July 10, 2020, 12:08:34 am


"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

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Messages - NewMama

In that particular thread, the DIL did as her DH asked, and now the DIL is the one who is getting the chilly reception, not the son. She's actually trying to keep her MIL in the loop, and getting no interest. The son made the mess, and the DIL is paying for it. She's making the effort so many MILs have said they wished they'd get from their DILs.

Personally, I think if anyone takes the time to acknowledge anything significant in my life, I'm not going to criticise their method of doing it. My mother passed away last summer from a sudden illness, she was only 61 and my DB and I had to make the horrible decision to take her off life support. I got support and condolence messages all kinds of way - cards, texts, Facebook messages, e-mails, phone calls, and I was grateful for the outpouring of support we got. Same thing if that's how someone chooses to keep me in the loop. They thought of me enough to keep me in the loop. I was notified at 4am via text that my niece was born. I got immediate notification with a picture, and was just happy for my DB and SIL and excited to meet her.

It might be a generational thing, but it's the reality of the day and it might overlook someone's genuine concern and intentions to dismiss anything electronic.

Ladybreck, I really, really think you need to just take a step back and a breather from this.

I think a good rule in life is to never issue an ultimatum you aren't 100% prepared to follow through on. Do you really want to move away? Or are you hoping your DS is going to come groveling back to you? Are you really prepared to hear that he might say "ok, see you later then"? You admit you are "trying to hit a nerve" with him but what if that doesn't happen? What if he doesn't respond at all?

And what will that do the relationship with your other DS? The message you would be sending to him and his family is that they are less important than his brother's, and not worth sticking around for. You say you have a good relationship with your other DS and DIL, and I would hate to see that thrown under the bus because things aren't going well with with your other DS. And what about your husband? It seems like he has a good relationship with the other grandchild(ren), are you really willing to sacrifice that too? Does he want to move?

I don't know their side, but from what you posted, you knowingly violated their trust, they called you on it, and now are angry they're holding you accountable for it. You said you apologized, but I would echo what the above poster said - was it a true apology, with no excuses? No "I'm sorry, but...."?

Ultimatums rarely work and usually end up having the opposite intended effect.
I'm willing to bet that if after that much time you haven't developed a close friendship with your SIL, that it's not going to happen. Is she polite and respectful to you, but just not close? You admit you had expectations for her, but she has no obligation to fill them. There is nothing you can do to make someone have a close relationship with you if they are not interested.

My answer would be to focus on your relationship with your brother and leave your SIL out of it. If he wants a closer relationship between you, your FOO and his family, it's his job to make that happen and maintain it. It's also entirely possible he's ok with the way things are, and pushing him or her for more may backfire. My MIL wants a lot more of our time than my DH is willing to give even though he knows she's not happy about it (and I get the blame for it). Her being pushy about didn't do the relationship between her and myself any favours.

I have a good, but not close, relationship with my SIL. I am and always have been open to having a closer relationship with her, but I know that it has to happen organically, and neither side pushing it will help. We recently suffered a family tragedy, and I can say I've gotten much closer to my brother and his family as a result, but it's through my brother that that has happened, not my SIL. He is happy, and she is supportive of him, a great mother to their kids, polite and respectful to our family, and that's really all I could ask for.
This is my take (I am an AC, my children are little):

I get why you want to help him, but the reality is they will never learn to manage money if you are bailing him out. It's kind of a "begin as you mean to go on" type of thing in my eyes. Be prepared that they are going to look to you to bail out their financial problems over and over again instead of learning how to cope with them. If they can't afford their own bills, then they can't afford DIL's mother's either. But that's something he needs to take up with his wife. Giving them money will just be a temporary bandaid.
Just because she tells you that you have to do this or that with your house, or is buying things for it that you didn't ask for or want, doesn't mean you have to listen to her or use the items.

