to think that being a MIL is not a bed of roses

(144 Posts)
loverofwine Thu 27-Dec-12 20:03:21

I am mum of x4 boys. No Granny No 1 for me (tho DS1 is only 7 so a way off yet).

Yet still I wonder when they have all flocked the nest and coupled off (if they do) what the future holds.

Strikes me that being a MIL is hard work. Damned if you do damned if you don't.

My MIL is a nightmare but then my family account for 80% of her grandchildren so she likes to be very involved.

Just wonder what I need to be doing to psychologically prepare myself for the day I get a DDIL and how to love her/make her love me.

thoughts on a postcard pls

ssd Thu 27-Dec-12 20:07:04

just be yourself

I just hope my boys dont marry someone like a lot of the posters on the MIL threads here, some of them are impossible to please

Hassled Thu 27-Dec-12 20:08:00

I am a MIL and yes, it's a bloody minefield. I really like DIL and have none of the "she's not good enough" issues - I think DS1 is bloody lucky to have her. She's clever and funny and kind and will be a great mother.

But yet, but yet - she'll do or say something or recount some tale and my hackles will rise in a "that's my baby boy you're talking about" way which I really hate about myself. I don't say a word - I smile and nod - but it does bring up weird emotions I was unprepared for. You never lose that protective instinct, no matter how old your kids get.

nananaps Thu 27-Dec-12 20:09:11

I suppose its respect isnt it.

My MIL died a year ago and i feel i did her a huge injustice becasue as you say she was damned either way.

She wasnt involved in her only gc, my son, but i believe that this was 95% my fault for keeping her at arms length. I also encouraged her to get a life of her own, so she did. She had little time for my son then. Poor woman.

I was irritated by her, she was a doormat and that annoyed me.

She was a kind, nice lady who bent over backwards to please. Inofensive and unobtrusive.

I miss her actually sad and my son misses her terribly.

digerd Thu 27-Dec-12 20:12:12

I'm a pussy cat, but am not a MIL, or GM, and feel relieved. Still wish my DD had found herself a wonderful man and SIL for me.

Pandemoniaa Thu 27-Dec-12 20:12:59

Well first off, don't allow yourself to get too gloomy based on MN alone. Only it's very easy to assume that, as a mother of sons, you come somewhere below the Demonic Hordes on the Popularity Scale. In reality, this forum is a microcosm of life and while some people have difficult MIL, you aren't expected to turn into one yourself.

As a MIL (I have two grown up sons) I can honestly say that I love my two ddil. They are very different but fantastic partners to my sons. And that's what you must always keep in mind - they are the wives/partners to other adults. Not your little boys. Also, just behave sensibly and tactfully and remember what it was like when you had a MIL yourself. If you didn't like being controlled then why would anyone else? My former MIL was very surprised that I didn't follow her instructions on how to raise my children, run my house, etc., and it still baffles me that she thought it appropriate to interfere. But then she interfered because that was her nature. She didn't need to be a MIL to do so. If that makes sense!

Don't over think the MIL business. Just be yourself, respect your dcs and their partners as adults and think before you present yourself as the World's Greatest Expert in Everything!

Chottie Thu 27-Dec-12 20:14:41

loverofwine - I have just one son and one daughter. I have decided that even if I really dislike the DS girlfriend, he will never, ever know. I would never, ever do anything which would result in me losing contact with my son.

I know of mothers who never ever buy any clothes for their GC without checking as DiL is 'so particular' and mothers who rent cottages near their son and DiL so ' they can see their GC over Christmas without getting in their DiL's way'.

The MiL/DiL relationship can be a minefield- you are so right.

Backtobedlam Thu 27-Dec-12 20:16:42

If you are a genuinally nice person and take your DIL's lead when you are in her home/with her kids I don't think you'll go far wrong. Any grandparent has to remember that it is their grandchild, NOT their child and that the parents wishes should be respected. I think a lot of threads on here seem to stem from disagreements in raising children. I also think its important not to be territorial or try to compete.

thegreylady Thu 27-Dec-12 20:17:01

I am a m-i-l and sm-i-l.I get on well with all 3 dd-i-l .
Never give advice unless asked and only then very very carefully.
Never make any negative comment on any aspect of parenting but heap on the praise whenever possible.
Treat all dgc exactly the same [including those of your dd if relevant].
Always say yes if asked to look after dc but never ask to have them [you can offer but not ask just because you/they might enjoy something].
If refused accept with a smile.
Be very grateful for any gift,visit or phonecall.
Accept that you cant it right and prepare to apologise for giving too much/too little etc.
My lovely dd-i-ls always make me feel loved and wanted and I love and am loved by all my dgc.
I have 1 ds
Step dd is a problem but the others and their spouses are super people with whom I am proud to have a relationship smile

thebody Thu 27-Dec-12 20:17:47

My mil was without dought bloody wonderful..

I have 2 adult boys (and 2 younger girls.). Just be grateful to any woman who takes the pair of lazy lovely losers of my hands..

To be honest will be far more wary and protective if my girls.. My lads are great but really?? Any decent girls welcome,, or just sane??

I have been known to bitch about my MIL on here once or twice (although I have also said nice things about her too). I think a forum like MN is an easy place for people to sound off and release some tensions rather than say unreasonable things IRL. I know it is for me. Don't worry too much yet.

thebody Thu 27-Dec-12 20:19:16

Grey lady.. Lovely lovely post as always.

OverWintered Thu 27-Dec-12 20:19:25

I wonder if there are certain sociological/biological aspects to the mil/dil relationship that mean it is destined to be fraught and difficult. do we just have to accept that? maybe there is an element of luck. I don't know.

I have some very uncomfortable feelings towards my mil. but she is difficult its not me its all her ! ha ha

saying that I had a boyfirend many years ago who's dm was just lovely. She was never judgemental, I never heard her moan about anyone, she genuinely seemed interested in what I had to say and in what was going on in my and her son's lives. She was kind and was very secure in herself and where she fitted in, in her children's lives

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

forgetmenots Thu 27-Dec-12 20:22:30

I don't have any relationship with my MIL. I'm sad because I would have loved to have been a DIL and had those new relationships. In my case it was her treatment of her own son, not of me, that I couldn't stick.

If you love your boys, and you can apologise gracefully when you've stepped on any toes, I reckon you're 99% of the way there. I know my own (lovely) DM has had a couple of moments of being a bit overprotective with my DB, but later on has realised and apologised to SIL. Even when there was no need the thought was appreciated.

And you've no idea who your boys will marry. Maybe the D or S ILs won't have relationships with their families for a variety of reasons. Concentrate on being a fab mum and your boys will want to spend time with you either way. You sound lovely and I wish you were my MIL!

coffeeinbed Thu 27-Dec-12 20:26:10

I'm a very different as mother than the one I have so I hope I'll manage to be a different MIL as well.

loverofwine Thu 27-Dec-12 20:32:03

..It's just a little odd. In order to keep my menagerie of boys so close in age (3 1/2 - 7yrs) in order I am a pretty strong and controlling person. In truth this is part of my nature but has definitely been emphasised by the circumstances.

It sounds like in order to be a 'good' MIL I'm going to have to subsume my nature which is going to be hard.

Obviously it is years off yet but when DH is in bed with manflu and I am enjoying a quiet moment and glass of wine or two I pause to contemplate the future I do wonder how things will be.

Then again I may not be around to find out so perhaps should focus on hanging out the pants and emptying the hoover bag to find little bits of hobbit lego sad

Coralanne Thu 27-Dec-12 20:33:48

Grey lady sorry to say but it sounds as though you are walking on eggshells all the time.

You forgot to add "tugging your forelock" to your list of dos and donts.

thebody I think you will make a great MIL.

