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AIBU?

MIL wants to do lovely days out but wants us to pay for everything

271 replies

BadgerSetGo · 20/03/2023 12:44

Background is MIL claims to not have a lot but has paid off her mortgage, works part time and lives what I think of as a very nice lifestyle. Lots of restaurants, nails done, gym memberships etc. she does claim to struggle but she spends a lot of luxuries. She is on her own.

She wants to meet us for various days out which she suggests- fancy things like kids theatre days or theme parks but thinks it's categorically wrong for her to pay anything towards this. I'm talking about paying her own way not paying for us or DC. She won't even pay for a drink when out with us, she acts like another child who doesn't have access to any money.

There is a huge backstory to this and her believing DH should provide for her. She says all her friends have lovely sons who book all kinds of activities for them to do with their grandchildren and she always makes sure to tell us that the grandparents are never expected to pay a penny!

My parents are the opposite and want to treat us all the time. How do we navigate all these treat days MIL wants to do without burning bridges and being rude or coming across as mean? Or is it normal to pay for a grandparent every time for things like this?

OP posts:
Lovelyveg82 · 20/03/2023 12:47

How do we navigate all these treat days MIL wants to do without burning bridges and being rude or coming across as mean?

In this scenario there is no “we”

this is definitely something your husband speaks with his mother about. No drama or nastiness. Perhaps he takes her out for lunch and talk to her then, kindly.

Zonder · 20/03/2023 12:47

Wow. This isn't normal in my experience. Both sets of grandparents used to offer to pay for outings so we used to alternate - we pay for one and they for the next. I bet her friends don't all go for free.

Fairyliz · 20/03/2023 12:48

No it’s not normal, in my experience it’s usually grandparents who pay.
Nice time she suggests something just say sounds lovely, but things are a bit tight for us at the moment so we can’t afford it.

Shoxfordian · 20/03/2023 12:49

I don’t think it’s reasonable for you to pay for her all the time- what does your dh think/say to her?

PenelopeTitsDrop3121 · 20/03/2023 12:52

Whenever she suggests days out just keep repeating that you can't afford it. I've never known grandparents getting treated like this. Its always the grandparents wanting to treat the family. She sounds very selfish.

Spck · 20/03/2023 12:54

I think I would always pay for the grandparent to go as it’s not necessarily a place they would choose but in return I would think they would maybe buy drinks for everyone or lunch. Or offer to bring along a picnic lunch - but contribute in some way.

Hoppinggreen · 20/03/2023 12:58

Spck · 20/03/2023 12:54

I think I would always pay for the grandparent to go as it’s not necessarily a place they would choose but in return I would think they would maybe buy drinks for everyone or lunch. Or offer to bring along a picnic lunch - but contribute in some way.

Bit it sounds like she IS choosing these places.
If you invite her you should probably pay entry or whatever but she should offer to buy a drink or lunch but if it’s her suggestion she should pay for herself as a minimum

Wombats23 · 20/03/2023 12:59

On you go, love.

Do simple stuff with the kids, if she wants to see them.

Sounds like she wants a treat tho. So it's competitive attentive seeking. I'd ponder that but it's a DH issue to deal with.

SavBlancTonight · 20/03/2023 13:03

I don't think it's reasonable but I don't think my opinion is relevant. What's more important is a) what is normal within DH's family and b) what is affordable for you and him?

A similar situation we're dealing is that my family would not dream of an elderly relative coming to live directly with anyone. DH's family consider this perfectly normal. MIL wants to live with us. I can't say if this is reasonable or not because it IS in their family. The question becomes whether or not me and DH are able and willing to do this.

Spudina · 20/03/2023 13:06

She’s a CF. It’s a DH problem to solve . When she suggests something just keep repeating “we can’t afford to pay for you, if you want to come you will have to pay for yourself.” Book days out without her till she gets the message.

Lovelyveg82 · 20/03/2023 13:07

2 grown assed adults
Simperingly following MIL’s suggestions for days out irrespective of what they and their children want to do
Paying for her but hating doing so

I can’t get my head around this

Woman / Adult / Parent the heck up!

BashirWithTheGoodBeard · 20/03/2023 13:07

Tell her you can't afford it, use your budget to go on whatever days out are affordable to you without her.

lazycats · 20/03/2023 13:10

If ever a topic was tailor-made for mumsnet to unanimously agree the op is NBU, it’s this one.

Thesharkradar · 20/03/2023 13:11

PenelopeTitsDrop3121 · 20/03/2023 12:52

Whenever she suggests days out just keep repeating that you can't afford it. I've never known grandparents getting treated like this. Its always the grandparents wanting to treat the family. She sounds very selfish.

I would do this or if I was feeling especially bad I might go along and then when I got there say oh dear I've forgotten my purse
You need to be a bit more 'creative' @BadgerSetGo
She's playing You like a violin
play her back like an orchestra

B0g · 20/03/2023 13:12

‘No thanks.’


ta dah.

Almahart · 20/03/2023 13:13

Just suggest cheaper things that you do actually want to do.

feelinglikeanewparent · 20/03/2023 13:14

B0g · 20/03/2023 13:12

‘No thanks.’


ta dah.

Precisely this. Why is it so hard to say no?

drspouse · 20/03/2023 13:14

My DM would never pay if she was with us (she is a total cheapskate and insists she has no money, will try and persuade her friends to give her a lift to avoid paying for a taxi etc.) but she would never suggest an expensive day out with us that we pay for. If we want her to come and to pay for her, we ask her, she says yes, it's our treat. If we want to go somewhere without paying for her, we'd just go without her.

BMW6 · 20/03/2023 13:16

No thanks MIL - you're far too expensive.

Aquamarine1029 · 20/03/2023 13:16

All of this could have been prevent just by saying no.

GertrudePerkinsPaperyThing · 20/03/2023 13:17

I think in quite alot of cases the grandparents pay for everything as there’s a lot more money in that generation (in general) and fewer outgoings.

Unless the middle generation (those with the young kids) have done fantastically well for themselves as compared to their parents of course.

The other thing is that the suggester is more likely to pay than be paid for - in any kind of dynamic- I’d have thought.

Best idea is to suggest simple, non expensive things to do together and say no to those that cost

5128gap · 20/03/2023 13:20

If she owns a house outright and is still working, I'm sure your husband stands to gain more in inheritance than he's shelling out now, to be fair.
However, if he doesn't want to pay for her, he needs to tell her straight, as clearly there is a lack of shared expectations here. It needs to come from him though not you, or you'll be getting the blame.

ÉireannachÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ · 20/03/2023 13:23

Is your mother in law white British? I ask because then that would make her a cf. But if not, which I suspect not, it is a cultural thing. There are plenty of cultures where this is normal.

fruitbrewhaha · 20/03/2023 13:24

I find the opposite to be true, my parents and PIL happily pay for us the kids.

Next time say "No, we are busy that day, my parents are taking us to x", or "We've been there recently, my parents treated us"

MeridianB · 20/03/2023 13:24

Is she on social media by any chance? Is she trying to orchestrate big, expensive day trips because she wants to show off on Facebook?

What happens when you invite her to to lunch at yours or to come with DC to things like the playground or to bake cakes or story time in the local library - does she show no interest in things like this?

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