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husband visiting his mother

(38 Posts)
glutenfreegran Mon 02-Sep-13 13:10:01

This dates back about 12 years to when we moved back to our home town after living away for about 26 years. At the time DH said " we will not live in her pocket" and we intended to live further away but for practical reasons we now live 25-30 minutes away. It soon became apparent that he was visiting her every Saturday evening leaving me to babysit our 10 year old DS who was an avid Casualty watcher. However as DS grew up this continued and I started to accompany him not least because MIL obviously "pushed DH's buttons" and he would be very niggly on his return. I returned to fulltime work and after a time asked him not to go on Saturday as it was the one day of the week when I was not tired after work or mentally preparing for work. I had about 12 hours travel as well. I was also made aware that she felt that Saturday was the day he had to go as she didn't do anything then. His response was that it had started because I watched "crap" on TV. I am now retired (60) and he works 4 days a week but he still expects us to go on Saturday. MIL was widowed at 59 and she does something most days of the week but she does expect others will run around her. She babysat for our 4 children on about 4 occasions. She visits her 94 year old sister alternate Sundays and I fear that when she dies we will be expected to fill in the gap. This Saturday we had a lovely day going walking and the DD2 and DGD called in(they live about an hours drive away) I then made the meal and then turned on the laptop and DH said "if you are doing that I'll go and see my mother". I am afraid I lost it and we are now hardly speaking. My former work colleagues, friends and my offspring don't think I am being unreasonable but am I? I could go on with other things(last Xmas!!) but this is long enough!

Aka Wed 04-Sep-13 07:40:29

Too many typos to correct....I'm sure you get my drift!

Aka Wed 04-Sep-13 07:39:47

Second long??? Second point

Aka Wed 04-Sep-13 07:39:04

I too have been suggesting other ways round this Penstemmon if you read back.
I agree with you Grace that it sounds as if the OP has a problem with this because she does not like her MiL, in which case any suggestions will be met with a 'Yes, but....' response. And I also agree with your second long about OP being stuck into Casualty or her laptop. If Saturday is so precious to her then she needs to unplug herself from both bad get out and do something, or I honestly can't blame DH for taking himself off and preferring the company of someone less boring. glut just be grateful it's his mum he's fled to.

thatbags Wed 04-Sep-13 07:06:05

Enjoyed that post, gm wink. Make the most of it, gluten. I would. Or join in.

gracesmum Tue 03-Sep-13 23:15:08

Could be a lot worse - he could be going down the pub, to the football/cticket/rugby/racing (delete which ever does not apply).
P.S. Aka how do we know she "loves" alone - eh? grin But as you say there's not a lot wrong with it sometimes I would love DH to go off on his own and let me have the place to myself. I am afraid what I am reading between the lines is that the OP does not like her MIL very much, each resents the other and the DH is stuck in the middle! Given a choice between watching Casualty or playing second fiddle to a laptop and visiting his Mum- can't blame him. If this is a routine he is stuck in then as somebody else suggested - have the grilfriends round, go to the cinema with them , have a girls' night out at the pub or go for dinner.

Penstemmon Tue 03-Sep-13 22:36:39

Nothing at all Aka except current arrangements seem to be upsetting his wife and family life at home.

Other posters have been suggesting how to get both visiting mum and sharing positive couple time mutually acceptable!

Aka Tue 03-Sep-13 22:31:44

What is wrong with a son going to visit his widowed mother, who loves alone, once a week?

Penstemmon Mon 02-Sep-13 22:50:00

Part of the issue seems to be the fact that it has become the routine. If I were you I would be pro-active and suggests he brings MiL to you one day. Then another time suggest going somewhere for an afternoon tea or a drive etc. and take her somewhere local to where she lives. Other times plan things just for you two! Watch a DVD together! other posters have suggested good ideas for this.

I would keep laptops off when in the room together unless you are both using them. Check ,and say at lunch for example, that you want to catch up with things online and when is he doing some work so you can use your lap top at the same time? That might mae him realise that he does exactly the same as you !

It is very easy to fall into a routine and that can dull life ..well it does for me!

jeanie99 Mon 02-Sep-13 22:34:10

Reading your troubles and the comments rings bells of my relationship with my MIL over the years.

My husband for many years and still does to some extent see his own family thru rose coloured glasses but finds many faults with mine.
His mother died this year and it is only in the last couple of years that he did see her for what she was, a very unkind and nasty person at times who said things that were totally thoughtless.

hummingbird Mon 02-Sep-13 22:26:58

It always seems such a shame when these situation arise, because all it does is cause trouble and resentment between husband and wife, and mother gets off scot free! Mr H adored his mum, visited her often, and with his sister, looked after her at home in her last illness. If I'm completely honest, there were times when I felt a twinge of resentment, but I knew he was going to do it whether I approved or not. It made for a much happier household for me to accept the inevitable and support him. He really wanted to do it, mind you - no coercion there! Good luck, Glutenfreegran flowers

Deedaa Mon 02-Sep-13 21:52:13

I am in a completely opposite situation. My husband hasn't seen his mother since she was in hospital about 4 years ago, and that was only because the hospital specifically asked him to go in. Before that he used to see her once a year when she came for Christmas day. I don't think they've had any sort of relationship since he was born and as he is an only child I do all the visiting. It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't act as if I enjoyed going to see her and it was a nice afternoon out for me. I try to be pleasant to her because it's the way I was brought up, but I do feel that she's his mother and he could have made a bit more effort.

janeainsworth Mon 02-Sep-13 19:29:59

I think this is the crucial sentence in the OP
" I then made the meal and then turned on the laptop and DH said "if you are doing that I'll go and see my mother""

He doesn't like you being on the laptop! It's nothing to do with his mother - if she wasn't there, he'd find something else to do while you were on it, like going to the pub with his mates (would you prefer that?) or going and fiddling with the car engine.