I get these sense that you are trying very hard to get along with your MIL. But there comes a point where you a bending a bit too much to try to get along with her. I'm not saying you shouldn't be putting effort into that relationship, but eventually resentment sets in, and long term that is not good for your relationship with her. That was one thing I tried very hard to get my DH to understand, that each individual thing looked small, but after months and years of biting my tongue I was getting resentful that nothing was being dealt with and eventually I was probably going to lose it at his mom over something stupid. And there would probably be no going back.

It took a while to get my DH to understand. Recently we had a situation where my MIL took it upon herself to deal with a home reno we need to have done. I was livid, my DH told me he that although he didn't think it was that big of a deal, he understood that I did and since it made me deeply uncomfortable he would tell her we would handle it. I haven't heard a word about it since.

I'm not a MIL, but I just wanted to say a couple things from my own experience.

On not involving your husband - it might actually be better to involve him. He 'speaks the language' of his FOO, and I really think spouses should act as ambassadors between their FOO and spouse. He may be able to help you navigate speaking to your MIL in a way she'd understand. Talking to him about it doesn't mean you're dumping on her. Talking things over with my own DH helped me see that a lot of the big issues I have with MIL are way more about her own personal issues than they are about me.

I've found a good litmus test for whether or not something is worth choosing the battle is if it would bother me if my mom did the same thing. Sometimes I find the answer truly is no, it probably wouldn't and then I know it's a knee jerk reaction because of our somewhat strained relationship. And sometimes the answer is oh yes, and I would've given my own mother an earful had she said/done it.

This part may not be super helpful, but I just wanted to share because this was my experience of trying to make someone feel included when they felt insecure or paranoid about being "the other grandmother". Nothing we did or said was ever enough to squash that insecurity. Not one thing. I did things I was uncomfortable with in order for MIL to feel included, and I wholeheartedly regret it. It was like trying to fill a bottomless pit. Don't do things you are not comfortable with, and begin as you mean to go on.
Honestly, I think your daughter has involved you too much (and that's on her).

I vented to my mom early on in my issues with MIL and it was a mistake. It was an issue between me, DH and MIL, and ours to sort out or cope with. I never should have done it. There's been no major repercussions from it, but it was still wrong.

My mom has never said anything to my MIL or DH about it, but I think there's always a risk when you get in involved that your daughter might pull a "well my mother said...." in these situations. It also changed the way my mom views and interacts with my MIL at family events (she is still nice and polite to her, for the record).

I'd ask too, if you found out your DIL was discussing you with her parents, how would you feel about it?

I think if she brings it up, just reassure her she and her DH will figure it out. I agree with the PP - you can't stay out of the middle AND gently advise her.
What if they didn't want anyone else in the waiting room? Was there a crew of other people there and just not the OP? Or was there no one else there besides who was in the delivery room?

I say this as another introverted person, who also works on an obstetrics unit. The idea of people sitting around in the waiting area while I was in labour made me feel panicked and suffocated well before I even went into labour. When we finally notified everyone of what was going on with ODS (a full 24hrs later after we knew things were happening) we were very clear about we will call when baby is here, don't show up. Everyone respected it. With YDS, no one except my mom knew until after he was born, and that was because she was staying with ODS. If there had of been a way to not tell anyone, I would've done it.

K, I'm a DIL and here's my take.

I'm not arguing whether or not you were intentionally excluded, because I wasn't there, I have no idea. I have however had the experience of a MIL that was determined to believe we were excluding her even when we had no intention of doing so and were doing the best we could to keep her included. We were genuinely trying, and it wasn't enough for her and that was so frustrating. I thought I had a good relationship with my MIL before my older son was born, but things went off the rails shortly there after because of her laser focus on whether or not we were including her. The sweet, accepting woman I thought I knew was behaving like a jealous, competitive, needy lunatic. Things are better now, but that period of time did a tremendous amount of damage to our relationship and it's never been, and probably never will be, the same easy going one that it was. I lost a significant amount of trust in her.

