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To think its daft to worry about being a MIL to sons wives but not to worry about being a MIL to daughters husbands? (Inspired by another thread - not a thread about a thread)

(101 Posts)
Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 22:16:47

Why is it just future/present DIL who seem to cause the angst?

Why do most people on here worry about them but not present/future sons-in-law?

A son-in-law could be just as awful surely?

(Mine is lovely and is a great DH and dad)

magimedi Sat 04-Jan-14 22:29:30


I often have to sit on my hands & not post at some of the MIL/DIL posts here.

Never seen a SIL post however.

LucilleBluth Sat 04-Jan-14 22:39:53

That thread was possibly the most depressing thread I have read on here.......majorly lacking in self awareness. I was told that I am raising misogynists because I dared have a different view to that of kissing of the DILs arse.

Mumsnet has a massive blind spot when it comes to the in laws.

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 22:41:51

No, I don't think I've seen a son-in-law post either!

Maybe it's partly just because so few men post on here - I suspect things would be different if more men were on here posting about their MIL...

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 22:43:28

By son-in-law post I mean that I don't think I've seen MNers worrying about how to be a good MIL to their DD's partner/DH.

ComposHat Sat 04-Jan-14 22:47:01

I'm male and find my mother in law to be extremely hard work, selfish, spiteful and rude, but I wouldn't necessarily start a thread about it, I just avoid her as much as possible and behave with good grace, don't rise to any bait she dangles when I'm forced into contact with her.

My guess is that a lot of the disagreements centre around the home, cooking and grand children and the daughter in law's perceived shortcomings in these areas, which women of a certain age are more likely to see as as her daughter in law's domain than their son's, regardless of how the son and daughter in law actually live their lives.

On the other side of the coin, I've seen women on here who seem to see her husband's family as his 'ex-family' upon marriage or having children, whilst still expecting to maintain a close bond with her own parents. It manifests itself in statements like 'he's got his own family now' and an expectation that he should take his wife's side against his mother's in any dispute (regardless of how he feels about the issue). It also comes across in threads where the woman prevents her mother in law from visiting their grandchild for weeks after the birth 'until she's ready' but will already have had extensive contact with her own mother.

meditrina Sat 04-Jan-14 22:52:35


If someone is posting about a particular issue with a particular person in their family, then that's fair enough.

But to make assumptions about totally hypothetical future family members, based on sex of DC and the assumption they will prefer heterosexual monogamy always seems a bit off to me.

Mitzyme Sat 04-Jan-14 22:53:23

Exactly what I thought. Totally depressing.

thegreylady Sat 04-Jan-14 22:55:58

My sil is lovely. He is a great husband and father. He is quick to offer help, he is always pleasant and affectionate - what's not to like?
Mind you my dil is pretty great too as are my stepdils. I wouldn't swap one of them smile

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 22:56:56

Thank you for responding Compos - and I agree with a lot of your assessment in your third paragraph.

I've seen this "one-sidedness" first hand where the wife favoured her own family on many occasions.

Despite me and MIL not exactly being soul-mates I have always, always treated her well and fairly.

Whatever I think of her she raised DH to be a good man.

thegreylady Sat 04-Jan-14 23:02:03

However, like it or not, most women are closer to their own mums than to their inlaws. They feel more able to relax with mum, to worry less about perceived imperfections in their homes or their persons. If a woman was sick she'd rather have her mum to take care of her- surely that's only natural. I expect my ddil to confide in her own mum before me. In fact she wanted both of us at the hospital when dgd was born but I would gladly defer to her mum in matters directly concerning ddil.

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 23:05:22

You're right meditrina - I hadn't particularly considered the homosexual/heterosexual aspect!

My DS isn't gay but I'd be just as keen to get on well with a male partner as a female one!

Not that he looks like settling down any time soon hmm

I think you alluded to that too Lucille maybe on the other thread? - so apologies! smile

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 23:09:24

Well then surely greylady a son-in-law will prefer the help and support of his mum and dad should he need any help - even if his Inlaws offer?

That's what you are saying.

So therefore MNers should expect that if they want their own mums/dads for help or advice or nurturing then their partner is entitled to the same consideration?

thegreylady Sat 04-Jan-14 23:14:38

Absolutely of course a bloke would prefer advice from his own parents to that from his inlaws.
However, husband and wife should always stand together, united, if there is disagreement with either set of parents. We don't really do disagreement much though.

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 23:18:14

Ideally they should stand together on things BUT they should also stand on their own two feet - on here, all the time, you see people wanting their DH to "stand up" to their parents etc. and not let the ILs visit blah, blah, blah.

But I'll bet my bottom dollar they wouldn't want their DH asking them to tell their own parents to butt out!

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 23:22:15

Oops - sorry greylady - you also mentioned that of course a woman wants her own mum when she is unwell (or words to that effect!!)

Can you imagine what would happen if a man said he wanted his "own mum" to look after him -as opposed to his wife/MIL?

Valdeeves Sat 04-Jan-14 23:23:57

I agree with the above post. The problem is the MIL and DIL relationship is also hugely controlled by biology - I think a mother is hugely protective of the bond between herself and a child and can't cope with any level of perceived interference with that from someone non biologically related. This is compounded by many MIL's getting seemingly hormonal surges at the birth of their first grandchild and become overtly possessive.
There's other reasons - personality etc etc obviously.
However when your hormones clear sometimes it's important to realise that it's your husbands mother, another woman with feelings of her own - and try and see the other point of view.
I think son in laws are generally easier as they don't tend to make waves.

