Does anyone have a good relationship with their daughter in law?

(76 Posts)
MadameHomais Sat 24-Jul-21 11:11:58

When my son got married I was determined to get along with my daughter in law but I don’t think she wants any sort of a relationship with me.
We are very different both in background and character.
I thought I would let her to take the lead in our relationship.
I have learned a lot from mumsnet about what not to do.
Whatever she wants I go along with. I never offer opinions or make judgments I keep conversation light and friendly.
I never visit them unless I am invited. In three years I have been invited twice to their house, even though we live fairly locally and they need to pass my house whenever they go into the local town.
My twin grandsons were born eighteen months ago. My son and daughter-in-law occasionally call into my house to visit, they may stay up to fifteen minutes, I offer drinks etc but my daughter in law never accepts. Occasionally I have invited them for tea, sometimes they come. It’s always very relaxed my daughter in law stays for an hour or so then makes an excuse. Sometimes my son stays a bit longer if he wants to chat about work. We work in a similar field and sometimes he needs advice or wants a sounding board. The visits are spaced so far apart that my grandsons never remember me and I have to spend the first five minutes winning their confidence all over again.
My son seems embarrassed about the situation he calls around on his own occasionally and rings me for chats every month or so.
I never discuss my sadness about the situation with him. As a couple they seem very happy together and that is the most important thing to me.
I am sad that my daughter in law does not seem to want me to get to know my grand sons.
She has a very close relationship with her own mum and sisters. I never expected to be anything other than second place to her family as that is the way it traditionally works with daughter in laws. My daughter and her children are often invited to visit my son and daughter in law. My daughter is as nonplussed as I am with the situation, she doesn’t have a close relationship with her sister in law but everything is very casually friendly.
I should add there is nothing wrong with my house! Everything is clean, tidy and child friendly. I look after my daughter’s children and they are happy and safe with me. I have friends who are happy to visit me too, I don’t serve worms on toast to my guests grin.
If I buy clothes or presents for my daughter’s children I always ask for her approval first. I did this with my daughter in law too. Her answer would always be along the lines of a fairly polite “whatever you think”, but then I don’t think she ever dressed the boys in anything I bought, I’ve never seen a photo of them wearing anything at least. The clothes were good quality very similar to the type she dresses the boys in herself. Possibly a bit more expensive than she would buy as I have more disposable income. I would like to treat all my grandchildren equally and my daughter always wants me to buy quality clothes for her children, while she can’t afford to buy these items herself.
My son does send me photos weekly- I don’t ask he just sends them.
So to sum up I don’t think she likes me and I don’t think there is anything more I can do to encourage a better relationship.
What do you all think?

OP’s posts: |
Rubyrecka Sat 24-Jul-21 11:17:25

Maybe she feels like you aren't that interested if you keep everything really light - it sounds quite impersonal. I must add - it's your sons children as well, why is this being aimed just at the DIL? Relationships take effort, if you were to let her know you wanted to be involved more and wanted to improve your relationship with her, see what happens. They aren't going to know if your not saying anything. My interpretation of your post is that you come across as quite hands off (which i understand on one level) and are waiting for her to make the moves.

Bryonyshcmyony Sat 24-Jul-21 11:21:45

I love my MIL.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Sat 24-Jul-21 11:23:51

I think that I must be very fortunate. My daughter in law is a lovely person. We both work(ed) in the same profession, so that’s an immediate point of contact. She is a fantastic mother and a caring person.

I look forward to seeing her when we get together, although they don’t live nearby. I’m sorry that you are struggling with your relationship OP, but I do understand. My daughter doesn’t like me.

Mommabear20 Sat 24-Jul-21 11:26:35

I'm sorry you're having a hard time. I get along so well with my MIL and am very happy to go there by myself with DC (or by myself prior to kids)! Would often take her on errands, same for FIL as they don't drive. I can't imagine marrying someone and not being involved with the family!

Nuggetnugget Sat 24-Jul-21 11:29:35

You sound lovely. But it's your son at fault here. A phone call once a month! Did I read that right.

