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to ask whether you prefer the 'confrontation' or 'ignoring' approach (MIL related. Of course.)

(47 Posts)
Jewels234 Thu 01-Jan-15 23:59:52

I am, for context, a good 3 - 4 years from having children. However, I'm getting married next year, and it came up over Christmas that my PIL will be expecting (and insisting) that I go back to work and they provide all my future children's childcare.

Sounds wonderful in theory. In practice they are so overbearing, I can't deal with having them in my life every day. They are already extremely upset that our wedding isn't religious, purely for the purposes of getting our future unborn children into a C of E/Catholic School (I'm not happy they are dictating a religion for my unconceived children). They are hugely controlling. And most importantly, shouldn't the decision about whether I go back to work be left up to me and my future husband?! It is not his parents' business. In addition, my MIL is extremely lonely, no friends/hobbies, with a husband who works constantly. It has been made pretty clear that she is keeping her life free so that she can bring up my children. They are hard work, and only ever add stress to my life.

It's so far away, but I feel compelled that next time it comes up with them to say that as an FYI, they will not be providing childcare 5 days a week. We could afford nurserys etc., and from a 'my wellbeing' perspective I already know that I couldn't cope with their extra level of involvement in our lives. It will cause a huge fall out, they will be upset.

Or should I just leave it to future Jewels to sort?

madsadbad Fri 02-Jan-15 00:03:13

I am from the assertive side rather than passive.

Ohfourfoxache Fri 02-Jan-15 00:05:43

Think you need to start sewing the seeds now - it might avoid an all out confrontation in the future.

Just a simple "oh no, we have our own plans" - said breezily - it won't make it as big a shock in the future when you put your foot down.

I found that, if you start out as quiet as a church mouse/start out as a door mat, it is harder to break the cycle.

scarletforya Fri 02-Jan-15 00:05:56

Tell her you're going to be a stay-at-home-Mam, she can't argue with that!

Seriously though, have you talked to your dp? You need to decide a strategy for dealing with her and approach it with a United front. I'd be inclined to be straight and say you'll be making those decisions together as a couple and won't be railroaded.

Pico2 Fri 02-Jan-15 00:06:23

If move far away enough to make it impossible. Added bonus that they can't get too involved in the rest of your lives.

Ohfourfoxache Fri 02-Jan-15 00:08:18

Urgh - sowing

<baby brain>

foslady Fri 02-Jan-15 00:08:19

I think every time they raised it I'd shut it down with a 'Let us get married 1st' and if they keep going on follow up with a 'Let's just enjoy our married time before children arrive, shall we?' and refuse to get into the conversation....

BOFster Fri 02-Jan-15 00:09:05

You don't have to have a detailed set of arguments- a vague "Well, I suppose we'll just have to decide what's best for us at the time" will do. But I'd establish that you aren't going to be pushed around.

I'd also have a serious rethink about my choice of partner if his family are this much hard work. It's no picnic being with a man who allows his parents to bully him and/or his partner. Why volunteer for the stress?

Gabriola Fri 02-Jan-15 00:09:39

If you are against using mil for childcare completely, regardless of circumstance, then you should be clear about this now.

If, however, there is any chance that you may use her for some of your childcare, even if it is for emergencies only or occasional babysitting, then I would just bat this off for now.

MonstrousRatbag Fri 02-Jan-15 00:11:27

Unless you and your husband are on the same page, I'd think twice about marrying him at all. That's a pretty frightening, mothering set of expectations your prospective ILs have got.

Jewels234 Fri 02-Jan-15 00:13:27

My thought process is that the poor woman is waiting desperately for grandchildren so that she gets her second chance at motherhood (she only had one and was desperate for more but it never happened). I want to manage expectations. And yes, move as far away as possible.

NancyDroop Fri 02-Jan-15 00:16:55

OP you and your DP need to set some firm boundaries with your PILs - I fear this is only the tip of the iceberg of what they will insist on.

It will be hard but I would suggest confrontation at this point for 1 key reason: to test whether your DP will support you or appease them.

Sorry for being terribly harsh but if your DP won't support you then you are potentially walking into an abusive relationship (with your PILs) and you should carefully consider your options before the wedding.

