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MIL Competitiveness with Mom

Started by AnonymousDIL, February 10, 2011, 11:25:54 am

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Hi, MIL's.

I wanted to ask you all a question. Why are so many MIL's out there "jealous" of the amount of time that their sons spend with their DIL's family?

We bought a house in what is the midpoint for our two jobs. DH's is about an hour the one way and mine is 45 minutes in the opposite direction. This is also where we could afford to buy a house.

This puts us less than 5 minutes from my Mom and about 75 minutes from DH's Family. My MIL is constantly going on about how we spend so much time with my mother, but never spend time with her. I want to point out that this is not true at all. In fact, while I will occassionally see my mother on nights that DH is working, as a couple we rarely ever see her.

So, why is she being so "competitive" over who we spend more time with?

She also made a big issue because we got together with DH's brother who just purchased a home without her. Why is that a big deal? BIL is our age and our Friend.


Reality is that woman handle the social calendars of their families and they do so pretty much across the board regardless of culture.  It is difficult for the mother's of sons to accept this reality after their sons marry because it is now the dil that handles the scheduling of visits and most dil's naturally want to spend more time with their own families.  This tendency because exascerbated when the dil does not feel comfortable or welcome in her husband's family.  The MIL's see the natural pulling away and they resent it.  What a lot of MIL's don't recognize is that a lot of times the reason the dils don't feel comfortable/welcome in the husband's family is because of things the MIL or other family members said or did.  This isn't always the case.  Sometimes, they just don't see eye to eye, but in the end the consequence is the same -- the DIL wants to spend more time with her family and has tendency to do just that.  It becomes even more obvious when children come along.  Ironically, a lot of mothers don't realize it but they tend to favor their daughters children over their sons simply because they are closer to their daughters then there dils.  It is just a natural human instinct.


My MIL lives very far away from me, and I do live close to my parents.

I think it's the unknown. I think when we're not with MIL, there is an assumption that I'm with my mom. Actually, I haven't seen my mom since before the New Year...and I saw MIL on the New Year. My GPs have this ridiculous rule that I see them every week, and my parents are very laid back. I might see them once a month for an hour or two.

I see MIL just about every 6 weeks for 2-3 days. By sheer volume of time, she's the clear winner. Yet she insists that she isn't, and if she sees my mom in passing, she says, "But you get so much more time with GD than I do, it's just not fair."

I finally got her to answer the phone about baby photos this week (by blocking my number). The first thing she says is, "Well, I assume you asked your family first, what photos are they getting, are we getting leftovers?" I said, "I didn't ask them first, I'm not asking them at all, they're getting the photos I give them."

I think my MIL has this vision of being with her DS and GKs all the time. I think that b/c that isn't possible, she has created this other imaginary situation where my mom is with her DS and GKs all the time. Nothing could be further from the truth, I couldn't tolerate either of those.


My DIL's MIL lives about the same distance as we do.  We try and make a point of seeing our granddaughter every weekend.  Daughter and SIL both work, so we do not even try to get in their business during the week.  We always call and ask if we can come see the baby.  So far, they've not said no.  In fact a couple of times they invite us to either eat lunch or dinner with them.  Somethimes we do, sometimes we don't.  We invite them over to visit us as often as they will come.

His mother, on the other hand, has not seen the baby but once or twice since they brought her home in October.  So, really there's no competition at all between the two moms. 


FooFoo, your post makes a lot of sense. I know that I'd rather not be around MIL and her family because they definitely don't make me feel welcome. I've been told that I am not part of the family and never will be. So yeah, don't really want to go there lol

But, on another note, I guess DH and I are more progressive or something because we usually make the plans together, or he makes them. If I am making plans with my mom they usually don't involve DH.

But I guess I can understand why MIL would assume this. I guess it would just be nice that instead of being all competitive, MIL should just call DH (trust me she knows the number called him 77 times in our first month of marraige. 77!) and we can work her in as soon as possible. She also likes to do the last minute plans and we are usually busy. I guess she assumes that we are with my family when in actuality we are usually with DH's friends.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.... how can we illuminate this for MIL? We already told her that it isn't the case.

