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MIL 60th birthday - AIBU or help me get some perspective

(141 Posts)
Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 18-Feb-14 12:16:44

I've posted about MIL before. Basically, I find her a very selfish person. That's fine - she's entitled to be so.

We have a 14 month old DS and a 4 week old DD. my parents are the antithesis of PILs and give us a huge amount if practical and emotional support. They are "doers". So they'll just arrive with meals and pitch in with cleaning etc. MIL sends weird passive aggressive emails saying she wants to "help" more but won't actually do anything practical. And, when she's with the DCs, isn't very good at putting their needs above hers - eg she'll have DS shrieking with hunger in his high chair whilst she has her lunch first etc.

It's MIL's 60th birthday and she wanted to have an evening meal thing. Again, she's quite entitled to have that but we felt that wouldn't be possible fir us given the age of DS in particular. And we live over a hundred miles from the PILs so it would have been a long drive home later. Staying with them isn't practical. But the main issue is that 14 month old DS needs to be in bed.

Instead, we suggested going out for lunch with the PILs as MIL always saying she wants to see the DC etc.

So it was agreed that we would travel to the PILs and take them out fir lunch. They would then have their evening do that day. Fine. We would go up and down in the day (long round trip) to facilitate this. Plus I am exclusively expressing to feed DD due to latch probs. but that's ok - it's only one day and I bought an in car charger for the expressing machine so I could sit in the car and do that.

Last night, MIL phoned DH to say that, actually, she would prefer to have her hair done in the afternoon so we would need to cancel the lunch and she would like DH to come to the evening do. The DCs and I can stay at home - ie she's not bothered about seeing them

For the avoidance of doubt, I want to be very clear that I entirely respect MIL's right to have whatever kind of celebration she wants for her birthday.

What is getting in my nerves is her self-avowed wish to see more if the DCs. Despite making no effort to come and see them and then turning down the opportunity to do so to have her hair done.

I'd quite like to say something to MIL, should the opportunity present itself, but I won't. Because at the end if the day, she's the one who choses what kind of relationship she has with the DCs.

AIBU re this

minniebar Tue 18-Feb-14 12:18:48

YANBU - but don't go out of your way from now on. And seethe on here grin

minniebar Tue 18-Feb-14 12:19:29

Don't go out of your way to help her see your DCs I mean, if that wasn't clear!

Cranky01 Tue 18-Feb-14 12:20:20

Don't worry too much, lots of family say they want to see more of the dc's, next time just say that lovely, they love to see you, when are you coming to visit

HumphreyCobbler Tue 18-Feb-14 12:20:55

this would piss me right off

Chopchopbusybusy Tue 18-Feb-14 12:23:35

YANBU. Let her come to visit you next time. Is your DH going to go to the dinner?

DadDadDad Tue 18-Feb-14 12:23:47

You haven't told us your DH's response to this situation.

SaucyJack Tue 18-Feb-14 12:24:14


I don't think you would be U to mention specific occasions (such as the above) when she's cancelled arrangements to see the grandkids.

But it won't change anything, so you may as well not bother wasting your breath.

Tommy Tue 18-Feb-14 12:24:26

yes - best thing just to smile and nod.....
I often suggest alternatives to my DH and SIL about the way their mum does things but they always insist that the way that she is doing it is the right way (because she's their mum and can do no wrong hmm ) so I just smile, nod and go along with it
(and put my foot down every once in a while grin )

SarahBumBarer Tue 18-Feb-14 12:26:05

I just want to know if your DH is going!


mummymeister Tue 18-Feb-14 12:26:23

I think you should just let your dh go and stay at home. he will be asked all evening where you and the DC's are and needs a good answer for that. lots of PIL and grandparents say one thing and mean something completely different. at least you now know where you stand.

Triliteral Tue 18-Feb-14 12:28:30

Obviously her appearance matters more than seeing the DC. I recall feeling much the same when my FIL declined coming over on Christmas day when the children were very young (it was DD's first Christmas, Ds was 3, and children are only young for a very short time) because it would mean he couldn't have a glass of wine with his dinner. I was working, therefore we couldn't go to them, before anyone suggests that. It never ceases to amaze me the different ways people prioritise things!

ScrambledSmegs Tue 18-Feb-14 12:29:30

Ooh, that would piss me right off. The next time she mithers on about seeing more of the DC's I would be tempted to say 'go on then, when?'.

My NY resolution is JFDI. I reckon she needs a healthy dose of that attitude, pronto.


Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 18-Feb-14 12:32:02

chop - yes. dH is going to the dinner. I have no issue with that as he doesn't intend to leave til DS is settled for the night and will do bath etc before he goes. So I'll just be giving DS his milk and getting him in to bed (maybe 30 mins earlier than normal). He'll be late fir the dinner but his view is so be it.

DH also wants to drive back that night. But I feel it's too long a drive so I've said he should stay over at and come back early in the morning. He's swithering as he wants to get home. Plus we have a routine where he does Friday and Sat night feeds so I just get up for the expressing and he feeds DD so I can get more sleep.

