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Mother in law problems

(43 Posts)
redjune Mon 25-Sep-17 10:13:35

This is actually my daughters problem rather than my own. She has been with her partner for 5 years and they have a lovely 2 year old son. They recently got married.
The problem is her mother in law. She lives close to them but only rarely goes to see her grandson. However, she sees her 5 year old grandaughter virtually every day, picks her up from school, takes her out, has her to stay over, pays for her and her mum to go on holiday abroad with her and more. (they are not destitute by any means, the mum has a very well paid job)
This all makes my daughter very mad understandably, she feels that her son is being rejected and hates having to ask her mother in law to babysit for any reason because it has to fit in with looking after her other grandchild.
I live at the other side of the country so cant help very much.
Can anyone suggest how my daughter can tackle this problem please?

Marydoll Mon 25-Sep-17 10:33:23

My DIL is in the same position. Her parents have bought a house, a car, paid for umpteen holidays for their other daughter and grandchild. My DIL and her daughter are treated like second class citizens and it's getting worse. It's heartbreaking to watch my DIL in tears. She doesn't want nor need their financial help, just a crumb of affection from them. I don't know how her parents can sleep at night. I have no solution for this.

Luckygirl Mon 25-Sep-17 10:39:00

Tears! - not appropriate. She does not need this family's affection - some folk are just like this and there is nothing to be done but accept it and enjoy the lovely things that you have.

Nonnie Mon 25-Sep-17 10:54:05

Is it as one-sided as it sounds? There are usually two sides to every story. Is she as friendly and welcoming as she could be to her MiL?

I only suggest this because I am very aware of a DiL who posted on here a while back who made her MiL sound like a monster but I know the MiL and know it was not true. Today's young mums are a very different breed to the young mums we were and some can be very self obsessed.

Smithy Mon 25-Sep-17 10:56:15

Not as easy as that, especially when your own mother lives so far away. Its not so much the mother as the child - very hard to try to cover up the fact that the paternal
grandma isn't interested.

jusnoneed Mon 25-Sep-17 11:48:43

I had similar thing where my youngest son was treated differently to his two cousins by their paternal grandmother (both families lived local to her). She used to babysit for the two every week, would have them to tea and every Saturday took them into town for the morning. Never took my son or had him at her house until he was older and went there himself occasionally. I asked her to babysit once and she made a nasty remark about looking after him while I went out drinking, so I vowed to never ask again and didn't.
When he was about 10 he asked me why Granny never took him anywhere, no answer to that one.
My parents did similar thing with my niece, from birth she stayed a lot with them and they took her on holiday etc. Never did with my son. They lived half an hour from us but it still annoyed me. They did ask him to go away for a weekend in camper van but niece had to go too. He didn't enjoy it and refused to go again.

Starlady Mon 25-Sep-17 11:52:14

Since mil has already committed herself to picking up gd from school every day, etc., of course, any other babysitting has to "fit in around" that. She can't just "abandon" the gd who's used to her being there to babysit another child, even if he's her gc, too. That's just reality, imo.

As for her doing more with her gd and mum, it may be due to a different relationship with the mums/parents. If gd's mum is mil's dd, she may very well be favoring her, I'm afraid. Some mums/mils do that. Or she may just fear that as a pgm, she will always be a "second class gm," so she's reacting according to that. I'm very sorry if that's the case.

Then again, if her dd is a single mum (you don't mention a dad), then she could feel she needs to do for her, even though she has a good job, etc.

But as Nonnie says, it could also be that the 2 women treat her differently. Or perhaps your sil - her ds - doesn't treat her as well as his sister does. Often a poor relationship with the parents extends to a less involved relationship with the gc, and vice versa for a good relationship. Dd may need to look at her or her dh's responsibility in this scenario.

But if dd really feels that mil favors gd over her ds, then, imo, she should let mil stay away and keep her at arm's length as much as she can. Also, imo, she should find other arrangements for babysitting, even if she has to pay for them. She shouldn't be leaving ds alone with her mil if she feels the woman doesn't really care about him.

SiobhanSharpe Mon 25-Sep-17 11:52:23

Your daughter's MIL does seem to have her hands rather full helping to care for her other grandchild -- she might not have much time to spare, and may even be simply too tired, to do much with your daughter's DS.
Could your daughter perhaps invite MIL and the other grandchild over on a regular or semi-regular basis so that she at least sees her grandson and gets to know him better (and the cousins can see each other too) .
As for babysitting, seeing as her mother in law lives nearby -- when she needs help for that could she ask to take her DS to MIL's house if MIL is already babysitting her grandaughter? (Rather than have MIL come to her house?)

