To not promise my MIL set "visiting rights" to my baby?

(249 Posts)
Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 01:51:35

I had my first baby ten months ago and I've just gone back to work two days a week for now. I'm really lucky that my mum is happy to look after my ds and I'm comfortable with that arrangement both because I'm close to my mum and have a good relationship with her where we can talk things over re childcare issues and she is non-pushy about things, and also because DS is very happy with her.

My MIL lives two hours away and I don't know her very well partly because I'd only been with DP for a year when I unexpectedly fell pregnant. I find her quite difficult to relax around for various reasons but I do want her to feel involved as well. Just to give an idea of how the background, since ds was born we've visited them twice including over his first Christmas, been for a weeks' holiday to Scotland at the end of June. She/they have visited us on a number of other occasions too and overall we've probably seen them once a month or maybe a bit less. The reason I'm being so specific about that is that she is currently demanding that she can visit every four weeks. Obviously with the distance that means her staying in our flat and being there for several days at a time. We've arranged for her to come three weeks running in August (something she is happy to do) and look after my ds while I'm working.

I'm fine with her coming and staying, the problem is that I'm finding her general approach unacceptably pushy. She said to my DP that she wants to make sure she sees her grandson once a month so I called her to talk about it, and said we were looking forward to seeing her but could we keep the arrangement flexible, and make plans when we see her next. She just kept saying that she wanted to be sure to visit every four weeks and do the childcare and she felt that was a "reasonable expectation", so I felt backed into a corner. Eventually said that I didn't want to be pushed into committing to that and I "hoped that didn't sound horrible". She said she thought that was horrible, and we then had a stilted conversation about the weather and hung up.

I'm honestly not trying to stop her from seeing my ds but this has really put my back up, on top of the fact that she invites herself to stay and generally doesn't give me much choice about things (at least not without being rude myself). Recently I had plans with my family and she rang up on the tuesday of that week saying she wanted to come that weekend and it was just a really awkward position to be put in. And now of course I'm the bad guy for not agreeing to the once a month thing but I just don't want to set up that expectation as I feel we should be allowed to live our own lives and she should wait for an invitation. In practise we will see her more than once a month at times but other times it will be less and I don't see why I should be made to feel guilty about it.

Or am I being unreasonable? Should I just say yes?

WinkyWinkola Sun 14-Jul-13 02:03:52

Blimey. She's being very pushy. hmmAnd unreasonable. Nobody should have to commit to that level of arrangement.

I would just say that doesn't work for me and we can arrange mutually convenient visits as and when.

Be firm and don't let her bully you. I would be very uncomfortable with someone behaving like this because I would feel pushed into something. Quite unreasonable of your mil.

Expect her to rage a d cry about it but stand your ground.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 14-Jul-13 02:10:41

Gosh, how bizarre! It's nice that she wants to be involved, but this is extreme! She needs to remember that this is your baby, you're in charge and you'll do things your way. And you need to remember not to feel guilty about making your own choices - or saying no to her crazy requests.

Let her scream and shout about things - it certainly won't result in more time with your baby, will it?

AgentZigzag Sun 14-Jul-13 02:12:00

You're wrong that you don't have any choice, of course you do, you can say no.

She's trying to have more control than she should have, you don't have to let her.

Feeling the bad guy or guilty is in your head, just because she says jump doesn't mean you're being unreasonable if you don't. Feeling guilty should be for when you've hurt someone on purpose, all you're doing by saying no is not pandering to her rude abruptness in barking orders at you.

Even if she's giving you free childcare, that doesn't give her any authority over calling the shots on what you do with your time/who you have in your house.

Are they orders you have to obey?


Is it reasonable to say you have a right to say if you don't want to follow them?

Of course.

If she decides to kick off, that's her business, leave her with it and don't engage.

Treat her as you would a tantruming toddler and don't give her any attention for being a rude, obnoxious manipulator (borderline cute in a toddler, shameful in an adult).

ihearsounds Sun 14-Jul-13 02:13:15

What does your dp think? This isn't just about you. Maybe he wants his mum to have regular contact, considering your mum will be seeing lo twice a week. Maybe he, and even his mum is thinking that both grandparents should have regular set contact.

AgentZigzag Sun 14-Jul-13 02:13:34

You're right Winky, she's a bully.

MidniteScribbler Sun 14-Jul-13 02:26:37

I wonder if it's fear of being pushed out? You're obviously very close and involved with your side of the family and maybe she is feeling ad that she doesn't have the same relationship. Do you ever go and visit her, just for say lunch or an afternoon? Two hours isn't a long trip, it's doable in the day. If she sees you more often, just on a casual basi, she may not be so desperate to stay overnight. . Would overnight once a month really be so bad to allow your child to have a relationship with his grandmother?

Somethingyesterday Sun 14-Jul-13 02:27:37

I cannot say whether YABU or not but it does seem that you are not finding it easy to see things from your DP's mother's point of view.

Remember that SHE is a mother too. You don't say if she has other grandchildren or not - but from the moment she became mother to your DP she has been waiting for this grandchild. And she almost certainly loves your son as much as your own mother does.

You have the whole of your life in front of you So does she, but it's probably a considerably shorter amount of time. She doesn't live round the corner, but she's close enough to see you quite often and how can she be certain that you and DP and her DGS might not move to the other side of the world in a year?

Certainly she seems to have put her wishes rather clumsily - perhaps she also feels ill at ease with a fairly new DIL. I suspect that if she had more confidence in your valuing her input she might not feel she had to be so specific....

You say that you're happy for her to stay for a longer period - in order to be of use to you. So you obviously don't feel there is anything inherently harmful in her contact with your DS? It would be a shame if at this early stage the seeds of estrangement were sown for no good reason. You may have a good reason - but it isn't apparent in your OP.

RealAleandOpenFires Sun 14-Jul-13 02:31:47

The baby IS yours & DPs not your mil.

AgentZigzag Sun 14-Jul-13 02:33:15

But she doesn't have any parental rights to the OPs DC though Somethingyesterday.

She's got so used to being 'The Mother' that she expects to be able to call the shots.

Best to make it clear early on that that's not the case.

I wouldn't value anyone's opinion if it was given to me as fact and I was expected to obey.

HappyAsASandboy Sun 14-Jul-13 02:46:17

That's really tough. On the one hand it is lovely that she wants to be involved and see your baby regularly, but on the other she really is pushy to expect you to commit to dates (I.e. potentially miss out on other things/decide you want a weekend at home as a family).

One thing that struck me from your post was that two hours journey "obviously" means she must stay for several nights when she comes. That seems odd. My PIL are just about 2.5 hours away and we very rarely stay overnight, whether the visit is them coming here or is going there. It's a 'get up and go' morning so you're there by 10am ish, and a late ish return home at 8pm/9pm ish, but that allows a whole day, much and dinner etc without impinging on the other day of the weekend and nobody staying over.

I would agree that it would be lovely to see more of your MIL, but that its really not possible to set a regular date pattern in stone. Perhaps consider visiting her (for day trips or staying) more often than you normally would for a while so that she doesn't come to you and get in a pattern?

As for insisting on doing the childcare once a month, I think that's up to you. But you might have to accept that she won't do emergency cover if you've turned down her offer of regular care. Whichever option you'd prefer, you need to either accept the offer of the care (and the resulting monthly midweek(?) visit, or graciously thank her and turn her offer down.

Somethingyesterday Sun 14-Jul-13 02:56:52

There's a good deal of MIL bashing on Mnet - and I'm sure at least half of it is thoroughly justified. We've all had experience of being shockingly ill treated by a DP's mother.

But in this instance it is rather hard to see exactly what 'wrong' has been done. The OP did not say that her MIL was screaming and shouting, or barking demands, or any of the things that subsequent posters have ascribed to her. She did say that, in practice, they might well see her more often than every four weeks.....

Here is someone who loves the OP's DS and is happy and willing to make an effort to keep up regular contact and in the OP's own words "do the childcare." She wants to HELP. She wants to cuddle her DGS. She wants him to grow up knowing her as a close member of his family, rather than a distant, once a year visitor. And for that she's being called a "bully" who "wants to call the shots".

Perhaps she's perfectly horrible. But the OP hasn't said so.

Justfornowitwilldo Sun 14-Jul-13 03:09:46

No. She's said that she sees her more than once a month most of the time anyway (sometimes more, sometimes less, but it averages out at at least that). She's said that her MIL lives 2 hours away and so stays at their flat for several days on these visits. She's said that she doesn't want to be tied to a set schedule or, as has happened recently, have her MIL announce that she's visiting ie coming to stay uninvited when the OP already had plans.

Justfornowitwilldo Sun 14-Jul-13 03:11:16

'she invites herself to stay and generally doesn't give me much choice about things (at least not without being rude myself). Recently I had plans with my family and she rang up on the tuesday of that week saying she wanted to come that weekend and it was just a really awkward position to be put in'

JessMcL Sun 14-Jul-13 03:14:49

Somethingyesterday- it isn't unreasonable for a grandparent to frequently see her grandchild- but because of the distance it would mean her staying several days so what seems like a short trip actually isn't. I know I wouldn't be happy with that every month..

Justfornowitwilldo Sun 14-Jul-13 03:24:24

The thing is, the OP is actually ok with that!!! She's said she is fine with her MIL staying around once a month for several days at a time. What she's not fine with is having those dates decided by her MIL with no notice or flexibility.

Somethingyesterday Sun 14-Jul-13 03:42:01

It's late....

The OP has asked for opinions - it would be helpful to know exactly how her DP feels about the situation. Does he find the OP's DM "unacceptably pushy"? Does he want to continue a happy relationship with his side of the family? If the OP should find herself, at any stage in the future, incapacitated by work, distance, illness etc - isn't it likely that her DP would turn first to his own DM for help? Unless she is indeed utterly hateful.

I would be surprised if the MIL had intended her visits to be inflexibly timetabled. Once a month might be an aim rather than a command. And I am sure she is quite capable of finding a hotel if the OP does not feel able to have her to stay.

helebear Sun 14-Jul-13 03:43:02

OP, i think what you're saying is that you don't want to be to be held ransom to agreeing certain set monthly dates so if you are happy for her to see your Ds then I'd take control of the situation and once you've both had time to cool off from your recent conversation call her and suggest a date for you to visit or her to visit, preferably for the day or just overnight and maintain a pattern of doing this so that you've always got a mutually convenient date in the diary a couple of weeks agead. Hopefully she'd then have a date to look forwards to and feel assured that she's involved and seeing her gc regularly and won't feel the need to swoop in and announce that she's visiting when you already have plans. You might only need to keep that up for a few months to sort of set the tone and then you might be able to be a bit more vague once a pattern of regular visits develops and she sees that she does see him monthly or more.

McGeeDiNozzo Sun 14-Jul-13 03:55:23

Hmmm. Let me tell you a story.

I live 2,000 miles away from MIL. I find her quite difficult to relax around for various reasons but I do want her to feel involved as well. Originally we were living with ILs, but when DD was six weeks old we had to up and leave and move to where we currently are, for work reasons.

MIL suggested that she rent a flat near us so she could come up for months at a time. Given that where she's from, the weather is pleasantly hot all the time, even in winter mostly, and where we live it's beyond freezing cold in winter and crazily hot and humid in summer, and she has medical issues with body temperature regulation about which she loudly complains all the time...

...and is the sort of person who wants to spend all day, every day with you, and if you say you want to be by yourself, will say 'You don't love me and you never have!'...

...we told her no, thanks. We had the ILs over for a weekend in May and DP is going over (with the baby) to visit MIL (as FIL will be on holiday) for two weeks at the end of August. (I may join DP for part of it but am not able to do the full fortnight). This amount of contact is fine.

Give the woman short shrift!

Mutley77 Sun 14-Jul-13 04:56:43

You need to nip this in the bud now. My mil is like this (with additional issues) and I have just told Dh what I can and can't cope with. I'm leave the communication to him as she rides roughshod over me and doesn't give me a chance to say no. Dh gets the tears and guilt but, to be honest, that's his issue as her son not mine.

Compromises could include her staying elsewhere eg a hotel and Dh taking dc to visit on his own, although personally I am not overly keen on being separated from my kids for more than a day and a night so the distance in our case doesn't make the latter option particularly feasible.

To make sure she doesn't put me on the spot I am sadly at the point now of ignoring her calls.

wafflingworrier Sun 14-Jul-13 07:09:56

it's not an easy decision for you, but I hope you manage to work things out. please remember that she loves your baby, however hard things are/get. also, be kind to yourself. don't take on more than you should just because you feel pressured. I hope going back to work goes well

WinkyWinkola Sun 14-Jul-13 07:17:43

Really? When women have a baby do they start thinking about and longing for grandchildren? Why do I seriously doubt that.

It sounds like lots of people are used to getting their own way (controlling) and start to try and dictate to others how things are going to be.

Op, it's wrong to feel obliged to change plans to accommodate her visiting whims and to feel you have to commit to lengthy visiting schedules. It's tosh.

Saying no is fine. You just have to say no sometimes a d that includes to your dcs too. Think of saying no to your mil as practise for your dcs! grin

Pickle131 Sun 14-Jul-13 07:18:08

In a similar situation I got my husband to speak to his dad and say they needed to wait to be invited. Hid parents, his call to make. To be fair, they have done so ever since. We try to make sure whenever we see them that we're quick to get the next date in the diary so they aren't left wondering when they'll see their son and grandson next.

FrauMoose Sun 14-Jul-13 07:18:35

I think the wish to visit babies often is that small babies change very fast. Also if the babies frequent contact with a grandparent they are likely to form a trusting relationship with that grandparent - rather than wailing when some strange person picks them up! Most grandparents to be are really excited and do want to think about how often they are going to see their new grandchild. (Especially if they don't live in the neighbourhood.)

What often seems to complicate the issue is when a grandparent is also going to be (at least some of the time) a provider of childcare. Essentially they are going a massive favour by providing a service that would otherwise be quite costly. I think if a parent is going to accept this offered help, one of the things that comes with it is that they then 'owe' that person more consideration. If they really don't want to give that person additional consideration, maybe they need to look at alternative sources of childcare provision - and accept that they will have to make economies as a result.

Cravingdairy Sun 14-Jul-13 07:25:01

I personally would expect my husband to have any difficult conversations with my MIL, and vice versa with my family.

nicelyneurotic Sun 14-Jul-13 07:29:42

Say she can visit roughly every 4 weeks as you want to be flexible but she can't stay over - what an intrusion! I hate people staying over as it's a lot of stress and extra cleaning/washing/cooking.

It needs to be flexible as what if you have other plans - family birthdays, weddings, trips of your own to make. What if you are ill and don't fancy a visitor? What if you want some alone time with your OH?

She sounds like an absolute nightmare to be honest. Stick to your guns or you'll be stuck in this set up for years. When I went to pre-marriage classes they advised us to never get stuck in these kind of arrangements with parents (like going for Christmas every year and then not being able to get out of it) as they cause massive resentment down the line.

ChunkyPickle Sun 14-Jul-13 07:30:33

What WinkyWinkola said.

With either my mother or my MIL if I already had something booked for a weekend, or we just wanted a quiet one I would feel no embarrassment or awkwardness turning down a visit - and either of them would do the same in return, and everyone would be fine about it because we all have our own lives.

You need to get the confidence to just say no, that you have other plans and your DP needs to talk to her to make sure that she understands this is nothing against her, just that you actually have other plans.

On the other hand, I too don't quite understand why a 2 hour journey necessitates a stay of a few days (if that's part of the problem, perhaps it's not) - we don't even bother to overnight when visiting my parents who are 2 hours away - just go down early and come back lateish just like HappyAsASandboy. Even if you're using public transport surely the most you'd need is an overnighter so you can hit convenient buses/coaches/trains?

ChasedByBees Sun 14-Jul-13 07:31:04

I think she's been unreasonable about the way she's gone about this but I do think that it would be nice to facilitate frequent contact.

I also don't think you need to have her to stay for the whole weekend. My in-laws are a 2.5 hr drive away and I often go down for the day. Like someone else said, set off at 8am, have the whole day of ether and head home at DC's bed time and they sleep all the way home.

I think little and often helps to forge a relationship.

ChasedByBees Sun 14-Jul-13 07:31:34

of ether = there. Thanks iPhone.

Inertia Sun 14-Jul-13 08:08:22

You don't have to give in to demands - everyone is on the same side, you all want a good family relationship to grow, but MIL doesn't get to override plans you have already made.

One way forward could be a sort of rolling system where you decide each visit when the next will be, rather than a rigid routine. You could also consider meeting in the middle for days out or visiting her ao you have control over the length of the visit.

daftdame Sun 14-Jul-13 08:16:24

If she pushes you again I would say that generally you will see her if you are free, you enjoy seeing her yada yada, however you won't plan family holidays round this expectation (of hers) and as your child gets older you want to be able to be sociable with other parents with children of similar ages so your child can build friendships.

