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to be annoyed with MIL for complaining constantly about something that hasn't happened yet...

(42 Posts)
VerityClinch Tue 03-Mar-09 13:07:17

We live in London. My parents live in London (albeit right on the other side, not just 5 minutes up the road - takes them a good 2 hours to get to us). DH's parents live in Aberdeen.

MIL is complaining that she won't be able to spend "enough" time with her granddaughter (who won't be born for another 4 months). She has complained not just to us, but to my SIL and to her own mother, who has then complained to us too.

Now, I can see her point, up to a point. Yes, it will be harder for them to see my baby girl, because they live so far away. They will probably see her less than my parents will. I do accept that.

But that doesn't mean we won't make the effort to include them (I have, for example, been emailing her after every ante-natal appointment and scan, sending her the scan photos, showing her what we are buying for the nursery etc to try and make them feel more involved) does it? I really WANT my little girl to have a great relationship with both sets of her grandparents. Of course I do!

I am feeling p1ssed off because I feel like she's already decided, in advance of anything actually happening, that this is going to be an "issue" (this would not be the first time it had happened...). And, unfortunately, they are the type of PILs who - once they have decided there is an issue - won't ever get over it.

AIBU to be p1ssed off that - even before the baby is born - they have decided this is a problem?

And if IABU, then what can I do to put her mind at rest (other than promise they can come to stay once a month - they CAN'T)? It's the first grandchild for both sets of grandparents, so I know how excited they are - I just don't want this cloud of advance resentment hanging over the rest of my pregnancy.

Joycey29 Tue 03-Mar-09 13:12:16

Same issue with my MIL who only lives across the bridge in Wales!
It's not my fault she can't drive and I hate beingmade to feel guilty because I choose to drive to my Mums more often!

Helen31 Tue 03-Mar-09 13:14:44

YANBU to be worried about this, although I don't think you've given enough info yet to be able to offer much advice. Definitely I agree it would be a good idea to sort this out before DC arrives if possible.

Do you know what MIL thinks would be "enough" time? Is that achievable in some way, without compromising your sanity?

FWIW, when I get anxious about the consequences of MIL's very natural excitement at prospect of first GC, I start by reminding myself that a) she is a lovely woman who did a brilliant job of raising my wonderful DH, b) I really want DC to have a good relationship with all their GPs and c) MIL wants to have a good relationship with GC and me/DH. Starting from there does help me see that compromise is in all our interests. But you may have other issues with your PILs which you will need to make sense of.

rubyslippers Tue 03-Mar-09 13:15:06

don't make any promises especially ones which involve visits!

it is her issue, not yours

my Mum and Dad live 200 miles away, and whilst i know they would love to see us all more and more often it is not possible - they would never, ever make an issue of it

i am impressed at your emailing her like that - sounds like you are doing all you can and more so let her be

BettySwollux Tue 03-Mar-09 13:15:17

Does she usually stir up trouble? Speaks volumes that she has complained to everyone else but not to you directly.
If I was you, Id count it as a lucky escape that shes not on your doorstep, but then my MIL is a nightmare.
Congrats on your pregnancy.

Wizzska Tue 03-Mar-09 13:22:17

They can move closer to you if it is an issue for them.

Tommy Tue 03-Mar-09 13:25:28

my MIL complains that she doesn't see her grandchildren often enough - they live just over an hour away and could come here any time. hmm

I think it's just MILs grin

VerityClinch Tue 03-Mar-09 13:35:03

She's not a troublemaker. But she is one of those people who isn't happy unless she has something to worry/complain about.

DH rings her every week, and this week's topic was how we were starting to clear the "spare" room - to turn it into the nursery. Her first reaction was "well, where are we going to sleep when we come to stay?" I was a bit put out about that. DH explained (as I passed him things I was writing on bits of paper) that "people who live in this house need a bedroom; people who don't, don't". It's not like we don't have other rooms they can sleep in when they come to visit, it just won't be in quite the "luxury" they have got used to - ie they'll be on a sofa bed.

