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How honest should I be with my husband (about MiL and other stuff)?

(34 Posts)
BettyJudy Sun 19-Jun-16 10:36:53

So we're currently in the middle of a rare prolonged argument/discussion about us not communicating properly or feeling like a team.

How honest should I be about my feelings towards his mum? (Who he thinks can do no wrong). She is fantastic with our DD and has her for scheduled times twice at least and other times too.

My current beefs; she all of a sudden has voiced her disapproval in dd starting pre-school for 3 x mornings a week (will start in october). I'm a stay at home mum and she thinks i should be with her fully until at least 3. Dh who was previously cool about pre-school has now said we need to give it some more thought and is worried about her being too young.

She always speaks down about her other daughter in law to me and dh. It makes me very uncomfortable and makes me feel as though she's talking behind my back too. I get the feeling she was secretly pleased that one of said sister in laws kids always prefered being at grannys house, and used to cry when he had to go home. There is never any praise about how good we are as mums - just a lot of chat about how amazing a grandma she is. She used to be a nursery school teacher. She's very good with kids, but I feel like she takes over a bit, especially on family holidays.

Honest thought please. I think i am probably being a bit irrational but this woman GETS ON MY BLOODY NERVES!! Should I tell husband or stay quiet?

Lweji Sun 19-Jun-16 10:45:01


In general I think it's best if you express your feelings to your husband, and your impressions. Suppressed feelings end up in long arguments.
But be careful that it doesn't start as a long put down that he can't possibly answer to.

Regarding MIL, how do you respond when she criticises her other DIL?
She is probably criticising you too, yes. And?
Do you need her praise? Why?
As for nursery, or any other issue, I'd give it some thought to see if she (or anyone else) could have a point and carry on as I saw best. You must have good reasons for your choices and you can explain them, although not expect people to understand them. Ultimately, just point out that it's your and your husband's choice and it works for you. End of conversation.

Sighing Sun 19-Jun-16 10:48:53

On the nursery issue: if he is concerned perhaps he could arrange to meet with the staff - look at her in the setting. Chances are she does enjoy it and if he can see her (and progress in the log etc) he will be reassured.

Sighing Sun 19-Jun-16 10:52:06

On the criticism front I'd cut the conversation with "I'm sure there's another side to it". "This doesn't seem fair to tslk about without sil here" "I don't want to sit here criticising someone, (change subject)"

LegoCaltrops Sun 19-Jun-16 10:52:08

Regarding the nursery school issue - my DD started at 2 as we needed the childcare. She caught lots & lots of colds etc for the first 18 months but now seems to be over that stage. (We don't have any "mum friends" locally & playgroups all clashed with my work, so DD hadn't previously been around other children much.) I suspect if we had kept her home until she started school, she would have had a lot of time off sick in her first couple of years. DD's speech & general development has improved massively since she started as well, just because she was in a different environment with more people, especially other children. Just a thought.

SlinkyVagabond Sun 19-Jun-16 10:55:39

Have you talked to your sils about how she speaks about you all? I'd formulate a script for you all to reply to her when she starts those comments.("Really, I think sil does a great job with x. Why would you say that?") it's harder to bully a group showing a united front.
I agree you need to talk to your dp, but don't do it anger or the heat of the moment. Stay calm, keep the high ground. Praise her, but point out how she makes you feel and that you need to be on the same page.

CodyKing Sun 19-Jun-16 10:56:15

No! Can I say it's not about MIL it's about you - make it about you

Phase it - I think DD will really benefit from mixing with other children, she'll love the outdoor setting and she have lots of little buddies when she starts school -

I felt upset when MIL said X today - I don't think that was a nice thing to say/do

I'm worried that, I feel that, I would like X to happen -

If you start in MIL is this that and the other it becomes about her and puts DH IN an awkward position

BettyJudy Sun 19-Jun-16 10:56:55

I just keep quiet when she criticises other DIL. Lately I have been thinking of asking her to stop talking to me about her, but I am scared of the confrontation.

