Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Mother-in-Law Normal?

(8 Posts)
LPickers Fri 29-Apr-16 21:20:10

Can I please have some views on whether this is normal. My parents hardly get in touch and leave me to get on with things, but are there if I need them. Therefore its difficult to know how acceptable my Mother-in-Law's behaviour is, as she is the opposite.

My husband and I are falling out over his mother. I feel she micro-managed his life when young and as a result he finds it difficult to organise himself. I also think she got used to him being single (for 8 yrs) before he met me, when she enjoyed a very close relationship with him.

When we visit her or she comes to our house I feel she makes rude interfering comments - tells me my house is cluttered and advises on how I should organise it in detail. She disproves of some of the ways we discipline our daughter and undermines me in front of her (she wants me to always give in to my daughter's demands - basically no discipline).

I could list the little things she does that are irritating forever.

However, my husband thinks she is perfect. He gets very uncomfortable if I criticise her and tries to claim I'm mis-reading her.

He used to talk to her on the phone every day, but now its roughly once or twice a week. (She lives far away, but we see her prob every 6 weeks).
What riles me is that his conversations with her are long (30-45 mins) and detailed. I can hear her quizzing him about everything we are doing and then giving him her opinion, which I presume she presumes we will follow.

These phone calls wind me up. I feel she's interfering. He says its me who has the problem and there is nothing unusual in men speaking in depth with their mothers.

Btw Ive noticed she gets annoyed if she discovers I know something - like an award he won at work for example - and he had not yet told her. I think this is weird.

Am I being unreasonable?

dollytrix Sat 30-Apr-16 06:13:45

Are you me?! My thread is 'MIL's subtle invasive behaviour', it's still on the first page of the board, you should take a look at some of the points on there.

I'm slowly pulling DH aways from MIL's grasp but it's taking a lot of hard work. DH was the same as yours for a long time: denied anything MIL did and made me feel I was imagining it. Use phrases like she makes me 'feel' like this or like that whether she intended it or not; he can't argue with that. Then begin backing this up with bits of evidence about what she does. My DH was also single for a long time before me and MIL meddled in his entire life, it was what he was used to. It just takes time to change the dynamic. My DH is slowly learning that MIL is a control freak who is out for herself as when he tells her she's gone too far,she gives him the silent treatment and cuts him off. He's realised that she's emotionally manipulating him because he challenges her, something he never used to do before me. DH appeared to have no boundaries whatsoever before me and if he hasn't any, he's letting her stomp on yours too.

It's a long road to changing things, but it will get worse if you don't try. Eventually, subtleties become big things.

MardleBum Sat 30-Apr-16 06:25:33

Don't tolerate her undermining you over how you raise your child or arrange your house.

But butt out and calm down over the phone calls. If you don't have a particularly close relationship with your parents it might seem odd to you but some families really do live in one another's pockets that way. What you describe is extremely common between mothers and daughters yet no one seems to bat an eyelid at that or resent it, yet men who are close to their mums are always viewed with suspicion for some reason.

You only have to see her once every six weeks so realistically how much interfering and micro-managing can she do? If he is close to her and likes talking to her in depth then let him. It's really no skin off your nose and if you start insisting that he creates an emotional distance from his mother just because you resent that they are close you will create more of a problem, not less.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 30-Apr-16 07:32:15

I think you should not interfere too much in the relationship they have, they are obviously close and your dh benefits from that.

Re the undermining of your decisions I would suggest you pick your battles wisely.

Simply because going to war with the in laws is incredibly stressful, can result in fierce arguments and even cries for divorce!

Elllicam Sat 30-Apr-16 07:40:53

I think the phone calls sound fairly normal. My husband phones his mum daily and sees her every few days. I'm the same with my parents though. I hope my sons are the same with me.

rumblingDMexploitingbstds Sat 30-Apr-16 18:22:49

His mum is naturally going to want to cling on to the relationship she had with him for eight years where he was her main companionship and confidant, and came first in his life. However if he is in a relationship with you, you now take that place in his life and he can't fulfill both roles at once. You would hope a parent would be unselfish enough to want their child to have that independent life being a partner and parent, and not want to keep their child in a pseudo spouse role to meet their own needs.

bigpigsmum Sun 01-May-16 17:48:20

I'm sure there are some nice Mothers in law out there, but like dollytix 'are you me?'

Undermining our authority, petty, spiteful - only this last week she was visiting at the same time as us another member of the family and as soon as we walked in 'Oh (my DH's name) your belly looks massive today', she then went on to comment on how my DS argues all of the time - he spent one day a week with her during his formative years can't imagine where he'd get inspiration for that!

Dear hubby eventually had really had enough of her bitching and told her he wasn't going to listen to her arguing any more to which she then pointed out she was fed up of people putting her down!

Half an hour later he got a text telling him to find alternative arrangements for childcare. I wouldn't mind but my SIL and BIL both use her for child minding and transport, dumping their kids on a daily basis the one time we ask if she'll babysit and it is just far too much trouble.

Arrrgh! felt like telling her to enjoy the company of her other Grandkids as she won't be seeing her youngest anytime soon - hubby tells me I'm being petty. But hey life is too short to waste time with someone you dislike, even if they are the mother of your loved one.

Biting tongue much - all the bloody time with that old witch.

LPickers Tue 03-May-16 20:36:45

Thank you for the feedback. I realise my parents are unusually 'hands-off', which does make my husband's closeness with his mother seem strange.

Some interesting insights. I think I need to challenge some stuff she does, but will ignore the phonecalls.

Every time we see her I come away feeling stressed or angry because of comments she's made. One thing I felt was totally out of order was when, straight after I'd told her that my parents were heavy handed snd slapped me as a child, she said she believes people who were hit as children just 'have something uncontrollable in them' and will hurt their own children.

I would never hurt my kids. It's as if she thinks I will blindly follow my own parent's behaviour (which I hated) like some thicko who is not educated or worldly-wise enough to know that there is an alternative. She 'tests' me sometimes to see if she thinks Ill treat the kids well.

That's just one comment. There are others about a range of stuff.

Unfortunately I am becoming quite irate about seeing her, which is not good as I want my husband to be happy.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now