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irrational issues with MIL

(32 Posts)
jaybird Tue 19-Apr-05 14:07:40

i have really bad issues with my MIL and don't know why.
she lives about 2 hours drive from us, but her DH died before we had our DS and she has no family near her - hence, we are her be all and end all. we see her about once a month and she is lovely BUT very overpowering with DS. she's been like this since he was born (he's now 9MO) and used to just take him off me the whole time to cuddle). as soon as we get to her house he's whisked off and i feel really jealous of this. we've let her baby sit a couple of times when we've had a night out and she's been fine, followed my every instruction to the T so i'm not worried about her changing him or whatever, she just really annoys me when she's all over him! - my mum is the same, but for some reason i don't mind that and would happily let DS stay with her for days.
don't know why i feel like this except that i should explain that MIL is indian and i'm white and there was a bit of an issue about us getting married although that is totally in the past and now she thinks the world of me - could i still have issues with the whole non acceptance thing? - also my dad suggested that maybe deep down i'm worried she'll 'indianise' DS (although her own son wasn't).
my parents live even furthur away and MIL is moving down here soon to be nearer us, and i know my mum feels left out so maybe this is the problem? - also when the 2 grans get together, MIL completely dominates DS and this really annoys me! we have a social function to go to soon and i'm really dreading it as i know DS will be whisked away to be shown off the minute we arrive - but if my mum did that i wouldn't mind! - i have serious issues as my mIL really is sweet, i just feel jealous of her for some reason and don't want her spending loads of time with DS - I am a total bitch!!
what are my issues?? and how do i overcome them? any counselling would be gratefully received as i feel like i'm going mad!
DH doesn't know any of this and it would totally break his heart. why can't i let myself like my MIL?

Lizzylou Tue 19-Apr-05 14:37:46

I completely know where you are coming from, my MIL also gets me mad, for many of the same reasons. She always used to pick up DS from my lap, invite herself round then tell me blatantly to go away so she could have DS to herself and basically make me feel like a spare part with my own son. It used to upset me so much, I had no confidence and so didn't say anything, she is a mildmannered woman normally. I talked it over with DH, said maybe I felt hormonal and was being stupid, but I couldn't understand why I felt so awful when she held DS and he noticed her behaviour too then. That made me feel better. Now my DS is 1 and walking there is no holding him and he will choose who to go to and who to cuddle, he invariably chooses me as I am his Mom, but he will go to his grandma too...this seems to have put her in her place a bit more.
I think it is a territorial instinct, I too have no problems when my Mom does the same, you are bound to feel protective of your own son, it's sort of a "lioness" thing. Also, you trust your own Mom more as you know how well she can bring up children, you are a product of that.
I do think it must be hard for MIL's to cope, as they don't know what their roles should be. My MIL is white too, so there were no cultural differences.
Hope this helps, sorry it is so long!

SecondhandRose Tue 19-Apr-05 14:50:21

Whoa - stop Jaybird. This is wonderful that your MIL thinks so much of your DS. He is her grandson, it sounds like she loves him very much and is very proud of him. If you are visiting her you must realise that this is her time with him. Make the most of it, go shopping, read a book, have some you time. You should feel very lucky that she cares so much.

I would love it if my in-laws were interested in my children. They aren't sadly. They feel like strangers when we visit them and I feel the kids have to be on their best behaviour.

There is no problem her teaching him about Indian culture surely?

