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I feel excluded by my MIL. What can I do?

(184 Posts)
PuddingontheBrain Sat 04-Mar-17 18:16:28

To begin with, I think my inlaws are nice and well meaning people. I would actually like to improve my relationship with them so looking for some advice.

To give some background, my MIL absolutely loves babies and small children and her adult life has always revolved around her kids. She now has one DCG; my DD who is 3, who she absolutely adores and who has become the most important thing in her life.

I definitely try to see this interest in a positive light but it is so intense that whenever we see PIL, I feel excluded by MIL. To be fair, we don't see them that often (6-7 times a year for 3-6 days at a time) but I am very much made to feel like I should melt into the shadows to allow MIL to 'enjoy' her granddaughter. We saw them for a week at Christmas and whenever I'd enter the room; I could almost see the dismay on MIL's face before immediately piping up that she was just about to take DD out for a walk and that I should stay at home to have a rest. We have been on holiday a few times with PIL and they always want to take DD out on their own and end up doing nice things with her; like pony rides or going to the beach - things I'd like the join in with too. If I ever do get 2 minutes with DD as soon as MIL is back she'll interrupt and coax DD over to play with her.

To be clear; I gladly accept MIL's offers to take DD most of the time; she takes her out on her own, plays loads of games with her, reads her bed time stories and puts her to bed. When they visit I swap my hours around at work so I go into work and they look after DD during the day (they absolutely love this and have been asking to do it since she was born). It's not like I deny them one on one time with DD, I know it's important for them to get their own time with her.

DH is visiting them this weekend and I decided to stay at home to get some time to myself. He has sent me photos of MIL and SIL making a cake with DD which is a lovely thing to do. I just wish I was included in this kind of activity when I visit. But the underlying message I receive is almost 'you get so much more time with DD than us, leave us alone'.

I feel really unhappy about the situation and I am starting to resent my MIL more and more. I am currently pregnant so hormones aren't making me feel any better. I have tried to talk to DH about it but he says I am imagining it and that MIL is a normal grandmother. I don't think I am imagining it but maybe I am being oversensitive? I wonder should I just accept MIL as she is and at least be grateful that she helps out and is a loving GM.

NavyandWhite Sat 04-Mar-17 18:34:24

I can imagine this must be upsetting and quite disheartening. Could it be that she's trying to just give you some time for maybe you and your husband? Give you a break? Other than her just wanting DD all to herself?

What about you arranging something for just you two? Afternoon tea, a show, god forbid a spa day wink just some time for you to spend together.

This way it's showing her that you value her time and company. I know it might be difficult to arrange just now as you're pregnant but worth a thought. Or you could try and talk to her about how you're feeling?

Astro55 Sat 04-Mar-17 18:39:09

I don't think you are helping matters

Say 'yes I'd love to come pony geeking - haven't done that in ages - I'll get my coat'

Ohh the beach - sounds wonderful! I'll buy the ice cream!

Mummy's reading stories tonight - say night might to granny!

Stop sitting back if it annoys you!

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Sat 04-Mar-17 18:51:14

I would bite the bullet if you are expecting again as she won't manage two- so you will be getting left with one of them the next visit!!

PuddingontheBrain Sat 04-Mar-17 20:00:24

Astro I do try to impose myself but it's hard. I say 'I'll come too' and they say 'oh no, no you have a rest, put your feet up, go back to bed, we won't be long' etc. and insisting almost seems churlish. Then off they'll go and come back having been on a pony ride or something! MIL and other members of the family also make it clear that she 'just wants her quality time with DD'.

Navy, yes she is helping but it's constant. Which makes me think her offers are actually only in her own self interest. When DD was little she'd say 'oh if only she wasn't breastfed, I could give her a bottle in the night'. Which I knew was just about her getting cuddles with DD in the middle of the night and not really wanting to help me. And yes, it could be an idea to suggest some one on one time with me and her. But honestly, I know she isn't interested. When we see her, her only interest is in DD. Spending time with me would take her away from DD and she would hate that.

Wish do you mean I should just accept it? I have thought that things will obviously change with DC2.

HecateAntaia Sat 04-Mar-17 20:05:35

so she sees her for what? average it out, taking some at 3 day visits , 30 to 40 days out of 365?
tbh id be inclinded to let her have that time to bond with your daughter and let your daughter build great memories of time with her grandparents.

