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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

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 28-Dec-12 02:28:39

Judging by the threads on here...YANBU.

AdoraJingleBells Fri 28-Dec-12 03:02:54

Just a few things spring to mind, because of my MIL grin

Don't refuse to accept that sons who are old enough to marry and have children have grown up. Don't, then, continue to treat adult sons and their wives as tough they are still children. Don't commit your negative feelings, if you have any, to paper. I learned to avoid MIL after her letter to another DIL congratulating her on severing the bond between mother and son. Her crime was to marry one of MIL's adult sons. Can you see the pattern here? Even the GDCs don't want to visit.

If you want to give advice on parenting, try to remember that ideas change between one generation and the next. Advice re breast feeding, weaning etc may be very different in 20 year's time, fe, it's not set in stone.

If you have an idea of something you think DCs might like, run it by the parents before telling DCs that they can do it.

Remember that just as a DIL joins your family, so your son becomes and SIL to his wife's family, and he chose to marry her. That means he wants to live with and possibly raise children with her. That doesn't make him her possession, just as he isn't his parent's possession.

Basically, you'll be dealing with two adults who are capable of thinking for themselves and making their own decisions, raising their own children etc. and if one criticisers the other (as in DIL saying your son was out of line) have you seriously never critized your DH, ever?

FWIW I'm not keanly looking forward to my DDs getting married. My OH got off lightly, both my parents passed very soon after we got married. He did, however, get a full dose of MIL from hell first time around (I'm the second wifewink)

MollyMurphy Fri 28-Dec-12 03:12:53

I also think greylady's advice is sound. adult children are ADULTs they likely don't want your advice, wont care to hear your opinions on child-rearing and won't enjoy you trying to take on the role of a teacher. just be supportive and don't undermine or interfere. A little praise never hurt any relationship - don't you ever praise/compliment your friends?

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 03:19:25

If your mothers winding you up its usually easy to tell her or say back off, its not easy when its not your mother.

Just remember its not your baby,and yes you may feel that your needs are desperately important when it comes to how you want to interact with the baby but they are not as important as the parents needs.

You may want to turn up when the baby is a few hours old and the mother has only just got home and had no sleep but chances are you will not be welcome ( especially if you turn up hungry demanding she cook you dinner)

Imhe that very first visit if to soon or demanded or you expect to be catered for,or you ignore the mum and hog the baby will start a downward run towards issues.

Also accept that straight away its possible that her mum may be welcome when your not but its not about her mum being number 1,its usually about mum being more comfortable in those few hours/ days with the state she will be in and all the icky child birth bits only being seen by her dh and her own mum.

Yes you are dh's mum and he loves you very much and I'm sure he would love to have you visit but its highly unlikely that he is bleeding like a slasher victim, struggling to sit down without crying,feeling like his nipples have been sandblasted and finding it very hard to stop the contents of his genitals and intestines from dropping out all over the floor.

It may take a couple of days for her to feel like she's fit to receive people that did not give birth to her. It's not all just about the new baby.

Mosman Fri 28-Dec-12 03:26:47

I have a boy and three girls and my DIL will be treated exactly the same as my daughters, I certainly will ask if I can have my grandchildren over to stay, not under the age of year and I'd be unimpressed if she was farming out a baby be she my daughter or DIL.
My own mother was at the birth of two of her sons children to support him tbh and he needed it too.
There's no right or wrong way just your family way and anyone who wants to join my family will have to shape up and join in.

dolcelatte Fri 28-Dec-12 05:53:57

You just need to accept that, whilst still important, you will not be the most important woman in your DS' lives, and behave accordingly. I think some problems arise because mothers can't let go. I also think that there are some double standards because it seems ok for mothers and daughters to have very close relationships, but there is a suspicion around 'Mummy's boys' that they have not evolved into mature adults.

Flatbread Fri 28-Dec-12 06:25:56

I also think that there are some double standards because it seems ok for mothers and daughters to have very close relationships, but there is a suspicion around 'Mummy's boys' that they have not evolved into mature adults

This. I chat with my family everyday, so why shouldn't dh do the same?

