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DiL Probs & I Finally Snapped

(73 Posts)
SuperNan60 Sun 03-Apr-16 00:45:33

Hi I hope your words can de-stress me as I've finally broken my silence over my DiLs behaviour. I have 3 DiLs, 2 are lovely but the 3rd has always been v difficult. For 7 years I've swallowed hard & bitten my tongue over so many things to do with her laziness towards her children, laziness towards everything to do with the home, my hard working step son works full-time hours & she still expects him to do her bidding ... she does nothing, her home looks & smells like a pig sty... she spends most of her time playing games on her Iphone. She is 6mths pregnant & still smoking & drinking. Today, she sat with her back turned towards me (as per usual) she lit 3 cigarettes up whilst we were all in the pub garden... it was like she was putting two fingers up... I just snapped, & asked her why she was still smoking, & finished by saying it was like child abuse. There is so much more I could add to this story, but my question is "what's my next move?"

I am a nice person & today I have been really upset over this. I know today was the straw that broke the camels back, but on the way home my partner said I should have kept quiet... for me, that upset me more.

Thanks for any advice xx

Wendysue Sun 03-Apr-16 01:33:56

This is a tough one, SuperNan60! I totally get your frustration with DIL, especially where the smoking and drinking are concerned. IMO, you're absolutely right, it is akin to child abuse. I know there are people who smoked through their whole pregnancy and so forth and their babies were born fine, but it's not fair to the unborn child, IMO, to take that chance. And I know the coming baby isn't technically a child yet. But if she wants this baby - and, apparently, she does -- how can she risk hurting him/her this way?!

Ordinarily, I'd say to bite your tongue, once again, as your partner feels you should have done. But I can't blame you for speaking up about this.

I wish you had done it in a calmer, more reasonable way. But I know you must have been feeling offended by her sitting with her back to you - how rude! And then seeing her light not one, but three cigarettes - you must have wanted to scream! She's lucky, IMO, you didn't say/do worse than you did!

Whether or not she's "lazy" in the care of her and SS' (stepson') house and kids is not your concern, as long as the kids don't seem to be neglected. Also, the fact that she' "spends most of her time" on her Iphone when you're with her doesn't mean that's what she's doing all the time when you're not around. Sorry to say, but she may be doing that to avoid you, just as she turns her back.

It's good, I think, that you appreciate how hard SS works at his job. But she may feel she's working, too (in the home, whether or not you feel she's doing enough) and that when he comes home, he needs to pitch in. Perhaps she asks too much of him or doesn't do her fair share, I know. But that's between her and SS. I know you feel for him, but how they run their home and so forth is not your call. It may be easier for you to keep your cool if you can let go of those issues that don't really concern you.

Now someone endangering a child's health - that's everyone's concern, IMO...

Wendysue Sun 03-Apr-16 01:53:07

I should add that all that second hand smoke isn't good for your other GC either. Years ago, we didn't realize this, but with today's knowledge, IMO, this is wrong, too. I realize smoking is an addiction and she may not be able to quit just like that. But it sounds as if she hasn't even tried.

You didn't say how many children she and SS have. But you said "children" - plural - so I take it there are at least 2 besides the unborn baby. Am I right? Does that mean they've had 2 kids in the past 7 years and are about to have a 3rd? And how evenly spaced are the kids? If they're, say, each about 2 years apart, then that means she has 2 - and will soon have 3 - under school age. That may explain why she doesn't keep things up to your standards. Even if the kids are more widely spaced than that, it still can't be easy to be a perfect housekeeper and so forth.

But you asked what your "next move" is. I don't know. A lot depends on how she acted after you reamed her out. Was she apologetic? Angry? Did she argue back? Ignore you? Put out the cigarette or keep right on smoking?

Since you're feeling bad about this incident, maybe you feel you said too much. Or perhaps you're worried about being COd (cut off/cut out)? If so, you might want to apologize. But it's hard for me to imagine apologizing for what you said - maybe how you said it if you were harsh (and it sounds to me like you were), but I don't know if that would be enough. If you can't bring yourself to say sorry for having criticized her/tried to tell her what to do, I'm afraid you might find yourself CO at least for a while. In fact, perhaps she's been acting rude to you in the hopes you'll decide to stay away, and now, she has an "excuse" to distance you altogether.

Maybe not. I hope not. But if yes, I'm so very sorry. I'm also sorry you're feeling so upset over this whole incident. (((Hugs)))

SuperNan60 Sun 03-Apr-16 07:17:58

Thank you WendySue for taking time to help. It may sound like I'm whinging but I have no one else I can talk to about this. She is a lazy mum & truly does next to nothing, that's the opinion of most who know her (even her own sister says this). Last night she went crazy at what I said & carried on smoking, once I stupidly blurted out about her smoking I didn't say anything else or continue to argue. She has 2 young children age 8 and 6, both of whom she tends to ignore most of the time (imo). Other family members have also noticed this & also find her rude & difficult.