IWipeArses Thu 27-Dec-12 20:38:21

It's a tough one. My MIL is a kind person, but she is opinionated and passive aggressive, and fundamentally disagrees with some aspects of our parenting which means it can be a little tense sometimes.

Overwintered, your old bfs mum sounds lovely. That seems to be the way to be.
If you are confident you have raised men, and not overgrown boys, then surely there's no need to interfere?

AngryGnome Thu 27-Dec-12 20:39:15

I have a wonderful MIL. She has always been welcoming, she has never criticised anything I have done, and I love having her and FIL to stay.

She has never made any negative comments about my housekeeping, even though I am sure she must be horrified at times - she has a beautiful home, and has always worked to keep it that way. I am really the exact opposite, and she must weep to see the state of the place sometimes. She has always been hugely supportive of my parenting choices (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, disciplining style etc). Last Christmas I had a double whammy of norovirus followed up by pneumonia - I phoned her for help and without hesitating she took 1 year old ds for five days at Christmas.

She also has a great relationship with her other DIL. I think the key to our good relationships is that she understands that me and dh are a team - if there is something she disproved of in our lifestyles she would think it was DH's 'fault' as much as mine IYSWIM.

I also respect her relAtionship with dh, she is his mother. We are not in competition. We have our own unique relationships with him, we both love him and we are lucky - oh god, I am about to have wine induced Christmas weeping!!!

Loislane78 Thu 27-Dec-12 20:41:15

My MIL is ace - very different to my family but PIL are genuinely nice to me and I reciprocate by being thoughtful about how my DD (their GD) interacts with them in return.

Will always be a different relationship than with my mum but that's fine, we all have our part to play smile I feel lucky you have 2 great sets of GP - doesn't have to be all doom and gloom and you might like to do some girly things with them smile

HollyBerryBush Thu 27-Dec-12 20:42:58

She wasnt involved in her only gc, my son, but i believe that this was 95% my fault for keeping her at arms length. I also encouraged her to get a life of her own, so she did. She had little time for my son then. Poor woman.

Thats is just so sad, pushing someone away from their family sad

mayorquimby Thu 27-Dec-12 20:45:19

"Grey lady.. Lovely lovely post as always."

really? that sounds like a fucking nightmare to me, as someone else said walking on eggshells.

forgetmenots Thu 27-Dec-12 20:46:59

loverofwine, that's because they are under seven - you won't have to (or want to) be controlling when they're old, particularly if you've raised them so well. Please don't worry.

CatsRule Thu 27-Dec-12 20:55:37

How to be a good mil....behave the exact opposite from mine!

Don't tell your dil how your son was an accident and ruined your life....don't kick him out and be annoyed that he actually leaves and makes a go at life...then don't blame your dil for your actions that has caused problems in your relationship with your son.

Don't ignore son and dil for years, refuse to visit when invited then accuse them of never inviting you...when in actual fact you were too drunk over the past 14 years to drive to visit!

Don't then tell them you have no interest in them but you do want their baby to raise as yours...just so you can fuck up another child!

A very brief mil has taught me one valuable lesson about the type of mil that I will strive not to be. I live with the sometimes very unhappy adult that she made and I would never want my son to go through that.

BlingLoving Thu 27-Dec-12 20:56:25

I think in law relationships are naturally slightly complex because you are "family" but without the deep history and instinctive understanding that comes with real family.

Having said that, I think the secret for both mil and dil is to accept that the other one is a very important part of their ds/dh life. I have had my issues with my mil but ultimately we have a good relationship because we both accept each others importance to dh. Also, she really sees that dh is happier with me than he ever has been before. And similarly, I see that she truly loves dh and ds and that she tries really hard to do things that Make us happy.

I get quite annoyed by some posters who try to exclude mil and then are surprised when she responds badly. I send mil photos and while dh does most talking with her, I will Skype her if ds is being particularly cute so she can see him or take him to see her if I'm in her town without dh.

OverWintered Thu 27-Dec-12 20:59:57

nope, I have to say I think greylady's advice is good.

apostrophethesnowman Thu 27-Dec-12 21:02:39

Grey lady You do sound very subserviant and grovelling. I feel for you if you think you have to act this way to maintain a relationship with your family.

I think we shouldn't interfere with our adult children's relationships - at all. Even if we don't like things they do or who they're with etc. then we cannot interfere as they're adults and will make their own decisions, and mistakes, as we have all done ourselves.

However, the extent to which you love your young children doesn't disappear because they become adults. It really doesn't. It matures and you have to learn you cannot be as protective with them as you were when they were young, but you still love them unconditionally and completely. Adult children can love and respect their partners without having to distance themselves completely from their parents.

I do think sometimes DILs are threatened by the love their partners have for their mothers. That's quite sad really.

I'm not for one moment saying that some MILs aren't controlling and shouldn't back off a little. Of course there are people like that. Just as there are DILs who aren't happy, whatever the MIL does/doesn't do.

I would also say that until you become a grandparent you cannot have any idea how you feel towards grandchildren and what motivates you. Of course they are their parent's children and not yours, but you do love them immensely - in all honesty just as much as you loved your own children.

CatsRule Thu 27-Dec-12 21:08:04

BlingLoving I do all that and more to include my mil too but it gets me nowhere in our relationship.

My sil will not share a couple of photos she has of my ds's baptism...why? I don't know. I share all my photos with them. I stupidly forgot my camera that day trying to organise things.

I email mil photos and update her even though she, quite frankly, doesn't deserve my cooperation after all the years of abuse I have had to take.

Her own son doesn't know why I bother to try and be inclusive.

What I am trying to say is that while some posters seem to exclude mils for silly things...compared to what mine has done over the years their complaints seem silly...maybe there is more to it...I hope!

AngryGnome Thu 27-Dec-12 21:09:10

blingloving has it spot on - its about repeating that both mil and dil have hugely important unique relationships with ds/dh.

All the problems between mil/dil that I have ever heard of are all about overstepping and not respecting those relationships.

twizzlestix Thu 27-Dec-12 21:10:28

My MIL is lovely. She is kind and caring making sure myself and my SIL are treated as part of the family. She will only give advice when asked for it including issues concerning DGC and understands that her experiences may not be relevant/follow current parenting advice eg. Weaning ages/sleeping in same room etc but doesn't harp on about in 'my day...' DGC are treated equally and loved to pieces. She has her DD child one day a week and mine a separate day (both are young so but tiring for her to have at same time) so we can save ££ on childcare. I even invited her to come choose wedding dresses with me as her DD didn't wear one. I truly luffs her to bits.

forgetmenots Thu 27-Dec-12 21:13:47

Yes, I think for the vast majority blingloving has it bang on.

Also understand where CatsRule is coming from - but both my MIL and hers sound like extreme examples (I hope).

CatsRule Thu 27-Dec-12 21:20:04

I do agree too that some dils want to find fault...maybe they do feel inferior.

For some unfortunately the stereotypical mil is for real!

Hassled Thu 27-Dec-12 21:23:28

One way that becoming a MIL myself has changed me is that I'm a much more understanding/thoughtful DIL myself. I've never had a bad relationship with my MIL, and I've always been very fond of her, but I was maybe a bit dismissive of her - not any more. DH is still her boy, and I make sure she sees him and speaks to him as often as possible. I get it now.

BlingLoving Thu 27-Dec-12 21:29:20

Cats rule: my theory is based on the assumption that both dil and mil are relatively "normal" people. Some are just weird. I do know a few personally, but overall in most cases I think problems start when one party forgets to consider how the other one might feel.

BlueberryHill Thu 27-Dec-12 21:33:19

I have two sons and a daughter, all way off getting together with partners and having children but the threads on MIL do worry me at times, I hope I don't find myself in those situations.