Valdeeves Sat 04-Jan-14 23:24:29

Not always easy though depending on the person.

Valdeeves Sat 04-Jan-14 23:25:49

I mean the one from compospost!

PortofinoRevisited Sat 04-Jan-14 23:28:42

Hmm. Families can have some weird shit going on. My own included. I hope to bring dd up to stand up for herself but also to realise that sometimes effort is required to get on with other people. Its a hard one. At Xmas I saw my SIL who I love and adore, give instructions to DN re her own babies. They kind of shrugged it off but you could sense the irritation.

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 23:36:47

Oh I totally understand what you say Porto!

My DD is a good mum and I never interfere - I just follow her way of doing things.

Her MIL is pretty good too - she doesnt try to impose views or anything and as commented on how well DD is coping etc..

That said, an older relative tried to tell my DD what she should be doing with the grandchildren (completely daft advice) ... DD told them straight that she wasn't prepared to take their advice. She was polite but very firm.

WooWooOwl Sat 04-Jan-14 23:39:39

Women are more manipulative than men, so their relationships need more management, their relationship is fundamentally more complicated. Call me a misogynist if you like, but that's what I think.

mydoorisalwaysopen Sat 04-Jan-14 23:44:30

there's a couple of sayings about this - your daughter is your daughter for life, your son is yours until he takes a wife, and, when a daughter marries a mother gains a son, when a son marries a mother loses a son (or thereabouts!).

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 23:52:03

And yet another MIL thread has appeared! hmm

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Sat 04-Jan-14 23:53:45

I agree woo woo, men seem more straight forward usually and I am one to hate making sweeping male/female statements but they do seem more independant and want to chat and converse and talk to people , maybe why mumsnet is so popular and there doesn't seem to be a similar dads net!

women are the main communicators normally.

I just pray my DD's get nice MILS and I will certainly encourage my dds to be nice to their mils and make sure their included, however, if they are bitches who treat my daughters like most mils on here treat their dils, then no, I wont be encouraging my dd's to be door mats.

Alot of the angst isnt just when the dil is ill and wants her own mum op, its usually women posting they have just had a baby, have suffered damage in one way or another and feel more comfortable with their own mothers there, rather than their usually domineering MILS who over step boundaries round the baby.

Big difference to DIL having a migrane and wanting mum!

if my DH had a baby and didnt want my mother there with his penis shot to peices, but his own mother drafted in, I would totally understand that and I think most women would! Just as most men understand when a womans under carriage has taken the beating of its life...she wants her mother there....

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Sat 04-Jan-14 23:54:27

sorry, women want to chat more...not men! confusing

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 00:01:44

When I had my children I did not exclude DHs mum because I was post-partum.

She was welcomed in the same way as my own mum was welcomed.

I find all this "I don't want my MIL there" very odd if I'm honest.

As I've said - I don't see eye-to-eye with my own MIL but I'm a grown adult who knows how to handle situations.

When you encounter difficult people in life (as long as they aren't actually evil) it's best to find a way to cope with them.

laza222 Sun 05-Jan-14 00:17:29

I'm not sure what the original thread was. I always try to treat my MIL equal to my own mother. When we were planning our wedding I included her in everything, however it often feels as though she isn't interested. I think she is just terribly insecure about the fact her son has now got married so I try to be sensitive to that but it is frustrating at times. She insisted that everything would change when we got married (with family relationships) - I really think it hasn't however also feel she is almost subconsciously engineering it to at times. She somehow feels that I'm replacing her which I can't understand really but try to be sensitive to it. It is frustrating. I will still tell her if he is ill (he suffers from a medical problem) and ask her opinion on what to do, to the point where I called her on our honeymoon. I appreciate her opinion and advice. However she almost pushes us away at times now and then acts like we don't want her involved.

I'm sure I'm not perfect by any means but find the way she is acting very hard work at times. Funnily enough we had a great relationship for the decade before we got engaged. I'm not sure why it changed. I still love her very much though and hope that she will be heavily involved when we have children. I just hope she doesn't push herself away from us then too and then be sad that she isn't as close to us any children as my family are.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 05-Jan-14 00:33:43

I was going to post some long explanation but ComposHat's third paragraph sums up pretty much what I was going to say.

It does seem like to some posters that there is a Son/Husband switch that men should flick once they are married.

Some posters also forget that for DP/H that have been brought up in toxic families telling them that they "man up" is just ridiculous.

mayorquimby Sun 05-Jan-14 02:09:35

Objectively yanbu
But tbh I've seen some threads on here, and to be fair they tend to rotate around visiting post child birth or parenting criticism/advice whichever way you view it, where its a case of "it's different because she's my mum" but the dh mother has to walk on egg shells.

I don't think it's universal by any means but I've often been left thinking thank god my oh doesn't think that way because there'd be war if I had a partner and she tried to treat my parents as second class.

mayorquimby Sun 05-Jan-14 02:14:40

Seeks I pretty much just x posted with compas hats posts

There's been so many posts I've seen on here over the years which I've instantly just thought "thank fuck that's not my partner" because their attitude would break my mums heart but they think its ok because their mum is their mum and their husbands mum is just someone who has to fall in line or be punished

CustardoPaidforIDSsYFronts Sun 05-Jan-14 02:20:15

i think the relationship between DILs and MILs is a battle for alpha female status a lot of the time

My take on it is - when in a committed relationship /children come along - they are their own family unit and heads of that family unit

I think a lot of MILs just don't get that

I think a lot of DILs do get that, and a lot of DILs go far above and beyond trying to pacify MILs

I also think many (not all) DH/DPs are spineless jellyfish when it comes to being firm with their parents.

after being 7 shades of cunt over the past 25 years ive been married, my mil shit it with me 3 xmases ago.

