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to be mightily miffed with my mother in law?

(93 Posts)
clemette Tue 01-Sep-09 23:13:58

Background - my MiL is 73 and DH is her only child. She was widowed 6 years ago and had sloly been getting more stubborn and intractable aas she gets older. She has always liked getting her own way (as I have) but we have generally rubbed along quite nicely.
We live locally and I am lucky that she has DD one day a week and DS another. She is a loving grandmother and very generous with her time...

BUT she is driving me mad. She is very much of the mind that if the children are with her then she is in charge, even if I am there. An example is that when I went to collect DD today I was planning on taking her straight home for her tea but she was eating biscuits (which she doesn't get at home). OK, so grandparents are supposed to spoli their children, but when DD asked for another and I said no, MiL completely ignored me and said "of course you can DD". She then gave TWO chocolate biscuits to my 18m DS who is a bad enough eater at the best of times.
Then she tells me that she is planning on taking DS swimming on Friday - lovely I thought, but she is taking him at lunchtime. He is an appalling sleeper and needs his nap in the middle of the day or he has a HUGE meltdown at teatime so I asked if she could take him at another time. She said she had to take him then as it was free. I asked how it was free and she explained that she had signed a form pretending to be his mum to get him free swimming sessions.

So this was the ten minute pick-up today and it is always the same - she contradicts me, ignores me and undermines me. If it was my own mother I would have had strong words but I feel unable to confront her. DH is terrified of upsetting her and although tonight he acknowledges he should have siad something, I know that he won't...

So - what to do? I understand that she is doing me a favour and so can have different rules etc, but I REALLY wish they went to nursery on those days where there is no battle about what is going to happen.

Corporalcornsilk Tue 01-Sep-09 23:19:57

Are you working when she has them then? She is very naughty to pretend to be his mum!

bibbitybobbityhat Tue 01-Sep-09 23:21:17

Really, we should have a MIL topic, shouldn't we?

clemette Tue 01-Sep-09 23:21:50

I am.
I can't beleive she filled in an official council form pretending to be his parent/guardian without even telling/asking us. I think she is starting to go beyond normal MiL spoiling into new territory and I am not sure what to do about it.

clemette Tue 01-Sep-09 23:22:07


AnyFucker Tue 01-Sep-09 23:22:23

she is 73 ???

err, do all the staff at the pool have very short sight ??? hmm

beanieb Tue 01-Sep-09 23:24:09

Someone at the swimming place seriously believed a 73 year old woman was the mother of an 18 month old baby?!

Why not start putting him into nursery?

Corporalcornsilk Tue 01-Sep-09 23:24:59

lol anyfucker - I was thinking that also! Tell her that he isn't going swimming and that you aren't happy that she is impersonating you.

JemL Tue 01-Sep-09 23:26:12

I'm assuming that the form for the council was to register your DS for the free place, and that who actually takes him for the free session is irrelevent!!

moondog Tue 01-Sep-09 23:26:13

Do you pay her for her services?

danthe4th Tue 01-Sep-09 23:30:03

She is overstepping the mark,Have words now otherwise this is just going to build to huge resentment. If she can not respect a few simple rules as not eating biscuits at a certain time and nap times then you may need to have a rethink as to when she has them. I would put them into nursery and lie say nursery can only have them on those days but can she perhaps have them on another morning or afternoon then she can not have quite so much control over your lives.

clemette Tue 01-Sep-09 23:41:41

She is 73 - she had to post the form!
I don't pay her, which is why I feel so beholden.They go to nursery the other days of the week. She has been doing the one day a week since DD was five months old (so 4 years now) but she is getting worse. If the children say "mummy" she replies!
I was hoping that we could hold out until DD starts school in January and then gently suggest that DS is too much for her (he is "lively") but I am not sure my nerves are up to it. I need to weigh up her "right" to see them with my need for my childcare arrangements to be simple and stress-free!

jemart Tue 01-Sep-09 23:41:48

I feel your pain, I really do - my parents do the choccie biscuit thing all the time, drives me nuts.
BUT yabu a little bit, your DS will very likely have his nap straight after the swimming session, he may even sleep better for it.

clemette Wed 02-Sep-09 00:02:00

Reflecting further, I think it is because there is ANOTHER thing each week. If it was just one of the biscuits / ignoring routines / trying to force DS to go on the potty (!) / playing games where she pretends to smack DD's bottom / pretending to be their mum I might be able to handle it, but it gets worse each week.
Typing that the answer becomes clear doesn't it - I wonder if nursery have got space....