Donbean Tue 19-Apr-05 15:12:18

Oh my, its like ive posted this, it is me and the way i feel about my mil to a T!
I cant explain it either, im completely puzzled because she is fantastic with my ds who is the first grandchild and first baby in the family for 30 years!
I work one day at the weekend (7am~9.30pm) and dh takes ds to their house and this irritates me intensly. I get food ready for him so i know what he is eating and they give him exsactly what i send and more besides. Ive resigned myself to the fact that its a grandparents job to feed granchildren rubbish every now and then.
He comes home stinking of chip fat with his clothes covered in dog hair. This i hate. And yet he goes to my aunties house, who smokes and comes back stinking of fags, this bugs me but nearly as much and to such an extent as the chip fat does....completely irrational.
She never questions my strange attitude towards ds diet, routine or discipline, she accepts and supports me but i still feel like this about her.
I think it overhangs from her not liking me too much when me and dh were courting. I maybe feel that she still doesnt, but like you, why is this?
We should be grateful i know but i find it very very difficult.
Im with you on this,because i feel the same, aren't we strange!

Donbean Tue 19-Apr-05 15:17:58

I have to add that it has got easier with time and that i do have a very nice relationship with my mil. I am truly grateful to her for all she does for us and it could be worse it could be my mother looking after ds (she is as mad as a rat).
I think that i anticipated problems which were not there and did not materialise. She does allot to put my mind at ease and over time i have come to "not mind" ds going to her. i always had (and still have) a problem with parting with ds and him going to any one.
I very much keep these feelings and thoughts to myself because the upset, hurt and damage that would result from me vocalising them would just be beyond measure.

chenin Tue 19-Apr-05 15:23:13

Agree with secondhandrose - you are lucky to have a MIL so besotted with your DS. My MIL had Alzheimers and never knew my children and I would have given absolutely anything for my Mum to have been like that with my two DDs. They were 9th and 10th grandchildren and I think she was bored of it all by the time they came along. My DDs would desperately try and get her attention and I would spend so much time trying to interest her in their own lives. She never looked after them and when I used to tell her what they were up to at school or interests etc., she used to change the subject! My mother and I used to talk nearly every day on the 'phone (she was very demanding!)and she very rarely asked about them. I joked with my DH that she had forgetten their names! She would even ask if I could go and see her without the two of them!! That is very soul destroying. Just make the most of your MIL - she will never be able to take over because you are the Mum!

Lizzylou Tue 19-Apr-05 15:24:38

I think it is a natural feeling and one which will ease over time, it has in my case. It takes a lot to build trust and there is nothing more precious than your child, so you are bound to feel cautious.

chipmonkey Tue 19-Apr-05 15:33:35

I think tbh that most of us let our mothers away with things that are hard to take in a MIL. You grew up with your mum, for a long time she was your lifeline so you have no problem occasionally handing your ds over to her. With your MIL, you feel that she's barging in to "your" family. Your mum is your mum but in your house your MIL is a visitor.

Lizzylou Tue 19-Apr-05 15:45:06

Chipmonkey you have said perfectly what I was thinking but struggling to put into words!

chipmonkey Tue 19-Apr-05 16:14:12

tbh, its sometihing that worries me. All my children are boys, so when I'm a granny, I'll be the old "daddy's granny", not the "mammy's granny" and I probably won't be as involved with my grandkids as I'd like.

jaybird Tue 19-Apr-05 16:43:50

thanks all, i'm glad to know i'm not nearly as strange as i thought i was. Ds is almost crawing now and is not really a cuddly baby anyway, he much prefers to be off on his own. i know i should be grateful that she loves him so much and i don't have a problem with the indian culture, he needs to know where he came from, it's just that i get soo cross when she monopolises him. she worked full time from when DH was 6MO and he was basically brought up by a nanny, sometimes when i'm feeling really mean i'll think she's trying to take DS off me to make up for not being their when her own DS was little (something incidentally that has never bothered DH - he's v.well adjusted and truly lovely). i just can't help getting annoyed when she smothers him so much and am just hoping that time will make me a little calmer! (and less of a cow!)

jaybird Tue 19-Apr-05 16:43:54

thanks all, i'm glad to know i'm not nearly as strange as i thought i was. Ds is almost crawing now and is not really a cuddly baby anyway, he much prefers to be off on his own. i know i should be grateful that she loves him so much and i don't have a problem with the indian culture, he needs to know where he came from, it's just that i get soo cross when she monopolises him. she worked full time from when DH was 6MO and he was basically brought up by a nanny, sometimes when i'm feeling really mean i'll think she's trying to take DS off me to make up for not being their when her own DS was little (something incidentally that has never bothered DH - he's v.well adjusted and truly lovely). i just can't help getting annoyed when she smothers him so much and am just hoping that time will make me a little calmer! (and less of a cow!)

jaybird Tue 19-Apr-05 16:44:19

whoops - double clicked!

