Author Topic: What do you expect?  (Read 5443 times)

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lilyofthevalley

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What do you expect?
« on: September 02, 2009, 10:12:05 PM »
I am interested in hearing expectations that people have for their SILs and DILs.  Do you/did you expect your DIL to become your friend?  Do/did you expect her to call you/arrange visits/buy gifts?  Do you have the same expectation of your SILs?  Do you have expectations of your SIL that you don't have of your DIL?  Do you expect your child's partner to handle things you don't expect your child to handle?  I'm wondering how our associations with gender affect the responsibilities we assign to our children.

just2baccepted

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 10:28:01 PM »
Oh boy I like this question and can't wait to see the MIL's answers to this.  Thanks Lily

AnnieB

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2009, 03:48:29 AM »
I only have sons so I can't do any comparisons, sorry, between my expectations of a daughter in law and son in law!

I don't expect my DIL's to "do" anything -- my generation was the women's rights and flower child generation and I was a working mother and then later a single parent so the gender barriers were kind of not defined. Or should I say, we were the ones that had to break them down and make it acceptable for girls to wear hard hats and boys to play with dolls (I over simplify, but I hope you get the point without me going into stories of what it used to be like).. I also had some jobs women weren't supposed to so, so I'm not a traditionalist in my own life in defining gender roles.

In my two marriages, my husbands contacted their mothers and I contacted mine.  That seemed to work.  That was because it kept us in touch with our mothers, it was just automatic and how we did it.

Even if somewhere in my mind I had expectations, I don't think it's up to me to set what the DIL or her husband does or doesn't do in defining their roles -- I expect in each of my sons' marriages, the couple will work out what works for them in terms of who does the calling, gift buying, scheduling etc. for time with their relatives.

The only time I would feel unhappy would be if my son never contacted me and all of our "talk" was through the DIL -- once in awhile I just like to talk to my son, one on one, just to touch base.  (I'd love to know how DIL's feel about that!)

Did I expect my DIL's to become my friend? You'd have to define what you mean as "friend" because that could be misinterpreted.    I have my own friends, i.e. people I hang out with who are my peers (not always in age, btw - my friends range in age from 40's to 90's and I'm in between), and my best friends who I talk with every day about personal issues.  I didn't expect my DIL's to become my friends in that manner, though I would not turn them away if a friendship developed! 

I think I did have some idea that I'd be like a second mom to them -- but that was my naiviety and lack of MIL training.  Not having daughters, that was idealistic.  However, I gave that up without a fight.  Don't use it against me or other MIL's.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2009, 04:04:30 AM by AnnieB »

lilyofthevalley

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2009, 07:42:56 AM »
I ask because I've noticed that despite the fact I marched in the feminist movement myself, I still have gender role biases, and I was wondering if this was the case for others or if I'm the odd duck.  I expected my DIL to be like a daughter/friend (calling occasionally, go to lunch every now and then, maybe a shopping trip sometime), but if you asked me if I expected my son to do this with his MIL, I would have thought that idea odd.  And I was getting frustrated at my DIL when my holiday plans would be scheduled later/not be the same as her family/etc, when, as I recently found out due to a great heart to heart with her, my son was/is responsible for arranging visits with our family and she arranges things with hers.  To be totally honest, this makes perfect sense, is an equal share of the "work", etc, but it bothers me I didn't realize this before.  So I'm trying to examine my expectations based on gender roles, etc to see what else I might be missing.  And I was hoping others might contribute their biases or possible ones so I could look at those, too.  I can only thank my lucky stars I never actually voiced my frustrations with her, because most of them should have been directed at my son.  I just want this to work out, and I don't want to make the mistakes that lead to a broken family.

Cat

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2009, 08:06:52 AM »
Lily, you wrote:
And I was getting frustrated at my DIL when my holiday plans would be scheduled later/not be the same as her family/etc, when, as I recently found out due to a great heart to heart with her, my son was/is responsible for arranging visits with our family and she arranges things with hers.  To be totally honest, this makes perfect sense, is an equal share of the "work", etc, but it bothers me I didn't realize this before.

-GREAT For you! Glad you talked to your DIL. Keep it up. As a DIL, I promise you, that is really important. And this is the way me and my husband handles things as well.
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TamKat, If you were my MIL and you wrote this to about me, I would really feel hurt.
"Do I expect her to become my friend? Not necessarily.  I don't need to know her every little thought.  Of course if she were to come to me and ask me for advice I'd offer it, but only from a neutral point of view.  I would never take sides.
Is this because you just don't like her?

