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Future DIL - advice please.

(51 Posts)

I am really happy for my son as he has found 'the one' as he says! I was not ecstatic about how the relationship came about but as I have gotten to know his partner, who he now lives with, I have become very fond of her and find her great company, most importantly she loves my son deeply. We have begun to spend time now with her parents on a regular basis. A couple of weeks ago my son told us we are going to be grandparents too - after the shock (Im only 41!) we are becoming quite excited about it all. grin

I have read many, many threads on here about disasterous MIL/DIL relationships and have had a nasty MIL in my distant past. I want future DIL to feel welcome and accepted into our family, considering our bumpy start, and have been considering ways of making her feel welcome. I don't want to overstep the mark and create any friction within their relationship and my son is not attached to my apron strings (apart from asking for a dish of his favourite meal to be dropped in occasionally)! I realise that I will not be as involved with the pregnancy as if it were one of my daughters but I would like to do something to support her along the way and to feel a part of this exciting event...I considered making a hamper of pamper things for her or maybe taking her shopping but I know her time is short as she works long days. I also realise that sometimes I run away with myself through excitement and that others don't always share the same intensity of excitement with me! blush

So, any tips, suggestions, words of advice, even a faux pas to avoid? smile

chocoreturns Fri 20-Sep-13 15:00:09

do you have the kind of relationship where you could call her up and say the same sort of thing as you have posted here, but to her? That you are delighted with her news and would really like to do something to congratulate her. Perhaps go out for coffee and cake and choose something for the baby when she's 20+ weeks? My MIL did that and it was lovely. Not as 'intense' as the things I did with my mum, like choosing maternity clothes, and bra fittings! But lovely all the same. It was a good chance to get to know her better and quite laid back, while she paid attention to my own tastes for the baby etc and together we chose some lovely bits and bobs. Her outfit was the one I put DS2 in for his coming home outfit - which I think was a really lovely thing for us both. Congratulations on becoming a GM2B!

LEMisdisappointed Fri 20-Sep-13 15:00:20

Knitting smile lovely homemade keepsake blankets. Ask if there is anything she needs abdd yes yes yee to pamper stuff for her.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 20-Sep-13 15:05:20

So they're just kids really? My suggestion is to be yourself, be friendly, but maintain some space & wait to be asked rather than leaping in with help and excitement. IME very young couples combine fierce independence with zero experience and resent offers of help on the grounds of 'back off - we can manage'. smile

I think the biggest faux pas is to try to be too matey.

bonzo77 Fri 20-Sep-13 15:09:04

Anything that makes it very clear that you are interested in and like her for who she is, and not just a carrier of, and gatekeeper to, your grandchild. <speaks from bitter experience>. Talk with her, don't second guess. Can you think what you might have appreciated in her situation?

Chocoreturns I can do that - yes! I am like a fish out of water just now and I really don't want to offend either of them as they are so ecstatic. I will definitely take that suggestion on board. smile

LEMisdisappointed I love knitting but can only do the basics. Looks like I could be finding time to improve my knowledge and skills. grin

It's quite strange actually, I have just realised I am moving into grandparenthood (despite being told recently!) and it's a strange feeling..but I am so happy for them both and very proud.

CogitoErgoSometimes I was the kid when I had my son. My son is in his 20's and his partner is a few years older than him. I hear what you are saying about being too matey. smile

bonzo77 I can relate directly to a personal situation she has endured but it's not a topic that either of us would prefer to discuss. I can't stand the whole 'baby-carrier' attitude and genuinely want to develop a relationship with her so no worries there. smile

Whoatethelastcremeegg Fri 20-Sep-13 15:16:40

My MIL made up a hamper of things for me and the baby - things like baby lotion, cotton wool balls, nappy cream etc for the baby (all wrapped in lemon paper) and breast pads, maternity pads, nipple cream etc for me (all wrapped in purple paper!). It was so thoughtful and there were lots of practical things in there that I hadn't thought about. My MIL drives me crazy at times but I'll never forget how thoughtful that was. Would she like something like that?

ecuse Fri 20-Sep-13 15:19:27

You sound like you will be a lovely MIL! Congrats!

Yes, just making it clear you value her over an above her role as mother to your grandchild, offering support without butting in, and don't criticise her choices in bringing the child up, you should be fine. Taking her shopping to choose some baby bits would be a nice gesture, and you can perhaps get a feel for the type of thing she likes.