WinkyWinkola Sun 14-Jul-13 08:23:26

And I wouldn't use her for childcare. She sounds like she might hold that against you even though her doing you this favour brings her great happiness.

lurcherlover Sun 14-Jul-13 08:26:14

She's phrased it very awkwardly, but try and see her pov. She knows you need childcare, and you have a regular arrangement with your mum, so she doesn't see why you can't have a regular arrangement with her too. She shouldn't "demand" it, but that's probably more insecurity/being uncomfortable raising the topic than anything else.

I feel sorry for mils - they want to be just as involved with their grandchildren as women's own mums, but often get pushed out. Op, you have a DS and will probably be a mil one day - if you knew your dil was happy to commit to a childcare setup with her own mum but not with you, that would hurt, no?

Should add my own mil can be extremely overbearing, and my reaction with dc1 was to push her away. It caused a lot of stress and tension. With dc2 I'm being much more welcoming and making more effort to see her. It's actually more pleasant, and the more she sees of my parenting the more she seems to accept that I am actually a good mother to her grandchildren!

diddl Sun 14-Jul-13 08:26:16

I don't think that once a month is unreasonable.

If I'm ever a GM, I'm sure I'll want to move in indefinitelyblush

However, if she needs to stay with you, then it's obviously your call as to whether it's convenient.

diddl Sun 14-Jul-13 08:30:16

I understand that she would like to do childcare, but again, if it involves overnight with you, then it doesn't really work that easily, does it?

GC aren't possessions to be passed around equally between adults so that one doesn't feel left out.

Bonsoir Sun 14-Jul-13 08:31:49

She is being fantastically pushy and entitled. She has no rights at all to your family and must learn to wait for an invitation.

Bonsoir Sun 14-Jul-13 08:35:35

It is important to remember that the only adults with rights towards a baby or child are parents.

thegreylady Sun 14-Jul-13 08:42:04

Its a bit sad really. She knows she wants to see your ds at least every 4 weeks and she lives a bit far away for a 'pop-in'. She would rather have a set schedule so she (and you) know when she is coming and can work around that. As the mother of a son she is worried because she knows that your mum will inevitably have more and closer contact with the baby so she just wants some reassurance of her welcome. I'd think again and suggest something like the first weekend of every month unless one of you has something special to do.
I have never forgotten when dd's baby was born her mil said to me,"Of course I know you will always be number one Granny." It sounded so sad. I replied,"No we'll be first equal I hope". It turns out that I do regular childcare and she does lots of day trips and weekends at her seaside caravan. Everyone is happy. Just try to give a little-you have hurt her, try to make things right.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 14-Jul-13 08:47:45

I don't think it's reasonable to expect someone to make a set weekend each month, indefinitely for them.

It's unrealistic and unfair, even if the sentiment is good. (Which, obviously it is and I do get where she is coming from.)

Thinking OP is horrible for not setting a firm, unbreakable, indefinite timetable was VU of her.

formicadinosaur Sun 14-Jul-13 08:49:35

Obviously her visits need to fit round your diary. Also if you become locked into a specific routine it will be an issue if you have other commitments and can't meet her monthly demands.

I agree she needs to stay one or two nights with a two hour drive.

My MIL once failed to visit my new born for 8 months because I was busy on three lots of dates she wanted to stay. Her loss.

pigletmania Sun 14-Jul-13 08:54:25

Yanbu at all, it's understandable she wants to be involved and you are giving her plenty of opportunities to do so. You have a life too, it does not revolve around her, your dh really needs to talk to his mother, it's not on!

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 08:56:07

I do understand that she wants to be involved and to build a relationship with my ds and I do very much appreciate the offer of helping with childcare. I'm supportive of all of that and I have specifically said those things to her but I've asked for flexibility about it. It's uncomfortable to be put in the position of having to commit to a rigid arrangement when I feel that I've been good about visits etc and yet she is trying to dictate to me. And it's upsetting that she has called what I said "horrible".

I think with her other grandchildren she was used to being 'granny number one' but the thing is that although I don't want to push her out I also don't want to be in each others' pockets and just prefer to let things develop in a natural way. She is coming to stay for several days at a time for three weeks in a row in August and I asked that we arrange the next time when we see her and take it as it comes and that was not acceptable - why not? Why should I be pushed into promising more?

The fact is that I am closer to my mum both geographically and emotionally and my mum is ten years younger and I'm just happy with the arrangement, do grandparents have some god-given right to demand to provide childcare? And yes it is a big favour but it just feels like it comes with strings attached as she wants to control everything but this is my baby, my new family, my home etc. And she is part of our lives but she can't call the shots in that way.

She moved to be near her other grandchildren (her daughter's children) and is now talking about doing the same with us. Unfortunately her daughter and family moved to New Zealand and she is very angry about that even five years later. I understand that must have hurt a lot but to say that she will "never forgive" her daughter for doing so, it just seems she hasn't dealt with it and her attitude towards me is off kilter and I am feeling really edgy about taking on those kinds of issues. If I say once a month then that is going to be set in stone and it just feels invasive and demanding.

fairylightsinthespring Sun 14-Jul-13 08:56:36

I really think that your DH should be having these conversations with his mother actually. DH's parents (divorced, so two "sets") live 4 hrs away. We visit them about 4 times a year for a week to ten days (we teach so have the time). MIL then comes to us for 3-4 days in between those visits. I insist that DH sorts this out and if MIL does ring me I tend to deflect her to him, particularly as we have to co-ordinate with the other set of GPs. I think the only real issue for you OP is the flexibility element. Your DH should ring her, specifically to talk about this and just say very clearly, that thus far, she has seen the GC on average of once a month and that will continue, but you simply can't be nailed down to a fixed date as it is too restrictive. You can plan them 2-3 months ahead if necessary, but it won't always be the first weekend on the month or whatever. You say that she put you in a difficult position when she asked to come on a particular weekend but why is it difficult to say, oh so sorry MIL but we already have plans for this weekend. How about next? She is not being unreasonable to want to see her GC 12 times a year and she probably is worried about being on the periphery.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:01:03

My big issue is flexibility really and not being dictated to. The more I think about it the more upset I am that she thinks I am horrible for saying so and that I'm somehow under suspicion (trying to keep her at arms length etc) when that is not what is happening and I have given her assurances about that. She is the kind of person who is used to being in charge and things will get set in stone when in reality life is a bit more fluid than that and I don't want to feel I am breaking some sacred promise if that is the case. Sometimes it will be less, sometimes more. i know she would like more but it doesn't give her the right to be pushy.

MrsMook Sun 14-Jul-13 09:01:32

Decline the schedule. It would give her more control and chance for guilting. If you agree that every xth weekend of the month is for a visit, how will she react when you have a holiday/ wedding/insert other social opportunity of choice that falls on that weekend. It could be the start of other demands that you are uncomfortable with.

I don't understand why 2hrs means a weekend or longer period of time for a visit. I have family members that far away, and a day trip is fine. My mother day-trips and that's 200miles/ 4hrs min.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:03:07

My DP doesn't want to get involved really and I think he thinks I'm being mean for not saying yes definitely every four weeks.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:05:32

I'd feel mean asking a seventy-odd year old woman to drive both ways and look after a ten month old in the space of two days. Anyway i dont mind her staying, it's not as relaxing as having the flat to ourselves but she is family, that's ok. Again it's just the controlling thing that's totally put my back up and is making me want to keep more of a distance tbh.

KatieLily12 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:08:56

No you are not at all

I have a similar situation where my mum is doing a little childcare now and MIL wants in but she's not very good and it stresses both me and DD out. I still want their relationship to grow though.

I know FIL was v pushy initially but we remained firm but fair and eventually he realised pushing us just made us back off. We were a united front though- how are you and DP?

I'm trying the firm but fair with MIL and I wish you luck!

stick to your guns.

MrsMook Sun 14-Jul-13 09:14:16

So she's deflecting her issues with her DD and GC onto you. Very caring.

Point out that she will see DC more often under your system as if another commitment occurs, you could see her after 5, 6, 7 wks. Under her's she'll have to skip a month so it ould be 8/9 wks.

We arrange BiL when we see eachother. Because of holidays and commitments on both sides, it will be Sept first. There's no broken arrangement or guilt like that.

noblegiraffe Sun 14-Jul-13 09:14:29

Why not, instead of having a rigid schedule, agree that at each visit you'll book in the next visit, for roughly four weeks time? By then you'll have a good idea of important social engagements and can coordinate diaries.

The idea that you might cancel unexpectedly because you fancy a weekend at home with the family is unacceptable to me, btw, you can always book those in on your calendar too.

tittytittyhanghang Sun 14-Jul-13 09:16:44

I think im on the fence with this one.

The fact is that I am closer to my mum both geographically and emotionally and my mum is ten years younger and I'm just happy with the arrangement

This is what makes me think YABU. Obviously you are closer to your mum, shes your mum. But im assuming your DP is not as close to your mum as his own mum because well its not his mum.

Am i right in thinking that you are happy to agree to a regular weekly schedule with your mum but you're not happy to agree a regular monthly schedule with your DP's mum? Seems unfair.

AnotherStitchInTime Sun 14-Jul-13 09:19:17

I think the frequency is fine, and would be good for their relationship, but demanding set times is not. Maybe you could organise it a month ahead as a compromise, that way you get to be more flexible about dates and times.

My mum travels 3.5 hours to visit our children and mostly returns the same day. We then stay with her for longer periods of time every few months. 2 hours is not that far, she does not need to stay every time.

ipswichwitch Sun 14-Jul-13 09:20:07

Your DP is involved since its his child, partner and mother. I don't think you're being at all unreasonable, and frankly I would despise the thought of having a regular house guest every 4 weeks for days at a time. I am the sort of person who hates having people to stay (I get very stressed about lack of personal space) and would be dreading it every time. It's a hell of a commitment to make, and as someone pointed out, how will she behave if you want to change the dates due to something else cropping up?

I don't see why it can't just be a day trip also. Or even meet somewhere in the middle, so an hours travel each. Point out to her that maybe you could see each other more frequenty if that was the case.

I would be hugely resentful of someone trying to impose such an arrangement on me, and I don't see why she finds it unacceptable to arrange the next visit during the current one, unless she has control issues. If she would stop being so demanding, you probably would feel more incline to see her more often and visits would be more pleasant all round.

Zynda Sun 14-Jul-13 09:22:48

She is being a bit pushy but I agree with the others when they say that she feels like the second class grandmother. Your mother is the number one grandmother and she's trying to avoid being so far down in the pecking order. I think she must feel she needs to remind you that she's a grandmother to this baby too.

I had to put up with my xmil coming every thurssday, for years. When my x was at work. Once a month is not that bad surely? I think you should do more for her.

EvieanneVolvic Sun 14-Jul-13 09:24:12

Does anyone else spot the irony with the OP (who actually sounds quite reasonable to me) being so absolutely rigid about being flexible??

It would be perfectly possible, it seems to me, to go along with her MiL's plans as she doesn't seem to object to them per se (I would!) and to alter them if it becomes necessary without laying down the law in advance about being flexible? grin

jeansthatfit Sun 14-Jul-13 09:24:35

"My DP doesn't want to get involved really..." - and he thinks you are being 'mean.'

THIS is your problem. He doesn't want to get involved? He IS involved. By leaving you to deal with his mother and his child, and by not supporting you. Or even talking to you as a partner and coming up with a shared solution if he thinks you are being unfair.

Sorry, big warning. Even if you on your own manage to sort out this particular issue - it will just be the start of the story. not the end. Other conflicts will arise (esp given the sound of your mil) - and without your partner willing to take responsibility and engage, you are screwed.

Sorry to be so blunt but marriages end because of stuff like this.

Flojobunny Sun 14-Jul-13 09:25:28

So she rings on a Tuesday and comes to stay the wkend and you aren't happy because its short notice. So she suggested planning a fixed time every 4 weeks and you aren't happy with that either. I'm guessing you don't like your MIL. I don't like my exH but he has DS every Saturday, regardless of my plans because its in DS best interest to see his dad.
Its only once a month. Surely you can prioritise that?

JackNoneReacher Sun 14-Jul-13 09:26:06

She seems very focussed on her rights and needs.

On what planet do you invite yourself to stay every 4 weeks then call someone horrible for declining?

Presumably she thinks that you should be so grateful for the childcare that she has the right to do this? In which case I'd be even more careful if her help comes with strings attached.

Her daughter and family moved to the other side of the world. Perhaps that should be an alarm bell for you.

Your dp needs to be involved in the whole thing and have these conversations and support you.

yummymumtobe Sun 14-Jul-13 09:27:35

I don't think yabu. I hate having MIL to stay. I think it's the staying that is the issue. My mum looks after dd once a week when I'm at work but she arrives in the morning and leaves 20 mins after I get home, after making me a cup of tea and usually having done some washing, got a couple of bits from the shop etc. ie she comes to look after dd as she loves hanging out with her and wants to help me (my own granny used to mind me after school and stuff too). It's the houseguest element that is stressful as it impacts on everything. If she wants to stay, perhaps make it clear that you won't keep those weekends free around her. She can't expect you to miss days out, play dates etc as she is staying. If she wants to be such a regular fixture you need to make those weekends normal and not stop everything else because she is there. Ie, we're going to John Lewis today, we need to do the garden today etc!

JackNoneReacher Sun 14-Jul-13 09:29:41

zynda why did you have to put up with your MIL every week and what does this have to do with the OP?

flojo of course your ex is your childs Father which is a totally different situation and he does in fact have a right to see his son as well as it being for the benefit of your son.

krasnayaploshad Sun 14-Jul-13 09:30:23

Your DP has put you in a difficult position though as he is not presenting a united front.
tittytittyhanghang - I see your point on the OP treating the arrangements with DM & DMIL differently, however I think they're different situations.
The DM is looking after the GC 2 days while the OP is at work, so that needs to be a regular arrangement.
The DMIL on the other hand is a houseguest for a few days over a weekend which is more effort on the OPs part & has the potential to clash with the OPs other plans - weddings, birthdays etc. I don't think a regular arrangement can be set with the DMIL unless DMIL is happy for the OP to cancel a visit if there's a clash.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:30:46

Er, no. That's totally turning my words against me! shock

On that particular weekend I had plans to see several family members who I don't see very often, including my sister. Tuesday is short notice for inviting yourself to come and visit someone that friday, if we hadn't had plans though I actually wouldnt have minded except for feeling a little bit taken aback. So because I don't want to agree to these things on HER terms I am wrong somehow? BOTH of these things are inconsiderate just in slightly different ways, it's not a case of 'she just can't win'.

As things currently stand I'm not the biggest fan of her no, but at the same time I think she is basically a good person and I want to be fair, and hopefully in time build a really nice relationship.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:31:15

Sorry, that last message was to flojobunny

MiaowTheCat Sun 14-Jul-13 09:31:29

My parents sort out when they're next coming down toward the end of the previous visit - it's generally every 2 - 2 1/2 months. I'd go nuts if my own mother was coming to stay on a strict 4 weekly timescale and stopping here (for those claiming that it's always maternal grandmothers getting favoured).

You might find that the demands back off a bit once the baby's actually born - my MIL was demanding daily skype sessions with the baby - didn't happen (thank fuck for my sanity) and all sorts of other stuff... baby arrived, and she decided my kids were less interesting than the other grandkids anyway and pays them bog-all attention now.

Your fella needs to either man up and get the situation sorted out - or he needs to back off and leave you to deal with it how you see fit (which will probably involve the "I ain't having a house guest for days every 4 weeks on the dot" and him then whining you're being unfair or similar) - and if that isn't in the way he wants - then he needs to sort it himself or shut up!

I can't be doing with this jostling for positions of grandmother supremacy - my mother tried that crap "How often has MIL been down.... has she seen the baby more than me... has she had more cuddles than me" and got promptly told to fucking knock it on the head or she wouldn't see the kids at all because I didn't need someone else behaving like a child to manage too. It's bloody pathetic, it's unfair and it's one of the most likely ways to utterly wreck the relationship and end up not seeing the grandkids at all.

SJisontheway Sun 14-Jul-13 09:33:47

You want her to wait to be invited. I think this would be ok if you weren't using her for childcare (3 weeks in August). I think its unreasonable to rely on her but only when it suits.
From her point of view she has a new grandchild who she adores and wants to see regularly. I think this is reasonable. I don't see what's wrong with having an approximate schedule so you can both plan around it. Of course there needs to be some flexibility on both sides.
I would reccomend trying to reach a compromise. It sound like she will be a positive influence in your dcs life and it also sou ds like you will be relying on her, at least occaisionally for childcare. It would really be in everyone's interest to try and meet in in the middle.

HildaOgden Sun 14-Jul-13 09:34:28

Tell her that you will be inviting her to stay regularly,but you are not going to commit to set dates months in advance.

She will huff,she will puff...but you know what?Even if you did commit to the set-up she wants,there would be another demand made soon after.

Set your boundaries,and stick to them.And don't feel bad about someone trying to guilt trip you into bowing down to their demands,she is being a manipulative bully.