Eglantine21 Mon 25-Sep-17 14:02:43

Has she asked/invited her? Made it clear what she would like from her MIL?
I ask this because of my own experience. Rewind forty years and I am having a row with my MIL.
Me: You care more about your dogs and horses than your grandchildren! You never come to see them😡
MIL: (shouting) Well you never invite me.

Me: (shouting louder) I don't have to invite you! You're their Granny. You just come!

MIL: I can just come????

I didn't realise she was waiting for an invitation. She didn't realise I expected her to just say she was coming. Our families operated in different ways. It's just a thought.

Norah Mon 25-Sep-17 15:04:40

What does sil think? I think it's to him to sort, it is his mum.

Madgran77 Mon 25-Sep-17 16:02:48

The key is for SIL and DD to decide what to do! What is SILs view on his parents and how they behave with his child?

redjune Mon 25-Sep-17 16:27:01

Thanks for all your replies. I think my daughter would just like to see her mil take an interest in her grandson and maybe have him for a couple of hours now and again. She doesn't expect her to see him every week even, it would be just nice for her to be more involved with him, but she seems totally obsessed with her granddaughter.
I did wonder whether it was something to do with her being closer to her daughter rather than her daughter in law and can understand that. Her daughter is a solicitor and chose to become a single mum to her own daughter. The child has no contact with her father and doesn't know who he is (he's actually my son in laws best friend)
I think my son in law is annoyed by the way his mother favours one grandchild over the other but it doesn't get to him as much as my daughter.

jefm Mon 25-Sep-17 18:08:16

Hi your second post says it all doesn't it. So her own daughter is a single mum and although in a good profession has her mum to take on the child care. GM now probably feels obligated to carry on and of course loves her grandchild. She has built up a relationship. Please ask your own daughter to remember that MIL is just that, I know I have two sons. No matter how much I love my grandchildren I have to seek permission to do most things and the relationship just sadly isn't the same as it would be if I was fortunate enough to have a daughter. Perhaps your own daughter could spend some tine with her MIL. when she is child minding and when she isn't to start building relationships. My guess is she is really comfortable with her daughter but is less so with her son and DIL. After all everyone is judging her including you I am afraid without really having talked it all through. Maybe things won't change but maybe they will.

Bibbity Mon 25-Sep-17 19:41:14

Try as no encourage your daughter to disengage.

You can't make people who you need them to be.

Tell her to check out for babysitters. We found an amazing one there.

Also tell her to step back. Don't get cards or presents for MIL. Don't message, don't engage with her birthday or Christmas etc just tell her to de stress and leave her 100% to her husband.

M0nica Mon 25-Sep-17 19:49:47

Children survive indifferent grandparents. My paternal grandmother did not like my mother and did not like me because I was too like her. I just accepted it. I adored my maternal grandmother.

MiL's are not a special breed. They are just ordinary women and just as ordinary women vary from delightful to horrible so do MiLs. There is nothing you can do about it. It is unlikely you can change the situation. Just accept itand get on with your life.

If your DC does sk why they are ignored by their grandmother just say you do not know, perhaps they would like to ask her one day. If you just accept it so, usually, will your DC.

MawBroon Mon 25-Sep-17 19:55:45

Also tell her to step back. Don't get cards or presents for MIL. Don't message, don't engage with her birthday or Christmas etc just tell her to de stress and leave her 100% to her husband
Two wrongs never made a right.

Why should that relationship suffer further, she is your DH's mother, show some understanding and respect

Bibbity Mon 25-Sep-17 20:01:41

Mawbroom. Those are not the jobs for a DIL who has her own family.

Her perfectly capable son can do that. And if HE chooses not to then clearly she's not that great of a mother.

Iam64 Mon 25-Sep-17 20:27:28

"if HE chooses not to then clearly she's not that great of a mother". That may be a long way from a true assessment Bibbity. Equally he may not be that great of a son.

I don't know if you saw the recent thread on who buys gifts for their partners families. A large number of posters saw it as the job of the female member of the couple to do any gift buying or card sending. I agree with you, I don't see it as the son or daughter in law's job but many others disagree with us.
I agree with MawBroon on this one, it's unlikely I'd buy the gifts and cards but Id certainly encourage my partner to do so.
The mother in law is involved in a lot of child care for her single parent daughter. It may be that unfortunately, she didn't factor in the possibility of other grandchildren. It's also possible that she feels her single parent adult child needs more support than her son and daughter in law. Unfair maybe but not worth falling out over - on the information we have anyway.

