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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:
Chuck2015 · 21/03/2023 23:26

Does she do anything in return like look after the kids? My mum treats us quite often because she can’t do any childcare or help much practically although obviously we never expect her too. If MIL helps out in other ways it’s a bit entitled still but not completely unreasonable. If not then yes it’s a bit cheeky.

Setmyselffree · 22/03/2023 05:04

Am glad you said this. In my culture I don’t see a problem spending on my MIL, even my mother don’t spend a penny when we go out. It’s just nom and we are always happy to do this.
thread like this always shock me.

echt · 22/03/2023 05:13

It's beyond rude to suggest activities where you expect others to pay for you. Piss-poor manners. You're either paying your own way or treating the ones you've mentioned it to.

Next time she does this say "Great, are you treating us?".

Wonderfulstuff · 22/03/2023 06:36

i feel like I could have written this post so you’re not alone OP. Ours peaked last year and DH had to have a word and say we couldn’t afford it right now. He may have been a bit blunt but it has stopped and is a lot less stressful now.

KTSl1964 · 22/03/2023 06:47

Oh wow these entitled mothers - what does she bring to the family.
She won’t even get a cup of tea when out.
Shes no doubt telling friends what a wonderful grandmother-=taking the children here and there!!! F….off
Is it all about her?
is she a narcissist?
She should be really happy that her son has done well.
Id back off from her. Yes, your hubby needs to speak to her.

EsmeSusanOgg · 22/03/2023 06:58

This. We've occasionally treated grandparents - when we've specifically invited them to a thing. But been treated by them more often. In most circumstances folks pay their own way.

toxic44 · 22/03/2023 20:48

My mother never expected to pay for herself, not to pay for any snacks, drinks or anything else. She'd admire something, ask us to buy it for her and say she'd pay us back when we got home. Always 'forgot'. When I raised it with her she replied she'd done enough for me and now it was her turn. Could this be how your MiL feels?

woodhill · 22/03/2023 21:13

Setmyselffree · 22/03/2023 05:04

Am glad you said this. In my culture I don’t see a problem spending on my MIL, even my mother don’t spend a penny when we go out. It’s just nom and we are always happy to do this.
thread like this always shock me.

Yes but OP can't afford it.

33goingon64 · 23/03/2023 20:52

Not your fight. DH needs to tackle his DM.

33goingon64 · 23/03/2023 20:54

Setmyselffree · 22/03/2023 05:04

Am glad you said this. In my culture I don’t see a problem spending on my MIL, even my mother don’t spend a penny when we go out. It’s just nom and we are always happy to do this.
thread like this always shock me.

But would your DF or FIL be expected to pay? If the men pay, why not the women?

Blackcat10 · 24/03/2023 01:10

If she is the one suggesting going on these outings she should at the very least pay for herself. Maybe go on some of these trips without her. No one should assume someone else will always pay their way. It's downright rude.

PeachyPeachTrees · 24/03/2023 18:47

No big days out for a while. Just say can't afford it as have a big mortgage and private school is a stretch. Keep offering her to visit you and GC at home or parks etc.
'oh but all my friend's sons pay'. reply 'oh that's unusual all our friends don't pay and my parents always offer.'
YANBU to expect her to pay for herself, you are not asking for more from her.

ellyeth · 24/03/2023 19:38

We pay to take our grandchildren out - for meals, to theme parks, for short breaks, etc, etc, and sometimes buy clothes for them. We are quite happy to do this and enjoy being able to treat them, as we can afford it.

I am sure you wouldn't mind paying for your mother-in-law now and again, say if you go out for lunch or dinner. But I think it is unreasonable of her to expect you to pay as a matter of course, especially since she is quite financially comfortable herself. I don't know any friends whose in-laws would expect them to pay for everything, and I don't believe your mother-in-law is being strictly truthful. A bit like kids who tell their parents that "everyone in the class has been to Disneyland, etc. etc.".

I think your husband needs to have a tactful word with his Mum. And I think fruitbruhaha's suggestion that you casually drop into a conversation things that your own parents have treated you to as a family is a good one.