I enjoy visiting PIL and stay with them even when dh can't make it. Mil and I don't have much in common and FIL doesn't speak English (they live abroad). But it is calm and relaxing. I don't try to seek mil's approval and nor does she seek mine. Very restful all around

exoticfruits Fri 28-Dec-12 08:14:03

I think that the whole issue is to do with 'letting go'. The parent's job is to make themselves redundant and you need to start early and do it very gradually. It doesn't mean that you sever all links- if you do it well they come and see you because they love spending time with you. You ought to have got used to only giving advice if it is asked for - and to smile and nod. If you haven't , then you will have problems because the DIL isn't going to accept it - in the way that she might with her own mother if she hasn't let go. You also have to accept that your DSs choice might not be yours and you will have to work at the relationship. (DIL needs to realise it too). The whole problem comes about if you have two possessive women who are over keen on the word MY as in MY DS, MY DH, MY baby- instead of just referring to them by their first name.

exoticfruits Fri 28-Dec-12 08:17:42

It can't be right that all mothers of DSs are dreadful women and all mothers of DDs are wonderfully understanding women! It just amounts to the fact that women put up with a lot from a mother that they wouldn't from a MIL and both sides should treat them as adults. SILs don't have the same problem- they just distance themselves rather than get into open conflict.

drudgewithagrudge Fri 28-Dec-12 09:14:19

I am MIL to a DSIL and DDIL. I must admit I found it very hard at first when I realised that I was no longer the most important person in DS and DD's lives but it has all worked out very well.

There is a lot of tongue biting involved but the joys of being a grandparent far outweigh this.

I do feel that there is a different relationship with DD and her family than with DS and his. I have spoken to other Grannys and a lot feel closer to their DD's children than their DS's. I am lucky to have a very nice SIL and DIL who have brought great joy to my life.

Zara1984 Fri 28-Dec-12 09:24:17

I am closer to my DMIL than I am to my mother (haven't spoken to my mum in years).

How to be a good MIL: accept that your child is a grown up and that your opinion doesn't matter (unless asked for)!

exoticfruits Fri 28-Dec-12 09:28:14

I can't imagine why you would feel closer to a DD's children than a DS's children- my mother doesn't. Geographically she sees far more of my brother's children but she makes her own relationship anyway.

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 09:43:36

Good advice! Its so tricky! Take the sentence, for example "would you like me to clean the bathroom for you?" As a mil, that would be me trying to help around the house after newish baby, rather than sitting cuddling baby having a cup of tea etc. As a dil it could imply interfering old mil is criticising housekeeping skills!
My aim as a mil is to think 3 times before I say anything which could be misconstrued, give lots of praise, only offer advice when asked, tell them they are the only experts with their baby and enjoy some fun times playing with the little ones.

FairyInTheGarden Fri 28-Dec-12 10:22:10

This thread has prompted me to rejoin.

I am the mum of an only child (ds10) and I am terrified at the thought of being a 'mil', it seems a minefield indeed.

My husband is also an only child and his mother is the most overbearing, bossy person I have ever known. As a result of her behaviour and attitude towards me I am civil to her but nothing else. She has caused this over the 12 years by;
1. Phoning my husband every day at tea time to check what he'd had for his tea (he moved in with me aged 25!!!)

2. Coming round to my house when I was at work to visit Her son before we were married and digging plants out the garden, replacing them with her own ( without asking) and cleaning. I found this soooooo offensive! Some may think this was nice but to me it was a major intrusion of privacy, I did not have that type of relationship with my own mother.

3. When I fell pregnant just before we got married she was unhappy. She criticised the name we had chosen for des so much that we had no choice but to chAnge it. When he was born she wouldn't come to visit at the hosp until she had an invite! Everyone else was excited and couldn't wait to come! She then grimaced when she arrived and I was bf ing new ds. She said that's yuk! (Stupid woman!!!!!)

4. When I got him home after 5 days in hosp I got no offer of any house hold help but did get her phoning me every morning at 10 am asking if she could take him out in the pram! Err no, he is newborn and bf!

5. As ds got older she formed a strong bond and encouraged him to call her mum. She had her own clothes, buggy and toys hidden away for him at hers despite us sending him with stuff. She still to this day can't get his name right and calls him by Dh name (her son)

6. When she heard we were trying to conceive our second child she was horrified and said 'how would you cope' and told ds that he shouldn't want a brother or sister as it would spoil his fun. As it happened we were struggling to conceive and were diagnosed with unexplained sub fertility - to this day, 8 years on we are still without another child.

I am soooooo angry with her I could scream but I maintain civility for the sake of Dh and ds. I haven't even touched on the bossing and her criticism of my housekeeping and weight, grrrrr!

Please please make me a better mil than mine. Phew, I feel better writing all that down...

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 28-Dec-12 10:35:35

Fairy, people should wait to be invited to visit unless they have the sort of relationship where both people know its ok to just turn up.

