Author Topic: MIL job description  (Read 2406 times)

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Offline forever spring

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MIL job description
« on: August 26, 2010, 10:15:32 AM »
 :) Hi there, I am a new member, joined only today.
Upto a few months ago I was an absentee MIL as I lived in a different country to my son and DIL. Now I have moved closer to them to help with the toddler and the 3 months old baby. I got on well with my DIL when I was far away, but the close proximity has brought about some problems which I wish I didn't have. I'm not good with conflict and like to have everything harmonious. Now things have changed quite amazingly. I thought I would help and with a lot of good will everything would be fine. Now I have to find out that I cannot be a help in the house because I do not do things the right way. I cannot look after the toddler, because he only wants his mum. I seem to be doing the wrong things all the time. I get reprimanded from my son for saying the wrong things and that hurts.
My DIL and I are perfectly reasonable people with a good deal of human warmth and understanding for other people.  I do like her a lot and appreciate what she is doing. But I do feel such a stranger in her house. She is very close to her own parents who help her a lot. This is okay with me.
I did have a responsible job before I retired to become a full time grandmother, but now I seem to be failing on all counts.
I am quite spontaneous and often do my own thing without telling the son or DIL. My husband is still working abroad so I try to see as much as possible of him too. Maybe that is the crux of the matter. I have my own life and son and DIL expect me to be at their beck and call. I need a job description for the new job I'm embarking on.
Any help from the community? I don't think I'm an awful MIL but not sure anymore and after all 'it takes two to tango.' I love my grandkids and would like to play an active role in their lives. Maybe DIL is stressed with the new baby and when things have settled down our relationship will be better. Here is hoping.  :)

catchingup

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 11:10:00 AM »

The question is.
Did you move closer on your own accord to help with the grandchildren or did your son and DIL want you to move closer?
If it was your decision DIL may see you as a threat. Any bit of advise may seem to her like interferance no matter how small.

I think you should talk to her as soon as possible before time causes a gap that grows from every little word uttered meaningfully.
Let her set your boundries and dont allow it to hurt you. Keep busy,make new friends,create a life for  "you "that does not involve your son and DIL. I.e. Dont depend on them to make your world go round.

There are many wise women on here who will give you good advise and sharing lifts the burden of feeling alone in your situation.

Offline Scoop

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 11:11:11 AM »
I have to preface this by saying that I'm a DIL who doesn't get along with my MIL.  So I am more able to see this from a DIL perspective.  My goal is not-so-much to 'take up' for the DIL, but more to give you a DIL perspective.  Cool?

I think you should talk to your DS and DIL and ask them how to help THEM.  Because if you "do things wrong" then you're not actually helping, you're often making MORE work for them.  (For example: if you don't load the dishwasher 'correctly' and some of the dishes don't get clean, and need to be re-done.  Theoretically, it's helpful to load the dishwasher for them, but in reality, it's making more work.)

So talk to THEM and find out what THEY want from you.  Then figure out what you're willing to give and do it.

I have to say that I was troubled by your statement of being a "full time Grandma".  I think you'd be better off having your own complete life, and then negotiating the time with DS and DIL.  Do you know what a Venne Diagram is?  Their life is one circle, your life is another, you have to negotiate the overlapped areas between the two - your circle can't be completely INSIDE their circle, it just won't work.

Now, all that being said, going from 1 to 2 is HARD, and 3 months is still early days in figuring all that out.  Please give her more time to work it out.  The more understanding you are right now, the better your chances of a continued and good relationship with your DIL, your DS and your DGK's.

Offline Pooh

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 11:14:58 AM »
Welcome chelmsford!  Like catchingup said, some DILs feel threatened by a confident MIL.  Sounds like your heart is in the right place, but it is her house and children, so you are going to have to bend to her ways.  Every time I tried to "help" my DIL with something, she saw that as I was telling her she was wrong and didn't know what she was doing.  Was not my intention, and only wanted to help out, but those were her feelings on the matter.  And even though she was wrong, she is entitled to her feelings.

