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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:
AlmostaMamma · 21/03/2023 16:50

So, MN has confirmed that @Lovelyveg82 was banned and then rejoined as @Porridgelover82 (showing limited imagination) for what appears to be the express purpose of winning this argument. She’s now banned again.

MN is such a strange place.

ÉireannachÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ · 21/03/2023 17:08

AlmostaMamma · 21/03/2023 16:50

So, MN has confirmed that @Lovelyveg82 was banned and then rejoined as @Porridgelover82 (showing limited imagination) for what appears to be the express purpose of winning this argument. She’s now banned again.

MN is such a strange place.


fUNNYfACE36 · 21/03/2023 17:30

I think it depends on the culture.Is she Asian?

Scousefab · 21/03/2023 18:15

Gawdddd! What an awful woman making you pay for her! It’s so expensive getting yourselves into these places without an additional person! I would probably say you can come but you need to pay your own entrance fee/ lunch. If you don’t speak up she will carry out - start with ‘ gas and electricity bills have gone up appreciate your friends kids have more spare cash but we don’t’ if she knows you both earn a lot say you both saving for kids for uninversity etc x

Julimia · 21/03/2023 18:21

As an MIL who is right at this minute sitting (happily)through a judo lesson for two GC I would say that sort of behaviour is nothing but attempts at control in a backgand sort of waym

wentworthinmate · 21/03/2023 18:41

Out of interest, as this is what my mother (73) worries about, how would your MIL pay for car repairs, if the boiler broke, house repairs etc? Does she have savings for the occasional day out or is she living month to month? She seems happy to spend on herself but not on anyone else even it benefits her too.

Hmm1234 · 21/03/2023 18:48

Wow she is behaving like an entitled brat. Does she pay elsewhere or give grandchildren extra gifts/ funds? If not it’s not ok for a a grandparent to behave like this

RealSavage · 21/03/2023 18:53

No,I don't think it's normal.
I like to treat my parents and MIL to a degree but it's a two way street.
I wouldn't make a big deal of it to be honest,but I would be assertive.
"That's a lovely idea but we are cutting back on spending so will have to take a rain check"
"We are watching our outgoings right now but you are welcome to visit etc"
Things like that.
She will soon get the message.

bobster31 · 21/03/2023 18:55

Sounds like my MIL. Is exceedingly well-off (think 7 figures) yet never offers to pay for herself if we go out for meals, days out etc. DH refuses to ask her to for fear of upsetting her. I find it incredibly rude and selfish. Pisses me off no end.

Madamum18 · 21/03/2023 18:58

To have any hope hope of getting anywhere with this I think the discussion needs to beyond the actual payment into the emotion/motivation behind the behaviour as in:

"Mum, I'm sorry you are upset. Can I ask why you feel that we should pay every time we go out." "Do you think that is your right?" "Do you feel we don't love you if we don't pay?" Do you feel that your friends adult children love them more because they pay?" ...and so on. Very direct statements and questions naming various potential "causes" of her belief in being paid for. Along with clear statements like "Do you think we have a lot of spare money to pay for everything?" "As you know goes to private school. That takes up a significant amount of our income. That means we do not have a lot of spare money"

There is likely to be more tears, bluster and so on but if you are going to have any chance of moving beyond this it is probably the only way. But first your husband has to accept: a) the obvious manipulation b) the need for straight talking and questions as above Good luck, I know this is all very wearing! Flowers

woodhill · 21/03/2023 19:14

AlmostaMamma · 21/03/2023 11:17

I don’t understand the attitude a lot (certainly not all) people in the U.K. seem to have towards their parents! They birthed you, raised you, loved you. Do you not feel any affection or duty towards them? Do you not want to treat them, if you can?

If you’re not able to treat them, that’s one thing. But how on earth can anyone who was a fairly decent parent ever be regarded as a CF because they want you to take them somewhere nice? ’Bring your own sandwiches’, indeed.

But she isn't and is being grabby

They chose to have you. I don't do all that personal sacrifice nonsense. I

AllyArty · 21/03/2023 19:17

You and yr DH should tell her she is great for coming up with all these suggestions for days out but you simply can’t afford them anymore and from now on days out will be for special occasions like birthdays and she is welcome every other Sunday to yours for Sunday lunch. Tell her together so that she can’t pretend that you said something different, be firm and to the point. She sounds like a passive bully who likes to control. Don’t let her ruin your family life.

threatmatrix · 21/03/2023 20:11

Every time you go out mention that you can only go because your parents were kind enough to pay for it.

MarvellousMonsters · 21/03/2023 20:26

BadgerSetGo · 20/03/2023 13:40

She also tells DH constantly that she's terribly worried about money so makes the narrative that she's a poor pensioner on her own which makes it jarring for him to ask her to pay her way, as only a few minutes earlier she would have been pleading poverty, but her lifestyle is evidence to the contrary.