Bibbity Mon 25-Sep-17 20:41:53

He could be a useless son. But again that's not OPs DD problem.

Also no one should ever be rude or fall out.
I'd just advise OPs DD to bow out. Disengage etc.

If MIL doesn't want to nurture a relationship with DIL then the DIL is not obliged to do anything.
There needs no be one bad word. Just two women living their independent lives.

Lisalou Mon 25-Sep-17 21:10:26

I learnt the hard way to actually bow out. My MIL favours all her other children (three) over my DH, and has done so for years and years, long before I came on the scene. He has never been able to do right for doing wrong, he has tried everything to be on an even keel with the others, but he is the "unsuccesful" son, his jobs have never been good enough, he has never earned as much as the others...and he lives abroad. I could go on with the interminable list of faults.
When I first heard all the stories, I thought he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but have lived to see that he is not making it up. I tried desperately to bring him closer to his family, include them in our lives, invite them to visit, and a long list of etceteras, thinking that maybe once he had settled down in their eyes, and with the birth of my youngest, their DGC, things would wrong could I be.
Finally, I gave up. We visit them once a year because my DD loves them and we want her to have happy memories of her grandparents, and we phone them occasionally, mainly when DD asks to speak to them. It just saves us a lot of heartache.
I am sorry that OP's daughter is going through this, but if she has tried to be friendly and include her MIL to no avail, it might just be best to let it ride. When MIL wants to see her DGC, maybe she will let them know.

Purpledaffodil Tue 26-Sep-17 09:09:39

Could gender play a part here? My mil didn't like boys. She favoured her daughter massively over my DH. When our sons were born she was only mildly interested. When our DD was born, she showered her with frilly dresses and jewellery. Luckily the GPs lived 300 miles away and so it was never obvious to our sons. It is sad, but you cannot change those mindsets.

radicalnan Tue 26-Sep-17 10:18:56

Sad when this happens. The problem is as we get older we gave less energy, and I certainly have been able to do for some GC more than others, because of financial and physical limitations of my own. If she is committed to child care for her other GC, she may well be exhausted

That doesn't help you if you are feeling left out.

I would carry on being nice to her after all she is your child's gran and he will want to know her later on.

Life isn't fair. I think you already know that. We don't understand all the decisions that other people make or why but you can't afford to take it too personally. Some mums do feel easier with their daughters than DIL, we see plenty of that on here.

Minimise the upset and take what you can get from this relationship, that may be next to nothing but better than nothing, when you think of it in terms of your child's future.

If one of your kids was brilliantly talented, you would not hold her back because her siblings were not, some kids just find the right match with a family member, it is their good fortune just as good looks or talent may be, you will have your work cut out if you try to even everything up for your boy, life just isn't fair.

He may turn out to be the genius of the family, or a lottery winner, his life does not depend upn her affections, his good fortune is out there waiting to meet him. Time spent dwelling on this is time wasted.

NotSpaghetti Tue 26-Sep-17 10:22:24

As others have pointed out the arrangement with the (now) 5 year old was in place before the 2year old came along. Personally I wouldn't read anything into this but as there are only so many hours in a day I can see how the grandmother could appear to see the grandchildren differently. This may not be so in actuality- just in the way the care manifests itself.
Also, I would never dream of "dropping in" at my son and daughter in law as she may be busy or find me a nuisance (as I would have done!). This puts her in an awkward position as she is polite and respectful of others. On the other hand, if I drop in at my daughter's and she's busy she will say so outright!
I think she could start by asking if the grandparents would like to spend some time with her little boy and if so when would work?
I'm thinking she may jump at the chance.

jefm Tue 26-Sep-17 10:46:47

Radicalnan, I love your reply. Bibbity, I cant believe your advise, are you a MIL of a son, if you were you might want your son to take the lead but they don't , no matter how much they love their mums. Redjune, please dont suggest that your DD disengages . It would be so hurtful. I urge you and your daughter to put yourself in the MIL's shoes and try to make an effort. As I said before if it doesn't work at least you will have had the satisfaction of trying.

Sugarpufffairy Tue 26-Sep-17 10:48:17

I thought my daughter's partner did not want me around. I knew he was violent and abusive but I stood up to him. I thought this was the reason I was kept out the circle. They spent every special day with his family. Eventually that relationship ended and a new relationship started. I watched as that partners family were apparently more important than my daughter's family. The new partner is not violent. I can only assume that my daughter prefers every other mother to me and our family. I gave up and let her get on with it.