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MIL Competitiveness with Mom

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

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holliberri

Laurie,

At least in my situation, I feel like I've been made very aware that is, indeed, a competition. It's hard not to look at it like that when someone keeps reminding me of it. My mother has even told me that she doesn't want to come over at all b/c she isn't comfortable with my MIL pointing out the time we spent together and turning it into a battle. I know this isn't every case, but geez, sometimes it sounds like MIL wants it to be one.

I also think arrangements of any kind over the holidays are doomed for failure. Case in point: we were alternating every other year, which sounds totally manageable. But, Italy got in the way. I could not justify $3000 worth of airline tickets for some Christmas carols and eggnog (with no alcohol) for every year that we lived there. Then, moving got in the way; then deployments. In 7 years, we've spent 2 holidays with his parents and 2 with mine (1 of which was a combo of both our families). We're failing miserably at this every other year thing from all angles.. Life just gets in the way, and sometimes what is best for you...isn't best for the ILs or the FOOs. I can't imagine planning a whole year like this. I also really wish both of our families would adjust to just b/c it's not exactly Dec. 25th, doesn't mean we can't still celebrate Christmas.

I know I gripe about my MIL calling me on Dec. 26th to see what our plans are for the following Christmas, but at least it's not etched in stone, and DH and I both have gotten adept at "We'll see." The every other holiday thing really just created a lot of unnecessary stress in our marriage mostly. Yes, the ILs and FOO were hurt, but the ones suffering most were DH and I. It hurts when you can't meet up with family as it is, it hurts even more when it became an absolute minimum standard that you didn't meet.

AnonymousDIL

Just to clear the record, I would never EVER dream of telling my MIL that she is less important to us than my mother, because that is simply not true. She's just a little Hmmm..... "tougher" to deal with than my mom lol.....

Pooh, my dad was killed two days before my 18th b-day. It was really hard on my mom (and my brother and I), we were getting to the age where we were getting out and doing things more on our own at that point. She kinda "checked out" for a while when my dad died. (didn't eat, sleep, talk that sort of thing). So, when we started dating etc. Mom, Brother, and I didn't do the "holidays" for a long time just because she couldn't handle them. So, naturally, our BF and GF's families came first for the holidays. As a result, my mom kinda got slighted and put on the back burner. She has moved on now (still hurts when she thinks about him), but she has a new BF and is finally happy and able to do the holidays again. So, I just want to make sure that she doesn't get put on the back burner again. She isn't vocal about it, but I know it bothers her.

Additionally, my mom will probably get the day before Mother's Day anyway because it usually works better for her. I guess I just feel frustrated that MIL basically demands all these holidays with no consideration for my family. :-( We also see them on FIL/MIL/SIL/BIL1/BIL2's b-days too.

And as far as calls. LOL The first month we were married she called 77 (yes, seventy-seven) times LOL.... Well, that was just a little bit much. And they were all hours of the day. We didn't tell her anything like "Don't call us at all" or anything like that just please don't call after 9:00 because we have a little time just the two of us before we go to bed. I know it ticked her off because the next month there were only maybe a dozen calls. But she does still text a lot (not with me very often), but with DH a lot.

And yes, maybe I'm the one looking at it as more of a competition (but she HAS made that statement that "You'll be closer to DIL's mom and forget about me.") because she is so much more demanding than my mom. My mom is the complete opposite and rarely speaks up for herself. Funny thing is, MIL is being so demanding so she doesn't "lose" her son, but it is actually making him pull away even more. If she just calmed down a little and let us be some , we would actually go see her more.

So, how can we explain to her in a nice way that she isn't being forgotten or replaced or ignored, that we are just busy, and on a learning cureve because this is our first year of marraige.?

luise.volta

Asking "why" is a lost cause. That's how she is and it's best not to "clutter it up wit logic."
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

AnonymousDIL

Holli,

I think that is just it. This particular generation of MIL's (not to offend anyone over age or anything) have a tougher time getting the whole "life getting in the way" thing. There are a lot more things to get in the way. Both DH and I work. He works really looooooong hours. And well, I guess I'm selfish, but since I don't really get to see him during the week, I don't really want to share my time on the weekends. Every second I spend with him is soooo precious. I'm sure I'll change after we've been married a few years lol

But then, kids come along, and soccer practice, and band, and God only knows what else. There really isn't just a lot of "spare time."


