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MIL - please help me get some perspective.

(163 Posts)
Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 14:30:15

Right - this will be long but dint want to drip feed

I get on relatively well with MIL and FIL. MIL is quite selfish and FiL is very passive so facilitates that. They don't have many friends so family is, ostensibly, everything to them. However, it looks to me as though its more about show in that they won't ever rush to help us out practically but it's very important that we turn up for family events so that MIL can a have 50,000 photos to put on facebook. MILs needs always come first and I find her attitude quite bizarre - an example being that once FIL popped into see us and said that he wouldn't tell MIL as she would be cross. What? Rather than pleased he had seen us?

MIL was very controlling when DH was growing up. She has tried to interfere a bit with us but DH has, to be fair, been good at putting his foot down re this.

MIL has a complicated family background where her father died when she was young and her mother remarried. She had another child who is clearly the favourite - albeit he lives in London and MIL provides much more practical support. FIL's parents are pretty much sidelined and not offered any assistance

Now, to get to the point. It was MIL's brother's favourite child birthday recently and it was decided that we would all go to a hotel to celebrate. We have one DC aged 10 months and I am 7 month's pregnant.

one thing that pisses me off massively is that there is no communication regarding these events. So we have often been left hanging about/wondering whether to have lunch etc. DH is good now at just ensuring we do our own thing and eat etc. So we arrive, check in, have lunch etc. PIL's don't arrive til 4 so don't see DS as he's gone for a sleep. Obviously, if they had wanted to see him, they coukd have arrived earlier.

We go for the meal in the hotel which is very expensive and terrible. dH's and my main courses were £35 each and are taken off the bill as they are inedible. Favoured son, his wife and their 4 children all have meals that are fine. Favoured son orders lots of expensive wine. To be fair, DH has a few glasses. I have quarter of a glass and then two lemonades.

MIL is at her bossy worst but I manage to politely ignore here. This morning we come down for breakfast. There are two seats left beside a high chair that is obviously for DS. DH and I go to the seats to have MIL start chuntering something about DS's sister and her boyfriend needing to sit there. I tell her not to worry, we can get seats for them but we need to sit beside DS as there is no other room at the table in the fucking special room organised for breakfast

MIL then starts organising fir the waitress to take group photos RIGHT NOW and pointedly telling me to sit down now as I'm trying to get DS into the high chair. As we are quite flustered, we don't do the high chair strap properly our fault, I know and DS slips nearly out of the high chair and gets caught under the tray cringe. He is crying and I'm trying to get him out and sort things out and comfort him when MIL comes and starts pestering me about holding him and taking him for a walk as they've not seen him yet er, turn up earlier yesterday?. I say OK as he's just stopped crying. MIL then takes him off to have 5,000 photos taken. She's so busy doing this that she doesn't bother moving anything from her place and, as a result, DS pulls a cup of coffee over himself. Thankfully it was luke warm but my nerves are totally jangled by this point. She ignores all of this and FIL keeps snapping whilst DS grabs a knife. By this stage I actually feel like bursting into tears but I don't want to cause a scene.

I then stand up to take him back and MIL very pointedly refuses to hand him over to anyone but DH so he can hold him for the "next photograph". So we all trot off to have another family photo with MIL making sure that DH and his sister and she and DS are front and centre. I'm shoved at the back like a gestational carrier.

I'm fuming at MIL's complete lack of insight into danger and the fact that she must have known I was worried about DS but has refused to hand him over. Accidents happen. I know that and I am definitely not paranoid or over protective. I was happy for the favourite son's wife to take DS into another room fr about half an hour whilst we finished our lunch and think its good for him to go to everyone and have a little cuddle. But I do expect people to show a bit if common sense and put his safety above their need to take to photos. If an accident happens, I expect them to acknowledge it and that I might be a bit a bit worried about him - reasonably.

The PILs want us to go back to their house - about 10 miles away but I point blank refuse to DH and insist we go home. DH packs the car and I go to check out. The restaurant bill is huge. Query this and find out that MIL has called reception and said we will divide bill per room. Favourite son and his wife and 4 children are staying in 2 rooms so have paid far less per person and enjoyed the discount of our main meals being take off the bill. Favourite son is a millionaire, BTW. But MIL, the big cheese, has decided without asking us that we will subsidise them. As well as paying £350 no, that's not a typo for our room.