MissSunny Wed 02-Sep-09 01:00:12

Message withdrawn

diddl Wed 02-Sep-09 01:19:02

She shouldn´t take charge when you are ther.
But it´s hard as you ar collecting after she has been in charge all day(?)
I partly feel that this is the price you pay for using granny as free childcare.
If the price is too high, then stop!

thumbwitch Wed 02-Sep-09 01:25:34

v. tricky one, isn't it. Apart from on the days when she has them, does it affect your DCn's behaviour and response to you? Or is it just on those days?

I think if it were me I would try re-overruling her, iyswim - as in, "NO, DD, MUMMY says you can't have another biscuit because it is teatime soon. It doesn't matter what Granny says, MUMMY says no."

She shouldn't be undermining you in that way but perhaps if you re-assert your authority she might back down a bit? She might not of course.

I wouldn't be at all happy about the swimming thing either - but I know from experience that taking a sleepy I-should-be-having-a-nap-now DS swimming, it is a FAAAAAR from pleasant activity, so she might not wish to repeat it!grin

Tortington Wed 02-Sep-09 01:31:09

i dont see why you are pissed off at the swimming thing

she is taking him to free lessons on a day when she has him.

so he misses out on his nap - he gets to go swimming

biscuits - meh

i think if shes having your kids its hard shit - and that if you wnat her to pack it in - you should send them to nursery.

claw3 Wed 02-Sep-09 01:43:12

She is 73 perhaps she didnt hear you so no to another biscuit.

It would get right on my tits, if i were looking after someone elses kids for free and they wanted to tell me what to do and at what time i should do it.

Give her a break!

clemette Wed 02-Sep-09 03:01:52

Just wanted to add that although she is 73 she is by no means "old". She is physically fit and well and wishes she could still work (she was a PE teacher). She despises the fact that she qualifies for a free bus pass!

As for the smacking bottoms it really upset dd ( who is usually pretty hardy). When we thought about why, it would be odd to threaten violence to a little person who had always been told no hitting.

Whether iabu or not I really don't agree with your sentiment claw - if I was ever looking after other children I would always assume their parents' word was sacrosanct.

zookeeper Wed 02-Sep-09 03:57:39

Agree she's annoying but for two free days chldcare I would put up with it. I think yabu about the swimming though - she probably just said she was his guardian which she effectively is for those two days.

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 02-Sep-09 04:50:50


She loves your kids, she looks after them for FREE 2 days a week. She wants to take your ds swimming and gives them biccies.

Yep, her behaviour would probably piss me off a little too, but FFS she is looking after your kids for 2 days. I would love it if my MIL looked after my kids for 2 days.

And it's only one day for each child is it not? Surely a couple of biccies and a swimming lesson isn't too tough one day a week?

But then, your kids, if you don't like it then bung 'em in nursery for another day each. Do they love her? Is it better for them to be with her one day a week or not?

Shells Wed 02-Sep-09 07:26:24

What Claudia said.

clemette Wed 02-Sep-09 07:50:05

So is the general consensus that if someone cares for your children for free you have to put up with rudeness and bizarre behaviour? Is it not reasonable to want whoever they are with to show their parents some respect? I understand that whole she has them she should be allowed to be autonomous, but surely if I ask her specifically not to do something she shouldn't just ignore me?!
As for the swimming, he doesn't even like it but I am happy to pay for them to go to any other session in the day. I am not being precious - his sleep is so precarious that he is up twice a night normally but wakes about five times if he doesn't nap.
She hasn't had the children for the school holidays (I was s teacher) but we are taking her on holiday next week to say thank you for what she does. Can't say I'm looking forward to it very much!

BubbaAndBump Wed 02-Sep-09 07:50:39

I think that parents' words are the law when the parent is around, but when you're not, you have to go with what is put down by the childminder, relative or otherwise. I wouldn't be worried about the swimming, although you're right to be a bit miffed about how she went about getting the free place (I assume though she just signed off as you, rather than donned your sunglasses and coat and pretended to be you!). With the biscuit thing etc, if you're there, just say things along the lines of, 'that's really kind of you etc etc, we'll put them in our bag to have after supper'
I realise these things go deeper and there are more examples of why she's being a PITA (and I'm all for having a go at MILs, believe me!), but these are all one day a week across a lifetime, and your children won't suffer.
Is there any chance you can get to the stage where they're at the door, ready to go when you pick them up, so you don't see/hear what's going on? (Hear no evil, see no evil...)

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