He also told them it wasn't reasonable for them to come and stay "for a few days" the week that the baby is born. Very happy to have them pop over (her sister lives about an hour's drive away, so they could easily stay there and come for an afternoon) but I know I won't be able to cope with houseguests in the first couple of weeks (months???) I have a brand new baby. Hence their panic that they won't see her enough.

As far as "enough" goes, my guess is she either means "as much as Verity's parents do" or "as much as my sister sees HER grandchildren" (all the time, as they virtually live there). Just strikes me that whatever we do, whatever concessions we make, already isn't going to be enough - and will damage what is already quite a "demanding" relationship.

Is there more that I should be doing than I already am? I definitely do not want to start making promises/arrangements/deals/timetables.

daisybaby Tue 03-Mar-09 13:38:26

FWIW i think that you are making an amazing effort to include them, with the emails after appointments etc.

Tommy Tue 03-Mar-09 13:40:27

don't start making deals/promises etc. You wil feel differently when the baby comes - you might even want them to come and stay as long as they do all the housework and cooking. But you can't decide now so you'll just have to smile a lot and say "We'll have to see nearer the time/after the baby had arrived"

frazzledgirl Tue 03-Mar-09 13:41:38

I think you're already being quite saintly, TBH.

Can't see there's any more you could reasonably do.

VerityClinch Tue 03-Mar-09 13:46:41

Hoorah! Very glad general consensus is that IANBU. I knew it really, of course, although pregnancy is making me VERY cranky, so sometimes I doubt my own sense of what is "reasonable".

FWIW, though, can someone play devil's advocate and tell me what more I can do to make her feel comfortable with the idea that - purely due to geography - they will not be as involved as they would like? Without me actually having to promise anything, obv, as I am sure that nothing will be "good enough" anyway.

<polishes saintly halo>

charitygirl Tue 03-Mar-09 13:50:00

Teeny suggestion which may be unhelpful...if your DH is taking paternity leave I think its fair to say 'we don't want any overnight guests the first two weeks as it is special brand new family time'.

HOWEVER, after he goes back to work, you might (and you might not!) appreciate someone being there to help you get sorted in the morning, pop out for an outing with you as you experiment with bus routes, the john lewis feeding room etc, come back and mind DD while you nap, and maybe one night babysit while you and DP go for your first meal out together.

You could offer them (or maybe just MIL) the opportunity to come and stay two or three nights in the third or fourth week? You will get mega brownie points and breathing space. The most important thing is to make the offer you want them to take up - do not let them make the offers, cos eventually you'll be obliged to take one of them up and it may not be the one you want!

Good luck

Hawkmoth Tue 03-Mar-09 13:50:02

Tell them when they are teenagers they can have them for the entire summer holidays!

Jux Tue 03-Mar-09 13:50:03

My MIL was exactly the same, despite living just as close as my mum did. In fact, she saw more of dd, but wouldn't believe it, checked up every time she turned up when my mum had last been round and for how long etc etc etc. She never let up. Her behaviour was appalling in many other ways too. The consequence is that we are now living 150 miles away, my mum lives with us, and MIL is, well, a long long way away.

It upset me a lot at the time, because I really wanted to be friends with her, and despite years of trying, it was impossible. Now, I feel a bit guilty but actually rather pleased that my mum is not subjected to her antics any more, and nor am I.

That which she feared unreasonably, came to pass.

Hawkmoth Tue 03-Mar-09 13:50:52

Tell them when they are teenagers they can have them for the entire summer holidays!

JemL Tue 03-Mar-09 13:52:01

Her comment about the "spare" room speaks volumes! As does the fact that she is complaining about something which isn't your fault and which no-one can realistically do anything about.

I think you are making a lot of effort to make her feel included, so no, yanbu for feeling annoyed!

compo Tue 03-Mar-09 13:56:28

do you know she is actually complaining?
Maybe she is just telling those closest too her that she is sad she lives so far away from her unborn grandchild.
She might not be complaining about you.
Maybe the people she thinks are lending her a friendly ear shouldn't be so quick to run and tell tales on her.

VerityClinch Tue 03-Mar-09 13:56:46

Thanks, charitygirl. DH IS taking 2 weeks paternity leave (paid! He is a lucky guy, non?). His thinking was it might be better to have them down then, in the first 2 weeks, so he can take them out and generally get them out of my hair.

