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to have had enough of my MIL treating me like a receptionist when she phones?

(27 Posts)
Wispabarsareback Wed 15-Jul-09 11:15:22

The last few times my MIL has phoned and I have answered, she has asked for DH without saying a single word to me. I do realise that she much prefers to speak to him, but I think the odd pleasantry before I hand her over isn't too much to expect.

The back story is that she and I have always had a pretty good relationship, but it's deteriorated somewhat over the last couple of years - for no specific reason that I can put my finger on, although DD2 was born two years ago and MIL finds the fact that DD2 has special needs very challenging. It's obviously put a strain on the whole family. And MIL has been ill herself, on and off.

Nonetheless, even if MIL is feeling stressed etc, it's no excuse for her being so off-hand with me. And here's the point where I confess that I was so irritated with her for doing it again last night, I emailed her to ask why. I have not had a reply! DH is livid beyond belief, as he thinks he should handle relations with his family.

AIBU to be fed up with this?

piscesmoon Wed 15-Jul-09 11:29:22

I can't see why DH is livid-she is your family too! I would just speak to her-she will have to respond.

saintmaybe Wed 15-Jul-09 11:31:02

She's being rude.

grin @ you emailing her!

I'd be the same, though I'd prob ring her. I'd have to sort it out, and unless your dh is actually looking to find a solution with you rather than ignoring it, he can't possibly expect you to leave it.

What's his relationship like with her?

My MIL is sweet, but also v useless re my son with special needs, btw.

ilovemydogandmrobama Wed 15-Jul-09 11:38:41

My mil is the same. When she calls and wants to speak to DP, not saying much to me, I make a point of treating her like a toddler. 'oh hello mil! How have you been? Oh, DD wants to say hello.. she has such lovely manners and likes to speak to people on the phone...'

lizziemun Wed 15-Jul-09 11:50:41


If DH wants to handle his family relations fine next time she phones give her his mobil number and tell her to ring him direct, even if he standing next to you.

MamaLazarou Wed 15-Jul-09 11:53:18

YANBU - that is rude behaviour.

Your DH is BU.

Wispabarsareback Wed 15-Jul-09 11:58:00

I agree piscesmoon - I think I have every right to deal with this myself, rather than leaving it to DH. But he thinks it's his job to 'manage' his family, and my job to manage mine.

saintmaybe - you're right, I should probably have phoned her! To be honest I emailed crossly while DH was talking to her. MIL really hates the phone, and never stays on for very long - DH says this is an explanation for why she doesn't talk to me when I answer, but I'm unconvinced.

I have a doomed feeling things are going to deteriorate further...

RenagadeMum Wed 15-Jul-09 12:01:58

All I would do is next time she just asks to speak to your DH just politely inquire after her wellbeing. Just because she has no manners don't let her drag you down as well.

Probably the email was not the best thing! (But its the kind of thing I do sometime)

Wispabarsareback Wed 15-Jul-09 12:06:28

Oh I know, RenegadeMum - it was a bad idea, but done on a cross impulse. DH's family hate and fear confrontation of any sort, so this will be seen as a big deal. But I really want to let her know that it's not OK to treat me like a switchboard operator.

completelyabsolutely Wed 15-Jul-09 12:23:46

I used to get this with MIL - I would pick up the phone and get - 'Is (my dp) there?' and that was it, it got to the point where I wouldn't even answer and just hand the phone over.

Dp pulled her up on it - along with many many other things I hasten add and she didn't do it for a long time but is starting to slip back into again.

Now though I don't let her away with it and force her into making conversation with me before handing the phone over - slightly evil but it is my house aswell and whenever anyone from my family calls - even if they are after something specific - they all have the basic manners to spend 30 seconds of their lives asking how my dp is and actually showing an interest in his life.

And breathe grin sorry hit a nerve for me!

Wispabarsareback Wed 15-Jul-09 13:35:11

Glad it's not just me, completelyabsolutely. My family are the same as yours - they always speak to DH if he answers when they phone. It's just manners, isn't it.

JemL Wed 15-Jul-09 13:48:08

You aren't but now I feel I am BU for feeling irritated when MIL calls and insists on speaking to me for ages before asking for DH blush wicked DIL that I am...!

Saltire Wed 15-Jul-09 13:57:54

My step MIL rings on behlaf of FIL - who won't ring our landline in case I answer. I then get at least 20 minutes of how fab SIl is at her job - how she is so good they want her as a mananger, how fab FIl is at his job, how great the wedding is going to be etc etc.

Sometimes FIL will ring DH on the mobile and DH will say to me "why did my dad ring the mobile" and I reply "Step MIL must b eout and if he rang the landline he ran the risk of me answering". of course Dh said I was being silly

NotPlayingAnyMore Wed 15-Jul-09 14:25:44

I don't understand how MIL finding DD2's special needs "very challenging" could have made your relationship deteriorate over the fact that the person who has to deal with them first and foremost is you.

