MIL and wedding - aibu?

(42 Posts)
KnitFastDieWarm Mon 17-Jun-13 19:39:45

Let me preface this by saying that my (very soon to be) MIL is a perfectly good hearted person and I would never want to upset her.

However, this weekend we went to visit and she told ua that she was going to make a speech at our wedding this summer. In itself, I don't have an issue with this. My problem is a) being TOLD (as opposed to asked/discussing it etc) and b) the fact that the wedding is very soon and we are up against it wih logistics as it is! You'd think she could have mentioned it sooner?!

I freely admit that we don't 'click' - but we generally rub along fine - after all, it'a not her i'm marrying. The problem is that she has a tendancy to infantalising her adult children (and by extension, me) - telling us what to wear/eat/do etc. any attempt to establish boundaries/laugh something off is taken as a personal insult. This incident is just the latest in a long line of similar incidents and I have to admit that I am at the end of my tether. The level of upset she causes my DP on a daily basis whenever he attempts to establish any kind of adult relationship is breaking my heart.

I want everyone to be happy - but the only way she would be happy is if my DP and his siblings were 5 again. She adored being a mother of small children and I think she'll make a very loving grandparent but I also worry that she will want to take over, given past indicators.

I sometimes feel like all I am is an unwelcome reminder that her son is no longer a little boy, tolerated because I will hopefully one day produce grandchildren for her relive her own day of motherhood. I feel sorry for her that it seems that was the only time in her life we was happy - but I feel that she needs to start respecting my DP and I as adults. Is that unreasonable? Any advice on how to establish healthy, non-aggressive boundaries in this situation?

Sorry for the essay! Thoughts appreciated...

Pendipidy Mon 17-Jun-13 19:45:02

Just say no , there isn't time! If you give in now to everything she wants, she Will expect it and play merry hell every time. Start as you mean to go on.

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Mon 17-Jun-13 19:45:27

It can actually be easier than you might think to establish boundaries, especially if you start as you mean to go on- and your wedding is a good time to do that

The key is to be kind and fair but firm and ignore any sulking or emotional blackmail. If she takes things as a personal insult then tell her you're sorry she feels that way, but don't change your behaviour to pander to her

If you don't mind her making the speech then tell her you've discussed it and you're happy for her to do so, she might well ease off a bit once you're married but if not just deal with each thing as it happens

pjmama Mon 17-Jun-13 19:47:30

If she won't listen to being told straight that you're grown ups and it's time she accepted that, I'd just keep laughing it off and if she gets offended then that's her problem. Mark out your boundaries now, be firm and polite and stick to them, if what you suspect is true then I can see trouble ahead when the grandchildren arrive.

ParadiseChick Mon 17-Jun-13 19:49:44

What on earth does the mother of the groom want to speak at the wedding for? She's only slightly more significant than the father of the groom in terms of wedding parties! I'm all for alternative speeches, I spoke at my own wedding for longer than my husband, but mog? No, no, no!

Given her ways, no again! What will she come out with?

Dackyduddles Mon 17-Jun-13 19:51:40

The "til death do you part" line covers ils as well as dh so for heavens sake start now or you will be posting an awful bloody lot during years to come and she could live a long fecking time!

Graceparkhill Mon 17-Jun-13 19:52:52

Where's the harm in letting her speak? Give her a time limit. It is only a few minutes from your day and it sounds like it would mean a lot to her.

EyesCrossedLegsAkimbo Mon 17-Jun-13 19:53:20

Did you ask her the gist of her speech? Trust me, it won't be about the wonderful woman her son has chosen to marry.

EverybodysStressyEyed Mon 17-Jun-13 19:54:31

I asked all four of the parents if they wanted to make a speech. I've always thought it a bit outdated that only the brides father said something. My step mil stood up and did an impromptu speech which was a little awkward as mil had decided not to speak, but overall it was very nice to have people who wanted to speak given the opportunity.

I always remind myself with my it's that although they may do things differently to me that doesn't make them wrong or a bad person. If I don't want to do something the way they suggest I just say so. No point biting your tongue! If I would say it to my parents I will say it to them

ParadiseChick Mon 17-Jun-13 19:55:09

Oh God no for the love of all that is normal do not let her speak! I have a bad feeling about this. She'll cry and talk about this first steps and that time he wrote his name in poo in the bathroom mirror (so advanced for his age) and lament about losing her son. It'll be cringe tastic.

EverybodysStressyEyed Mon 17-Jun-13 19:57:59

But paradise chick - I have been unfortunate enough to hear lengthy father of the bride speeches like that but everyone smiles indulgently at a fathers love. Why would people not do the same for a mother?