Do I expect her to make arrangements with me for Holidays and such, sure I do, naturally.
If you do not like her, and you do not want to be her friend, she will surely be able to sense it, and then how can you expect someone you do not even like, to spend holidays with you?

Do I expect my Son to handle the issues I have with my DIL atm,, indeed I do. "
Why would you do that to your son? Can you Imagen how difficult this must be, why not talk to her personally?
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Annie,
In my two marriages, my husbands contacted their mothers and I contacted mine.  That seemed to work.  That was because it kept us in touch with our mothers, it was just automatic and how we did it.
This is exactly how it works with me and my husband, and it works well too!

Once in awhile I just like to talk to my son, one on one, just to touch base.  (I'd love to know how DIL's feel about that!)
Well as a DIL I absolutely agree with this. I actually insist on it. It is after all his mother, and it is important for them both I believe. After all, when a man has a good relationship whit his mother,  he will have a good relationship with his wife.
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« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 03:26:37 AM by Cat »

Prissy

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2009, 08:21:06 AM »
Dear Cat,
You make some great points, thank you!  But, talking to my son is not allowed.  If ever I try to contact him, he tells her.  She then doesn't understand why I went over her head and talked only to him.  I never do that anymore.  She can talk to her own Mother, though.

It's wonderful that you allow that for your husband, Cat.  It's not allowed with my DIL.  The DIL whom I am close to is not bothered in the least about it.  I don't abuse my rights but she doesn't mind.

The other thing my DIL has against me is that, though I've put them in the attic now, the scrapbooks from both sons years at home, she demanded I remove all pictures of him at proms with other girls.  I left them out for years in his old room and she would go in there to see if it had been done.  It's done now.  oy!


Sassy

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2009, 08:56:27 AM »
As a F-DIL this is so interesting.  It causes reflection for me.

I myself, as a F-DIL, definitely felt lilke I was supposed to be my F-MIL's friend!  I spent far more time with my F-MIL than my own mother, or any of my friends!  A combination of enjoying her, and yes, feeling obligated, if I am honest.  Although I was able to enjoy my F-MIL's company one-on-one much more, than when other people were around.  There were/are daily calls, texts, emails.  Regular unannounced visits, drive-by drop-ins.  Always many questions about details of our social plans without her.  Many invites, shoppping, the arts, lunches I could do.  Weekend "girls night out" got old fast (Saturday nights are the only relaxing time my BF and I have together).  And trips out of town with her, I/we could not do, despite her planning them multiple times. 

When I see my own parents, it is usually together for a family meal or event, once or twice a month.  My parents don't text or email (anyone).  They also don't ask a lot of who-what-when-where type questions about my own activities. They do take interest in my life, they share about theirs, and they're good listeners, but not in a Q-and-A format, if that makes sense. My mother and I call each other about twice a week to chat, unless during a planning time. 

Now that you mention it.. Neither my mother - nor my father - call my Fiance.  Nor do they invite him to spend time with them, separately of me.  But they do honestly love him and he is always welcome. They always seem very glad to see him, lots of smiles and big hugs and laughs.  That my Fiance doesn't communicate with them one-on-one, or see them one-on-one, doesn't seem to have a negative impact on their son-in-law relationship, at all.  Wow.

Thank all of you ladies, including my F-MIL, who marched for the rights I enjoy today!  Thank you for breaking down the gender barriers in the workplace... and for continuing to do so in other ways. Even this very morning, with this evey-opening thread.  Thank you all.

just2baccepted

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2009, 10:30:48 AM »
annieb - but that was my naiviety and lack of MIL training.

I really like the way you put things into words.  you have a special gift for that, just like Luise.  But you know I think that's true.  Even as a DIL we all needed training huh?  But at the same time even if you follow all the "rules" that doesn't mean that everything will be kosher, because if you're dealing a abnormally sensitive person then all goes out the window.  I'm so sorry, you seem like you have much to offer.  I'm so glad you have friends though, I wish I did.  But that's my own fault, I don't socialize enough.

