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Help with MIL

(183 Posts)
Nmmaikra Wed 24-Jul-19 16:36:59

My in law's are living with us for 10 days for my son's first birthday as well as our newborn who is a month old now. The in law's live in a different country than we so when they come to visit they live with us, and I get the pleasure of being home with them 24/7, as my husband works during the day. They are very well off people, who my husband and I both agree as pretty stuck up. They always make comments about my son's shoes needing to be real leather, his clothes being organic cotton, him eating all organic foods, his toys being real wood or some kind of sugar plastic? Lol. So you get the point... Well naturally the first thing they did when arriving to our house was to unpack a bunch of toys and shoes. They then explained the material and ingredients of each item and criticized plastic toys (knowing that we ofc buy our son plastic toys or shoes that are not real leather etc...) So I ofc am bitter by the gifts, even though I know it's a nice gesture and genuinely bought them for their grandchild, but still I can't help it!
Another issue we are having is with my MIL respecting our decisions for our child. She comments how much we feeds him, how much he sleeps etc... Even washes him up in the sink because she doesn't want to use baby wipes on him...

She went as far as to make him his first birthday cake, with a "1" candle and all. She said it was the same cake she made my husband for his birthdays. I called my mom crying after she had told me her plans to make this cake on his birthday. I feel like she is having a hard time letting go of the mother role and transitioning into grandmother. I yelled at my husband in frustration saying I want to make my son's first birthday cake...she had her time to make memories with you, now it's my turn to do it my MY son.

So I guess my question first is, are my feelings unreasonable? And how do I start to fix this? I'm miserable, I barely get to spend time with my son while they are here and I'm just at a loss.

Any advice is greatly appreciated

tanith Wed 24-Jul-19 16:49:15

You’re husband needs to tell his Parents to back off and stop undermining you. As you rightly say it’s your child and what you both say goes. She isn’t being at all sensitive to your feelings and is risking alienating herself.

Septimia Wed 24-Jul-19 16:50:05

Grit your teeth and wait until they've gone. Then have another birthday celebration with a cake you've made (maybe inviting other toddlers/family/friends who didn't get to the first celebration).
As for the clothes, shoes and toys, well... obviously you have to use some of them at least as it might be noticed if you didn't. But you could decide which to keep and use (let some of them show up in family photographs?) and quietly 'lose' the others in the back of a cupboard, and maybe send them to a charity shop after a year or two. You can always say they broke/wore out/were outgrown.

It is hard to give up the mother role, so allow MiL a little leeway. However, maybe between now and the next visit you will get some other - good - advice from other GNs to help you deal with her. You certainly are not being unreasonable but perhaps a little subtlety is required.

Callistemon Wed 24-Jul-19 17:44:04

They are only there for a month and realise you have a lot on your plate with a one year old and a new baby so are probably trying to be helpful.

Wipes are so bad for the environment as they contain plastic (single use) and personally I wouldn't put a one year old in plastic shoes or trainers if you (or they) can afford better leather shoes.

Personally I do have durable plastic toys for when the DGC come here as well as wooden ones - are they very ecologically aware? Organic cotton clothes could come in for both children, better than acrylic.

I hope you can cope with their visit, it's only 10 days - perhaps let them play with your toddler and concentrate on your baby for that time. They'll be gone back overseas before you know it.
Perhaps you could discuss this with your DH when they've gone home and explain that you found them rather overwhelming and you need his support.

Callistemon Wed 24-Jul-19 17:45:32

Sorry - misread - only 10 days, I should have corrected that

Nmmaikra Wed 24-Jul-19 17:52:32

It's more of the fact that they make us feel judged as not doing good enough for our child because we don't buy him 150$ shoes that he will outgrow in a few months.

They are very well off people, and my MIL has never really had to work her whole life because of this...so a better word is more entitled and they buy the best of the best.

Nmmaikra Wed 24-Jul-19 17:58:09

I feel as though she acts as my child's mother, And I barely get a chance to see him because they hover over him and do everything. They do not help clean after themselves and have only made one meal since being here for 6 days now, so I am not sure how helpful they are trying to be.

I know 10 days is not a long time but I'm stuck with them 24/7 for those 10 days, much of which without my husband because he's at work.

Callistemon Wed 24-Jul-19 17:59:30

Perhaps if you casually mention that you'd love him to have expensive shoes like the ones she bought but can't afford them, she'll send the money for them every few months? Accept graciously - my DS grew out of a pair of good leather shoes in 2 months! I wish my MIL had offered to buy some occasionally!

Accept the best of the best and never feel judged.
She probably has been longing to be an indulgent granny (and she doesn't live next door).