I'm not being nasty to her - im not doing anything, i'm not reminding dh about her birthday ( he will forget) i'm not visiting her (dh doesn't want to)

I dont get why MILs don't realise the DILs have all the power

2 of my three grown children are in relationships - i know their partners are now more important than me

mayorquimby Sun 05-Jan-14 02:31:43

"My take on it is - when in a committed relationship /children come along - they are their own family unit and heads of that family unit

I think a lot of MILs just don't get that

I think a lot of DILs do get that, and a lot of DILs go far above and beyond trying to pacify MILs

I also think many (not all) DH/DPs are spineless jellyfish when it comes to being firm with their parents."

But surely it's this alpha/head of family / stand up to thing that makes problems.

I just can't wrap my head around it. If everyone is semi normal and considerate really no problems would arise.
My mother has some self awareness so she's conscious that she doesn't want to interfere with my wife and my relationship and will always be at pains to act appropriately.

My wife is considerate and rationale do at no point would try to casually make it clear that he family takes precedent over mine.

There's many cases on here I've felt sorry for a dil but equally (as composhat said) you see so many times when a wife's mother is to he welcomed/accommodated and given preference on here.
Or the other issue where a man talking about relationship/ marriage issues or confiding generally with his mother is slated as a mummy's boy etc but a husband getting mad about his wife discussing similar issues with her mother is controlling.

As I said in my first post I don't think the op is unreasonable in their assessment but I can see why being on here would give you cause for second thoughts

Piscivorus Sun 05-Jan-14 02:32:58

I think there was some research a few years back which showed that when in extreme pain or distress men tend to call for their partners where women call for their mothers. This suggests that women will stay closer to their own mother than a man will to his.

Agree with custardo, and posted on the other thread, that MILs need to be aware that when a child is in a committed relationship, that takes precedence.

CustardoPaidforIDSsYFronts Sun 05-Jan-14 02:41:17

yes i agree mayor

If my MIL ( who sounds like a lot of other MILs mentioned on here) was even half normal, i would go above and beyond for her

I dont think it is a conscious 'i am top dog your world must revolve around me and my word is most important' at all. I think MILs have been queens in their own kingdoms for a very long time 20 to 25+ years at least, so when they are no longer the sun in their childrens universe and their grown children have ttheir own universe, its hard for them to adjust.

FixItUpChappie Sun 05-Jan-14 02:44:15

My DD is a good mum and I never interfere - I just follow her way of doing things.

yes Op but obviously this is not universally the case.

It think whatever strides we've made, the home and the kids remain disproportionately the woman's domain. As such I think women take much more personally perceived criticism, perceived interference or slights regarding how they manage their families and household - especially from ILs who are to many wives essentially strangers.

I think it's more complicated than wronged DILs and misunderstood MILs - and a lot of the problems I see on here go far beyond minor issues. I agree with you that women don't worry as much about relationships with SILs....if they popped over to gransnet and heard some of the nightmarish stories regarding Harris SILs they might start.

FixItUpChappie Sun 05-Jan-14 02:45:43

hmm... I don't know where "Harris" came from. you get my just.

mathanxiety Sun 05-Jan-14 03:32:46

My own problems with my exMIL went way beyond minor issues. I was more than prepared to meet her half way -- living an ocean away from my mother meant this was a necessity if nothing else -- but she turned out to be pretty much the OW in my marriage. She was not and is not a normal person. Or semi normal.

I didn't see the other thread.

Spermysextowel Sun 05-Jan-14 05:22:18


Most posters on here are female & many don't like theirs. Composhat is our lone male poster tonight & doesn't like his. I will do my best to be a great Mil but I accept that at some point I will be found wanting. I didn't have children with how I would handle a Dil/Sil in mind. You do what you think is right & then it's up to them.

Women are expected to have relationships with their inlaws, spend time with them, host them, socialise with them WITHOUT THEIR DH! But men very rarely are expected to do the same with his partners family. I think this is where a lot if issues come from.

I don't see my inlaws as my family - they are my dhs family - he can deal with them. I wouldn't expect my dh to call my family, remember birthdays or arrange visits... I deal with my family. Much healthier.

BillyBanter Sun 05-Jan-14 05:43:41

Agree with composhat

I don't think a DH should automatically take his dw side either.

BillyBanter Sun 05-Jan-14 05:44:23

Agree with baby too.

mathanxiety Sun 05-Jan-14 07:17:49

If it comes to the point where he is expected to take sides then the poor mope of a DH has completely failed to keep up with the plot and is in danger of losing everything he holds dear.

There is no way it should ever come to the point where sides must be chosen. If it does, then one or more individuals have failed to understand that the young couple are a separate unit. That misunderstanding can come from the parents' side or from the individual members of the couple, but it is a big mistake to allow third parties into the marriage in any form and parties trying to insinuate themselves need to be shown in no uncertain terms that they are not welcome.

'Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife' -- There is a bit of wisdom in Genesis.