BrokenAndAfraid · 24/03/2023 19:43

My mother used to expect me to pay for everything despite being mortgage free, working part time and getting my late fathers final salary pension. But for her I comes from ignorance - in her opinion i have a good job but she has no idea how much things cost.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream · 24/03/2023 21:49

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.


woodhill · 24/03/2023 22:11

But it's OPs decision to spend it on those things

MIL shouldn't have these expectations of OP

If Mil wants to do these things then she should pay for them, it's pushy of her to expect dil to finance her expectations

Baconbgr · 26/03/2023 14:01

She wants to be a show grandma that's all. Tell her you can't go that you want to stay in and when you go out with your parents make it a point to let her know it's because they pay because you guys don't have the money

ElsieMc · 26/03/2023 14:09

If I decide to take my gd out for the day, then of course I pay. Sometimes though it would be nice if I was offered a little something for ice creams etc but this is because I have her once or twice a week and I am retired. I just think her parents think I am loaded but I'm not!

If we all go out together, which is lovely, my dd will bring along lunch and pay for petrol for the journey so I often pay the entrance fee. It is a real treat for me to be driven, particularly as we live in a lovely scenic area so I am always happy with that.

She is really cheeky op and if your OH does not say something, I suspect things will sour between you before the summer months. She is acting like an entitled child, surely she could offer to pay for lunch or treats or even bring a picnic fgs.

zviff · 27/03/2023 07:06

Duh. It's not that difficult. Just decline when she suggests a place and tell her she's welcome to drop by YOUR place. Do this until she gets the hint. Or even better, no hint. Flat out tell her that as long as she refuses to pitch in, none of her suggestions will be humored.

RoxysWalkInCloset · 27/03/2023 09:09

Here's a lovely post from reddit about rocking the boat. A legendary post on the site. Edited only for the swears, but unedited on the page itself!


Don't rock the boat.
Don't rock the boat.

I've been thinking about this phrase a lot lately, about how unfair it is. Because we aren't the ones rocking the boat. It's the crazy lady jumping up and down and running side to side. Not the one sitting in the corner quietly not giving a fck.

At some point in her youth, Mum/MIL gave the boat a little nudge. And look how everyone jumped to steady the boat! So she does it again, and again. Soon her family is in the habit of swaying to counteract the crazy. She moves left, they move right, balance is restored (temporarily). Life goes on. People move on to boats of their own.

The boat-rocker can't survive in a boat by herself. She's never had to face the consequences of her rocking. She'll tip over. So she finds an enabler: someone so proud of his boat-steadying skills that he secretly (or not so secretly) lives for the rocking.

The boat-rocker escalates. The boat-steadier can't manage alone, but can't let the boat tip. After all, he's the best boat-steadier ever, and that can't be true if his boat capsizes, so therefore his boat can't capsize. How can they fix the situation?


And the next generation of boat-steadiers is born.

A born boat-steadier doesn't know what solid ground feels like. He's so used to the constant swaying that anything else feels wrong and he'll fall over. There's a good chance the boat-rocker never taught him to swim either. He'll jump at the slightest twitch like his life depends on it, because it did .

When you're in their boat, you're expected to help steady it. When you decline, the other boat-steadiers get resentful. Look at you, just sitting there while they do all the work! They don't see that you aren't the one making the boat rock. They might not even see the life rafts available for them to get out. All they know is that the boat can't be allowed to tip, and you're not helping.

Now you and your DH get a boat of your own. With him not there, the balance of the boat changes. The remaining boat-steadiers have to work even harder.

While a rocking boat is most concerning to those inside, it does cause ripples. The nearby boats start to worry. They're getting splashed! Somebody do something!

So the flying monkeys are dispatched. Can't you and DH see how much better it is for everyone (else) if you just get back on the boat and keep it steady? It would make their lives so much easier.

You know what would be easier? If they all just chucked the b
tch overboard.

Thank you for letting me ramble. Thanks for the support, and advice, and humour. Thanks for just being here :)

r/JUSTNOMIL - Don't rock the boat.

3,282 votes and 152 comments so far on Reddit

LookItsMeAgain · 16/05/2023 17:24

@BadgerSetGo - how are things now between you and your MiL? Have you had a conversation since March with her? Have things improved at all for you?

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