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Think we might have fallen out with MIL!

(21 Posts)
weegiemum Thu 13-Aug-09 17:13:57

This is a follow up thread to one earlier in the week. Hope thats not a thread about a thread!

Basically, on Sunday my MIL left my dds in the house alone while she went to the shop - she was gone 15 mins but I came back to her house after she had been gone for 5 and found them alone, with the cooker on, in the house (MIL had taken 7yo ds with her, left 9 and 5 yo dds in the house alone).

I was furious, and so was dh (probably more then me!) but we didn't get a chance to chat to her then as BIL and family turned up and were still there when we left to go home (had been staying for weekend).

I don't want another discussion about whether or not it was 'right' for her to do this, for us, our girls, the younger of whom has physical SN, this was NOT ok!

So last night, dh called his mother to tell her we were upset about it, and ask her not to do so again. It is hard to think how it could have gone worse.

She thinks she did nothing wrong, she was "only trying to do the best for the family" (at the shop buying icecreams for after lunch an hour before lunch with dh and I due home any minute), she doesn't understand why dh "is always shouting at her about the kids" (dh never shouts, and the only other time he challenged her about childcare was when she thought it was OK to let ds go on a quad bike with no helmet at her friends farm).

And of course, the ultimate "did weegie put you up to this?". Yes. Its my fault.

In the end she said "i have to go" and hung up on him.

SHe asked dh if he trusted her with the kids, and the silly, silly man said 'yes'. I don't trust her at all, and neither does he, but he said he just couldn't bear to make the crying and "but I was only doing it for the best" worse.

Now I am terrified she will phone ... luckily I have caller display so will not answer, but I can't get my head round the fact that even if she thinks she did nothing wrong, she can't accept that as parents we think she did.

She never apologised either.

Anyway, I feel better for saying it all, even if noone has a response!!!

DutchGirly Thu 13-Aug-09 17:41:17

This has nothing to do with "only trying to do the best for the family" but all to do what SHE wanted to do.

She is trying to manipulate your son however in feeling sorry for her, I think he is supposed to start crying and beg her for forgiveness for ever talking to her like that.shock

I do not think it is acceptable to leave any kids unattended under the age of let's say 11-12 and that would depend on the personality of the child. As you're the parents, decisions are to be taken by you and NOT by her.

Don't let her manipulate you, she made a bad decision, end of. Let her stew for a while, you're under no obligation to speak to her.

cocolepew Thu 13-Aug-09 17:43:40

I told you she'd blame you. Ignore her make her make the first move.

StayFrostyFelchMeLazyJourno Thu 13-Aug-09 17:44:52

I remember your other thread.

I think you have handled it all with aplomb.

Have you decided what you will do about your holiday you had planned? sad

cornsillk Thu 13-Aug-09 17:48:15

Good God she sounds like a total nightmare.

weegiemum Thu 13-Aug-09 18:09:19

SHe does sound like a nightmare, doesn't she?

Thanks for not saying I am a raging loony - cos I feel a bit like it.

Dh is furious with her for the emotional manipulation. Once again it is all about her.

<< breathe again >>

Not decided about the holiday yet. We do have a good friend who might move in for the week to look after the kids (she is a very good friend who did this for a long weekend once). Or we take them with us. Or cancel. Not making any spur of the moment decisions about it though.

weegiemum Thu 13-Aug-09 22:13:51

Anyone have any idea on how to proceed?

cornsillk Thu 13-Aug-09 23:00:32

I would leave it to dh as it sounds as if you are in agreement on this. She can't blame you then.

StayFrostyFelchMeLazyJourno Fri 14-Aug-09 09:15:32

Yep, you don't need to proceed - she was out of order, your dh has told her she was, now she is pissed off. You as a couple don't need to do anything; when you're right you're right. If she'd said 'oh god, I'm sorry, I didn't think, I just assumed you'd be back in a couple of minutes at most, blah blah blah, sorry, won't happen again' like a normal person, presumably this would all be over by now.

I do hope you atill get to do your anniversary trip, it sounds fab.