I have a great MIL, there are the odd bumps but she is lovely, helpful and great with the children who love her. The secret of a good relationship is partly that she is lovely, but also that she has raised a great son. If I have a moan / issue with my PIL I talk to my DH who will either

a) say I'm being out of order and to chill,
b) say I have a point but it isn't worth worrying about,
c) say it is an issue and he will then deal with it.

We do discuss it and agree an approach, if he needs to say something to his parents, he does it so it is never a problem between me and my PIL. It works on the whole. If you raise emotionally intelligent sons, it'll be fine, (that is what I am telling myself).

CatsRule Thu 27-Dec-12 21:37:48

BlingLoving I think you are spot on with that point...I too know people who really don't realise how lucky they are with the inlaws they have.

badguider Thu 27-Dec-12 21:53:31

I get on we'll with my mil and I think the key reason is that she realises her ds is an adult as am I. She has always related to me as an adult and had already transitioned into a good adult relationship with my DH before I met him.
It seems to me on mn that many mil problems stem from mums struggling to treat their ds and dil with the same respect for their opinions and ideas as you would any other adult (many dms on mn seem to struggle too not just mils)

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 27-Dec-12 22:06:39

As a mother of two boys, I am reading this with interest. My MIL and I get on well enough, although as they are hundreds of miles away we don't see each other often.

My children don't have the same relationship with her as they do with my mum, although I'm sure a lot of that is due to geography too - my mum lives in the same village as us so they see a lot more of her.

exoticfruits Thu 27-Dec-12 22:13:17

I don't think it is a problem in RL.It appears to be on MN because people post with problems. I am not one yet- but I love the girlfriend stage and female company. I think the answer is to make your own relationship that has nothing to do with your DS.

forgetmenots Thu 27-Dec-12 22:22:33

Hear hear catsrule. And bling.

I don't know the gender of DC1. If baby is a DS, one of my earliest resolutions to him will be to treat his chosen partners with respect and warmth. I realise I may not be lucky enough for that to be reciprocated. I have to hope that if I raise my son well, he will be sensitive to those around him. I would never, ever want him to put me above his partner and children, though. I will have tried my best and I would honestly swallow a lot from any DIL (as I did with my MIL!) to keep the family together.

forgetmenots Thu 27-Dec-12 22:23:41

Good advice exoticfruits

thegreylady Thu 27-Dec-12 22:30:11

No eggshells here smile I was being a bit tongue in cheek really, I treat them as I would like to be treated-with courtesy,affection and respect. I love spending time with them and their DC and am proud to say I have never had a falling out with any of them. The body I agree you will be a great m-i-l :-)

thegreylady Thu 27-Dec-12 22:35:06

Remember two of my d-i-ls are steps and dh's ex is also around.
I have never been subservient or grovelling in my life but I do believe new parents need space to find out what suits them best without an interfering old biddy putting a spoke in before she is asked.
Just had Christmas with dss2 and his wife and 3 DC. It was pretty near perfect.

exoticfruits Thu 27-Dec-12 22:36:37

Maybe I am just lucky, but the girlfriends are very easy to get on with e.g we like the same books. I found that with MIL it was easier in a way, in that they see you as an adult, whereas sometimes my mother forgets!
It does help if you have managed to let go of your own DSs and accept that they make their own choices and they may be very different from yours. Very often DSs are easy going and let the mother be far too controlling and the DIL is forced to make a stand. There is a thread at the moment where a MIL has announced that she will be on the labour ward! You are bound to have trouble with that sort if thing- I wouldn't have my mother there, and she wouldn't expect it.
The 'number 1' grandmother is also untrue. The mother has control while they are babies, but once they are walking and talking they make their own relationships. Just because their mother is closer to one grandmother doesn't mean they are.

If you accept that your DSs choice of partner is nothing to do with you and are friendly from the start, and are not controlling, it should be fine - unless you are very unlucky and get the controlling DIL!

Flatbread Thu 27-Dec-12 22:38:04

I get along fine with my mil. She has her quirks and I have mine. Doesn't bother me, and I feel no need to compete with her at all. Too many dil are possessive and looking for slights.

If she interferes, I let dh sort it out if it bothers him. I can be an opinionated cow myself, so no ill feelings towards mil if she does the same.

NumericalMum Thu 27-Dec-12 22:44:39

I think for me my mil is just the total opposite to me. Total victim of emotional abuse and a doormat. She genuinely believes she is the only reason her sons are the most perfect beings on the planet. Of course living with one of them for 12 years means I am fairly certain she is wrong. I also hate that she refers to her 42yo and 35yo sons and their wives as "the kids" and shows them no respect at all.
Fil is just a dick, plain and simple.

Valdeeves Thu 27-Dec-12 22:54:29

I've made a list of things "not to do."
I totally agree with the poster who said there may be a biological reason why the relationship is fraught. I think a new baby provokes a strange response in a grandmother - it must be hormonal and a response to their genes continuing forward (as well as plain and simple love!)
I was slightly shocked by the intensity of my own mum and my MIL to my first baby - the first grandchild in the family. It was clear they both claimed the baby instantly. For me the most difficult thing a MIL does and cannot seem to hold back from is the constant taking of the baby from the mother. WAIT to be given the baby, be patient. A new mother's priority is to be the number one in a baby's life and a MIL threatens that - because the DDIL is not their baby first. A mother of a daughter - sees her baby having a baby. A MIL sees a woman she has no relationship with having her baby's baby. Confused??? Ha ha.
A mother in law really does need to walk on eggshells - I feel sorry for them and try to respect mine.

storynanny Thu 27-Dec-12 22:56:30

(Mother of 3 adult sons) but grey lady is right, eggshells and all, that's just the way it is. As someone else on this thread says, just smile and nod. I never want to fall out with my sons over their partners/wives, they will and should always take their wives side however painful it could be and in my case has sometimes been. As long as there is mutual respect for each other and acceptance of differing points of view, then mil's have to keep quiet!!!!!

echt Fri 28-Dec-12 00:44:21

Ages ago, at least 25 years, I read about research into the mother-in-law joke, i.e. was it based at all in a cultural experience of interfering MILs by sons-in-law, or was it just a crock of misogynistic shite. It turned out that the most fraught IL relationship was overwhelmingly that between MIL and DIL. So those jokes were just nasty anti-woman stuff.

What it didn't explain, or I don't remember, is WHY the MIL/DIL was often such a battlefield. I mentioned it briefly to my mum who instantly made a terse comment on her relationship with her MIL (they lived with PILs for a while due to post-war housing shortages). I had never heard her say anything against her MIL, but it was easy to see the experience had left its mark.

Sorry, no links - pre-linky days.

Valdeeves observation about a GP seeing her baby having a baby, while the MIL GP sees a woman having her baby's baby, is a good one.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 28-Dec-12 02:28:39

Judging by the threads on here...YANBU.

AdoraJingleBells Fri 28-Dec-12 03:02:54

Just a few things spring to mind, because of my MIL grin

Don't refuse to accept that sons who are old enough to marry and have children have grown up. Don't, then, continue to treat adult sons and their wives as tough they are still children. Don't commit your negative feelings, if you have any, to paper. I learned to avoid MIL after her letter to another DIL congratulating her on severing the bond between mother and son. Her crime was to marry one of MIL's adult sons. Can you see the pattern here? Even the GDCs don't want to visit.

If you want to give advice on parenting, try to remember that ideas change between one generation and the next. Advice re breast feeding, weaning etc may be very different in 20 year's time, fe, it's not set in stone.

If you have an idea of something you think DCs might like, run it by the parents before telling DCs that they can do it.