:-\ I'm not good with the unanswered "why's" But you're right. I'm over analyzing this and there is no way for me to figure her out because she doesn't think like I do.

luise.volta

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

LaurieS

True.. why hardly matters.

Like Holli's situation, some people are just harder to reason with that is where you set your boundaries.. No calls after 9? Don't answer the phones, why is dh texting her back thus engaging in a conversation.. if you two stand united you'll have a better chance at positive change, but right now she sees you concerning phone calls as nothing more then a barrier that she needs to go around.  If she can steer around you for one situation, she'll do it for all, if she is of the mind to do so.

To me the key is for both you and  your dh to be on the same page.  It's no different then a child playing one parent off the other to achieve the desired goal.... you'll stand together then so you might has well learn it now. 

I'm not saying that there aren't times that you just simply need to stand firm and 'just say no'.. but once again if you two are together then it's much easier to say.. no this does not work for us... no we were planning on doing something else this year but thought that we'd get together with you guys before or after, whatever might work for everyone. Setting up a calendar means that you are obligating yourself, as you said.. life happens.. the calendar/stone things doesn't always work.

I know that Holli had a situation last week that started when her dh innocently said.. yeah mom that sounds possible.. instead of hmm let me and Holli talk it over and get back with you.

If someone has approached the situation as a battle and view the final result as a win.... then yes they are going to try it again.. and again.. they will toss that trump card out there before you can finish a sentence. Holli's mil crying is a prime example.. while she might be a more sensitive person, she is also aware that it works.

With you Adil, I think the starting point is between you and your husband.... but you do need to remove some of the ways you approach the subject.. try to remove phases from your heart that start with, "She's my husband's mother. For that reason alone, I love her." and maybe one day you can change it to .. "yes I love her, and she is my husband's mother".. positive thoughts sometimes bring more positive results.

Holli.. you just need to tell your mil to grow up for pete's sake :)

LaurieS

Quote from: AnonymousDIL on February 10, 2011, 04:13:10 pm
Holli,

I think that is just it. This particular generation of MIL's (not to offend anyone over age or anything) have a tougher time getting the whole "life getting in the way" thing. There are a lot more things to get in the way. Both DH and I work. He works really looooooong hours. And well, I guess I'm selfish, but since I don't really get to see him during the week, I don't really want to share my time on the weekends. Every second I spend with him is soooo precious. I'm sure I'll change after we've been married a few years lol

But then, kids come along, and soccer practice, and band, and God only knows what else. There really isn't just a lot of "spare time."

I think a lot of moms do get it.. not many of us got to retire at 45 or 50.. ok I did but that's because I'm kinda lazy :) 

I had a blast when I was first married especially before kids came into the picture.. I can sure remember that and I think most of us can.  Only speaking for myself.. I still want to know that I'm an important part of my children's lives,, that  they still think about me occasionally and enjoy the time that we spend together.  I was fun while they were growing up, and I hope they think I'm still fun... maybe a bit more limited but enjoyable.

Dealing with insecure adults may be a part of yours and Holli's issues... oh but I'm thrilled to hear that your mom has found something to bring her happiness again.. loosing her husband, had to be devastating.

AnonymousDIL

Quote from: Laurie on February 10, 2011, 04:33:41 pm
try to remove phases from your heart that start with, "She's my husband's mother. For that reason alone, I love her." and maybe one day you can change it to .. "yes I love her, and she is my husband's mother"..


;D I hope that someday that will happen. lol

At least DH and I are on the same page already. He doesn't answer the phone or return texts (other than for his work as he is on call 24/7) after 9:00. You are right. If we aren't united she will cause us to fight and that is not a good thing. Peace and tranquility, that's all I want.


And I do feel for MIL, she isn't "thought of" in our house as aften as she'd like. We are newly weds and still getting to know one another and enjoy our time together. So, when we are together (doesn't seem like that is very often with all the hours DH works), she really is the last thing we are thinking of. I'm sure that will change in time. I'm really not "replacing" her. I hope she understands that.

luise.volta

How wonderful it would be if we could all get that n one can ever replace anyone. Can't be done.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

holliberri

ADil (I like that abbreviation, I think I'll use it myself!),

I am so sorry about your Dad. I am happy that your Mom has found some peace somehow.

Pen

ADIL, only you know what is truly in your heart.