2rebecca Fri 14-Aug-09 15:13:17

You have fallen out with your MIL, it's her fault and you won't trust her to childmind again. What is there to be terrified about?

morethanithot Fri 14-Aug-09 15:27:04

there is a v good book, called games people play: by eric berne. the game she's playing is very aptly called "i'm only trying to help" it absolves her of responsibility for her actions. what you need more than anything else is to know that whoever has charge of your kids will be responsible, and at least try to hold the same/ similar standards as you.
you'll just have to discuss whether you and dh are happy for her to babysit soon, even if she asks to have the dd's again.

weegiemum Fri 14-Aug-09 16:46:55

Oh you ladies are so nice, no-one has told me I am an utter loon for this!!!

It is up to MIL to be in touch when she feels she can do so without freaking out about this or breaking down .....

DH obv doesn't want to fall out with his mother, and was up for being very recocilatory. Unti lI pointed out that if this was out nanny, she would have been sacked on the spot. Our 16 year old babysitter is more reliable!!!

I don't want to permanently fall out with MIL, but if the choice is fall out with her or our kids be put at risk, I know whicj I would choose ..........

HolyGuacamole Fri 14-Aug-09 23:38:30

MIL will be in touch when she realises her relationship with her son is suffering. I think for some MILs, it is the only thing that makes them adjust their ways or admit they did something wrong. Am not saying all MILs are bad - far from it, just that when there is an obstinate character and a refusal to meet half way, then there is no resolution IYSWIM.

I think your MIL could be reasonable by saying "ok, I'm sorry about that, I realise you did not appreciate that, it won't happen again".....and then for you to say "thanks for listening to us, we know you love DC but we just really don't want them left alone at this age". Subject closed, move on, forget about it.

Unfortunately, to get to that point often takes a battle of wills about who is right or wrong, who can hold off calling for the longest in order to make a point, etc etc.

weegiemum Fri 14-Aug-09 23:58:04

HG! That is exactly what I had hope would happen.

A swift "omg! I'm so sorry! I made a mistake adn it won't happen again!"

Not "but I was only doing the best for the family! Noone came to any harm! I don' tunderstand why you are so upset about this! Stop shouting at me! Me me me me me! I am so upset by all this! It must be weegie who has put you up to this" ..... etc.

A simple "sorry" would have made a huge amount of difference. It didn't happen, and dh thinks that it now won't, cos she never backs down.

HolyGuacamole Sat 15-Aug-09 00:23:10

I guess for someone who has spent a lot of years being a mum and bringing up kids, it must be hard for her to accept that your ways are different, she thinks this is fine, you don't. Regardless, it is your rules that count because they are your children.

Honestly, as soon as she gets the message that her tantrums don't work, neither does being a victim or wailing down the phone to her son, that is when you will see changes.

weegiemum Sat 15-Aug-09 00:42:03

Its a tiny bit like dealing with a toddler - don't give in to the tantrums and they will eventually dry up.

It just means holding out a bit - not sure how happy dh will be with that, he wants to phone to see if she is OK - I'm telling him to hold off a bit!

NanaNina Sat 15-Aug-09 12:57:16

OOH I'm going to be unpopular here especially as I am a MIL! I think there is something of an over-reaction here on all your parts and says more about your feelings about your MILs than what actually happened.

I did post before and say I didn't think she should have left the kids and suggested her son chat with her and mention it in passing. BUT it seems he went inrather more forcefully and I think she must have been really surprised as it wouldhave come totally out of the blue, always difficult, especially in a phone call. I suspect her first feeling was HURT that her son was criticising her and she covered her hurt with anger (something a lot of us do - covering what we really feel with something else - for all sorts of reasons) not a conscious process.

Weegiemum - there is probably a poor r/ship between you and MIL and that is why she immediately thought you had "put your H up to it - not nice of her I know, but she would probably not be able to cope with the fact that her son was critising her, hence her comment.

Not sure how old she is - but child care has changed an awful lot over the years and she just may not have been in touch with what is OK about leaving children. 40 years ago when my kids were small, it was wholly acceptable for 5 and 6 year olds to walk to school alone (as mine did) nowadays it would be seen as neglect. I well remember leavingmy 9 year old in bed with a cold while i went to work for the morning and I ws not a neglectful mother in any way. SO maybe she just didn't think. It was just a few minutes and I do think you are all over reacting - to read these threads - it sounds like she did something horrendous.

I am not surprised weegiemum that your DH wants to phoneher - he will be worrying that he has upset her. No matter what she IS his mother and there is a bond, no matter how difficult that is for you to accept.

