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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:
Morph22010 · 21/03/2023 04:48

We always pay for my mum as she doesn’t have a lot of cash. We were a single parent family growing up so never really got to do things and now I’ve got a reasonably good job so I always pay, I guess it’s just expected my mum never offers. However the big difference is she never asks us to arrange anything

sjxoxo · 21/03/2023 05:16

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.

This. Your DH should be dealing with it not you.. my guess is he’s silent. You have no responsibility here to have ‘the chat’ and I expect her behaviour probably comes from a place of feeling let down and ignored by her son who should be spending time with her and nurturing a relationship with his mother…

Autienotnautie · 21/03/2023 05:30

Yes I'd invite to to less costly things such as meal at you house, parks, museums. The once in a while (like birthdays) offer a nice treat because you want to.

WordtoYoMumma · 21/03/2023 05:32

We don't see DHs parents for this very reason, they won't have us to their house (or come to.us) but expect us to pay for meals out when we meet up. We can't afford it, so we don't do it. BIL and his wife and kids have more money than us so are always taking them out for dinner etc. And yup, tis always splashed all over social media.

Just say you can't afford it OP. Will MIL compromise and see you in your home or hers?

SquashesPumpkinsAutumnBliss · 21/03/2023 06:48

If she cannot afford the petrol, how does she get to days out? If you pick her up for them, pick her up for Sunday lunch!

greenteafiend · 21/03/2023 07:04

"I'm afraid the wildlife park is beyond our budget. Here's a link to a petting zoo that's nice and we can afford that. Just to let you know: The entrance to the petting zoo for one adult over 60 is X pounds, and the restaurant inside costs about X pounds per person. So, altogether, it will be about Y pounds that you'll need to pay. Does that fit your budget? If you think the restaurant is too much for you to afford, let's all bring our own sandwiches, but could you please bring your own, to make sure they are ones you like?"

RosesAndHellebores · 21/03/2023 07:10

Thankfully my mother and MIL would have regarded a day at a theme park as being on a par with a circle of hell.

The children had their very best times in a museum with MIL or crabbing with my mother (both free).

Theme parks.and musical theatre were for birthdays and Christmas. Meanwhile: leaf kicking, collecting conkers, park, rounders/kick about, library, patio painting, picnic on the sitting room floor, on wet days a drive through a local park to.spot the deer and a picnic - often the sun came out!

TeachesOfPeaches · 21/03/2023 07:32

I always pay for my mum when we go out to do anything with or without my child as I earn significantly more than her and she is on her own.

Pottedpalm · 21/03/2023 08:30

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.

I find this offensive!
DH and I would not allow my DM to pay for us to go out, or to eat. For a start, there was one of her, and four of us so that wouldn’t be fair. She was more than generous with gifts and money into saving for our DCs.

Pottedpalm · 21/03/2023 08:35

greenteafiend · 21/03/2023 07:04

"I'm afraid the wildlife park is beyond our budget. Here's a link to a petting zoo that's nice and we can afford that. Just to let you know: The entrance to the petting zoo for one adult over 60 is X pounds, and the restaurant inside costs about X pounds per person. So, altogether, it will be about Y pounds that you'll need to pay. Does that fit your budget? If you think the restaurant is too much for you to afford, let's all bring our own sandwiches, but could you please bring your own, to make sure they are ones you like?"

Do people really go through life like this? Suck all the joy out of it with your parsimonious attitude!
Bring your own bloody sandwich; heard it all now.
I’m so pleased that my DiL to be is a warm and generous soul who won’t behave like this .

RosesAndHellebores · 21/03/2023 08:36

On the few occasions my mother came to a theme park when the children were small, we used the bog off vouchers from supermarket purchases so it was always four for the price of two. Mother was an extra pair of hands. I usually took a packed lunch and flask and we'd have something on the way out if the dc were hungry which mother would often offer to pay for or would treat the dc to ice creams or a little something from the shop.

remotecontrolleddog · 21/03/2023 09:14

greenteafiend · 21/03/2023 07:04

"I'm afraid the wildlife park is beyond our budget. Here's a link to a petting zoo that's nice and we can afford that. Just to let you know: The entrance to the petting zoo for one adult over 60 is X pounds, and the restaurant inside costs about X pounds per person. So, altogether, it will be about Y pounds that you'll need to pay. Does that fit your budget? If you think the restaurant is too much for you to afford, let's all bring our own sandwiches, but could you please bring your own, to make sure they are ones you like?"

I'd do the picnic thing because the food at these places is shockingly poor but asking anyone to make their own picnic - when you're making a picnic for your family is a bit mean.

amiold · 21/03/2023 09:14

greenteafiend · 21/03/2023 07:04

"I'm afraid the wildlife park is beyond our budget. Here's a link to a petting zoo that's nice and we can afford that. Just to let you know: The entrance to the petting zoo for one adult over 60 is X pounds, and the restaurant inside costs about X pounds per person. So, altogether, it will be about Y pounds that you'll need to pay. Does that fit your budget? If you think the restaurant is too much for you to afford, let's all bring our own sandwiches, but could you please bring your own, to make sure they are ones you like?"