Maybe DH should sit down with her and go through her finances, to make sure she's ok and hasn't got any money worries, and once he's established that she's got more than enough you can nip the penny pinching from her in the bud.

In the meantime, every time she suggests an expensive day out say you can't afford that and offer a budget friendly alternative.

blondiepigtails · 21/03/2023 20:27

This was absolutely my MIL to the letter. My parents usually paid for our treats. I now have 3 adult DC. We’re taking them on holiday with partners. I’ve paid for flights and accommodation. They will pay for their spending money. I absolutely couldn’t sit back and let them pay. It’s our treat and we love doing it

Spain1980 · 21/03/2023 20:31

‘So she sees the image and thinks we have loads and she wants a piece of that but the truth is we have a lot of outgoings and have to make sacrifices. She doesn't believe us though if we say that.’

Don’t you think you are doing exactly the same to her? Assuming she is well off from what you see on the outside - when the reality might be different. I think she want to spend some quality time with you all and coming up with ideas that fits her perception of what that looks like. Why not have an honest conversation with her (perhaps instigated by DH) about how you would all like to spend time together - and perhaps get a few things in the diary (that are affordable) so she has something to look forward to. She’s a widow be kind, I’m sure you will.

EmmaDilemma5 · 21/03/2023 20:43

I think your post is quite ironic.

You are judging her finances by her lifestyle (hair, nails, gym) but don't want her to judge your finances by your outgoings (big mortgage, big school bills)?

It sounds like neither of you actually know each others financial position, but if I were to look at both of your situations, from what you've said about outgoings and earnings, I would also have guessed you are far better off than her in terms of disposable income (whether or not you choose to spend that on schooling). Most people who use private education do so because they can comfortably afford it. And it's thousands a term? Whereas you're judging her on what is probably more like £200 a month of luxuries.

You judge her that she doesn't pay for you all like your parents do, yet resent her that you end up paying? Why should one party have to pay for everyone? Why do you allow your parents to pay for you?

It's all a load of double standards.

It sounds like you all need to just pay for yourselves, as you suggested. And, like anyone, if she suggests the zoo, the theatre etc, just say "sorry MIL, we're trying to save at the moment so would you like to pop round ours for lunch instead?". If she says no, then that's on her.

Lastly, if there's one thing that grinds my gears, it's relatively wealthy people claiming they're hard up. You chose the expensive house and private education. They're both extremely big expenditures that you signed up for. The fact you choose to spend your relatively high income on that, rather than a newer car or foreign holidays doesn't make you hard up, it just means that's how you've prioritised your spending. No one, who pays private schooling fees out of choice, can claim any kind of hardship. It's a true luxury.

Yourcatisnotsorry · 21/03/2023 21:07

I pay for my parents days out/holidays etc. it’s normal for us and I am happy to do it. If you aren’t happy don’t do it, it’s very circumstance and personality specific I think.

T1Dmama · 21/03/2023 21:12

Next time she makes a suggestion for a luxury day out, say ‘sorry I can’t afford that… how about the cinema instead/walk/swimming etc…. Basically something either free or cheap!
I invite my mum out and normally she insists on paying and we argue over At least her letting me pay half or buy lunch or something!!
I can’t believe your MIL is being so unreasonable and tight!
I would just keep declining her invitations for you to pay and take her out. And consistently say ‘sorry we simply can’t afford it’
Do what she does… she drops hints about her ‘friends’ going out and always being paid for (which is probably BS by the way!)… Do the same and talk about your days out with your parents and how kind they are to treat you and their grandkids.

T1Dmama · 21/03/2023 21:15

Have you heard of scholarships ??

PhillySub · 21/03/2023 21:27

Why don't you suggest alternative days out that don't involve cost?

SheilaFentiman · 21/03/2023 22:17

PhillySub · 21/03/2023 21:27

Why don't you suggest alternative days out that don't involve cost?

OP has already invited MIL for lunch etc

MadisonR · 21/03/2023 22:17

Why don't you suggest splitting the cost. I always did this with my mum and dad when we used to go places when my children were young.
I didn't have a lot of money and neither did they just their retirement pension.

Do you think she would accept that?

Mamanyt · 21/03/2023 22:47

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.

Yes, this. It is NOT your place to even be present during this conversation. It will come back to bite you on the arse, if you are. You'll be "that horrible woman who turned my son against me!" to all and sundry. Stay out of it, and make sure that your DH realizes that "my wife says" during the conversation will mean a good many lonely nights ahead for him.

SarahsHoneydew · 21/03/2023 23:06

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!

Absolutely this!

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