To kick myself for allowing myself to be drawn in to SIL competitive parenting ?

(56 Posts)
Inseywinseyupthespout Sun 31-Mar-13 19:31:17

I'm raging with myself .

SIL is a very confident , outgoing scary woman ; she knows when she is right and doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks . She also doesn't give a crap what she says to other people even if its offensive or hurtful .

SIL is a competitive parent - she loves to make you feel like her way is right / best .

My DD2 and her DD1 are the same age - everything from pushchairs to baby milk was discussed during our pregnancies hmm

Apparently her pushchair was better because it parent faced, her choice of milk was better because it was more expensive and "more like breastmilk ..." Any decision I made, she always had a reason why she chose something "better". It irritates the fuck out of me and no matter how hard I try to ignore it , I find myself feeling inadequate and influenced in to "copying" her blush

I'm kicking myself today , as we were talking about saving for our kids etc - she said "my dd is going to be loaded as she will have her savings and will inherit our house ..."

DH and I don't own our own home and never will . I said that our DDs will have their savings , she replied "hopefully you will have enough saved to give them a deposit on their first house . My dd won't need to as she can just sell our house ..."

And I , I shit you not , replied "oh maybe I should look in to buying a house , because my DDs might not have that much .... " WTF blush

Why didn't I just say - "yeah hopefully you won't lose your job and your house ... Fuck off you condescending fuck ...."

WIBU to kick myself ?!

zwischenzug Sun 31-Mar-13 19:42:22

Why do you associate with her, she sounds like a self obsessed, money obsessed twat.

What sort of parent wants their kids to have everything handed to them on a plate anyway? Teach your kids the skills they need to find their way and life and leave them to it. Her "here have loads of money, oh and you'll get the house one day soon" is exactly the attitude that has created many feckless lazy middle class 20-30 year olds who barely do any work and just expect to sponge off their parents for life. I'd rather have a child who achieved something through their own efforts that I could be proud of, than achieved nothing but had an easy life.

selsigfach Sun 31-Mar-13 19:43:42

So she's hoping her and hubby die when their daughter is in her 20s to avoid having to save up for her first home? Hmm. Ignore the crazy woman.

parakeet Sun 31-Mar-13 19:44:24

Look, at least you have identified the kind of conversation you should avoid in future. There's being confident and there's being rude and boastful. What about cutting it off with the old MN classics: This way works for me, or That sounded rude, did you mean it to, etc.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 31-Mar-13 19:44:36

You need to practice your response to her. Just say, "Oh, that is nice" and STOP. Refuse to engage.

She sounds very annoying.

OestraJen Sun 31-Mar-13 19:46:17

Is she planning on actually dying when her DD is in her early twenties? Inherit? WTF?


Stupid cow. Just laugh at her.

missmapp Sun 31-Mar-13 19:46:25

I had a friend like this, and , like you, I kept retaliating. In the end I would just repeat- It's a good job we are all different'.

I dont see her anymore, but with a SIL, that may not be as easy!!

blueballoon79 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:49:48

Just tell her, next time she starts "oh that's nice for your DD's to not have to work at life and have everything handed to them on a plate, but I'd rather my DD's worked hard for what they get and were strong, independent and confident. I really wouldn't want to have children that were reliant on me for their survival", then give her a smug grin and change the conversation.

You do know don't you that people like her are usually so insecure and worried about what people think and that's why they behave like this?

MrsBourneUltimatum Sun 31-Mar-13 19:50:02

My best friend is a bit like this- love her dearly but her partner is fifteen years older than us (and my husband, we are all around the same age) and he came with a house, savings and super, super rich parents. We don't own and are nowhere near owning but she's always bragging about how much their house is worth, how much they have in savings, how she doesn't need to work and how they could afford to go anywhere in the world on holiday blah blah blah. It's irritating beyond sense and I'm not saying I never feel jealous but with people like this you just have to remember if they were really happy they wouldn't be going on about everything they have. It's compensating for something else at the end of the day.