Spottybra Sun 05-Jan-14 07:49:49

I think it's unfair to base assumptions on a forum. Most mil from hell posts I read I sort of shrug off as the op needing a rant to get it out of their system. No one comes on and says my mil is amazing, she turned up with an item if clothing for me which I had been admiring and mentioned it in a discussion (which mine does regularly. I get more treats than her ds) with presents for the gc too.

I find our relationship hard because I don't think that we would be friends if we had met under other circumstances. Our values are vastly different. But she has a heart of gold.

Spermysextowel Sun 05-Jan-14 08:16:04

It's telling that in dire circumstances my ExH would call in order; his wife; then me; then my mother; then his brother; then his younger brother. His mother would come way down on the list. The reason wives state 'we're his family now' is perhaps because they are.

fluffyraggies Sun 05-Jan-14 08:28:39

There are always going to be lots of threads on MN from women posting about their MILs as it's a forum mostly used by adult women allot of the time posting about their adult families. This includes ILs.

No one on posting on the Relationships board ever says ''oh god another husband thread ... why oh why can't these women get on with their husbands - there must be something wrong with them?'' do they?


The reason there is more scope for tension between the adult women of a family is because they are the ones who tend to the lions share of all the communicating and child raising.

My husband doesn't have to negotiate anything with my mother because when my mum rings the phone gets passed to me. I never have to negotiate anything with my FIL because it's always MIL who rings up.

If my own mother had tried to physically grab my pfb from me while I was learning to breastfeed, I would have reacted even worse. However, she didn't my mil did.

Op, you seem to be judging other people from their reactions to situations without acknowledging that many of us are not as lucky as your family.

And also without understanding that the mil/dil relationship has far more potential for strife, particularly when it comes to having children.

JapaneseMargaret Sun 05-Jan-14 09:00:55

The reason Dadsnet doesn't really exist is not because men don't want to chat. It's because men don't really define themselves by their fatherhood status, nor give up their careers en mass, to be fathers.

Other forums exist for men to chat in. They're just more hobby/interest-based.

And while mother-in-law and son-in-law relationships might not necessarily be very fraught in the way MIL-DIL relationships are - you can bet your bottom dollar that there are plenty of father-in-laws and son-in-laws who don't get on. They just don't have the opportunity to bitch about it discuss it like we do.

thegreylady Sun 05-Jan-14 09:20:42

I think that a lot of men aren't comfortable armound physical illness which is why a woman may find her mother more nurturing. One way we know we have succeeded in bringing up our children is when we see independent, fully rounded adults with loving partners and/or with children of their own.
Even then they sometimes need a hand from mum. Tell me, if you vomited all over yourself , the bed and the cat who would you rather have clean you up- your mum or your mil? Leave partners aside for now I am just talking about why, post childbirth or in sickness you would prefer your own mum before your mil.

BohemianGirl Sun 05-Jan-14 09:34:09

"Marry a man who treats his mother well, because he will treat you the same"

^^ One of the best pieces of advice I was given.

You tolerate from your own family females (Mum, sister, to an extent best friend) things that you do not tolerate from outsiders - and that includes MIL/SIL/Great Aunt Agnes.

However comments like this I don't see my inlaws as my family - they are my dhs family - he can deal with them show how selfish and self absorbed people have become. Your inlaws, blood relatives to your child, are not family; that is the sort of comment where I shake my head.

As soon as you marry, your alliance is to your spouse. Not your parent, not your friends, not your children but to each other - you took the vow "let no man put asunder" - that means united in everything.

You = a generic You, plural that means man and wife

thegreylady Sun 05-Jan-14 09:36:42

I absolutely agree BG.

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 09:59:08

Yes, the I don't see my in-laws as my family attitude has popped up more than once on MN.

Presumably it is absolutely fine if their DHs/DPs hold the same opinion and then everyone can just go and visit their own parents without involving their partners.

And then children will hardly ever see each parent visiting/doing anything for the other half of the family?

Disclaimer - I do understand that sometimes there are total breakdowns in inlaw relationships but I'm talking more about the "I can't stand my MIL because she gives my children sweets/criticises my dusting/sniffs at my cooking"

Phineyj Sun 05-Jan-14 10:14:08

It seems to me from my own experience and that of friends, that when you get married the woman (unless she is very assertive) gets two extended families to manage while the man gets to dump the minimal responsibility he had for his (original) family. That's why the MIL and DIL thing gets fraught - more contact so more possibility for falling out, especially if you have clashing personalities or values.

My DH gets on very well with my DPs but they don't expect a lot from him. They wouldn't expect him to choose and buy them Christmas presents, for instance. My MIL expects quite a lot from me - I'm supposed to know where DH is all the time for instance. My DPs would never dream of calling DH first in order to ask me a question or make some sort of arrangement!

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 10:25:11

It hasn't really worked that way for me or our friends Phiney - I don't see why I would be "managing" two families.
We pull together to help each other's "sides" out and that's what I see happening with most of our friends.

Basically an equal division of labour.

Boaty Sun 05-Jan-14 10:38:15

A woman who is close to her mother will gravitate towards her mother, her relationship with her partner does not necessarily ime totally exclude include his family. Mothers of sons IME are pushed out in a large number of families.
I have 2 'DIL's and 1 'SIL' (they aren't married but I consider them family) I have tried very hard to avoid the pitfalls of being a MIL. grin particularly after reading threads on here

Eldest sons ex is mother of his 2 children. She didn't meet me before having eldest DGC but we welcomed her, tried to make her feel at home with us. They had only been together for a few weeks months before she decided she wanted DC. Cracks in the relationship started to appear very quickly.