No wonder her daughter emigrated.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:35:20

SJ, she has ASKED to do childcare. And no it's not only when it suits - unless you mean "only when it suits both parties and we have arranged it between us". Having an "approximate schedule" is just going to become a millstone around my neck.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:38:42

I think there are just hugely different opinions over what frequency is too much, what is too little, how people feel about having houseguests etc. But for me personally every four weeks theoretically is ok I just don't want it carved into stone and I think it's ok for it to sometimes be a bit longer because, you know, ds is my child and this is my life and as grandmother she doesn't actually have the right to force the issue. And again, she DOES see him.

MrsOakenshield Sun 14-Jul-13 09:40:03

errrr, why does your DP not want to get involved in an awkward conversation with his own mother?

I actually think you could make this work, we are struggling fitting in all the GPs and set arrangements in the calendar would be helpful, then we would always know when so-and-so is coming. It can be flexible within that, so if you have an invite or something you (or your DP really) can sort that out on an ad-hoc basis. And think of this - you will know you and your DP can have a night out every four weeks. Right now you might not be bothered about that, but I would love to have that <wracks brains to think of last night out with DH>.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 09:41:55

And maybe that sounds selfish but I just think I have the right to feel comfortable with the arrangements that are being made and the manner i which they are made. Doesn't mean I want to hurt anyone or keep them apart but I have rather been thrown into this situation over a relatively short period of time and I would really like her to chill out. I'm quite a mild-mannered person and I like to keep everyone happy but I have this point where if I feel people are pushing and controlling me - something they probably wouldn't even try if I was more obviously forthright and confident in dealing with people - it just pisses me off a lot.

FrauMoose Sun 14-Jul-13 09:42:42

I had some difficulty with my own father after my daughter was born - quite a lot of difficulty! He wanted to visit quite often and began coming every three weeks, booking into a nearby hotel. But he wasn't good at doing anything practical to help. In the meantime my husband and I were not just getting used to the new baby, but were also very concerned that for his older two children, my stephchildren, life carried on as normal. And I was carrying on with my freelance work, which I did from home.

I did think it was quite reasonable that he wanted to see his grand-daughter and be able to have a sense of how often it would work out for him to come and see us. So we suggested he came about every four weeks. Unfortunately he took offence and said we were trying to keep him from his own grandchild. (In retrospect it has become clear to me that he had Aspergers and just couldn't see the bigger picture. He was solely focused on his wish to see his grandchild.)

I think what I'm saying is that it is quite reasonable for grandparent to want to spend time with their grandchild. It's just useful if they can take on board, the complications of the parents' situation. Sometimes things need to be spelled out a bit and hopefully after a bit of thought an arrangement can be reached.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 14-Jul-13 09:46:05

I dont think that it is fair to say that OP has hurt her MiL. Her MiL has taken offence, this is not the same as saying offence was given.

Staying for a several days every month is a huge ask. We lived abroad for a few years and had regular visits from GPs. For the sake of our sanity I completely controlled when they were invited to stay (I booked and paid for the flight tickets).

As the saying goes guests are like fish and go off after a few days. One week was our absolute limit.

Moominmamma86 how does your MiL travel to you? Would a solution be for you to invite her for, say, a week in August? Book and pay for her train tickets (assuming that is how she travels) yourself. This way you know when she will arrive and when she will leave (strangely important that last bit wink). She will have something booked.

Somehow booking visits regularly feels less regimented than having visits regularly booked.

pianodoodle Sun 14-Jul-13 09:47:13

So your DP doesn't want to get involved but he thinks you're being mean? Maybe he should deal with his own mother then!

This is what I don't get - I deal with my family and they are happy to come and visit etc... And make it about all of us not just "visiting the baby"

I don't leave my husband to do the communicating with them. It seems all too normal for DIL to be left to deal with partners family then have to take all the blame when they aren't deemed to be doing things right?!

It just sucks. If she wants to tell you you're being horrible then personally I'd stop calling her. She might be keen to see her grandchild but she doesn't care about what suits you and having a set arrangement like that clearly doesn't.

Normal adults find some agreement between them and are civilised about it. If my friend phones up and wants to go out a certain day and it doesn't suit she doesn't mither on we just agree a different date. If PIL phone for the same thing DH must give them reasons why it doesn't suit and they will still try and push for the day they want regardless. It isn't the way to make plans...

SJisontheway Sun 14-Jul-13 09:47:46

Of course she doesn't have a right. Its up to you. And of course it ahouldnt be set in stone. My advice is to try and reach a compromise with an approximate schedule with some flexibility built in. Others have advised you to tell her to take a hike. I feel, on threads like this people project from their own situation. You can choose to do whatever you want.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 14-Jul-13 10:05:37

This is something you need to reach an agreement on with your DP first and foremost. Then he needs to communicate the decision to his DM.

jeansthatfit Sun 14-Jul-13 10:33:42

OP, why can you not ask your DP to be involved here? You are writing as if you are a single parent. Apart from having to deal with a MIL.

You are not going to get consistent agreement here about what is or isn't reasonable in terms of in law contact, how often etc. It really is horses for courses - and no one really knows you or your MIL.

What you need to come up with is an arrangement that suits you and your family. How will you do this if the father of your child will not get involved?

jeansthatfit Sun 14-Jul-13 10:36:39

PS bringing 'childcare' into this this complicate things horribly, sorry. If you are allowing her to do a lot of hands on grandparenting with your child to ennable you to work, then it really does compromise you. I appreciate those few weeks in August are by mutual arrangement - but what will you do if she is so upset she cuts those weeks short? Or doesn't come at the last minute?

sameoldIggi Sun 14-Jul-13 11:09:16

My dm stays in a different (uk) country. She visits maybe 3 times a year, and we visit once or sometimes twice. She often stays in a hotel near us as knows we have very little space.
She misses changes in the dcs through not seeing them every month, but my 6 year old adores her, and has no trouble knowing exactly who she is etc. We also phone, and I email pictures and videos whenever I take them.
Your mil is being entitled and a bit silly and risks making you back off further, leaving her with less time with the child.I think you are doing enough already OP.

Mumsyblouse Sun 14-Jul-13 11:23:09

I have found with my own relatives that as people get older they hate uncertainty, my gran finds all this 'well, we'll just decide nearer the time' really stressful. I guess your MIL thinking that her inpromptu phone call to stay the following weekend wasn't appreciated, so why not make it more regular? And, you clearly don't have an issue with her staying over if she's coming for three weeks to care for the baby in the holidays.

I would just say: approximately every four weeks sounds ideal, but let's keep it a bit flexible in case that weekend isn't convenient for either of us.

Alanna1 Sun 14-Jul-13 11:27:08

I've not read all of the above. I didn't have a great relationship with my parents-in-law but now that my kids are older, and I have more than one, I value their help a lot more. They are also a bit jealous of how close I am to my family, who all live near me. I particularly now appreciate the help at 7am when its chaos, which I don't get from my family.

But; being practical. Is there room for some compromise? Ie plan c.3 months ahead? Times when you might want to work late? Your mum on holiday? Not accepting the once a month approach, making it clear dates have to be mutually convenient, sometimes eg the week's summer holiday together would mean no visiting the month before?

badguider Sun 14-Jul-13 11:30:59

I don't see that two hours away is so far that she'd have to stay overnight for a few days???? I would have thought you could have a sunday lunch together once a month - alternating who travels, or even better, find a nice pub-type sunday lunch place halfway...

And I know some people really hate planning but it does help to have things in the diary - I'd agree to the 'once a month' regularity but set the date for each one at the one before so they're only actually in the diary one month in advance.

Is it only MIL that should be flexible? Not you?

That is how this reads.
You could not be flexible about her short notice visit.
You did not want her visiting her son and grandchild because you were going to see your sister. What about him? Your DP? Does he not have anything to say? Could he not be with his mum and his child while you met your sister?

You seem horribly rigid and inflexible.

So she asks to set out a schedule in advance. You cant accept this, because you want her to be flexible around you, not the other way around. And YOU wont be "dictated to".

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sun 14-Jul-13 12:14:45

So are you saying she should ditch plans she has already made because MIL says she is coming .How rude would that be .

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sun 14-Jul-13 12:15:06

So are you saying she should ditch plans she has already made because MIL says she is coming .How rude would that be .

Not saying that, MIL was coming to see her son and baby, not sure how this meant that the two could not be combined?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sun 14-Jul-13 12:19:54

Bottom line your child your rules .great that she wants to see him but your life should not be made to fit to keep her happy .
You are a young family you don't need all this pressure .
I get what you are saying is that you don't want to be dictated too .Fair play .Don't be . Stick to your guns .
I always think that people who can't see the reality of some threads have an underlying situation that is similar and feel the need to go against logic and reasonable behaviour.

krasnayaploshad Sun 14-Jul-13 12:20:04

The OP said she was seeing relatives (including her sister) that she hasn't seen very often so I assume she didn't want to combine the 2 so that her relatives had a chance to spend time with the baby.
Afterall, the MIL does see the GC regularly.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 14-Jul-13 12:21:22

Apparently DP jut doesn't want to know because in his opinion OP is being unreasonable. hmm I find that weird cause if I was being U about his mum or other family, DH wouldn't just pick his nose and moan, he'd talk to me about it so things didn't escalate with his family. Sounds like this 'D'P is quite content to have his finger firmly entrenched whilst his DW cops it about how she reacts to his family's ideas or suggestions because he just doesn't wanna know.

Works for him perfectly, doesn't it? Moans to family about how DW is sooo U, and moans to DW about how she's stressing him out. No pressure on him, he gets to keep picking and snuggle back comfortably.

Seriously, talk to your partner OP. Pull that finger out if you have to by force! grin

But again, OP seriously this time... Don't be okay with a partner who is comfortable with letting you be the bad guy to mummy. That's the sort of thing that becomes a marital problem after a few years.

Tell him to Pull. The. Finger. Out. Even he disagrees with you, he's supposed to talk to you about it, not whine and refuse to talk to his own mum! FFS if DH were that much of a baby, I wouldn't answer and panic him, let him answer at work if he feels so entitled to make you the dart board.

Inertia Sun 14-Jul-13 12:26:32

Have to say that I think you are being perfectly reasonable OP.

If you had a strict date every month and something else came up - a friend's birthday, an event in your family - it sounds as though your Mil would refuse to be flexible about switching ; it's just easier not to get locked into that in the first place.

At least if DH refuses to get involved he isn't making clashing arrangements.

I wouldn't even entertain discussions about grandparent rights and whether you are being horrible - just stick to facts and the next date. MIL can either work with you to come up with mutually agreeable plans, or she can have a strop if she likes - just don't give her the opportunity to tell you you're horrible.

FrauMoose Sun 14-Jul-13 12:30:08

The only drawback about wanting someone to be flexible is if you have a basically-not flexible arrangement for them to do childcare at a time you need to work. Because if they then want to go flexible on you because of the other things going on in your life, you're in a bit of trouble.

3boys3dogshelp Sun 14-Jul-13 12:36:21

Sorry op but I just don't see how your mil is being unreasonable. She is obviously upset at having no relationship with her other gc so is being a bit clumsy about trying to stop history repeating itself. I can see how she felt you weren't happy about such short notice for the last visit so she is trying to come up with a solution which benefits all of you not just her. Ie offering childcare rather than demanding to come when you're off together. I use my mum for childcare a couple of days a week, she does a fab job and my kids love her, but there are often days she can't cover and mil comes to cover them. This happens much more than I ever expected when we started.
What I'm trying to say is don't agree to anything you're uncomfortable with but try not to push her away, she'll be devastated and in the long run you'll all lose out. My mil comes down for 2-3 nights and it's a 4 hour drive. Surely 1 or 2 nights would be plenty?

ipswichwitch Sun 14-Jul-13 12:36:56

If you do agree to set visiting times every month and MIL refuses to switch if you have something that crops up then what happens if DC birthday falls on a time she wouldn't be scheduled to stay? You then get in a position where she refuses to compromise for you but you have to for her which is hardly fair. Better to leave it at arranging the next visit during the current one, then you can change it to suit everyone, both MiL and you know a few weeks in advance what's happening.

BeyonceCastle Sun 14-Jul-13 12:39:49

can you not compromise on once every six weeks
my MIL tried to do a twice a month thing bribing with offering to do ironing bringing it back and forth bless her we saw when we were able as with divorced parents if we saw everyone once a month it would have been 3 weekends of family and one for us...

arranged with my mum once every two months as a commitment, any more would have been a bonus, any less a bit unreasonable as 6x a year ain't a lot. I basically asked her what the minimum was she would be happy with and we would work from there...

sleeplessbunny Sun 14-Jul-13 12:43:10

I think your DP should be the one sorting this out. It also sounds like you and your MIL aren't that far apart in terms of expectation, just in the way it is put across (rudely in her case it seems). In your position I would just be handing the phone to DP when she calls, and getting him to deal with it. He should be used to her ways and rudeness

ChippingInHopHopHop Sun 14-Jul-13 12:46:40

How about buying her a one way ticket to NZ??


YANBU - you are being kind and considerate and it is not for her to dictate. Stand your very reasonable ground.

MovingForward0719 Sun 14-Jul-13 12:47:11

Oh god reading this brings back memories, my mil was awful when I had my first baby. It got so I was scared to answer the phone. The only thing that really relieved it was more grand kids coming along from her other son. Ff 10 years and things are generally much better, helped hugely that my hub goes round every Saturday morning for a bit with kids and rings for a chat on way home from work every week. I see them socially when it's an occasion, birthdays, Xmas, bbqs etc. She was another one for following from room to room and even used to get a muslin square and drape it over my shoulder strategically when I was feeding lol. With my second baby I pretended to bf longer than I did cost hey used to send me up to their bedroom with the remote for the TV lol I used to give him a bottle before I went round and then go and watch eastenders with him asleep lol. It gets better I think as kids grow older. The children themselves have no interest in granny politics!

fluffyraggies Sun 14-Jul-13 12:51:31

Another one who thinks 2 hrs drive needn't equal an overnight stay, tbh.

If she leaves her home at 7am, she's with you by 9. If she stays till 7pm she's home by 9. That's 10 hrs to get over the drive and relax at yours with baby ....

Anyway ... i think setting long term visiting type plans in stone is a recipe for disaster with ANYONE exept people who are very easy going and will understand/accept you canceling for any reason. Your MIL doesn't sound like one of those people. My own mum isn't either. 2 weeks running of doing the same thing on the same day and she has it in her calender for that day every week for the rest of our lives!

I think throwing in child care is muddying the waters too. Wondering why she is doing most of August? Is your mum away then OP?

treas Sun 14-Jul-13 12:53:58

Just remember MIL isn't going to around for ever - I have just lost my own mother who fortunately had the pleasure of knowing her dg for 13 and 10 years.

" Obviously with the distance that means her staying in our flat and being there for several days at a time."
"I'd feel mean asking a seventy-odd year old woman to drive both ways and look after a ten month old in the space of two days."

Well, my MIL is older and she happily drives two hours just to get to a garden centre she likes! And back again the same day! Granted looking after DS will be more tiring, but honestly, if she isn't capable of driving home after one night's stay she should be getting the train instead.

"My DP doesn't want to get involved really and I think he thinks I'm being mean for not saying yes definitely every four weeks."
Well, he's going to have to get involved, because his mother is upsetting his DP. He doesn't get to stand by the sidelines letting it happen. Discuss it with him. Ask what he thinks his mother would do/say if you did agree to her rigid schedule and something came up e.g. a wedding invite, summer holiday that clashed. Would she insist that said wedding/holiday would just have to be foregone, because it was 'her' time and she takes priority? He needs to see where you are coming from. And discuss his sister going to New Zealand, and his mother's anger ("say that she will "never forgive" her daughter for doing so") over that. And that you don't want to be his mother's whipping boy, expected to substitute for his sister now she's gone.

You "called her to talk about it, and said we were looking forward to seeing her but could we keep the arrangement flexible, and make plans when we see her next." IMO that should suffice. Yes some old people can be very inflexible and want everything carved in stone, but arranging the next visit on the current visit allows her to plan each visit four weeks ahead, that should be enough for her, whilst allowing it to be flexed to three/five weeks ahead to accommodate other social commitments you would like to accommodate. Her desire to "be sure to visit every four weeks" is NOT reasonable. You don't want to plan your life that rigidly, and that is reasonable. You don't have to.

I don't like being dictated to either OP, it puts my back up and makes me become very obstinate. In your shoes I'd be having to bite my tongue very hard not to insinuate that she shouldn't push me too hard or I'd be emigrating to New Zealand like her daughter felt she had to she'd not be welcome in MY HOME. She does seem to have forgotten that when she comes, she is your guest in your home (since her son doesn't want to get involved).

maja00 Sun 14-Jul-13 13:15:21

I think you and your DP need to find a compromise and then present that to the MIL.

How about committing to a one day visit every month, and you will agree the day a month in advance? That way you have some predictability but also flexibility if you have plans on a particular weekend.

Maybe compromise on overnight/long weekend visits every 3 months?

Or alternate, in September she will come to you for a day, in October you will go to her for a day?

Xales Sun 14-Jul-13 13:16:46

I don't know if it has been mentioned can you meet her half way every so often? So an hours travel each, spend the day together and then go back home?

