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Judgmental MIL

(11 Posts)
WeEE Tue 08-Sep-20 13:09:27

Didn't know where to put this!

My MIL is an absolute massive, massive help. I would be buggered without her. She is always there at the drop of a hat and will do any thing for us. But there is also another side to her that is incredibly judgmental and (I would say) a little controlling. It's like she wants everyone to be just like her.

My partner is the absolute opposite of her and the rest of his family. For want of a better word, that are a bit "uppity". I probably only say that as I come from a family the exact opposite of that. My partner is covered in tattoos, and I have heard in say in front of a room full of people how getting tattoos is stupid and looks silly, and the whole room laughed while my partner was there, and I just thought wow, why would you say that about your own son?!

My MIL has said a few judgmental things to me that have pissed me off. When I had my first baby, she turned up unannounced almost every day, even bringing friends in with her while we were eating our dinner. In the end my partner had a quiet word with her and asked her to message first. A few weeks later she says to me "oh I think it's really weird when people want you to message before coming over to the house" and she pulled a face as if it was the oddest thing ever. I just responded that I thought it was a generation thing and that my friends would never just turn up on case I was busy.

Another time she knew we were having trouble getting baby to sleep, so we started doing a night time routine where she would have a bath, bottle bed at 630. When she gets me on my own, she casually says to me something along the lines of "because you're so regimented with baby". Regimented is obviously a negative word isn't it.

MIL saw me feeding my new baby in the car seat the other day. I had to do it because she was crying and starving, and she's very fussy and will only take the bottle on her terms. She came up today and said that she was going to feed her in the car seat the other day, but that it looks really chavvy. I just responded that sometimes you have to if you want them fed and happy and she just pulled a disgusted gave and said "oh no it's chavvy".

I just feel like she waits until I'm on my own and then brings up a behaviour about me that she dislikes, but tries to do it in a "clever" way so it's not quite as rude. I wish I didn't care, but I always feel a bit hurt by her words. I know she doesn't think I'm good enough for their family as I'm so different to them, and at times I try and be like them so I fit in. I feel so incredibly awkward around her when I'm with the kids as I feel like she's watching and judging. Any advice on how to stop giving a fuck what she thinks?! I don't even know how to respond to her half the time!

OP’s posts: |
Tacca Tue 08-Sep-20 15:46:15

I know someone exactly like this, there is nothing worse than someone being so opinionated and wrong at the same time.

You are right in the fact she is trying to do it in an underhand way, where she can make out she didn't mean it in a bad way should it ever come to that. The fact that she isn't saying it outright also means that she is worried what will happen if she does. Whether that be upsetting her son or losing access to her grandchild, she is saying it almost under her breath for a reason.

It is a very difficult situation, I would start by talking to your husband. It will be a lot easier with him onboard and even better if he could speak to her.

Outside of that you can either be very firm with her, if she wants to be a part of her grandsons life. It may result in a fallout and losing the help she gives you.

The other alternatives are to put up with it, but it will probably get worse if nothing is said.

Alternatively you can laugh when she says something silly, this is to make her believe it doesn't bother you. If asked why you are laughing, simply say that is the silliest thing I've heard. She is unlikely to carry on doing it if you just laugh at her and take no notice of it.

Finally you could also come back with the truth in an equally derogatory way. For example when she said I think feeding in a car seat is chavvy, I'd reply I think leaving your child to cry with hunger because of what other people might think, is really bad parenting. Or when she said I think it's really weird when people want you to message before coming over to their house, I would say I think it's really weird when people have absolutely no manners. It really depends on your personality if this is an option, but fighting fire with fire does normally work.

Trisolaris Tue 08-Sep-20 15:52:20

Tacca

I know someone exactly like this, there is nothing worse than someone being so opinionated and wrong at the same time.

You are right in the fact she is trying to do it in an underhand way, where she can make out she didn't mean it in a bad way should it ever come to that. The fact that she isn't saying it outright also means that she is worried what will happen if she does. Whether that be upsetting her son or losing access to her grandchild, she is saying it almost under her breath for a reason.

