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Stepping on eggshells

(28 Posts)
MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 11:18:00

Does anyone else feel they have to do this with their daughter in laws?
I have three sons and get on well with all three of my DILs but I feel mainly that this is because I am ultra aware of how I behave around them, taking care not to offer advice or make comments, always fitting in with their wishes and generally acting like a door mat. I do this because my family is everything to me and I hate any disharmony.
It’s just made me realise that it’s me that makes all the effort, no meeting halfway.
I’m not as bitter as I may sound but I do wonder if anyone one else does the same.

Liz46 Fri 13-Aug-21 11:22:24

My mother in law told me that her grandchildren were illegitimate because her son and I had not been married in a Catholic church!

Newatthis Fri 13-Aug-21 11:23:02

Do you have the same relationship with all of them, if so, it might not be them but you. There are so many threads and forums here about Mil's not getting on with Dil"s. Those who do all like their DiL's and accept them for what they are. Your sons chose these women for their wives and love them or they wouldn't have married them. All I can say is, act more naturally with them because who knows, they might pick up on your feelings then it's a vicious circle. You know if you behave like a doormat you will be treated like one. Find a happy medium.

MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 11:23:54


I hope you told her where to go! ?

MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 11:25:30

No I have totally different relationships with them all and we get on fine, it’s just I notice that I am more aware of boundaries etc, I guess it’s just I’m older.

Newatthis Fri 13-Aug-21 11:27:24

Yes of course there will be boundaries but age shouldn't make any difference to any relationship.

MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 11:29:35

I mean it’s a generational thing.
Maybe I’m not being very articulate. I just feel I put quite a lot of hard work into being a ‘good’ MIL, and a good DIL for that matter.

DiscoDancer1975 Fri 13-Aug-21 11:30:53

You’re not alone. I often wish we could all just say exactly what we mean, all the time. It would be carnage to start with...but gradually we’d get used to it. I find the constant’ watching what you say’, exhausting. Also, people who don’t say what they really think, the ones who can’t say ‘ no’, read that into what I....(someone who is known for saying what I mean), say. My husband, who has known me for 45 years, still reads a double meaning in my words, because he does it!

Sorry, hope that made sense. I always make allowances for all my children and their spouses. Unbeknown to me, they may be doing it with me/ us also. It’s not just’s everyone?

crazyH Fri 13-Aug-21 11:37:25

MoaningTurtle….I dare not comment ….the last time I mentioned something about dils, and it really wasn’t anything too bad, I was shot down !!!

Grammaretto Fri 13-Aug-21 11:38:48

Luckily, so far, I can honestly say I really like all 3 DiLs. However I am not a hands-on granny and never have been so I wonder if things would have been different if they I had lived nearer.

When they stay with me, the DGC sometimes arrive with their own food but even that's improving and I was silently appalled by the quantity of plastic toys and "devices" they all seem to accumulate.

I am so grateful that the DDiL love and put up with my sons I would forgive them anything. grin

I am ridiculously proud of all my DGC and take credit for their abilities, which I really shouldn't. I treat DD just the same too, I think.

I realise this sounds smug. There was one occasion when DGD was a tiny baby when I tried to intervene with the Health centre about terrible advice DiL was being given. I soon realised I was over stepping the mark and backed off.

MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 11:38:52

Thank goodness it’s not just me Disco Dancer.

Crazy H feel free to pm me anytime. I’m more than happy to chat. Xx

MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 11:41:56


I love my DILs too and love that they make my boys happy, that’s all I’ve ever wanted for them.
I guess I just wish we were a little closer that’s all. I am very friendly with two of their mums as well, one we have never met.

DiscoDancer1975 Fri 13-Aug-21 11:46:18


MoaningTurtle….I dare not comment ….the last time I mentioned something about dils, and it really wasn’t anything too bad, I was shot down !!!

Aww bless you. Some threads just leave you dodging bullets all the time don’t they, unless you agree with the OP!?

MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 11:48:34


That’s so true.

timetogo2016 Fri 13-Aug-21 11:54:40

I would buy your Mil a book on "how to enroll at charm school".
What an antiquated attitude Liz46.
Happily i don`t have any issues with my Dil`s.

