To put the fear of God into MIL by politely threatening not to visit as often?(51 Posts)
DH comes from a country in the Far East and the PILS still live there. It is MIL's constant lament that DH did not marry a woman from his country and therefore return to the fold, when really DH was living in the U.K. when I met him and would still be regardless of if we had met or not.
Because MIL always gets upset that DH and our DC live away from her, we visit as much as we can and we stay for quite a long time (between 2-4 months a year.) The DC are 2yo and 6mo so we are not bound by school yet and DH and I both work for ourselves. PILs flat is medium sized two bedroom on a fifth floor in a city. It is very child unfriendly with lots of little ornaments, marble floors, precious China and no space to run.
DH's brother visits far less often with his DC. Maybe for one week in the summer. As a result, PILs cling to every word he says, are endlessly grateful for tiny gestures or phone calls and idealise his life - you get the picture.
Anyway I have been driven really mad this visit (we have been here 3.5 weeks now, living in the same flat with PILs.) DD who is 2 has developed some problems with sleeping. Some would say because we have changed her environment so much she is feeling unsettled and because this flat is not conducive to children. Every evening it is a battle to get her into bed - we can start bedtime at 7pm and she will still not be in bed until gone 12 midnight or later. She also wakes up in the night and cries, waking everyone up. Last night was the worst - we were up all night with her in our room, where she was refusing to sleep, even in our bed. I am also BF-ing 6mo who will also cry a lot in the early morning.
Every time this happens, PILs start saying things like "oh you're making her/them cry again." And "it is never like this with your brother's children. They always just go straight to bed." And the worst - "you don't know how to raise children."
We have been lectured over the last 48 hours by PILs about what bad parents we are. MIL has told us we are on our phones too much and not paying attention to the DC (we really aren't compared to most, but to her generation it probably seems excessive.) She has said we don't have a routine (we do, but environmental factors here, plus 6 of us squashed in this 2 bedroom flat make it hard to implement.) She has (again) told us how hard she had it when DH and his brother were small. Much, much worse than me, apparently. That she never took a break, she was completely alone. And here we are not even able to get our 2yo into bed when she was building fires and skinning rabbits etc. Always the comparisons with DH's brother and DH's brothers children keep cropping up too.
DH is being v reasonable with her, politely disagreeing, reassuring her we have a routine, that we'll look less at our phones, listening to her stories of the long cold nights she spent alone with two boys with only scratchy cardigans she knitted herself to keep them warm (FIL was away a lot and they were very poor.)
AIBU to tell her that we are obviously causing them too much disturbance and we will reduce our visits to just a week in the summer, like DH's brother and his children? I want her to realise that she has to take the rough with the smooth if she wants us here. And that she should not let the fact we lay ourselves bare to her by uprooting our lives and staying with them for several months a year, mean that she has a right to criticise and judge?
I think you need to rent somewhere nearby for your stay, or cut them down drastically. Two months is far too long to stay with someone in such cramped conditions. I'm not surprised you are getting on each other's nerves.
Totally echo what sonjadog has just said. Two months in a large lofty house together would be hard work let alone in those cramped conditions. Is renting your own place nearby an option?
Like fuck would I be spending up to four months a year living with my in laws in those circumstances, and getting criticised for the pleasure.
It sounds hideous. Only say it if you're brace enough to implement it. Maybe they don't want you to stay for two months.
The next time she critisises your parenting you could say bil has the right idea,short sharp visits are better for us all. Alternatively could you pay for them to visit you? The dc will be more settled at home & it's your house so your rules so to speak.
I find my kids become unsettled after being away from home about 5-7 days and want their own home comforts even though they are happy wherever we may be. Their behaviour changes, they ask to come home, I can just tell they're not quite themselves. I would just limit the length of visits as you suggest. Could you just say it is hard for the kids for any length of time so from now on you will visit for a week at a time and it will make everyone happier all round, as it doesn't sound like anyone is really enjoying it. Difficult to broach though, good luck.
Sounds like the stay is far too long for everyone. No wonder nerves are frazzled. I wouldn't be thinking of it as 'putting the fear of God in her' though. I would definitely be cutting down for now. When the children are older, it might be a little easier. For your own sake, and the children, I hope that you can get back home soon.
Book to go home now, tell them in preparation for school you'll be visiting for a week in the summer, or 2 weeks if you rent somewhere of your own. Or tell them you can't afford it with work to not work that long.
4months, I take my hat off to you.
