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mil stress!! - am i being paranoid?

53 replies

Joso · 16/06/2003 10:35

Ok this might sound slightly petty but just wandered what anyone else thought about this. My mil takes care of my one year old dd one day a week. On these days I had this bizaare paranoia that she was dressing her up in a different outfit to the one that I dressed her in that morning. The reason for this is that I know she keeps a few items of clothing for her at her house but she also mentions clothes that's she's bought for her that I never actually see. Then this weekend my mil & fil showed me some video that they taken of my DD and to confirm my suspicions she was wearing this completely different outfit and it really pissed me off!! Am I being unreasonable or is this completey out-of-order??

OP posts:
aloha · 17/06/2003 11:20

I very much doubt she thinks you have bad taste, just that she would love to see her granddaughter in things she has bought her. I don't think my friends have bad taste in the way they dress their boys, just sometimes different taste to me. I often see little dresses though and wish I had a girl to dress up. I can honestly understand the lure. I can image it seems odd and maybe frustrating, but she does help you out, so maybe you could think that letting her play 'mummy' is the price you have to pay. As this thread shows, it could be worse!

Ghosty · 17/06/2003 11:23

joso ... I sort of can understand why it winds you up but like StripyMouse I kind of feel that you are lucky that your MIL takes an interest ... My in laws are pants on the grandparents stakes .... totally awful ... DS didn't get a xmas present this year and FIL lives 20 minutes away ....
If my MIL took an interest I wouldn't care if she dressed him up as a gorilla!!!

Sonnet · 17/06/2003 12:11

I'd feel mildly annoyed if I was You Joso...It's all about stepping over invisible boundaries. My mil looked after dd1 2 days a week which while it was great of her and i did appreciate the saving in childcare fees,I did loose control over many serious and less serious issues. Mil is very close to Sil who had a baby a year younger - life got worse then as they have very dominent personalities and between the two of them made me feel that I was pushed out. Even at family events when I was there they would try to take over. When i had my second Dd There was no way I could go through all that again - luckliy I now only work part time.I did "talk" to a proffesional about this who said that my feelings were only natural so I've felt better about it since!
To this day I never aired my feelings to MIL and SIL and maybe I should have because on my part anyway, it has damaged my relationship with them. My only advice is to keep an eye on it, it may seem minor, butthe important thing here is how it makes you as a mother feel. Could you speak to her about it - or get DH to do it?

Bozza · 17/06/2003 12:27

Joso I sympathise too. My MIL does things like take items for DS (often basic things like spoons, nappy bags, booster chair) when we're all going places and her things end up getting used so I've lugged whatever there for nothing. I know it sounds trivial but it winds me up.

Eg once went out for a pub meal when DS was about 23 months and I forgot to take his spoon/fork. No big deal he ate his chips with his fingers adn his peas/dessert with a teaspoon. Next time we are out at a family function she produces a spoon/fork and makes a big announcement - "I thought I'd better bring these because you forgot them last time". Surely I'm on alert to remember them and am going to forget something different the next time.

Its supposed to be helpful but is really undermining. Although at least I don't have the deceit aspect which must be much worse.

Sonnet · 17/06/2003 12:36

Bozza - I've been there and dosn't it just make you boil!
We once went on a family sunday lunch outing and I, as would be expected, ordered mine and my Dd's meal, and Dh ordered his. When the meals arrived, there was one extra..it turned out that SIL had ordered my Dd's (why???). She also made the comment that I'd ordered the extra!!!

Enid · 17/06/2003 12:37

joso, I can understand too that it winds you up - but it seems to me that there must be other resentments bubbling away there to feel so strongly about it? Also, bear in mind that your dd is her own person and - god forbid but it might happen- she might grow up and PREFER your MILs clothes! Don't want to upset you but I think its important that you keep that in mind - children benefit from a wide range of influences (in my opinion) so it won't be doing her any harm.