Looking back, I think I've always tried to be pleasant to her, now I don't think I can be arsed anymore. Last night I was upset to see her smoking & I couldn't hide my feelings, but I realise it was probably the previous 7 years of me staying silent over many things that was the trigger for my splurge. I think I'll text SiL today to apologise.

thank you so much for listening xxx

Anya Sun 03-Apr-16 07:35:25

I'd be very concerned about the health of your future GC and especially worried by her drinking.

I think my next move would be to talk to your SS. Tell him you're sorry you snapped at his wife, but you were so worried about the baby's health. Then in future I'd avoid her company but when you have to meet just treat her as politely as possible, you don't have to descend to her level.

She probably won't care - people like her don't.

Anya Sun 03-Apr-16 07:37:58

PS re your partner saying you should have kept quiet - pay no attention to that. Men are very adept at keeping their heads down - cowardly!!

annsixty Sun 03-Apr-16 07:58:53

I really can't help but I can say that I think you were quite right to speak up otherwise you were condoning the situation.
My daughter is not the world's best housekeeper but I do keep my lips zipped about that as she is a loving and devoted mum who always puts the children first but if she neglected them it would be another matter.

thatbags Sun 03-Apr-16 08:23:08

My first thought on reading the OP was: Why do you spend time with someone you dislike so much? Would you not be able to see your son without her?

Nana3 Sun 03-Apr-16 08:23:39

Feeling for you SuperNan.
What's done is done, how you feel is out in the open. Any sensible person would feel the same about the smoking and drinking.
How we go over things in our heads don't we. Maybe keep busy and try and enjoy today with your partner. I agree with Anya, men usually avoid this kind of problem.
See what happens in a few days time.

PRINTMISS Sun 03-Apr-16 08:34:54

I agree with Nana3 what is done is done, you cannot undo that. Your daughter in law is what she is, she will not change, and is lucky to have such a lovely man who probably adores her - and you have no idea why! People live their lives their way, not always the way we think is right, but it is their way, and children do have a habit of growing up, in spite of us. I do so agree about the smoking, but there again, you will do nothing about it by getting angry. Try to be kind to yourself, you are obviously a very caring parent and grand-parent and I am sure you will step in if you are needed, because you are that type of person, who doesn't normally get angry and upset people.

NanaandGrampy Sun 03-Apr-16 08:40:11

Don't feel horrible Supernan ( although your partner should do smile

There are 2 issues here for me. The first - the laziness etc - that's not your call. If your stepson is unhappy its his call to say. She may not be the housekeeper of your dreams( or mine ) but it isn't your place to say . If we had been talking about a daughter not a DiL then I would have felt differently. I have and will continue to pull my 35 yr old daughter up when her house degrades into a cess pit. She knows it and I do , the consequence that at least when I visit the place is reasonably ok.

BUT the smoking and drinking thing. You were bang on the money in my opinion. When we were younger there had not been the proven research so we can plead ignorance but now??? She is endangering her unborn child and her children and herself for that matter. And anyone else in her passive smoking zone.

We know a young woman who is like a 3rd daughter to us and she has drunk throughout her pregnancy . Although she's not my daughter I have voiced my concern but her own mother who often drinks with her is not supportive of this view. But I , like you , couldn't stay silent.

As to what you do now - well that is very much in your court. If it was me I'd probably pop over when Id calmed down and say I'm sorry I was harsh but I'm not sorry about the content of what I said. I think you're smoking and drinking is wrong and I'll do anything I can to help you quit the smoking at least. She'll either accept or tell you to b**ger off grin

I think you took a bit of a risk telling her, but I don't think you were wrong to.

harrigran Sun 03-Apr-16 12:25:22

I don't think I would pop over and recommence the discussion, you would only be adding fuel to her fire and will more than likely totally alienate the family.
We know it is wrong to smoke and drink during pregnancy but we can not voice our disgust and expect that person to heed our warnings, they are adults.

Penstemmon Sun 03-Apr-16 12:50:09

Families are often tricky palces to be in!

I think it is best to let things have expressed your opinion. I guess your DiL knew what you thought before you said it so it won't be news to her. You could speak to your SS and say you do not want to damage the relationship between you and him but maybe in future it will be best if the time with you and DiL is limited.. there is obviously a mutual dislike so why pick at a scab??

Hopefully the baby will be OK..are the other children generally healthy? Some people cannot be helped or even want help and it just upsets others who think they do!

Nonnie Sun 03-Apr-16 12:54:19

I agree with N&G As to what you do now - well that is very much in your court. If it was me I'd probably pop over when Id calmed down and say I'm sorry I was harsh but I'm not sorry about the content of what I said. I think you're smoking and drinking is wrong and I'll do anything I can to help you quit the smoking at least. She'll either accept or tell you to b**ger off Don't apologise for what you said, just for the way you said it.