Did she expect DD2 to be "her baby", as MILs often do?

completelyabsolutely Wed 15-Jul-09 14:31:28

Exactly Wispa - although I would also say it was good manners to even look at someone when they come into your house - sadly my mil tends to disagree in my case. Not really surprising she can blank me on the phone when she does it so blatantly to my face!

It seems though from reading too many mil threads on mn that I am hugely lucky to have a dp that stands up to her.

I suppose the only advice is if you want to keep things going with her do try and force the conversation a bit or you might end up in my situation where you go to the house and it is like you literally don't exist, I stopped going there at one point and probably played into her hands because she could effectively white wash me out of the family due to my non attendance as it were, now though I am a lot more firm with her and I think she knows she can't get away with it any more.

My family on the other hand are largely perfect grin

Wispabarsareback Wed 15-Jul-09 15:31:54

It's an interesting point, notplayinganymore. MIL has 'trouble with her nerves'; DD2 being a high-needs baby seems to have made her extra-anxious. Even though, as you so rightly point out, it's me who looks after DD2! (MIL has never once offered to look after her, because DD2 is too scary or something - but that's a whole nother thread...)

So - MIL's anxieties seem to translate into ignoring me.

I've had a reply to my email. Apparently the way I say 'hello' (and that's all I get a chance to say) is too abrupt, which is why she asks for DH. hmm

EightiesChick Wed 15-Jul-09 15:38:52

I agree with ilovemydog's solution - be sugary nice and don't put your DH on till you have asked her at least 3 questions about herself and told her 3 trivial things about what your DDs have done lately grin

hmm at her email reply!

completelyabsolutely Wed 15-Jul-09 15:44:09

Can you get caller display and when you see her number appearing reply in a suitable florid style - then when she answers say flatly 'oh it's you' and hand over the phone to dh [evil grin]

blinder Wed 15-Jul-09 15:59:43

perhaps you could say '<deep breath> heeeellllllllooooooooo MIL'. Would that be less abrupt? Sheesh.

Maybe it is time for DH to manage his family and find out why his mum seems to be avoiding you.

It could be as simple as she is embarrassed to talk to you, because she knows she lets you down as a grandma to DD2. But she should really explain why her relationship to you isn't as close as before. Perhaps the cross email wasn't the best way to find out the real reason tbh, but if DH really wants to sort this out himself and be piggy in the middle, maybe he could courteously check why his mother seems to be so offhand with you.

If he doesn't deal with it, and achieve a change in her approach on the phone, he should know that you will try to get to the bottom of it yourself. That should motivate him.

PlumpRumpSoggyBaps Wed 15-Jul-09 16:07:59

I think you should answer the phone with...

"Helllo^^o wispabarsareback's residence, how may I direct your call? wispabarsareback's DH? Who may I say is calling? Who? Sorry, who? Would you spell that for me? Thank you so much, I'll see if he's available for you. Hold the line please"

Or you could not be evil and petty like me and go with one of the more sensible suggestions already given.

grin wink

zeke Wed 15-Jul-09 16:11:48

Gosh - you are brave with the email!

Yes, your MIL is being rude though!

I would probably stop answering the phone when she rings, has similar sort of issues with MIL/FIL doing this (mainly FIL) and I now don't answer the phone to them if DH is in the house. I also don't answer if it isn't convenient.

You could always force her to speak by asking her questions first, but now you have sent that email....

zeke Wed 15-Jul-09 16:15:05

LOL at the abrupt 'Hello'.

It will be interesting to find out what happens when she rings next time!

KIMItheThreadSlayer Wed 15-Jul-09 16:16:51

When she rings and ask to speak to DH just put the phone down and tell him to pick it up when she rings back

alarkaspree Wed 15-Jul-09 16:17:09

Before dh and I were married my mil called and I answered the phone, she said 'oh sorry, wrong number' and hung up. I told dh to call her back, he laughed at her. She did it again. Dh laughed at her again.

She is lovely and we get on well. I think she was just flustered by me answering when she was expecting to get dh.

This story is completely irrelevant to your situation but it amuses me...

FWIW, I don't find your mil's explanation completely impossible to believe, if she is an anxious kind of person. I have a friend whose voicemail message is very abrupt. I cannot bring myself to leave a message on it, even though god knows I understand how difficult it is to record a voicemail message. I just feel so unwelcome when I hear it.

cornsilk Wed 15-Jul-09 16:24:37

My FIL does that. Dh says it's because he's uncomfortable on the phone and speaking to people in general (dh reckons he has AS tendencies.) I can see where he's coming from but it's still rude.

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