Nod and smile, nod and smile! Works with my SIL, her DD is 3m younger than DS2, and is bigger, has more teeth, eats better etc, and I get reminded about it every single time we meet. Me and DH have started to make a joke about it now, and cant look at each other when she starts in case we laugh!

TheFallenNinja Sun 31-Mar-13 19:53:31

I used to know a bloke like this. We used to call him two shits.

If you'd had one, he'd had two.

Just nod and smile. grin

Wee in her shoe. <drunk posting, but still valid response grin>

thezebrawearspurple Sun 31-Mar-13 19:56:18

Stop spending so much time with her, she can't brag to you if you're not there.

DontmindifIdo Sun 31-Mar-13 19:58:32

Oh no, if you are going to be sucked into it, only do it if you are going to go for the jugular, so you should have head tilted and and patronising smile and said "oh, do you not think your DD will be able to get the sort of job where she'll be able to earn enough to fund her own house in the future? Really, I think you're selling her short, I think she comes across as quite bright already, I'm sure you don't have to worry she won't be able to provide for herself as an adult. No really, you shouldn't worry."

noblegiraffe Sun 31-Mar-13 20:00:41

I'd have asked where she would live when her DD sold her house. What an odd thing to say.

SecretLindtBunny Sun 31-Mar-13 20:01:12

She sounds massively insecure.

Smile, wave and walk on by.

Keep your children grounded and maybe, just maybe the tables will turn in a decade or so and the mournful wail of "where did I go wrong" will be the topic of conversation.

sue52 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:01:16

I fully expect that the state will nab my house to take care of future health and care home costs, your sister in law is obviously planning on dying young if she knows with such certainty that her DD will inherit the lot. She sounds a pain, ignore and don't engage.

Hissy Sun 31-Mar-13 20:02:00

You've made a great mistake there love.

SIL does care what others think, very much. To the exclusion of all rational sense.

Chances are, your work ethic, attitude and common sense will be a far more positive spur to your DC than her with her spoilt DC.

I'm willing to bet that your DC will understand the value of work and money.

Your SIL is insecure and weak. She is all bluster. Given the choice people'd have WAY more time for you than her.

SneezingwakestheJesus Sun 31-Mar-13 20:02:09

I'm with previous poster who said nod and smile! My (ex) SIL has a dd almost the exact age (4 weeks difference) as dd and she's forever trying to engage me in competition. I just trot out the lines "oh how lovely" "aw, that will be nice for <her dd's name>" type things and it works! It kills the conversation dead. She texts me every so often too. The most recent was a blunt "can <dd's name> walk yet? My dd is starting to stand up!" She obviously wanted the old "no but my dd can do this" "well mine can do this" like she always tries for, so I just replied "aw well done <her dd's name> smile " and that was it. Its so peaceful this way haha!

Inseywinseyupthespout Sun 31-Mar-13 20:03:54

It the inadequacy that it makes me feel that gets me sad

I need to stop caring what she thinks and accept and respect my own parenting decisions, but when you are constantly told in a not so subtle way that your decision is wrong - it makes you doubt yourself .

The best one was , when DD1 was a newborn , SIL said "oh when i have a baby Im not going to risk putting those (ready to feed) cartons in the fridge until their immune system is better ...." This was whilst she was in my fridge getting some milk for a cup of tea !

Grrrr! angry

She has just actually emailed me asking if the DC had a nice Easter and what did they get ? I just know already how this is going to go ... Ill say a few eggs off different people and then she will reel off a full list of stuff her DD got .

I would avoid her but I sit right next to her at work sad

MiniEggsJumpedInMyBasket Sun 31-Mar-13 20:04:15

MrsBourne, I hate to say it but your best friend doesn't sound like much of a friend sad

OP, your SIL sounds awful, but don't beat yourself up about getting drawn into her latest boast. It's very easy to get drawn into these sorts of things. What I tend to do with people like her is just smile and nod. Or sometimes I will just agree with them. This takes the wind right out of their sails as they want you to feel defensive and then to justify why you do things the way you do so that they can say yet more put downs to you.