I am now very cross but pay up to save embarrassment. We are certainly not poverty struck but I have given up my job to be a stay at home mum and DH is about to buy a dental practice so money is pretty tight as we're having to pay a deposit etc.

I get DS into the car. By this stage, I do not want to see MIL. FIL then appears and starts chuntering in about MIL's 60th birthday next year - which is approximately 3 weeks after our baby is due. Apparently they would like us to trek 60 miles away, go out for a meal and stay the night. FIL helpfully suggests that I could stay in the hotel room with 13 month old DS and a 3 week old if I didn't feel up to the meal.

I then get into the car. I know I was rude here as I didn't say bye to everyone and I know that was rude.

DH appears and we zoom off. I tell DH understatement of the century that I am rather pissed off with MIL and do bit want her to look after DS on his own as she seems to have no regard for his safety and no insight into how to avoid accidents. She and FIL are meant to be looking after him fir the day in 3 weeks.

DH thinks this is harsh, blah, blah blah. He's never been scalded bybMIL. More by luck than design, I think. He agrees that the coffee thing was dangerous though and he did say to her to be careful at the time.

I don't know if I am over reacting here. Also, I don't know whether I should actually, once calmer, speak to her about all of this. I am massively pissed off. Maybe I didn't handle things well though. I don't know.

Sorry this is so long but can I have some advice!

jerryfudd Sun 27-Oct-13 16:51:13

I don't understand the not giving the child back??

So you said "here, give him to me" and point blank said "no"??

If this was the case I'm afraid I would have lost it and repeated and taken said child - how could she have stopped you?

Think you just need to be a bit more assertive

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 16:57:49

jerry - yes. That's basically it. She immediately handed him to DH though whilst saying that DH needed to hold him for the next photo. We'd already had numerous group shots round the breakfast table but we were to go outside for more. So DH carried him outside

If she hadn't given him back, I would have grabbed him and I do agree that I should have been more assertive and not actually handed him across in the first instance. I won't again. She can certainly hold him but not near any hot drinks/dangerous things and I will take him back immediately if she ignores that

I think I'm just so taken aback as my own parents would just never act like that so I just don't know how to deal with it

walkdowntheavenue Sun 27-Oct-13 17:05:43

What's her obsession with photos? Has this always been the case or is she scared of missing memories/moments?
She sounds as though she has completely forgotten how wriggly children are and how careful you need to be with them. You admit that you forgot to strap him in because of her urgency for photos, if you challenge her on the coffee cup be prepared to have this thrown at you. It might be an ideal time to discuss the use of her family as background props for her photo habit!

jerryfudd Sun 27-Oct-13 17:14:18

How odd. I'm not confrontational at all but being told no to my request for my child back would have set me off along lines of "what do you mean no? Give him here now" and if I couldn't have grabbed him back at that point and she'd managed to bypass me like I was nobody and give child to dh I'd have taken him straight off him too to make my point/stop her precious photos.

Oh and the splitting the bill would have barked me too

jerryfudd Sun 27-Oct-13 17:15:44

*narked even

VestaCurry Sun 27-Oct-13 17:27:33

Does she have mh issues?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 17:38:44

No diagnosed mental health issues.

The thing with the photos is to put them on Facebook/show them to people etc.

It's all very complicated. Sorry - my mammoth first post wasnt very clear. The "favoured child" is actually MIL's step-brother/DH's step-uncle. MIL's mother is still alive as is her step-father and they were both at the weekend. MIL does get a hard time from her mother who -- having more sense than MIL-- was telling her to hold DS tightly/watch cups etc. I was trying not to pile in too. But I'm not going to worry about that in future

OvertiredandConfused Sun 27-Oct-13 17:41:49

What a horrible weekend!

I think it is a bit soon to decide about whether they have DS unsupervised. You need to decide on two fronts, firstly if you think he will be safe and happy and, only if the answer to the first question is yes, if you are prepared to let him go.