PuddingontheBrain Sat 04-Mar-17 20:10:55

Please don't think I am not letting her take her out or spend time with her.
They have her for sometimes 4 - 5 days in a row when they get all day to do their fun things and bonding. But when I offer to come on a walk with them at the weekend it's met with disappointment. Over Christmas they spent the whole week with her and I hardly got to do anything with her. I work so holidays and weekends are also my time with her. I just feel so unwelcome in what's supposed to be my own family. I feel there should be a better balance.
Maybe I will try talking to her.

Astro55 Sat 04-Mar-17 20:13:51

then push! 'Thanks for your concern - that's so thoughtful - but I want to join in the fun'

Being excluded by 'family' is awful!! Why would yo do that to guests? Why is that acceptable?

RainbowChasing Sat 04-Mar-17 20:16:08

No advice but I feel your pain because your mil sounds very much like my mil. My mil is also very obsessed with babies and small children, and was very possessive of my dd. When my dd was a baby, as soon as I turned up at my mil house she would practically rip dd out of my arms and I wouldn't be able to hold her or communicate with her until we left. My mil also seemed to resent me breastfeeding because it meant she had to give my dd back to me when dd was hungry. She actually ruined my first Mother's Day by making it all about her and my dd. There was one time when dd was about 2 months old when we were round at pil's house and the house phone rang. She went to pick up the phone whilst holding my dd and one of dd's toys. I reached out to take dd off her to make it easier and my mil turned her back on me deliberately so I couldn't take dd off her and she ended up dropping the phone on my dd's face causing her to start screaming (it also left a mark that didn't fade for days). As dd got older she became a real mummy's girl and would only want to be with me or looking at me and my mil used to actually turn her back to me whilst holding dd so that dd couldn't see me. It was very odd and very frustrating. I used to get very angry about her possessiveness over my dd as I felt shoved out, like all I was good for was producing a baby for her. I also felt angry because she'd had 3 children and 2 grandchildren by that point and this was my first baby after years of infertility. I resented the fact that she was ruining my time with my dd and trying to stop me from being a mother to her whenever my mil was around (which was a lot- hours everyday- because they live 5 minutes from us). Anyway, over the years my mil has got better and I don't have any upset or resentment to her anymore. My dd is also 3 and she goes to my mil for a day each week and this seems to give my mil her "fix". I am currently pregnant again and if this pregnancy works out (it's still very early days) then I am worried that we're going to go through all that again. I'm not sure what to advise you to do because you don't want to ruin your relationship with your inlaws but at the same time she doesn't seem to be getting any better. I'm wondering what she/they will be like once your new baby arrives? It could be a bit of a blessing for you if they want to occupy dd whilst you're caring for the new baby?

HecateAntaia Sat 04-Mar-17 20:17:33

good idea. its always best to have honest conversations with people.
you can say how happy you are about their relationship, how much you value it blah blah blah but that youd like to feel part of that too. maybe something about wanting to spend time with her too? she'd have to be a right dick to not respond warmly to that.

NavyandWhite Sat 04-Mar-17 20:18:01

I think you have to talk to her then.

AnotherEmma Sat 04-Mar-17 20:18:06

You will get loads of people taking your MIL's side - for some reason lots of people on here think that MILs have an automatic right to their grandchildren and owe no respect whatsoever to the mother of those children hmm

However, I think your MIL is being unreasonable to exclude you. Of course it's natural for her to want to spend time with her grandchild, but it sounds as if she is being very possessive about wanting her to herself. It's rude and disrespectful towards you as her mother. Why can't she include you so you can all enjoy doing things together?

But the main problem is your DH. He should be listening and respecting your feelings, even if he disagrees or can see both sides. He certainly shouldn't be taking his mother's side sad

Oh and one last thing.
" we don't see them that often (6-7 times a year for 3-6 days at a time)"
That is quite often IMO.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 04-Mar-17 20:20:50

You must not allow yourself to be so excluded from now on; this has evolved and happened over time and it needs to stop. You are your child's mother after all and you should be respected as her mother and importantly as well as a person in your own right. You are being excluded here and deliberately so by MIL.

You are a family and you need to be present.
You do not mention FIL in all this; is he around?

I do not feel that you have your DHs full support here (after all he has grown up with his mother and thus regards her behaviour as normal) and your ILs are not as nice as you are making them out to be. I do wonder if she will show the same level of interest with your as yet unborn child, perhaps not.

Are you not very assertive and stay quiet out of fear of upsetting people?.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 04-Mar-17 20:22:42

You need to raise your own boundaries urgently with regards to MIL; these have been far too low to date and she has taken full advantage of your own niceness. People like your MIL are not nice and do not play by the "normal" rules governing familial relations, only their own and she wants her own way re your child.

