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What should I expect of my MIL?

(108 Posts)
alwaysfancywine Thu 10-Nov-16 15:04:24

Relationship with MIL is 'fine' - she irks me somewhat but I am polite and rise above it and we've never had any confrontation. I've known her for 20 odd years and have 2 kids - both under 10. She lives about 40 mins away from us and we see her once or twice a month. She NEVER invites us to her house, I'm pretty sure it's because my 7 year old tinkers with her 1000s of ornaments other crap laying around the shelves. I wish she would just chill but there you go. She is widowed so we (mainly my DH) feel we should see her as often as we can. Here's my AIBU - when she comes over I (me always) cook her both lunch and dinner and she often has a couple of glasses of wine too.
It really, really pisses me off that she always arrives empty handed and just accepts that she is going to be catered for and waited on hand and foot. She never goes near the dishwasher either. My DH says she is a guest and family so she shouldn't have to bring food or clean up.
It causes rows almost every time she's been. How does it work with your ILs - am I BU to expect her to return the invite occasionally and offer some food/drink when she comes?

MadameSilva Thu 10-Nov-16 15:08:17

I'm with your Dh. If you invite someone round they are your guest and you host. Would you invite a friend round and expect them to wash up?

It would be nice if she offered to help and it is polite to bring a bottle of wine. I wouldn't expect my PIL to bring anything.

If you don't like hosting, don't invite her and if it's your dh inviting then he can cook and tidy up.

lastqueenofscotland Thu 10-Nov-16 15:08:26


But if your DH wants her round he should cook/pick up after her

PilkoPumpPants Thu 10-Nov-16 15:09:34

Depends really, how old is she?

Matchingbluesocks Thu 10-Nov-16 15:12:29

Yabu. It's family, they don't have to bring gestures. She fed your H for decades after all. I would absolutely let it go

UrethaFranklin Thu 10-Nov-16 15:12:42

I kind of agree with your DH I'm afraid. My mum often comes to mine for dinner - she never brings anything with her and I wouldn't expect her to either!

ConvincingLiar Thu 10-Nov-16 15:15:30

I would expect my family/friends to contribute/muck in. I would expect in laws to offer help/to bring but would be less likely to take them up on it. I never take food to my mum/close friends but I expect it's about 50/50 with them coming to us, so it all works out.

She might argue that she's paying travel to get to you so the pleasure of her company is what you get. I'd make DH do more. I'd also consider asking her to pick up X/Y/Z on her way over.

Trifleorbust Thu 10-Nov-16 15:16:51

She's a guest. Your DH should do more.

Ahickiefromkinickie Thu 10-Nov-16 15:17:51

YANBU. The ornaments seem to be her excuse for not having you over. Is she fit/healthy?

Why don't you go on a cooking strike and let DH cater to her, even down to cups of teas.

Hospitality does have to be returned, even if she is your MIL.

Alwayschanging1 Thu 10-Nov-16 15:20:56

I would hope for wine or choccies, and it might be nice to have an offer of help, but I would never accept any offer of help.
My DM is the same - NEVER invites us there. Never brings anything when she comes here. Always expects us to pay when we go out, but never thanks us when we do. But she is great with the DC.

alwaysfancywine Thu 10-Nov-16 15:25:49

Really interesting opinions here. Thanks everyone. She is a young 73 and not atall doddery. I am one of those kitchen control freaks - it's MY oven, MY fridge etc and I get a bit funny about people being in my territory. 100% know that's wrong, it's just how I am.
Guess I need to put up and shut up. God it bugs me though! She could at least ask if she could bring pudding or a starter or something - I would then say no - it's just the principle that she expects everything.
BTW, she has never, in 12 years, ever babysat or looked after our kids in anyway. Maybe this is part of it.

Gottagetmoving Thu 10-Nov-16 15:26:24

Some people don't like having other people in their house. You don't seem to mind having her visit so just accept it as it is.
I wouldn't expect family members to cook or wash up when they visit. If they offer, that is ok but I would never think they should.
If she came round not always invited a lot and expected to be fed then that is different.

