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to think that being a MIL is not a bed of roses

(144 Posts)
loverofwine Thu 27-Dec-12 20:03:21

I am mum of x4 boys. No Granny No 1 for me (tho DS1 is only 7 so a way off yet).

Yet still I wonder when they have all flocked the nest and coupled off (if they do) what the future holds.

Strikes me that being a MIL is hard work. Damned if you do damned if you don't.

My MIL is a nightmare but then my family account for 80% of her grandchildren so she likes to be very involved.

Just wonder what I need to be doing to psychologically prepare myself for the day I get a DDIL and how to love her/make her love me.

thoughts on a postcard pls

ssd Thu 27-Dec-12 20:07:04

just be yourself

I just hope my boys dont marry someone like a lot of the posters on the MIL threads here, some of them are impossible to please

Hassled Thu 27-Dec-12 20:08:00

I am a MIL and yes, it's a bloody minefield. I really like DIL and have none of the "she's not good enough" issues - I think DS1 is bloody lucky to have her. She's clever and funny and kind and will be a great mother.

But yet, but yet - she'll do or say something or recount some tale and my hackles will rise in a "that's my baby boy you're talking about" way which I really hate about myself. I don't say a word - I smile and nod - but it does bring up weird emotions I was unprepared for. You never lose that protective instinct, no matter how old your kids get.

nananaps Thu 27-Dec-12 20:09:11

I suppose its respect isnt it.

My MIL died a year ago and i feel i did her a huge injustice becasue as you say she was damned either way.

She wasnt involved in her only gc, my son, but i believe that this was 95% my fault for keeping her at arms length. I also encouraged her to get a life of her own, so she did. She had little time for my son then. Poor woman.

I was irritated by her, she was a doormat and that annoyed me.

She was a kind, nice lady who bent over backwards to please. Inofensive and unobtrusive.

I miss her actually sad and my son misses her terribly.

digerd Thu 27-Dec-12 20:12:12

I'm a pussy cat, but am not a MIL, or GM, and feel relieved. Still wish my DD had found herself a wonderful man and SIL for me.

Pandemoniaa Thu 27-Dec-12 20:12:59

Well first off, don't allow yourself to get too gloomy based on MN alone. Only it's very easy to assume that, as a mother of sons, you come somewhere below the Demonic Hordes on the Popularity Scale. In reality, this forum is a microcosm of life and while some people have difficult MIL, you aren't expected to turn into one yourself.

As a MIL (I have two grown up sons) I can honestly say that I love my two ddil. They are very different but fantastic partners to my sons. And that's what you must always keep in mind - they are the wives/partners to other adults. Not your little boys. Also, just behave sensibly and tactfully and remember what it was like when you had a MIL yourself. If you didn't like being controlled then why would anyone else? My former MIL was very surprised that I didn't follow her instructions on how to raise my children, run my house, etc., and it still baffles me that she thought it appropriate to interfere. But then she interfered because that was her nature. She didn't need to be a MIL to do so. If that makes sense!

Don't over think the MIL business. Just be yourself, respect your dcs and their partners as adults and think before you present yourself as the World's Greatest Expert in Everything!

Chottie Thu 27-Dec-12 20:14:41

loverofwine - I have just one son and one daughter. I have decided that even if I really dislike the DS girlfriend, he will never, ever know. I would never, ever do anything which would result in me losing contact with my son.

I know of mothers who never ever buy any clothes for their GC without checking as DiL is 'so particular' and mothers who rent cottages near their son and DiL so ' they can see their GC over Christmas without getting in their DiL's way'.

The MiL/DiL relationship can be a minefield- you are so right.

Backtobedlam Thu 27-Dec-12 20:16:42

If you are a genuinally nice person and take your DIL's lead when you are in her home/with her kids I don't think you'll go far wrong. Any grandparent has to remember that it is their grandchild, NOT their child and that the parents wishes should be respected. I think a lot of threads on here seem to stem from disagreements in raising children. I also think its important not to be territorial or try to compete.

thegreylady Thu 27-Dec-12 20:17:01

I am a m-i-l and sm-i-l.I get on well with all 3 dd-i-l .
Never give advice unless asked and only then very very carefully.
Never make any negative comment on any aspect of parenting but heap on the praise whenever possible.
Treat all dgc exactly the same [including those of your dd if relevant].
Always say yes if asked to look after dc but never ask to have them [you can offer but not ask just because you/they might enjoy something].
If refused accept with a smile.
Be very grateful for any gift,visit or phonecall.
Accept that you cant it right and prepare to apologise for giving too much/too little etc.
My lovely dd-i-ls always make me feel loved and wanted and I love and am loved by all my dgc.
I have 1 ds
Step dd is a problem but the others and their spouses are super people with whom I am proud to have a relationship smile

thebody Thu 27-Dec-12 20:17:47

My mil was without dought bloody wonderful..

I have 2 adult boys (and 2 younger girls.). Just be grateful to any woman who takes the pair of lazy lovely losers of my hands..

To be honest will be far more wary and protective if my girls.. My lads are great but really?? Any decent girls welcome,, or just sane??

lurkedtoolong Thu 27-Dec-12 20:18:00

I have been known to bitch about my MIL on here once or twice (although I have also said nice things about her too). I think a forum like MN is an easy place for people to sound off and release some tensions rather than say unreasonable things IRL. I know it is for me. Don't worry too much yet.

thebody Thu 27-Dec-12 20:19:16

Grey lady.. Lovely lovely post as always.