I'm saying this because I think you need to tread carefully with how you deal with the way you're feeling. If they feel pressured, they could pull back even more. Part of the reason I love visiting my dad and SM so much is that they have very full lives, and visiting with them is as much catching up with what they are up to as it is them wanting to see our kids.
Sweeping generalization don't help anyone. Some people here have problem ACs and CILs, some of us have problem MILs. It's the person, not the title.

I'm not interested in competing with my MIL over my DH - I know he loves me, I know he loves her. We have two totally different roles in his life. She is, however, completely interested in competing with me over my kid's affection. And every other grandmother in their lives affection. That is her insecurity issue, not mine.

And I know I've been on the receiving end of the "DIL is calling the shots" stuff from my MIL, and it couldnt' be further from the truth. I think it's sad my MIL thinks so little of DH that he can't have a thought independent of me regarding our family. I also think it's been incredibly frustrating for me and damaging for relationship with her to know I'm being blamed for stuff DH decided 100% on his own - to not visit her, to keep her out of the loop on purpose, and that if was up to him, she never would be invited to family events (birthdays, baptisms, etc).
I think "good MIL" and "good DIL" are relative terms. Someone can be a "good" IL to one person and a "bad" IL to another. Sometimes there's just some level of incompatibility. My MIL always wanted me to just fade into the background when she was around - not go near or look after my kids. That's not my parenting style. I know people who are more than happy to just hand their kid off to grandma whenever she's around. That's their parenting style. It's an incompatibility between us. Those people would be "good DILs" for her. I am not.

In the reverse of what Pooh said, I know that there are things I've done that greatly upset my MIL, but they were done in what I felt was my kids best interests (especially with ODS in infancy). Years later, I still feel that way, and would do it again even knowing full well the damage it's caused our relationship. Incompatibility.

My grandmother had three DILs - she got along with 2, and not at all with the third. Why? Each person had her own values and personality. Some traits made it easy to get along, and in one case, it didn't.
There are MILs and DILs out there who have warm fuzzy relationships and it usually grows organically over time and is dependent on the personalities involved.

I think if your DIL is nice and respectful to you, even if not close, it would be best to just accept that and carry on. You had expectations based on your own experience, but she has no obligations to meet them. And I'd be very careful about going to your son asking if she hates you. If I felt I was being nice and respectful to someone and found out they were asking why I hated them, I'd be inclined to withdraw from that person.

She sounds like she's being supportive of the relationship her DH wants to have with his family, another thing to be happy about. Pushing for more could make things worse.
To answer a couple things: My MIL shuts down when you are direct with her - like literally pretends you are not talking, hangs up the phone, walks away, etc - so asking her how to approach DH is rather pointless. She will not approach him with a problem herself, so there's no advice to offer. She also tells me on a regular basis how perfect DH was as a child, and how not perfect my kids are (Why do they act like that? DH *never* did anything like that. And my favourite "I was more fortunate than you, I didn't work"). So praising her as a mother is not a topic I want to open with her. Message received loud and clear that I am not as good a mother as her.

And Pooh, I have told him point blank. It very much is a DH problem. That not addressing issues damages the relationship between myself and her. DH is of the opinion that MIL will shatter into a thousand pieces if you make her have a bad feeling, and since I'm a 'stronger' person than her, I need to just accept the stuff she does and let her do it. Some day I feel that I'm going to explode over something insignificant and stupid (and I have told DH that as well).
Some of us DILs are in a position of not being allowed to voice anything to our MILs. My DH has told me when I've mentioned an issue to him, that yes MIL shouldn't have said/done that, it's wrong, but we couldn't possibly tell her such a thing. So she has no idea, keeps doing the thing she shouldn't be, and I keep getting madder and madder. She knows something is up, especially after our Christmas visit. But DH won't let me say anything.
Are you 100% positive the stuff she is posting is about you? Facebook is notorious for causing issues in relationships between people because one person read something vague or indirect they believed was about them, come to find out later on  it had nothing to do with them. For already tense relationships, Facebook can be like pouring gasoline on a fire. Unless you've been told, yes that was about you, I'd be careful with assuming everything she posts is directed at you.