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Should I say something to MIL?

19 replies

TwinTum · 21/07/2015 19:07

MIL had a massive go at DH at the weekend because she feels that my parents (and her other DIL's parents) are favoured over her and FIL. I am very surprised at this as I always thought we all got on well. her evidence of this (in our case, not sure about BIL/SIL) is as follows:

  1. We went on holiday abroad with my parents for a week at Easter. In fact, this is the first overseas holiday we have been on with my parents since my DC were born and in that time we have been on holidays with PILS overseas 3 times (although not for a couple of years). We have had various weekends with both sets of parents this country but I have not kept count. The holiday at Easter was arranged by my parents and was their Christmas present to us (and we were slightly guilt tripped into it, although had a good time)

2. When my parents visit (about twice a year), we arrange more activities than when PIL visit (PIL visit more often as they live closer). This is probably true, for various reasons including (i) my parents often ask us to arrange things or book their trip to coincide with something they know is on, (ii) I am more organised than DH and think it is his job to organise things for his parents (I work full time, him part time, DC at school), and (iii) PILs visits are shorter.

3. My parents get more generous Christmas parents. This is also true, but reflects the different approach of the families to Christmas (my family have always gone a bit mad at Christmas, his family have always exchanged token presents). it is also again because I leave it to DH to buy for his family and he is a bit tight!

What is underlying this is that MIL's sister has daughters (MIL only has sons) and the daughters either have no DC or grown up DC and often take their mother away for the weekend etc. We and BIL/SIL have younger children and prefer to spend our weekends with the children. MIL has convinced herself that as a general rule daughters are more generous (with time and money) to their parents than sons and so she is missing out relative to her sister and my parents.

DH of course just took it on the chin (he did not, for example, point out the flaws in her arguments such as the fact that we have been on holiday with them more than my parents). We are due to visit them in a couple of weeks, and I don't know whether to say anything. on the one hand, it is more between her and DH (who will just let it go, although he was very taken aback). On the other hand, there is definitely a suggestion that it is to some extent my fault (e.g. I earn a lot more than DH so there was a suggestion that this is why my parents get better presents, i.e. I don't want to spend my money on my PILs. This is nonsense - DH knows he can buy them whatever he wants, has just always thought it appropriate to buy the types of presents the rest of his side of the family buy. And I am not taking over shopping for his side of the family).

SO (1) does MIL have a point, and (2) should I say anything or just let it go (unless she says something directly).
OP posts:

Hurr1cane · 21/07/2015 19:10

I'd leave it to her and your DH to be honest, go on like he hasn't even told you, she was probably just having a wobble and felt like she missed her children.


Tanith · 21/07/2015 19:11

Stay well clear!

This is between your MIL and your DH. It sounds as though she's aware that it's his responsibility and has spoken to him about it. It's up to him what he chooses to do.
I would not get involved unless she involves you.


ollieplimsoles · 21/07/2015 19:12

She was rude to point out your salary and talk about that in relation to present buying.

But from what I have read I would stay out of it, if DH is bothered by it, he should say something. If my parents confessed they felt this way- I would do something about it; like make more of an effort with them.

Whats your relationship like with MIL? Mine only has sons too but she prefers it that way and says so.


lem73 · 21/07/2015 19:16

Tbh it does sound like you could make more of an effort with your ILs. For once I can see a MIL's point of view!


contractor6 · 21/07/2015 19:17

Ungrateful MIL, id stop even with the token gifts!


reni1 · 21/07/2015 19:27

Stay out of it. His fight if he chooses to engage.


Pinot4me · 21/07/2015 19:29

Whether she is right or wrong, she is obviously feeling insecure and has got her knickers in a knot about the situation. Sounds like things have been blown out of all proportion (in her mind). Perhaps a bit of intervention on your part could smooth things over....good luck!


TwinTum · 21/07/2015 19:30

I thought my relationship was great with both PILs. I have posted before on MIL bashing threads in praise of mine!

She gets on very well with one of her nieces (A), and there has been a bit of a theme recently about how kind A and her sister B are to their mum. But it has never been turned round like this before, i.e. it has always been positives about A rather than negatives about her sons/DILs. She has just been to visit her sister (and my parents have just been here) so it has clearly just been on her mind.

We will see how things are when we are there. I wont say anything unless she does, but think it might come up.

The reality is DH would be happy to see more of them/speak to them more often on the phone if that is what they want. he is rubbish at arranging things, but would be up for it if they suggested stuff. maybe he just needs to tell them that.

The reality is also that she probably does have a bit of a point that DH is not as attentive as he could be, but her examples (and comparison to my parents who we see less often) were flawed. I don't think her examples will have helped get her point across to DH, though, because they were not great examples.

OP posts:

etKrusTe · 21/07/2015 19:31

I agree. Say as little as possible.

If pressed, say that you thought you got on. Rise above the salary dig.

I had similar anger (if that's the right word, not sure) from my xmil. She was angry that her son was distant and formal with her and she took it out on me! After we'd split, I kind of said that to her. I softened it a bit. She was even angrier!