Smileless2012 Fri 13-Aug-21 14:11:13

It's a shame that you appear to feel the need to walk on eggshells MoaningTurtle and I wonder if you have low self esteem, perhaps believing that your relationship with your d's.i.l. would not be as good if you're just you.

Try and relax when you're with them and allow them to see the real you. The mother of the men they chose to marry.

crazyHsmile been there, got the 'T' shirt and the odd scar when I wasn't quick enough to dodge all the bulletshmm.

March Fri 13-Aug-21 14:18:57

It's a very tricky relationship indeed!

I think that you get on well with them and have a good relationship with them is good.
Boundaries are healthy, especially when Children are involved.

Instead on focusing on your DIL never meeting half way and making the effort etc, that's your son you need to be speaking too.

Redhead56 Fri 13-Aug-21 14:21:38

I have had just a few awkward moments but I generally get on well with my DIL and SIL. I have learnt not to go over the top with advice or opinion. They have their own parents for that mind you my DS and DD don’t usually like advice either. Own homes own families now mum sometimes feels redundant!

Shelbel Fri 13-Aug-21 14:27:52

I feel exactly the same Moaning Turtle. I've never had a cross word with my Dil's but I'm extremely careful what I say or do. I never offer advice, re grandchildren especially and I am never asked despite being an ex childcare professional (early retirement due to ill health). I have to make all the effort, she never contacts me with pics or information. I have to ask and I feel I'm being a nuisance. She does not say that but sometimes I feel it. She is perfectly sweet but every thing is on the surface and there's no closeness. I suppose that's just her way. I live across the channel and with Covid it's been impossible to visit. My other son and Dil don't have children. With the distance it makes it hard to be 'close' anyway.

MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 14:40:26

Shelbel I am so sorry to hear that and your situation totally mirrors mine.
I make no demands at all but it’s my sons who send me photos and make plans to meet up, never my DILs. They never thank me for gifts and pocket money I send for my gc.
I just think it’s a shame.

MoaningTurtle Fri 13-Aug-21 15:05:25

Hi March
My sons are great and make every effort to keep us included. I don’t think it would be fair if me to off load on them, no way do I want them to feel like they have to be responsible for my relationships with their wives.
As I’ve said there is no real problem, I just wish the DILs felt closer to us. I don’t know how to achieve that to ge honest.

March Fri 13-Aug-21 15:18:09

I don't think you can, I think its fantastic that you have a great relationship with all your sons and they make you feel involved and included, most men leave it to the wives then that's when resentment starts towards the wife/DIL which is what I ment.
(Not returning messages, arranging dates etc)
I expect she does'keeping up to date' with her parents etc.

It's just abit rubbish, but keep doing what you're doing and you never know.

Toadinthehole Fri 13-Aug-21 16:32:15

I see it from both sides, as have two SIL’s, and two DIL’s. One DIL is really sensitive, and I have to be so careful. The other doesn’t have a good relationship with her parents, so I’ve almost been a replacement, which can have its own difficulties. One of my daughters works hard to almost pre empt her MIL feeling left out, even though, sadly, she deserves to be. An extremely difficult woman. My other daughters MIL is lovely and very unimposing.
It sounds like you’re on it to me, and doing the very best. As others have said, perhaps just be yourself, and don’t overthink it.
Disco. You’re so right about some of the threads. Some of them sound worse than my MIL was, and she took some beating!?

Nell8 Fri 13-Aug-21 16:49:44

Yes, Moaning Turtle, same here. I have two married sons. I sometimes wonder if things would be easier if I also had my own daughter. My expectations might be more realistic.

Having said that, I think we've all come a long way since very shaky beginnings and who knows what efforts both DiLs have been making to understand my weird sense of humour and other personality traits! I'm definitely glad my DiLs are part of my family.

I admire and respect both young women very much and try to remind myself that they aremartyrs to PMT and all the stresses of working life!

My husband is "flavour of the month" and a lot of flirting goes on there while, if I'm not careful, I can end up feeling like the pantomime villain or, worse still, the invisible woman smile.

But, hey ho, my sons have been happy in their marriages so far and long may it continue. Things can only get better ...?

Nell8 Fri 13-Aug-21 16:51:57

* are martyrs!