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To think my MIL should refrain from commenting on matters she has absolutely no understanding of?

(17 Posts)
Fortitudine Fri 26-Aug-16 13:18:03

My work has been through a major restructure in the last year. Loads of staff have left, and it has been handled very poorly, causing a real drop in staff morale. Some were treated so badly that unions and tribunals have been involved, and the employees have won their cases. It's all been a stressful mess, and I was talking about this to some relatives.

MIL piped up that I really should be grateful I still have a job, and stop complaining. I actually love my job and was not complaining about that so much as the way my employer has acted downright illegally in the way they've treated staff.

What has really annoyed me though is that this is a woman who has not worked a day in her life since giving up work when she got married in 1953. 63 sodding years ago! She has no comprehension of what modern working life is like, and seems to have a view that employees should just roll over and let employers kick them. She's a staunch Daily Mail reader, and normally I let her remarks wash over me, but I'm afraid I was a bit short with her when she said this. I know she's elderly but she has form in voicing views about things that she knows very little about and this just touched a nerve!

Rosae Fri 26-Aug-16 13:31:27

I remember my dad having rows like that with my grandma (his mum). She hadn't worked since before she had him and had pretty much shut herself in her house on a small island with nothing but her newspapers and mills and boon books. But she was adamant that she knew what it was like and would get irate with anyone that didn't agree with her. Think shouting slamming hands on tables and even storming out the room. There's nothing you can do but bite your tongue I think. X

wizzywig Fri 26-Aug-16 13:33:06

Theres a thread going on about how the older generation dont know how it is these days at work

DeadGood Fri 26-Aug-16 13:33:33

"Think shouting slamming hands on tables and even storming out the room. There's nothing you can do but bite your tongue I think."

Wow, biting my tongue is definitely not how I would deal with your grandmother.


90daychallenger Fri 26-Aug-16 13:36:14

You are not alone

LovelyBranches Fri 26-Aug-16 13:45:07

YANBU, you have rights at work that have been hard fought for. I wouldn't expect any employer to abuse them and if they did, I'd fully expect employees to take action with help from their unions.

I would be tempted to spend now to eternity bringing every issue of malpractice to your MIL, with a exclamation of 'look how awful this is'.

Floisme Fri 26-Aug-16 13:45:11

It sounds as if the lack of understanding goes both ways.

She probably doesn't know what modern working life is like. Equally, I doubt whether you have any idea of what it was like for her, raising a family in the 50s/60s and I think it's a bit off to say she's never worked a day in her life. Or do you only consider paid employment as work?

Having said that, I don't think there's any need to bit your tongue just because she's elderly. She won't break.

Floisme Fri 26-Aug-16 13:49:27


LovelyBranches Fri 26-Aug-16 13:51:02

Floism, I'm sorry but that analogy doesn't work in this context. Staying home and looking after a family is of course work, but it's not work that will abuse your employment rights, require you to enact the help of a Trade Union or require an employment tribunal. Op's MIL would have no experience of those situations and shouldn't act like she is some sort of authority on those issues.

Floisme Fri 26-Aug-16 13:55:09

Lovely what I am saying is that the op has no experience and probably very little comprehension of what her mother in law's life has been like. Yet she is still passing comment on it - and then complaining about her MIL doing exactly the same thing.

Fortitudine Fri 26-Aug-16 14:01:01

I don't know what it was like for her, no. I do know that she has made snide remarks about me being spooky because I had foreign holidays as a child and my mum had a car. The fact that these things were paid for in part by my mum's salary seems to escape her. My mum was an exact contemporary of MIL (born 1931, married 1953), yet to speak to the two of them, my mother in law has always seemed to be a generation older than my mother, a real 50s housewife. My mother worked until I was born in the early 60s and then returned to work when I was about 9. It certainly gave her a different outlook on life to that of MIL.

Fortitudine Fri 26-Aug-16 14:01:29

Spoilt not spooky!

WhooooAmI24601 Fri 26-Aug-16 14:10:09

My Mum and MIL are polar opposites; Mum is University-educated and worked constantly throughout her adult life. At 65 she still works full time because she loves her job. MIL only went back to work because her DH died in the 80's and doesn't believe women should be educated beyond GCSE's, saying they won't need anything more to sit behind a desk answering phones.

MIL has many, many opinions on what a woman should and shouldn't do. I find it strangely hilarious that DH married, essentially, the polar opposite of what MIL believed a 'lady' ought to be. Her opinions are exactly that; hers. They have no bearing on me. I do think it's ok to challenge people like that, though, and point out that she has very little experience in the working world so her "put up and shut up" doesn't really apply.

everdene Fri 26-Aug-16 14:10:53

You are totally NBU.

My DH and I went through a workplace reduction with 33% redundancy when we worked together.

MIL said a few weeks later (after a friend of ours left for a new job) that this person should have taken redundancy rather than put others at risk - as if she'd have known she was going to get another job. My MIL actually said she was furious at our friend for that!

I called her out on it, she hasn't worked, like your MIL, since before DH was born and is totally clueless about modern workplaces.

Floisme Fri 26-Aug-16 14:12:37

Yes op it will have given your mum a very different outlook. Many of that generation just missed out on the changing attitudes towards women. I have quite a bit of sympathy for them - if I were in their shoes, I'd be spitting feathers.

You say she makes snide remarks but to me, this is a woman who has not worked a day in her life sounds pretty snide too.

I'm not saying you have to like her though! And absolutely no need to treat her with kid gloves. So argue away.

BillSykesDog Fri 26-Aug-16 14:17:34

How often are you complaining about it? Regardless of whether or not someone understands the ins and outs of the politics of your workplace, if someone constantly moans about something it can be wearing.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Fri 26-Aug-16 14:31:28

YADNBU. Really irritating thing to do.
But I agree you certainly don't need to bite your tongue, just explore her knowledge a little with her - along the lines of "oh really MIL? When did you last have a job in paid employment again?" But only if you're feeling really mean.

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