My DS has 'issues' that have been there since late teens. If she had got to know him and his family she would have found this out. He has, and had when they met, no stable job, no permanent roof over his head, no money saved, is emotionally volatile. It became MY fault and I should deal with him and MAKE him deal with his problems...he is mid twenties she is thirties! hmm We have given him support/info but ultimately he is an adult and has to seek 'help' himself.

She then chose to have a second child by him knowing he has problems. hmm and it is STILL my fault he is the man he is
We have offered support, practical and emotional but we, me in particular, still get the blame. She refuses to accept any responsibility for her own situation.
She sees her mother daily we see them once every few months, only when the situation is good between them. or Xmas/birthdays

My other DCs partners have no problem with me, we have a good, open good natured relationship.

I know I am trying very hard to keep lines of communication open and avoid commenting or judging but being verbally abused because of her poor choices gets very wearing. She only rings/texts when DS and her are arguing.
We adore our DGC but we are definitely not viewed as important in their lives as their maternal side by 'DIL'. sad They are well cared for and she is a good mother to them, I have never and would never criticise her parenting. I would love see more of them though.

I often wonder how she will feel in twenty years time if this happens to her when DGC are grown up.

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 10:42:24

Oh Boaty that sounds very hard sad

Sounds like you are steering a difficult course there!

Boaty Sun 05-Jan-14 10:48:13

I have a permanent dent in my tongue from biting it! wink

It was me who said I don't see my inlaws as my family. Sorry, I don't. We all get on absolutely fine, I see them regularly, the DC love them and there have been none of the major fallouts (or even the smaller petty ones) I read on here. The same goes for DH with my family.

However - They are my DH's family and its up to him to organise seeing them, birthday gifts, Christmas visits etc. Its up to him to call them and send photos of the DC and keep them informed of any relevant developments. I cover all the same for my own family. Most women I know take over all that stuff for their partners and resent it, which seems odd, and quite martyrish to me. I can't think of a single couple where the guys takes over these things. I do think this could have something to do with the amount of tension between DIL and MIL.

LucilleBluth Sun 05-Jan-14 11:12:33

I feel for you Boaty. There is no way that the things you read on here are always the MILs fault. We meet difficult people in all walks of life and I'm sure there are some nightmare MILs, just as there are brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, colleges etc. But feeling that there is a certain way to behave to a DIL just because you happen to have sons is utter madness.

As in Boaty's case, what if one of my DSs meets a difficult woman, or someone unsuitable.

I fully intend to live a full life outside of my DCs when they are grown but I will always want the best for them, male or female.

SamU2 Sun 05-Jan-14 11:28:15

I was a great DIL

I am super close to my mum but I had my mil here more than my own mum. I knew how happy she was to have grandchildren so when they were born I let her spend two days with us.

I spent many Xmases round her house when I would rather not have done so she didn't feel pushed out. She had time alone with the grandchildren, I involved her with everything. I wanted to build a good relationship with her and sometimes to the detriment of my own comfort and own family. Even now she still gets invited to all the children's school plays/activities.

Didn't work out well for me. Boundaries got crossed, she began to think that she had rights to tell me how to raise the children as she was such a huge part of our lives. It all went tits up and we all fell out for a year and now only see her when she picks the kids up, although we text now and then since the death of my ex husband, father to three of my children.

Some of it was my fault for not setting boundaries, a lot of it was my husbands fault for not stepping up when it started going wrong and a lot of it was mil's fault for taking advantage of the situation and us.

She said some very hurtful stuff, stuff I won't go into here but things that cut to the core and I forgave her, tried to move on but it never worked out in the end. She didn't treat her step- grandchildren very fairly which caused huge problems and heartache for us all.

It made me sad because I really couldn't have been a better dil. A bit of a mug for sure, but I gave her nothing but love. My husband has pretty much lost his parents now.

So we thought we were doing all the right stuff to build a great relationship but it came back to kick us in the teeth.

ComposHat Sun 05-Jan-14 11:47:46

Minnie I am slightly nonplussed why you consider stating the bleeding obvious, that the things people like and consume is shaped to some degree by their background as a pseudo intellectualism.

I was not stating one form of comedy was better or more worthy than than any other, merely that the makeup of their audiences are different in demographic terms. If you accept this, why do you think this is?

Quite why my previous post provoked such a rude po

ComposHat Sun 05-Jan-14 11:48:56

Oops ppsted on the wrong thread! Sunday morning fatigue!

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 12:23:40


tinselledUp Sun 05-Jan-14 12:59:54

Yes, the I don't see my in-laws as my family attitude has popped up more than once on MN.

I have that in RL and I'm female - usually but not always directed by FIL.

I've refused to be pushed out of my DH and DC lives - and that has been finally accepted but every so often there is some comment that I ignore that lets me know that how they feel.

Having said that I now leave bdays, anniversary stuff up to DH and ignore everyone else expectations that it someone how on me to deal with. The result is better for me.

Though I do think the emphasizing on MIL and DIL relationships is incorrect - it's often not the issue though obviously sometime it is.

Shitehawke Sun 05-Jan-14 13:07:33

I also dont see in laws as family. And I dont care how excited a mil is about a baby, I am the one who has been through a vaginal car crash, not my DH. So no, I do not want a woman I have no real connection to as an induvidual to be putting pressure on me to host/hand over baby/make nice when I'm in such a state.

