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To feel resentful at MIL visits?

(288 Posts)
JuniorMumber Fri 07-Nov-14 08:03:42

My MIL stays with us often (about two or three times a month) because she takes care jobs in London at short notice and she lives outside of London, so likes to come to us the night before so she can get up at a leisurely time the next day for the job.

She is always imprecise about how long she's coming ('a couple of days' can be up to a week) and she turns up empty handed every time and expects to be fed and given wine. She will contribute money when pressed, but she isn't forthcoming about it and I find it hugely awkward.

I'm sick of it. I'm on mat leave at the moment with my 3mo and she's here AGAIN. She was meant to be staying just last night, but turns out she will be here until 2pm, so I now have to scurry around thinking what to feed her for breakfast and lunch. I am on a really tight budget at the moment and feel like I should have nice food in for her. If I was on my own I'd have cereal and fish fingers, but she doesn't eat wheat and is really fussy about food.

I've had countless arguments with my husband about her descending on us. He thinks I'm being unreasonable and doesn't see what the issue is. AIBU?

Letthemtalk Fri 07-Nov-14 08:06:26

Well don't scurry around looking for breakfast and lunch stuff! "Sorry, we didn't realise you'd be here for breakfast lunch, we've nothing in", or " feel free to get yourself some breakfast "

cathpip Fri 07-Nov-14 08:09:18

When my dh did this for his job in London, he stayed with my sister, they didn't mind as he paid them £200 to cover his living costs......oh and let her sort her own breakfast and lunch, she's not a toddler!

GuybrushThreepwoodMightyPirate Fri 07-Nov-14 08:09:38

Yanbu! Does she at least help out with your new baby (in which case maybe not so bad) or does she swan around treating you like a hotel? For meals I would either say "this is what's for lunch" or ask her to nip to the shop and pick up something nice for both of you. I'm assuming she's not too cash strapped if she is working.
Your DH needs a talking to too, he should be on your side, not making excuses for Mil.

Ohfourfoxache Fri 07-Nov-14 08:10:29

Yes, stop fussing around her.

She is a grown woman. She can sort herself out.

And ffs stop supplying wine - it's an expense that you should not be shelling out for. Let her buy/bring her own.

Shedwood Fri 07-Nov-14 08:13:21

Next time she says she's coming just say "See you at X time, if you could bring something for dinner and a nice bottle of wine that would be lovely."

If she doesn't bring anything she can't complain when she gets nothing, and if she brings something, problem solved (though I get how difficult it is to have people staying with no idea when they're leaving).

If you're a bit less of a host, she may wish to be a guest less!

skylark2 Fri 07-Nov-14 08:14:11

Have cereal and fish fingers, she can go get something else for herself. If she expects you to have fancy food in just for her she is being VVVVU - but does she? She may not turn a hair.

Catsize Fri 07-Nov-14 08:20:07

Can you take her to an economy supermarket this morning, to 'get something for lunch as didn't realise you were staying for lunch - DH neglected to tell me - Men!, so a bit unprepared etc.' Lots of apologising. On the way to the supermarket, say how you have switched to this one as you are on a tight budget nowadays etc. See if she gets the hint???

JuniorMumber Fri 07-Nov-14 08:38:11

Thanks all. Yes, I've taken the 'lets go out and buy something for lunch' approach before, but it still pisses me off that I have to do it, because I wouldn't have to go out otherwise, the whole trip is just for her - why can't she just stop and pick up some food before she arrives?

I'm resentful about her generally being in the flat and disrupting my life. For instance, I may have had plans today - but of course she didn't bother to ask. I feel like she always puts me out in one way or another. There are so many small things about her behaviour that irritate me, I would look really petty if I mentioned them all. I'm basically building up a simmering resentment about her general presence in my life which I feel is going to explode soon.

She kind of helps out with the lo, but she gets more out of it than I do, because she loves spending time with her - but then so do I. She hogged her all night last night.

Fyi - DH's previous relationship broke down because his ex had a massive barny with his mum. DH and his ex went to counselling and DH was told he needs to prioritise his partner over his mother if his relationships are to work.

Ohfourfoxache Fri 07-Nov-14 08:45:14

You need to do what suits YOU. If you have plans, just go along with them. If she's there, tough.

Fairylea Fri 07-Nov-14 08:45:58

That would drive me absolutely mad.

I'd have to say no and that she needs to make alternative arrangements. Your home isn't a hotel for her to use when she works! If she isn't coming specifically to see you she needs to find somewhere else to stay - and your dh needs to support you.

There's absolutely no way I would agree to this.

whatever5 Fri 07-Nov-14 08:51:06

I would let her stay if she needs to for work but I wouldn't rush around getting her food or changing plans. Think of her as an occasional lodger rather than a guest (except when you have invited her to visit obviously).

WooWooOwl Fri 07-Nov-14 08:52:42

If you can't stop her from coming at this stage, then you have to concentrate on what you can do.

You can, as many good hostesses do, tell their guest to help themselves for breakfast and lunch. Tell her you're saving the cheese or whatever for a planned meal, but anything else she is free to have. If there's not much there, then she'll get the hint that she needs to go out or bring something.

If you want cereal and fish fingers, then have cereal and fish fingers. Your mil not wanting to eat them is her problem. She can't have it both ways, she doesn't get to have the flexibility of being able to use your home at the same time as not being able to fit in with you. You are not obliged to provide her with anything, so just don't do it.

You can continue with plans, or invent some last minute so that you have to go out and just leave her to it.

She expects wine and to be fed only because that's what you've always felt you have to do, but you do have the power to change that.

thisismypassword Fri 07-Nov-14 08:56:08

She sounds selfish. Clearly you're on a budget seeing as you're on maternity leave. Any parent worth their salt would pay their own way in this situation and would not want to be a financial burden on a young family. She's taking liberties... unless there is a genuine financial reasons why she doesn't buy her own food when she's there?