Also to try and look at things positively - it is fantastic that you MIL looks after her one day a week - you must accept that while she has her she is kind of in control of her - I mean I don't like it when dd1's nursery give her crisps and sweets (which they do on birthday days) but I accept that different people have different ideas of what is acceptable.

motherinferior · 17/06/2003 12:42

IME the whole relationship is just incredibly, incredibly fraught. My dp's mother is a truly lovely woman - generous and loving - but I have to admit she really annoys me sometimes. I nearly posted to whinge about her on Monday morning, after she'd come to lunch on Sat, but then read your post and realised how little I had to whinge about!

arabella2 · 17/06/2003 12:49

Hi Joso
Have to add my name to the list of people who think it is annoying behaviour on the part of your mil. I agree with the person (can't remember who but I have read the whole thread) who suggested your commenting on it as a joke maybe so that she knows you know. On the other hand if this is the only thing she does which is annoying I would leave it as a light joke / comment because yes it COULD be a lot worse and you don't want to encourage her to do other things as well by alienating her. Reading some of these messages I too think I have a great MIL -she does sometimes say things which annoy me and can be bossy, but it is very direct bossiness and in her own way she does keep out and behaves very much like ds's grandmother and not mother. My mother I think would be more pushy and intrusive but I have quite a difficult relationship with her as she is quite controlling so I have her on a tight rein (sounds terrible but every time I loosen the rein she does/says things which annoy me so it's better that way).
Sonnet, I got really annoyed on your behalf re. your SIL's behaviour... did you tell her how annoyed you were? Do you want me to????
I caught my SIL trying to give ds sugar (just a little pile of sugar in her hand!) after she'd offered him something else, he'd refused and she said "oh I bet you'd eat something sweet!". That annoyed me and I told her not to give that to him and to give him raisins instead.
I think everything is fine as long as people know who is ultimately boss, but you also "allow" your children to have the love and input of other family members. Ie. only step in if you feel pretty strongly about something.

Sonnet · 17/06/2003 13:02

I wanted to arabella2, believe me - but as it was a busy restaurant I made do with a "hard stare" and a "No, I only ordered for Dd and me" and acted all inocent!!

I wish it wasn't true - but its good to read that others experience mil/children issues..

I do want my children to have a good relationship with their Grandparents and blame myself for not standing up to them earlier,pre-children, and then maybe it wouldn't have been so tough.

fio2 · 17/06/2003 13:04

Its not just MILs though is it, I find its older members of the family-even older strangers. dh has an aunt in her 70s who has never had children who takes great pride in telling me what to do with mine.

Sonnet · 17/06/2003 13:28

Grrr...grit your teeth and smile - only if you don't see her regularly though!

oliveoil · 17/06/2003 13:35

My little bugs:

Oooh she's tired (when just up from 2 hour nap)
Ooh she's hungry (when just eaten for 3)
Ooooh it's her teeth (for everything)

Hey ho. Can't really complain though, my MIL is good on the whole, but I too have a good 'hard stare' (my dh says its permanent )

arabella2 · 17/06/2003 13:51

Isn't it strange how all of us can recite action for action all of the things which have annoyed us in the IL camp. I think it's to do with the unresolved nature of the situation, if you can't directly express your annoyance as you might to with dhs and dps, then you tend to hold on to the memory. It's the same for things (granted hardly any) my parents have done which I have not said anything about - eg. when my dad wiped ds's face with the cloth they use to wipe kitchen surfaces - dh and I just both looked on flabbergasted.
It certainly comes as a shock to realise you have to "share" your baby with all these people, though I suppose they are not really "yours" to share in the first place. I think what is annoying is when other people have not got a proper sense of what their relationship is to your little one and take on more of your role than is necessary...
In some ways it might be because they have nothing else to do... My sil is a little obsessive over all the babies in the family. Her kids are 18, 17 and almost 12 and she has conflict with one of them permanently, so she is all over the poor little innocent things (her nephews and nieces) in quite an annoying manner. I partly put it down to her being loopy. It annoys her kids too, the way she is totally stupid over the babies yet harsh with them.

Boe · 17/06/2003 14:14

My MIL prayed that my dd would be born early so they had the same birthdays - I already knew what she would be like if they did and vowed to stick my fist up my nooney to make sure that even if she was born at 12.01am it would not be on MIL's birthday.

I do find the whole dressing dd up annoying and disturbing - you want to dress something up buy a doll!!

Have also found MIL giving daughter a little nip of sherry - yes was a little nip for a grown up (she drinks it by the wine glass) but a whole scooner full did tip me over the edge a little.

One of the good things about me getting divorced is losing the MIL and I finally realised that my x2b was on the way to turning into FIL which was almost as bad, he never ever and I mean ever would admit that he was wrong, his arms were unbelievably short compared to the depth of his pockets and he had a real 70s mullet!!