My thinking is they will refuse to be parted from the baby (not knowing when they might next get to spend time with her) - and, more to the point, that I really need to get into some kind of routine without anyone else being around.

LOL at Hawkmoth, twice. You really mean it, eh? wink

VerityClinch Tue 03-Mar-09 13:59:02

Compo - yes, she has complained to DH (and I was eavesdropping at the time blush)...

Morloth Tue 03-Mar-09 14:07:29

No! VerityClinch - defend those 2 weeks with your life, it really is such a special time, you will want it to be just the three of you, as you get used to 3!

Don't worry about MIL, there is nothing you could do to make her happier so just please yourself. She is choosing to be put out.

Seriously those first 2 weeks where it was just me, DH and our new baby were golden. Don't let anyone intrude.

Helen31 Tue 03-Mar-09 14:22:14

Ahh, you are definitely sounding more saintly by the post.

Now, your DH has an "interesting" idea of what his paternity leave is for - entertaining his parents!?! You need to sit him down asap and explain that his job is to do all the things that charitygirl mentions your MIL might be able to help with - ie look after the running of the house and doing what he can with the baby so that you can get some sleep in between feeds (particularly if you're going down the BFeeding route)!

Personally, while my lovely MIL has offered to come and stay to help with all those things too, I would want my own mum tbh. And for you, this is a tricky enough adjustment without bringing in "help" that you know will likely be less than helpful (I'm not convinced your MIL understands the meaning of the word "helpful", sounds a bit self-absorbed). What I've said to my mum is that DH is taking 2 weeks paternity leave, so don't want any help then thank you, but a short, purely social visit to meet the baby may be possible (we'll see!). But I have made it clear that I would very much appreciate her coming to stay for a while to help out after DH goes back to work.

A couple of suggestions - some friends who have a similar distance issue have invested in web cam type thing (sorry I'm not techy enough to know details) which means that they can have conversations with distant GPs where they can see the baby. Seems to work well for them.

And, I wonder if eavesdropping on your moany MILs conversations with DP may not be the best thing for your blood pressure? Your DH should be able to deal with this kind of thing, without you getting stressed. Is he? If not, tag a discussion of what you both expect about relationship with PILs onto the one about paternity leave, appropriate uses of.

Good luck!

ICantFindAFreeNickName Tue 03-Mar-09 14:23:25

My Mum lives over 200m away and does not get to see my kids as often as she would like. However as she comes to stay for a few days at a time every couple of months or so, she probably actually spends more time with them than a lot of grandparents do. She has a great relationship with both my children, and I think a lot of it's due to the time shes spent with them on her own. She would get up early with them to give us a lie in, babysit while we popped to the shops or had a night out, played with them while we cooked dinner, read them bedtime stories, walked them to school etc. The sort of thing that gradndparents might not do, if you live close enough to visit just for the day. Maybe you could explain this benefit to your MIL.

Try to send her frequent pictures & progress updates over the first few months when the baby will be changing so much. As the children got older they sent little cards / pictures to gp's for special days (Valentines, Easter, Halloween etc).

Also as they get older try to let MIL know about special days Christmas plays, sports days etc and maybe arrange visits to coincide
with these days, so they feel like part of their life.

Warning - If they will be staying every few months please ensure you let them help as much as possible from the begining. There is a world of difference between how you feel about visitors who expect everything done for them and those who muck in and help. If you act like superwoman when they first visit they may not offer to help in future (mistake I made with my MIL).

Can sympathise. I have a lovely MIL who always seems to feel hard done by no matter what I do. I just wish she would realise that the only thing that ever puts me off visiting is the badgering about when we'll next visit/when my parents last visited hmm grin

If you do want to do more to be in touch with them then what about something like Skype? Would depend on them having internet access but would mean they could see baby maybe once a week and not feel so left out.

Oh and definitely defend those 2 weeks!

sobanoodle Tue 03-Mar-09 14:24:31

Yes keep that fortnight to yourselves. How about then inviting PILS for 4 days or so once dh has gone back to work, to include a full w/end so he can take them out of your hair for a bit ?

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