Swirlingasong Sat 04-Mar-17 20:24:00

I completely understand how you feel. Feeling unwelcome and pushed away from your own children is a horrible thing. You need to assert yourself, gently but firmly but make sure they see they can still enjoy your dd with you around. So, go on the walk but maybe encourage dd to hold MiL's hand while you chat, if dd stops to look at something, hang back and let MiL talk to her while you do something else. Just little things to show that although you are there and enjoying the trip, you won't stop them bonding.

AnotherEmma Sat 04-Mar-17 20:24:16

I don't think it's just up to the OP to fight to be included, that's very hard to do when people are constantly excluding you and making you feel unwelcome. It's the MIL's responsibility to include the OP

AnotherEmma Sat 04-Mar-17 20:25:59

Posted too soon... it's the MIL's responsibility to include the OP - out of politeness if nothing else! but also out of respect and kindness. If the MIL doesn't include her, it's up to the DH to notice and insist on including her. He needs to stand up for his wife FFS.

MostIneptThatEverStepped Sat 04-Mar-17 20:27:36

I sympathise...my ex in laws who lived abroad came to vistit when my first DD was only 3 weeks old...they'd say stuff like "don't you have anything you need to do?" So they could have my PFB all to themselves. No, I didn't. I needed DD and she needed me! They could have all the cuddles they wanted but I wasn't going to be made to feel superfluous.
Then there was the fact that MIL would stand in between me and ex PIL so his poor male eyes didn't have to witness me breastfeeding his first grandchild in my own home. Not happy times!

smilingsarahb Sat 04-Mar-17 20:33:45

It is lovely to be included and I do agree with you, but I must say that children are different away from their mums and some alone time is a great way to bond. Perhaps pick a few activities to do with them and stick to your guns but also embrace some of the rests too. I hope it goes well.

MooMooTheFirst Sat 04-Mar-17 20:36:24

I feel your pain OP, both PIL are like that, only I see them at least once a week. Every time I do I have to grin and bear them actually physically taking DS (9 months old) out of my arms and it does my head in. I've also had comments about breastfeeding that are negative and it's frustrating. I've just had my first week back and DS has seen them everyday this week and yet when they drop him off home to me I still have to practically wrestle my child out of their arms.

I am eternally grateful that DS has people that love him, I just wish they understood boundaries. He's not their child, he's mine. Just because he is the first GC of their only child does not give them some sort of rights over him. FIL goes as far as to refer to himself as daddy and to MIL as mummy sometimes, which is a slip of the tongue but indicative of their attitude. We also have different parenting styles - e.g. I breastfeed and don't agree with refined sugar or crying it out (for my child, I don't care what others do with theirs) but PIL can't wait to shovel custard and cake down his throaty!

I've got no words of wisdom because I am made miserable by it all the time, I'm just saying you're not alone gin

AnotherEmma Sat 04-Mar-17 20:37:27

At least once a week?! Bloody hell I wouldn't be doing that!

Thinkingblonde Sat 04-Mar-17 20:38:50

Be firm, just put your coat on and go with them next time.
I have two grandchildren dgs 6 yrs and dgd 20 months, I love the bones of them, We look after them quite a lot, we do loads of stuff together but I know who their mother is and it's not me.

AnotherEmma Sat 04-Mar-17 20:41:12

It's so undignified though, having to fight over the child! <shudders>

NeverMyFault Sat 04-Mar-17 20:43:55

I think it's great that you want to improve your relationship with MIL, communication is everything. Next time you are there why not tell her you've seen a cake or project that DD would love making and suggest that you all do it together, take the ingredients with you and make sure it's not open to interpretation so that she knows you don't mean it's something for them to do when you leave. If SIL lives with her and is usually included in these things extend the invitation to her, show them you want to be involved too.

Assuming that otherwise your relationship is good and there are no other reasons why she wouldn't want to spend time with you making a cake with DD, you will know by the response whether you are being over sensitive or not.

It sounds like you have a solid foundation to build on and you should take advantage of that, many of us would envy your predicament.

Good luck.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 04-Mar-17 20:50:14

I don't think they're committing a major crime.

You are making this about you and they just want it to be all about your dd.

You can speak up but the fact is if they wanted you there you'd have been asked. Forcing them to bring you along will cause strain and tension.

And I just wouldn't go down that road with the in laws unless it's absolutely necessary.

Take the chance to put your feet up

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