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To dread becoming a M-I-L

(319 Posts)
Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:17:17

I'm sure this has been done to death, but as the mother of 3 ds I feel incredibly disheartened (and sad) about the utter intolerance shown towards MIL on mn.

I adore my boys (hopefully not smotheringly) and try to teach them to be compassionate, gentle and to look after themselves. I aim not to spoil them and to teach them how to be wonderful husbands and fathers. The majority of mil threads on mn are very negative and many are spiteful and generic about evil mil.

The only time I have felt sad about not having a daughter is when I read how little mil seem able to be involved in the lives of their ds and gc - do these posts come from mums of girls? Do these (often harsh) rules extend to their own mothers?

In this time of equality it seems wrong that the mil seems often to be required to be a doormat to be allowed access to her family. (By that I mean accept being merely "tolerated" by her DIL).

Obviously there are exceptions to this - and clearly there are some monstrous mil out there - but the prevailing theme is of total disdain and inequality towards mil. Please tell me I am being totally over sensitive and ridiculous. I really feel very sad at the thought of being "the enemy" by virtue of having 3ds.

EmpireBiscuit Thu 11-Oct-12 07:20:14

So long as you treat your DIL is a reasonable fashion then there should be no issues.

My MIL has previously told me I'm not good enough for her son and he was classed as an "idiot" for wanting to be with me. A wedding and a GC later and I still can't forget what she has said about me.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:25:13

Oh I am prepared to embrace pretty much anyone they choose (and not in a domineering way) but there are so many unspoken rules about how a mil must behave - do these apply to dm as well? Would we be getting exactly the same arguments on dadsnet about their mil? I somehow doubt it.

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:26:00

Yanbu. Of course I would treat any dil with respect. Which should solve some issues. Bur there are a lot of people on mn who hate their moms regardless, i just have to hope ds doesn't marry one of those.

by the way i love my MIL and FIL. They are great, not perfect but neither am i. I love my ils
So there is hope. smile

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:27:20

There are unwritten rules. Dms are allowed to do things that moms are not.

Dbros wife is pg and mum is experiencing this at the moment.

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:27:43

That mils

SoupInaBasket Thu 11-Oct-12 07:31:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:31:46

What are the unspoken rules? I'd better get used to them.

Why do they exist? My dh is (post birth and bf) as involved as I am in the care of our ds. I thought we were all about equality? Most women woh so why should they be any more the gatekeeper of the gc than sons? I really am curious - it seems counterintuitive (or maybe counter productive) when we are trying to generate equality.

Katienana Thu 11-Oct-12 07:32:01

The thing is though, people come on here to complain. There is no reason to start a mil thread unless there is a problem. I don't really have a mil, dh lost his mum when he was 10. His stepmum didn't always treat him well but we have always.included her, had her on top table at our wedding and she is grandma to ds. However for practical as well as emotional reasons she won't have the same relationship with ds that my mum will. My mum was there for his birth for example, would I feel comfortable having smil watch me shit myself, naked, while pushing baby out? No. it's normal to be closer to your own mum. & when the time comes I will, I hope, understand that!

honeytea Thu 11-Oct-12 07:34:03

I feel sad how many people on mumsnet dislike/hate/get easilly anoyed by their own mothers! I didn't realise there were so many people as adults who have issues with their parents.

MummytoKatie Thu 11-Oct-12 07:35:40

My dh is one of three boys all of whom are married.

I feel genuine affection towards my ILs. They annoy me sometimes but no more than my own parents do.

My younger SIL seems to get on pretty well with them also. It's more complex as English isn't her first language so everything is through a language (and cultural) filter but it seems a good relationship.

Older SIL doesn't get on so well with MIL. They seem to rub each other up the wrong way. But she gets on better with them than her own parents (who she hasn't seen for over 5 years.)

Does that help?

Molehillmountain Thu 11-Oct-12 07:35:54

Fwiw, my mil is amazing. I am convinced that although she appears to be this way effortlessly it has been hard work treating me like a daughter (she has two ds). They are hugely family focused and she has never been judgemental and yet given good advice and words of wisdom on pretty much everything. She's given me space to take them on board or not and never given a hint of I told you so when she so could have. She has also helped me deal with my own family! I can't imagine what it's like seeing your son have a new key confidant and person in his life and she's walked that path brilliantly. I don't say that to tell you how lucky I am, which I know but to give hope to mothers that it is possible to be an essential part of your daughter in law's life. And she didn't have to see me as a teenager wink

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:36:26

Of course it is natural to be closer to your own mother (although personally I would've hated to have my dm - who I have a fantastic relationship with - to have been at any I my births - way too intimate for me and just for my dh - not judging anyone else).

