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Relationship with in laws (I’m the DIL)

(81 Posts)
Pumpkin82 Sun 07-Nov-21 08:38:49

Hello GNers, I was hoping to pick your brains about how to handle the relationship with my in laws. MN feels a bit cut throat and not very constructive at times, and it’s constructive advice I would like.

I got on OK with the in laws before I had my baby (15 months) but I seem a bit less tolerant now. MIL in particular can say things without consideration for how it may land, and this means that I don’t feel like I want to pop in if we are passing or arrange to catch up myself, so I have stopped doing this and leave it to DH (who isn’t very sociable and doesn’t really bother).

My baby was obviously a covid baby, so they didn’t get to see much of him at various points. I made a point of saying they were welcome to come and see us even if DH was at work when I was on mat leave, I said it a couple of times too. But they only came once with just me and baby.

They aren’t very communicative, they don’t send messages asking how we are, or how their grandchild is doing. I haven’t ever spoken to them on the phone and I think DH has only once since we’ve been together (12 years). As I write this I think to myself, this makes them sound like grandparents who just aren’t very interested perhaps? But then when I went back to work MIL made a point of saying how terrible it was that they wouldn’t be able to just pop in now?!

There was an instance when DS was four months old and we dropped a birthday present on their doorstep and then texted them to say it was there, but DS was really upset so we couldn’t stop. He was awful in the car then and it was so stressful and upsetting for me hearing him cry. But MIL has brought this up several times since in terms of how awful it was that we dropped the present and ran. This is an example of where my nose has been put out of joint really, it’s cheesed me off and doesn’t make me feel very forthcoming. There are other examples too but I am conscious this is getting long already.

The relationship feels awkward and a bit uncomfortable for me. They’ve seen DS maybe five times (live under an hour away), and I don’t feel like they know him. I don’t want to force a relationship, but equally I don’t want to be seen as one of those awful DILs who has cut the in laws off from their son and GC. One of the things I have seen on GN that resonates is posters advising others to develop good relationships with their children/partners as this relationship will significantly impact the one they have with their GC. In that sense, I feel like my in laws aren’t remotely interested in me, and it doesn’t make me feel like I want to go out of my way to offer up the little time we have as a family, to spend with them sad

Has anybody got any suggestions or thoughts as to how to handle this? We haven’t seen them for a while and DH seems to think they won’t be very impressed if we don’t see them soon because they will expect to see us confused

Lucca Sun 07-Nov-21 08:47:24

Has anybody got any suggestions or thoughts as to how to handle this? We haven’t seen them for a while and DH seems to think they won’t be very impressed if we don’t see them soon because they will expect to see us

Well in that case … your husband must sort something out ! He should ring them and make an arrangement. You seem to be doing it right so don’t beat yourself up.

March Sun 07-Nov-21 09:11:15

Put as much effort in as they make with you, 'you' as a person.
You might very well be one of 'those' DILs in their eyes, but so what?
Your husband, their son, is a grown functioning adult who can take his child to see his parents, he just chooses not too.
Which isn't rare and why some DILs get the a bad rep imo.

They haven't made an effort with you as a person and made hurtful comments so of course you're not going to choose to spend time with them. You're coming away from the visit a bit upset.

Don't worry yourself, you put your son first in that situation, that's normal.

MissAdventure Sun 07-Nov-21 09:15:15

All I can say is that it doesn't matter what suggestions any grandparent here has, as they will be wrong.
The experts will be along to tell you that, no doubt, in due course.

CafeAuLait Sun 07-Nov-21 09:23:53

Leave it to your husband to facilitate the relationship with his parents. Your son is so little, if they don't have a relationship with you, it would be very hard indeed for them to have one with your baby. Step back and let your husband do the work. If he doesn't, that's not on you. Why do you think you are responsible for the relationship with his parents?

nanna8 Sun 07-Nov-21 09:25:25

I’m not quite sure what you want. More contact, less contact, more friendliness and love on both sides, a casual relationship, a close relationship?