IrregularCommentary Thu 10-Nov-16 15:26:49

Wouldn't bother me too much that she doesn't bring anything or help. Would bother me that your dh leaves it all to you though.

He thinks it's important to see her every weeks, fine, but why can't he cook at least half the time?

JellyBelli Thu 10-Nov-16 15:32:41

You actually sound very similar; she doesnt want the kids fiddling with her ornaments, and you dont want people fiddling with your kitchen...
I agree with your DP. family can turn up empty handed. If he doesnt help is it because you dont like him touching the kitchen stuff?

BertrandRussell Thu 10-Nov-16 15:34:40

I would expect close friends and immediate family to muck In a bit, or st least offer to unless it was a special occasion. But if you guard "your" kitchen you can't really expect her to, could you?

BertrandRussell Thu 10-Nov-16 15:35:54

Have you asked her to babysit?

Enidblyton1 Thu 10-Nov-16 15:37:33

I wouldn't expect her to bring something - families don't really need to do that.
BUT, I think it's awful that she never invites you round for lunch at her house. It's also unusual that a fit grandmother in her 70s has never done any babysitting for you in 12 years. I could understand if she was unwell or lived far away, but otherwise it seems strange. Is she v busy doing other things?

Makes me feel v grateful for my lovely Mil who often cooks Sunday lunch for us and will help out with the odd afternoon of childcare when I'm really stuck.

But people are all so different. We have only cooked once for my PIL in the last 6 months. This is because they LOVE being at their own home and like to cook for the whole family.
So, like you, my MiL pretty much dictates how things are done. Luckily, it's an arrangement that suits everyone!!

I think your DH needs to support you more (ie help with cooking) and if it really isn't an option to ever go to Mil's house, how about the odd family meal out on neutral territory?

oldlaundbooth Thu 10-Nov-16 15:40:55


She should at least offer to wash up and she should bring wine and/ or dessert.

Or you DH should do more. Or she should treat you just pay and go out for dinner, no cooking or washing up.

BertrandRussell Thu 10-Nov-16 15:41:34

It's odd that she doesn't invite you round- is it that you got into the habit when the children were little and her house wasn't babyproofable?

If so, then can your dp say "hey, mum, it's your turn next week!"

Although cooking for one extra is much easier than cooking for 4 extra.........

Tanaqui Thu 10-Nov-16 15:48:29

I don't agree with some of the pp- either she is family, doesn't bring anything but mucks in with the cooking and clearing up, or she is a guest and you wait on her, but she brings wine or flowers- can't have it both ways!

BertrandRussell Thu 10-Nov-16 15:52:48

I think the OP suggests that she doesn't want anyone in her kitchen, so mucking in isn't an option........

HarleyQuinzel Thu 10-Nov-16 15:52:53

Can't your DH ask if you can come round for dinner? Why does anyone have to cook? Can you not just offer a microwave meal or a sandwich? Or just say not cooking today so you might want to bring yourself a sandwich. Very strange she doesn't invite you round or offer to have the kids but then your H should be able to ask.

HarleyQuinzel Thu 10-Nov-16 15:54:17

If she's there for the day then she's not actually coming for dinner she's just coming to see the grandkids so I don't think you should feel obliged to wait on her.

WorkAccount Thu 10-Nov-16 15:55:12

My family don't bring stuff when visiting or expect stuff from family. So to discover on here people expect it surprised me.

And wanting people to offer so you could turn it down is just silly.

BertrandRussell Thu 10-Nov-16 15:55:23

"Really interesting opinions here. Thanks everyone. She is a young 73 and not atall doddery. I am one of those kitchen control freaks - it's MY oven, MY fridge etc and I get a bit funny about people being in my territory. 100% know that's wrong, it's just how I am."

So no mucking in!

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