Remember that just as a DIL joins your family, so your son becomes and SIL to his wife's family, and he chose to marry her. That means he wants to live with and possibly raise children with her. That doesn't make him her possession, just as he isn't his parent's possession.

Basically, you'll be dealing with two adults who are capable of thinking for themselves and making their own decisions, raising their own children etc. and if one criticisers the other (as in DIL saying your son was out of line) have you seriously never critized your DH, ever?

FWIW I'm not keanly looking forward to my DDs getting married. My OH got off lightly, both my parents passed very soon after we got married. He did, however, get a full dose of MIL from hell first time around (I'm the second wifewink)

MollyMurphy Fri 28-Dec-12 03:12:53

I also think greylady's advice is sound. adult children are ADULTs they likely don't want your advice, wont care to hear your opinions on child-rearing and won't enjoy you trying to take on the role of a teacher. just be supportive and don't undermine or interfere. A little praise never hurt any relationship - don't you ever praise/compliment your friends?

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 03:19:25

If your mothers winding you up its usually easy to tell her or say back off, its not easy when its not your mother.

Just remember its not your baby,and yes you may feel that your needs are desperately important when it comes to how you want to interact with the baby but they are not as important as the parents needs.

You may want to turn up when the baby is a few hours old and the mother has only just got home and had no sleep but chances are you will not be welcome ( especially if you turn up hungry demanding she cook you dinner)

Imhe that very first visit if to soon or demanded or you expect to be catered for,or you ignore the mum and hog the baby will start a downward run towards issues.

Also accept that straight away its possible that her mum may be welcome when your not but its not about her mum being number 1,its usually about mum being more comfortable in those few hours/ days with the state she will be in and all the icky child birth bits only being seen by her dh and her own mum.

Yes you are dh's mum and he loves you very much and I'm sure he would love to have you visit but its highly unlikely that he is bleeding like a slasher victim, struggling to sit down without crying,feeling like his nipples have been sandblasted and finding it very hard to stop the contents of his genitals and intestines from dropping out all over the floor.

It may take a couple of days for her to feel like she's fit to receive people that did not give birth to her. It's not all just about the new baby.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 03:26:47

I have a boy and three girls and my DIL will be treated exactly the same as my daughters, I certainly will ask if I can have my grandchildren over to stay, not under the age of year and I'd be unimpressed if she was farming out a baby be she my daughter or DIL.
My own mother was at the birth of two of her sons children to support him tbh and he needed it too.
There's no right or wrong way just your family way and anyone who wants to join my family will have to shape up and join in.

dolcelatte Fri 28-Dec-12 05:53:57

You just need to accept that, whilst still important, you will not be the most important woman in your DS' lives, and behave accordingly. I think some problems arise because mothers can't let go. I also think that there are some double standards because it seems ok for mothers and daughters to have very close relationships, but there is a suspicion around 'Mummy's boys' that they have not evolved into mature adults.

Flatbread Fri 28-Dec-12 06:25:56

I also think that there are some double standards because it seems ok for mothers and daughters to have very close relationships, but there is a suspicion around 'Mummy's boys' that they have not evolved into mature adults

This. I chat with my family everyday, so why shouldn't dh do the same?

I enjoy visiting PIL and stay with them even when dh can't make it. Mil and I don't have much in common and FIL doesn't speak English (they live abroad). But it is calm and relaxing. I don't try to seek mil's approval and nor does she seek mine. Very restful all around

exoticfruits Fri 28-Dec-12 08:14:03

I think that the whole issue is to do with 'letting go'. The parent's job is to make themselves redundant and you need to start early and do it very gradually. It doesn't mean that you sever all links- if you do it well they come and see you because they love spending time with you. You ought to have got used to only giving advice if it is asked for - and to smile and nod. If you haven't , then you will have problems because the DIL isn't going to accept it - in the way that she might with her own mother if she hasn't let go. You also have to accept that your DSs choice might not be yours and you will have to work at the relationship. (DIL needs to realise it too). The whole problem comes about if you have two possessive women who are over keen on the word MY as in MY DS, MY DH, MY baby- instead of just referring to them by their first name.

exoticfruits Fri 28-Dec-12 08:17:42

It can't be right that all mothers of DSs are dreadful women and all mothers of DDs are wonderfully understanding women! It just amounts to the fact that women put up with a lot from a mother that they wouldn't from a MIL and both sides should treat them as adults. SILs don't have the same problem- they just distance themselves rather than get into open conflict.

drudgewithagrudge Fri 28-Dec-12 09:14:19

I am MIL to a DSIL and DDIL. I must admit I found it very hard at first when I realised that I was no longer the most important person in DS and DD's lives but it has all worked out very well.

There is a lot of tongue biting involved but the joys of being a grandparent far outweigh this.

I do feel that there is a different relationship with DD and her family than with DS and his. I have spoken to other Grannys and a lot feel closer to their DD's children than their DS's. I am lucky to have a very nice SIL and DIL who have brought great joy to my life.

Zara1984 Fri 28-Dec-12 09:24:17

I am closer to my DMIL than I am to my mother (haven't spoken to my mum in years).

How to be a good MIL: accept that your child is a grown up and that your opinion doesn't matter (unless asked for)!

exoticfruits Fri 28-Dec-12 09:28:14

I can't imagine why you would feel closer to a DD's children than a DS's children- my mother doesn't. Geographically she sees far more of my brother's children but she makes her own relationship anyway.

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 09:43:36

Good advice! Its so tricky! Take the sentence, for example "would you like me to clean the bathroom for you?" As a mil, that would be me trying to help around the house after newish baby, rather than sitting cuddling baby having a cup of tea etc. As a dil it could imply interfering old mil is criticising housekeeping skills!
My aim as a mil is to think 3 times before I say anything which could be misconstrued, give lots of praise, only offer advice when asked, tell them they are the only experts with their baby and enjoy some fun times playing with the little ones.

FairyInTheGarden Fri 28-Dec-12 10:22:10

This thread has prompted me to rejoin.

I am the mum of an only child (ds10) and I am terrified at the thought of being a 'mil', it seems a minefield indeed.

My husband is also an only child and his mother is the most overbearing, bossy person I have ever known. As a result of her behaviour and attitude towards me I am civil to her but nothing else. She has caused this over the 12 years by;
1. Phoning my husband every day at tea time to check what he'd had for his tea (he moved in with me aged 25!!!)

2. Coming round to my house when I was at work to visit Her son before we were married and digging plants out the garden, replacing them with her own ( without asking) and cleaning. I found this soooooo offensive! Some may think this was nice but to me it was a major intrusion of privacy, I did not have that type of relationship with my own mother.

3. When I fell pregnant just before we got married she was unhappy. She criticised the name we had chosen for des so much that we had no choice but to chAnge it. When he was born she wouldn't come to visit at the hosp until she had an invite! Everyone else was excited and couldn't wait to come! She then grimaced when she arrived and I was bf ing new ds. She said that's yuk! (Stupid woman!!!!!)

4. When I got him home after 5 days in hosp I got no offer of any house hold help but did get her phoning me every morning at 10 am asking if she could take him out in the pram! Err no, he is newborn and bf!

5. As ds got older she formed a strong bond and encouraged him to call her mum. She had her own clothes, buggy and toys hidden away for him at hers despite us sending him with stuff. She still to this day can't get his name right and calls him by Dh name (her son)

6. When she heard we were trying to conceive our second child she was horrified and said 'how would you cope' and told ds that he shouldn't want a brother or sister as it would spoil his fun. As it happened we were struggling to conceive and were diagnosed with unexplained sub fertility - to this day, 8 years on we are still without another child.

I am soooooo angry with her I could scream but I maintain civility for the sake of Dh and ds. I haven't even touched on the bossing and her criticism of my housekeeping and weight, grrrrr!

