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Mil's attitude to sahm/wohm pleas an someone explain it?

(20 Posts)
louloutheshamed Sat 29-Dec-12 19:50:46

My Mil's attitudes to women working is really really odd and I am just trying to understand her pov, wondering if it is a generational thing (although she is only mid 50s) it just her being odd.

I have ds aged 2 and work ft. Mil has been sahm for 30yrs since dh born and has never worked after all 3 dss left home. Both of my other sils are sahm. Sil 2 can do no wrong but sil 1 is always being slagged off by mil.

She went on a weekend away the other week and mil thought this was terrible- as nil would be funding it and had to lOok after the dcs having been at work all week. Now I have been on 2 weekends away since having ds but apparently this is ok as I was paying for it myself?? And I think if I was a
Sahm I would be in even more need of me time! Mil also made Odd comments about me when I was on mat leave and had a night out, saying had I asked
My dh permission since he would be footing the bill!?

But as she has never worked full has always funded her lifestyle, so I just don't get it!? is this a Common attitude or is she just odd?

louloutheshamed Sat 29-Dec-12 19:51:55

Sorry should be bil and fil!

TreadOnTheCracks Sat 29-Dec-12 19:54:37

She is bonkers. Not sure I would fancy attempting to tackle it with her. Probably would be best coming from one of her sons?

Franke Sat 29-Dec-12 19:59:24

Odd and poking her nose in where it doesn't belong. Your finances and life choices are none of her business. Neither are those of your sil and bil. She sounds like she has a bit too much time on her hands tbh.

KelleStar Sat 29-Dec-12 20:18:03

it's the attitude that as you are not working you are relying on your DH/OH to support you and that you must not waste money, spend it on yourself or leisure activities for yourself. My MiL is 60 next year and she never went back to work after having children, though she has voluntarily run playgroup, youth club, wives and gardening club and she does help FiL out by doing office admin and earning a small wage by doing the housekeeping, which FiL is a stickler on [for example an oil stain DH walked in wasn't cleaned to high enough standards].

I am currently taking a career break and SiL [married to DH's brother] is loaded so had a part time job as a stylist before having kids and hasn't returned to work. SiL has her own cash stash and has money from her parents paid to her, so IL's don't give her grief as she has her 'own' money and contributes equally to their living expenses and is entitled to spend her leftover money how she wishes.

When I found out I was PG I put 1/4 of my money after joint expenses into a separate account to use whilst on Mat Leave and to hold me for a while. DD is 2 and it's still holding me up, DH encourages me to use it as a treat for me [wool for my knitting, swimming, nights out] rather than on expenses for the family/children.

We can easily afford the mortgage on DH's income, we've had to make cuts to some of our expenditure [no more weekly takeaway or pub dinners] but we are surviving and DH is happy to support me, he doesn't like the way his parents are, FiL has a lot of 'Power' over MiL and DH see's how dependent she is on him. One of the things he loves about me is my independence and he doesn't want to clip my wings.

But MiL will always question my spending, like my recent wool purchase or buying a new pair of shoes. She knows I have my stash but thinks I should be contributing to the household from this if I expect to spend money on leisure stuff. I wonder if she feels a bit jealous that I can do these things and she wasn't allowed to.

digerd Sat 29-Dec-12 20:45:20

Tell her what a wonderful son she has and how he insists she treats herself to clothes. She brought him up to be a wonderful husband.

Your MIL has loads of energy and having to take her DH's criticism of her floor cleaning< smirk> to boot, I think she is just picking on you to vent some of her frustrations. Not fair of her. And perhaps she is a bit jealous.
Try to rise above her remarks. And your SIL is a lucky woman having money sent by her parents.

KelleStar Sat 29-Dec-12 21:38:57

digerd my DH is lovely, his brother's are quite like FiL. DH is her favourite. I am sure she is a little envious of my freedom and how supportive he is.

SiL is very on another planet and I am at times rather envious of their lifestyle, holidays in lots of lovely exotic places and lots of lovely clothes, perfectly coifed and the children have whatever they want. But then it's just not me to want those things, I like that we've earned what we've got and what we have to work towards.

Lessthanaballpark Sat 29-Dec-12 23:17:46

OP, don't take a blind bit of notice of your MIL. She sounds a bit jealous. Maybe she regrets her own choices in life and is trying to justify them in an indirect way by judging others, but the truth is we've moved on since then and expect to be treated as equals by our DHs. You shouldn't have to feel grateful for that, it should be a given.

If you and your DH are happy with your life then that is all that matters tbh.

