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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:
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.

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 11:18

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.

So wherever you live… all parents were wonderful and everyone loves and supports one another?

There is no family circumstance or dynamic that means any family in your country aside from above? 😂

Crikeyalmighty · 21/03/2023 11:21

@Curiosity101 I was too polite to say this in quite so many words but yes I see that too. It's up to the OP if she wants to prioritise private school but it's not exactly a necessity that you can then plead not having much spare money on- she probably thinks you are very well off - whereas she might spend £120 a month on nice bits for herself, you will be spending at least £1000 to £2000 a month on schooling.

AlmostaMamma · 21/03/2023 11:23

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 11:18

So wherever you live… all parents were wonderful and everyone loves and supports one another?

There is no family circumstance or dynamic that means any family in your country aside from above? 😂

I didn’t describe a specific family dynamic and I didn’t say all parents are wonderful. Try reading it again.

PousseyNotMoira · 21/03/2023 11:26

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.

The UK is a terrible place to be older. The way people treat their parents is utterly depressing. Nothing is more illustrative of that than the state of the average care home.

And then these people have kids and are astonished when the cycle repeats itself.

BadgerSetGo · 21/03/2023 11:32

I know private school is not a necessity but for us we cut back on a lot to afford it and I'd rather have that for my children than the disposable income to spend on treat days. We don't live too frugally but have to be careful with other day to day expenses. We don't have any foreign holidays and have a banger of a car for example. Everyone chooses to spend their money in different ways, the reason I mentioned the school is because I think MIL thinks because we do this we must have loads of cash to splash about.

OP posts:
FlyingPandas · 21/03/2023 11:43

I would try taking money completely out of the equation here and try and take back control by initiating more sensible days out and limiting/avoiding the super expensive ones. Never say no to an activity because of the expense, just say no thank you, I think we'd rather do something a bit more low key this weekend, we're tired/busy/have something else on etc etc. Don't mention money at all.

Take the wind out of her sails by offering to go and collect her so that she can come to lunch. Suggest more low key trips, invite her along, pay for her, but keep things simple (lunch in a cafe, or a trip to the park followed by hot chocolate etc etc). If she declines these on the basis that they are not luxurious/exciting enough, just say oh well, that's a shame, but we're going to go anyway - we'll see you soon.

Limit the super expensive trips to celebrations for key events - birthdays, anniversaries etc - which would mean that you'd only be doing a handful in an average year - and invite her/pay for her in this situation, but just cut right down on the number that you do, and politely decline her 'invitations' to do something and pay for her as well. And never give the excuse that it's down to the cost - just say you want these kind of 'big' days out to be special, and they're more likely to be special if you don't do them every week or two.

Frankola · 21/03/2023 11:51

The fact she suggests it then expects you to say yes and pay for her is so cheeky.

In all honesty I'd start just saying "no sorry we can't afford it" and then if she says anything your husband can have a conversation with her.

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 12:26

AlmostaMamma · 21/03/2023 11:23

I didn’t describe a specific family dynamic and I didn’t say all parents are wonderful. Try reading it again.

You said you “don’t understand the attitude of a lot…”

I will help you along

If you had a difficult childhood
If you have a present day difficult relationship with your mother

You will likely not be inclined to be willing to make much of a sacrifice by way of financially or practically

and I will point you to the stately homes thread (s - there are multiples) where you will say just a snap shot of hundreds upon hundreds of mumsnet outlining their ghastly childhoods

HTH

headingtosun · 21/03/2023 12:27

We have enough money to cover my DM ( and her DP who has the same attitude)

Her attitude of simmering resentment that is the case combined with a complete lack of thanks for doing so means I don't want to.

I do it in part because of a feeling of obligation and in part because in the past there have been some awful behaviors when I tried saying no.

We live on the other side of the world and have very minimal contact which makes it all easier.
OP has my sympathy.

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 12:29

I had a wonderful relationship with my parents (now deceased)

and the idea of my mother paying for day trips is unfathomable to me

BUT I have sufficient awareness to appreciate that if the relationship was like many many many have with their mother… I may not be quite so willing.

what continues to baffle me about the OP is how both the OP and the DH between them seem to drag themselves and their children on day trips at the behest of DH’s mother.

AlmostaMamma · 21/03/2023 12:35

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 12:26

You said you “don’t understand the attitude of a lot…”

I will help you along

If you had a difficult childhood
If you have a present day difficult relationship with your mother

You will likely not be inclined to be willing to make much of a sacrifice by way of financially or practically

and I will point you to the stately homes thread (s - there are multiples) where you will say just a snap shot of hundreds upon hundreds of mumsnet outlining their ghastly childhoods

HTH

If you read the whole comment, I also included ‘if someone was a decent parent’ - indicating that I acknowledge some people aren’t/weren’t. I’m not not talking about people whose parents were problematic or who had ghastly childhoods. The U.K. doesn’t have more or less of those than anywhere else.

Most parents (U.K. and elsewhere) are neither perfect nor awful. They are somewhere in between. However, the attitudes regularly expressed on MN and within this thread specifically are pretty unique to the U.K. and I think they are deeply depressing. And, no, I don’t understand it.

HTH.

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 12:49

AlmostaMamma · 21/03/2023 12:35

If you read the whole comment, I also included ‘if someone was a decent parent’ - indicating that I acknowledge some people aren’t/weren’t. I’m not not talking about people whose parents were problematic or who had ghastly childhoods. The U.K. doesn’t have more or less of those than anywhere else.