Please please make me a better mil than mine. Phew, I feel better writing all that down...

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 10:35:35

Fairy, people should wait to be invited to visit unless they have the sort of relationship where both people know its ok to just turn up.

Everything else you've said is strange but that bit it called being considerate

FairyInTheGarden Fri 28-Dec-12 10:45:24

Sock I see your point and I can see that it is considerate to wait to be asked to visit a newborn in hospital but this 'considerate' behaviour didn't fit in with the rest of her behaviour up to and since that point.
It wasn't considerate to be critical of the name chosen for her grandchild, or to wade in to another womans home and take over but that didn't stop her.
My own thoughts are that her nose was so far out of joint that she was no longer the main thing in her ds life as he now had his own ds and she resented that.

Sabriel Fri 28-Dec-12 10:46:25

It is a difficult relationship though. When I was growing up I thought all families did everything the same as ours did. It was quite a shock to find that wasn't the case. As the DD you will tend to do things more-or-less as your own parents did (unless you deliberately do the opposite) and the DIL will do things the way her family does.

My DB's DD is the same age as my children and they all got together quite often when they were young. My SIL dressed her DD differently to the way I did - which my mum saw as odd - one example is we always had Clarks shoes and so did my DC - DN used to arrive in "fashion" shoes which DM highly disapproved of.

If you are someone who has gone along with co-sleeping, EBF, late potty training and BLW it must be very hard to bite your tongue when your DIL puts her baby into its own room from day 1 and leaves it to cry (for example).

One of my FB friends is the same age as my DS3 and has young children. She was having a real moan recently that her mum was having a go at her for leaving her baby to cry. I would have done the same grin. Yet I had an interfering MIL and was convinced I wouldn't interfere. Sadly I think I will.

Inertia Fri 28-Dec-12 10:54:01

Mosman - but when your children marry, they are not joining your family - they are starting to build a new family unit of their own , with close links to your family and the new spouse's family. What if the spouse's family do things differently to yours ? Who do the married couple shape up and fit in with ? This is part of the control issue that some have had problems with - once your children have left home and formed new partnerships, they actually don't have to shape up and fit in with you anymore.

And if your brother's (?) wife was happy for her MiL to be there fine - but when a woman us giving birth nobody has the right to insist on being there

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 10:55:36

Fairy, I'm so sorry to hear about your unreasonable mil, you will learn from her and be an excellent mil I'm surexxx However as baby stuff changes constantly from generation to generation who knows what will be "in" when our young sons are fathers!!! I'm practising the statement " that's interesting, what a brilliant idea".
In spite of tricky mil ( usual stuff!!!!!!!) all my children did bond well with grandmas and the things that drive us mad/demented/annoyed seem to amuse them, especially as children and grandparents age.

KitCat26 Fri 28-Dec-12 10:55:46

My MIL is lovely and I'd like to be just like her if/when I have a son in law (or a daughter in law for that matter).

She loves my DDs, she can not remember a thing about raising her boys so cannot comment on if I am parenting right or not, she is also funny and caring and loves playing games with the DDs.

MIL truly makes the most of every second with the DDs. But then she only became a MIL aged 79 and a grandma aged 80 - its is something she never thought she would experience. We also get on very well.

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 10:56:38

Ps I do understand that there is a big difference between generally being fed up and annoyed with mil and the really toxic damaging sort which sadly seem to exist.

FairyInTheGarden Fri 28-Dec-12 10:59:32

Story, thanks I hope so smile

atthewelles Fri 28-Dec-12 11:00:03

I read tales on here of some terrible MILs who really need to learn to stand back a bit and give their DILs a bit of space and respect.

But I also read lots of silly, petty complaints from overly precious DILs who treat their children like a toy they're not prepared to share with anyone else and refuse to accept that they're also part of a larger extended family. I do feel terribly sorry for MILs in those situations who must spend their time walking on egg shells as they try to maintain some involvement in the lives of their beloved grandchildren.

loverofwine Fri 28-Dec-12 11:04:50

..all this provides much food for thought.

It seems to me that the knub is that both MIL and DIL should accept people do things differently and not be critical of each other.

However this is all very well but the reality is different.

My MIL riles because (ashamed to admit this) I think she wasn't a great mother to my DH (based on things he has said about his upbringing) and she insists that her view of the world is the only acceptable one. NB she is fascist, anti feminist who believes women should subsume themselves to (and I quote) 'The Men'

I think I will concentrate my efforts on making my boys good and appreciative of the women in their lives and happily waving them off to their own lives when the time comes.

Will cross the grandmother issue as and when it arrives.

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 11:06:32

I hope I'm like your mil kitcatxxx I sometimes "forget" what I did with mine actually so that it doesn't look as if I'm saying " well I used to do ..........."
Eggshells is all part of the learning curve!!!!!!!!!!

charlottehere Fri 28-Dec-12 11:07:18

I have 1 ds, he is 5 weeks old and 3 dds. I never worried with the girls but do think about becoming a mil now I have a ds.

tiggytape Fri 28-Dec-12 11:21:07

I also read lots of silly, petty complaints from overly precious DILs who treat their children like a toy they're not prepared to share with anyone else and refuse to accept that they're also part of a larger extended family.

I see this here sometimes too (along with perfectly valid complaints as well of course) and it does make me worry. I have a boy and a girl and a lot of DILs seem to view DH's parents as his former family saying he has 'own family now'. Of course, with children, he becomes part of a little family of his own but it is still part of the family he grew up with. Some DILs seem to think that if they can't get on with MIL, it is acceptable that MIL is pushed out.

And women will tolerate help / interference / involvement / visits from their own mum much more readily than from MIL so it is hardly surprising a lot of MILs feel a bit resentful at not being allowed to have the same realtionship with their grandchildren just because the children belong to their son not a daughter. The message seems to be, if MIL is good at holding her tongue no matter what, it can work but otherwise she risks missing out in a way that the other grandmother won't.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 11:49:25

Inertia My children, husband and I belong to a shite extended family, emotionally abusive utter arseholes and as a result our 6 person unit is very very strong, anyone that marries into that will feel like they've joined the firm.
Ma Boswell is my role model.
I personally have no desire to be at the birth of anyone, I've had the best seat in the house four times and am done with all that. But will I be invited as and when it suits to see my grandchildren, will I fuck.

NaturalBaby Fri 28-Dec-12 11:57:22

I only have boys as well and have been pondering my relationship with my MIL - it comes down to control for me. I had 3 under 3's so am a huge control freak at the moment, so things have been very tense at times between my and my MIL who also seems to have control issues.

I just hope my boys each find a partner who is a genuinely nice person and treats them well - because I've pushed my DH to the limit on too many occasions and don't want my boys to have to put up with the same!

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 12:04:07

You see I would have thought two control freaks together would have made light work of three under three, shame you couldn't have worked as a team I'm sure looking back everyone would have benefited.
I had three under three and would have bloody loved some help under my watchful eye

forgetmenots Fri 28-Dec-12 12:14:58

mosman I totally hear you, your family has had to learn to be strong and defend itself against outside crap. Be careful though, that future partners don't get perceived as threats and your strong unit then prevents anyone coming in. My MIL is really abusive, no question, but one of the subsequent issues was the recurrent idea that anyone 'marrying in' had to leave their own opinions and traditions at the door or else they weren't 'part of it'. This then became very nasty for all concerned. I'm sure given your experiences you'll guard against it, but a truly strong unit changes and adapts - you can be a control freak who occasionally deigns to give a little bit of slack wink

AdoraJingleBells Fri 28-Dec-12 12:15:08


But control freaks don't work together. While I can fully understand why Natutal needs to be a control freak at this point in time, a true control freak doesn't really work with anyone, ever. That would be relinquishing control. That is also, sometimes, a part of why MIL/DIL relationships don't work, but it doesn't apply to all of them.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 12:28:19

Hey I'm not stupid I will completely embrace any new traditions and respect any new cultures creeds whatever the children introduce into the family but equally I'll expect the same respect to be shown to ours.
I can imagine two control freaks would clash but equally I am hoping for a DIL that leans more towards being a control freak, it's a lazy, chilled, slap dash one that would drive me crackers wink

forgetmenots Fri 28-Dec-12 12:31:16

Not saying you're stupid at all! Just a friendly warning from an exhausted DIL! smile

ModreB Fri 28-Dec-12 12:40:59

I am not (yet) a MIL, but it looks like I will be in the not too distant future. I try to be friendly and interested in DS's partners, but not overbearing.