I guess I just dont like the thought of her criticising me - but, yep - it wont kill me will it.

Do I need her praise? Hmm i think I'm doing ok as a mum, so I dont think so. I guess it just annoys me that she thinks she's mary poppins but is not as caring as she makes out (help another woman and all that).

Yep I have my reasons for pre-school - i think it we be good for her socially and there is more activity there than I can orovide at home. I have pointed this out to dh and am hoping gives my considered judgement as much weight as he gives his mothers'...

SlinkyVagabond Sun 19-Jun-16 10:57:36

Just seen-family holidays! What always? Hells bells, no.

Kidnapped Sun 19-Jun-16 11:07:51

"I feel like she takes over a bit, especially on family holidays".

Easy solution to that one. Don't go on them.

Lweji Sun 19-Jun-16 11:13:31

If you don't seem on her side, she's probably less likely to criticise your SIL.
And it's a way of establishing your assertiveness with her.

I think it's normal to hesitate when presented with a different point of view. On the nursery front (sorry I missed your OH was reconsidering it) you are the one taking care of the child. ExH was a sahp but we still put DS in a nursery at 3 and he would benefit from contact with other children and adaptation to a school environment. At 3 children do begin playing with others and it's not bad being away from mum a few hours.
He also missed most of the 1st term with illnesses. And I agree that it's better then than at school.
3 mornings are nothing.

Isetan Sun 19-Jun-16 11:14:08

I am scared of the confrontation

^ This^

There will always be people who think their opinions are worth more but not ignoring her and calling her out, is your responsibility. It appears that your H has chosen the path of least resistance) repeating her thoughts as if they are his own because he too is apprehensive at confronting his mother.

Wolpertinger Sun 19-Jun-16 11:18:50

You need to cut the talk about the other DIL - it's nasty. Just say you don't think you should talk about people who aren't here behind their backs and cut it off.

And yes, get a united front with your SIL, MIL is almost certainly doing the same thing about you when she is there.

It's highly unlikely the GCs do actually prefer being at grannys - lots of kids cry when they have to go home from nursery I certainly did even though I also cried when I was dropped off doesn't mean they want to live there or prefer it there, just means it's normal behaviour and granny is good with nursery age kids. You could point this out to your DH.

And start moving for some holidays without MIL. She's dominating everything as the family matriarch.

Of course your child is old enough for pre-school - it's designed for children who are pre-school age confused

CodyKing Sun 19-Jun-16 11:23:18

You don't have to confront -

Repeat what she says to you

MIL 'Jane said she's losing weight but she's eating cake'

You 'She's losing weight and eating cake?'

She now has to justify her opinion - it's her turn to talk and she's not expecting it - it will make her feel awkward - but at the same time you haven't said anything -

It works bit takes praise and she'll stop when she realises she feels awkward talking about stuff to you -

Have a practice - it's a gem

CodyKing Sun 19-Jun-16 11:25:54

And the holiday thing - get in first - DH I'd really like us to go to X place next year - I want to show DD X Y Z? Can we look?

- Don't say I'm not going of MIL is there -

You can work things in your favour just be a bit more pro active

BettyJudy Sun 19-Jun-16 12:03:41

Holidays - we had one with the inlaws last year and will have two with them this year. We do holidays just the three of us too, but I think just one holiday a year is the maximum I can take, and I will ensure this happens in future.

Re: other DiL I would love to form a bit more of a bond with her on the MiL issue, but unfortunately we dont see her massively often (the matriarch sees everyone frequently but we only socialise as a full family maybe 3 times a year). We have each others numbers but In a wierd way, I think she is quite reliant in MiL not just for child care - they meet for coffee and DiL off loads about work problems and other issues. I dont know how receptive she would be to me suddenly broaching the subject out of the blue.

I often just go quiet when Mil says stuff about her, hoping that ahe takes the hint... But I think I will be a bit more direct about this. Erk. Need to man up.