As for infantilising your dp, if my mum ever tries that I always meet it with a 'I am xx years old you know'.

wellthatsdoneit Mon 17-Jun-13 20:03:36

Agree that you need to be clear what your boundaries are and to stick to them. However, is this what you really want for the rest of your life? She sounds somewhat overbearing. How's your DF with it all? What's his backbone like?

CloudsAndTrees Mon 17-Jun-13 20:05:07

I agree with Paradise.

In theory, it will do no harm for your mil to have a few minutes out of the day to indulge herself in a speech. In reality, it will be cringe worthy and your wedding will be remembered as the the one with the MOG making everyone nauseous. And you will spend the rest of the day with people coming up to you and wishing you luck with their pity face on.

Don't do it!

Tell your DP that he has to tell her no. It's that simple. His mother, his problem.

Are any of your DPs siblings married and what was she like at their weddings if so?

Is MIL separated from FIL? Is she feeling adrift?

Perhaps you could say you'd love to let everyone speak (MIL, FIL, DM, DF, bm, etc) but there simply won't be time.

Who is doing the readings? DM did one of ours to make her feel involved and my goodness the preparation...

YouTheCat Mon 17-Jun-13 20:11:40

Let her do her speech - just make sure it's being videoed and send it in to You've Been Framed for a nice little £250 bonus. grin

Seriously though, she will haunt your life and be even worse once children come along - stop it now and it'll be much better for everyone.

carabossse Mon 17-Jun-13 20:11:52

There are some good ideas upthread about what to say to MIL. I think you and your partner see best showing a united front and standing your ground now. Otherwise she'll soon be telling you how many children you're having and what their names are. She won't change voluntarily, shell need to be given a consistent message, and given the message firmly.

KnitFastDieWarm Mon 17-Jun-13 20:17:37

Readings! Genius!
Horry can I marry you instead?:-p
Suggesting that to dp as soon as he gets home - she still gets a special role, we get a bit more control over proceedings (and it will occur pre-wine/over emotionalness :-p)
This is why I love MN smile

Thankyou all so much for reassuring me I'm not a bitch...I reckon I can sell the reading idea (she used to be a teacher so she'd actually be perfect at it, too)

phantomnamechanger Mon 17-Jun-13 20:18:13

the more you give, the more people like this will take - it starts with you not wanting to appear rude and ends with them taking absolute liberties and pulling the "poor me" card when challenged on anything.
Accommodate her now and you have a life time of her getting her own way, or sulking, ahead of you.

KnitFastDieWarm Mon 17-Jun-13 20:20:50

Regarding non-wedding boundaries, I'm glad it's unanimous - DP is generally assertive but is also (understandably) not keen to upset his mum more than is necessary. He's got a lot better since I met him and their relationship is improving - it's just that a full weekend in the same house (plus wedding stress) drives me to the brink of sanity ;-p

KnitFastDieWarm Mon 17-Jun-13 20:22:49

That's it phantom - I felt like the actual issue (wanting to e involved in te wedding) was fine, but that I need to make a stand/regain control over the way it was broached, iyswim? If I can get her to do a reading instead, that would send a signal that we do want her to be involved (and we do!) but on our own terms

phantomnamechanger Mon 17-Jun-13 20:31:04

A reading is a good idea, make sure she knows it's one you pick and she does not have carte blanche or you'll get some maudlin stuff about her baby boy growing up and leaving her but how he'll always be her baby really... (sob)

ZenNudist Mon 17-Jun-13 20:35:55

If you & your dh don't mind then let her. Vet content first. 10mins maximum & make sure fob speech is same length. No harm done make sure all the speeches come in at 45 mins to an hour max. Avoid boring the guests. Better if she could manage an amusing anecdote about the groom's childhood. I'd rather listen to that than some dull saying how great groom and /or bride is & remembering dead relatives/ absent family. Usually that's wrapped up by fob.

I love the speeches at a wedding. It can be uncomfortable when they drag on & aren't too entertaining. I've sat through a few too many double best men speeches (wtf!). Many a sentimental fob speech, usually loads of bm who are keen to go on about what lairy times they've had drinking in the past, 'I'm mad me' type speeches. The groom's is always fairly standard, usually sweet. I've only ever heard one groom do a really funny good speech. I think add a mog speech to the mix could liven things up.

Kundry Mon 17-Jun-13 22:06:57

45 minutes of speeches is boring the guests!

I found I had a queue of people telling me they were making speeches at my wedding. I said no as only me, my DH and bestman were making speeches and there were going to be very short. Everyone got over it although claimed initially to be mortally offended.

Honestly weddings are designed to help you offend as many people as possible in the shortest time. You will have to get some boundaries going ASAP unless you want to walk up the aisle wearing a doormat.