Or what I do with one acquaintance, who is a total bragger and thinks she's the best at everything (Your SIL sounds very like her actually, even down to the buggy facing mummy thing), is I pretend to be a feckless, clueless parent with no routine and no rules, who knows nothing. This winds her up, as she wants people to compete with her.

MiniEggsJumpedInMyBasket Sun 31-Mar-13 20:05:41

Just seen your latest post...

I would reply to her email saying yes they've all had an amazing Easter thank you very much. Don't answer her questions, and be as vague as possible with her. This will infuriate her, and also you are not giving her any ammunition to use against you and to use to put you down

LittleBairn Sun 31-Mar-13 20:07:29

I'm sorry but I'm PMSL she could be so nuts, she is essential being competitive over dying! You die you leave nothing, but she on the other hand will leave an inheritance.

TickTockGoesTheClock Sun 31-Mar-13 20:07:39

Sounds like my SIL. When I was pregnant with DS three years ago and was all excited when I purchased my Mamas and Papas pram, she decided to go on and on about how she was going to buy a Marc Jacobs limited edition Bugaboo hmm She wasn't even pregnant or planning to have children in the near future!

SneezingwakestheJesus Sun 31-Mar-13 20:08:36

Ooooh incey that's exactly what my ex SIL did on dd's birthday. I knew she would comment on the small number of pressies we gave her but I couldn't not reply because it would be rude. Maybe accepting she does it and inviting it so she knows it doesn't get to you would work? Something like "oh some eggs from off different people yum! Did you have a good Easter? How is dd enjoying her eggs?" Then when she lists it all and rambles on, reply again saying that her dd is lucky and she will enjoy eating them all! Then she hasn't got the rise out of you or the defensive reply that makes her feel better than you. My stepdad calls it playing the game and it really really works!

LaQueen Sun 31-Mar-13 20:08:53

Do not engage. Do not try and compete. Because, actually with this sort of person you can't win. They will just move the goal posts. This sort of person delights in wrong-footing people, and making them unsure/uncertain.

Basically, she is feeding off you. So, just smile and nod. Smile and nod. Be totally noncomittal, and just trot out the exact same stock phrase of 'That's nice...that's nice...that's nice...'

So, she can't feed off you, because you're giving her nothing.

MissTweed Sun 31-Mar-13 20:09:25

I grew up in a small rural village that was made up of two social groups...... The people that had always lived their (mainly farming community) / families living in the council/rented properties and the newer influx of the townies (when country living suddenly became fashionable in the 90's.) the kids that had always been there carried on as always.... Money for our parents was a struggle etc but no one had that thing of wanting what everyone else had, holidays were staying in a caravan somewhere, if you wanted money you got a paper round etc etc the other group on the other hand.... Most went to the posh private schools nearby, had every toy growing up, went on luxury holidays, were bought a brand new car at 17 etc etc (although we did all hang out together)

I am now in my 30's and nearly all of the kids that grew up less privileged funded their own way through university, have successful jobs and family lives. The others..... It's crazy the amount of them that are total dossers that still live at home sucking money out of their parents. Quite a few of them went majorly off the rails and got drug problems. They grew up thinking the world owed them something. Sometimes growing up knowing to appreciate things is far better than being given everything on a plate.

Your SIL sounds like a nightmare but I totally understand how you feel when the green eyed monster creeps in. The other thing about the village.... The couples in the big grand houses are always having affairs with each other but put on a show of "look how wonderful our lives are" I believe that if you need to 'show' how wonderful you are by putting others down means that there is something majorly lacking in their own life and they do this to make themselves feel

Cromwell44 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:13:52

Don't engage with the whole 'what your kids got for Easter@ crap. Don't respond or if you do follow Minieggs advice, tell her what you want her to know.
It's not compulsory to discuss your life with those that make make you feel inadequate, just 'cos they want you to.

ekidna Sun 31-Mar-13 20:14:40

Agree she is feeding off you ...making her issues become yours. Sounds like projective identification in psychobabble terms.... Her putting her shit in your proverbial cupboard.