A little BG on some of us MILs: When DILs find this site they often say, "No one would suddenly cut off their ILs for no reason." Yet it's happened to quite a few of us, me included. It made me feel as if DIL had an agenda all along and had no intention of becoming a part of our family but that our DS would become a part of her FOO exclusively. If you can put yourself in another's place for a minute, I think you can see how hurtful, confusing and shocking that must be to DS's family.

I understand busy schedules; things haven't changed that much since we were schlepping the kids around to school, lessons, sports and other activities as well as working full-time and going to school at night. I also understand that DIL is more comfortable around her own FOO because we're more comfortable around DS than we are around DIL. What I don't understand is the attitude that we spawned DS and now we should disappear.

I'm sorry about your dad, and I think your mom is very blessed to have a caring daughter like you. May your mom's love for you and your love for your mom inspire you to understand how much we MILs love our sons & they us.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Nana

Dear Anonymous:

It is funny to read how your mil demands time from you.  I never in my wildest dreams dared demand anything from her and yet there was a time that dil didnt want to spend any time with us.  It was hurtful.  I did feel jealous about dil's mother having so much time with them and gc.   Later I saw the light (lol) and realized that it was only natural that she preferred to be with her mom and dad.   Yet, I never said anything to dil.  Did I think it was fair?  Of course not.   Things changed and I know that they spend more time with dil's mother than with me because she babysits 4 days a week and I babysit only on Fridays.  Works for me now.   They all come together for breakfast or lunch on Sundays because they want to and I enjoy my little angels. 

It should of course not be a competition.  Who gets more.  I dont mind anymore.  Now that the family has grown (three children now) I think "Poor dil's mother, it must be tough taking care of three kids 4 weekdays".   I am more relax and do my things and look forward for my Friday's babysitting.   So its funny how I feel more lucky of not having my gc more often because I too have a life. 

The only thing you can do is to speak to your mil about her demands.  You dont have to explain to her that you dont see you mother as often as she thinks.  Dont give her that power.  Just tell her that you do things with friends because that is what young couples do.    Just do make it clear that you do love and care about her.    If she does not understand, you and husband have to set boundaries. 

Good luck
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:
Shakespeare

holliberri

Quote from: Nana on February 11, 2011, 02:59:44 am
You dont have to explain to her that you dont see you mother as often as she thinks.  Dont give her that power. 


I don't know if ADil needed to hear that, but I did.

Nana, I love your photo. Everytime I see it, it makes me smile.

Nana

Thanks Holli
My profile picture?  It is not very clear but I love this picture too.

Love
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:
Shakespeare

Pooh

Thanks Adil for explaining that to me.  I was guessing it was something like that, but I have found that guessing causes 99% of problems, so I wanted to know how you meant that.  I am very sorry about your Dad but very glad your Mother has finally moved on and enjoying life again.

You got excellent advice and just like many of us here, no matter what the situation is, we find that some people are going to act like they are going to act, no matter what we say or do.  It becomes not how can I get him/her to understand, but how can I deal with this person with the least amount of conflict or frustration for ourselves.  And we pray that it doesn't come to the only way to deal with them is to put them in timeout. 

Pen also said exactly what I was going to.  Many of us worked, raised kids, did charities, took care of our house, laundry, sports practices 5 days a week and tons of other stuff, but still managed to see family.  It has never been easy to do all those things, and yes, there were very few opportunities where DH and I got to spend just time with ourselves.  But to me, that is just life and how it goes, and the priorities I set for myself.  I had to work because I liked electricity, I choose to have children so I needed to provide them with opportunities and activities, I am pretty confident that we all liked clean clothes and dishes, and my family and his family were important to me and him.  Throw in that I am a big believer in giving back to your community and it was a recipe for exhaustion. 

My MIL/GMIL did demand we attend certain events, and my Mother was extremely flexible but out of town family were there at certain times.  Did I fall into bed exhausted Christmas night because we had been up since 5 a.m. and attended 4 mandatory events on Christmas after attending 3 on Christmas Eve?  Yes.  Did I dread Christmas every year.  Yes.  It was about showing my family and his family we loved them.  It was about how much my children wanted to see everyone and get presents.  It was about making my family and his family feel important.  It was about participating in family events and exposing my children to their heritage and family stories.  It was so they could look back and say, "I remember all those fun Christmases"  Did I sacrifice myself to be able to do all this?  Absolutely...but the bottom line was, It wasn't about me.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the family members we are having issues with said, "It's not about me."  We would not be here.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell