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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:
Pondering38 · 20/03/2023 15:25

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Pondering38 · 20/03/2023 15:26

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BurntOutGirl · 20/03/2023 15:50

"That sounds lovely MIL. Let me know when you have booked your entry ticket and I'll get ours"

Bournetilly · 20/03/2023 16:02

She’s a CF.
I could understand more if you were inviting her along, although the grandparents still usually want to treat DC/ DGC or at least pay for themselves. But she is the one suggesting the expensive days.

I would get your DH to tell her next time she suggests somewhere expensive that you can’t afford to pay the extra for her, it’s not in your budget. Then you can still take your DC without feeling guilty (not that you should). If she wants to see them she either needs to pay for herself, come to your house or go somewhere cheaper.

AlmostaMamma · 20/03/2023 16:04

DH and I pay for everything when we go out with our parents. As do our siblings. I’m Nigerian, and it’s just what you do. DH is British, though.

While we’re very comfortable, our parents are considerably wealthier than us, but it’s never really been a factor in who pays (although, I will say, they give fantastic presents). Regularly treating your parents is just what you do, in my head. I like doing it, they’re lovely people.

However, if you don’t want to do it (and you’re perfectly within your rights not to), I think your DH is going to have to have a conversation with her and address the issue.

Lovelyveg82 · 20/03/2023 16:06

I think the best advice is to avoid all the expensive days out and make excuses and keep the invites to simple and normal things.

and you and your husband needed mumsnet to advise you of that.


ChristmasLightsAndSparkles · 20/03/2023 16:27

If your parents are treating you the time then surely you can treat your mil.

But then OPs parents are subbing MIL. They might be no more able to, just more generous - and want to treat their daughter. Why should it go straight into MILs pocket instead?

Kennykenkencat · 20/03/2023 16:35

Friend is always moaning that she never goes out with her dc and why can’t they be like Dd and Ds and I

Difference is I mainly pay 3 out of 4 times and we go places where we spend under £20 for the day. Usually its nearer a tenner which is for coffee etc

Friend doesn’t ever want to put her hand in her pocket and only wants to go places that cost huge amounts.

Namechangethisonetime · 20/03/2023 16:45

Oh dear, she is sounding quite manipulative, grabby, and selfish. Get ahead of her, tell her you will meet her with the kids at X time in the local play park. Repeat the following week with local forest/walk. Then the park the following week. Do not engage in options, simply say can’t afford it atm. Bring a flask of coffee & a packet of cereal bars and nothing more. Rinse & repeat.
I suspect her days out making memories with the grandchildren will dry up by the Easter holidays!

Hellybelly84 · 20/03/2023 16:46

Not normal- grandparents pay for themselves and we pay for our family (us and the kids). But its your Husbands job to tell her. Ask him to politely tell her that unless shes been hiding under a rock for the past year, theres a huge COL crisis, every bill has gone up, petrol, days out etc etc etc and as families have been hot the hardest, the last thing you need is adding another adult ticket onto the cost of things.

Also, I presume its just a few days out she joins you for? Not tagging along for everything??

crazyaboutcats · 20/03/2023 16:51

It entirely depends on your circumstances

3/4 of our parents have low incomes with enough for food and bills but not much else. We offer and pay for everything when out with them. One of them has a much higher income and they offer and pay for a lot when out with them.

If anyone suggested doing anything we didn't want to pay for entirely we'd say no and why regardless if we expected them to pay or not, and suggest an alternative we were happy to. Then it's up to them to offer if they really want to go ahead

DarkDarkNight · 20/03/2023 17:00

If she was genuinely struggling it would be a nice thing for you to do but I think she has a cheek when she has enough for nice restaurants, and her nails done.

I would be quite blunt and say you’d love to but times are hard so you’ll be going to the theatre/theme park with your parents as they’ve offered to treat you. You could offer to do cheaper or free things with your MIL, but I suspect she would still expect you to pay for refreshments.

It sounds like a status thing with her and her friends maybe, to show off about how well their children are doing. I would think it was normally the other way around.

Comii9 · 20/03/2023 17:04

I'm not sure how you have got into this pickle.

Just said you are busy. Decline invites out and say you are unable to meet that day.

uncertainalice · 20/03/2023 17:29

My XMIL was like this - she'd happily be taken out for dinner and stuff her face at our expense, or come to ours for a Sunday roast, but somehow it was never her turn to pay or host...and she was far from skint!