I firmly believe that trying to pacify such a person is a mistake, I did it and it didn't help at all, just made DiL worse. I now wish we had stood up to her from the beginning but it is not in my nature to do so and she ended up bullying DS and us.

As for your partner, I agree with Anya a lot of men will do pretty much anything in the short term for a quiet life without thinking of the long term consequences.

Best of luck

Judthepud2 Sun 03-Apr-16 15:28:29

You have voiced your concern Supernan and now it is probably best to back off. I agree that people like your difficult DIL can be hard to help and trying to apologise may make things worse. In your position, it might be best to let it go. I quite understand your worries for the defenceless children though. It is so hard to stand back and appear to allow these things to happen.

SuperNan60 Sun 03-Apr-16 16:39:14

Thanks so much everyone, you've been great. I'll let you know what I decide to do. Have a good evening lovely ladies xx

Willow500 Sun 03-Apr-16 16:50:27

She sounds awful and if it weren't for your gc I'd probably say don't have anything more to do with her but that would only cut you off from your stepson and the children. I too would just leave things be for now - perhaps next time you speak to your stepson say you were very concerned for the baby's health and were feeling a bit stressed about it so couldn't stay silent any longer but realise it might have been handled a bit more diplomatically. Or maybe call on one of your other DIL's to try and talk some sense into her - chances are though if she hasn't felt guilty at the possibility of harming her baby she won't listen to anyone.

Faye Mon 04-Apr-16 00:29:13

The drinking would really bother me, especially if it is a lot. I know a child with alcohol fetal syndrome, she will never have a normal life.

Marmark1 Mon 04-Apr-16 08:57:09

Sorry,but I wouldn't take that from a step DIL,no way.My friend had the same problem,she just stopped going there.
Sorry,I know it's not always that simple,but her behaviour is unacceptable,

annsixty Mon 04-Apr-16 09:31:14

This is not about the relationship it is about the health of the children.
I can't see there is much you can to but be concerned. If your SS won't act you are powerless.

GrandmaKT Mon 04-Apr-16 09:40:57

I think you did right to say something about the smoking - and don't now how you managed to bite your tongue so long!
You can't cut ties with them, as it sounds as if those kids (and the new one yet to be born) will need your help, input and presence if their mum ignores them. I could look past the dirty/ untidy house if it was because she was spending time doing things with the children - but this doesn't seem to be the case.
When you've calmed down I would go round or invite her round to your house, sit down with a brew and say that you were just worried about the new baby and see if there is any way you can help out.p
Could she possibly be depressed and need professional help I wonder?

Annegranny2 Mon 04-Apr-16 10:46:48

Supernan, I really feel your plight. As said before the laziness is awful but there is nothing you can do about it and its up to your stepson to see whats going on or not. As for the smoking and drinking, that is something different. Its so difficult to say what you feel without showing the emotion and talking 'adult to adult' is hard to do as you feel as if you are giving a lecture. I feel for the children and agree with Nonnie. If you still can't get anywhere seek professional help, as I have done on many occasion, and talking through with someone really helps to put the situation into perspective.

radicalnan Mon 04-Apr-16 10:52:57

We live in a strange culture now where the wisdom of elders is seen as something to be kept quiet. I think a good many young people would benefit from a bit of direct advice and straight talking but we are to scared of being rebuffed.

You have said your piece and if she is as bad as you say (I have no reason to doubt it) then she has probably heard at least some of it before. It is a good time for her to be thinking about things while she is pregnant, your conscience will be clear for having spoken up. You can't please everyone don't bother trying.

Mumsyface Mon 04-Apr-16 10:57:26

Horrible situation and you have my sympathy. Relationship with DiL, other posters are right, you just have to grin and bear it for the sake of the gc and whole family. But the risks to the unborn through alcohol and smoking during pregnancy are now scientifically proven and so well publicised there is no excuse. My niece has a daughter (adopted) with FASD and the problems are truly awful. No wish to alarm you, but this is an awful problem, completely avoidable, and one that is extremely challenging for the whole family. I sincerely hope this doesn't happen to this child, but at least you have done what you can for the child. Sometimes it helps to talk to a counsellor or therapist. Good luck with however you choose to move forward on this one.

moobox Mon 04-Apr-16 10:59:54

I empathise with you on many levels. In my case it was the first DIL who was lazy, and the replacement who has taken against us. As you all say, the men tend to just keep their heads down, DH telling me to leave them to it, and DS by not getting in touch unless reminded by me. But when there are children involved it puts a different complexions on leaving them to it. It is hard to keep a relationship with them going, especially at a distance.