I think that is a great idea Whoatethelastcremeegg because future DIL is a very practical and organised person. What kind of stage would it be appropriate to give these type of gifts? I never received anything like this when I have been pregnant so it's all a bit new to me!

Whoatethelastcremeegg Fri 20-Sep-13 15:22:14

Maybe after the twenty week scan? You do sound like a lovely MIL!

ecuse thank you smile

davidtennantsmistress Fri 20-Sep-13 15:27:43

Oh that's so kind, my lovely second mil made up a hamper for ds2, it had lots of little bits in there, like sleep suits, mittens, smellies, nappies etc etc. she asked after not only dp but myself and the baby as well.

Likewise on e he was here, where she live 300 miles away she visited with lots of goodies, but stayed with my parents, came over early sorted ds1 out walked him to school, cooked meals for us and generally too over running the house for a few days straight after the birth. Leaving me to feed ds2 and generally bond with him. Which was lovely.

For my part I've tried to include her at every stage, hopefully your dil will do the same. It also helps to talk to her about your fears, I remember mil saying to me that she didn't want to over step the mark and that she respected our need to space, which I found very lovely as she didn't have to so really appreciated that.

Whoatethelastcremeegg thank you for your advice and for the compliment! My son would disagree with you though and say he always found me too bossy! wink

Davidtennantsmistress Thank you for your suggestion. I hadn't considered talking about fears so that might be beneficial for both of us. Its exactly as your MIL and I echo her thoughts...it's always a bit more delicate during a pregnancy so am keen not to get it wrong. smile

My MIL is a lovely person but did annoy me when I was pregnant by just buying things. She didn't tell me what she was buying and just bought it so I didn't get to go look at a lot of things such as sterilisers, playmats etc because she'd already bought them and I was quite disappointed as to me looking at this stuff and picking it out myself was a really exciting part of being pregnant. Obviously I'm grateful to her buying these things but do still feel like those exciting times got taken away from me so that's something not to do. I would ask her is there anything she wants before going out and getting certain things.

GeppaGip Fri 20-Sep-13 16:26:23

I wish you were my mil. grin

HotSoupDumpling Fri 20-Sep-13 16:32:41

What Stilla said. I much prefer to research and buy things myself than for my ILs or parents to buy them for me. possibly because I'm a control freak!

Something for her rather than for the baby will make her feel like a DIL, as opposed to just a womb... Posh Mama Mio stretch mark cream, nice bath stuff, a massage voucher etc.

My MIL and I used to go shopping together, just us, once a fortnight or so. It really helped us to bond.

SirRaymondClench Fri 20-Sep-13 16:36:22

Sparkle you sound like a lovely MIL.
I wish you were mine.
flowers

You sound so nice! I second a lot on here about going with her to buy things (or offering to go out buying if she gives you a list if she's busy working). She'll get such a kick out of nest building so it's a shame to take some of that away from her.

I think the way to her heart is pretty/helpful things for HER, not just as grandchild incubator/brood mare...so maybe some vouchers for some of the nicer maternity ranges eg JoJo Maman Bebe/Seraphine/Isabella Oliver/Babes with Babies.

And if your son thinks you a dab cook...the single loveliest thing my MIL did was stack the freezer with home made lasagne/mac and cheese/pies/soup etc as I just never had time to shop or cook.

trilbydoll Fri 20-Sep-13 16:48:17

My mum gives us frozen meals portioned up so we can get one out as and when, less pressure than something ready to eat (after DD1 was born at one point we had 3 lasagnes that needed eating!)

Echoing what Stilla said, if you want to buy practical stuff let them choose, or just buy fun stuff. We have some lovely outfits from my PIL, I wouldn't have bought them (too tight lol) but she looks gorgeous in them!

SaltySeaBird Fri 20-Sep-13 16:50:38

My MIL brought a giant storage box which she filled with baby essentials, things like big tubs of sudocream, newborn nappies, muslins, cotton wool, baby bath lotion, baby moisturising cream, plain white basic baby grows etc. It was really helpful and practical and meant a lot to me. It was great as I had lots of (boring) essential bits but could still choose the fun special things I wanted.

I think something like that would be quite useful, you could include a few pregnancy or what to expect books as well as a few treats for her too.

SprinkleLiberally Fri 20-Sep-13 17:02:33

Tbh you sound so thoughtful that I don't think you'll go far wrong. The people who go wrong don't consider other people's feelings. Congratulations.

brass Fri 20-Sep-13 17:11:47

'I realise that I will not be as involved with the pregnancy as if it were one of my daughters'

Really? How involved do you expect to be with your daughter's? I ask because my mum and MIL were equally involved. I did not have my mum in the delivery room for example, just my husband.