Monka Sun 05-Jan-14 13:12:27

My MIL (Indian) never lived with her inlaws (they died before she got married) but in her head she had this fantasy where all her sons and their wives would live in the same house, where she is the head matriarch and the DILs would take over the cooking and cleaning and basically do as she says (a bit like an Indian drama serial if you have ever had the misfortune of seeing one). My DH told me (after we were married) that she was the number one woman in the house and that she had told him to tell me this.

I had no problem helping with chores as we were living with the ILs to save a deposit for a house but I did have a problem with the massive amount of interference she thought it was her right to have.

Also in some Indian families the DIL's family is considered to have less importance. Both my DH and me are born here and I have not been brought up to be submissive. My family are pretty feisty and we speak our mind but with my inlaws there was lots of underlying seething resentment as my inlaws played off their DC against one another.

My MIL has pulled some horrible shit over the years mainly because my FIL backed her up and her sons never challenged her. Me and the other DIL couldn't understand how another woman could behave so callously towards another. I think my MiL felt threatened by her DILs (she was no longer no.1) and the fact that her sons treated their wives better than my FIL had treated her (that is a credit to the way she raised them).

To cut a long story short my MIL lives by herself now that FIL has passed away. She has had to radically adjust her behaviour towards her DILs. She is still a bit possessive and controlling but I just stand my ground same as I did when FIL was around.

My relationship with her has improved enormously but I don't welcome her advice on how to raise children nor do I welcome the advice from my mum. It's just easier for me to tell my mum that I will do things my way than my MIL who would just go into a strop. Both my mum and my MIL get equal time with my dd and my DH acknowledges that I am fair with both sides of the family. My Mil loves my dd and all her GC and will do anything for her 'blood'. She has in the past tried to supplant the mother in her GC's affections (I witnessed it when I lived with her) and I did keep her a bit at arms length when dd was first born because I did not want to fight with her (my MIL visited me in hospital and at home same number of visits as my mum). My mum also encourages me to be fair and to just rise above some of the more petty things that have gone on with me and MIL. My MIL won't be around forever and I do believe in karma. Just because I have a dd doesn't mean that we are guaranteed to be close when she grows up.

I do prefer if my DH 'mans up' because it hurts my MIL less if my DH tells her things than if I do. If my DH has a problem with my mum I would prefer to tell my mum as she is more likely to accept what I am saying and is less hurtful and defensive than if she had been challenged directly by my DH.


woman are more manipulative than men?

why would you say that? it's not true.

FourArms Sun 05-Jan-14 13:28:52

I love my MIL. My DH's family are my family too now. I couldn't imagine not having them and actually in 'our' family, when couples split up, the person who is not biologically part of the family is still welcomed to family events.

I think I'm a good DIL. She's certainly a good MIL. We parented initially very differently (she FF, weaned early etc etc, I BF, cloth nappied, co-slept, attachment parented etc etc) but she couldn't have been more supportive and endorsed my methods whole-heartedly. My DM criticised me more, but I suppose she felt she had the relationship to do so?

My MIL treats DH and I the same. She will usually take my side in arguements (because of course I am usually in the right!!). But she's the person I moan to most about DH because she'll love him anyway.

She loves my DSs to bits. Maybe nearly as much as I do. But I don't resent that, it fills me with joy that they get loved by lots of people.

I don't have to worry about being a MIL to a SIL, unless either of the DSs have male partners, but I do worry about being a MIL to a DIL. I love babies to bits and I'm sure I'll want to be far too involved sad

TodayIsAGoodDay Sun 05-Jan-14 13:37:07

The OP seems to assume that the root of DIL/MIL problems lies with the DIL:
Why is it just future/present DIL who seem to cause the angst? Why do most people on here worry about them but not present/future sons-in-law? A son-in-law could be just as awful surely?

Correct me if I have misunderstood this btw but, judging from the many threads on the topic, MILs are very often the cause of the difficulties and are not the poor victim at all.

lainiekazan Sun 05-Jan-14 14:04:38

I don't see dh's family as mine - but I wish I did. Mil was never very kind and also quite a cold and jealous person. Dh's brothers' wives cleave to their own families and I only ever see them once in a blue moon.

In another family I think I'd be a very good dil. Perhaps I shall offer myself in the small ads.

I think many women/people are just very controlling, whether they be the mil or dil. You see all these weird threads where women proudly state that their dh hasn't been out on his own for 8 years or who must get up and sit with them whilst they breast feed even if he has a 14-hour working day ahead of him, or that they are a stay at home mother and dh must put his own pants in the washing machine. Then history repeats itself and in time you can bet they will become the domineering mil.

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 14:05:02

TodayIsAGoodDay - that wasn't really my point.

I was wondering why we see lots of threads/posts from mothers of DSs worried about future DIL relationships - but hardly any worrying about future Son-in-law relationships.

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 14:07:34

So why don't mothers of daughters come on here and worry about what kind of son-in-law they end up with and how to be a good MIL to them?

That's what I mean.

lainiekazan Sun 05-Jan-14 14:10:20

Because problems with son in laws aren't generally relationship type of problems. Whether you like it or not, it's the dil who controls access to the grandchildren. It is she who decides how often to visit, or whether hospitality is extended.

Sil bring plenty of problems, sure: womanisers, wife-beaters, bores, lazy arses... the list is endless. But deciding division of Christmas visits - no, that wouldn't be on their list of crimes.