I don't pass judgement on their lives or how they live them.

I will give an opinion only when asked, and do not get offended when they disagree with my opinion.

If they need support, I offer it but leave it to them whether they take up the offer or not.

Basically, I do the exact opposite to my MIL and DM.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 12:49:13


If you turned up at the hospital or at my house with in a few days of my getting home without being invited and disturbed those first few days.

Hospital you would be asked by the staff to leave, home, well you would be extreamily unlikely to be welcomed. It would probably end up setting the tone for our entire future relationship.

Just the same as if my own mother did it

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 12:50:15

Sockpuppet I would never have you as a DIL or a daughter, as mine will be tucked up in bed at my house grin

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 12:52:27

But what if she didnt want to be?

What if she wanted to be in her own home with her child and her husband and have a few undisturbed peaceful settling in days?

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 12:57:54

It'll be presented in such a marvellous way that she'd be a fool not to accept, i've done it the other way and it's massively overrated.
Nobody's going to force anyone to do anything that they don't want to in life, but there's more than one way to skin a cat.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 12:58:41

But why?

thegreylady Fri 28-Dec-12 13:02:45

Interesting re childbirth smile
Dsd-i-l1 was the first to have a child and it was a couple of months before we visited [about 300miles and they lived in a small flat].
Next was my dd-i-l who is Turkish and begged me to come over for 6 weeks spanning before and after the birth.At the hospital as well as dh and me were her parents,sister,aunts,uncles,cousins and grandparents!!
The baby was handed to me before my son which was embarrassing and the surgeon[cs] asked if I accepted the child.
Dsd-i-l again next and again it was a while for me as I was still in Turkey.Dh was there though.
Then dsd-i-l2 who wanted us at her house until the birth both times and finally my own dd who wanted me at the hospital [not in the labour room] for dgs1 .For her second I had a broken leg so they called on the way home from the hospital.
Different folks etc....

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 13:05:12

But why not ?
If you aren't in a family of emotionally abusive dickheads why do it the hard way, why not enjoy the advantages of having your mother or MIL help you out in exchange for the odd snuggle of your newborn ?
People who inist on it just being the two of us settling in etc are usually the same ones popping the antidepressants and complaining the grandparents don't give a shit in 12 months times. People need support at the birth of their children in most cases. I know I would have loved it.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 13:07:39

I also will not be the type of MIL who waits until the GF/DIL is up the duff before I show any sort of affection for her, those types get all they deserve too.

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 13:17:00

Well said Modre.
Everyone's differentxx

Crinkle77 Fri 28-Dec-12 13:19:15

i am not married to my partner but my sort of MIL is great. The only problem is she is too friendly. No that sounds weird but she is always trying to feed me, give me cups of tea and generally clucking about. She is a bit like Mrs Doyle in father ted but I wouldn't have it any other way. I had a boyfriend in the past whose mother hated me and I don't know why as I was always friendly and polite so it's relief to have one that is kind

forgetmenots Fri 28-Dec-12 13:35:21

True, mosman, the people who suddenly decide a gf or DIL is part of the family once thy are pregnant are not to be trusted - friend of mine was excluded then fussed over for nine months, only to be re-excluded once her mil had the grandchild to fuss over. She found it all a bit bewildering and a bit sad but she's accepted mil is never going to see her as family.

crinkle77 your mil sounds like my aunt, she would drive me mad but I would have her type as my mil any day!

ImperialBlether Fri 28-Dec-12 13:42:21

Mosman, you are starting to scare me!

Fishlaar Fri 28-Dec-12 14:14:32

I have two basic rules that, so far, seem to be working well. smile

My DC are adults so treat them as such.

With regards to my GS never forget that I am his gran and not his mum.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 14:24:41

Or they could just be people who don't actually need any help that there husband is unable to offer

Or if they do they may prefer that help to come from professional paid sources

They may look at families that are in each others pockets at those times as being the emotionally weird dependant ones.

Family support is great but only if the person getting the support actually considers it to be supportive instead of overbearing and unwanted, if its the latter its manipulative and putting your needs over someone who at that time should have there needs prioritised, if its the former then wonderful. But not everybody feels the same way about emotive stuff like this.

Every family is different and as your family grows via your children having children it ceases to be about how you want to do things as they become the head of there own families. If you have done your job correctly then they will have all the skills they need they will also know that they can ask for you if needed.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 14:28:08

Well we'll see what we get and cross that bridge when we get there given that DS is 2 I've plenty of time to consider the matter.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 14:30:05

But nobody has all he skills they need all the time and again the ones hat think they have usually come crashing down in a big heap, seen it time and time again.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 15:15:50

You sound very much like you think that you have all the skills needed or will do by he time your 2 year old has his own baby.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 15:17:46

I'm not that arrogant and hopefully who ever my children end up marrying won't be either.

NaturalBaby Fri 28-Dec-12 15:44:47

Opinions on family support is what me and my MIL struggle with. We've grown up in very different families - me with no extended family or help/support and her with lots of extended family and her dc's spending the weekend with various aunts, uncles and friends on a regular basis. It's taken her a long time to realise I'm a very different type of parent and do things very differently.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 15:49:46

So why do you think that your future dil should be at your house tucked up in your bed then?

You have openly said you would manipulate her into doing so and that if she thinks she does not need your help then she's probably going to be on antidepressants and come crashing down in a big heap.

But you appear to think your help would stop this yet you aren't arrogant and don't think you know everything

Perhaps she will have experience with babies and children perhaps she will have better skills than you do perhaps having someone who thinks they know better hovering around would drive her crazy.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 15:56:55

Manipulate ? What a strange way to view things. Having read on here tonight about parents in law not being allowed to buy flats for their children, not allowed to visit hospitals to meet newborns it's hardly any surprise plenty think fuck it we're going cruzing instead is it ?
My children are being raised to put family first and they will either embrace that or not as will their partners but the lines of communication between my children and I will be such that it won't be a massive surprise to the in laws that u expect to be close to them and the grandchildren. If they don't like it there's plenty of time to discuss or get used to it on either side.

GreatCongas Fri 28-Dec-12 16:03:24

Find this whole thread weird

I have a great relationship with my mil
(In fact she rang as I was reading this)
And she's not a subservient type. In fact she's definitely a matriarch
But it works
It works because I am nice to her, she is nice to me, I understand she is my Dhs mother, she understands that I am my children's mother. It's like any other relationship, a bit of give and take.
I hope to be the same with my dils (3 sons) but it also depends in them and having read many a thread on mn these toxic relationships seem to 6 of dils and half a dozen of mils.
We will wait and see

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 16:07:08

Presenting something you wish another person to do but they may not,in such a light that its to good not to.

Is manipulation.

Putting family first is a fine line when one member wants something that at that time may be the complete oppersit of what another needs or wants.