MiL deciding what will happen for the whole family has to stop. In retrospect, what you should've done with the hotel is point out that you hadn't authorised that expenditure to your room, said what you would pay and left the rest for MiL. I know it isn't about the money, but it makes an important statement.

If there is a next time, make sure you state clearly when checking in what can, and can't be charged to your account. You can even make a joke of it and say to staff that you aren't going to make the mistake of letting FIL / BiL charge to your room again and how can you make sure that doesn't happen!

When you have another DC, that might be a good time to make your own detailed arrangements that fit broadly with MiL. So, for example, talk to staff yourself about your seating requirements for your family. Only as small thing but it puts you in control.

Good luck

brettgirl2 Sun 27-Oct-13 18:27:29

fgs just say you aren't going to the 60 th celebration. If she gets in a strop so be it. It's ok for you to stay in hotel room wtf?!

Scrounger Sun 27-Oct-13 18:41:18

I agree with the other posters, get your arrangements / billing in place before hand. I wouldn't go to the 60th sounds awful and waaaaay too soon after the birth. How about being pre-emptive and say that you cannot make that trip but suggest an alternative time for your family to get together to celebrate (ie MIL, FIL, DH and two DC) or buy them a trip for themselves to celebrate e.g. theatre tickets for a play they would love or something. You look caring and you don't have to go and sit in a hotel room with two small children. Oh what fun.

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 18:58:20

I think I'd be yet more concerned at her putting photos of my child all over fucking Facebook! Does she not know the internet is not a safe place? Nobody will be taking pictures of my child without my consent and a very clear statement of exactly where is and isn't appropriate for said pics to appear. Shit, I don't even let people put random photos of my dog online!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 19:19:55

What's the issue with facebook? confused. Sorry - am honestly confused

I do put the occasional photo of DS on but have tight security settings.

MIL never has the opportunity to take any naked photos or anything of DS. And she doesn't have many facebook friends

My issue is that she ensures that any photos she has of DS DO NOT have me in them.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 27-Oct-13 19:25:58

This all sounds hideous and I really feel for you.

However, there do seem to be some things you could have done to be more assertive. Why are you so bothered about offending people who are so quick to be rude and offensive to you?

- Tell your MIL to hand your child back to you when you choose - she has no right not to do this.

- Report all pics she puts on FB of your children.

- Why did you pay the bill? You could have queried it with the hotel!

- Your husband needs to understand that just because he puts up with your MIL's shit, you won't.

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 19:30:33

Anyone can have access to her pics on Facebook - you might use your security settings but does she? Pictures can be used in unpleasant ways and I find it abhorrent that anyone can post pictures of someone else's child without asking for permission and making sure that only trusted people can see it. You can learn an awful lot about people from their internet behaviour, even when they think they're being careful. (But I realise I'm unusually strict about this. I once took legal action against a friend for putting a picture of me on her blog and refusing to remove it when asked nicely. We're not friends anymore).

Nora2012 Sun 27-Oct-13 19:38:26

I read the whole post and I'm starting to wonder if there needs to be a support group for moron MILs. My honest opinion is from this description I wouldn't allow them to look after my child. I also think this makes a fairly big statement so that may hopefully be a good thing. It sounds silly when you say "won't give the child back" but I know exactly what you mean and without rugby tacking her and screaming for help there's not much you can do. This is a technique I have considered.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 19:40:15

wibbly - I think it's less that is worried about offending than I'm honestly taken aback as my own parents and general family set up are totally different so I'm not very sure how to react.

I need to be more on the ball! I contemplated NOT paying the bill - very seriously but then decided that actually I just wanted to get out if there and get home ASAP. I didn't want to run into MIL who was off packing as I felt like my nerves were shot. I previously worked in a very high stress environment and I honestly felt as stressed as I ever had today. Kind of powerless and frightened at what could have happened to DS.

Frankly, after today, I would like to never see any of them again. But I know that would really hurt DH and I would ideally like DS to have a good relationship with both sets of grandparents. Like I did

However, attila's post rings very true in a lot if cases which is worrying!

I do agree that I need to be much more prepared for MIL in the future. Urgghh. What a nightmare. Who wants to live like this.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 27-Oct-13 20:05:47

They sound dreadful. How long are they meant to be looking after your DS for? Is it necessary or because they want to?