However why doesn't that translate to men being closer to their own dm? Perhaps the same conversation would be going on on dadsnet - but I can't help feelin that the DIL are the decision makers when it comes to spending time together etc.

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:44:08

OP you just have to hope your sons meet and marry someone who is willing to compromise. Not just on visit etc.

But compromise in general and that they make decisions together.

IsabelleRinging Thu 11-Oct-12 07:45:58

I would say I am closer to my own mum than MIL (naturally) but I get on well and in no way (that I am aware of) do I treat their relationships with my dd differently- she sees them in equal measures.

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 11-Oct-12 07:46:39

Do you have a Mil ? if so is it a good relationship ? My mil was a cow, but that was because xh was her favorite child, no one was good enough for him. She was a good mil to his siblings partners. She was also generous to all the other gc, whilst my dc's were ignored. So I think it is your choice to be a good mil. If you tell your sons fly is dreadful and lazy etc the dil won't behappy, but if you are kind and supportive then you are setting up good foundations for all of you. I know several women who have very good relationships with their mils, so I guess people are quicker to jump on to moan, than to praise

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:48:34

Thanks for the reassurance. smile

Do you think we are raising lazy feckless boys who can't maintain such good relationships with their own dm? Or do you think it is an inherent biological fact?

ZombTEE Thu 11-Oct-12 07:49:25

Just be a normal, reasonable human being, and you'll be a fine MIL.

It really won't be that hard.

Be nice. Be considerate. Follow the Golden Rule. Just like life.


Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:50:25

blush I do not like my own mil.

In my defence I really really have tried for 10 years. She is spiteful, bitter, judgemental, misanthropic and fascist if that helps shed any light. wink

CreamOfTomatoSoup Thu 11-Oct-12 07:50:27

I find the grandmothering style of my MIL difficult because my mother brought me up completely differently. MIL is very 'smothery' to DS whereas my own mum is much harsher (advocates controlled crying etc). My style lies somewhere in the middle, but erring towards the harsher end. When DS was born I found it very difficult because MIL's protectiveness towards the baby came across as criticism of my style.
HOWEVER I know she just acts like that because she loves my DS and she is so caring. I think sometimes it is hard for Grandmothers to let go and realise their children are parents and they have to do it their way, this can cause a lot of tension.
When I go back to work PIL will be looking after DS for a day a week so they will have more contact with him than my own DM.

flyoverthegoldenhill Thu 11-Oct-12 07:53:06

Partridge that really is something for contemplating. I am sure someone far wiser than me will come along to answer that.

Partridge Thu 11-Oct-12 07:53:38

Why ffs? I don't think I am imagining the general antipathy towards mil. Obviously I will try to be nice, respectful etc but some mil on here (and in my experience) are damned if they do (interfering, domineering etc) and damned if they don't (cold, negligent etc).

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 07:55:01

I have 3DSs and I find that in RL it isn't a problem- you get a skewed view on MN because people post if they have problems.
We are only at the girlfriend stage but it is like a breath of fresh air. There seem to me to be several rules to make it easier.
1. You make a friend from the very first meeting, get to know them and have a friendship outside your DS.
2. You have a good relationship with your own MIL, you include her a lot, you see her on her own and you encourage your MIL and mother to be friends, you don't talk about her in a nasty way and your DSs grow up seeing this as normal.
3. You let go gradually, you give them roots and give them wings. You do not interfere. You encourage your DSs to have their own views and it doesn't matter if they are different from yours.
4. Once they are living together you remember DIL comes first, you are a visitor.
5. If they have DCs you don't give advice unless asked.

You can see problem MILs of the future on here, they are too controlling, they don't let go, they want to control what the DCs thinks as well as what they do, they want a girl friend that suits them. DSs seem to have more of a problem standing up to a 'devoted' mother.

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Thu 11-Oct-12 07:55:51

I have a son and a daughter.

I would not expect to be at the birth of dils children... dd's may want her mum (me!) there.

I think that dil would want her mum after birth, after all it is her mum, not just the granny.

I think dil would rather take advice friom her mum, it is easier to tell your mum to but out. I would offer to give advice if she needed it. but only if asked.

dil will want to see her mum more often, she is her mum. if the grancdchildren get taken along because she is the main carer, that is because she is the main carer not to spite me/(mil.)
some things happen because the dil has a stronger longer relationship with her own mother.

impty Thu 11-Oct-12 07:58:42

My MIL is lovely. Not perfect, but neither am I! My own mother, however, is awful! I have nothing to do with her, and my db ex's try not to either. And yes, she does have a little to do with him having 2 ex's I believe!

MIL always was nice to me, kept most of her differing opinions to herself, asked me how I do things with children and stuck to that. She really tried hard when they were younger, and I try hard now she's older to 'look after' PIL when they visit. I think it's all about respect, really.

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