Given that lots of mums leave hospital under 24 hours after delivery sometime about 6 hours some would be horrified at visits.

jellybeans Fri 28-Dec-12 16:11:56

I have a MIL from hell but happily we kind of get on pretty well now. At the beginning though it was hell as DH is her only child and she couldn't let go. Her life was lived purely through him. At 21 he wasn't allowed to sleep out for example as she was scared alone-she was married and had a huge guard type dog! She tried to get far too involved with DC while ignoring and being hugely rude to me and my entire friends and family. Luckily I am forgiving and over the many years we have somehow learned to get on pretty good. She has backed off a lot and makes an effort with me now. I think many nightmare MILs only want the grandkids and son and not DIL. MIL wanted to be 'close' (her idea was daily prolonged contact with her doing all the firsts with DD1) to her GC but while treating me like poop-how is that gonna happen? She didn't let DH even see his Dad or grandparents!

Zavi Fri 28-Dec-12 16:12:13


I have a certain sympathy with you having 4 boys because, all things considered, your grandchildren will probably be closer to their other grandparents (as long as your dil's have good parental relationships/grandparents are alive/live fairly nearby).

Of course there are exceptions to the rule but I think it's natural really for most woman, given a choice, to prefer her own mum to look after her kids, if eg they want to go away somewhere/need someone to come into the home and help out for a while.

For that reason I think mums of sons ought to work harder at their DIL relationships. DILs can fairly easily control the access you have to your grandchildren. Not totally, but to a large extent they can do that, even without appearing to.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 16:13:54

You can choose to call it what you like, people have free will I'm not proposing to tie anyone to the bed posts.
I left hospital with DD3 after 6 hours people often do with subsequent children by which time everyone knows where they stand I'd imagine.
There's give and take in every relationship, DIL's that push away their husbands family or even their own without good readon set themselves up for future disappointment from what I've witnessed. If that's what you want sock good luck to you but don't presume my children will in 30 years time they are rather fond of their mother as it happens.

Stinkyminkymoo Fri 28-Dec-12 16:15:35

At least on the bright side there will be a plethora of perfect MIL's in about 20-30 years time...! grin

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 28-Dec-12 16:21:15

Don't send emails to your son and their fiancee telling them that they should not get married and listing all the things wrong with their fiancee would be a good start. Don't include all the things that she does wrong as a parent (despite never having met her DCs for more than 1/2 an hour)and all the bad points about her personality and definitely don't say that she is a "lazy good for nothing who will never do anybody any good at all"

other than that, whatever you like as long as you are nice smile

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 28-Dec-12 16:22:22

oh heck, just remember the MIL that never became my MIL is on Mumsnet, wonder if she will recognise herself?!

forgetmenots Fri 28-Dec-12 16:26:32

LOL stinkyminkymoo. True.

The best thing you can do starts now - bring up your sons to cook, wash up, tidy their rooms, put their dirty clothes in the wash basket, iron (when old enough), take the rubbish out, tidy up after themselves and clean WITHOUT BEING ASKED.

If you don't your DIL will inherit a man who thinks these things are women's work, and who will never help unless asked (he will called it nagged) and expect praise for every job. She may love him unconditionally but she will resent you for instilling this attitude in him and it will lead to a strained relationship.

I love my MIL but she has brought up three lazy arse kids (daughter included) who would no more lift a finger in the house than climb Everest. I think she is a doormat. she thinks I expect too much from DH. I don't, I just expect him not to be an utter slob.

Zavi Fri 28-Dec-12 16:57:43


You sound quite over-bearing and don't have a lot of respect for other people's preferences or boundaries ("will I stay away after the birth - will I hell!").

I think you are a MIL-from-hell in the making.

I suspect you intimidate people into doing things "my way or the highway"

I suspect that some people in RL may disagree with you but are too frightened to voice that

loverofwine Fri 28-Dec-12 17:05:53

I'm with my MIL today and when I told her it was my aim to raise boys who could cook, clean, do laundry etc themselves she just sneered.
I also (deliberately) brought along my most left wing Xmas reading to while away the afternoon annoy the old bag No wonder we disagree on so many things.

I don't intend to be brilliant MIL when and if time comes but hope to have raised great DS's for which any DiL will be happy.

That and take up a lot of fun hobbies so my life doesn't revolve around grandchildren!

forgetmenots Fri 28-Dec-12 17:07:57

All of that probably will make you a brilliant MIL by default, loverofwine. You sound like you have the right idea with your boys.

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 17:11:58

Well said fishlaar, sock and Worcester, I agree with everything you have said. The best thing we can do as mums is to bring our children up to be independent and give ourselves a pat on the back if they turn out to be good partners/husbands and dads.
I particularly like your reminder that we are their grandparents, not their mums re grandchildren. Until I joined mumsnet I had no idea that anyone had ever ever invited anyone other than the baby's father to watch them give birth!!!!!!!! What on earth is that all about?

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 22:24:51

Zavi, no doubt I am over something's that are very important and being part of my children's lives is very important.

greenplastictrees Fri 28-Dec-12 22:35:44

I'm marrying my DP next year. We've been together 10 years so I know my future DMIL very well. We get on great generally but do have quite different ways of doing with things. I have learnt from watching others around me and I don't ever want to make my future DH life difficult by moaning about his mother or make his mother uncomfortable. She is very much a part of my family and I love her very much. I want her to be a part of our future children's lives so much. However it does make me nervous that I think we will have very different views on raising children and I hope we don't have big failings out about my future children as there are things that inevitAblly we are going to do quite differently, just because of the fact that her life when she had my future DH and his younger siblings is very different from what my will be. At the back of my mind I always want to keep that she has the best intentions and not ever upset or offend her. I hope that I'll feel the same 5 years down the line when I hope we will have one or two children!

greenplastictrees Fri 28-Dec-12 22:36:36

I'm marrying my DP next year. We've been together 10 years so I know my future DMIL very well. We get on great generally but do have quite different ways of doing with things. I have learnt from watching others around me and I don't ever want to make my future DH life difficult by moaning about his mother or make his mother uncomfortable. She is very much a part of my family and I love her very much. I want her to be a part of our future children's lives so much. However it does make me nervous that I think we will have very different views on raising children and I hope we don't have big failings out about my future children as there are things that inevitAblly we are going to do quite differently, just because of the fact that her life when she had my future DH and his younger siblings is very different from what my will be. At the back of my mind I always want to keep that she has the best intentions and not ever upset or offend her. I hope that I'll feel the same 5 years down the line when I hope we will have one or two children!

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 22:54:38

Greenplastictrees, child rearing has changed in the past 12 years since I had my first, if your MILtobe has an ounce of common sense she'll follow your lead and do things your way first, that's fairly standard behaviour from grannies who are generally bloody terrified of getting it wrong given that it's not their baby. I wouldn't be worrying about it, you've lots of exciting times ahead, enjoy.

EllieQ Fri 28-Dec-12 23:03:19

I agree that you sound very overbearing Mosman, especially regarding wanting/ manipulating your future DIL to stay at yours after having a baby - words fail me! I remember watching 'Bread' when I was younger and I would not have wanted Ma Boswell as a MIL!

I get on well with my MIL - I have known her for over 15 years now, and she and FIL have always been welcoming, friendly, and caring. I am also grateful that she raised DH to be independent and capable of cooking, cleaning, laundry, and ironing!

However I suspect it helps that we live about 200 miles away and only see them occasionally! FIL can be a bit overbearing and over-involved in our lives, in the sense that he often treats us as if we're still teenagers. So treating your sons and their partners as though they are adults is key.

ledkr Fri 28-Dec-12 23:10:27

The problem is I think that it's easy to forget how you felt when having and raising small children.
I love dil but was a typical know all granny when dgs was born.
I then had another baby myself and was reminded of a few basics such as what you do doesn't necessarily make them good sleepers or that leaving them to cry wasn't easy.
Dil loves to remind me of this when advising me on childcare.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 23:15:38

I've seen it done both ways, tip toeing around the DIL and telling her how it'll be and she can join in or not but don't complain if you're then "left out". Neither ends well for all concerned but I know the tip toe'ers don't see any more of their children than the other kind so hopefully there's middle ground but if not I'll be leaning towards the this is how our family do it and unless there's a very good reason not to, join in.
All the grannies in our extended family are brought to the hospital by the sons to meet the new babies, why the heck wouldn't they be ?

