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DIL / MIL relationship

(37 Posts)
Alibr Fri 03-Aug-18 18:43:36

Sorry the post ended up quite long :-/
I love my partner very much and was hoping for a good relationship with his mum. I've always got on well with boyfriends mums before and with my own living so far away I was hoping for more of a relationship with my mother in law. Some history as to why I'm struggling having a relationship with her...
My partner had been on his own for several years before we got together and his mum was used to having him at her beck and call. I met her for the first time when she decided to let herself in my partners house without permission whilst he was at work (yes that was awkward). I've always been very independent and quite a private person so she was asked not to let herself in but continued to do so and when we were away do diy that she thinks needs doing (unfortunately not very well). We asked her several times not to and each time she promised not to do it again but did. If my other half gets firm and discusses taking the key away she'll cry and always goes onto the subject of a hospital appt (she's been in remission from breast cancer for 7/8years now and has had a couple of hip ops).
I feel I have made an effort with visiting her and trying to be friendly, she only lived a couple of minutes walk from us and wouldn't visit when we were in. I've made cakes to take round and she has handed them back to me to take home without trying. After one op I made a quiche (I know she eats quiche) and bought her food so she didn't have to go out, but she refused it and told me she'd rather have left overs. I host a lot and cook for other people and my food always goes down well. I recently made a picnic for an outing out, we phoned her to check all the food was okay for her, yes it was. She then bought her own food and wouldn't eat what I'd made for us.
In January we had a daughter, we decided to keep her name to ourselves until she was born. On Christmas day MIL started shouting at me because of this and FIL had to step in to stop her. When baby was born we would agree a time for her to visit but she'd just turn up whenever she wanted and let herself in. After the first week we were told it's time we started going to her rather than her coming to us. We told her she is welcome to come to us when ever she likes just text to make sure we are in and she has been asked to knock at the front door. Now she makes a point all the time saying 'o well I won't see you until such and such day then' we say come to us before but she won't and on the rare occasions she does makes a huge deal about not being allowed to let herself in. She also keeps telling me my daughter has far too many clothes, I shouldn't buy her things and turns up regularly with a bag full of clothes. She also refused to spend any longer than 5/10minutes with our daughter.

A few weeks ago we moved into a lovely house that my partner and I jointly own (only 5mins drive from MIL). My partner is also fed up of the letting by herself in so decided not to give his mum a key as he's worried what she'll do to the place whilst we are out. The last 4 weeks my mother in law has been visiting a lot, and been much nicer to me. No nasty or snide comments. She is also now regularly asking to look after my daughter. I'm really struggling to trust her and know if she genuinely wants to make an effort now or if it's all just because she wants to babysit. I would like to repair the relationship but I'm finding it very difficult, I find I'm just waiting for the comments to return or a reason why she's changed. Any advice??

Eglantine21 Fri 03-Aug-18 18:54:20

Your daughter is not a sticking plaster for your MIL feelings or your desire for a better relationship. Please don’t “ use” your baby. That sounds nasty but I don’t mean it to be. Just that this is your ( both of you) baby for you to love and care for in the way that suits you as a family.

If you would like a baby sitter sometimes then by all means give your MIL that pleasure. But if you are enjoying time with your baby then don’t think you have to have anybody babysitting or have to hand the baby over for”fair shares” or whatever.

Oh and don’t give her a key. Ever.

Izabella Fri 03-Aug-18 19:33:30

Good post Eglantine21. No more to be said really ..........

MissAdventure Fri 03-Aug-18 19:46:49

It would be lovely to think she has had a real change of heart.
Some people who have posted here have actually taken in all the opinions, and realised how unreasonable they're being.
I hope so. It would be nice to have a close mother figure to enjoy spending time with.

Melanieeastanglia Fri 03-Aug-18 20:32:54

I agree with Eglantine21.

PECS Fri 03-Aug-18 20:57:30

The situation you describe suggests a rather controlling nature. But you and your DH seem agreed that MIL does not need a key. I tend to agree given the history. If you want to keep the relationship as positive as possible then ask her to babysit..just an hour or so e.g. for you and DH to go for a drink. See how it goes. You could leave your baby with her at her house.

Cherrytree59 Fri 03-Aug-18 21:01:38

Your Mil may have realised that the family dynamics have changed
You are now living as a family unit with a baby, in a home that belongs to both of you.
Whereas before you were 'in her eyes' living in her sons home.

sodapop Fri 03-Aug-18 21:03:07

Good idea Pecs Try a little babysitting at a time but definitely no key.

Luckygirl Fri 03-Aug-18 21:06:44

I have to be honest here - I would not leave my baby with this lady at her house. I am amazed that your house move was to somewhere just 5 minutes from where she lives! I absolutely understand that you are finding it hard to trust her - why would you, when she has gone against your wishes so many times?

You and your DH will need to set some clear boundaries; and stick to them. And definitely no key!!!

It may be that the close relationship that you had hoped for might not be possible - your priority has to be your own child.

Grandparents have to understand their role - and think back to when they started their families and whether they would have been happy with our behaviour.

PECS Fri 03-Aug-18 22:46:28

I have keys to both my DDs but would never use them unless I am feeding cats, caring for DGC etc. Would never enter their homes without being asked to do so! #oversteppingthemark

stella1949 Sat 04-Aug-18 04:46:58

The good thing is that a 5 minute drive equates to about a 30 minute walk from your place to hers. I'm amazed that you didn't make it further, but 30 minutes will put her off from dropping in anyway.

Just don't give her a key, and do let her babysit sometimes. She doesn't sound to be dangerous, just annoying. Keep your boundaries and don't let the situation slide back to where it was. Good luck !