AreYouADurtBirdOrALadyBird Sun 30-Dec-12 09:28:09

Women of all ages can have the martyr complex. their wants and needs do not matter and must be sacrificed.
After my last child I was in hospital for almost two weeks due to an infection. I was told how great dh was for bringing his children to school and washing them etc. I pitied them as their dp/h are obviously not as capable.

RustyBear Sun 30-Dec-12 09:30:12

Nothing at all to do with her age....

AbigailAdams Sun 30-Dec-12 10:41:43

I would look at your FIL's behaviour and attitudes as Kellestar has done. Her FIL is abusive, maybe yours is too. Your MIL's father may also have had the pervasive attitude that his needs came before his wife's.

It is noticeable in your OP that the only mention of your FIL is to say that he funded her lifestyle. Basically buying into this whole notion that a SAHM's contribution is not equal to the man's financial contribution.

Just looking at the woman's behaviour is a trick of the patriarchy to take the focus away from the underlying societal structure that devalues women's contribution, especially those of child rearing and housework. A societal structure created by men for their benefit. She has learnt very well the lessons that the patriarchy have taught her. However, she is still a victim of those attitudes.

AbigailAdams Sun 30-Dec-12 10:47:07

I would ask Kellestar though why your DH didn't save up for your maternity leave too?

Lessthanaballpark Sun 30-Dec-12 11:18:22

Good point, Abigail, re the FIL's behaviour. It made me think of my DM and DF who have a very traditional setup - DM = SAHM and DF = breadwinner.

The difference is that DM has never felt that her contribution wasn't equal to DF's and that is because DF has always made a point of appreciating her, her cooking, how hard she works and how well she spends money. I mean it's not my own personal ideal setup, but the mutual appreciation makes it work & maybe that's what's been missing in OP's MiL's life.

louloutheshamed Sun 30-Dec-12 11:25:25

Yes it is a good point. Fil is certainly very controlling. He has a b successful career involving a lot of travel, and so they felt i necessary that mil sah but I think fil just think she is lucky to have had the lifestyle she had as a result of his success.

He is very controlling even within the domestic sphere. He fancies himself as a bit of a chef so is very dominant in the kitchen and tells mill off if she does
Something wrong and assigns her menial tasks. He also dictates the home decor, buys Mil's clothes and tells her how to have her hair!

Very very occasionally dh will speak to me in a way that reminds me Of his dad, usually when he is cooking. I always call him on it as it makes me recoil.

Lessthanaballpark Sun 30-Dec-12 11:46:52

Ooooh very interesting. I feel a bit sorry for MiL then, it can't be easy for her, after her lifetime of fitting into the traditional mould to please the FiL, then seeing the next generation of women have so much more independence and entitlement. If she accepts the new way as correct then she is saying her way of life was for nothing, IYSWIM.

One thing I super hate is when the H is a "chef" whilst the W is doing the menial tasks. They get the kudos for actually getting their arses into the kitchen whilst never having to do the boring stuff.

louloutheshamed Sun 30-Dec-12 17:27:36

Do you think fil sounds abusive Abigail?

WeWilsonAMerryChristmas Sun 30-Dec-12 21:34:54

Sometimes when you're at the bottom of the pile the only way you can feel better about yourself is by sniping at other people sad Her life sounds shit tbh. But it's nothing to do with her age, she's only 10 years older than me and she's 10 years younger than my DM who would give her short shrift for her attitude.

Mu1berryBush Sun 30-Dec-12 21:41:21

It's true, when you're at the bottom of the pile you can snipe and judge to try and make yourself feel less shit.

My xmil who told me that my xfil used to abuse her verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually as well was the least understanding person of all when I left her own son. I think she was jealous that I 'got out' while the kids were still young.

AbigailAdams Mon 31-Dec-12 14:21:45

Yes I do think he sounds abusive. Abuse is all about control, he is controlling. And this punishment system he seems to operate sounds awful. You speak of him as if he is her boss. I am feeling a bit sorry for her tbh. Although I can understand how hurtful the sniping can be. She has probably been (metaphorically) beaten down for years by him and this is the only way she knows of getting some control herself. She is also probably sub-consciously wanting his approval as she obviously has to work very hard to get it.

LibrariansMakeNovelLovers Wed 02-Jan-13 12:45:18

It sounds very much like a case of 'I didn't get to do that so why should you?'. My mother can be a bit like this. She informed me when DH and I were having a disagreement over hobbies that in her opinion there's only room in a marriage for one of you to have a hobby and obviously DH, because he's been working all week (whereas, obviously as a SAHM to, at the time, two small children I was sat on my arse being fed caviar and peeled grapes all week), should be the one to have the hobby.
She's getting better and hopefully your Mil will too. Maybe your DH could make some 'offhand' comments about how great it is that his brothers are so keen to do their share of childcare etc

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