Lily- you sound like you know what you're doing.  I guess my inlaws probably expected the same stuff.  But I also came from the mindset that my  hubby needed to plan things if he wanted to interact with his family.  I didn't mind cooking if he wanted them to come over.  But what's sad is sometimes I would have to say "do you want to have your family over?" This is before I found out they loathed me.  He didn't want them as a big presence in our lives because he didn't want to give them many opportunities to find things they didn't like about me.  How sad.  But good luck, I think if you have a rational DIL that's great and you have something to work with.  Sometimes its better to let them take the lead, so stereotypes aren't evoked.  ;D

Alicev

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2009, 10:38:31 AM »
Hi all!



The only time I would feel unhappy would be if my son never contacted me and all of our "talk" was through the DIL -- once in awhile I just like to talk to my son, one on one, just to touch base.  (I'd love to know how DIL's feel about that!)

I can answer from my experience. I have no problems with my husband spending one-on-one time with his mum. I am happy if they do - go out to dinner, watch a movie together, etc. I know I like to have one-on-one time with my mum. So I have no issues with that whatsoever.


I have noticed in quite a few posts were the words "allow" are used in talking about relationships. In my opinion it is not up to me to "allow" my husband to interact with his mum or dad. He is not like a piece of property that I permit to be used by other people. He is a human being with a mind of his own and capable of making his own decisions. So I do not forbid or allow in any way.  Having said that I also don't think it is my duty to make sure that he does that to the satisfaction of his parents. I leave his relationship with his parents up to them to work out. I try not to mediate in any way.

Prissy

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2009, 11:45:50 AM »
You mean you do allow your husband to be one on one with his Mother?  I can't get over it...it is absolutely not allowed here. 

Early on when son first got married, we knew he was miserable but said nothing.  He slipped and said in a whipped puppy dog way, "it's her way or the highway". 

We overlooked it and just changed the subject.  They made it through but we worried about his personality slowly disappearing.  A parent can't help but worry, it was our job for so long to worry!!

Good for you, Alicev...wish I could give you a gold star

just2baccepted

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2009, 11:48:50 AM »
Wow Tamkat.  I have to admit that seems gutsy.  I really think most mom's or MIL's  worry that any type of confrontation about their mistreatment by DIL will push away the son further.  Do you not feel that way?

just2baccepted

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2009, 02:40:31 PM »
If you read my post, you'd see what it has boiled down to

Actually I did read your posts.

I'm sorry if you didn't like my comment, but please don't assume that just because I made an "assumption" that you don't agree with then that means I didn't read your posts because I did.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2009, 02:45:42 PM by just2baccepted »

lilyofthevalley

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2009, 04:47:36 PM »
Thinking back to when I was a DIL, I didn't mind if my husband went to spend time with his family.  I did mind if he didn't tell me he planned to be out so I made more dinner than necessary, planned to do something together, etc, but that's was a issue between my DH and I.  So I guess the only rule we had about that was keep each other informed of where we'd be so the other could arrange their schedule. 

I do have a question about the phone thing.  If any of us talk to anyone in either family, we're likely to tell each other what was said.  It's not that we have to or something, but we just share that with each other.  I assume my son and DIL also share things that I say to either of them with the other (though I don't expect them to be a messenger for the other, if it's that important I'll call).  I guess I just don't assume that my comments will be kept to only one partner in a marriage. 

AnnieB

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2009, 06:04:42 PM »
I assume my son and DIL also share things that I say to either of them with the other (though I don't expect them to be a messenger for the other, if it's that important I'll call).  I guess I just don't assume that my comments will be kept to only one partner in a marriage.

 I surely would expect my partner to tell me major things, though I hope he'd have the wisdom to know what I didn't need to know  :D.

That might be something a spouse learns through trial and error  (i.e. son writes "note to self, don't tell wife ever again that mother said she thinks her own meatloaf recipe is tastier than hers") 

As a MIL, I think I want to try to avoid being the error and assume they share everything and to be aware that even if what I were to say wasn't meant as a criticism or judgment, to a sensitive DIL, it could be heard that way.

Something I am learning from this board -- you can say something (as a MIL or DIL) and think you are being clear, but someone else may have an interpretation that is not at all what you meant.

 

just2baccepted

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Re: What do you expect?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2009, 06:37:13 PM »
Well Tamkat I guess I won't comment on your posts since I can't grasp the complexity of your problems.  Your posts were very long and I did read them.  I know you've not been on here for long but since you're not the only one posting on here sometimes its hard to keep up with everyones stories.  I'll try to keep out of your way.