Coronawireless Sat 24-Jul-21 11:37:57

Sorry to hear this. You say you haven’t discussed the problem with your son. Why not be more clear with him? Could he call to you more just him and the children and give your DIL a day off here and there?
My MIL and I don’t have much in common. DH usually called to visit her while I took time to myself. I didn’t trust the DCs with her or anyone while they were very small. But bit by bit she took them for an hour here, an hour there. She never contradicted me. Never got annoyed even though I sometimes snipped at her when I was tired. Was ALWAYS available for babysitting even at the shortest notice. One day I looked at how the DCs ran to her for a hug and realised how much they loved each other. She comes on holidays with us - always our choice, she rolls with whatever we do and is happy to do what we do or spend a couple of hours on her own if she doesn’t fancy what we’re doing. In short, she bends over backwards to please me - not in a fawning way at all, she’ll back right off whenever I want - purely so that she can see the DCs.
This might make me sound like a bully. I’m not. I want to control what happens with my DCs but gradually I realised how much they are loved by her. I appreciate her much more now. Funnily enough, although we get along very well, it really only is the DC, not me, she is interested in but that’s ok. We’re both respectful about our mutual lack of interest in each other and the DCs are the ones who benefit.


Coronawireless Sat 24-Jul-21 11:39:53

Maybe your daughter could have a word with your son about this too?

angstridden2 Sat 24-Jul-21 11:40:44

I love my DIL, she is a really great person, a supportive wife and an excellent mum to my GC. We see quite a lot of the family both socially and babysitting when required. I never drop in uninvited, I follow her rules re children (although tbh all she wants is for me to keep them safe, feel loved and to have fun!).she puts them in the things I buy them when she knows we’ll be there which perhaps she may not really like, so is very courteous.

She does ask my opinion, she shares her feelings with me but she is not my daughter and she has a very nice mum of her own she is very close. I do not offer opinions unless asked, and am aware that I do not say things to her that I would say to my own daughter!

SheABitSpicyToday Sat 24-Jul-21 11:43:55

Might just be that you’re very different people? My mother and father in law are lovely. Genuinely lovely people. But they are very formal and overly polite and it makes me uncomfortable.

RubyFakeLips Sat 24-Jul-21 11:44:47

Yes, but Christ I think I'd be classed as pushy in comparison to you.

Two things at play, your relationship with your DIL but also your relationship with your grandchildren, you don't need to be best friends with DIL to maintain grandchild relationships, but it helps to get on of course.

Why, if you live locally are you seeing them so infrequently? Just text and say you will pop by, invite them round lots, arrange meet ups.

It all sounds very distant and you are trying to keep it light while maybe keeping it too light! I would have a frank discussion with my son. Also ask your DIL, did they wear the outfit, do you have any pictures, as would LOVE to see.

Do you offer support to your DIL? Are you just exchanging pleasantries or do you delve deeper. I imagine with twins she would be glad of some babysitting or offering to take them to the park for the afternoon while she has a break.

Does she have anything to do with your daughter and her children?

delilabell Sat 24-Jul-21 11:45:08

You sound a bit too structured about what you do. You've researched it to much imo and not let it naturally develop. No interest in her.
I love my mother in law. we test each other . Meet up together, go to hers more than she comes to us (my one bug bear !) But it's naturally developed. Maybe try to lighten up a bit.

Dillydollydingdong Sat 24-Jul-21 11:45:14

Maybe you should take advantage of the warm weather and have a few BBQs in your garden. Invite your son and his family, and your daughter and her family. Paddling pool for the kids, toys, food (obviously). It's a party occasion, not a dropping in for 15 minutes occasion.

EishetChayil Sat 24-Jul-21 11:45:15

Maybe you're just different people.

I absolutely adore my MIL. We are on the same wavelength and get on so well.

My mother? Not so much. She's the sort of person I tend to avoid, because we are honestly like chalk and cheese.

TakeYourFinalPosition Sat 24-Jul-21 11:47:45

I’m on the fence.

I love my MIL but we don’t have much in common. I wouldn’t go around without my husband.

She has no idea that she does it, but she’s very full on; and that spreads into controlling quite often… which naturally makes us keep them at arms length a bit.

They visited our house a lot more before I moved in - mostly because it’s small and there’s not much room; but also because it’s very awkward when they’re here, and they never leave. We prefer to pop round to them instead, they seem happier in their house and it means we can leave when we need/want to.

I tend to turn down drinks when people offer, I don’t drink hot drinks and I was bought up to be seen not heard, when I’m nervous I fall back into being as “easy” as possible and that includes not making anyone get me a drink or anything.

I’m pregnant now - I hope we’ll settle back into seeing them every three weeks or so. It’s really tough to do more than that… we both work full time, and it’s hard to find time to see everyone! If we were being “fair” about our time with important family/friends, we’d probably see them every six weeks, and even then we’d have no days just the two/three of us. That’s still more than DH used to see them before me.

I’m not sure what the answer is, if you’re not happy. How often do you see them & the grandchildren?

livingwithbees Sat 24-Jul-21 11:48:05

I get on really well with my MIL, it is possible! Sounds like a conversation to have with your son though, for things to improve.