Lucca Sun 07-Nov-21 09:34:39

MissAdventure

All I can say is that it doesn't matter what suggestions any grandparent here has, as they will be wrong.
The experts will be along to tell you that, no doubt, in due course.

😂

Lucca Sun 07-Nov-21 09:35:36

nanna8

I’m not quite sure what you want. More contact, less contact, more friendliness and love on both sides, a casual relationship, a close relationship?

She possibly just wants to know where she stands and that seems fair enough to me,

ElaineI Sun 07-Nov-21 09:51:06

Can't you just ask them for tea or something? Or to go for a walk in a park and have coffee? Our son and fiancee don't have children so can't comment on the aspect of being a MIL but DD1 and DSiL we contact and they contact us very frequently. We and other grandparents see them at least once a week and do childcare at least once a week. DD2 left her son's father - drugs, abuse, debt, fillth etc when baby was 9 weeks so we were kind of DGS2 other parents. She and baby stayed with us while DH and DSiL were clearing house and making it fit to live in and we see her and DGS2 at least twice a week. One day childcare now he is at nursery. He doesn't see his father just now and other GP live abroad. In your case no point forcing it but an occasional walk or meal might start off a relationship.

25Avalon Sun 07-Nov-21 10:03:27

They are what they are. Uncommunicative and reserved by the sound of it. I don’t think you will ever break that down and have a chummy chummy relationship with them. Of course you feel less tolerant - you have a dear little boy that you love and whilst you may put up with things for yourself you won’t for him.

All you can do is keep trying but if they don’t respond it is not your fault. Really your dh should talk to his parents but he and they seem equally uncommunicative with each other so maybe that was how he was brought up. Ask him. Their relationship or lack of it seems core.

Covid has not helped either - perhaps they have been afraid of the risk to themselves and to baby. Maybe they just don’t find small babies interesting. Once ds is running around and talking etc they may want to be more interactive. Do they have a mobile phone? If you can get them on WhatsApp you could send lots of photos and videos which wouldn’t take too much time but which would involve them. If you could all get together occasionally that would probably help too. Remember there is always a middle path and good luck.

CafeAuLait Sun 07-Nov-21 10:06:19

ElaineI, but why is she responsible for doing that? Why can't the GPs ask to come for a walk, or invite HER for tea? It sounds like OP has reached out and it's not reciprocated. She's clearly tried. Once you've tried, it's okay to step back and leave it to their son (her DH).

Katie59 Sun 07-Nov-21 10:28:12

It rather sounds like the GPs are giving you “space”, either you or your husband need to organize a get together of some kind, a birthday would be ideal.

eazybee Sun 07-Nov-21 10:33:08

What is stopping you from inviting them to your house for a specific occasion, say a meal for a birthday? Many people are not good at just 'dropping in.'

Why could you not make time to actually deliver the birthday present personally? Dropping it off without even saying hello is hurtful.

Your four-month old son was distraught because you couldn't go in, yet he has only seen them five times in his life?
What an odd post.

LovelyCuppa Sun 07-Nov-21 10:37:19

I think every time your husband or inlaws mention not seeing each other enough you need to put in back in their court - just keep repeating "lovely, you and DH must arrange something". Be open to seeing them, but put it back on them to organise. You haven't said anything to suggest they aren't nice people, so hopefully just a bit more making it obvious that they and DH need to be a bit more proactive and it should be solved.

I get this with people at work - they keep telling me what needs to be done, but not doing it!

Farmor15 Sun 07-Nov-21 12:05:41

eazybee - my understanding of OP was that 4 month old was crying in car and they wanted to get home to sort him out as soon as possible. Which is why they didn't stop to go in and give present personally.

VioletSky Sun 07-Nov-21 12:31:22

Pumpkin something has definitely gone wrong here, they seem to have needs when it comes to the relationship but aren't really doing anything themselves to bring you all closer.