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 14:13:46

So you don't think an abusive or controlling son-in-law would be considered as a relationship problem lainie?

mrspremise Sun 05-Jan-14 14:13:54

Because "your daughter's a daughter all your life; your son's a son 'til he takes a wife". Sad, but true, ime...

TodayIsAGoodDay Sun 05-Jan-14 14:17:12

Salmotrutta It's because, in the thread you are referring to, the prospective MIL is specifically asking mumsnetters to advise her, based on their experiences of being a DIL and having a MIL.

Given that the majority of people on mumsnet are female, the equivalent situation of MIL/son in law would be more difficult to find.

fluffyraggies Sun 05-Jan-14 14:20:51

As i said earlier, on the whole it's the women in the family who do much of the co-ordination/communication/organisation - whatever you want to call it. IME the blokes just don't do much go-betweening between families the way women do.

Also the issue of treating your MIL the same as your mother can be difficult. Example: It's the woman who goes through child birth and all that it entails and therefore the woman who is likely to feel less than welcoming to all in those first few days. Neither my XH or my DH would have been bothered by whom was in the room while i was breast feeding/bleeding/crying - of course not. But it bothered me. I only wanted those i felt really comfortable with. And as much as i love my MIL i don't feel comfy with the idea of her seeing me leaking and weeping all over the place just hours after i've given birth. If that automatically means that i don't think of her as family, then so be it. I cant help that.

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 14:23:15

No Today - I am specifically wondering why women on here don't worry about the future with regards to who their daughters might pair up with!

The threads are always from MNers worrying about who their sons marry in the future

lainiekazan Sun 05-Jan-14 15:00:07

Well, of course I don't want my dd to end up with an unpleasant husband/partner who treats her badly. That and a thousand other unfortunate scenarios.

But in these threads the worry is that the dd/ds finds someone they want to be with but that person wants you airbrushed out of the picture.

Boaty Sun 05-Jan-14 15:05:34

I'm sure the DIL I have mother does worry about her relationship with my her shoes I would be!
In her shoes I would also have been horrified that she seriously ever thought my DS would be the ideal man to have DC with.

This makes me very sad as his mother but it is true.

He is actually very good with the DC, and she does acknowledge this, when he is allowed access but he is/was a lousy partner!

I would also expect my DD to understand that when you choose a man who has more red flags than you can shake you need as much support as possible and blaming his mother when she is trying to support both her son and his family is not in anyones interest.

I do have a DD by the way, she has a lovely BF, he treats her wonderfully and I have never worried. They may eventually have DC and I have no worries that his mother will be anything other than supportive.

iamusuallybeingunreasonable Sun 05-Jan-14 15:16:23

You marry the man, not the family, served my parents very well, never had an issues, however some mil's seem to think you are giving up your own identity to take on their families and I'm afraid most women are not up for that, however nice she may be I hardly know the woman, having her witness me bleeding, leaking, or her having a key to my house etc isn't somewhere I would go

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 05-Jan-14 15:37:08

""Marry a man who treats his mother well, because he will treat you the same"

^^ One of the best pieces of advice I was given."

Which is ok till your DW and DM(MIL) fall out then its back to mummies boy and he should disown his family.

it also doesn't take in to account toxic parents.

BohemianGirl Sun 05-Jan-14 15:44:20

Which is ok till your DW and DM(MIL) fall out then its back to mummies boy and he should disown his family.

I'll throw that one right back out there - all I read on here is ""My child never stops being my child, I'll always be there fore them"" and adult children are being spoken about.

MN is a peculiar place - its ok to helicopter parent your own child until they are 47, but if one of your childrens relationships falls apart and the other person has parental support they become "mummies boys"" (BTW, in the real world, I know an awful lot of very indulged spoiled needy "daddies girls"" and amazingly no "mummies boys"")>

I'll state it again - a man who has respect for and treats his own mother well will treat you with respect also.

LucilleBluth Sun 05-Jan-14 16:12:58

My DH has a wonderful relationship with his mother, he will phone her to have a moan about work or to ask for advice, I wouldn't dream of coming between their relationship. I get on really well with her too.

I'm also doubting the quantity of MILs who want to be in the delivery room, I'm sure there are some but certainly not the majority, and I love this ' I don't want MIL there while I'm bleeding, leaking etc'.......I have had 3 DCs each with varying degrees of difficulty and have still managed to show off my babies to their paternal grandparents. My Mil and Fil arriving at the hospital armed with flowers to see their grandchild are precious memories for me.

iamusuallybeingunreasonable Sun 05-Jan-14 16:21:49

I'm glad you find the bleeding/leaking hilarious, if mine lived round the corner would be fine, but when it involves them staying over on the sofas as we have no spare room, before, during and after birth, I can assure you it's not funny, then not lifting a finger but wanting to sit on said sofa nestling baby while I "fix them a brew" ... Ha laugh a minute, really makes you welcome them the next time, especially when they think a good time to leave is 10pm or involves not even clearing up after themselves and moaning they didn't get enough photo opportunities (it's not a Hello shoot moment)...

So some of us do find it difficult, but to be honest I'm a private person and wouldn't want my own family there that long, some people, pil or not, don't have a clue how to not cross boundaries or act normally

fluffyraggies Sun 05-Jan-14 16:46:06

''*I have had 3 DCs each with varying degrees of difficulty and have still managed to show off my babies to their paternal grandparents. My Mil and Fil arriving at the hospital armed with flowers to see their grandchild are precious memories for me.''*

Oh well done you! I too have had 3 DCs, each with varying degrees of difficulty. How do you know what attitude my PILs turned up with? How do you know i was in a hospital? How do you know anything about except YOUR OWN CIRC.s?