I would hate to give up my house for 3 days a month without any say or flexibility and would end up very resentful.

If you have plans and she says she is coming for several days say you won't be there.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 13:23:49

That is so offensive! She DID come and stay with us that weekend and I didn't make a peep about it! But I did find it a bit much to call a few days in advance and just tell us she was visiting. My MIL is not trying to accomodate my rigidity, she is trying to impose her will. You have completely misread this in a very insulting way.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 13:24:43

I don't understand how quoting and responding works, sorry. That last message was addressed to a very rude message from quintessential old "dear".

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 13:27:45

And by the way Quintessential Old "Dear" my sister sees her nephew less than my MIL sees so actually, the plan was for all of us to see her AS A FAMILY, plus seeing a very dear old family friend. The plan had been made several months in advance. And she did visit too and she did see her son and grandchild and I am just so cross with your nasty message which shows that you didn't even bother to read through what I have been saying properly before jumping in with both feet and having a pop at me.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 14-Jul-13 13:34:52

She was another one for following from room to room and even used to get a muslin square and drape it over my shoulder strategically when I was feeding lol.

shock The fact you got over this makes you a saint in my eyes. I think that's a totally, totally unforgivable thing for anyone to do. I wouldn't want my DC being raised to accept that sort of shite. The fact you were able to be the massive, giant, HUMUNGOUS bigger (wo)man leaves me in a bit of awe! Won't forget your username now! grin I would have thrown the muslin in her face and called the cops. I am in a bit of awe tbh blush

Sorry for the hijack, I had to comment on that one!

OP: What are your thoughts regarding your partner's attitude? I think that's a serious factor given he can't see why whilst you're both working, and she gets to stay and do the childcare she wants for a few weeks while you're on holiday, why you're 'mean' for not wanting to commit to having her stay a 'few' yeah sure a few days a MONTH to see DGC? I assume then of course on those days he'll take 100% responsibility for his DC and DM's amusement, plus all household cleaning?

Or is that all up to you while he stay at work and whines about his mothers happiness? With his finger up his arse

I can see how communication between you and your Mil is breaking down quite clearly now. I dont think you will get the amicable relationship you say that you want.

Justfornowitwilldo Sun 14-Jul-13 13:43:11

If you'd have posted 'my mother wants set "visiting rights"' with the same information you' have received a different response.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 14-Jul-13 13:47:05

I can see how communication between you and your Mil is breaking down quite clearly now. I dont think you will get the amicable relationship you say that you want.

No need to be passive aggressive, this is MN. If you think OP has done something wrong, just say so. Ambiguous PA comments don't help, they just rile anyone up when a more forward answer most likely won't to a poster who seems reasonable enough, like OP.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 14:09:30

Quintessential, you posted a very unpleasant message which upset me. And I am not aiming to have an amicable relationship with you, thank goodness.

Well, I think you come across as unreasonable. Even more so having seen how you respond to somebody not immediately agreeing with you.

And your tirade to me where you are throwing a strop, and having a repeated "go" at my username, calling me nasty on the basis of my opinion, I think it is perfectly clear that communication with you must be very difficult, which is highlighted with the last post to me which is a personal insult. Not called for at all.

You asked for opinions and viewpoints, I gave you mine based on what you have written. I did not expect a 3 post "barrage" of abuse.

Take from this what you want. I think your three posts to me have illuminating the problems you have with your MIL quite perfectly.

You are right about one thing though. I am not an "old dear". wink

WinkyWinkola Sun 14-Jul-13 14:33:20

Don't worry op. Quintessential is firmly in the mil camp on every thread no matter how toxic the mil.

That is simply not true Winky.

AaDB Sun 14-Jul-13 14:51:09

I think you sound reasonable Moomin. I would not agree to a strict 4 week timetable of visitation. Why can't your Oh take your LO top his DM's for every other visit? I would hate to be dictated to and would have the rage if DP didn't get involved.

WorraLiberty Sun 14-Jul-13 15:00:35

It's all sounding a bit one sided here OP

Would you be happy for your DP to tell your Mum she couldn't visit regularly?

Having said that, your DP should be getting more involved in this as it's his baby too.

Exhaustipated Sun 14-Jul-13 15:01:11

I think that there is no way she should be so pushy. It is bizzare and YANBU at all about that.

However, you do seem to be talking a lot about you and your relationship with your MIL. I don't know if it has something to do with the fact that you haven't been with your partner for very long, but that attitude seems a little off to me. I think increasingly as your son gets older it will become about her relationship with your DS, and, although of course you need to agree (or not) with plans that are made, I would expect your DP to make these plans rather than you. Then there is less emphasis on your relationship with her/ your role in controlling het contact with her grandson.

Exhaustipated Sun 14-Jul-13 15:10:29

Also, its always 'my' baby, rather than 'our' baby, I notice. Let your DP in a bit more and you might find life becomes a lot less stressful. I honestly mean this to be a help rather than a pointless dig.

ChippingInHopHopHop Sun 14-Jul-13 15:18:57

Worra she isn't telling her MIL she can't visit regularly, not at all. She's said she is fine with that (more bloody fine than I'd be!), all she is saying is that she doesn't want a schedule set in stone - seems perfectly reasonable to me. In fact, seems more than reasonable.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 14-Jul-13 15:19:13

Exhausted I think the fact the DP refuses to get involved WRT his mum doesn't help at all. sad

pianodoodle Sun 14-Jul-13 15:23:42

What is it with these MILs at the minute?!

Weeping and wailing on one thread demanding "set days", calling DIL horrible and generally making a bloody nuisance of themselves. If you want to be part of a family then you put up with having the child's mother around and be nice first and foremost. She didn't do all that hard work to hand over a baby to someone who can't be bothered having a decent relationship with her before they start asking for the baby on set times/days and won't be told when it doesn't suit.

If their sons can't be arsed dealing with them (and often you can see why), then why should their son's wife?

My mum comes to visit and spends time with all of us and my husband is more than happy to see her because she makes an effort to get on well with him.

MIL not only makes me feel like a baby machine but makes her own son feel dismissed as well! She couldn't care less if she didn't see either of us as long as she gets plenty of photos of herself with DD to show to friends. The constant background chatter to me and DH is "I don't mind if you want to go out.." on repeat.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 14-Jul-13 15:24:07

OP, I'd personally pull her up on telling you you're horrible for disagreeing (especially since you're saying: Yes we'll have you a few days a month, every month as a houseguest, I just don't want to have your timetable set in stone!)

You actually basically agreed with her, just not 100% on her terms and got told you were treating her horribly. angry

Your partner really should tell her she can't speak to you like that - Especially as she's actually getting her own way FFS! -

Exhaustipated Sun 14-Jul-13 15:28:40

Yes I see what you mean, but maybe it's because it's become the OP's thing to arrange this, and now DP is letting her get on with it.

Perhaps my wording was wrong- rather than letting him in, drag him in! Just tell him it's his area to sort out- it all needs to be discussed with you but then he can respond to his mother on behalf of both of you,thus keeping things btween you and MIL sweet, we hope!

Unless you actually want to have sole charge of these arrangements (genuine question) OP?

WorraLiberty Sun 14-Jul-13 15:29:07

Worra she isn't telling her MIL she can't visit regularly, not at all. She's said she is fine with that (more bloody fine than I'd be!), all she is saying is that she doesn't want a schedule set in stone - seems perfectly reasonable to me. In fact, seems more than reasonable.

And I'd like to know if the OP would be happy for her DP to say the same thing to her Mum.

I'm not sure why the OP gets to make the decision here, especially when her DP isn't happy with it and thinks she's being men to his Mum.

Then again, he should probably get more involved in the conversations and decision making.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 14-Jul-13 15:41:59

Perhaps my wording was wrong- rather than letting him in, drag him in! Just tell him it's his area to sort out

This OP!!! If he thinks you're so cruel, make a point of making it his sole responsibility to get MIL those cuppas and provide her with entertainment etc. If he protests this, call him on it. If he wants to argue you're being mean by disagreeing but also being mean by expecting him to spend time with his mum... Well... Actually not sure what to say other than you really need to talk to your DP about how his mum should be talking to him and he should be defending you when she says you're horrible (even if he agrees with her! The point is you and DS are his primary concern now) And then discuss and compromise with you. Him announcing you're wrong and deal with it just really isn't on.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 14-Jul-13 15:54:33



I have 2 sons and I hear and understand all the arguments about fairness towards MILs, but she has approached this with a distinct lack of tact and sensitivity. I expected to feel sorry for her but I actually don't.

Your DP is being spineless, and I wonder if that's because the controllingness she's showing here has trained him well to not challenge her.

Musicaltheatremum Sun 14-Jul-13 15:59:15

I can see where the OP is coming from. I wouldn't have wanted my mum or my MIL coming to a set schedule. My parents and my DHs mum had a life too so they were not always free every 4 weeks.

I read that she is happy to see her MiL regularly but doesn't want it set in stone and would rather say " oh we've been invited to such and such this weekend, can you come either the one before or after" or her MiL should be able to say "I've got something on this weekend so could I come the next one" without anyone feeling put out.

I would suggest that you say to your DP

I am happy to have your mum stay every few weeks for a couple of nights.
Could we plan the date of the next visit when she is visiting so we can look in our diaries and make sure other things don't clash.
If we get invited out somewhere can we alter the date of your mum's visit without being made to feel guilty. (You are not saying that her visit is unimportant but I imagine your social life isn't a whirl at the moment and it is nice to do other social events)

I think if families really care about each other they should allow for flexibility.

OP I hope I have got it right here.

Bonsoir Sun 14-Jul-13 17:54:36

Something grandparents often fail to appreciate is just how much busier and fuller their children's and grandchdren's lives are than their own. My DP's father and his GF are currently in a strop with me and DP because we have declined their very recent invitation to spend "a few days" with them at their country house this summer, with the three DC. They just cannot fathom that our summer holiday plans were fixed and set in stone many months ago and that we have booked and paid for a very expensive family holiday for the single fortnight we have as a five some. There is no way we can carve out a few days to go down to see them!

Bonsoir Sun 14-Jul-13 17:57:21

Also, I think some grandmothers fantasise about spending a lot of time with grandchildren without taking any account of those grand children's parents' feelings or lives. Which is understandable but not reasonable!

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 18:04:50

Thanks for all the messages, I really appreciate them.

I think I am going to speak to DP again about his supporting me which he always says he will do but in practise just tries to bury his head in the sand. He's got to say to MIL that it's not on to say I'm horrible just for not agreeing to everything on her terms.

Atm I'm trying to sort out other childcare arrangements for August at least for the majority of the time. I'm not comfortable with relying on MIL for help with things the way they are at the moment. I just need some space and cooling off time and I don't want to feel beholden to her.

We could suggest meeting up soon between where we live just for a lunch and talk things over properly although I do worry that will go wrong.

I think the main message I want to get across to her is that I want her to feel included and of course over the years she will be an important part of DS' life but that at the moment we need to take it one step at a time, get to know each other, keep the arrangements flexible and that she needs to trust that I am not the enemy. If she can't relax and stop trying to call the shots and push for more etc it is just going to cause a continually tense atmosphere and further issues, whereas if she stops forcing the issue she is more than likely to see DS once a month, maybe a little less (or a little more) but that should not be the cause of some big grievance.

I understand where she is coming from emotionally but it still doesn't make it right to make demands and put me in such an uncomfortable position. As a grandparent you have to just be gracious sometimes (well, all of us do) and also know when to back off and when to be patient. That's what I think anyway.

neunundneunzigluftballons Sun 14-Jul-13 18:14:34

I think you have it fully right there op but I would suggest your dh having the chat with her and you dealing with him. It always comes easier from your own child rather than the in law. I would also see if he could sort things before August since I am sure she has been keeping her calendar free to do you a favour and it would be best all around if that could stay as is. Yanbu IMO.

EvieanneVolvic Sun 14-Jul-13 18:16:02

Can I just pick up on one teensy point which may not be relevant anyway. You have said at least twice that she has called you horrible. That's a little bit disingenuous isn't it, because iirc you said to her 'I don't mean to sound horrible but...' and she responded by saying yes she did think it sounded horrible.

Obviously I don't know the tone of voice you used when you said it, but that kind of phrase very often sounds, and indeed is, a little bit PA, a bit like when people say 'I'm not racist but...' or 'I don't mean to be rude but...' These little caveats just aren't the get out of jail free card that their users sometimes hope they will be, and just cover up something that is indeed rude/horrible. That's possibly why she said what she did, which is not at all the same thing as calling you horrible off the cuff as it were.

Having said all that, I think you do sound like a reasonable kind of gal and your plans for a round table discussion are sound! Good luck!

fluffyraggies Sun 14-Jul-13 18:18:01

How about suggesting that she come to you once a month or so and your DP take the baby to hers the next month.

Perhaps it would be easier not to ''talk about it'' at all, and just let the next months visit come and discuss the next visit then .... for either the next month or for in 2 months time (if you're doing the 1 month at yours next month at hers thing).

Say maybe that you will be able to give her an exact date nearer the time, but it will be in 4/5 weeks. Keep it all flexible, but not by too much. After a few months she will see that you intend to keep your word about regular visits, but wont do the EXACTLY EVERY 4 WEEKS thing.

SJisontheway Sun 14-Jul-13 19:21:52

Are you going to discuss it with your dp, or just tell him the message he must deliver? Does he get any say at all? Good luck with that.

Newcupboards Sun 14-Jul-13 21:20:25

You come across mainly as a decent sort so please don't be so cruel as to stop your Mil from caring for DS as arranged just because you're peeved.

Your DP doesn't appear to have a problem with your mum seeing DS so frequently AND he'd like his mum to see DS monthly. Soooo why not go along with it and both mums will be happy, as will DP and, no doubt, DS. You might even like it too.

WinkyWinkola Sun 14-Jul-13 22:12:59

But you might not like it either. You don't have to go about your life pleasing other people you know. You are allowed to please yourself too sometimes. I know that is considered a crime by some on MN but you are!

Newcupboards Sun 14-Jul-13 22:22:54

But you can do things to make FOUR other people happy.

Moominmamma86 Sun 14-Jul-13 22:37:06

Evieanne Volvic I know what you mean, I hate it when people say "no offence but", etc. But that was not the tone or the intention of what I said. Having said that I was having to be quite blunt because I felt backed into a corner. But I said "I hope that doesn't sound horrible" to soften it not to be disingenuous and I know she didn't say it off the cuff but she shouldn't have said it at all. It was hurtful.

WinkyWinkola Sun 14-Jul-13 22:37:09

And martyr yourself if you want to. Why aren't those four other people thinking of anyone else but themselves? Actually 3 other people because the little baby is oblivious.

Luckily I think the op will not allow her mil to railroad her and will come to some perfectly reasonable arrangement that does not allow emotional blackmail to dictate her life.

Another useful thread for me to learn how not to behave as a mil.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 14-Jul-13 22:50:59

I don't think fretfully saying 'I hope that doesn't sound horrible' after denying someone a request they made is the same as a 'no offence but... Pointless off the cuff insult' remark.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 15-Jul-13 00:11:26

op, you are not being unreasonable.

mil is getting to see dgc about once a month for 3 days at a time. just not set in stone. can't understand a lot of people saying you are not letting her see her gc regularly. confused

the mil is going about it the wrong way. being forceful and demanding will only result in the breakdown of the relationship. op is very accomodating to mil staying, even though she may prefer to have the flat to herself.

fabergeegg Mon 15-Jul-13 00:38:27

YNBU but obviously your MIL's expectations are very different. I've noticed that grandparents seem to talk to each other about the lack of contact they get and stoke each other up to feel entitled. They talk about the courts as if the fact that they could get one afternoon a week access means that they have a right to least as much in a family arrangement. Thinking that they could go to the courts if they wanted to - and go over your head - all adds to the flames. At least in my experience.

I don't think she sounds like she's ever going to be easy. But people like that get worse if you refuse to meet them halfway. She needs something to hold onto, even if it was only four definites in a year with lots of more ad hoc things in other places. That's the way some people work.

Having said that, I'm estranged from my PIL because they did things that makes your MIL sound like Mary Poppins.

NanaNina Mon 15-Jul-13 01:07:55

I haven't read every post but I am a MIL and of course a mother of 2 sons. With one son and dil there is no problem as I've seen their children every week of their lives as we live close by and I have often met them from school when they were younger.

My other son and dil live in Ireland and have 2 children. I know dil No. 2 is not too keen on having people to stay (be they her own family or ours) and so when they moved over there, I asked her what she thought about us visiting and I suggested once a month and it would mean staying over 3 or 4 nights. She was ok with this, as she likes to know where she is and it has actually turned out to be once every 6 weeks and that works out well for them and us.

Maybe OP your MIL is just wanting to make sure she as well as your mum is an important part of your baby's life. She probably feels a bit jealous of the fact your mum sees so much more of the baby. OK she hasn't gone about it in the most sensitive way, but I think this business of your DP having to tell his mother she shouldn't say you are horrible etc etc is just not on. If I understand you right you said "I hope that doesn't sound horrible" and she said "yes it does" so she didn't introduce the word horrible. I feel sorry for so many men whose wives, partners get them to "have words" with their mother - that can only make the poor woman feel worse.