I got very, very bored of it, and stopped including her in outings, and when she came over for tea I did inexpensive but still nice things rather than full-on cuts of meat with all the trimmings.

Think your DH should discuss this with her, as a PP says nicely, without accusations...and hopefully she will understand. But you keep out of it!

Oldnproud · 20/03/2023 17:35

LookItsMeAgain · 20/03/2023 13:56

Others can suggest responses in relation to the days out or her paying for petrol to get to your house.

In relation to this though, I have a suggestion and I'd recommend that you implement it a.s.a.p.

If she is so worried about money, get your DH to say "Oh mum that's terrible. Can you get your financial details like bank statements, outgoing bills etc. together and we'll sit down together and go through them to work out where your money is going. I know we're in a cost of living crisis but I can't advise you if I don't know where the money is being spent or on what. How does Saturday suit you?"

Then you'll get a good look at her bank statements and be able to tackle the other issue (her not paying for anything but making grandiose suggestions about going out) on the back of that. You can also make suggestions of where she could make savings etc.

That's a great idea, LookItsMeAgain !

DomesticShortHair · 20/03/2023 17:44

Just take her out to a place of your choice once more, and pay for everything as she expects. Then, at the end of the event/day/occasion, tell her what a lovely time you’ve all had with her, that you’re looking forward to the next day out together, and that it’s only fair that she decides where to go/what to do, seeing as it’ll be her turn to pay for you all. She won’t ever ask again, I bet.

Wheretheskyisblue · 20/03/2023 17:54

My MIL is the same, and white British so no cultural issues and she has plenty of money. She does however help out with the children. We have paid for her full costs to come on holiday with us on multiple occasions, it works out cheaper than hiring a nanny and I feel it is my DHs problem to sort out and would rather not get involved.

On the other hand we have the opposite problem with my parents who are overly generous but can't afford to put their heating on much. They get offended if we give them money or refuse theirs.

With both sets I am just disengaging with the whole issue and letting them do what they choose.

DomPom47 · 20/03/2023 18:11

Is this a cultural thing in terms of children looking after parents when they are older?

Murdoch1949 · 21/03/2023 03:22

Totally not normal. If she suggests it, she arranges it and pays for it.

Flatandhappy · 21/03/2023 04:00

It is up to your DH to have the conversation with her as you know, he needs to point out that although things may look very comfortable your disposable income isn’t huge so as much as you like spending time together it needs to be more modest days out or she comes to you. If he won’t do that they it’s a combination of refusing, suggesting cheaper alternatives and insisting your only free time is Sunday lunch where she is welcome.

Advancedpie · 21/03/2023 04:17

In some cultures it is normal to pick up the bill. My dh wouldn't let his dm pay for anything.

blebbleb · 21/03/2023 04:20

She's got a cheek. Just say no when she suggests something next time and explain why.

Itsneverwhatitseems · 21/03/2023 04:22

My parents always tried to pay for everything to the point where I’d have to confiscate dm purse🤣 till the end of the trip.
But my MIL wouldn't even consider buying us a cup of tea, or making one for us in her own home,
Everyones different
However, even my mil wouldn’t decide on an expensive trip and then expect us to pay….that’s a step too far.
I would suggest you have the trips but if you’re paying for everything keep it inexpensive.
A nice picnic in a free country park with a walk for example.

remotecontrolleddog · 21/03/2023 04:28

We’ve never been treated by the grandparents, we always pay. We would be considered more wealthy than the rest of the family but it would be nice for them to treat the kids, slip them some cash on their birthday or Christmas but they don’t - I assume it’s because they think the kids have enough - which is true but you know, it’s nice to get a gift from your grandparents when you’re a kid.

TheLadyofShalott1 · 21/03/2023 04:29

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.

Sorry @BadgerSetGo

I haveonly got as far as @Fairyliz on the first page, and wouldn't normally post so quickly, but what she said in the quote above is so true in my experience. When we go to theme parks etc with our adult children and our Grandchildren, we always pay for all of us, and the meal, as it was our suggestion, and our treat - none of us have much money to spare, so we do have to save up for the treats, but that is beside the point, it is our pleasure to pay.

Fairyliz's suggestion on what to say to your MiL is, in my opinion, perfect.

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