New DPs parents are lovely - they are really unintrusive, if we want to see them we make the effort other than that they phone occasionally and pop in on special occasions, are always willing to help out but not in your face all of the time.

janh · 17/06/2003 14:29

LOL at the fist up the nooney, Boe!

arabella, hate to say it but by the time I was on to no 4 I wiped his mouth with whatever came to hand - I wonder if I will become the MIL from hell one day?

pipl · 17/06/2003 14:39

I have had endless problems of this kind with my m and sister - I am the youngest in a family of 4 and I think have never grown up in their eyes - despite being 43! Thing is, it has caused me real distress at times but know if I say anything there would be a huge row and my dd (a teenager now) is very close to them and it might well destroy all kinds of relationships so I have more or less, kept it myself. I would say though it has in part caused me become depressed and to see myself as worthless because I haven't stood up to them. Part of the problem is that I had dd as a single mother and so they claimed part ownership (which I allowed stupidly as I was certainly grateful for their help and can see the benefits to dd of having 'significant others' to relate to especially as on own). I then met my dh (10 years ago and there has been a certain amount of hositility to him) and we had a ds who is now 7. We moved away from family 5 years ago and things have been better because not so intense. Anyhow what I am saying is take this seriously - it doesn't matter and yet it if it works on your self-esteem it does. My dh says to realise that what they do/say isn't directed at me it is their own gameplan/agenda that they are thinking about, so don't take it personally which I think is quite sensible.

Joso · 17/06/2003 14:46

Wow...can't believe so many opinions on this subject. Am completely aware that my severe reaction to this 'dressing up'issue may seem a little harsh but Enid is right...it's just the surface of a whole load of other mil issues, which I wouldn't possibly wanna bore you all with. But in relation to this particular matter it's just about knowing when to acknowledge certain boundaries I s'pose and maybe I have different ideas about those boundaries to mil. But as Arabella said I guess it's coming to terms with 'sharing' your child. And despite how I may sound I am very grateful for the help and support that she provides. Childcare for one day a week is certainly not to be sniffed at and at the end of the day I know my daughter is in a loving caring environment, which is the most important thing. I guess the bottom line is you can't have a perfectly harmonious situation. I've come to the conclusion (and I've done a survey of friends!)that the whole mil concept is often fraught with tensions. I guess I resigned myself to the fact that we're never gonna be bosom buddies but we can have a kinda 'working relationship' which I know sounds a bit cold but I guess I'm just trying to be realistic.

OP posts:
marypoppins · 17/06/2003 20:41

Joso,try having the working relationship but remember that at the end of the day you always have the power to find alternative childcare for your dd. It is ultimately in your control what she does and if mil keeps upsetting you make the change!

aloha · 17/06/2003 21:23

A nanny costs from £70 to £150 a day - plus tax and NI. Don't make this decision unless you have to! If my mum could look after my ds a full day a week I'd let her dress him in an ape suit.

sobernow · 17/06/2003 22:08

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatkat · 17/06/2003 22:10

It's all true about her saving money on childcare, but I can't help but feel that the money is an entirely separate issue. It IS strange that Joso's mother is changing her dd's clothes--lets face it. Especially in the context of the other irritating gestures that Joso alludes to.

It doesn't sound like Joso is considering ceasing the arrangement anyway. That said, such an undercurrent of bad feeling can make a little spare cash feel like a pact with the devil.

But I agree with those who say that time spent with granny is a good thing for children.

expatkat · 17/06/2003 22:13

And having read sobernow's post, I now retract the last line of my previous statement. Clearly it isn't always good for children to spend time with grandparents. Yikes.

Lindy · 17/06/2003 22:18

I have to agree with the other comments that surely it's not a huge deal (especially if MIL washes the clothes & looks after them - less washing & ironing for you!!). I have no in-law issues any longer as both my in-laws have died; my parents live 300 miles away & I would LOVE free child care/babysitting.

I do understand some of where you're coming from, year's ago my first MIL offered to iron my (now ex) DH's shirts - as a 'young' bride I was hugely offended, now my attitude would be - thanks, and here's my ironing.

I know my views will be appear patronising, but really, there are far more serious issues in life - relax, enjoy the fact that you have childcare and that your daughter has the chance of a relationship with grandparents.

whymummy · 17/06/2003 22:24

sobernow ive told my FIL off for making nasty remarks about overweight people and also racists remarks in front of MY children,it really,really p<strong>*</strong>*d me off and hes the one that went mental because ds said a "naughty" word,so its ok to call people names because of their weight or skin colour but its not ok for ds to say bugger?hardly swearing!!GRRRRRRRRRR

lilibet · 17/06/2003 22:55

Sobernow, how do you know that she doesn't like sex and cricket? just wondered!!

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