Re the night away for MIL next year. Ideally just say you can't go because it's too close to due date and you don't know how you will feel. Maybe twist it to emphasise how it's MIL's special day so you don't want focus of attention to be on your new DC.
However if that is not an option then find out what the cancellation policy is for the hotel. No way hose I would be dragging myself out with a newborn and a very young DC to pay £££ to sit in a hotel room by myself.
Get DH to go on his own if you can - but just for the day or he will still be lumbered with everyones cost, but even more unfair as just him.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 20:17:10

original - it's for the day. From 10:00am-ish - 6:00pm-ish

Ironically it's for our NCT course for baby 2 just want to meet some we chums

My parents have previously looked after DS before overnight when we went to a wedding as has my DSIS. The difference is that they treat him like an egg in a cake and are very careful with him.

In the spirit if "fairness", I suggested that MIL and FIL should come to the house and do it this time

I don't know what to do. At the moment, I would ideally like NOT to have them do it. But I'm aware that, as they see it, that would be putting a huge line in the sand. On the other hand, I'm not sure I could go to the course and not sit there worrying all day long.

Part of me thinks that a middle ground would be to let them do it this one time but not facilitate it in the future - there really won't be any other similar occasions in the near future and my parents will look after DS whilst I'm in labour etc.

I'm just totally fed up with them

Re the 60th, I have said to FIL that I will have to see how I am at the time but have no intention of going. DH can go on his own.

scrounger - your ideas are really kind. ATM, I don't want to see MIL for a very long time. I really do not want to spend time with her. I think the tickets or the night away would be best and then we don't need to go. Although the childish part of me wants to get her something from the £1 shop on the basis that we spent so much money this weekend!

lily - eeek re facebook!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 20:18:01

wibbly sorry last question what happens if I report the facebook photos of DS?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 21:17:53

MIL has now texted me - not DH - to ask if they have done something wrong

Part of me wonders if I should get some balls and say yes. Alternatively, DH could call her and discuss.

I'm just going to ignore the text tonight.

Nanny0gg Sun 27-Oct-13 23:39:43

I think you need to at least raise the subject of the bill - she's given you the perfect opening. But by all means let your DH discuss it.
That may well lead on to the rest of the problem, but that may be a good thing.

FunnyRunner Mon 28-Oct-13 00:09:41

Attila might be better able to advise you on how to respond, as I know she has posted a lot about dealing with narcs. The thing is, if you are normal it's tempting to think, yes now's a good time to mention the bill but if she really is a narc there's always a way for them to twist things round. You really need your DH on side here but as others have mentioned the whole FOG thing will cloud his judgement. If you find her behaviour stressful, think how much MORE stressful your DH finds the idea of challenging her. Nothing much helpful to add other than to send sympathy over the bill thing.

KeatsiePie Mon 28-Oct-13 02:35:45

As far as looking after your DS in a few weeks goes, I think that depends on whether she considers it to be a photo opp. -- obviously when she is all about the family photos she is a nightmare but if it is just a day of quiet babysitting in her home will she stay sane and take good care of him?

Her/their behavior wrt. the cost-splitting was just very rude. I'd say you won't be up to a trip away with a new baby and leave it at that -- you know you can't rely on them to be sensible about plans or reasonable about the cost of plans, so you have to just keep out of those situations in the future, or do whatever damage control you can do ahead and during. I would have found the meal you described to be a shitty experience so wouldn't be anxious to repeat it without or without a newborn.

DistanceCall Mon 28-Oct-13 03:11:20

I think both you and your husband (this is important: both of you as a united front) should send a message saying that you think it wasn't fair to split the bill equally, and so on. And that you are upset that your child was engandered.

They may raise a ruckus, but so be it. This kind of people thrive on other people's reluctance to bring problems up.

Driz Mon 28-Oct-13 03:26:33

I don't really see how the MIL has been that bad (I did get a little bored of reading tbh) PIL didn't arrive early enough, they designate chairs incorrectly and spill cold coffee. Hardly an issue. OP hates them, they will never be able to do right, so they are unreasonable and have MH issues. Riiiiight.

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