I think you need to be careful with self fulfilling prophecies.

ButteryJam Fri 20-Sep-13 17:16:38

Buy/pamper/treat her with something nice instead of the baby (well you can later on). The inlaws tend to forget about the DIL and only buy gifts for the baby. Why not buy her a body massage voucher or a facial?

ButteryJam Fri 20-Sep-13 17:18:02

Also stacking the freezer with homemade food is the best thing ever! My mum did that for me, and it was great grin

Florin Fri 20-Sep-13 17:20:23

Something for her to treat herself with. I would have loved a voucher to spend on maternity clothes to help me feel nicer during pregnancy.
I have a mil who has been a pain and a fil and his wife who have been wonderful. Because of this we only see mil when she starts getting cross and we stay with fil over night most weekends.
Mil was useless she outstayed her welcome when she came over even when my husband said which train to arrive on and which to leave (the baby was 1 day old!) she did nothing at all but hog the baby. I loved showing him off and letting people have cuddles but after a while I really missed him in those early days and it was impossible to get him back. She did nothing to help. Obviously help has to be done sensitively as it can come across as you don't think much of their cleaning standards but definitely ask what you can do to help so they can spend more time as a family. Mil didn't make a single cup of tea or even take her cup out to the kitchen. She expected to be waited on completely.
Fil and his wife on the otherhand stood back a little, very excited about the baby but with no pressure. Just tell us when you are ready for us to visit. When they came over they brought champagne food for when they were here and also left us a 3 course ready prepared home cooked meal which was lovely. In fact they dropped off a meal every week for the first 4 or 5 months. We appreciated that so much as after the first month everyone expects you to get on with it so it was nice to still feel cared for!
As far as buying things take the lead from them and really keep a note of what they like and don't like. Mil once turned up saying I know you don't like babygros (dh and I hate all the poppers!) however I had to buy this babygro with ducks on as it was so cute. She is never interested in helping us with practical things she only will buy what she likes which often isn't what we want or need.
In contrast fil and his wife bought us a present when ds was born but said we want to buy you something else but something useful so see what you need when you have settled a bit. We didn't have a baby monitor so when ds was about 3 months and we were talking about putting him in his own room they said would you like us to buy you that, take your pick whichever you would like get the best you can find. They also make us feel at home at theirs as they have gradually set it up a bit for him. They have the ikea highchair there and one of his beakers and a changing mat and a massive basket of toys. It is the little things that make a difference like how whenever we stay they alway get full fat milk in without fail even though they normally have skimmed-it is being thoughtful about the little things.

davidtennantsmistress Fri 20-Sep-13 19:55:42

Agree with brass as well, you may be as close as your daughters, however I do understand your worries here, mil for her part is very aware that I'm immensely close with my folks so has never pushed any issues there, however, for a nice bonding thing I took both the mums to a scan at 30 weeks to show them the sex of the baby, which we hadn't told them, so it was an all around binding experience for us all.

Likewise when she's visited we had coffee mornings together, I'm not sure if your daughter in law would be the same or not.

My first mother in law was a nightmare though from the off she described ds1 as 'her baby' I was a little pfb about it all, however the mark was over stepped from the off, which I wasn't happy with.

So I think just have a bit of a bonding thing pop your thoughts out there, and don't be too upset if she does get a bit overwhelmed with it all, but you'll know her better than us so take her lead and see how it goes. Good luck, you sound very much like the sort of caring mother in law my second one is.

jollyjester Fri 20-Sep-13 20:46:35

dont make reference to her loosing her baby weight when baby is 3 days old!! grin

but joking aside OP you sound lovely and by even thinking about these things you have shown that you want a good relationship and thats half the battle!

Scrounger Fri 20-Sep-13 21:01:37

The fact that you are thinking about this means that you will be sensitive to want your DIL and son need and want. If in doubt just ask but without putting any pressure on them.

Second all the food ideas. My MIL is great, she has made them all individual quilts (which I hope they will keep for their kids - my DIL are going to love me - not). I did feel under a bit of pressure during the pregnancy, lots of calls to check that all was well. Also, check with them when you can tell other people. My MIL started to tell her friends before the 3 month mark, I'd had a miscarriage previously and really didn't want people I didn't know personally to know that I was pregnant at this stage.