OverWintered Thu 27-Dec-12 20:19:25

I wonder if there are certain sociological/biological aspects to the mil/dil relationship that mean it is destined to be fraught and difficult. do we just have to accept that? maybe there is an element of luck. I don't know.

I have some very uncomfortable feelings towards my mil. but she is difficult its not me its all her ! ha ha

saying that I had a boyfirend many years ago who's dm was just lovely. She was never judgemental, I never heard her moan about anyone, she genuinely seemed interested in what I had to say and in what was going on in my and her son's lives. She was kind and was very secure in herself and where she fitted in, in her children's lives

LunaticFringe Thu 27-Dec-12 20:20:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

forgetmenots Thu 27-Dec-12 20:22:30

I don't have any relationship with my MIL. I'm sad because I would have loved to have been a DIL and had those new relationships. In my case it was her treatment of her own son, not of me, that I couldn't stick.

If you love your boys, and you can apologise gracefully when you've stepped on any toes, I reckon you're 99% of the way there. I know my own (lovely) DM has had a couple of moments of being a bit overprotective with my DB, but later on has realised and apologised to SIL. Even when there was no need the thought was appreciated.

And you've no idea who your boys will marry. Maybe the D or S ILs won't have relationships with their families for a variety of reasons. Concentrate on being a fab mum and your boys will want to spend time with you either way. You sound lovely and I wish you were my MIL!

coffeeinbed Thu 27-Dec-12 20:26:10

I'm a very different as mother than the one I have so I hope I'll manage to be a different MIL as well.

loverofwine Thu 27-Dec-12 20:32:03

..It's just a little odd. In order to keep my menagerie of boys so close in age (3 1/2 - 7yrs) in order I am a pretty strong and controlling person. In truth this is part of my nature but has definitely been emphasised by the circumstances.

It sounds like in order to be a 'good' MIL I'm going to have to subsume my nature which is going to be hard.

Obviously it is years off yet but when DH is in bed with manflu and I am enjoying a quiet moment and glass of wine or two I pause to contemplate the future I do wonder how things will be.

Then again I may not be around to find out so perhaps should focus on hanging out the pants and emptying the hoover bag to find little bits of hobbit lego sad

Coralanne Thu 27-Dec-12 20:33:48

Grey lady sorry to say but it sounds as though you are walking on eggshells all the time.

You forgot to add "tugging your forelock" to your list of dos and donts.

thebody I think you will make a great MIL.

IWipeArses Thu 27-Dec-12 20:38:21

It's a tough one. My MIL is a kind person, but she is opinionated and passive aggressive, and fundamentally disagrees with some aspects of our parenting which means it can be a little tense sometimes.

Overwintered, your old bfs mum sounds lovely. That seems to be the way to be.
If you are confident you have raised men, and not overgrown boys, then surely there's no need to interfere?

AngryGnome Thu 27-Dec-12 20:39:15

I have a wonderful MIL. She has always been welcoming, she has never criticised anything I have done, and I love having her and FIL to stay.

She has never made any negative comments about my housekeeping, even though I am sure she must be horrified at times - she has a beautiful home, and has always worked to keep it that way. I am really the exact opposite, and she must weep to see the state of the place sometimes. She has always been hugely supportive of my parenting choices (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, disciplining style etc). Last Christmas I had a double whammy of norovirus followed up by pneumonia - I phoned her for help and without hesitating she took 1 year old ds for five days at Christmas.

She also has a great relationship with her other DIL. I think the key to our good relationships is that she understands that me and dh are a team - if there is something she disproved of in our lifestyles she would think it was DH's 'fault' as much as mine IYSWIM.

I also respect her relAtionship with dh, she is his mother. We are not in competition. We have our own unique relationships with him, we both love him and we are lucky - oh god, I am about to have wine induced Christmas weeping!!!

Loislane78 Thu 27-Dec-12 20:41:15

My MIL is ace - very different to my family but PIL are genuinely nice to me and I reciprocate by being thoughtful about how my DD (their GD) interacts with them in return.

Will always be a different relationship than with my mum but that's fine, we all have our part to play smile I feel lucky you have 2 great sets of GP - doesn't have to be all doom and gloom and you might like to do some girly things with them smile

HollyBerryBush Thu 27-Dec-12 20:42:58

She wasnt involved in her only gc, my son, but i believe that this was 95% my fault for keeping her at arms length. I also encouraged her to get a life of her own, so she did. She had little time for my son then. Poor woman.

Thats is just so sad, pushing someone away from their family sad

mayorquimby Thu 27-Dec-12 20:45:19

"Grey lady.. Lovely lovely post as always."

really? that sounds like a fucking nightmare to me, as someone else said walking on eggshells.

forgetmenots Thu 27-Dec-12 20:46:59

loverofwine, that's because they are under seven - you won't have to (or want to) be controlling when they're old, particularly if you've raised them so well. Please don't worry.

CatsRule Thu 27-Dec-12 20:55:37

How to be a good mil....behave the exact opposite from mine!

Don't tell your dil how your son was an accident and ruined your life....don't kick him out and be annoyed that he actually leaves and makes a go at life...then don't blame your dil for your actions that has caused problems in your relationship with your son.

Don't ignore son and dil for years, refuse to visit when invited then accuse them of never inviting you...when in actual fact you were too drunk over the past 14 years to drive to visit!

Don't then tell them you have no interest in them but you do want their baby to raise as yours...just so you can fuck up another child!

A very brief mil has taught me one valuable lesson about the type of mil that I will strive not to be. I live with the sometimes very unhappy adult that she made and I would never want my son to go through that.

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