It is a very difficult situation, I would start by talking to your husband. It will be a lot easier with him onboard and even better if he could speak to her.

Outside of that you can either be very firm with her, if she wants to be a part of her grandsons life. It may result in a fallout and losing the help she gives you.

The other alternatives are to put up with it, but it will probably get worse if nothing is said.

Alternatively you can laugh when she says something silly, this is to make her believe it doesn't bother you. If asked why you are laughing, simply say that is the silliest thing I've heard. She is unlikely to carry on doing it if you just laugh at her and take no notice of it.

Finally you could also come back with the truth in an equally derogatory way. For example when she said I think feeding in a car seat is chavvy, I'd reply I think leaving your child to cry with hunger because of what other people might think, is really bad parenting. Or when she said I think it's really weird when people want you to message before coming over to their house, I would say I think it's really weird when people have absolutely no manners. It really depends on your personality if this is an option, but fighting fire with fire does normally work.

Totally agree with this

I would smile at everything she says and reply along the lines of

For the chavvy comment
‘I’m just glad I care more about my baby being fed than appearances’

For regimented comment
‘You’re right we have established a good routine’

Whatever she says, smile and relentless positivity!

JemimaTiggywinkle Tue 08-Sep-20 15:53:32

She sounds like hard work... She probably won’t change so I guess all you do is ignore it.
Just pretend you haven’t heard.. or give a vague “oh right” or “oh really” when she says things like that.

The most important thing is try not to let her comments hurt you, just let them waft over you and don’t change. She might respect you a lot more once it becomes clear you’re not concerned about her good opinion. (Or she might not, but don’t let it bother you). Easier said than done I know.

sillyfishy Tue 08-Sep-20 16:03:28

Oh OP my mil is EXACTLY the same. Underhand comments made to me, but not in a horrible way more a "wait did she just say that" way, but not so bad that you can bring her up on it. "Oh I didn't mean it like that!"

I've gone low contact to be honest. Can't be dealing with the drama.

1WildTeaParty Tue 08-Sep-20 16:07:37

You could pick up on what she says:

'Oh are you saying that because I fed LO in the car seat yesterday?'
Look thoughtful
Then firmly/confidently/happily disagree - in as irritating a way as you like ( laughter/how silly/sounds like something that Hyacinth Bucket character would say/things were so different 'in the olden days' weren't they granny...)

Itsrainingnotmen Tue 08-Sep-20 16:11:38

Whenever she whispers things out of her ds's earshot repeat it back loudly so he can hear.. Ask his opinion on what she said..
Call her out on her nastiness.

user1493413286 Tue 08-Sep-20 16:15:08

I would turn it around on her and say randomly oh I hate it when people criticise something they know you’ve done as if they’re talking generally; it’s quite rude and insulting.

BluebellsGreenbells Tue 08-Sep-20 16:17:38

OP - this is going to take some practice, but I promise it will change things round.

When she says...

oh I think it's really weird when people want you to message before coming over to the house

Say - You think it’s weird?

but that it looks really chavvy

You say ‘It looks chavvy?’

Two things happen here - first she hears what she’s just said. Second instead of you answering the question, it’s actually her rerun to justify the statement.

She won’t have a justification, because she was expecting you to answer, so she has nothing prepared.

Works a treat ... try it on your husband!!

Aquamarine1029 Tue 08-Sep-20 16:20:14

You say you would be "buggered" without her, so now much does she help with childcare? If it's a lot, why? Perhaps her being too involved is a big part of the problem.

WeEE Tue 08-Sep-20 18:49:05

Thanks all for the advice.

It confuses me so much as she is such a lovely woman aside from that. She is constantly helping people and looking after everybody and is incredibly selfless, yet she obviously has another side to her.

@Aquamarine1029 agree that this is part of the problem! She had my eldest 2 days a week whilst I was in work. I work 4 days a week and couldn't afford any other childcare unfortunately. Now on maternity leave, and eldest has started school so we don't rely on her as much now

OP’s posts: |

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