Nmmaikra Wed 24-Jul-19 18:05:54

Thank you, I'll have a good talk with my husband

crazyH Wed 24-Jul-19 18:11:30

I wish my daughter had a rich mother-in-law 😂
Just accept her generosity in good spirit. I would draw the line at the Birthday Cake. It's your baby, and you can decide what style and who bakes it.
Good luck and happy 1st birthday to the little one 🎂 🥁 🎈 Just realised the deed is done - she has already baked the cake . I feel for you..but as they say, be grateful for small mercies. She lives abroad 👏

wildswan16 Wed 24-Jul-19 18:31:26

You just have to grit your teeth - its 10 days that will seem like 100, but will pass. Make another birthday cake for your little one - two cakes are always better than one!

Accept the expensive shoes and toys with a smile - they will come in handy. Buy what you want for your children and don't let others put you down.

Make sure any visits in the future are when you and your husband want them - that is your control measure.

It is your decision whether to "put up" with it, or make an issue. I see you have 4 days to go - make sure you give yourself a treat at the end of it all. At least you know you are safe from "pop in" visits once they have gone back home. It could be so much worse if they lived round the corner.

silverlining48 Wed 24-Jul-19 18:58:03

I imagine you don’t live in a mansion and space might be an issue so if they are so well off why not suggest next time they book a fancy hotel nearby which Would give you a break and some privacy. You may then be better able to manage their visits.

quizqueen Wed 24-Jul-19 18:58:59

The gifts sound quite nice actually but you should have stood your ground and told her that YOU were going to make his first birthday cake. How is she supposed to know otherwise if it's a family tradition! If your MIL is taking control, it is because you are letting her.

I wouldn't expect family guests to cook a meal if they were staying with me and, when/if you visit them, I expect they will provide all the catering, but you don't have to wait on them all day long. Just tell them to go and make a drink/sandwich for themselves if you're busy with the children or ask if they would help clear things away so you can feed the baby.

It would be fair if your husband took a week off work to help entertain his parents though. There is no reason why he shouldn't want to as, presumably, he's happy to have them over. However, in general, I think you are making problems for yourself by not telling them who is charge of your children and how things are going to be done with them, and you are just complaining because they have to cram in as much as possible of seeing their grandchildren for 10 days ( a year maybe or even less?- how sad for them).

Hetty58 Wed 24-Jul-19 19:15:44

My own mother never took any real interest in my children. She'd criticize their behaviour and how they were dressed, tell them off and demand silence. She always wanted to be the centre of attention, really didn't like children and made no attempt to disguise it. She'd give token little cheap birthday presents when they were small, then just a card. Dad was kind but did as he was told.

Of course, the kids didn't like visits or visiting, infrequent as they were. I'd much rather they had indulgent (if interfering/overbearing) grandparents. Count your blessings!

sharon103 Wed 24-Jul-19 19:21:55

Bite the bullet, you've got 4 days left. As for the expensive toys and shoes, I would have said that would be nice but you don't have the money and the children grow out of them so quickly. I agree with quizqueen in that I would have expected your husband to have time off of work to be with or take out his parents. Any criticism although very annoying, I would let it go in one ear and out the other. At least they're not living around the corner. Has the birthday cake been baked yet? If not make one together.

GoodMama Wed 24-Jul-19 20:59:15

I’m so sorry, what a terrible woman. Unfortunately ok this board you are likely to hear all about how you must put up with it and that her intentions are good.

Here’s the thing, you don’t have to put up with this and her intentions are not good.

To begin, never ever have them visit without your husband being home 24/7. His mother can not be respectful of you in your home so she needs to be babysat by him. He is active and engaged with her the whole time. He leaves the room, you and the kids do too.

He’s at work because he doesn’t like her or her company. That’s not fair to you.

Now, I as soon as she leaves I would gather up the “gifts” and donate them to a good cause. You don’t want them in your home. They will make you angry and you don’t deserve a removed of this horrible woman in tourney home for months.

You husband tells her as soon as he gets home that she is a guest will not be making you holds birthday cake. If she does, it’s set aside until he comes home and HE throws it out.

She cane take care of your children like you like of she doesn’t take care of them. You are the mom. She is not. She doesn’t get to make ANY decisions about how to care for your children.

Next time she visits she stays in a hotel. She comes over when your husband is home and is available to visit with her.

She is a horrible woman who is being incredibly rude and disrespectful to you in your home I’m front of your children.

Anyone who tells you to grit it out or be grateful is just like her- don’t listen to them.

Hugs to you!

SueDonim Wed 24-Jul-19 21:26:11

It seems that the cake is what is irritating you the most, which is most understandable, as a first birthday is very special. Cakes are quite delicate and accidents can easily occur, such as being dropped, preferably not on a carpet. wink Luckily, you'll have one you made yourself ready to bring out!

The clothes & shoes etc, I think I'd accept. They may not be what you'd buy or use (does a one year old even need shoes, especially ones that can't have been properly fitted?) but someone else may be glad to have them or a charity shop would take them.

Your dh needs to step up to the plate and take some responsibility for his parents but I think with only four days to go, you may need to just grit your teeth and count the hours.

You can tell them they'll need to get a hotel next time as with two children in the house you'll have absolutely no room for guests.