Moomintroll85 · 21/07/2015 19:32

Ugh. Yanbu, don't get involved, don't feel guilty, don't waste your time thinking about it. My MIL despises my mum (having met her once and my mum was nothing but lovely to her). She hates that our DS even sees my mum and makes snidey bitchy remarks/pulls faces/cries that we don't like her as much if my mum ever happens to come up in conversation. I feel your pain.


ollieplimsoles · 21/07/2015 19:35

My Dh is a bit aloof as well (he does not have a great relationship with his mum because she is awful) but I do have to ask 'have you called your mum' to remind him- as it saves him the hassle she gives when we do see her.

You could at the very most ask him when he last spoke to his mum and remind him to arrange something, but don't go any further.


TwinTum · 21/07/2015 19:47

He is disorganised rather than aloof. He would think of himself as having a good relationship with his parents (esp his mum) so he was really surprised. They speak on the phone about once a week for a reasonable length of time. I don't notice who tends to call who - it may well be that she usually calls. He gets the DC to give them a quick call if they have particular news. He also sends the odd photo by email that he thinks she would like. So he is my no means a disaster.

But as Pinot says she is clearly feeling insecure and i will suggest to him that he ignores the specific examples and gives it a bit of thought (his natural tendency would be to back off to avoid the conflict which is why her raising the point in this way will not have helped). i have also suggested he speaks to his brother about it because her complaints were definitely partly about him too (he is also very laid back and disorganised with a more organised wife)

OP posts:

EponasWildDaughter · 21/07/2015 19:52

Stay out of it. Even though you feel you've been 'implicated', as it were, re: your earnings being used to spoil your parents and not her.

OP you said ''MIL has convinced herself that as a general rule daughters are more generous (with time and money) to their parents than sons and so she is missing out relative to her sister and my parents.''

Well, you know, on the whole IME (2 marriages) she might be right. But - that's not your fault. Or your DH's really. I don't think sons are bought up to be the communicators in families, and their DMs do seem to get left out sometimes. (i know this is a big generalisation).

All the MIL threads here with DILs trying to negotiate problems. When asked 'why isn't your DH dealing with his mother', the answer is always something like 'oh, he just isn't very good at dealing with this kind of stuff so it's better if i do the talking'. Bug bear of mine.


DoJo · 21/07/2015 19:52

It's not up to you to manage your husband's relationship with his parents and if they think that it is then they are in denial about his flaws as a son. My mum can be a bit like this - e.g. she thinks it's odd that my brother's wife doesn't encourage him to call her on mother's day when she (the wife) calls her mum, and I am constantly reminding her that he is an adult who should be able to think of these things himself. If she started to manage his life, he would let her to a point where he didn't have to think of anything for himself. So she doesn't, because that's not the kind of relationship she wants and she has plenty of other things to do. It sounds like you are in the same position.

If anything, I think you should encourage your husband to be honest with his parents, apologise for being less proactive than they would like him to be and suggest that they ask for what they want more rather than waiting for him to take the initiative. If they want the relationship to be different, then they need to take responsibility for changing it instead of just comparing it unfavourably to someone else's and waiting for change to happen.


EponasWildDaughter · 21/07/2015 19:54

X posted OP, so the 'stay out of it' sounded a bit harsh in the light of your last post Grin It sounds like you are handling it well.


LindyHemming · 21/07/2015 19:57

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flippidyflap · 21/07/2015 20:04

My MIL had a go at me once because she hadn't got a Christmas card from us. I told her in no uncertain terms that she should discuss it with my husband as I refuse to write his Christmas cards for him. I have a massive family to sort out at Christmas. As it is I write all the cards for my family and our friends. I buy and wrap 30 Christmas presents every year, buy all the Christmas cards, decorate the house, sort all the food etc etc and give DH the cards he needs to write. I won't write them on principle because he's just being lazy and I refuse to do it for him.

She was outraged as she always wrote the cards for FIL's family and thinks I'm being mean - I swiftly pointed out that she didn't work when her boys were young whereas I work full time and don't get a minute to myself so if she's upset that she didn't get a card from her son she needed to speak to him about it face to face. Then when we got home I told my husband what she had said and made it very clear that I will never do it for him and that he has to prepare to explain himself to her.

We also get the complaints that we don't do as much with them as we do my family and I struggle not to point out that it's because spending time with my family is actually fun and not hard work. Plus, we get off our asses and arrange stuff - it doesn't just magically happen! Again, I won't be the one picking up the phone at every turn to see if they want to do something - I invite them to lunch every other week or so because we'd never see them otherwise due to afore mentioned laziness. They've no idea it's my instigation though and probably think the roast dinner fairy sorts it out.


GreyBird84 · 21/07/2015 20:05

I totally relate to this. Have similar issues with my MIL.

She reared DH, she should know better than to blame me for his flawed communication skills. She often huffs & makes snide remarks when she feels he hasn't bothered enough or seen DC enough,

I play dumb to her passive aggression when I see her. You get more with sugar than with shit & effort is a 2 way street.

I sense you want to address this & 'clear' your name but i personally wouldn't bother. I did try that a long time ago & it was pretty catastrophic.


Tequilashotfor1 · 21/07/2015 20:25

Yep - stay out of it.

This is none of your fault.

My mil is the same maybe a bit worse. I started taking over communication as DP was shit and I also started buying gifts (much better than what he would have bought, in fact I totally spoiled her last Xmas) bit she still found something to moan about and that was generally directed at me.

She is probally one of those people that feel short changed over everything.

(I would be itching to point out why her reasons where void but she would see it as you attacking her even though she has started this up.

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