My DH and I have three lovely children under 6 who are the youngest on his side of the family.
I have always made a very real effort to forge a good relationship with my MIL and it is probably the best of all the inlaws. We live a long way away and for reasons of logistics see more of my family although I see more of them than my DH and children do, again for reasons of logistics not lack of affection.
I have always had my children call MIL every week to hear her voice on the telephone since they were born. My MIL was welcome to my home as soon as the children were born, had she been able to get to the hospital she would have been welcome there as well. I have always taken (although not always followed) my MILs advice on childrearing graciously. Whenever she visits I have looked after her, even when recovering from operations/childbirth. We visit her as much as we can. When at her home I clear away dishes, help with the housework and make sure that the beds are stripped and the bedrooms spotless before we leave. I cook when she does not feel like it but never take over or insist.
I arrange all presents, cards etc for the whole family and these become worth less to her when she finds this out. If we do not call on her birthday we are neglectful but she has never initiated a birthday call to any of us. She recently told me that she feels slighted that we see my family more than her, that she is forgotten and left out, that she does not get to see as much of the children as she would like. She is retired and has no commitments. She has an open invitation to our home but never visits and never calls, we initiate all contact. The children have stopped wanting to speak to her and it is getting more difficult to encourage them to do so because she is never fun.
I feel that she is turning me into a baddie here when all I do is try to facilitate contact with the children. My DH supports me absolutely and was very upset at what she said. To be fair she is in a difficult place, emotionally, at the moment and is fragile so we do not want to bring her up on her behaviour (it is worse than normal because of this but along the same continuum). The last time we spoke (when she said she felt neglected and second best) I said I thought it best to bring the conversation to a close before anyone said anything hurtful and that DH would call her when he could (he works very long hours). I have not been able to bring myself to speak to her since and DH thinks this is probably wise incase she starts again. He has spoken to her and of course the children have although not as often as normal because I have not instigated calls so they have to wait for my DH to be available before bedtime.
My DH feels very forgotten because she never calls him. She says it is because she never knows when he will be free but she never calls even to leave a message on the machine or to leave one with me. It is almost as though she worries about reaching me.
I have tried to treat her with the same respect I would treat my own mother. I am not quite sure what else I can do. I appreciate that this is a very one sided account, I am not a saint and have got snippy at her in the past but far less than my DH and other people in the family. I would truly appreciate any advice that those of you with DILs have on where I am going wrong and how I can improve.
I am sorry for the rant and the length, I just want to be able to ensure that it is all set out.
SurfietofLampreys Mon 09-Jan-12 11:38:48
jingl Mon 09-Jan-12 11:58:37
MrsJamJam Mon 09-Jan-12 11:59:37
Annobel Mon 09-Jan-12 11:59:55
Carol Mon 09-Jan-12 12:01:06
Mishap Mon 09-Jan-12 12:11:50
Annobel Mon 09-Jan-12 12:15:13
grannyactivist Mon 09-Jan-12 12:49:52
bagitha Mon 09-Jan-12 12:57:38
harrigran Mon 09-Jan-12 18:47:36
Charlotta Mon 09-Jan-12 19:02:03
Annobel Mon 09-Jan-12 19:06:03
SurfietofLampreys Mon 09-Jan-12 19:51:17
bagitha Mon 09-Jan-12 20:14:23
Carol Mon 09-Jan-12 20:16:23
Annobel Mon 09-Jan-12 21:11:21
bagitha Tue 10-Jan-12 06:21:26
maxgran Tue 10-Jan-12 14:14:08
supernana Wed 11-Jan-12 12:33:50
fillygumbo Wed 11-Jan-12 15:57:44
gracesmum Wed 11-Jan-12 17:40:45