Nora2012 Fri 20-Sep-13 21:19:51

As said before you merely thinking about these things means you're going to be great. I would say make sure you keep the communication open and honest, so your DIL feels comfortable to ask you for things or to spend tine with you but can also explain politely if there's something she doesn't like so it doesn't come between you. I wish my MIL was approachable, as you seem, sadly mine thinks she knows better with everything and doesn't listen to my wishes which makes me want to spend the least amount of time as possible with her.

CailinDana Fri 20-Sep-13 22:38:34

Dh's aunt did the hamper of practical stuff and it was great though I would inxlude things like a nice body lotion some chocolates maybe a box set and some hot chocolate powder (for some reason I craved hot chocolate after giving birth!)

PoppyWearer Fri 20-Sep-13 22:44:23

There is a lovely "Congratulations" set of pregnancy toiletries by Mamma Mio. I agree that focusing on presents for her for now is a good start.

If you have it, offer money to buy something for the baby, but let them make the decision.

You sound like you'll be great!

Thank you so much, everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. Your replies have got me thinking of so much more than I had considered which is a good thing. smile

Brass I know my future DIL is close to her mum and her mum has attended appointments with her on the odd occasion. I just assumed that she would generally call on her mum initially because mothers and daughters tend to remain far closer than mothers and sons as adults. However I take your point on board and will be more open minded. smile

I know I have had three of my own babies but I just can't believe my son and his partner are going to have their own baby. It's wonderful!

Box set is v good idea for when she's laid up in the last stages or feeding afterwards...I worked my way through the entire West Wing! But maybe something a bit more modern depending on her tastes...Game of Thrones? Comedy?

CailinDana Sat 21-Sep-13 08:10:09

Also in terms of general relationship, something to remember is to try not to let your dil become an afterthought. My MIL is lovely but she worries dreadfully about my dh (for no good reason). That leads her to do some properly stupid things like taking dh and ds out for 5 hours a weeks after my dd was born leaving me at home on my own feeling rough with a tiny newborn with no one to hold her so I could have a shower. Dh got it majorly in the neck for that one but I know at times he gets swept along with his mother and doesn't think. Her only thought was to give hef son a break, she seemed to totally forget that I'd just given birth and perhaps needed dh around!
I suppose the thing to remember is that ykur dh and dil are a unit of their own now. My MIL often acts like we

CailinDana Sat 21-Sep-13 08:12:16

are two parents looking after dh which is bloody weird. She rings me rather than him and asks about his health etc. I hate it. I am not her co-parent and dh is not my child!

roofio87 Sat 21-Sep-13 10:22:54

OP can I just say you sound lovely!! I agree that maybe you should express how you feel to her, that you're so happy and excited about the baby but are worried about ovet stepping your boundaries. im expecting my first and my mil is great and we get on but I think she's gone too far the opposite way in not wanting to be too full on that she almost doesn't seem interested. I've had to tell her that she is welcome round to see baby whenever she wants otherwise I fear she might not come. the odd phone call or text is nice to see how she and baby are doing, my partner talks to his mum often so she knows how I am but a text every so often would be nice!!

stitchNting Sat 21-Sep-13 10:57:58

Ah OP, so pleased for you and you do sound lovely indeed. I have a great relationship with my MIL as she always asks what we need. Sometimes I'm a little reluctant to say as I know she'll go and buy whatever it is (in a good way of course!). MIL came to visit just after our DD was born and brought a big box of home cooked meals, biscuits and chocs for me and cheese for hubby! It was great in the first few weeks when we didn't have to worry about cooking!

She also now calls me once a fortnight for a chat which is lovely, she always asks how I am and obviously the baby gets a mention too! We're old fashioned letter writers in our family and get a fortnightly letter from her, which always is nice to read! (MIL lives 200 miles away BTW)

Just keep everything casual and I'm sure your DIL will love to have you involved!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 21-Sep-13 11:04:04

My MIL has from the start expressed her loyalty to me....she hugged me like a Mother would and calls DH and I "the kids" which not all grown women would like but for me just illustrates that she sees me as one of her own.

She has always stuck up for me when DH and I have had bickers in the past. She sends me little gifts as she lives abroad and she knows we struggle for money.x

daytoday Sat 21-Sep-13 14:30:18

Rather than seeing it as DIL joining your family, think of it as you joining DIL and sons family.

Because, a new family is being created, one that you are part of but not the centre of.