Me me me. hmm

I don;t want to leak and bleed in front of a woman i hardly know.

LucilleBluth Sun 05-Jan-14 16:56:46

It's all fucking hyperbole......exceptions being truly awful MILs, which I have said all along.

.......and I'm not talking about any particular poster in my replies.

Shitehawke Sun 05-Jan-14 17:06:21

So unless the mil is truly awful, I am expected to give up my privacy so they can get their new-baby fix?? Just lie there in a damp patch of blood and milk being looked at like I'm in a zoo??

HungryHorace Sun 05-Jan-14 17:09:13

I also don't think of my in laws as family, and apart from my MiL, they don't treat me as family either (I do treat her no different to my mum). However, we live in DH's home town and not mine.

I think they struggle with me because I'm not like them. They're a big family who would spend all day, every day with each other if it were possible, whereas even if I'm in the same town as my family, we don't always tend to see each other that often. Which means that I'm not bothered about seeing my in laws too often.

I try to see MiL with our DD at least once a week, but sometimes that slips to 10-14 days. Not because I'm barring access, time just runs away with me and I don't always feel that sociable! If I was local to my family, the same would be true. I don't differentiate.

DH still deals with his family's birthday presents and on his side we do a secret Santa so we only buy one adult present.

Ultimately I'm just very different to them with a very different upbringing and I think we all struggle with how the other/s is / are.

Boaty Sun 05-Jan-14 17:55:39

For those of you who say you married the man not the family, you don't want people you don't know round you etc
Don't forget then the situation can be viewed in reverse, he married/lives with you not your family, why should your DH/DP have to put up with YOUR family, around HIS takes two people to produce children, those children have, in most cases, two sets of family.
Yes, I get completely that some PIL are not conducive to good relationships but equally some SIL/DIL are neither.
Poor situations are sad for all concerned. It takes give and take and understanding with a good dose of hard work to make any relationship work.

fluffyraggies Sun 05-Jan-14 18:14:10

boaty the comments about 'not wanting people you don't know around you' are about the first few hours after birth.

If my DH had just undergone major trauma involving his genitals and was leaking milk from his breasts and bleeding profusely from his penis i would respect his wishes at that time to have his mother beside his bed and not mine.

Boaty Sun 05-Jan-14 18:22:36

I'd be very surprised if my DS wanted me round if they were in that position..grin
I don't get why women would want their mums..but that's another story

HungryHorace Sun 05-Jan-14 18:25:27

I wouldn't want my mum or my MiL in that situation, Boaty.

I'd accept my sister or my best friend, who happens to be a midwife, but that's it apart from DH.

As neither of those is local, it's DH only for me!

fluffyraggies Sun 05-Jan-14 18:27:02

Well - no, you're right ... in all total honesty i don't actually find the presence of my mother much comfort either! grin and wanted neither her or my MIL by my side. I just wanted DH.

But many of my friends are very close to their mothers, as indeed is my SIL, and i can see their POV.

Boaty Sun 05-Jan-14 18:32:07

<High fives Hungry > Exactly!!
DH put in me that position, it was up to him to support me! grin Otherwise I wanted medical support.
I don't have a sister but can't see myself ever wanting other relatives there weird imo
and I had a traumatic birth with DS1 by the way!!

HungryHorace Sun 05-Jan-14 18:39:24

Oh, and I certainly didn't want anybody else at the birth itself. As it was I ended up being heavily monitored, culminating in an EMCS, so it was only DH anyway.

Next time (I'm 8 weeks' pregnant) it's likely to be an ELCS anyway, so only DH again, for the whole day. Just the way I like it. :-)

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 19:25:10

Oh god no - I certainly didn't want all and sundry at the birth!

Mind you, 30 years ago the Grandparents just hung at home waiting for the call to announce the birth.

There was none of this pitching up at the maternity unit shock

HungryHorace Sun 05-Jan-14 19:27:45

I refused to tell anyone I was in labour. That stopped people a) wondering what was happening and b) just pitching up if we didn't update them as soon as they'd have liked.

Luckily my DH was supportive when I said I wanted radio silence!

Salmotrutta Sun 05-Jan-14 19:36:22

I don't understand this business of every man and his dog turning up at the hospital confused

I certainly didn't see any point in me going when DD was in labour (second time I was babysitting the older one anyway) - what on earth would DH or I have contributed!

HungryHorace Sun 05-Jan-14 20:18:09

My SiL threatened to turn up at the hospital once she'd been told I was in labour. I'd already decided that I wasn't letting on to anybody that I was labouring. That comment cemented my resolve in the matter!

mathanxiety Mon 06-Jan-14 04:27:12

OP -- I do understand that sometimes there are total breakdowns in inlaw relationships but I'm talking more about the "I can't stand my MIL because she gives my children sweets/criticises my dusting/sniffs at my cooking"

It's exactly that sort of petty, stupid, rude, thoughtless, and unnecessary comment that makes for deep and permanent rifts.

Would you speak your mind so freely to your MIL about her dusting or her cooking or other things she has managed on her own for many years? In what parallel universe is any of that acceptable?

If you spoke to others like that, in their own homes, what response would you anticipate?
If you fed someone's pet something they had asked you not to feed it, how do you think they would feel?

Would you choose as a friend someone who behaved like this?

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