I don't think these kind of PILs get better; rather worse. Can you handle that?!

MonstrousRatbag Fri 02-Jan-15 00:17:36

smothering, not mothering! Although it works either way really.

MsHighwater Fri 02-Jan-15 00:17:53

Can I suggest that you move far enough that daily childcare is not practical but close enough that they can go home after visits.

Ohfourfoxache Fri 02-Jan-15 00:18:51

They may be her grandchildren, but they will be your children.

You must do what is best for them/your DH/you. Otherwise resentment will build.

There is no reason for her not to be involved, but there is equally no reason for you to be dictated to.

BOFster Fri 02-Jan-15 00:19:17

Oh, and the whole CofE/Catholic thing rings alarm bells. You can't be either/or. I'd be respectful of my family's culture and background to the point where I'd acknowledge their beliefs and opinions as important to them whilst maintaining my own viewpoint and right to decide on my children's education, but I'd have no truck with a random and purely self-interested pick-and-mix approach to religion. It smacks of cynicism and an attempt to manipulate the system, and I'm not sure I'd want to put myself in the situation of having regular dealings with people like that.

Jewels234 Fri 02-Jan-15 00:22:13

I would love to set boundaries. They come from a difficult background, first generation immigrants to this country as a result, and their phrase to my DP is 'we came to this country to give you a better life, now you owe us X, Y, Z'. It's his battle to fight, not mine, but it impacts on my life as a result.

The issues stem from their culture where it is the norm to stay near where your parents are, not to move away ever, to see them every day, for them to be completely involved in your life. I do not come from that background at all and so really struggle with their involvement and insistence on knowing everything about our lives.

To make it worse, they are very generous, which makes me feel constantly indebted to them.

NancyDroop Fri 02-Jan-15 00:23:15

Yes I think you are right that your MIL is intending to mother your future children. There are a lot of examples of this on MN but your MIL (to be) already sounds extreme.

I deal with this from my MIL and it is no joke. It is terribly undermining, frustrating, horrifying. It is like someone is trying to take my child from me every day.

BOFster Fri 02-Jan-15 00:25:43

If you know this is already making you unhappy, why are you sleepwalking into a marriage which will inevitably cause you further stress? Surely it's a big red flag that you are fundamentally incompatible?

NancyDroop Fri 02-Jan-15 00:27:26

OP mine are the same: generous first generation PILs who must be respected at all costs. But the cultural references etc are just excuses, don't pander to them. You and your DP neex to set your boundaries and work from there, not feom their expectations.

I suggest you read Toxic Inlaws ASAP.

Gabriola Fri 02-Jan-15 00:28:57

To make it worse, they are very generous, which makes me feel constantly indebted to them.

This is a problem. You need to politely decline anything that makes you feel like this.

Ohfourfoxache Fri 02-Jan-15 00:30:52

Just to add to Nancy's post - you may want to have a look at the stately homes thread too.

PulpsNotFiction Fri 02-Jan-15 00:33:37

I think you need to address this now, not specifically the childcare issue for children who haven't been born yet, but the expectations around your future pils, and how your future DH is going to handle it.
Does he feel the same as you or the same as them? If it's the latter then you're setting yourself up for a miserable time I'm afraid. Frank discussions with DP Asap.

ChampagneAndCrisps Fri 02-Jan-15 00:35:56

I agree with everyone else. My MIL was bad enough wanting to be 'mum' and FIL 'dad'... And we lived 200 miles away. I genuinely think our marriage would not have lasted if we'd lived any closer and she could have got even more involved.
Please think very carefully.
My early days with my children were spoiled fighting off her over-involvement and open criticism of me. I do think Grandparents are very important and we have an ok relationship now.
At least your future MIL has shown her true colours.
Discuss it with your future husband, but if he doesn't understand , think very carefully as to whether you really want to be further involved with this family.

BOFster Fri 02-Jan-15 00:40:27

At the moment this feels like an issue with his parents, from what you are saying, but it will inevitably become a bone of contention in your relationship with your partner over time, as he is already allowing them to be a domineering presence in your life, despite your obvious discomfort.

Are you sure this is really what you want?

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