LetsFaceThePresentsTheyrePants Fri 28-Dec-12 23:34:24

If the MiL is a generally reasonable person, I think some DiLs who want to keep MiLs at arm's length almost resent the love their DH has for his mother - as if it somehow 'takes away' from the DH's love that is then available for the DiL. It's as if they haven't quite grasped that love isn't a pie. and the more you give, the more there is.

At least, that's how I felt when I was very young about the poor mum of my fiance. I would so apologise to her if I met her now!

I can't quite forgive my current MiL for the abuse my DH suffered at the hands of one of her 3 husbands or for her complete indifference to my 3 kids.

But then I do recognise that I'm a far from perfect DiL.

And this is where all you fab people on MN come in with your useful opinions/experiences to add to our own hindsight.


IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Dec-12 00:30:21

I'm quite surprised that anybody feels its acceptable to tell an adult who has just become a parent that unless they have a good reason they have to fit in with what they want them to do.

In your family it may be perfectly acceptable for grannies to be taken to the hospital during the 6 hours of recovery before discharge but in some its not. It does not mean that the ones who don't do it love there mums less.

No harm in asking but if you are told no then that means that at that particular time you are not wanted nor needed, if your reaction to this would be a temper tantrum or putting your foot down or attempting to change there mind or manipulate them then you will probably end up being considered to be a mil/ gp from hell who showed no respect towards the parents when the parents wishes should have been the most important consideration.

That will do nothing towards fostering a good relationship with the parents.

OTheYuleManatee Sat 29-Dec-12 00:39:59

You'd be forgiven for thinking that every DIL hate her MIL if you went on MN alone. But MN is skewed in the same way as the news: nobody bother to start a thread about how nice their MIL is, just like no articles get written about all the people who walked home and didn't get mugged.
Mfor the record, my MIL is lovely grin

forgetmenots Sat 29-Dec-12 00:42:26

Agree it can be difficult from both sides - have seen both DILs and MILs be differing degrees of unreasonable. If both sides are fairly normal, with human faults and failings and the ability to apologise and be fair, there shouldn't be problems.

mosman I think the people who are challenging you are only doing so because you sound reasonable but it sounds like you're assuming there will be a single 'way of doing things' in your family, even when your sons are adults with ways and new families of their own, and they're trying to caution you against that assumption, for your own sake. (FWIW, In my family grannies would be at the hospital too usually without invite or question, but equally if any new mum in the family wasn't feeling social and needed time, everyone would adapt to that for her sake as a new mum).

Mosman Sat 29-Dec-12 00:52:11

I would absolutely start out all very reasonable and accommodating but not feeling sociable after a difficult birth is understandable, stating from day one of pregnancy nobody is visiting for a few days is not.
There will be no tantrums from my side life's too short but equally don't throw one in return if you push your mother or mil out and then when the "baby" is a bit more work than you hoped and you wouldn't mind a bit of time to yourself that you find people have found something or someone else to occupy their time.
I have seen with friends time and time again exactly that scenario and it's ridiculous.

VestaCurry Sat 29-Dec-12 00:53:38

My MIL was so lovely and I really miss her, she didn't get to see her gc grow beyond toddlerhood, dc1 just about remembers her and we have plenty of photos around as reminders.
She was a great role model and I hope I can be as kind and decent as her.

forgetmenots Sat 29-Dec-12 01:00:52

vestacurry sad

I know what you mean mosman. I'm the outcast DIL (well, wife of the outcast son, more truthfully) but I've seen outcast MILs who are expected to be at beck and call for a mere glimpse of their dgcs. Not pleasant.

TheCatInTheHairnet Sat 29-Dec-12 01:15:58

If I listed the "crimes" my mil has done over the years to all her children in law, you would be horrified. But, I adore her. She is so, so kind and all of the stuff that pisses me off, I have to let go as I know it's only coming from a place of good. She isn't trying to judge us, she just wants the best for us.

When I gave birth to my 4th child a year after my 3rd, she came every single week (we lived well over an hour's drive away) just so she could take out No2 and No3, while No1 was at school. She was worried they would feel overlooked. At the time, I worried that she felt I wasn't coping when I knew I was, but now I can honestly look back and think, "How great is it that she did that for me".

So, in answer, I hope when I am MIL, even if they find me annoying as hell half the time, they learn to love me as much as I love mine.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Dec-12 02:14:10

Mosman I quite agree that gp's should not be used because of there good nature.

It's the reason why I have never not once in 20 years with any of my children ever used a gp for childcare, if my kids have been on a planned day out with them then I may have used that time to do my own thing but I have never and will never ask them nor will I expect them to feel obligated to do me favours in exchange for a relationship with my children.

But I do disagree that its not ok to decide in advance that you may want a couple of days peace with your new baby. It's a perfectly reasonable choice to make and one that if you made an issue out of could destroy any goodwill between the parents and grandparents.

There are certain times in people's lives where there wants and needs should legitimately over ride others wants and needs with regard to other adults, it does not matter if you don't like it but the first couple of days after child birth that person is the mother of the baby then the father of the baby not the grand parents.

Mosman Sat 29-Dec-12 02:21:26

Well we shall have to agree to disagree on that point and given the age difference between you and my son it's unlikely you shall end up producing my grandchildren so we should both be happy with that. Phew.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Dec-12 02:26:11

Out of interest what would you do if the mother of your sons baby did not wish to have anybody round for 2 days?

Mosman Sat 29-Dec-12 02:34:29

Oh I would definitely completely ignore her and probably take the baby home with me and lock us in the spare room together hmm

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Dec-12 02:36:18

grin that made me laugh so much I nearly woke the baby up

As a Mil if you have turned up at the hospital and been asked to wait a few minutes never take it upon yourself to barge in as ur dil maybe having an internal that she would rather you didn't see!
It's also not the best idea to ignore your dil and say to the baby that nobody will ever love them as much as you do even when the very lovely midwife points out that its not the best thing to say in the hearing of a new mother and then still insist that no the baby will only be loved properly by you and no one else - and she wasn't even joking hmm
Mismanagement you scare me a small bit!

forgetmenots Sat 29-Dec-12 09:59:03

grin mosman, pmsl.

Oh god, richperson - sounds awful!

GreatCongas Sat 29-Dec-12 11:17:59

In my experience a good mil also helps with the crap and doesn't jut want the good.
She may have visited after I have given birth as she wanted a cuddle but she also did all my laundry and gave me her credit card details so I could watch tv while stuck in hospital. She give my children too mich at christmas grin but but she also prepares meals that are gorgeous but require minimum prep so we don't have to do anything on our anniversaries.
She checks with me before doing new stuff and is happy to take my op ion on board but will also express her own. I'm not always right, neither is she. I'm probably too hippy for her, she's slightly more conservative than me but all it takes is give and take and treating each other like decent human beings.
We have our own relationship above and beyond the fact I'm married to her son. If he ever left me I would miss his family hugely but oddly I know she would go out of her way to make me still feel included as I am the mother of her grandchildren and more than that I like to think we are friends

soverylucky Sat 29-Dec-12 11:29:28

Quite simply my MIL prefers to spend time with her dd's children than she does with her ds's children. My children are old enough to see this for themself. It breaks my heart.

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