I think you are going to be fine. You sound caring and enjoying someone's company is a great start.

PlanetEarthIsBlue Sat 21-Sep-13 17:52:02

* ... a new family is being created, one that you are part of but not the centre of.* Wish someone had told my MIL this! You are obviously keen to have a good relationship with both your DS and DIL That's really important, I think. My MIL couldn't get her head around the fact that when it comes to being a parent, her own DS might do things differently from the way she and FIL did them. Anything different was seen as a direct challenge to her central role (as she believed it to be) in our lives, and a challenge like that must have come from me. If only she had chatted more to both of us instead of jumping to conclusions and making up what she didn't know ...

brass Thu 26-Sep-13 15:44:49

ditto daytoday and planetearth

my MIL thought she was doing me a favour allowing me to be a part of their family but in reality she was an addition to the one DH and I had created.

Whereisegg Thu 26-Sep-13 21:25:07

My mil and I have a great relationship, and she often pops to see me when dp and dc are working/at school, although she lives abroad so not as much as I'd like hmm

I recently took the dc to stay with her for 3 weeks (!) and left dp at home grin

We had a great time and I'd go again tomorrow if I could, I love my dm but more than a couple of days in her company and I go a bit stir crazy, so it doesn't always follow that you will be the one that's 'left out'.

You sound lovely op, your new family is lucky to have you.
Congratulations!

MacMac123 Thu 26-Sep-13 21:33:10

Don't do what my MIL did which was phone every day after the birth( for weeks) and ask me how dS was sleeping! It actually made me hate her!
I think she was trying to be positive and supportive but when the answer was 'badly' all the time (he was a baby, don't they all sleep badly!) it just made me feel so GRRrRrRr!

She'd have been better off offering to come up and do a night with the baby so we could sleep, without actually asking how he slept at all. Around 6 weeks in would have been ideal!

fanjobiscuits Thu 26-Sep-13 21:56:22

Gifts sound nice but I would be wary of personal care items. If my mil bought me something like nipple cream I would be mortified.

I would also make it clear you would love to help but ask them what and when would be useful - otherwise they might feel they can't ask.

RubyrooUK Thu 26-Sep-13 22:17:59

My advice would be:

1. Definitely make your DIL feel you care about her and she is not just the carrier of the blessed grandchild. I really like it when my MIL buys me little things she knows I like (like a particular juice or meringues) because it makes me feel like she thinks of me and not just the children and DH.

2. Do not offer "helpful" parenting advice. My mum and MIL both freely admit they couldn't get their kids to sleep. So I feel I can moan to them with no worries that they will turn around and say "oh well, I just left them to cry - you should as well". Both of them go "you want to know how to get babies to sleep? Don't ask us!" I love that. They do offer advice on specific areas if I ask, but never offer otherwise.

3. Practical help is great. I remember how my mum came and did all the slog work when the babies were born. She didn't just sit and hug the baby. I think my MIL would be too scared to do anything practical in case it offended me in my own house but I honestly would have loved if she had said "Look, is there anything I can do like washing up or cooking? I am sure you are on top of it, but I'd love you to relax and have time cuddling the baby if you would like it".

4. Try and spend time with your DIL as a person and not just your DS (if this seems appropriate). My MIL often comes down to visit at a time when DH is at work. I have no idea why, but I like the time we spend together with the kids. It's fun. And it makes me feel again that she comes to see US as a family, not just the blood relatives!

Thank you for all the tips re. our relationship. They are already being put into use and I'm slowly finding my feet in this new experience! grin

Xollob Wed 02-Oct-13 00:56:42

You sound amazing.

Yes, stand back, but don't stand back so much that they don't know that you are there for them.

I wish my MIL was half as decent as you! Good luck and she doesn't know how lucky she is to have you!

Raindrops12 Fri 04-Oct-13 20:55:41

Wow your dil is very lucky to have you. You sound lovely.

My mil didnt ask us what we needed in fact she wasted her money as she bought what she thought the baby needed-it was awkward.

She never communicated with me, only to DH. She started collecting second hand items that we didn't need. I have nothing against second hand I just felt that it was up to DH and me to go out and purchase any second hand items.

A bit of advice don't grab her stomach and start calling her baby 'your baby' wow I remember feeling very hormonal and telling my mil that the baby was not hers.

So really I would ask if they need anything, always listen, offer help and be there for your dil and ds. Which I think you would do anyway as you sound very thoughtful.

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