And Why does she want to be invited when we are hanging out with friends? Wouldn't that be awkward for her? I mean she is 30+ years older than our friends.



I don't think that's natural human instinct, it might be a societal norm. If it is a societal norm, I think society needs to take a look at itself and fix the issue.

I'm not shocked that no one has a problem with their son-in-law. I don't think it's a prima facie gender issue either; it is more complex than that. There's a stereotype that women naturally do not get a long with one another (false, just look at the bonds formed here), are caddy, vindictive and passive-aggressive. I think that stereotype is so persistent that myth sometimes becomes reality. It's not really true that women like to fight with one another. I think it's become such an expectation that is easier for women to play along with that stereotype (or apply it to other women) than it is to fight against it.

Many women I know are distrusting of other women, and they have no reason to be. I think that stereotype is enforced as a way of dividing women and keeping them from asking for 100% equality with men on a global level.

I read somewhere that when you give someone crumbs, that is exactly what they'll fight for. One of the worst sayings I know of is, "She wears the pants at home." When we keep telling women they're the boss at home (but no place else), we're essentially telling them that's where they belong. When there's things you don't have control over, you do fight for control over what you've been given: in many cases, thats your family.

Until then, I expect this in-family-fighting between women (Mom and Daughter, MIL and DIL) isn't going to go away. I suspect that we've been taught to point the finger at other women a little too easily. That's why it's our daughter that's the issue and not the SIL, it's our MIL that's the problem and not DH, it's our DIL that's the issue and not DS.

I'm getting off my soapbox now; my point was I just don't think there's anything natural about this, nor do I think it's across all cultures. I think this all too common rift between women says a lot more about our society than it does about us as individuals.


Quote from: AnonymousDIL on February 10, 2011, 12:27:25 pm
I know that I'd rather not be around MIL and her family because they definitely don't make me feel welcome. I've been told that I am not part of the family and never will be. So yeah, don't really want to go there lol

I'm not sure you wanted anything more then validation for your original stance...
Something else I don't quite understand are these two statments: I guess it just never occurred that she would have liked to have been invited over to the new house family gathering as well.  I think you are conveniently not seeing what you choose not to see.
QuoteShe also made a big issue because we got together with DH's brother who just purchased a home without her. Why is that a big deal? BIL is our age and our Friend.
QuoteAnd Why does she want to be invited when we are hanging out with friends? Wouldn't that be awkward for her? I mean she is 30+ years older than our friends.


This wasn't the "house warming" party. We were all at that. I just wanted it to be clear that BIL no longer lives at home. She got into a tizzy over it. I don't understand what the big deal is over us getting together with BIL wothout her. It's not like she is married to him. She's his mother.

My brother and I get together all the time without our mom. In fact it is only on holidays that all of us are together.

I just don't understand why she must be included in every single plan we ever make. She had a fit because we had friends over New Year's Eve and she wasn't invited. It wasn't a "family" kinda party.

It isn't about validation. I want an explanation as to why she feels Entitled to be the center of our lives. Can you explain that?

It's not like she doesn't still have 2 children and a husband at home.


Well seeing how none of us are in your life.. nor are we specialist.. chances are you are not going to get any absolute answers here.  I'm just trying to follow your postings.. first you said that it was a get together in a bil new house now you come back and say that this wasn't a house warming... It's hard enough to follow without having to read between the lines.

The real question is.. what can you do to find more balance in your life.. not why does mil do this.


My apologies for any gaps in information. Sometimes my brain thinks faster than my fingers can type. Sorry for the confusion.

What am I supposed to be balancing? I am confused.


Are we to assume that you want  your mil in your life?  Or are you ready for her to fall under some rock?


I think you are not going to get an explaination from any of the MILs here, because I am confident in that the ones here would all say your MIL is being unreasonable.  And she is.  She shouldn't expect to be going everywhere with you and DH.