I do often feel as though husband opens his mouth and his mum comes out. i have hinted at this in the past and he is quite defensive about it - I think previous partners have had the same issue. He says he is a grown man capable of making up his own mind but wants to listen to his mums opinion too. I can understand this but I just do feel like she is the third wheel in our relationship sometimes..

ImperialBlether Sun 19-Jun-16 12:11:38

I think you do need to man up about your SIL. It's horrible hearing someone criticised when you know that your MIL is nice as pie to her face (as we have to assume that as otherwise surely your SIL wouldn't meet her for coffee etc.) Once you do say something, "Oh I thought you liked her?" or "She's a lovely mum" or something like that, your MIL will probably pipe down.

A holiday once a year with the ILs is enough for anyone. I'd let her get on with it and show her Mary Poppins side and I'd have a lovely relaxing time. She'll soon learn.

It's amazing that as a nursery teacher she thinks your daughter shouldn't go to play school. That really does sound as though she wants to get at you rather than that she believes what she's saying. I would challenge her on that. "But surely you found it easier as a nursery school teacher to deal with children who were used to play school?" etc.

magicboy79 Sun 19-Jun-16 12:28:54

I would def express your feelings as you want to be totally honest with your husband no doubt, but I would do the softly softly approach, as it is his mum at the end of the day. My mil is a good soul with good intentions but very scatty and irresponsible and she takes on far too much. Plus she often likes a drink. She's always busy looking for after 2/3 other grandkids so I never want to leave mine with her as she's her hands full. I expressed this to my husband that it was fine for her to see our kids every week but that I wanted him to be there too, to which he saw my point and agreed. I was a bit surprised he agreed with me, but he did see where I was coming from.

Wolpertinger Sun 19-Jun-16 14:58:08

Do you ever see other DIL without MIL being there? Is it whole family or nothing?

One way to strengthen relationships is to start setting them up without MIL being the lynchpin of everything. You are all adults now and can do this without her having to facilitate it all.

And yes 2 holidays with MIL in a year is a recipe for murder. Where is your DM and your family in all of this, it sounds v enmeshed with your DH's family with your opinions having a v small space if you disagree.

Pearlman Sun 19-Jun-16 17:36:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 19-Jun-16 18:01:03

Either that or DH could have DC 3 mornings while you get one - Job done

BettyJudy Thu 23-Jun-16 06:37:01

Just wanted tp say, thanks all for posting advice, I really appreciate it.

Cody, I'm definitely going to try that on her next time she says something about SiL - a great non aggressive method.

I have a mum who we do see but is not massively involved for various reasons, so do feel a bit lonely / alien in a close family.

Anyway, going to do trial day at pre-school with husband and will see what happens. Am going to stand my ground about my views if MiL mentions it again.

Iggi999 Thu 23-Jun-16 06:43:48

The child is starting nursery at 2 though, not 3, from the OP. I do think being a sahm and putting a two year old into nursery three mornings a week, as well as regular childcare slots from mil, is unusual and not ideal.
That is absolutely none of my business though. Your mil is presumably very attached to her gc, which makes it slightly more of her business, but still not outranking your view. Her being a nursery nurse who doesn't want a 2 year old at nursery might well be based on what she witnessed herself.

CPtart Thu 23-Jun-16 07:11:22

They're not a close family though if she's slagging off other family members behind their back.
You do not have to explain or justify your childcare choices. Your MIL has zero say. She sounds far too over involved in your lives in general, and I would knock holidaying with her on the head!
Going to nursery at 2 will do your DC no harm at all. So important for DC to spend time with others and learn that family will always come back. I would question MIL child rearing practises herself, her go at parenting has managed to raise a man who seems incapable of independent thought.

BettyJudy Thu 23-Jun-16 08:37:09

Iggi - do you think not ideal? Hadnt thought of it like that. A 'morning' would be 9 to 12 three times a week, then was going to speak about MiL about re-arranging how much she has DC and reducing it, but I know she would want to have her for some of the time still.

You are right in that the things she has witnessed in nursery are why she doesnt want her to go somewhere til 3 (she will be 2 when starting pre-school).

Cp - yes I get what you say!

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