Finally remember all you MIL bashers that you will all most probably be MILs yourself some day and if you have sons you will also have a DIL. I hope she is kinder than some of you on this post.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Mon 15-Jul-13 01:15:02

I feel sorry for so many men whose wives, partners get them to "have words" with their mother - that can only make the poor woman feel worse.

Maybe the men should talk to their mothers themselves then?

fabergeegg Mon 15-Jul-13 01:42:19

NanaNina Just one point: I get what you say about sons having to have words with their mums - but only up to a point. If it's just gratuitous point-scoring and the guy's being used as a pawn, then of course that's wrong. But there are times when MILs don't observe boundaries and it's very difficult to speak to them as DILs because everything is seen as a potentially threatening move. If DILs do the talking it's more likely to turn into a disaster, but I understand that wouldn't happen with an understanding MIL. They're not all like you though smile Sometimes things have to be addressed, if only to contain the situation and make it more sustainable and stable. I think it's a lot easier for a woman to take coming from her son (who has probably been telling her he needs space for the last 20 years anyway) than from another woman, who may be suspected of harbouring all kinds of malicious plots. If DIL tries to deal with it herself there's all that rushing off to the son to see if he was aware of how horrible she was being - very, very hard to get a good outcome then.

WinkyWinkola Mon 15-Jul-13 06:09:55

I knew it wouldn't be long until someone rolled out the moronic classic line - "Remember you're going to be a mil one day." grin

Yes, and the chances are if you don't behave like a bullying, petulant brat all will be well with your ds and dil.

The op had not been horrible. She simply has her own preferences which are entirely reasonable.

Just because they do not tally with her mil's preferences does not make her horrible.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 06:25:35

Generally I stand up for MILs but there do seem to be some who want to have an exclusive relationship with the grandchild that by passes the rest of the family. I shall quite probably be one one day and you need to get a good relationship with the DIL from the very start and it be relaxed and enjoyable. I don't think it at all reasonable to have some rigid arrangement and set ideas about what you will do with the child.

pianodoodle Mon 15-Jul-13 08:35:28

It's to do with manners mostly. I've always been nice to my in-laws, but unlike my own parents, the respect they seem to demand is that of a dutiful child rather than an equal adult.

They only live 20 minutes away and once I suggested DH invite them over for a couple of hours one Friday before tea as they had wanted to see us the previous weekend but we couldn't make it.

They came over and seemed happy, but afterwards phoned DH to say it hadn't really been a good time for them to come because we were busy (DD went into her high chair for half an hour during the visit and I was making her tea before that - as well as doing coffee for everyone etc...)

My thinking behind the invite was to let them see they were welcome any time and it didn't always have to be such a formal arrangement - at the time we rarely had the big stretches of free time to sit down that they always wanted. I thought they would be able to see us more often by just being a part of normal family goings on.

They told DH is was bad timing as DD was a bit grumpy. I'm sorry but you can't predict that sort of thing! It isn't always going to be a Kodak moment with a baby!

My annoyance was at the fact that they wouldn't have been asked over at all if it had been left to their son and I thought I was doing a good thing!

They told DH that they wanted longer times together but less often, and although they "appreciated" being asked over on the Friday they hoped we weren't going to make a "habit" of it.

My response - don't worry I won't fuckin' ask them again!

JustinBsMum Mon 15-Jul-13 08:44:52

Have you explained why a 2 hour journey each way can't be made in a day? I travel 2 hours for a shopping trip to a city but don't have to stay over! Is it lack of buses or trains or what.

Does she work?

MrsOakenshield Mon 15-Jul-13 09:13:44

I think the OP said upthread somewhere that her MiL was 70-odd? I know that neither my mum not my MiL (one 70s one late 60s) would want to drive for 4 hours in a single day. I think that's a pretty big ask, to be honest.

Pilgit Mon 15-Jul-13 09:38:01

if it helps - me and FIL sit down once a year and put in a meet up roughly once a month. generally alternating where we do it (they live 2 hours away and will do a day trip but sometimes we stay there or them with us). However this forward planning is on the proviso that we can alter plans if something else comes up - i.e. change weekend, change location. We do it this formally because we are all very busy people and don't want it to be months between visits. BUT they are fab and not controlling. Could a similar arrngement work? regular contact but without the forced nature of it that you're annoyed about?

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Mon 15-Jul-13 09:46:35

pianodoodle That was so shockingly, shockingly rude of them!

I want a family relationship with my family, not formal appointments! Why do some people view that as being disrespectful to ILs? My MIL is very PA and I've come to realise she doesn't like me too much and my FIL is extremely inappropriate and misogynist. I still don't cut them out and insist on a formal relationship (even though MIL acts as though the reason DH takes my side is because I have him under my thumb.. hmm)

Murtette Mon 15-Jul-13 10:08:00

FWIW, my parents live 4 hrs away and in laws live 3.5 hrs away so both have to come for weekend visits/we go there. We realised when DC1 was about 6mths old that both we & our parents are pretty busy and that we can't decide on one visit when the next one will be as it may then be months before they next get to see the DC. So, we do it on a rolling six month basis or thereabouts. There are exceptions as, for example, the in-laws realised they had a busy October coming up so we booked in the last weekend of September ages ago. In our experience few events come up which mean we have to re-arrange. We've passed the age of weddings; if there's a christening, we'd go but possibly leave the DC with the grandparents; if there's a 40th birthday, we could go & the grandparents could babysit; if one of my friends suggests lunch and its the in-laws visiting, I'd go & leave DP & the DC with the in-laws; if DP is invited to play golf & my parents are staying then he'll go. We have also realised that we're going to spend at least one weekend a month seeing grandparents but its important to me that that the DC have a good relationship with all of them.

jellybeans Mon 15-Jul-13 10:37:51

My MIL was very similar except lived in the same town and expected daily contact. She demanded being the first to push DD in her pram, wasn't keen on me bf as wanted to share in feeding, wanted to be first to take her abroad (without us) etc. It only ended when we stood up to her. She would refuse to call and 'make an appointment to see her son' so we often didn't invite her in if it wasn't convenient. Stand up to her and there is a chance it will get better. MIL and I actually get on quite well now (16 years on) because we kept her at a distance when she was being demandy and things were a lot nicer when we are all civil.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 15-Jul-13 10:40:05

Yanbu. Your baby and you get to make the decisions.

NanaNina Mon 15-Jul-13 13:37:30

Hmm propertynight does the baby's father not get a say in the decision making, or is his role just that of sperm provider!

I know someone (can't remember who) says she knew someone would come on saying "One day you will be a MIL" but I still think it important to remind some of you young mums having trouble with MILs. I think though there have been some very thoughtful posts on here and suggestions for compromise.

I will put on my hard had and retreat but I have a suspicion that many young mums really don't like their MILs and so find reasons to complain. I wonder if the OP would feel a similar thing about her own mother if the situation was reversed. Of course young mums are in the main going to be closer to their own mum (I was to mine and had a rather controlling MIL but I found a "middle road" that we travelled along and I supported her right up until her death although she wasn't my kind of woman) but once a baby arrives it is only fair that both sets of grandparents are welcomed to be a part of the baby's life.

I think the thing is that no-one (other than the parents) have rights to maintain regular contact with the child, but the child has a right to grow up, knowing that he is love and cared for by both sets of grandparents.

Yes there are some dreadful MIL stories and I feel sorry for the DILs but it is a 2 way street you know. In my circle of friends most of us have DILs ad grand children and could tell you some horror stories about the way DILs treat their MILs and how the older woman feels she has to "tiptoe" around the DIL to ensure she doesn't upset her.

The old saying "A daughter's a daughter all of her life and a son is a son till he gets him a wife" is very often true and my own DIL told me that when her daughter was born, her mother said she was pleased because "you raise boys for someone else and you raise girls for yourself."

Isn't it interesting that we never hear about difficulties between MILs and Sons-In-Law, but often about SILs (MILs) daughter.

Finally I think the unfair thing is that when DILs see a thread like this they pile in with YANBU and I suspect these posters don't get on with their MIL and so take this line, whereas the more thoughtful posters probably have a good r/ship with their MILs.

Oh one more thing before I go. When a first grandchild is born, strange things happen to a grandmother - she remembers her own newborns and that maternal instinct that she had with them, sort of kicks-in a bit with the new grandchild. I don't think this is a conscious feeling at all and I can only look back and realise that it happened to me, with the birth of my first grandchild. Maybe this is the reason that some MILs appear to be demanding, or are wanting to know how often they can see their new grandchild. If it's any consolation, this is most apparent in the early months and does tend to diminish when the child is over 1 and especially when more grand children come along.

There is a book called "Birth of a Mother" and there should be one called "Birth of a Grandmother" so that these older women can be helped to understand those aroused maternal feelings from long ago, and hopefully forge a good r/ship with the DILs and grandchildren.

I have thought of writing one - what do you reckon?

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Mon 15-Jul-13 13:49:22

Hmm propertynight does the baby's father not get a say in the decision making, or is his role just that of sperm provider!

I'm a bit confused because you previously said:

I feel sorry for so many men whose wives, partners get them to "have words" with their mother - that can only make the poor woman feel worse.

Since you didn't respond to me intentionally asking (totally cool, you may have missed it/not felt it was relevant!) But since you brought it up again, may I ask do you think your son should tell tell his own mother if there is an issue if DIL talking would make the MIL uncomfortable? I would have thought if the answer to a MIL's request was 'no,' it should be her own son who said so, equally the same for a daughter and her mum.

If the couple disagrees with MIL (be it husband with wife's DM, or wife with husband's DM) Surely someone HAS to say something? confused You come across as too caring to think 'Accept MIL's demands. You'll be a MIL one day' type, so I'm curious from a reasonable MIL perspective!

If any of that came out aggressive I'm sorry, was not intended! smile

FWIW, my MIL treats me rather poorly and my FIL is a huge pervert who once came over (when he knew DH wasn't home) and made a disgusting comment about my BFing my twins. I told him where to go and how if it ever happened again, DH would know because I know if DH knew, he'd cut him off. He's blind to FIL's stares (as my BIL's wife also complains about!) Because well.. He loves his dad. He stands up to MIL and I know if he ever found out about FIL he'd cut them off. Which is why I force an uncomfortable relationship for DC. Like you said, compromise. They're still family.

But that's my tangent! I guess my question basically just is: If there was ever an 'issue' with you, would you prefer DIL or DS confronted you? Would you just assume it was DIL with the issue if your DS used 'we' and 'as a couple' etc, etc.

Sorry, I don't have a reasonable MIl so a chance to pick a normal ones brains is too hard to resist! blush

EvieanneVolvic Mon 15-Jul-13 14:03:04

Nina what a lovely well thought out post. You're right, there is a book in there, and I think the subject matter becoems ever more relevant with grandparents playing an ever larger role in the grandchildren's live. And this is a two way street: for every thread about a grandparent who feels it is his/her right to have unlimited access to the baby, there is another from a parent thinking that unlimited free childcare from the grandparents is an entitlement (Need to say I have gone way off piste here: Op I am not referring to you at all when I say that!)

I will just say one more tyhing and then ask for a loan of your hard hat Nina. The simple fact is that to be a grandmother you have to have been a mother. And at that point you probably will have had a DM(iL) who was probably not as perfect as you would have liked her to be. The point is the grandparent generation have the benefit of having seen it from both sides. Yes this means that they should be more understanding of the insecurities of the new parents, but it also means they can be forgiven for thinking 'Hmmm....just you wait' !

MrsOakenshield Mon 15-Jul-13 14:03:36

out of interest, OP, if your DH became the main carer and proceded to impose his will (his baby, his choices, right?) on your mum, how would you feel?

I really do think you need to all sit down and talk this through as adults. And whilst it might be true to say that your MiL doesn't have any 'rights' with regard to your DS - does that means DS (admittedly rather young!) not have any rights to form a relationship with all his GPs? You never know - he might end up <gasp!> preferring MiL! (DD definitely prefers MiL to my mum, mainly because she makes more of a fuss of her and is generally more attuned to childrens' needs and wants.)

There must be a way of getting some kind of arrangement in place to suit everyone. Family life is surely all about compromise - and it sounds like both you and your MiL need to do that.

DuelingFanjo Mon 15-Jul-13 14:03:39

"She just kept saying that she wanted to be sure to visit every four weeks and do the childcare and she felt that was a "reasonable expectation"

it's an unreasonable expectation - she shouldn't be expecting anything at all. Fine to visit when arranged, not fine to expect to 'do the childcare'


MrsOakenshield Mon 15-Jul-13 14:05:07

oh, I didn't properly read Nina's very good (and rather more articulate) post before writing mine, sorry!

pianodoodle Mon 15-Jul-13 14:16:40

NanaNina I do read the OP carefully and wouldn't just say YANBU in order to take a swipe at MILs or anything like that smile

I've said a similar thing on a different thread but I tend to feel that an unreasonable sort of MIL doesn't just happen overnight they could well have been unreasonable DILs too.

Anyway I'm aware lovely in-laws exist, genuine misunderstandings happen in the nicest families, and I wouldn't just jump to every DIL's defence on the basis that mine are a bunch of clowns.

SJisontheway Mon 15-Jul-13 15:22:18

Applauds nana ninas well thought out post

happyyonisleepyyoni Mon 15-Jul-13 15:31:41

Lovely post Nananina

When my first child was born, my mum (this was her first grandchild) said that he looked just like me, my brother and my sister did when we were born. I think she must have had that feeling of recognition/maternal instinct being triggered as you say.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Mon 15-Jul-13 17:03:21

Fab post NanaNina

I remember feeling horrified and revolted when my MIL said that holding my first child made her feel as if her breasts were getting ready to feed him.

On the other hand, I'm sure I've read recently that grandparents were quite crucial to the survival of young children back in the days of woolly mamoths etc - though not quite in that 'up close and personal' way, I hope grin

fabergeegg Mon 15-Jul-13 19:27:59

NanaNina - No, I don't think you should write a book - yet. You need to be willing to listen to different opinions and have them hone your thoughts, rather than stapling your colours to the mast, then leaving. I'm disappointed that there were some very respectful thoughtful questions raised that you have not responded to - respect is also a two way street, you know!

I do love what you are thinking about the birth of a grandmother. But I think you'll find that most posters here, including the OP, have no desire to deny their MILs a key role in extended family life. Although not always the case, I think the problems often arise because there is a contrast between the maternal grandparent's view and paternal grandparent's view, not because the DIL is suspicious or obstructive.

Briefly, the maternal grandparents love their daughter and love her child - partly for its own sake and partly because they're getting the chance to see their daughter become a mother. The baby's dad is usually not present so much and in any case tends to be quite happy to kick back while others coo at the baby, so no threat there.

The view often held by paternal grandparents is subtly different - at a deep level, they love the baby partly for its own sake and partly because it is their son's. The DIL is not a blood tie so there is nothing particularly gratifying about seeing her mothering skills in action. In fact, in real terms, the DIL may be perceived be nothing more a barrier to the baby. Hence the paternal MIL talking more about time alone to bond with the baby. That's where the juicy bit is for her - it's a chance to dust off her own mothering skills and relive parenting. She probably relates to the experience in a completely different way if it is her own daughter doing the mothering. So it is not fair to blame the DIL if she is unable to treat both sets of grandparents in exactly the same way.

If you think about it, many MIL have to swallow hard and let their son go off into marriage. Then they have to accept that this new experience of becoming grandparents is also happening in that reserved space - and the DIL tends to be viewed as the gate-keeper. This can be hurtful and serve as a reminder to the DIL that no matter how loved she is, she isn't quite a blood relation. These aren't issues that a DIL can resolve - she can only bear them, and she often does so to the best of her ability. But it can be hard work and is rather a big ask that someone give up a day a week of their precious maternity leave in order that this can all play out to the MIL's satisfaction.

Until you have looked deeply into those scenarios and been prepared to dig deeper to either consolidate or adapt your current position, I think you should hold off on the book.

IceAddict Mon 15-Jul-13 19:32:06

Well done for speaking up I didn't and its still happening 5yrs on! Don't tie yourself to it just arrange month by month or you'll become resentful of the visits

WinkyWinkola Mon 15-Jul-13 19:39:27

Fabergeeg, exactly and hear hear.

WinkyWinkola Mon 15-Jul-13 19:42:13

Letsfacethusicanddance, I'm afraid babies would have been bf'd by not only the birth mothers in older societies.

However, your mil sounds erm, disconcerting.

My ex-stepbrother's mother was found trying to breastfeed his dd.

But she was just going through the birth of the grandmother role, right? grin

orangeandemons Mon 15-Jul-13 20:11:08

But but but... The paternal grandparents love their child and his child too.

I am the mother of an adult ds, I hope when he has children I am allowed as much access to them as the maternal grandparent. The child belongs to both the parents, and in turn both the grandparents, not one more than another.

I spent ages talking about bonding with my mil. She was great and helped me a lot, and I was grateful for the help.