😂 really?

Bring your own sandwich is a bit too far and this sounds very PA

Iwishicouldflyhigh · 21/03/2023 09:54

We are in the fortunate position that we could pay for my mum every time if we wanted to, but if she didn't bring anything to the table, be it treating us sometimes, or buying drinks or bring the picnic, then i'd be resentful.

We take my mum out a lot - in fact, everything we do, she comes along - we've just booked tickets for Lapland UK, we go to the theatre a lot, holidays etc. She always pays for her own ticket, apart from if i specifically say that it's our treat (and then she pays for drinks and parking etc).

She never feels beholden and we never feel taken advantage of.

Why don't you suggest to your MIL in future that you'll treat her and she can bring the picnic?

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 10:03

@greenteafiend

let's all bring our own sandwiches, but could you please bring your own, to make sure they are ones you like?"

I would love to know the background and circumstances of someone who is such a tight arse.

Please come back!!

ÉireannachÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ · 21/03/2023 10:04

Pottedpalm · 21/03/2023 08:30

I find this offensive!
DH and I would not allow my DM to pay for us to go out, or to eat. For a start, there was one of her, and four of us so that wouldn’t be fair. She was more than generous with gifts and money into saving for our DCs.

What part is offensive to you? I'm curious. Not that you have to explain - I'm comfortable with however you feel about my viewpoint. You have a right to however you want to feel as I have a right to express my opinions. Good day to you.

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 10:12

ÉireannachÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ · 21/03/2023 10:04

What part is offensive to you? I'm curious. Not that you have to explain - I'm comfortable with however you feel about my viewpoint. You have a right to however you want to feel as I have a right to express my opinions. Good day to you.

As can be seen from this very thread….

it is family dependent rather that culturally dependent

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 10:13

I wasn’t least bit offended

I just thought it was a daft comment 🤷‍♀️

ThreeblackCats · 21/03/2023 10:16

Next time mil suggests a day out you say “that sounds lovely, but we can’t afford it” repeat indefinitely. Then go do the day out without her.

Blossomtoes · 21/03/2023 10:18

amiold · 21/03/2023 09:14

😂 really?

Bring your own sandwich is a bit too far and this sounds very PA

There’s a reason it sounds PA - it’s because it is. Nobody behaves like this, surely?

The reasonable thing to do is for her son to have a quiet honest conversation with her.

Blossomtoes · 21/03/2023 10:19

ThreeblackCats · 21/03/2023 10:16

Next time mil suggests a day out you say “that sounds lovely, but we can’t afford it” repeat indefinitely. Then go do the day out without her.

More passive aggression. Wtf is wrong with you all?

ÉireannachÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ · 21/03/2023 10:19

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 10:12

As can be seen from this very thread….

it is family dependent rather that culturally dependent

Hmmm. I thought it was an obvious given that when people are discussing cultural habits or practices that there was an understanding this is a generalisation and that of course there would be people belonging to the culture that would differ.

I should try and be very specific in the future to not cause offence 🙄

SheilaFentiman · 21/03/2023 10:21

I have a friend who sends her kids to private school. Her mum therefore thinks she could afford to pay for her nieces and nephews to go, that she could pay for all family holidays etc. I wonder if there is some of that going on - MIL has classed you “rich” and therefore thinks she’s being fair.

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 10:29

ÉireannachÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ · 21/03/2023 10:19

Hmmm. I thought it was an obvious given that when people are discussing cultural habits or practices that there was an understanding this is a generalisation and that of course there would be people belonging to the culture that would differ.

I should try and be very specific in the future to not cause offence 🙄

I think saying that if she was white British that would “make her a cf” was a bit more than a “generalisation”! 😂

Curiosity101 · 21/03/2023 10:37

she would have been pleading poverty, but her lifestyle is evidence to the contrary

Wouldn't she say exactly the same about you OP? You've chosen to send your DC to private school and you've chosen to have a large mortgage and now you're not in a position where you have loads of disposable income to pay for outings with your MIL. She's chosen to spend her money on whatever she values and then doesn't have disposable income for outings.

Obviously the main difference is that she's then imposing on you, and I agree with everyone else that it is very weird for grandparents to always assume you'd pay and I would definitely be ask my DH to deal with it in your situation.

But you are effectively suggesting she doesn't understand your financial situation whilst claiming exactly the same about her. So I wouldn't try to over analyse her financial position or outward appearance. Only focus on what you and your DH find acceptable in terms of spending on her and figure out a method to stick to that.

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