MrA hates me being on Gransnet. If he's lurking about the place, I have to be ready to quickly switch to Excel and pretend I'm doing the accounts grin

petallus Mon 02-Sep-13 19:21:54

Yes but is DH using visiting his mother as a threat?

annodomini Mon 02-Sep-13 19:08:08

Apron strings can be dreadfully elastic. My granny kept my uncle on them to such an extent that when he married and converted a couple of rooms in her house to a little flat, when he came home at midday, granny had his lunch ready downstairs and his wife had it ready upstairs. An extreme example, I admit.

JessM Mon 02-Sep-13 18:56:15

Is there a difference, though aka between a chap being genuinely kind to his mother and one who is emotionally blackmailed to pay attention to his mother? Or visits his mother out of a sense of resentful obligation.

Aka Mon 02-Sep-13 18:19:25

There are those who say about a man 'look at how he treats his mother' .............

Eloethan Mon 02-Sep-13 18:11:26

gluten I'm sure there are several people on here that we will able to identify with some of the things you experience - from both sides of the situation.

Your husband may find it very difficult to go against his mum's expectations and he may well feel very torn between his own and your needs and those of his mum. It's difficult, particularly if you have a parent who has always thought the world revolves round them, to break the habit of a lifetime of trying to please them. Also, of course, though we may find our parents demanding and irritating at times, they are still our parents and, mixed with the guilt, resentment and irritation, is love.

The holiday dilemma is one I've experienced too. Mum and Dad often used to come on holiday with us in the UK. When my dad died, mum came abroad on holiday with us (from the age of 82) for eight years. It was difficult because she tends to find problems with everything and would not be happy if we, say, went for a walk without her. By the time we got home, we were more tense than when we had left. In the end, my husband said he wasn't prepared to share our holidays any more. I took her on holiday on my own (in the UK) this year and it was very tiring. So, being the dutiful son or daughter is not a bed of roses either.

Sadly, as some people get older they tend to focus more on themselves - perhaps it's a survival mechanism. However, given that your mother in law seems to be perfectly capable of getting about and organising her social life, I feel it's a little much to have such a rigid arrangement every Saturday.

I agree with what others have said - perhaps you could try and break the routine and all go out together for an hour or so. Your husband will no doubt appreciate your support. My own husband promptly falls asleep when we get to my mum's and I find it hurtful that he doesn't at least try to be sociable.

Aka Mon 02-Sep-13 16:54:31

Yes, you could both go for lunch, or take her out for lunch, when she's not seeing her sister and your DH could go the alternate Saturday nights.


j08 Mon 02-Sep-13 16:40:16

Poor woman with a germ phobia!

j08 Mon 02-Sep-13 16:38:28

Couldn't you both go and see her for lunch on the Sunday's she doesn't go to see her sister? Or Your DH could sometimes bring her back to yours. Every Saturday evening seems a bit unreasonable.

A fortnightly visit should be enough.

Flipping' screens always cause trouble! grin

glutenfreegran Mon 02-Sep-13 16:06:26

graces mum DD and DGD had gone as they had to feed their cats. I had made the meal and it was eaten and cleared up afterwards and then I went on the laptop. DS saw Grandma as I visited with him during the week. He lives nearer than we do and sometimes drops in on her during the week now, studies permitting. Our other children live 1, 2 and 24 hours away. It is fair to say that they are fond of her but did feel that she was quite uninvolved as she felt she was too young to be a grandmother when we had them and she wanted to live her life with FiL.

Fair point about the laptop but DH often works at home on his laptop.
DH hasn't told her that he is only working 4 days. He is quite highly paid and it helped the struggling departmental budget.
I rarely go into town as I hate shopping apart from charity shops and she has a germ phobia!!
BiL is now divorced and works in London.
DH is not very handy so at least I know she would never ask him to do things in the house she relies on his brother for that.
Thank you to everyone who has responded it is really helping me to see the problems more clearly.

susieb755 Mon 02-Sep-13 15:45:08

I would take a Saturday night as an opportunity to go out with friends, or ask them over for a girls night in, or have a pamper session - he sounds a bit spoiled, so don't let him see it upsets you, just have a good time without him.

Can I add, that - and this is my pet hate , you can't baby sit your own children...neither men or women - you just happen to be at home with themsmile

gracesmum Mon 02-Sep-13 15:41:02

Just another thought on Petallus's suggestion - rereading the OP, I see that DD and DGD came and you say you "turned on the laptop" - is it rude to ask why?? If the positions were reversed, I would expect the laptop/mobile/TV to remain off and I would just want to enjoy their company. Perhaps your DH is telling you something. Sad theat for your DS, Casualty came before Granny too.

gracesmum Mon 02-Sep-13 15:36:27

Fat fingers again - neglected

gracesmum Mon 02-Sep-13 15:36:01

You may have a point there, Petallus - is DH feeling ineglected? I definitely sense a power struggle - careful strategy is needed which may include temporary retirement of laptop and TV at critical times. If she can travel into town - arrange to meet her there. If jobs need doing round her house, fair enough, but otherwise, how about a day out for the 3 of you? Do your BIL and SIL live within striking distance - how about a family get together? All of these would stop her having grounds to complain she is being ignored. ("Don't get mad, get even") Does she see much of the DGC? They might share the "burden" of the Saturday visits - but you won't get anywhere by putting your foot down, you will have to out think and outmanoeuvre her!