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Mother in law......sorry!

(55 Posts)
Ostagazuzulum Sun 08-Oct-17 14:46:52

First time poster and I know it’s very cliche to post about mother in laws so please go easy!

I have a reasonable relationship with MIL, more that we quietly tolerate each other. I tried to reach out to her in the beginning by asking whether she wanted to go shopping etc, but she simply said ‘no’. If you met her, you’d think she was lovely, but She’s always been one for making passive aggressive comments. Coincidentally whenever my husband isn’t around .
hmm. Her latest effort is to tell me I’m not ‘maternal’. She’s told me this several times. I initially took approach of just ignoring comment but then I asked her why she thought that. She just replied ‘you’re just not are you’ then changed the subject when my husband entered the room.

She’s said much worse in the past. I used to think that she was naive and didn’t realise how her comments came across, but after a bit realised that they were blatant digs. I always ignore it to keep the peace. I don’t see her a lot so it’s not such a big issue. She doesn’t make these comments every time I see her, just now and then. For some reason this comment has really annoyed me. I get the impression she disapproves of me having a career even though we don’t use childcare and both my husband and I are equal in how much we look after our sons. She often makes digs about me being at work.

I spoke to my husband about it who thinks I must have taken it the wrong way... along with all the other comments. Otherwise he’s fab, very supportive. Am I being over sensitive or if telling a mother she isn’t maternal, pretty offensive?

HirplesWithHaggis Sun 08-Oct-17 15:00:40

Hmm, it's a nasty comment to make, but tbh I'm a mother and not very "maternal", whatever that means. You're probably best to ignore, as you have been doing, or even make a joke out of it with your husband. "Yeah, your mum's pa comment of the day was bla bla... Unbelievable!" "You'll never believe what she said today!"

Pengggwn Sun 08-Oct-17 15:08:52

I think she is completely out of order. Who is she to judge how maternal or otherwise you are? I would have told her I didn't appreciate her judgemental comments on my parenting.

bastardkitty Sun 08-Oct-17 15:11:37

Your H is the problem here of course. Next time MIL acts out like this, wait for your H to walk in the room and say 'MIL was just saying x, y and z, so I'm going to leave you both to discuss that' and go.

FenceSitter01 Sun 08-Oct-17 15:11:43

I have children. I'm not in the least maternal. But I suppose it depends what you think the image of "maternal" conjures up.

Blossomdeary Sun 08-Oct-17 15:13:20

Just say: "What a very silly thing to say."

Asking her what she means by it gives her the upper hand. Telling her it is stupid does not.

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Sun 08-Oct-17 15:14:19

I think you need to make it clear to your dh that you have not misunderstood and her comments upset you a great deal and that in future he needs needs make sure you not let alone with her and to pay attention to what she says.

wobblywonderwoman Sun 08-Oct-17 15:17:58

I would ask your dh to have a word with her. Or when he comes in after mil has made a comment - say 'mil has just said .....'

'I don't think that is appropriate mil'

I think she is jealous of your freedom / maybe she had no break from the home with young DC .

JoJoSM2 Sun 08-Oct-17 15:19:56

I do like 'What a silly thing to say' smile

Why were you bothered when she said you weren't 'maternal'? Even if she disapproves of you having a career, then what? Not sure what you'd want her approval so much.

FizzyGreenWater Sun 08-Oct-17 15:25:28

Yes, you need to go up a gear. She's made it clear she sees you as some sort of rival, so you've nothing to lose.

'What a very silly thing to say'

'I don't know- it's probably better not to be judgemental about people, I always find'

'Interesting. I'll let DH know, though, I think he'll be surprised you'd think like that to be honest'

As for the maternal comment-

'Really? I'll have to ask DH- mind you, I suppose he's only got you to compare with'

Prime your DH that you're getting a little sick of her PA dogs and you're about to start putting her gently in her place.

FizzyGreenWater Sun 08-Oct-17 15:26:12

Digs not dogs! Though setting the dogs on her is always an option grin

elfycat Sun 08-Oct-17 15:34:47

PIL (Both of them) are like that. Making digs at me whenever DH wasn't there. I also used to get told by DH that I must have misunderstood, or that then being 'old-fashioned' misogynistic and me being a decisive woman would perhaps mean there was some small friction.

Yeah...

It got worse until DH couldn't deny that they were consistently undermining me. My DH problem was that while they picked on me, they weren't picking on him, though it was subconscious on DH's part.

diddl Sun 08-Oct-17 15:41:03

Tell her to fuck off.