Cut her some slack, she wants to be involved in your dcs life too. Let her come up once a month overnight, and get dh to take dc to hers once a month. And grandparents may not have rights, but they can apply to court for contact. I do not understand the mil threads on her at all. I have had 2 mil, and never had any real issues with either of them. I'm still in touch with and see my ex mil despite the fact myself and ex do split up 17 years ago

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 15-Jul-13 20:19:21

I think you make valid points Nana, but I do agree with fabergeegg.

I think this is exactly what I was thinking in relation to the OP:

"If you think about it, many MIL have to swallow hard and let their son go off into marriage. Then they have to accept that this new experience of becoming grandparents is also happening in that reserved space - and the DIL tends to be viewed as the gate-keeper. This can be hurtful and serve as a reminder to the DIL that no matter how loved she is, she isn't quite a blood relation. These aren't issues that a DIL can resolve - she can only bear them, and she often does so to the best of her ability. But it can be hard work and is rather a big ask that someone give up a day a week of their precious maternity leave in order that this can all play out to the MIL's satisfaction"

This MIL may not be a control freak, or horrible, or she may be (and have always been). But if she is simply anxious and in love with this babyshe needs to blinking well calm down and stop letting her anxiety make her bolshy and insensitive to the baby's mother

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 15-Jul-13 20:21:55

And PS

I have 2 sons (still children)

and I've also observed the dynamic between my mum and my SIL. I admire my mum for how she has managed things

SJisontheway Mon 15-Jul-13 20:33:49

I would be fairly confident that a lot of the posters telling op to stand her ground have poor, or at best, arms length relationships with their mil's (waits to be assured by some poster that they love their mil dearly).
Op, I think this is something you need to consider when you choose your path. All successful relationships require a bit of compromise - and lets be clear here - that does not mean being dictated to, held to ransom or sent on guilt trips. It just means a bit of give and take.
I enjoy a good relationship with my mil, but more importantly, my dc enjoy a very close and loving relationship with them which is invaluable. But it wasn't easy. It was hard work, particularly in the early days. I bit my tongue on countless occasions, and with hindsight I know this was the right thing for my family. Our relationship could have broken down, like you read about so often on here, and I'm glad I was able to avoid this (I appreciate sometimes this is inevitable).

MrsOakenshield Mon 15-Jul-13 20:42:13

you seem to be presenting a lot things as fact there, fabergeegg, which in my experience, at any rate, are very much not so. Any evidence to back your claims up?

also - one small point - the OP is not on being asked to give up any days of her precious maternity leave, because she isn't on ML any more - her OP states that she is back at work 2 days a week.

Donnadoon Mon 15-Jul-13 20:58:58

Fookin Nora faberegg You have described my situation perfectly...I agree with your every word.

Donnadoon Mon 15-Jul-13 21:01:05

What fabereegg has described is exactly how my MIL makes me feel

EvieanneVolvic Mon 15-Jul-13 21:06:24

You're making some rather bold assumptions there,*Faberge* particular that none of the (excellent) points you raise have been considered by Nina She didn't give us the complete abstract for her book which is after all only in embryo at this stage but I would be surprised if some of your points weren't implicit in her idea which, let's face it, was only mentioned as the close to her post. But where you get that she is not prepared to acknowledge other points of view I have no idea.

Having said that. most books are written from one 'position' or another. Those that aren't can make for some pretty dull reading.

lillibet1 Mon 15-Jul-13 21:59:37

this is why they invented skype.

we skype twice a week on our terms when it suits. every one is happy and feels involved

Inertia Tue 16-Jul-13 00:26:08

My MIL is wonderful. Looking back, I see how she has supported DH and I in bringing up our children our way, even though she used different methods . She is amazingly close with the children, and they adore one another. And I trust her unconditionally with them.

This is why I comment on MIL threads. I don' t have a poor relationship with mine. She doesn't insist on imposing her will on our family.

fabergeegg Tue 16-Jul-13 00:34:11

Oakenshield and Evieanne: I didn't mean to claim or assume anything. If you are both MILs who feel this theory reflects poorly on you, then rest assured that I was not even vaguely suggesting this was a 'one size fits all' theory. I'd expect women interested in this discussion thread to care about relationships with in-laws and be more self-aware than most - so if it did not ring true with any MIL here, it would not necessarily be disproved for everyone. Far from being statements of fact, I meant to put forward an observation I've made for myself and feel has real value. I was interested in exploring NanaNina's points by suggesting that the attitude problems attributed to DIL might have more to do with an underlying family dynamics than territorial callousness. Her take on that would have been interesting.

NanaNina was asked to respond to several points, pleasantly put. She chose not to do that, instead making one last lengthy observation before exiting the conversation, so hard to see any willingness to take on a new idea. If she is serious about putting her position forward in a way that will reach a lot of people, some fruitful discussion would have helped her to firm up her ideas. Instead, she left without appearing to have 'heard' the questions raised.

Wbdn28 Tue 16-Jul-13 00:53:22

YANBU. It's up to you to decide when it's convenient for you to have visitors, how long they stay etc. If she wasn't being so pushy I'm sure you would have arranged visits in any case. She's just making things needlessly tricky for you.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 16-Jul-13 01:43:35

SJ makes a very good point about what relationship the advice givers have with their MILs.

Also, is there nothing which can't be turned into some kind of macho pissing contest? Are people seriously saying they'd happily spend four hours of the day travelling, so as not to stay out overnight?

We don't know what this 2 hour journey involves either, if it involves several train changes, then that would be very tiring, especially to someone in their seventies.

O.P - your MIL means well and I would not advise this being the rock your relationship founders on. I would think that once she feels she's built a relationship with your DC, she'll ease off.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 16-Jul-13 02:51:15

For some households I can see that there is a relationship between GPs & GCs especially when the GPs are providing some sort of practical support.

It seems that the OP is having this practical help thrust on her by her MiL. However they dont appear to have that sort of relationship. The OP isnt looking to her MiL for practical help or advice. The MiL appears to be trying to artificially create a type of relationship with OP and her GS which is neither wanted or needed.

So what happens if there isnt a need for practical support? What is the relationship model? Is a relationship between GPs & GCs actually very important at all?

I am puzzling about this because I can see that because of distance and infirmity I had no real relationship with my GPs (saw them every couple of years). So far as I am aware this hasnt damaged me.

My own DCs have seen GPs more regularly but we have never depended on them for regular childcare or even much in the way of babysitting (DH & I dont go out much). What is the relationship my now teen DCs have with their GPs? From my DM they get uncritical interest in whatever they are doing or want to talk about (my DM has a bottomless capacity to be enthusiatically interested!) . DH's parents arent really interested in what the DCs are up to as it is beyond their own experience.

So far as I can tell my DCs are not being damaged by any of this.

So what for the OP? IMO YANBU

Ultimately your DS may or may not have a relationship with your MiL. Imposing fixed visiting times will neither help nor hinder their relationship.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 07:26:02

I honestly don't think there is ever a situation where a DIL should feel an obligation to let her MIL into her own home to take care of her baby to appease the MIL. That is outrageous.

JustinBsMum Tue 16-Jul-13 07:47:40

I think it just boils to an enthusiastic MIL being a bit panicky and thoughtless.

It is a touchy time emotionally for the new mother and MIL should be aware of that but I remember my DM putting new baby in a back bedroom (crying loudly) as 'new babies don't need constant feeding' shock so it's not just new DMILs. But DM was marvellous with older DCs.

But having someone to stay when really all attention and time wants to be on new baby is the problem imo. I think every month is far too often to have a regular guest, too much work, planning for food, cancelling of your own plans, so DMIL must be able to happily visit but perhaps OP must control how often and how long. DP can probably drive there and back in a day so he can take every one there and back in a day alternate months.

Yes, just thinking about it I would have freaked at having MIL staying with me every month for several days - faaaar too much.

EvieanneVolvic Tue 16-Jul-13 08:06:20

If you are both MILs who feel this theory reflects poorly on you

Another bold and (in my case at least) wrong assumption!

FrauMoose Tue 16-Jul-13 08:11:01

I think some of the debate boils down to different feelings about the marriage contract. The traditional view is that it is not just a joining of individuals but of families. A partner's family - his parents, siblings etc - become in essence your family, and you take on a degree of responsibility towards them. I think that's a view which I have inherited. It doesn't mean that in-laws can treat your home as their own, but it does mean you have a responsibility to try and make the in-law relationships work. That might sound a bit overwhelming, but the alternative viewpoint - 'The only person I have any obligation to is my partner and I really have nothing to do with his family and if I don't like them I shouldn't have to see them' - brings its own complications.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 08:14:46

It is easy to fulfil responsibilities to in laws without feeling the obligation to let them into your home and proxy parent to fulfil the in laws own desires.

WinkyWinkola Tue 16-Jul-13 10:01:12

Hear hear, Bonsoir.

JackNoneReacher Tue 16-Jul-13 10:46:49

Yes Frau and I think some in laws use this 'traditional' approach as an excuse to behave as badly as they like because 'we're you're elders and should be treated with deference and respect no matter how we behave'

For me respect and obligation is two way.

MrsOakenshield Tue 16-Jul-13 10:48:07

no, I'm not a MiL either, sorry! I do have a very lovely MiL who is nothing like what you have described, and her relationship with DH and me is also nothing like it. Which is of course not to say that others fit it exactly.

'let them into your own home' - are we talking about rabid wild animals? Or a human being, your DH's mother, wishing to visit her GC. Proxy parenting is a different thing (and the main thing that needs addressing, imo), but to not let your in laws into your own home? Your husband's family not welcome, simply because they are his family? Unless you extend that to your own family, I think that's dreadful, talk about making your own husband feel like a second class citizen in his own home. Christ.

I saw one GM (DF's mum) every week growing up, at set times, which I think suited my parents (neither of my parents got on with her, though she was lovely) - we were never encouraged to pop round to hers' even in the long summer holidays, which I think rather sad in retrospect. Other GM was hundreds of miles away so saw her a couple of times a year. No, I wasn't damaged by not seeing her more frequently, but equally, it doesn't follow that seeing her more often wouldn't have been beneficial.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Tue 16-Jul-13 10:56:29

I don't think it's reasonable for any relative to insist on a visiting rota, that if you deviate from you are 'being unfair.' No one invites themselves into my home monthly and then says I am horrible for disagreeing.

I don't think the replies agreeing that is reasonable would say the same about a close cousin or aunt/uncle etc.

Seriously, if this weren't about ILs, hell, even family, would people tell OP SWBU for not wanting a strict, set, unbreakable indefinate monthly houseguest to see the child?

I really doubt it.

(Says I, the one who puts up with a pervert FIL and a MIl who thinks I 'stole' her son for the sake of family.)

FrauMoose Tue 16-Jul-13 11:05:22

I think some mothers have a very strong, 'This is my baby, and I choose who she sees and exactly how she is cared for every minute of the day. Because s/he is mine.' If this is how you feel, you are more inclined to regard others - even those who are part of your family - as interlopers.

It maybe that I just lacked the possessive instinct. But when my child was born I just didn't think, 'My baby'. But also 'My stepchildren's sister. My brothers' niece' etc. I knew how important it was for my father-in-law to become a grandparent again.

I was really, really pleased about how many people wanted to welcome her into the world and get to know her.

fluffyraggies Tue 16-Jul-13 11:06:39

Argument opinion will always rage over maternal/paternal inlaws, the way they are perceived and their rights/expectations over their GCs.

As has been said, until it is the norm for child care to be perfectly equally balanced between the father and the mother of a baby, then it's likely that the parents of the main carer of the new baby will tend to be naturally more involved. ie: it's natural that in average family situation new mums, particularly young new mums, will look to their own mum for comfort and advice before going to the mother of their husband. It's not a slight on the MIL, it's a natural chain of events. An effort to be careful to include the paternal in-laws should be made..

I think the big sticking point in OPs situation is the MIL needing to stay overnight. Not only even for one night - but 'a couple of nights' the OP has said - once a month.

Also in this instance the OP has only been with her DP a year. Even in a long standing relationship many would baulk at the idea of hosting their MIL every month for a few days. And i'm talking men baulking at MILs coming to stay too - not just women.

My DH would be none too pleased if my mum was coming to stay every month smile

OP's DP should be smoothing the waters by offering to take the baby TO HIS MUM once a month perhaps, if he's that concerned about a strict routine of visits. I haven't heard about any offers from him to ease the situation.

One other thing - about these poor oppressed son's having their relationship with their mothers spoiled by their wives ... in my own situation i have to prod and poke my DH into regular contact with his mum, otherwise he would never ring. She likes to talk to me, and is a lovely lady, but she is so chuffed when it's him that rings. I hear her tell others what a good son he is keeping in touch with his mum. She doesn't get to see the bit where i nag him for a week before standing over him with the phone saying ''ring your mum will you!'', (and i would never tell her that's the way it is either).

FrauMoose Tue 16-Jul-13 11:44:40

Suppose your Mum is a bit rubbish at the practicalities of looking after babies. Mine went on about breastfeeding being really, really difficult. (She hadn't tried much or being given support.) She went on constantly about, 'Oh are you feeding her again. Is she hungry again?' She also had a bit of a thing about always wanting to nudge my daughter into doing things before my daughter was ready. For example when my daughter was about ten months, she 'stood' her by helping to a supported stand on a chair - but then took her own hands away, so my daughter fell over and started crying. (She wanted to be the one who had 'made' her grandchild stand up for the first time. So my mother did really love having a grand-daughter. But in terms of her ideas about baby care, she was pretty useless. As my partner's mother had died, I can't compare the two styles of mothering. But I can imagine that if she'd been a warm, sensible down to earth, I would have found her useful!

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 12:34:50

I don't think grandparents have any right to "visit" their DGC. Or their DC, for that matter. They can invite their family members over to their home. And they can offer to help out with DGC if the parents require it. But visiting rights? No way.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Tue 16-Jul-13 12:47:40

No one has the right to tell me they're coming for a few set days a month ^indefinitely (in stone!!) And if I disagree? Well I'm horrible aren't I?

^^ That's the part I'm focusing on. That just isn't okay whoever you are. As I said, my PIL aren't people I enjoy time with but I see them a lot for my DC. I wouldn't allow anyone to dictate and then guilt me for saying no like this. Horrible behaviour.

MrsOakenshield Tue 16-Jul-13 14:00:03

I don't think grandparents have any right to "visit" their DGC. Or their DC, for that matter. They can invite their family members over to their home. And they can offer to help out with DGC if the parents require it. But visiting rights? No way.

I think that is unbearably sad, to the extent that I'm sure I must be misunderstanding you in some way. You are saying that neither your nor your DH's parents have any right to expect, even on occasion, to be hosted by their children (you and DH) as guests, in order to see, catch up with, spend time with, their children and grandchildren.

So, to turn it around, no-one should expect to ever visit, or take their DC to visit, their parents/ILs in their own home? All contact should be on neutral ground? No pottering around Grandma's house, seeing the things from your children, helping in the garden with Grandad - none of that? Because visiting is a 2-way street and if you exclude one way you should fully expect to be excluded the other way.

As the OP has said (but it seems it's only OK for the OP to feel this, not the GPs), hosting is quite a bit of work (depending on the level you feel necessary) and also costly - but it's fine for the GPs to take this on, but not you?

what a piece of work you sound.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 16-Jul-13 14:05:14

'I don't think grandparents have any right to "visit" their DGC. Or their DC, for that matter. They can invite their family members over to their home. And they can offer to help out with DGC if the parents require it. But visiting rights? No way.'

I agree with this 100%.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 14:08:47

Grandparents should wait to be invited.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 14:10:19

My MOL (RIP) had another very annoying technique: she would summon her family to her home/events. These were not invitations. Big difference.

EvieanneVolvic Tue 16-Jul-13 14:16:26

Grandparents should wait to be invited.

Hmmm....if only children did the same <heads for hills>


MrsOakenshield Tue 16-Jul-13 14:26:37

right, so it's a matter of semantics. Because, if I invite someone over and they proceed to accept that invite and come over, they are then visiting me.

What you are saying is that GPs shouldn't invite themselves over? Which I still don't agree with in such a blanket-ban fashion - what if my MiL is going to be in our neck of the woods and rings up so say 'I'm going to be nearby on Thursday, would it be OK to pop round and see you and DD?' and wait for me to accept or decline - that's not on? She should ring me to say that she's going to be nearby, but then wait for me to invite her round? I think anyone who feels they have to do the latter is tiptoeing around that person a lot, and I would not like any GP to feel that they have to do that.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 14:29:29

I don't think it is a question of semantics, but of manners.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 14:34:01

My FOL (and his wife, MOL, before him) don't understand why we are never available when they want to pop round at short notice. The reality is that some families are very busy and plan a lot of things and short notice doesn't work.

We had a recent small tiff with FOL who rang DP one weekday to invite us all over for a pizza evening that Sunday. DP was cross and told him no, that we never go out on Sunday before a school night (not strictly true, but there was a lot on that week). FOL clearly didn't get it, so rang DSS1 to ask him whether we could. DSS1 was much more brutal and told his GF roundly and sharply for even suggesting such a thing before an exam week (DSS1 had final bac exams on the Monday morning).