Good luck.

Nmmaikra Wed 24-Jul-19 21:36:20

Well she unpacked the ingredients for his cake with his gifts and told me she was going to make it. It's a "tradition" because she made it for HER son...key word being her. So why am I not allowed the same opportunity to make my own tradition with MY son?

I guess I view help in a differeny way because my parents live 12 hours away and when my mom visits ofc she spends time with my son but she is not intrusive on his nap times or how much he eats. She often prepared meals for us because she knows we have our hands full with the 2 boys and it is nice to have that break...

GoodMama Wed 24-Jul-19 21:47:12

Well, my most is filled with typos, hope it's still clear. I understand how upset you are and you absolutely can and should stand up for yourself.

Be firm when you discuss with you DH. You are not asking him or suggesting to him. You are telling him. His reaction will tell you a lot. His mother may very likely come between you two for a while if he's not able to stand up to her, and I'm not sure he is since he's hiding at work when she visits.

Posters on this site often say they have no idea what happened between them and their DIL. Suddenly, with no warning, they were put on low contact and then cut off from their son and his family. I hope you post hits home with many of them. This is why. This type of behavior is the root cause. And here, many of these posters are defending her and telling you to suck it up. This is why!

Imagine if the tables were turned and you went to stay in her house for 10 days. You went to the guest room she had prepared, stripped the bed and remade it with sheets brought you brought. Then you sat her down and explained why your sheets are so much healthier and better than what she provided.

Imagine she then provided lunch for your family. You get up, and bring groceries into the house to make a "healthy and nutritious lunch "for everyone, explaining to her and FIL along the way why your food was better for everyone than the food she had prepared and was sitting on the table.

Imagine the reason you were visiting was to celebrate MIL and FIL 50th wedding anniversary. Every year MIL re-creates the top layer of their wedding cake, complete with bride and groom figurines on top. But this year, you announce you will be making the dessert to celebrate and you've decided to make cheesecake.

The heads on this board would EXPLODE with anger for the MIL. And they should, you would be terrible rude and entitled and an awful guest.

So take all of that into consideration.

Talk with your husband. Tell him how its going to be. This is his mother.
-Ideally he takes the next 4 days off work to spend with her OR she moves to a hotel, if not, then you and the kids need some "plans" so you can get out of the house and get a break.
She can go sightseeing
-It's a NO to her being involved in the birthday cake. No separate cake when she leaves (she learns NO lesson that way), no baking it together (she's not capable yet of sharing).
-Deal with the "gifts" after she leaves. But, still. Donate them, don't keep them. They will just build the resentment.
-Next visit she stays in a hotel
-Next visit DH is to never leave her alone with you, ever.
-Next visit is a loooonnnnggg way away
-If you get any pushback form DH at all, it's couples counseling for you both.

OP, explain to your DH that this moment is very important. If this continues then someday, somewhere down the road one of two things will happen - you will get divorced or your family will go no-contact with his mother.

OR he can step up, manage her and save the relationship. She needs to be managed.

Nmmaikra Wed 24-Jul-19 21:47:31

The gifts are appreciated and gratitude is ofc given but we cannot help but feel judged for not getting the same for our son because of the negative comments they say.

And why do they feel the need to point out if it's all leather or organic cotton or cashmire? If not to make us feel inadequate is it just to simply brag?

SueDonim Wed 24-Jul-19 21:49:42

Nmmaikra you don't need to be 'allowed' to make you son's cake. You don't need permission, you just get on and do it! She can't stop you using your own kitchen.

Nmmaikra Wed 24-Jul-19 21:52:32

Well she made her cake and I made mine. It still stings a little though.

SueDonim Wed 24-Jul-19 21:55:46

Yes, it's bragging. They're trying to convince themselves they're the perfect grandparents. It's all about them.

It isn't money or things that matter to children, it's the care and love they receive. When your son is 18yo he won't look back and think 'Thank goodness Grandma & Grandpa bought me leather shoes and organic cotton clothes.' He'll think 'I've been so lucky to have had loving and caring parents.'

SueDonim Wed 24-Jul-19 21:56:48

That other cake is going to have an accident, Nmmaikra, I just know it is!

Nmmaikra Wed 24-Jul-19 21:59:28

Thank you so much for your reply. It really put things in perspective.

And I laughed out loud because they had actually brought their own sheets and told me to not bother fixing their bed because they had their own.

I am left picking up after their lunch while they hog my children from me and I am left missing my children. I am more than gracious to share especially because I realize it must be hard living so far away but for the child's sake he needs his real mother...he barely knows them. It breaks my heart when they cry and I'm not allowed to comfort them because they do it. I finally stood my ground last night and demanded I put my son to bed at 8pm after having him not sleep for 2 nights in a row because they skip his naps and he gets overtired or because they try to put him to bed when he is used to me putting him to bed.

I'm most definitely afraid of divorce over this, as they have always been the only thing we ever truly fight about.