the place to vent if needs be hence the many threads.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now