FOL, on the other hand, rings DP every single morning at 8am to tell him how busy he is with his lunch date and then his dinner date. That's all he ever does - eat lunch and dinner!

fabergeegg Tue 16-Jul-13 14:45:49

Reading through the discussion here I think we're sticking on what is a very minor point in reality. Do GP have a right to enter their children's married home and participate in babycare?

It's not about 'rights'. It's about relationships. When a DIL enters the in-law's family, she considers it 'decent' if she's welcomed. Whether she has a 'right' to expect that doesn't come into it because it's a relational context, not a court context. If you're close to me, for example, I consider it 'decent' to give you hospitality and fulfil certain obligations to you. If things got to the point where we were all banging on about 'rights', I'd consider the relationship in serious difficulty and start thinking twice about it. So a good access arrangement has to start with a constructive attitude and an open hand, on both sides.

When I had my DD, I wanted everyone who knew her to love her, despite the fact that I knew my PIL detested me and made it clear to my husband that they would rather he divorced. More than having a good relationship with PIL, I wanted our family to be sustainable and to have healthy boundaries. This is a foundation stone of a good relationship and is indicative of a wise, sensible DIL, not someone with an attitude problem. But I think my PIL were waiting to see how I'd make it difficult for them... for example, at my instigation, they were invited them to the hospital on the day after my C section. My FIL, having agreed to this in advance, then booked a business appointment that afternoon and announced he wanted to send his MIL in his place. Two and a half weeks later, PIL was making furious phone calls, declaring vehemently that grandparents have rights and could get those rights in court - if they wished to, which he didn't of course... Our crime? My MIL wanted my DD to be taken to a family function sixty miles away, on DH's day off. At that time I couldn't walk, hadn't been downstairs since returning from hospital and was practically drooling with pain medication. I couldn't give a damn about their rights.

Nothing - but nothing comes before a rested, peaceful family unit.

So we introduced a rule. You don't get the baby if you're not playing a supportive role in the life of the family. In that context, PIL didn't have a 'right' to see our DD - they had a responsibility to support us and to be loving grandparents to DD. Similarly, we have a responsibility to create as nurturing an environment for DD as we can - and that would ideally involve having PIL's involvement. Of course it would.

But we couldn't make it work. With hindsight, my PIL's inclination to believe I would deny them access to our DD made them more suspicious and resentful than ever. I think it would have been a lot easier if the concept of grandparents' rights had never occurred to them. Realising that all things were never going to change, we decided that our DD was better off without all the aggro, on balance, so we drew a line in the sand and walked away. There's not a day goes by that I think about it and wonder if I couldn't make it work, because I know the loss and sadness this estrangement has created. But at the end of the day, we had our DD to raise her well, not to make anyone happy - not us and certainly not our parents.

I think the grandparents' rights issue is backfiring - since it's only enforceable if a relationship is already in place, a lot of parents who aren't sure if they can keep contact are simply withdrawing to be on the safe side. That was certainly a factor in our decision.

EvieanneVolvic Tue 16-Jul-13 14:50:18

We had a recent small tiff with FOL who rang DP one weekday to invite us all over for a pizza evening that Sunday. DP was cross and told him no, that we never go out on Sunday before a school night (not strictly true, but there was a lot on that week). FOL clearly didn't get it, so rang DSS1 to ask him whether we could. DSS1 was much more brutal and told his GF roundly and sharply for even suggesting such a thing before an exam week (DSS1 had final bac exams on the Monday morning).

Bonsoir PLEASE tell me you are joking. You get CROSS with people for inviting you round (because , shock horror, they don't know your rules and regulations which are clearly not that rigid when it suits you?) and you are proud of DSS for being rude to his grandfather.

That's it...I am clearly in a twilight zone. Mrs Oakenshield when I have a DiL I hope she is like you!

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 14:54:19

DP is very cross with him! FOL is hedonistic and lazy to the extreme and yet thinks that we should always be available when he wants to see us.

EvieanneVolvic Tue 16-Jul-13 15:00:26

You mean he is keen to entertain you to pizza at his house. What a bastard!!!!

HappyAsEyeAm Tue 16-Jul-13 15:01:16

We have two DSs (5yo and 1yo) and my ILs live within ten minutes' walk of our house. My parents, on the other hand, live 5 hours' drive away. It is really important to me that the DSs have a good and strong relationship with both sets of GPs.

Due to the distance, my parents stay for 3 or 4 nights when they come and see us. And it is usually them coming to us as they are both retired, and DH and I both work, and DS1 is at school. So it is easier for us that they come and stay with us. We have enough room.

I would estimate that they come to us for 3 or 4 nights every 5 or 6 weeks or so. At the moment, they have not visted for about 6 weeks, but they are coming next week and will look after the DSs for 3 days whilst I am at work. This is the longest they have ever gone without seeing them. My parents are very helpful and practical, and don't require entertaining. Its actually a battle to get them to sit down when they come! My mum cooks, cleans, tidies up etc, and my dad gardens and does odd jobs. They would like to do more for us, and see us more often (actually I think they would move in if they could smile) but they respect that we need time to ourselves and that we have other friends and commitments to work around.

I would do everything I could to accommodate my parents visiting every six weeks or so, and I would expect DH to do this too. This doesn't mean staying in for the whole time they are with us - he is welcome to do whatever he would normally have planned - sport, visiting friends, maybe we would go out for dinner as a couple whilst my parents babysit in the evening. And I might have a night out with my friends too. And if we have a weekend away, holiday or whatever planned which would coincide with them coming, we would either change our plans, or change the weeknd that they were due to arrive. Whatever suits us all. I suppose we tend to arrange dates for visits about a month in advance of them happening.

My parents deserve that time with the DC and the DC adore them It is so important for me that they have this relationship, and it makes me really happy.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 15:03:36

The night before his first grandson's bac exam?

FrauMoose Tue 16-Jul-13 15:04:49

You mean he is keen to entertain you to pizza at his house. What a bastard!!!!

My feelings entirely

MrsOakenshield Tue 16-Jul-13 15:10:20

at the point of invitation (and this is about your FOL inviting you to him, which is what you said upthread was fine to do, not daring to visit you in your home of course) did you FOL know he had an exam? Because, from your post, your DP told him that you never do things on Sundays - no mention of an exam. And how very dare he invite you round for a pizza (hardly a long social engagement). Bastard.

(Oh, and the point I was making was about semantics - you said that GPs had no right to visit, and from your subsequent post it transpired that what you meant was you didn't want them to invite themselves round. Not the same thing, is all I was saying. Though tbh it sounds like you don't want them to try to see you at all - I feel quite sorry for them, they clearly can't win.)

EvieanneVolvic Tue 16-Jul-13 15:14:52

The night before his first grandson's bac exam?

Well maybe, maybe not. Does he have a copy of the exam timetable on his fridge at home? And there are those who feel that chilling out in a non alcoholic way is the very best thing to do on the ven of an exam. Either way, it hardly seems a capital offence and I am completely staggered that you are apparently proud of your DSS for being brutal and speaking to his GF roundly and sharply (quite a neat trick to do both at once, I grant you). Clearly you are training him o dilike your FoL as much as you do. Nice !

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 15:15:28

Personally, I think that a grandfather who doesn't know the national bac exam schedule when his eldest of three grandchildren is taking his bac that year deserves to have his head bitten off!

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 15:16:11

DSS1 is trained to be intolerant of silly fools, yes grin

EvieanneVolvic Tue 16-Jul-13 15:18:44

Intolerance is one thing. Being openly rude is another.

Personally, I think that a grandfather who doesn't know the national bac exam schedule when his eldest of three grandchildren is taking his bac that year deserves to have his head bitten off!

Okay, I admit it, I've been had. You are joking aren't you. Nice one!

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 15:20:53

This is national news kind of stuff in France, Evie. It would be like not knowing there is a presidential election coming up! Except that the bac is every summer.

EvieanneVolvic Tue 16-Jul-13 15:26:35

Oh ffs get a grip Bonsoir....there is a world of difference between knowing that the BAC is generally imminent and deserving to have his head bitten off for not having your grandson's exact schedule engraved on your forehead.

The point is, would a simple 'No thanks, that's really kind DS1 has got exams the next day' not have sufficed? I am still puzzled as to why your DP got cross with him.

But then I cannot believe I am still paying you the huge compliment of taking this jug of arse gravy seriously

hardboiledpossum Tue 16-Jul-13 15:31:04

I think yabu. I have nothing in common with my mil but she loves ds and wants to see him every week so she comes and spends an afternoon with us every week. It makes her happy.

Family is really important to me and I want ds to have a close relationship with his grandparents. I speak to my own parents most days and also see them at least once a week.

SJisontheway Tue 16-Jul-13 15:34:43

Fabergeegg, I agree with your last post. Its about healthy relationships, not rights. It is sad that the relationship with your IL's broke down, but from what you say it was inevitable. From what the op has said her relationship with mil is not at this point. A bit of compromise could salvage the relationship with benefits all round.

Phineyj Tue 16-Jul-13 15:47:11

OP, do the weekly Skype thing if your MIL uses a computer. It takes a lot of the heat off if they can 'see' them regularly. Also, Yy to sending your DP to see her with the baby. I often visit my DPs without DH as I am often free in the day when he is not. Therefore I don't see why I always have to accompany him on IL visits. Mind you my MIL is pleased to see me, but if yours isn't particularly, use the time to get things done.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 16-Jul-13 17:42:14

I agree SJisontheway

The reason the OP is uncomfortable is that she (the OP) hasn't built a strong relationship with her MIL, and then the baby comes along and the MIL (fearful of not having a strong relationship with the baby), tries to impose her will on her DIL.

Perhaps the OP can take some of the fear away, and hopefully if she does this the MIL will calm down a bit and build a relationship with her DIL.

But it could go the other way

NanaNina Tue 16-Jul-13 19:22:55

Hi SpecialAgent I am answering your post you wrote on Monday this week. I am confused about your confusion in relation to the 2 points that I made and which you have highlighted in bold (I only mention this so that you will know which ones I mean) as I can't understand how my points contradict each other. I was concerned that someone had said that it is the "Mother and baby's decision about visits from PILs" (or something like that - not sure how the baby can make the decision(!) and I aske if the father had a say in decision making or is he just the sperm donor. I don't think she relied and I can't remember who it was.

My second comment related to the fact that on these MIL threads I have very often seen MNers piling in to tell the DIL that she needs to tell her DP/DH to "grow a pair" and tell his mother or father they must/must not do this that or the other. I am thinking more of other threads as I don't think that has been said on this one.

I have read and re-read your post and I can't quite understand what you are asking, so this is a bit of a guess (am not blaming you btw, it's probably me not getting it into my head - I blame the ageing brain cells!) Your question seems to be around who takes up an issue with a MIL or mother when the DIL is upset about something or where they are both concerned. I think this depends very much on the individual. Over the years I have had a few altercations with DIL No 1 but we have always sorted it out quite quickly and I don't think either of us wanted my son involved and he would be more than happy to keep out of it! Always one to avoid conflict at any price. Ditto with DIL No 2.

I think wherever possible the communication needs to be between the person who perceives they have been slighted and the person who they think has slighted them and I think that is true for any situation/relationship in life. I did say when I first posted that I hadn't read all the posts and I honestly didn't think any of your previous posts were irrelevant. To be honest on these long threads I can't remember who said what - ageing brain cells again!

Thank you to the people who have said nice things about my post.

Fabergeeg you are accusing me of not reading the posts and not bothering to respond etc. I think you posted this on Monday or maybe earlier today - that's just 2 days! I did write a long post after midnight last night and lost it, and have been busy today helping a neighbour with her autistic son (I do this once a week) and others also offer help on other days so that his single parent mum can get some respite. Incidentally her MIL visits about twice a year for a couple of hours!! Maybe you should not assume someone has "left" the conversation if they don't post for a couple of days.

I think it's interesting that Evienne and MrsOakshield have been perceived as MILs as they are in the main supportive of both sets of grandparents being able to have contact with their grandchild. It seemed obvious to me that these MNers are just sensible and reasonable young mums who understand that it is in the child's interests to grow up knowing he/she is loved and cared for by both sets of grandparents and for that matter any other member of the extended family.

I can't help but notice that so many MNers on here are coming out strongly against what has now been called "visiting rights" and yet are suggesting imposing definite boundaries around visits from the ILs. Ironic really.

I think the discussion has become a little convoluted and for that reason I may not post again but then again if a post comes up that is interesting then I might. Incidentally the thing about writing a book was not serious - it was meant as a slightly flippant comment about the need for something to be written on this issue, but it would take a better brain than mine.

NanaNina Tue 16-Jul-13 19:26:03

Ah I'm back already. I am seriously thinking of starting a thread about the difficulties that MILs have with their DILs from the MILs perspectives as I don't think this has been done. As I said I have several close women friends who have difficulties with their DILs and they are women I have known for many years and so know they are not the pushy "toxic" MIL that are often complained about on these threads.

WinkyWinkola Tue 16-Jul-13 19:36:25

Isn't that what Gransnet is for? To spout off about all these hateful dils?

Sleep404 Tue 16-Jul-13 20:16:26

Nana, that doesn't mean they don't exist, or that all DiLs are nice. There will obviously be varying degrees of controlling MiLs and overly sensitive DiLs.

Mine, drives me crazy, but she loves my DC so I suck it up and try to ignore all. Similar to the OP, she and FiL want to come over a lot amongst other things. Last week they rang to ask us out. It wasn't convenient and DH said so. They said ok and then turned up anyway, stayed all afternoon, so our plans went out the window. Now if you spoke to any of MiL friends, they'd never believe that of her. Nor would she see it herself. She is forever telling me how interfering her own MiL was. The irony seems to be lost on her.

AaDB Tue 16-Jul-13 20:21:21

I think that rights go hand in hand with responsibilities. I hold an unpopular view for MN in that I think GPs SHOULD help out if they are able. Both sets of our parents had on tap babysitting for nights out. Both DMs were Sahp. Neither set of parents help with us with childcare. They have never helped with a school pick up or attended nativity/sports day; our GPs did.

Both sets of parents expect to be provided with an opportunity to visit at their convenience and expect a red carpet treatment. I have a desire to provide my ds with the widest community of support possible. However, it isn't always convenient, especially atweekends. We have clubs, parties and an endless to do list of jobs. Their aren't enough hours in the day. In contrast, both sets are young retirees with very old fashioned and rigid timetables and views. They aren't very flexible with their visit requests. Recently, ds had been ill all week and we were all very tired. I didn't 'fancy making a roast so we can visit between 2/8 on Sun'. My DPs don't want to visit to spend time with ds. I don't want to park ds in front of the TV for hours so they can have grown up chats. Any sort of request for specific and practical help, is met with a raincheck for when we have more time for a proper visit. At least with my own DPs, I can say what I mean. Even if I do cause offense, it is easily sorted out.

My ils rules of engagement are baffling to me. I also hold an unpopular view that the main point of liaison for my ils us their ds (not me).

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 16-Jul-13 21:20:22

I dont disagree with you AaDB. If there isnt an element of support from GPs then what is the relationship between ILs supposed to be?

My own relationship with PiL is tangential. The touching point is the children. GPs made it very clear that they would not be doing childcare though they said they would help out in an emergency. We moved abroad when DCs were small. This completely changed the dynamic. By the time we moved back the children were older so the need for help of any sort was gone.

I have few shared experiences with PiL.

Quite honestly for me the PiL are a couple of old people DH & the DCs know. I feel no connection.

AaDB Tue 16-Jul-13 21:38:20

Sorry for the errors, my phone autocorrects.

Both sets of gps talk a good game but are abstract. Photographs galore but no real memories being made. With my parents, I feel like we are in limbo for a time when ds is grown up enough for them. As adults, they have some responsibility to build a foundation. I know they find me difficult because I won't fit in with their formal view of visiting. This is more how they were expected to engage with my great grandparents. My stayed overnight with his GPs several times a week. I went to mine every day after school. It's their loss. If they want to visit, it had to be on terms that suit my family. If they were prepared to help, I'd have more time, energy and money to make more of an effort.

fabergeegg Tue 16-Jul-13 21:42:01

NanaNina There is a middle ground that you're not acknowledging at the moment in relation to this issue. Starting an opposite thread would only polarise the debate - as I'm sure you're aware! I have a problem with aspects of what you're saying, because you sound both authoritative and deliberately mild ('I can't help but think...etc). This adds up to an image of a very kind, very wise older figure. No doubt you have had a great deal more experience of the MIL/DIL dynamic than many here. However, speaking personally, I don't think there is a truly balanced, insightful content running through your posts - flashes of insight, yes, but then a lot of 'poor old MILs/nasty old DILs' talk that doesn't address the issues many here are facing. When DILs are discussing the problems they encounter - real and often very difficult - it isn't particularly helpful to know about about how reasonable you are as an MIL and how manageable the relationships with your DILs has been. It makes it sound as though you think DILs just need to stop being precious and suck it up for the benefit of everyone else. If only it were that simple!