Why does BIL get away with one week-long visit per year? Have his kids started at school?
I'm very surprised that you've agreed to these long visits, especially in 2 bed flat. Are you happy with these visits apart from MIL's awful attitude? I could not manage more than 1 week (or 2 weeks at the very max).
Time to have a word with your DH and say you're not happy to disrupt your DC's routine anymore.
Op, based on stories from my Chinese best friend (at a British uni) and Asian friends on FB, plus a large number of 'humorous' videos on Youtube/Buzzfeed, I have come to the hesitant conclusion that it is socially acceptable for parents in Asia and the Far East to criticise for a hobby (Arab parents too to a lesser extent - I have one so am allowed to say so!).
Comments from European friends of 'Gosh, that's awful' are generally met with a handwave and 'Pah, it's just their way' sort of responses; I get the impression that a lot of the criticism flows straight off my friends' backs. Could you maybe try to get into that mindset?
Sorry, I imagine it is very difficult to keep your temper when it's constant!
The extended stay in the same flat is the problem here. Either find a different place to stay or make the visits much shorter.
I wouldn't bother to tell her anything or "threaten" her with anything.
Just change the visits to how you want them to be as this obviously doesn't work.
"Why does BIL get away with one week-long visit per year?"
He's not getting away with anything is he, just visiting as & when he wants.
Op's husband needs to take a leaf out of his book-unless he wants to do so much visiting & for so long!
Even without the criticism, it's unfair on the kids to move them out of their own home into a cramped flat for so long when it's not essential. Have you discussed your feelings with your DH in the last 48 hours? Will he support you?
If someone told me I didn't know how to raise children I would start packing within the hour. By defending yourselves and making concessions (i.e. Less Phone time) you are making her think she has the right to criticise.
It doesn't seem that fair on the children to be away from home and friends for a long and as they get older they willl enjoy it less if it's like this. I would just tell them this and that you'll be reducing your time visiting due to preschool etc?
Your racist MIl really doesn't deserve any consideration.
It won't really matter what you do. She simply doesn't think you're 'good enough' for her son and her disappointment in his marriage choice is bleeding out.
I would seek support from women and men in similar circumstances and yes, cut future visits to two weeks. Which given your eldest will be at school soon would happen eventually.
If their flat is cramped and unsuitable could they come and stay with you?
Not for two months, of course.
We've been expats for many years and staying with my PIL was not so much of a problem when the DC were small but as children grew they kind of overtook the place and as my PIL became older they were noticeably less patient when the 4 of us were staying with them. As PP mentioned, I started to rent a place nearby which meant we could go to their house for just a few hours at the time or they would come and see us. It added an extra cost to the trip but we were happier all round.
Although I am an older mother of an adult I've joined this as I want to be able to help my niece as much as possible. She's due a baby in May and we're very close. My sister is my niece's mum and she doesn't always keep good health. My niece is going it alone and therefore I want to be up to speed with topical advice & help to keep it real with her.
I've picked up a few wee bits & bobs for her as I know money will be tight but just wondered if any of the younger mums can suggest anything that they'd have been delighted if somebody else bought for them in advance for those early days. She's asked me to join her for her scan next week and I am so, so very excited and we'll find out what sex baby is so I may be able to help more with the practical things thereafter. I'm not the pushy auntie .. she wants me involved as I brought my son up most of his life without his dad so know only too well the challenges she might have. Thanks in advance.
This sounds awful and my inlaws are easy going. A week in my limit even with them and I love their company! You deserve a medal to do that with two little ones. Something definitely needs to change. Either drastically cut down your visit, stay in a hotel or get them to visit you rather than you bringing a toddler and baby to the far east.
I think "putting the fear of God into MIL" is a very negative and combative way of framing this. You could more productively see it as "finding a more sustainable way of sustaining longer visits, by seeking out more child-friendly environments".
The criticism is, of course, absolutely wrong. You need your own space, both metaphorically and literally. And the visits sound overly long.
I think the two year old is too old to be uprooted from home for so long and you'd do better to do a couple of shorter visits or rent your own apartment.
I assume you're all sleeping in the same room too so the baby is likely waking the two year old and vice versa. They may therefore also be overtired and this can make it harder for them to sleep creating a vicious circle.
Could you use their flat as a base and go travelling just the four of you. It will split the times you see them and might make it bearable.
The kids may also be picking up on the general stress around them.
All power to you. I wouldn't spend months with my family or inlaws!
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