When she moans to your husband tell him that she must have taken it the wrong way!

BoomBoomBoomBoooom Sun 08-Oct-17 15:41:26

I wouldn't take it as an insult out of context. Plenty of mothers are not "maternal people". But amongst other comments it could be seen differently. Just don't spend time with her.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sun 08-Oct-17 15:46:46

I don't agree that your H is necessarily the problem, clearly your MIL is the larger problem of the two!
But he needs to stop trying to downplay her utterings, when you do mention them, because that's very belittling and undermining of him.

Obviously he doesn't want to believe badly of his mother, not many men do unless they've had personal experience of their bad behaviour; but he should still understand that your feelings have been affected by the crap she's spouting, and support you.

And having read the post by elfycat, maybe he does know that she can be that bitch, but doesn't want to draw her fire onto his own head.

Either way, he's not going to help you out here (that IS a DH problem) - so you need to find ways to deal with it.
Asking her to repeat herself, putting your head on one side and saying "I'm sorry, what do you mean by that?", "well that's a pretty silly thing to say" and other such comments might slow her down, or possibly lead her to expose herself more obviously.

If your DH continues to defend her at every turn though, that does become a definite DH problem sad

grannytomine Sun 08-Oct-17 15:58:27

Oh dear, I don't go shopping with either of my DsIL but then I don't go with DD either. I only shop as a last resort when I have no choice and the thought of dragging round the shops for other people's shopping would be my idea of hell.

Her comment might just be that she doesn't think you are maternal, some of us aren't and I don't see it as an insult but obviously it is in context to you so it might have been meant in a nasty way.

I tend to laugh if people make that sort of remark, it is amazing how annoying laughter can be.

Pengggwn Sun 08-Oct-17 16:02:46

Her comment might just be that she doesn't think you are maternal, some of us aren't and I don't see it as an insult but obviously it is in context to you so it might have been meant in a nasty way

I honestly don't see how this can be said to a mum without it being meant as an insult. It basically says "You don't come across as loving to your baby". confused

agedknees Sun 08-Oct-17 16:02:58

Do as others have said. When she makes her nasty comments, wait for your dh to come back into the room and say your mum has just said this too me.

My mil used to do this all the time. She was jealous of me because I had a career I enjoyed.

In the end I actually said to her “stop making your nasty comments, you horrible women”. I think I shocked her into silence.

stardust18 Sun 08-Oct-17 16:07:21

OP This sounds just like my MIL the only difference is my husband knows his Mother is a horrible bitch.

AnotherShirtRuined Sun 08-Oct-17 16:13:30

What would happen if you simply told her, 'What a nasty, passive aggressive thing to say' every time she made a comment like that? You would have called her out without engaging.

ememem84 Sun 08-Oct-17 16:13:37

Sounds like my mil too. Dh worked out for himself in March that she’s a vindictive narcisicistic one. Thankfully she lives on t’other side of the world. And we rarely have to see her. doesn’t stop her though

The digs have come thick and fast now that ds has arrived (2 weeks old). I’m not a maternal one either apparently, I must be suffering from pnd as I want to get back to my “normal” activities (gym horse riding etc) and also I must have body issues because I’m walking loads (I don’t. I just like being outdoors and am healthy!) I’m a bad mother for wanting to go back to work after my leave (financially I have to) and putting ds in nursery will harm him for the future as I’m “abandoning” my son. It’s always “my son” not “dh’s son” or “your son” (he is dh’s...!)

She’s an idiot.

Ttbb Sun 08-Oct-17 16:22:22

I would have just replied very earnestly 'yeah, I'm not really, we're really similar that way. I'm really glad that I have someone who I can share that with who is just like me.' But I'm a bit snarky have a very dry sense of humour.

NorthCoast Sun 08-Oct-17 16:25:18

Sympathies, my MIL has a bee in her bonnet at the moment about how I'm unnatural and unfeminine because I don't like small children and I drive a tractor. She will happily say this to my face, but never in front of DH...

FenceSitter01 Sun 08-Oct-17 16:28:25

I honestly don't see how this can be said to a mum without it being meant as an insult. It basically says "You don't come across as loving to your baby".

Err no it doesn't - as I said above it depends on your interpretation of "maternal". I'm afraid it conjures "mumsie" to me - and that most certainly is not an image I wish to project.

Pengggwn Sun 08-Oct-17 16:30:17

FenceSitter01

Well, I think it does. We will have to agree to disagree, whatever image the word conjures for you!

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