Maybe you could sit with your husband and agree how often you would like to see them and then make an effort to make it happen.

Say it was once a month, then every month you and your husband could arrange a Saturday or Sunday that works with your schedule and invite them around for the afternoon and dinner.

If you invite them over and they do mention not seeing you often enough that's an opening for you to arrange a visit to them "when are you free? We would love to come visit".

With MIL making unhelpful comments which is hard to judge as you don't say what they are, as long as you visit with husband, hopefully she won't do that and if she does, he will be there to shut it down.

If it doesn't work out and they don't take up your invitations or say upsetting things and you have to leave, at least you know you tried.

Scones Sun 07-Nov-21 12:31:50

Seems like your husband and his family have a distant an uncomfortable relationship. Your MIL says things that land badly. DH thinks his parents won't be impressed if you don't perform as they expect. They make no effort with you. MIL 'rubbing it in' about dropping the parcel off is a way of making you feel bad and blaming you for lack of contact about which she does nothing - this is a tool for manipulation.

Your husband doesn't feel the need to contact them much and has demonstrated this by his actions over all the years you've been together. This distance and friction is obviously the pattern of their lives. You shouldn't feel that you're the DIL who has cut your son off from his grandparents because you're not. It's just the way things are in your husband's family.

You can't make a relationship with people who are incapable or unwilling. I spent decades wanting things to be 'nice' with some members of my family, but it wasn't what they wanted or were able to give. I only felt free from doing more than my share of the running once they'd died and, please forgive me, the relief was intense. I wish I'd let it drift many years before as every effort I made to make it nice was a moment of my life wasted.

You, DH and your dear new baby seem a happy, solid little unit. You've been welcoming to your laws and have left the door open for them.... if they choose not to walk through it then that is up to them.

DiscoDancer1975 Sun 07-Nov-21 12:40:44

There’s lots of us who would have welcomed the in laws not bothering to be honest. Most people...when they have problems with the husband’s mother, as it so often is....it’s too much involvement and interference.

I always think the adults in the situation don’t matter, whatever the problem. Your child and his welfare are paramount.

Let your husband sort them out. They are his parents. If he can’t be bothered, why should you?

MercuryQueen Sun 07-Nov-21 12:53:01

If your husband feels like his parents have expectations to meet, then he should make the effort to do so.

I don’t understand why this is all on you.

mumofmadboys Sun 07-Nov-21 12:58:42

Could you consciously think to show a kindness to them once a week or once a fortnight? Such as drop in, phone them, send a friendly text or a photo/ video of your DS, invite them for a meal, ask if you can drop in? Perhaps family relationships just need oiling a bit ? Hole things improve for you.

chris8888 Sun 07-Nov-21 12:59:59

I would keep contact to say once every 3 months just so your child knows who the grand parents are. It is so easy to see what people are not doing and honestly life is too short.

ElaineI Sun 07-Nov-21 13:12:43

Cafe not saying her responsibility but someone has to make first move. Should be her husband but maybe he won't. If that was rebuffed then just leave it. Life is too short!
As for dropping things off, we have had to do this and had things dropped off on our doorstep for Covid regulations - different counties, different rules. No one got offended as it was the current rules.

Hithere Sun 07-Nov-21 14:06:52

How often does your dh call your parents? Makes plans to meet them?

Let dh coordinate the relationship with his parents.
You drop the rope

Lucca Sun 07-Nov-21 14:09:12

eazybee

What is stopping you from inviting them to your house for a specific occasion, say a meal for a birthday? Many people are not good at just 'dropping in.'

Why could you not make time to actually deliver the birthday present personally? Dropping it off without even saying hello is hurtful.

Your four-month old son was distraught because you couldn't go in, yet he has only seen them five times in his life?
What an odd post.

I thought they couldn’t go in because child was distraught…..not other way round !!

Morpeth78 Sun 07-Nov-21 14:23:49

I had the mother- in - law from hell. Google: My House; A memoir