I, and others, have gone to some trouble to try and show you that DILs often have their hearts in the right place. But the arrival of a child can put all family relationships under a microscope, highlighting differences that were insignificant before. Whether or not it's your personal experience, it can happen! I also think you need to think carefully about the sleep deprivation, stress and hormonal changes that may affect a new mother hell bent on meeting her baby's needs. There is room for compromise, but not a lot. If PIL don't show themselves supportive to the mother and baby unit at this stage, they've done the whole family a disservice, as the welfare of the baby is deeply impacted by the well-being of the mother. This is incomparably more crucial and significant than changes taking place in grandmothers, useful though that theory is. If DIL and MIL had not been in the habit of spending long periods of time together each week or even each month, they're hardly likely to be able to slip seamlessly into it post pregnancy and it's unrealistic to expect that to happen. And I strongly do not agree with any suggestion that grandparents have any right whatsoever to have the children on their own. It's not necessary for the child.

I'm sorry if I offended you by suggesting you were ignoring posts when, in reality, you were helping others. I was referring to your long post in which specific points made to you were not mentioned.

fabergeegg Tue 16-Jul-13 21:48:18

NanaNina I also agree with Sleep, who makes the point that even the nicest and most socially adept women can have blind spots when it comes to their adult children. You cannot say, in effect, that it must be the DIL's fault because your friends would never be demanding and unreasonable. My MIL is incredibly demanding - legendarily so. On one occasion, I was trying to help her see how a very selfish act was hurtful. She commented that she'd been talking to her friends, who had been telling her how unreasonable some MILs were, and how she would never behave like them. In fact, all she'd do was try to apologise...utter rot.

ZingWidge Tue 16-Jul-13 21:55:46


I'd not agree to a "visiting schedule" like that, unless it suited me.

NanaNina Wed 17-Jul-13 00:42:58

Well that's told me Fabergee (!) I was fascinated by your attempts to describe my temperament and disposition. However along with your criticism, I do apparently have flashes of insight - wow I must be grateful for small mercies. Just for the record I have never used the phrase "poor old MILs/nasty old DILs" so if you are going to quote me I think you should quote me accurately rather than your own interpretation of the points that I raise. Of course I realise that it is all dependent on the individuals concerned and there will be faults in both the DIL and the MIL.

Could you be a tad over sensitive to the brief comments I made about my r/ship with my DILs. Again you have distorted what I said. At no time did I mention that I was a reasonable MIL and quite how you interpret the brief comments that I made as "making it sound like the DILs need to stop being precious and suck it up for everyone else's sake"

Your 2nd para contains an important few words "I and others have gone to some trouble to show you that DILs have their hearts in the right place. This is not only patronising but it demonstrates to me that you feel the need to have your views bolstered by others in your attempts to criticise me. Many MNers have made positive comments about my posts but I don't feel the need to remind you of that. I feel confident in expressing my views and of course some will agree and others won't - is this any different from any other debate on MN?

Of course I am aware about the upheaval both practically and emotionally that a new baby brings and does as you say "put relationships under a microscope. You then tell me that I "need to think carefully about sleep deprivation and hormonal changes" - phew how patronising is that. I come from a family of 5 girls and we all supported each other with our newborns as we were fortunate enough to live relatively close and have good r/ships. Hope that is ok for me to mention that! SO yes I do actually know about sleep deprivation and hormonal changes. IF we can get back to the OP the baby in question was 10 months old, so the parents may well be sleep deprived but will have got over those early horrendously tiring weeks. I have a grand-daughter who is almost 4 and still doesn't sleep through the night.

You are obviously "rattled" by my posts and I can't actually remember any of them unless I go back and look. I think one of the problems is that on these kind of threads (which I usually avoid) I am almost always the only MIL and that puts me at a disadvantage as I think that for DILs who don't for whatever reason have a good r/ship with their MILs/FILs I am an easy target. Fortunately that doesn't bother me, but it would be nice to hear from other MILs.

Oh yes someone called Winkywonky or something like that thought Gransnet was for talking about nasty DILs. Of course I have no intention of starting such a thread - it was just a throwaway comment.

Finally you take issue with a comment I made about women friends who I have known for 40 years in some cases who are upset by their DILs. I know the DIL in question with one of my friends and she is very controlling by nature and she is often very impatient with the children which upsets my friend, but she dare not say anything for fear of upsetting DIL. I know that DIL did not have very caring parents herself and that she is parenting in the way that she was parented (I think this is true for many parents) and that she is insecure, which is the reason that she is sometimes controlling. My friend is a quiet reserved character and really is afraid of upsetting her DIL, but then she doesn't like upsetting anyone. Her son is somewhat dominated by his partner too, and that is another problem.

I have another friend who interestingly has a problem with her Son-In-Law (which makes a change) as he is the dominant partner and she only gets to see her daughter and the grandchildren on his terms. Her daughter seems unable to stand up to him and so in effect he "rules the roost" so to speak.

Ah well it's well past midnight and time for bed.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 17-Jul-13 07:20:10

I wonder if some of the problem is in the naming of roles: mother/father in law and daughter/son in law.

My DH's parents are not my parents. I am not their daughter.

In times past more people grew up and lived in the same community. This may have created a sense of parental relationship. Where couples meet and set up home away from parents the whole in-law relationship can feel anachronistic.

Interesting post NanaNina. However I think you have to accept that there can be different views on the same situation. "she is very controlling by nature" could also mean "she doesnt do things my way and wont change".

I dont think anyone can ever truly understand another person's relationships. That "quiet reserved character" could be a frustrating and infuriating passive aggressive manipulator to the person on the receiving end of the quiet reservation.

SJisontheway Wed 17-Jul-13 09:17:38

Worry, I think you make a strong arguement for why we should all consider nananina's thoughts carefully. Of course there are two sides to every story. So when a poster talks of difficulties with her mil, and the majority pile in and tell her to stand her ground (often projecting from their own situation) it could be really beneficial to stand back and try and see it from the mil's point of view. Surely having contributors like nananina allow for a more balanced discussion.

DuelingFanjo Wed 17-Jul-13 10:23:25

"So when a poster talks of difficulties with her mil, and the majority pile in and tell her to stand her ground it could be really beneficial to stand back and try and see it from the mil's point of view."

If you read the OP you can clearly see that the grandmother is being pushy. I think most posters take each thread like this on their own merits, reading what the op has written and then giving responses based upon whatever info was put in the first posts.

"Surely having contributors like nananina allow for a more balanced discussion."

As far as i can see it was a balanced discussion.

NanaNina stated in her first post that she hadn't read all of the responses up to that point, which is maybe why she hadn't seen that several posts had already been made in defence of the MIL. She also finished her first post with "Finally remember all you MIL bashers..." which was a little inflamatory don't you think, given that several people had not been bashing anyone at all?

Also - the old 'you will all most probably be MILs yourself some day and if you have sons you will also have a DIL' stuff is just so tired. it's really horrible actually, this need to tell mothers of sons that they will one day be in the same position so they had better watch out. Yuk.

SJisontheway Wed 17-Jul-13 10:50:38

"If you read the OP you can clearly see that the grandmother is being pushy"
I don't see that at all. I see some one who clearly loves their granchild and wants to contribute in a positve way. I see someone who is feeling vulnerable and is afraid of being pushed out.
On this thread I have heard that short notice visits are out of the question. To some it is a crime for it even to be suggested. Scheduled visits are also out of the question. Too rigid. What i'm hearing from a lot of posters is that gp's should sit patiently by the phone and wait for an invite, without any input to the schedule. And be grateful - it's not your child.
I suggest there is a middle ground. And finding that middle ground is good for everyone, especially the child stuck in the middle.

ZingWidge Wed 17-Jul-13 11:07:16

MIL offering help - great
MIL wanting to see gc - lovely

OP trying to accommodate MIL as often as possible - very nice, especially that it is also more work for OP as MIL stays over everytime!

Anyone making OP feel guilty about her choices - bad form

OP wanting to decide what suits her - normal

DuelingFanjo Wed 17-Jul-13 11:18:21

"She said to my DP that she wants to make sure she sees her grandson once a month so I called her to talk about it, and said we were looking forward to seeing her but could we keep the arrangement flexible, and make plans when we see her next. She just kept saying that she wanted to be sure to visit every four weeks and do the childcare and she felt that was a "reasonable expectation"

this is not a resaonable respnse to the OPs phone call.

A reasonable person would say 'ok, yes - let's talk about it when I see you in August' A reasonable person would not be insisting that they 'do the childcare'.

SueDoku Wed 17-Jul-13 12:03:35

I'm another MIL on this thread Nana and I'm impressed by the quality of the discussion and the obvious thought that has gone into many people's posts. I have a DS/DDIL/DGC who live 3 hours drive away, and a DD/DDP/DGC who live nearer to me. My DDILs DM lives much nearer to her, and sees them several times a week, whereas I see them about 4-6 weekly (sometimes I go there for a few days, sometimes they come here for the weekend).
My DSs child obviously has a much closer bond with DDILs DM, who has helped with childcare since DDIL went back to work - does this make me sad? Slightly, but it's natural, and I know that DGC loves me and enjoys seeing me - also I have been told by both DS and DDIL that I am welcome at their house at any time, which has had the result of making me aware that they lead busy lives and that I need to check with them before visiting and compromise if necessary.
When DD had her first child, I was astonished at the difference in the way that I felt - not about DGC, both of whom I love very much - but about the fact that I felt 'trusted' to care for the baby (just as DDILs Mother had been) in a quite different way, and that I felt much more relaxed about suggesting things to DD (who would soon have told me if she didn't agree!) in a way that is impossible with DDIL (who is lovely, and who has asked my opinion at times, but naturally looked to her own Mum as her main source of support).
As someone who has always believed in equality, and who ensured that both my DC could care for themselves (cooking, ironing etc.) and did not need to be 'looked after' I really found it strange to find myself falling into the 'stereotypical' DM/DMIL role with the two women in my life - and yet I can quite see how and why it happened.
It's a balancing act, and I'm hoping that I can keep on the tightrope for many years to come, as I would hate to become seen as a 'pushy Grandma' but want to offer as much help as possible to both couples. Wish me luck..! smile

Bonsoir Wed 17-Jul-13 13:10:48

SueDoku - it is interesting to read your very good post about the difference between a DGC born to a DS and a DGC born to a DD.

My mother was incredibly supportive at the births of all four of her DGC. She only has DDs and we all instinctively wanted to spend a lot of time together. Indeed, my sister and I, who both gave birth in 2004, spent masses of time together at my parents' house in 2004 and 2005 - lots of sitting around on sofas breastfeeding and chatting and just general hanging out among three generations. My sister and I could never have had that relationship with our MILs. I don't think there is such a thing as "equality" among grandmothers when it comes to small DGC.

MrsOakenshield Wed 17-Jul-13 14:40:22

Again, my experience is very different. MiL has 3 Dils, one SiL. One of her DiLs actually lived with her for a while, whilst she was having a hard time at work and needed a break (she's from abroad). She stayed there without her DH and had a very good time, and when they returned to her home country would often ring MiL for a chat.

I didn't see as much of MiL as I could have when DD was little, and I really wish I had when I had the chance - DD adores her. Adores her. Sees less of her than she does my mum (distance and difficulty of journey mainly) but has a far better relationship with her (MiL loves children and really understands them - she used to be a children's nurse back in the day). I would rather have MiL babysit that my mum, and she jumps at the chance. I am more than happy to swan off leaving DD with MiL - with my mum I would be a little more anxious (probably not founded).

MiL is very easy company, very chatty, very supportive (she was able to give me practical bf support, for example, which my mum couldn't). If I'd wanted to, and had made the effort to do so, I could easily have lounged around at hers, drinking tea, chatting and bfing.

DH says that he had an ideal childhood and I believe that was very much down to MiL. (When he split up with his ex-gf, she said she would miss his family the most!) She created a very secure home for them, with an open house policy for all their friends, and well into his 20s would send DH £20 for the train fare home. At that time he probably went back home (200 miles) every couple of weeks, which is far more than most people I knew did. But she also produced 4 very independent children who now live scattered all over the place.

If she lived round the corner I'd be over all the time, and would invite her over. She's bloody lovely!

Back to the OP - I do think the best thing would be to sit down, talk it through, and come up with a workable solution for all concerned. You could read the OP in different ways - some see a pushy, interfering MiL, others see a MiL anxious to be involved and worried that she won't be unless she gets it cast in stone.

This thread has inspired me to do more to ensure we, but mainly DD, get to see MiL more often!

WinkyWinkola Wed 17-Jul-13 15:08:17

Mrs Oakenshield, what an amazing mil you have. She sounds like a thoroughly lovely woman. Little wonder you all cherish her. I love her from here! wink

Not everybody is lucky like that though. Some people just don't respond to "talking it through."

AnotherStitchInTime Wed 17-Jul-13 16:43:30

Mrs Oakenshield your MIL sounds like mine. 5 kids, 3 DIL's, 14 grandkids.

I lived in her house for 2 years. Family and friends were always popping in.

She was at the birth of my dd1, my mum lives too far away and couldn't get there in time.

She passed away two years ago, so sad she will never get to meet dd2 and our expected baby.

Hope you manage to work it out with your MIL OP.

Beastofburden Wed 17-Jul-13 16:53:38

I had this when first married. DS is now 21. My MIL was very nervous and overcontrolling because she had no idea what to expect from me. I felt she was pushy, bossy, possessive of her son, resentful of our marriage, and disrespectful of my own parents. In fact, I don't think she was. She was just not used to being the mother in every situation, making plans and getting things set up. And she did have a big adjustment to make, having seen so much of her son up till then.

I expect you are worried that it will get worse unless you show her who is boss now- actually, it will get better as she learns to trust you. I expect she is jealous of your mother having such a close relationship with you and the child.

In your shoes I would make the most of the bonding time over the summer, so she trusts you. In the meantime I would explain politely when a date doesn't suit, but offer alternatives, just as you would with any other adult arrangement.

Exude utter and sublime self-confidence and self-esteem. If a date gets moved, compensate with planning a nice event for when she does come.

As your DS grows, he may become very fond of her, which will be annoying if you dont like her. But by teenage years, he will make up his own mind, based on how well everyone behaves. Time is absolutely on your side in this one.

Beastofburden Wed 17-Jul-13 16:54:32

sorry "she was just used to being the mother"- spare "not"

Ohhelpohnoitsa Wed 17-Jul-13 21:09:22

not read everyone s responses but just be cateful a. that you dont start something you regret for the next 4 yrs. b. you dont only invite her when you need her childcare.

Frustratedartist Wed 17-Jul-13 22:50:30

My MIL was pushy and controlling when our kids were young. She lived a distance away and came to stay for days and at that time dominated out household. I was too young and eager to please to realise what was going on & take charge.

Having said that I also realised the importance of grandparents and wanted to include both sides.

There have been blow outs - where I've been pushed too far by her. She made rude comments about us having a 4th child & I blew up at her.

Now I realise I'm in the position of strength & I endeavour to calmly & pleasantly include her - but on my terms. She's still pretty horrible at times. But she's an old woman & she's just sad and lonely.

NanaNina Thu 18-Jul-13 00:44:18

SueDoko hello! I really enjoyed your post (and not simply because you're a MIL) I think you are absolutely right and in most cases I think a daughter will turn to her own mother first (I know I did when I was a young mum). My MIL was always giving me advice that I didn't need because being the youngest of 5 girls and all of us have children (one sister had twins) I had all the help and support I needed from my sisters and my mum but I just "rode it out" nodded and smiled at MILs advice Looking back she probably felt a bit left out with so many of us with young children and almost always meeting up at my parent's home several times a week.

Interestingly my PILs expected us to visit them on a regular basis but even though about 20 mins car ride away, they very rarely visited us, and I think this is how it had been for them when their kids were young, and they had always visited their parents, and so to them it seemed the natural thing to do.

I was not fortunate enough to have a daughter and while I love my sons unconditionally I still regret not having a daughter. When my first grandchild was born, my son and DIL had a gathering of all the relatives (DIL has a large extended family) and the newborn (a few days old) was outside in the pram in just a babygro and a thin blanket over her. I thought she needed more clothes on as it was quite a windy day even though it was Spring, and my sister who also came over thought the same, but there was no way I was going to tell DIL what I thought. Fortunately DIL's sister arrived and immediately said "That baby needs more clothes on and a warmer blanket........" and my DIL took notice as her sister was already a mother of 3 by that time and because they are very close anyway. I feel sure if it had been my daughter's baby I would have been able to say what I felt.

Ah well I suppose this long standing "issue" between MILs and DILs will continue to be debated as the tensions still exist and probably always will. I think things do become exacerbated once a grandchild arrives and as someone said "puts all the dynamics of relationships under a microscope."

There has been lots of talk of "rights" on here about visiting etc, but I still think that it is the child who has the rights to grow up feeling loved and cared for by his/her parents, GPs and other members of the extended family, so long as these people understand children and can communicate with them and show an interest in them.

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