MadameHomais Sat 24-Jul-21 11:50:31

My daughter in law is a very quiet, retiring person. She did live with my son in my house before they were married. I became accustomed to her ways and always felt we got along very well, as long as I respected her space. She was not the sort of person you could sit with and chat over a cup of coffee.
I think she would be horrified if I tried to have any sort of heart to heart with her. My son has indicated that he wishes things were different but he does not want to rock the boat with her, and neither do I. As a couple they seem very happy.
On one occasion my DiL’s mother had a car accident and they dropped the babies off at my house with a moments notice. Everything went well. The babies were returned home quite happy, I did hope after that I might see more of them after that but normal service resumed immediately it was discovered that her mum wasn’t badly injured.
I’m always happy to help out with baby minding at a moments notice although I have only been asked that one time. Although I do worry if the babies don’t know me this will prove more difficult as they get older.

I do look after their two dogs regularly too! They are dropped off to me by my DiL’s father- he isn’t much of a conversationalist either- but that’s another story.

OP’s posts: |
TakeYourFinalPosition Sat 24-Jul-21 11:51:06

Why, if you live locally are you seeing them so infrequently? Just text and say you will pop by, invite them round lots, arrange meet ups.

Although I’d hate that. People inviting themselves over or popping in uninvited is a massive bugbear of mine. Every now and again MIL seems to go through a phase of inviting us to do things or go over every five minutes and it’s awkward constantly explaining that we’re busy or working.

Horses for courses, I suppose!

My natural reaction is to pull away from people that I consider intense; and that would do it for me.

Twoforthree Sat 24-Jul-21 11:54:25

My thought on reading is that perhaps you need to ask for more time with the kids. If she thinks you are happy with what you are getting, why would she increase it.

Offer to babysit as “I’d love to see more of the kids”
Ask them to tea and then gush a bit about how lovely it is to see them and you know they are busy but you’d love to see them and the whole family a bit more often,

Speak to your son more directly.

There is a middle ground

FourForYouGlenCoco Sat 24-Jul-21 11:55:42

I absolutely love my MIL, obviously she’s not quite on the same level as my own mum but she’s pretty darn close, I see her without DH no problem and she’s amazing with our kids. Love her to bits. It sounds like you’re not doing anything wrong - I’d probably echo people saying this sort of thing:
It all sounds very distant and you are trying to keep it light while maybe keeping it too light! I would have a frank discussion with my son.
Talk to your DS about it, make it known that you’d love to see them more. And when you do, loosen up, be genuinely interested in DIL, chat about stuff you’ve got in common, and maybe it will get easier. However I would also say that despite my total love for my MIL, we still don’t actually see her a huge amount just because everyone’s so busy it’s hard to find a good time sometimes!

Iwantcauliflowercheese Sat 24-Jul-21 11:58:36

My DiL is great. I knew her from being a child and her parents are friends. My stepson's wife is the opposite. She has beaten me up, she has called me every four letter word possible on SM. We have been NC for seven years now and things are so bad that my DH doesn't want a funeral if he goes first so they don't cause me trouble. Horses for courses. They are who they are and there's nothing you can do about it.

Empressofthemundane Sat 24-Jul-21 12:01:20

My mother in law is wonderful.

I am not as close to her as I might have been be because my husband gets jealous! I’ve backed away to save their relationship. She’s his mum after all. He shouldn’t compete with me. I’m just an easier more accommodating person than he is.

MoreAloneTime Sat 24-Jul-21 12:02:35

I think your DS needs to take more of a role in calls, visits and time with your grandchildren. I'd call him more and invite them over through him.

As for your DIL, maybe she's just a really dull person. It's hard to know what to make of people like that or if they like you or not.

SherryPalmer Sat 24-Jul-21 12:04:16

I try to follow dh’s lead when it comes to his family. It doesn’t sound like you have a particularly close relationship with your son. Perhaps that’s where you should focus your attention. It’s not your dil’s fault that she is closer to her family than your dh is to you. He is also parent to your grandchildren, why is it your dil’s fault you don’t have a close relationship with them.

Oblomov21 Sat 24-Jul-21 12:09:02

"I never discuss my sadness about the situation with him."

Why not? Tell him exactly what you've said in your OP. Maybe don't focus do much on having a close relationship with dil. More on wanting on wanting to spend time with him, be supportive as a grandmother, have the grandchildren and build up a relationship with the grandchildren.

Ask him how he views it. Is there a problem.

You don't sound like you have a close relationship with your son either. Does he phone you? I phone my mum weekly and tell her everything.

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