Most parents (U.K. and elsewhere) are neither perfect nor awful. They are somewhere in between. However, the attitudes regularly expressed on MN and within this thread specifically are pretty unique to the U.K. and I think they are deeply depressing. And, no, I don’t understand it.

HTH.

pretty unique to the UK 😂

Sceptre86 · 21/03/2023 12:52

It differs amongst families. We asked my mum to come to a theme park with us. We paid for her ticket and took a packed lunch, she bought ice creams for us all. My mum has a part time job as do I but earns less than I do. My mil does not have a job. If she came with us we'd pay for everything. For us both scenarios are rare as my mum lives 4 hours away and mil doesn't go out much.

In your situation it sounds like a much more regular occurrence. I disagree that it's up to your dh to sort. She's your mil and presumably has been for a while. It shouldn't be so hard to say that whilst you appreciate her spending time with you all it would be nice for her to have time with the kids on their own and that it doesn't always have to cost a lot. If she pushes back then say its expensive and you don't have lots of surplus income.

I really don't see the point of quietly seething or getting annoyed when this cam be easily rectified by just speaking to her.

PousseyNotMoira · 21/03/2023 12:52

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 12:49

pretty unique to the UK 😂

There is almost no other cultural context in which this thread could exist. The UK has some of the lowest quality of life for elderly people in Europe and is the ninth worst place in the world to retire.

The culture and attitude towards parents and older people is genuinely shocking to a lot of us.

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 12:55

ninth worst place in the world to retire.

are there only 9 places in the world?

Crikeyalmighty · 21/03/2023 13:08

@BadgerSetGo I think this is the case. I suspect MIL thinks you are 'loaded' and I agree that it's your choice to make- I'm just trying to understand what's going on in her mindset

PousseyNotMoira · 21/03/2023 13:16

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 12:55

ninth worst place in the world to retire.

are there only 9 places in the world?

Worst countries

  • Estonia - 2.11
  • South Korea - 2.36
  • Lithuania - 2.46
  • Latvia - 2.75
  • Mexico - 3.39
  • Poland - 3.54
  • Chile - 3.57
  • Japan - 3.93
  • United Kingdom - 4.07
  • Belgium - 4.14

    Best countries
  • Iceland - 8.11
  • Luxembourg - 7.96
  • Norway - 6.86
  • Austria - 6.64
  • Sweden - 6.64
  • Spain - 6.54
  • Switzerland - 6.54
  • Finland - 6.5
  • Netherlands - 6.43
  • France - 6.39

    Based on factors including pensioners’ income, old age income poverty, life expectancy, quality of support network, cultural attitudes and overall happiness index.
Highdaysandholidays1 · 21/03/2023 13:23

I don't know, in my husband's culture parents indulging their children is very common, as is swapping flats, so the MIL will move into the small one to let their children and grandchildren have the bigger one. No parent in the UK would do that!

LookItsMeAgain · 21/03/2023 13:39

Having seen your list @PousseyNotMoira, I'm thinking I might try to teach myself either Swedish or Icelandic or even Norwegian.

AlmostaMamma · 21/03/2023 13:39

Highdaysandholidays1 · 21/03/2023 13:23

I don't know, in my husband's culture parents indulging their children is very common, as is swapping flats, so the MIL will move into the small one to let their children and grandchildren have the bigger one. No parent in the UK would do that!

Parents indulging kids and grandkids is super common in my culture, as well. My parents are ridiculously generous. But, so are we. That’s what seems to be missing from a lot of these threads - the spirit of mutual generosity.

If someone was a decent parent and you can do nice things for them, you do nice things for them. And if they are able, they, being a decent parent, do nice things for you (and have presumably already done lots of nice things for you in your lifetime).

ÉireannachÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ · 21/03/2023 13:41

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 10:29

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

I disagree. Doesnt matter how careful I may or may not be with words there will always be people who choose to take offence. I accept that and I stand by my comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

PousseyNotMoira · 21/03/2023 13:47

LookItsMeAgain · 21/03/2023 13:39

Having seen your list @PousseyNotMoira, I'm thinking I might try to teach myself either Swedish or Icelandic or even Norwegian.

It’s certainly tempting! 😂

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 14:16

PousseyNotMoira · 21/03/2023 13:16

Worst countries

  • Estonia - 2.11
  • South Korea - 2.36
  • Lithuania - 2.46
  • Latvia - 2.75
  • Mexico - 3.39
  • Poland - 3.54
  • Chile - 3.57
  • Japan - 3.93
  • United Kingdom - 4.07
  • Belgium - 4.14

    Best countries
  • Iceland - 8.11
  • Luxembourg - 7.96
  • Norway - 6.86
  • Austria - 6.64
  • Sweden - 6.64
  • Spain - 6.54
  • Switzerland - 6.54
  • Finland - 6.5
  • Netherlands - 6.43
  • France - 6.39

    Based on factors including pensioners’ income, old age income poverty, life expectancy, quality of support network, cultural attitudes and overall happiness index.

What source is that? I’d be interested to have a read

Lovelyveg82 · 21/03/2023 14:18

ÉireannachÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ · 21/03/2023 13:41

I disagree. Doesnt matter how careful I may or may not be with words there will always be people who choose to take offence. I accept that and I stand by my comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

I recall you from the ivf thread and you insistence that you think ivf should be banned. For everyone.
I imagine you must offend people quite regularly! 😂

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