Nik72 Tue 19-Apr-05 16:55:58

Have v similar issues with my mil, who is a perfectly pleasant lady yet I can't help feeling resentful whenever she stays and it was far worse when she stayed after dd was born. Similarly am fine with my mum. I realise it's my problem not hers and try not to let it show. I think a lot of it is that she is related to dd and has that hold on her yet because I am not relted to her myself it sets off all these territorial feelings. Also feel as though I have to be polite whereas can just be myself with my own mother.
I've always felt bad since lots of people have awful in-laws and I'm really pretty lucky.

jaybird Tue 19-Apr-05 17:06:19

that is exactly how i feel - MIL is related to DS and i'm not!! - also in a wierd way, DS is more indian than me - you're also right in that i have such a good laugh with my mum, like best friends, but have to be polite with MIL and on best behaviour. i know she looks on me as a daughter and loves to go shopping with me but i hate it as we just have so little in common.
i too feel dreadful as some of my friends MILs are apalling. thought how lucky i was the other day when charles and camilla got married - i bet the queens an horrendous MIL!!

Nik72 Tue 19-Apr-05 17:11:00

My MIL is chinese and dd looks very different to me - black hair & brown eyes, and that makes me feel odd too - that my daughter looks nothing like me! Don@t mean it in a racist way but I think it affected bonding slightly. Wierd!

jaybird Tue 19-Apr-05 17:19:50

god yes! - DS is the complete spit of my DH with the most gorgeous brown eyes and olive skin - i'm just blue eyed and pasty and if i hadn't pushed him out myself i wouldn't believe he was mine (apart from his stubborn independent and impatient temperement!). sounds dreadful to say, but if she takes him when we're out (like at a social function) i'm worried that people won't even think he's mine!! - now how's that for strange, insecure and irrational!

jaybird Tue 19-Apr-05 17:22:41

just a thought nik72 - ok, we've both figured out what the problem is - but how do we get arounf it and stop feeling like this? - does anyone think counselling might help? - not sure as they'd just tell me what i've just figured out!

Nik72 Tue 19-Apr-05 17:31:38

Dd too young yet but have the feeling she has DH's exotic looks but been lumbered with my personality !! As another pasty faced individual I'm happy for her she has DH's skin.

Perhaps a stern talking to myself every morning when MIL stays will help. "I will not be irrational....I will not be irrational...."I'm sure half the battle is recognising you have a problem - we should congratulate ourselves on being so self aware.

chipmonkey Wed 20-Apr-05 12:10:07

Funny enough, my MIL was here this morning to look after ds3 for an hour or so. Ds1 and ds2 were getting ready for school. I heard her say to them "Find a brush and I'll do your hair" I took that to mean: @your mum is so negligent that she hasn't even combed your hair!" when really she was just trying to help. If my own mum had said it I wouldn't have thought twice about it.

jaybird Wed 20-Apr-05 16:33:12

i do exactly the same thing chipmonkey. left ds the other week whilst dh and i went to the cinema, out for dinner etc. when i said i was nervous she told me not to be so silly, it wasn't like i was leaving him at nursery. now she knows i'm sending him to nursery in september when i go back to work, so took that to mean that she thought sending him to nursery was a really bad idea. what she probably meant was that i should relax as he was with someone who really loved him.
i really wish i could stop feeling like this but i'm glad to know i'm not alone. feel awful too as i know that one day i'll be someones MIL and it would be awful if they felt like this about me!