I think it was handled badly TBH and it has been blown up into something much bigger than it needed to have been.

SORRY you won't like this and I obviously have no idea what she is really like but putting myself in her place I would have been really upset and hurt to get such a phone call from my son.

It's the old eternal triange isn't it - 2 women and 1 man. Yes MILS have trouble having to accept that they are no longer No 1 intheir son's life but I think DILs also have to accept that they maybe have feelings about the bond betweentheir DH and their MIL.

You wil probably all be MILs yourself one day and please try to remember that the intesity of your feelings for your baby sons whill be the same when he is grown and a father himself.

I will stand by for the backlash!!

NanaNina Sat 15-Aug-09 14:43:34

Weegiemum - me again - I have just been sitting inthe garden thinking about your predicament. Why does your H have to wait for you to say it's OK to phone his mother. I think that in itself speaks volumes - are you the dominant partner and does your mil know this by anch chance? Are you trying to punish her a bit more?

Another thought - she might well be thinking all the stuff about "oh sorry didn't realise etc" but why are people assuming that woul dbe her immediate reaction. She is human you know and very often it takes a while to think of what we really feel especially after receiving such an unexpected phone call.

You've reached an impasse and it needs to be broken - you have more on your side, H (her son - I know I know but that's how it feels sometimes honest)children etc and a happy family - she has I presume none of those things and on top of that has been criticised by her son. Please try to be generous spirited and make the first move - why not a card or phone call from both of you saying that you didn't intend to hurt her etc etc.

Morethanithot - yes I know the book that you mention and there is another game called "ain't it awful" that all of you lot are playing!!

Please don't be offended Weegiemum and I hope you will accept this inthe spirit in which it is intended.

Dutchygirl - take a chillpill!

DutchGirly Sat 15-Aug-09 15:36:01

NanaNina, why should I take a chill pill?

The MIL was wrong to leave children of 5 and 9, one with a medical problem unattended. MIL decided as an adult to get ice cream as that was what SHE wanted to do.

If she had just said 'Sorry, that was wrong, won't do it again' it would have been the end of the issue. Apologies accepted, let's move on. Very easy thing to do.

Instead MIL is resorting to playing mind games. Psychologists actually call the mindgame she is playing 'I was only trying to help' as she avoids taking any responsibility for her actions this way.

Everybody makes mistakes from time to time, however how you deal with it afterwards is what can make a huge difference.

StayFrostyBoobNazisCureCancer Sat 15-Aug-09 15:40:43

NanaNina

I don't think it is 'an over reaction' for weegiemum 's dh to phone his mum and, in her own words "tell her we were upset about [the dcs being left alone], and ask her not to do so again". You said you read the previous threads; they mentioned that there were pans left on the cooker top while the dcs were unattended - this could have been really dangerous actually, and I don't agree that it is an issue about doing things differently in the past - my own mum (in her 50s) would not leave a child unattended in the same room as a pan on the cooker top, and neither would my mil (in her 60s) I am glad to say.

I think it is perfectly reasonble for adult children to be able to say to their own parents 'we didn't like that you did this with the dgc, would you mind not doing it again please' and not get a load of emotional blackmail flung back at them.

And I don't know why you are presuming that OP's mil is now left all alone, OP clearly states that BIL and family, ie mil's other son, came round for the whole day on Sunday, and that is why they didn't get a chance to talk to her in the immediate aftermath.

I think you have a valid point about how some mils can't do right for doing wrong sometimes, but in this case the mil was out of order and should get over herself.

NanaNina Sat 15-Aug-09 18:54:55

Dutchgirly - sorry that was a bit off - it's just all this talk of manipulation was getting to me a bit. It's quite a loaded word.

SFBNCC (what a strange nickname?) I didn't expect many to agree with me. No I wouldn't leave children in the same room as a pan on the cooker either. BUT we don't know the circumstances - presumably the kids didn't have to be in the kitchen with the pans on - surely there was another room. I'm not saying it was safe or right for her to leave the kids BUT I think it is being blown out of all proportion that's all. You mention a "load of emotional blackmail being flung at them" - I didn't read it like that.

I think this MIl is being demonised and yes Ok she has other family but I still think she's hurt about being criticised for sonething she did innocently if thoughtlessly.

I think one of the problems here is that all MILS are getting tarred with the same brush and I just don't think that's fair.

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