OldBagWantsNewBag Sun 31-Mar-13 20:16:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SanityClause Sun 31-Mar-13 20:18:00

Don't worry, OP, their DD won't inherit the house. It will have to be sold to pay for their care home costs. wink

ratspeaker Sun 31-Mar-13 20:19:44

I agree with humphrey

but when saying thats nice keep this clip in mind

there a wee swearie in there so you've been warned
youtube link to bbc series

MiniEggsJumpedInMyBasket Sun 31-Mar-13 20:20:39

I often wonder the mentality behind people like your SIL, and the woman that I know. All I can think is that they must have very low self esteem and just be willing to say/do anything to make themselves feel superior. I wonder too how they make/keep friends, as I would never be close friends with anyone like that, yet some people seem totally in awe of that type of person.hmm

OldBagWantsNewBag Sun 31-Mar-13 20:22:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaQueen Sun 31-Mar-13 20:23:24

Yep, agree with Old. It's very, very important that you just repeat the exact same stock phrases...That's nice...That's lovely...That's nice...That's lovely...That's nice...etc, when you smile and nod.

Because, eventually she'll slowly realise that you're just repeating yourself, because you clearly aren't interested...and (even better) that you actually can't even be arsed to feign interest in her, and are just fobbing her off with a totally bland/disinterested That's nice...That's lovely...

But, because you aren't saying anything remotely rude/offensive, and you're smiling and nodding whilst saying it... she can't really call you on it, else she'll just look like a nit-picking, paranoid twunt - which of course she is.

It'll drive her up the wall, I promise smile

whosiwhatsit Sun 31-Mar-13 20:26:39

You could be really horrible and show her lots of fake sympathy, make her cups of tea and tell her you'll always be there for her if she needs someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. When she asks why just say you think she must be feeling unwell as she has been talking a lot lately about her daughter inheriting from her, tell her you can also tell she's under a lot of stress as she seems to be second guessing and worrying about her parenting decisions. Then whenever she mentions something braggy you can just respond with oh, don't worry, I'm,sure everything will turn out fine with a smile full of fake sympathy. It's evil and not a nice way to behave but it's guaranteed to drive her round the bend as the last thing people like this want is to be an object of pity!

Also you both don't know what life will throw at you and your DD's. At the very least it's quite possible that the assets of her home will be spent at some point either as business collateral or to pay for care in her or partner's old age.
Can you widen your circle of friends so that her influence in your life becomes naturally less, and you have other more genuine friends to share the joys of parenthood with ?

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 31-Mar-13 20:31:32

I think ScentedNappyHag has the best solution. grin

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sun 31-Mar-13 20:45:39

I'm not competitive about competitive sils grin but after I miscarried at 12wks mine said 'well I tried everything but this one wanted to stick' shock

I would give her the benefit of the doubt but she's always saying stuff like that.

Now thanks to ratspeaker I can say 'that's nice' while thinking 'fuck off'.

It's a shame because my dcs really like their cousins but I find her hard work.

Fudgemallowdelight Sun 31-Mar-13 21:18:40

"hopefully you will have enough saved to give them a deposit on their first house . My dd won't need to as she can just sell our house ..."

"Oh do you think she will wait until you are dead before she buys a house then?"

HumphreyCobbler Sun 31-Mar-13 21:21:27

bloody hell doyouwantfrieswiththat - what a cow!

Inseywinseyupthespout Sun 31-Mar-13 21:24:35

Some of these responses are great ! grin

I responded to the email just saying "enough chocolate to rot their teeth " and didn't ask about her dd ....

So... She took it upon herself to tell me what she had bought hmm .. So I replied saying "that's nice ..." grin

Roseformeplease Sun 31-Mar-13 21:34:33

My husband has the answer to this (wily Scot) and he competes, but to demean himself. If someone asks him about his new car, he says, "Oh, it's an old banger, yours is a proper car". If asked about Christmas presents he replies, "Usual socks and rubbish, I am sure you got something much, much nicer".