Passion Wed 20-Apr-05 17:48:57

God jaybird, I so understand this. I felt exactly the same when my dd was younger. All I can say is that it does get better. One day I just stopped being jealous and learnt to appreciate her love - my dd is now 19 months old. I don't know whether this is your first child but maybe this is a natural reaction - overprotectiveness with your first. I used to feel 'she's mine, mine, mine ' - now I'm a bit more used to motherhood I love having someone to share all dd's little acheivements with. She is genuinely fascinated in my favourite topic and will discuss dd for hours

Just a footnote - My sisters MIL is indian and she has a four year old son who MIL adores. In India, as I'm sure you are aware, extended family really help to bring up the child. My sister has come to really appreciate this - her MIL will take her grandson for whole weekends - sometimes even longer. I bet you do too one day!

nightowl Thu 21-Apr-05 03:06:53

ah no, i think its lovely!! i had the mother in law from hell when i was with ds's daddy. from day one she hated me (prob because i had a tattoo, who knows, she was that shallow). i tried really hard to get on with her and when i needed to go back to work she offered to look after ds which i remember thinking was so kind and maybe she had finally accepted me. she then went on to basically claim my son as her own and dismiss anything i said. i would cook him fresh meals and freeze them, she would throw that away and feed him mcdonalds. she insisted that he had to be registered at her gps in case he needed treatment in the day, so of course all his appointments would go to her house. she disagreed with any parenting method i had, gave him bottles when he was three and refused to help potty train him. then when i tried to nicely talk to her she would blackmail me, saying that he would be brought up her way or she would not have him while i worked. she tried to keep him a baby in many ways and went as far as lying to me and telling me he was allergic to this that and the other . i only found out about these things after i had split with ds's dad and got talking to his new gf. mil had been stirring between us too, telling me that the gf didnt like my son and pushed him away, telling the gf that i was a bad neglectful mother and so on. when i got him away from them it was the best thing i did. i told them they could still see him but either his dad would have to take him down or they could pick him up as i was not prepared to put myself out taking him to their house. they never bothered to see him again.

my other child doesnt know her father. she also doesnt know his parents as when i phoned them up to ask if they wanted to meet her, they slammed the phone down on me.

so i think youre really lucky!! grandparents (well most normal ones) love to shower the grandkids with love and gifts..maybe sometimes it is trying to make up for how they treated their own kids...but is that really so bad? as for "indianising" your ds..its nice i think that he will grow up to know both cultures (if cultures is a word, at this time of night im struggling but you know what i mean!). i have to say..i would much rather have your mil than either of my ex mils..would you consider hiring her out at all?

FairyMum Thu 21-Apr-05 07:29:18

I think it's quite normal to be a bit sensitive around a mil when you are a first-time mum. I know I was. I didn't feel jealous as such, but I took a lot of her comments the wrong way and too much to heart. If she suggested something to try to help, I took it as implied criticism when it really wasn't. I think like the other posters that you are lucky who has a mil who dotes on your son and afterall you only see her about once a month, so I would just try to ignore those negative feelings and enjoy some free time while she cuddles your child

jaybird Thu 21-Apr-05 11:17:26

thanks guys, yes passion, i do have the whole 'mine, mine, mine' scenario going on with DS and i know it's totally irrational. i'm so glad to hear that it does get better and she offers all the time now to take him for whole weekends, something i won't even consider! - i know the whole extended family thing is big in india and that's very much the way in DHs family. and i know that by the time i'm on my second baby, i'll probably be begging her to take them both off me!!
nightowl, it makes me feel really bad to feel like this about my MIL when i hear about experiences like yours so i'm just going to try to take a chill pill and have some me time when she's around. it's wierd though, i have all these objections about her cuddling him etc when i'm there, but if i leave him with her for an afternoon, then it doesn't bother me at all - must be the whole out of sight out of mind thing! or maube i'm just a neurotic first time mum!!

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