I personally am not "jealous" of the time my DS/DIL spend with her FOO.  I am hurt.  I fully expect my DIL to spend more time with her Mother.  I also know they live closer to her family and it would be a given they would see them more because of geography.  But when I see my DIL/DS only spending their holidays with them, birthdays, family reunions, etc. and they can never do any of those things with you because they are "busy", it is hurtful.

And I did pause when I read your last sentence "It's not like she still doesn't have 2 children and a hubby at home."  That is like saying, "I don't know why she is upset about losing a finger, she has nine more."  Just because a child marries and leaves home, doesn't mean you love them any less than the ones still there.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


She's my husband's mother. For that reason alone, I love her. She should be a Part of our life-- not the whole thing.

I understand that she is "hurt." We really do see her a lot more than my mom. She gets her fair share of the holidays (more than her fair share and she stills complains about it). We get together with her and family on Mother's Day, Father's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, G-pa's B-day, G-ma's B-day, G-parents anniversary, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve.

We told them we are cutting back July 4th (the fireworks are set off practically in our backyard so we want to have friends over), Mother's Day (we can see her on Saturday, but my mom is the only parent still living so I think she should get priority), Every other Labor/Memorial Day (so we can see my extended family. So she will still have 8 a year. She wants Christmas Day too! Really? Is there no pleasing her? :-(


No it doesn't sound like there is.  And all those holidays?  That is asking alot.  I would never even dream that my DS would spend all those holidays with us.  I don't have a schedule, but I would like to see them for the big holidays, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day and Christmas.  It doesn't even have to be on the exact day, just around them somewhere.  And a call on my birthday would be nice.  And I would like to be invited to go out to dinner sometime, or to see their new house they bought last May.  And an occasional phone call once every couple of months to say, "Hey, how's everyone?"  Maybe a family reunion every once in a while.  So I guess that's about 4 times in a year with 7 phone calls in a year.  And that's only because we live an hour from them that I say that much.  If they were further away, a couple of times a year, with shared traveling and still a few calls.  And every bit of that is negotiable.  ;D

I am not sure I understand your line about your Mom is the only parent still living?  I am assuming you mean your only parent still living?  And if I am assuming correctly, I don't see where either Mom should get priority.  I think it should be based on what's easier for you guys and geography and what works for you and DH.  I would be fine with my DS saying, "Mom, can we celebrate with you and see you for Mother's day on XXX day instead of actual Mother's Day?"  And the answer would be yes whatever works for you guys and I am just grateful you are thinking about me.  But if my DS told me that I got Saturday because DIL's Mom gets priority, sure I would be hurt to think they thought DILs Mom was more important.  Just as DS would be hurt if I said his brother was more important.

So I am hoping I misunderstood what you were saying.  Can you explain what you meant so I can understand?
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Is it possible that you also look at this as a form of competition? I'm not trying to pick apart your postings but an obligation love isn't what I would really chose with my dil. I know you stated that  you really don't like going over to her house, is there anything that will change the way you look at your time with her?

I know some moms can be clingy, some may feel the need to have everyone gather around. But like Pooh said, sometimes it just hurts.  I see very little of my own son.. I don't think it's because my dil doesn't like me I think it's because she feels a unnatural need to be with her parents constantly. I feel that while it's not a competition, the time we get to spend with our child is very very lopsided... sad part is, this bothers my son too. Because of this I see a conflict within their own relationship.  My son isn't happy because all of his free time is spent with her FOO, he has a breaking relationship with his own FOO which has him concerned... He doesn't want to be in the middle of a tugging match over holidays which it's become even if we don't say a word because he knows that his wife is not being fair to him and his family as well.  Unfortunately who they are not being fair to is each other.. finally this year they went on a Christmas cruise and had a blast..

I don't think I'd spell out a whole calendar year worth of events to be divvied up.  You may be setting yourself up for failure before it happens.  Not knowing your MIL, I would attempt to address the issue as it is and explain that a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress being thrust upon everyone. Can't you let life be a little more spontaneous ... mil may not like this  one bit, but you will have set your boundaries and not having every holiday written in stone may be a good starting point.