I've not said that I think MIL has rather played herself off side re seeing the children etc as the facts speak for themselves. I did make a mild comment that I quite understood and that MIL must spend the day as she wishes - it's her birthday. He said he agreed and we couldn't dictate her celebrations. I said absolutely not. But we never had tried to do. We had offered to go for a lunch to allow MIL to see the children. We had never tried to have the night do cancelled. MIL has decided she would prefer to have her hair done and that is entirely her prerogative.

maras2 Tue 18-Feb-14 12:32:06

Miserable old waggon. On my 60th last year we had open house. I did a running buffet < courtesy of M n S > and people were asked to come whenever it was convenient .Should have known better with our lot; they came , all 20 adults and god knows how many kids , and stayed. Good time had by all , no ' having hair done ' bollocks , no falling out and everyone from 90 year old MIL to smallest 6 weeker DGD very wellcome. Sounds like your MIL is rather hard to please. Best if you keep EBF baby with you and let DH go and pander to mardybum.

Doingakatereddy Tue 18-Feb-14 12:33:01

I'd just let DH go, smile and say nothing.

My MIL is horribly similar, makes a big bloody noise about 'helping' but does nothing - it's made me cry more times than I care to remember.

The answer for where you are is 'at home with little ones, journey too long & would be too much for them' with a smile.

As for my MIL, I'm going for the revenge is a fish best eaten cold approach. Just saying!

Greatnorthrunner Tue 18-Feb-14 12:35:19

Sounds just like my mil.
Selfish to the core.
What does your dh think?
In this situation I would send dh alone if he wants to go.
Does she have form for this kind of thing?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 18-Feb-14 12:35:52

chop - I will let them come here for a visit. But it's a lot of work. They stay the night and look on it as a lovely little mini break - I.e they don't do a hands turn. They have recently started taking plates into the kitchen. So that's something <sigh>

God - it makes me seethe inside. I'm not confrontational but I would love to say something to her when she chunters on again. But I suppose I have to think about her relationship with DH and the DCs

Kundry Tue 18-Feb-14 12:37:06

Next time she moans about not seeing the GCs, I don't think I could stop myself from mentioning 'Oh yes and you did cancel the last time we arranged for you to see them'

But then I am not one for the moral high ground wink

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 18-Feb-14 12:38:54

It never ceases to amaze me the different ways people prioritise things

tril - I think that's part of the issue. The whole thing is just in fathomable to me as my family is so different

Ironically, we have millions of photos of MIL with the DCs as she is very good at making sure we take them. Hardly any of my mum as she's normally off making a cup of tea or loading the dishwasher! Am making sure we rectify that!

Stevie77 Tue 18-Feb-14 12:39:18


But, think of it as a lucky escape? You tried to come towards her with a compromise, which she declined. I would, in your place, from now on stop trying to do that (i.e. please her) and stop trying to care. It's her loss.

ginslinger Tue 18-Feb-14 12:42:06

I think you're being very reasonable under the circumstances.

Stinklebell Tue 18-Feb-14 12:42:26

My MiL is the same.

Tells everyone within a 5 mile radius how wonderful a grandmother she is, how she'd love to see more of our girls, how horrible we are that we keep them away from her.

We moved away from "home" just over 10 years ago, she's visited once. We went back to visit family at Christmas for a couple of days - couldn't see us on any of the days we were there as she had to do her food shopping, needed to visit a garden centre, etc, etc.

We invite her here - she never comes (she's early 60s, with a husband who drives and neither have any mobility or financial concerns).

When we go back we try to see her - we have this whole convoluted list of hoops we have to jump through in order to come to a mutually agreeable time to visit.

She never phones, we've tried to set up a Skype session now and then but she doesn't want to (she doesn't like the way she looks on a webcam hmm ), DH had a cancer scare late last year (all fine, thank god) and she didn't even call to find out how he was - she was "too worried and couldn't cope"

She is the complete opposite of my parents who phone to see how they are, write little cards, send the odd gift - just little things like a cheap bracelet that my Mum will see and think "the girls would like one of those"), Skype regularly, come to visit often, etc

Don't waste your breath, it's not worth getting worked up over. We've just stopped trying - her loss

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 18-Feb-14 12:43:40

stevie - it's definitely a lucky escape. I'm quite happy to stay at home

Ironically, DH's 4 little girl cousins will be at the meal and they were desperate to see DD and DS.

I really hope that DH will, politely and factually, explain why we're not there. Sadly I don't think he will <sigh>

I had a fab relationship with both of my maternal and paternal grandparents. I'm at a loss re this. How much should we be going out of our way to facilitate a relationship with the PILs, given that it will require a lot of running by us?

whiteblossom Tue 18-Feb-14 12:44:09

Oh dear you just described my mil. Things won't change or improve I'm afraid.

YANBU. I think this is shocking- sod you or the kids. I love how she got FIL to make to call to cancel- that's also something my MIL would do. Get FIL to do her dirty work. For what its worth my IL also said they wanted to see GK more so when pressed for any dates at all to suit them...they said they were too busy (neither work).

Its clear to me MIL is not bothered about having you or the kids there. (they will take the attention away from her) Dh she wants there for appearences only.

I'd like to know what your DH thoughts are on this?

I should point out that my IL said our 2 year old ruined my fil 60th. My ds was very well behaved but the problem was that everyone at the party bar four people had not met ds yet so he had the attention. IL's didn't like that as they were paying and its all about them.

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