He would reply to your SiL, by saying, "Not much really, I am sure your DD had a far more exciting Easter.

It wrong foots them every time. They suspect sarcasm but, outwardly, you are agreeing that they are better than you. They can only reply by DEFENDING your choices and that really, really hurts.

Give it a go! Works like a charm.

OldBagWantsNewBag Sun 31-Mar-13 21:43:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fuzzypicklehead Sun 31-Mar-13 21:46:28

I also enjoy, "Oh, you know us! We'd hate to be too showy/OTT!"

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sun 31-Mar-13 22:16:36

Do I win? Have I got the most competitive sil? I can't wait to tell her...oh bugger.

I agree with people who say you have to be a bit sad inside to behave this way. It's like being related to a dementor.

sherazade Mon 01-Apr-13 09:30:26

If you find it dificult to be assertive around her, whenever she tries to get all competitive and whenever you anticipate that she is going to put you in a corner where you will have start justifying yourself or saying things you are not comfortable with, just smile blankly and nod, smile and nod, smile and nod, and change the subject. This is failsafe. She'll soon learn not to try.

sherazade Mon 01-Apr-13 09:31:57

or what oldbagwnatsnewbag said. Smile and nod, and say something meaningless like 'that's nice'. If you adopt this mantra she'll soon see that you're not impressed and unwlling to engage in this pathetic banter.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Mon 01-Apr-13 11:09:57

She sounds like hard work!

All the value of your SIL's house may go into paying for her care home fees in years to come, your situation may improve dramatically. Unless you are very
wealthy these days I would say there are no guarantees that children will inherit their parent's houses/savings.

RivalSibling Mon 01-Apr-13 12:02:53

Re the Easter eggs - tell her your children got exactly the right number of eggs.

DorcasDelIcatessen Mon 01-Apr-13 12:59:14

I find a well timed "YAY!" while punching the air victoriously helps. It works because my SIL sometimes forgets herself and thinks that I do care about her DD solving the conundrum on Countdown at the age of 8 and a bit. She looks at me like a kicked puppy when I do it.

whois Mon 01-Apr-13 13:10:14

"Oh SIL, I do hope my DD can buy a house BEFORE I die! Gosh how horrible to be waiting for an inheritance like that"

love your responses to the emails

disengaging is the way to go

all these horrid stories, I am so sorry

(My SIL is bonkers, but not unkind. Mostly she lies and makes up stuff, which is a different facet of being less-than-confident, no one gets hurt but she looks like a tit because she forgets what she's told whom, iyswim.)

Mother2many Tue 02-Apr-13 15:48:22

I'm glad my sister never blantly threw in how much better she is to me, but MAN do I HATE when she whines about stuff, that I could only imagine.... however, her son is learning that only the best is for him... and she is raising him to be a selfish inconsiderate jerk.... he LOVE to throw in your face and everyone elses how he is so much better.

EldritchCleavage Tue 02-Apr-13 20:21:11

Hang on, there are seriously, actually apparently sane adult women out there who ask other adult women to list what chocolate their children got for Easter? Honestly?

I'm genuinely astonished. Who the hecky peck gives a stuff what other people's children (or even their own, come to that) get given for Easter?

Op, when she asks you stuff like this I think you should just giggle until she gives up.


ThreadWorms Tue 02-Apr-13 20:33:51

Op, my SIL sounds very similar to yours in that she is competitive in the extreme. I have never had a conversation with her that wasn't centred around how great she/her DP (my BIL)/her DCs are and how cramp we are in comparison. My youngest/her eldest are very close in age so that doesn't help.

Like you, I find myself being drawn into her games and become defensive in her presence. I have posted about her before and the advice I often received was that she was jealous if me, pure and simple. I never believed them because if her life is as great as she makes out then why would she be jealous if me?

Turns out they were right. A recent family argument occurred abs age admitted to another family member that she feels inferior to me. I still don't know why though confused.

I don't have the answer though as I still find it difficult to deal with her but just wanted you to know you have my sympathies wink.

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