Blencathra Sat 04-Aug-18 06:48:08

I will echo the rest. Never, ever give her a key.
I would be inclined not to leave her babysitting until the child is older - and then not for more than a couple of hours to start with.

OldMeg Sat 04-Aug-18 07:22:39

Good on you both for not giving her a key. I have keys to both my married children’s houses and they to mine. I’d never dream of letting myself in except in an emergency or if I’d been asked to.

As far as refusing to eat your food, that is just plain rude.

Keep this controlling woman at arms length. Be polite but don’t let her into your lives any more than is necessary.

She’s playing some kind of game now. Controlling people don’t change, they just change tactics.

Diana54 Sat 04-Aug-18 07:26:32

I impressed on my 3 daughters that it was important to make friends with MIL and they did, it wasn't always plain sailing but they got there.
Don't give her a key obviously, as for baby sitting, give her specific instructions, written down if needed and if she tries to change the routine you just have to correct her. It's your baby either she babysits your way or you will ask someone else, it a power play and one that you must win.
As the children get older granny doing thing differently may become a real problem so with the backing of your husband get the politics right now.

Alibr Sat 04-Aug-18 09:13:38

Thank you for the advice. We are asking her to do short stints of babysitting whilst we are still in the house doing jobs. It wouldn't be appropriate for her to babysit on her own until our daughter has some independence with toileting etc as she struggles to pick DD off the floor and can't hold our little wriggle bum for more than a couple of minutes. I suppose time will tell if this is a genuine change of heart or not but I'll definitely take what's been said here on-board smile thank you

muffinthemoo Sun 05-Aug-18 00:50:31

No key. A spare key is not a free pass to come and go out of someone’s house as you please. I don’t let myself into my parents’ home albeit it was also my home for many years, because its a question of respect.

If she physically struggles to lift DD, best for both their safety that they aren’t left on their own together until DD is a bit older.

sodapop Sun 05-Aug-18 08:12:35

I don't see how your mother-in-law can baby sit if she can't physically manage the child. It's an accident waiting to happen and a definite no no in my book.
It's a good idea having her to watch over the baby whilst you are busy in the house, I think you are doing the best you can, just be patient now.

Gma29 Sun 05-Aug-18 09:06:34

As others have said, no key - ever! My MIL from my first marriage was manipulative and demanding. When one approach didn’t work for her, she changed tack. Fortunately my husband was well aware of this. I don’t wish to be overly pessimistic about your future relationship with her, but do be prepared for a different approach if this sudden onset of reasonableness doesn’t get her what she wants.

ReadyMeals Sun 05-Aug-18 09:12:42

Something is making me feel uneasy here. I believe in being kind to old grans so I would try to have her round often and make her feel loved BUT I am not sure I'd feel comfortable having her in sole charge of the baby until the baby can speak and let you know what happens when they're alone together. I am not sure I could 100% trust this lady to not do something weird (not talking sexual, more munchausensish, or emotional stuff)

sophiscon7 Sun 05-Aug-18 09:24:14

I think you are right to supervise. It is a bit of a coincidence that her access has been removed and suddenly she is offering to babysit, meaning she will be alone in the house. I hope she is not as bad going forward but I second what people have said about waiting until the child can talk. Even then, children can be asked to keep secrets from parents, which I disagree with. She could undermine you this way. Try not to take it to heart. She obviously has issues and the good news is your partner and both see it. Some cannot.

glammanana Sun 05-Aug-18 09:49:03

I would never walk into my DS/DILs home uninvited or with a key its just not done imo.
I will however ring DIL and let her know I am in that part of town and if she has time can I pop in and visit her and DGD.
My DIL has her own circle of young mummies she see's during the week for baby activities and I understand this all part of being a MIL.
The dymanics however are totally differant with my DD I can turn up anytime uninvited buts thats the differance between mums & daughters isn't it.

blue60 Sun 05-Aug-18 09:52:39

I experienced much the same as you. In the end, we changed the locks and didn't give her a key. She didn't like it, but at least that aspect of her behaviour stopped.

She would take our baby for a walk in the pram for an hour or so, and eventually for a day out shopping, to the park etc.

Unfortunately, she didn't change her attitude to me up until the last few weeks before her death. It was only then did she realise she had missed out on what could have been a good friendship and could have received help from me when she needed it most.

Sadly, many people are like that and just leave a trail of destruction and bad feeling behind. My DH and I have no fond memories of her, which is a shame.

anitamp1 Sun 05-Aug-18 11:29:17

You seem like you have been wonderfully tolerant of her. She is lucky you sound like a reasonable person. I suspect she is just a cross you will have to bear. Think you are dealing with her well. Take her at face value, but just be wary. Maybe she has started to realise what side her bread is buttered and she needs to behave better. You can but hope.

Lizzie10 Sun 05-Aug-18 11:31:43

Wow ! Would love to have you as my DIL
She doesn't realise how lucky she is
Keep working at it with love xxxx

maddyone Sun 05-Aug-18 11:50:33

You sound like an amazing DiL, absolutely lovely. I echo everything all the others have said, no key ever, no babysitting without supervision because if she can’t hold baby for more than two minutes she clearly isn’t strong enough physically to care for baby, and no worrying about her not eating your food, the same food all your friends like. It’s obviously just a way to make an unkind point, don’t raise to it, ignore totally if she doesn’t eat your food, it’s her loss.
Just carry on doing what you’re doing, but sadly I think you will have to accept that you’ll never have a really worthwhile relationship with this lady, but at least you’ll always know that you did your best, and you did the right thing by her.