There are lots of good excuses such as venue insists on tight timing, how long the photographer will be there, you are only having minimal speeches, you'd rather she did a reading etc etc. But make sure she doesn't do a speech!

ApocalypseThen Mon 17-Jun-13 22:21:44

I quite like the idea of the MOG or MOB making a speech. I think the idea that women don't speak at weddings to be hideous.


I have my moments.

Nanny0gg Mon 17-Jun-13 22:41:43

I wish all speeches were banned...

themaltesecat Tue 18-Jun-13 02:13:39

I'm with NannyOgg.

KentishWine Tue 18-Jun-13 07:00:55

I like the idea of the groom's mum doing a speech. At our wedding, all four parents and my sister did a quick 3min speech/welcome. I was very clear that I did not want the traditional scanario of three men (DH, best man and DF) taking control.

Of course if she's crazy you have a responsibility to limit her interaction with the other guests!

EugenesAxe Tue 18-Jun-13 07:21:53

Don't know what readings you are planning, but I'm fairly sure one of mine included the lines 'therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.'

Viz a viz managing her; it will have to come from your DH. My MIL is the same. She laments all growing up markers in her GCs. It's hard as she has a heart of gold, but our parenting styles do differ so there're sometimes clashes.

EyesCrossedLegsAkimbo Tue 18-Jun-13 10:33:00

Ask her to do the reading and she will agree, but want to do a speech too.

Bet you wink


KnitFastDieWarm Tue 18-Jun-13 12:17:08

Eyescrossed, that's what I'm afraid of!;-p
My dad suggested giving her the first speech slot as she is a) less likely to have been hitting the champagne too hard by then (disclaimer, my mum is a big drinker too, I'm not judging, but the difference is my mum won't be tipsily speaking at the wedding!) and b) anything odd/inappropriate can be cancelled out by the subsequent speeches....

She is a dear kind well meaning woman but she require a bit of 'handling'

(Think a cross between miss bates in Emma and mrs bennett in pride and prejudice, for you literature types ;-p)

YouTheCat Tue 18-Jun-13 12:20:22

Oh bloody hell! The Mrs Bennett bit is certainly a nightmare.

A great talker on little matters!

I think a reading is the way to go.

mirai Tue 18-Jun-13 12:25:57

What do people think about father of the groom making a speech? And the wedding party not finding out until the very moment he stood up to do it?

EyesCrossedLegsAkimbo Tue 18-Jun-13 12:32:28

Mrs. Bennett?

<Ups odds on bet>

EyesCrossedLegsAkimbo Tue 18-Jun-13 12:34:05

shock <<that's what mirai

MiaowTheCat Tue 18-Jun-13 13:02:43

My mother took it upon herself to decide to make an unannounced speech at my wedding. I'd be lying if I said it was unexpected - she's got to make everything about her - managed to work in several incredibly subtle digs at me while appearing to be mother of the year to everyone else (another of her party tricks).

I could have cheerfully killed her for the combination of that, plus wearing a ridiculous hat that makes her look like she's got a cabbage stuck to her head on all the photos.

DeepRedBetty Tue 18-Jun-13 13:11:17

A cross between Miss Bates and Mrs Bennet? <blood runs cold thinking about it>

mirai Tue 18-Jun-13 14:09:32

It happened! It was a bit of a shock but was actually a very nice speech. I just wish he'd asked me beforehand so I didn't make such of a fool of myself asking out loud what was going on when he stood up, and me saying he must just be winding me up "as everyone knows the groom's dad doesn't make a speech!!?". Oops. blush

gail734 Tue 18-Jun-13 14:53:05

OP, a lot of your post is painfully familiar to me. You think you're not marrying your MIL? <hollow laugh> Oh, but you are. You're marrying the whole family. You just want everyone to be happy? It's your wedding. Nobody tells the bride what will be happening at her wedding. My MIL nagged me relentlessly about my wedding, eventually phoning me daily until my head was spinning. Withdraw. Give an inch and she'll take a mile - and she'll be bossing you about years later.

My SIL did an impromptu speech at my wedding. Difference was it was a teary welcome rather than an interfering demand. If she likes to boss people around, set boundaries quickly.

She reminds me of my FIL. When MIL died he gave SIL and DH some things to do (with the funeral etc.) and told me, "oh, I like to give the children a bit of responsibility, you know." They are both 40+ with DC. He seems not to know this. However, he has NPD so it's not really his fault.

eurozammo Tue 18-Jun-13 15:30:26

We took the view that unless you were paying for it, you didn't get speaking rights. So we had no speeches, just a couple of brief thank yous each from me and the groom.

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