JuniorMumber Fri 07-Nov-14 08:56:38

Thank you. This is the way I feel. I feel like a mug.

DH says it is a cultural issue, because he's from a country where mothers spend much more time with their sons and families generally spend more time together. Fine, but I am British and did not sign up to having a moaning old woman sitting on my sofa day after day.

As an aside - she does this thing where she picks her teeth after she's eaten and makes a slurping noise. It makes me want to vomit or hit something, and I often have to leave my own living room for long periods.

I just can't see how this can be resolved without DH resenting me (for making it difficult for him to see his mum), or me resenting him.

Nanny0gg Fri 07-Nov-14 08:58:19

So what does your DH say about the situation now? What did you think when you found out what happened with his ex?

Failedspinster Fri 07-Nov-14 09:00:15

If MIL wants to descend on you at short notice for her convenience, when you have a 3mo, she needs to fit in with your plans. If she's fussy about food, ask her to pick something up on her way to you, and if she wants wine, let her get wine too. You can't be rolling out the red carpet every time, especially not if you're on a budget and you never see any of the money that she's using you as a base to earn.

I'd take a pleasant but firm approach, focus on what's reasonable and don't beat yourself up about the rest. Welcome her help with baby, but don't let her think that that's all that she needs to do - you aren't a hotel! You sound very frustrated with the situation and maybe taking control like this will ease that and avoid a huge, damaging row.

Don't argue with DH as he will automatically want to defend his mum. Instead, next time the topic comes up, stick to the line that his mum is welcome in your home, but you can only do so much on the budget yours on.

Bogeyface Fri 07-Nov-14 09:04:44

DH says it is a cultural issue, because he's from a country where mothers spend much more time with their sons and families

Bollocks. He just doesnt want to say no to her. Have you pointed out that he is well on the way to losing his second wife due to his mother? Has he not learned a thing?! His mother isnt the issue here, your H is and I would suggest that you start saying no to both of them. She isnt staying every other sodding night and when she does visit she gives at least a weeks notice and pay her way.

If he doesnt like that then suggest he goes and lives with her.

JuniorMumber Fri 07-Nov-14 09:08:39

Nanny - initially, when I found out what happened with his ex and MIL fighting, I thought it was great, because MIL would approve of me in comparison. Three years down the line, I am destined to follow suit I think. I'm told the argument happened because the ex had a little boy and MIL kept telling her how to raise him.

vdbfamily Fri 07-Nov-14 09:08:44

It is always going to be a bone of contention if your husband is from a culture where that is the norm.Did you discuss this at all before you married? For many cultures the 'norm' would be that on marriage,the DIL moves in with DH's family and becomes part of that extended family. One of my cousins has an Albanian wife.They bought the house next door to my uncle and aunt and live a bit like this.My cousins wife gets very stressed when my uncle and aunt go away for a couple of weeks as she sees them as essential support systems in her life. If he has grown up in that culture he will find it hard to understand why you struggle so much with it.He might also see it as his responsibility to provide for her and not expect her to pay her way as most of us would offer to do. I think the 2 of you need to have a serious chat and try and find a compromise that suits you all better. It is after-all you that has to spend the majority of the time with her,not him!

vdbfamily Fri 07-Nov-14 09:15:04

When my cousins Albanian MIL came to visit years ago, their DD! was about 2 or 3 with the most beautiful curly hair that everyone admired. MIL insisted that the whole lot was shaved off because it would make it grow back stronger and she did it,a grade 0 all over. It was such a shock to everyone but I do think cultural norms are VERY strong and not to be downplayed.Many other cultures have huge respect for parents and would not dream of refusing to follow their advice in quite the same way as our own culture is happy to do.I ma not saying what is right or wrong but am cautioning against belittling a partners strongly held cultural convictions.

TaliZorahVasNormandy Fri 07-Nov-14 09:16:02

I'd remind him about what he was told by a counsellor, history repeating self and all that.

JuniorMumber Fri 07-Nov-14 09:16:40

Vdb - exactly. He has f*cked off to work and I am stuck with her all day.

We didn't really discuss what would happen with her visits before we got married, the situation kind of crept up on me, because initially I was just keen for her approval (she is quite a strong character), so I was happy to bend over backwards for her. As time has gone on I've found myself becoming more territorial over my home and my spare time. Before my maternity leave kicked in I would be furious at her descending on the weekend and sucking up my precious spare time.

When I say 'culture', he is South African, so I didn't think it was so different from UK, but I was wrong.

MrsPiggie Fri 07-Nov-14 09:19:07

If you insist on treating her like a guest, she will continue to behave like a guest. You should treat her like a member of the household, meaning if you have plans for the day you say goodbye and carry on with your plans, she can fix her own breakfast and lunch, if you normally have wine with your meal then fine, she can have some, if not then there's no reason to get any just for her. If she doesn't like your choice of lunch she can go to the shops and get something else. Is it really that difficult to say "this is what we are having tonight, I hope it's OK with you", "Sorry, but I need to go out, you OK letting yourself out later?" A discussion about food budgets is awkward, but you could say, without giving offense, "This is all we can afford this week, we went over the budget"

Failedspinster Fri 07-Nov-14 09:19:23

Btw my DH also has a very intense relationship with his mum (he's an only child and she was a lone parent with MH issues and little outside support) and he had previous relationships fail because of that. Since our kids were born he has had to accept that sometimes I and they need him more than she does, and things have become much more balanced - which in turn has let me develop a better relationship with her.

Your situation can improve, but your DH needs to learn to manage his relationship with his mum to ensure that it's balanced - and he needs to stand up for you and your DC if she is, however inadvertently, putting you both out.

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