Everything else you've said is strange but that bit it called being considerate

FairyInTheGarden Fri 28-Dec-12 10:45:24

Sock I see your point and I can see that it is considerate to wait to be asked to visit a newborn in hospital but this 'considerate' behaviour didn't fit in with the rest of her behaviour up to and since that point.
It wasn't considerate to be critical of the name chosen for her grandchild, or to wade in to another womans home and take over but that didn't stop her.
My own thoughts are that her nose was so far out of joint that she was no longer the main thing in her ds life as he now had his own ds and she resented that.

Sabriel Fri 28-Dec-12 10:46:25

It is a difficult relationship though. When I was growing up I thought all families did everything the same as ours did. It was quite a shock to find that wasn't the case. As the DD you will tend to do things more-or-less as your own parents did (unless you deliberately do the opposite) and the DIL will do things the way her family does.

My DB's DD is the same age as my children and they all got together quite often when they were young. My SIL dressed her DD differently to the way I did - which my mum saw as odd - one example is we always had Clarks shoes and so did my DC - DN used to arrive in "fashion" shoes which DM highly disapproved of.

If you are someone who has gone along with co-sleeping, EBF, late potty training and BLW it must be very hard to bite your tongue when your DIL puts her baby into its own room from day 1 and leaves it to cry (for example).

One of my FB friends is the same age as my DS3 and has young children. She was having a real moan recently that her mum was having a go at her for leaving her baby to cry. I would have done the same grin. Yet I had an interfering MIL and was convinced I wouldn't interfere. Sadly I think I will.

Inertia Fri 28-Dec-12 10:54:01

Mosman - but when your children marry, they are not joining your family - they are starting to build a new family unit of their own , with close links to your family and the new spouse's family. What if the spouse's family do things differently to yours ? Who do the married couple shape up and fit in with ? This is part of the control issue that some have had problems with - once your children have left home and formed new partnerships, they actually don't have to shape up and fit in with you anymore.

And if your brother's (?) wife was happy for her MiL to be there fine - but when a woman us giving birth nobody has the right to insist on being there

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 10:55:36

Fairy, I'm so sorry to hear about your unreasonable mil, you will learn from her and be an excellent mil I'm surexxx However as baby stuff changes constantly from generation to generation who knows what will be "in" when our young sons are fathers!!! I'm practising the statement " that's interesting, what a brilliant idea".
In spite of tricky mil ( usual stuff!!!!!!!) all my children did bond well with grandmas and the things that drive us mad/demented/annoyed seem to amuse them, especially as children and grandparents age.

KitCat26 Fri 28-Dec-12 10:55:46

My MIL is lovely and I'd like to be just like her if/when I have a son in law (or a daughter in law for that matter).

She loves my DDs, she can not remember a thing about raising her boys so cannot comment on if I am parenting right or not, she is also funny and caring and loves playing games with the DDs.

MIL truly makes the most of every second with the DDs. But then she only became a MIL aged 79 and a grandma aged 80 - its is something she never thought she would experience. We also get on very well.

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 10:56:38

Ps I do understand that there is a big difference between generally being fed up and annoyed with mil and the really toxic damaging sort which sadly seem to exist.

FairyInTheGarden Fri 28-Dec-12 10:59:32

Story, thanks I hope so smile

atthewelles Fri 28-Dec-12 11:00:03

I read tales on here of some terrible MILs who really need to learn to stand back a bit and give their DILs a bit of space and respect.

But I also read lots of silly, petty complaints from overly precious DILs who treat their children like a toy they're not prepared to share with anyone else and refuse to accept that they're also part of a larger extended family. I do feel terribly sorry for MILs in those situations who must spend their time walking on egg shells as they try to maintain some involvement in the lives of their beloved grandchildren.

loverofwine Fri 28-Dec-12 11:04:50

..all this provides much food for thought.

It seems to me that the knub is that both MIL and DIL should accept people do things differently and not be critical of each other.

However this is all very well but the reality is different.

My MIL riles because (ashamed to admit this) I think she wasn't a great mother to my DH (based on things he has said about his upbringing) and she insists that her view of the world is the only acceptable one. NB she is fascist, anti feminist who believes women should subsume themselves to (and I quote) 'The Men'

I think I will concentrate my efforts on making my boys good and appreciative of the women in their lives and happily waving them off to their own lives when the time comes.

Will cross the grandmother issue as and when it arrives.

storynanny Fri 28-Dec-12 11:06:32

I hope I'm like your mil kitcatxxx I sometimes "forget" what I did with mine actually so that it doesn't look as if I'm saying " well I used to do ..........."
Eggshells is all part of the learning curve!!!!!!!!!!

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