Good luck and listen to the many wise women on here with an open mind. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

cremebrulee

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 11:41:06 AM »
It would literally have driven me nuts if my MIL came to live with me....when she visited it was fun....we had a great time....however, two women under the same roof, doesn't usually work....

I'm with the other gals...you need to sit down with them and find out what they would like you to do, but more important, what not to do....
and don't take it personal, we all do things differently...but ask....and remember, your a guest in they're home...you have to remember just b/c he is your son, your still a guest and there need to be boundaries...

I really hope you can work this out...and glad your here
Welcome!!!!!!

Creme

Offline luise.volta

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2010, 11:52:05 AM »
My input is to ask. We "know" but we have to ask and pretend that we don't. Ask how she wants things done, wear invisible masking tape over your mouth and say very little...just do as you're told. I'm not kidding. It may work. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline forever spring

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2010, 11:17:35 PM »
Thanks to everybody for taking the time to engage with my woes and give advice.  :)
The good one was from the DIL to show the other side. I think I know that is exactly the way my DIL feels,  especially now that I'm living close by. But my own emotions often get the better of me - and then I'm lost. It is such a new experience and every second is different. That's what I meant with wanting a job description!
I am not living in their house, though. I have got my own house about 10 mins walk from them and I've got lots of friends and my own interests and life.
And yes you are right with the dishwasher example. I have learned in the past months that no help is often better than the wrong kind of help which I seem to provide on a permanent basis.
I am positive, however, that things will work out because we have started talking at an early stage. Setting and following boundaries is now something we need to do. We are both intelligent and kind beings - so as time goes by we will find a way. I will keep you posted and thanks again.

Offline Scoop

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2010, 05:41:55 AM »
That's so awesome to hear!  I think that everyone is going through a transition right now and it's bound to be bumpy.  As long as the lines of communication are open, I think you'll end up okay.

It also wouldn't hurt to say "I'm still learning, this is new to me too!" so that DIL and DS can see that you're trying your best.

Good luck - keep us posted!

Offline Pen

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 10:04:29 PM »
Scoop, what a lovely post! Chelmsford36, best wishes to you. Do let us know how things are going.

Most people blossom under praise and wilt under criticism. If we're not sure exactly what's expected of us, or if the rules change without warning, or if we're criticised often and praised little, we'll meet those low expectations every time. Being "set up to fail" is a big pet peeve of mine, and it sounds like some of us are in that position with our DILs/MILs.

I've not had the opportunity to mess up at DIL & DS's house since I've not been invited over and I refuse to invite myself or drop in   :(
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline forever spring

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Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2011, 04:43:07 AM »
:) Hi there, I am a new member, joined only today.
Upto a few months ago I was an absentee MIL as I lived in a different country to my son and DIL. Now I have moved closer to them to help with the toddler and the 3 months old baby. I got on well with my DIL when I was far away, but the close proximity has brought about some problems which I wish I didn't have. I'm not good with conflict and like to have everything harmonious. Now things have changed quite amazingly. I thought I would help and with a lot of good will everything would be fine. Now I have to find out that I cannot be a help in the house because I do not do things the right way. I cannot look after the toddler, because he only wants his mum. I seem to be doing the wrong things all the time. I get reprimanded from my son for saying the wrong things and that hurts.
My DIL and I are perfectly reasonable people with a good deal of human warmth and understanding for other people.  I do like her a lot and appreciate what she is doing. But I do feel such a stranger in her house. She is very close to her own parents who help her a lot. This is okay with me.
I did have a responsible job before I retired to become a full time grandmother, but now I seem to be failing on all counts.
I am quite spontaneous and often do my own thing without telling the son or DIL. My husband is still working abroad so I try to see as much as possible of him too. Maybe that is the crux of the matter. I have my own life and son and DIL expect me to be at their beck and call. I need a job description for the new job I'm embarking on.
Any help from the community? I don't think I'm an awful MIL but not sure anymore and after all 'it takes two to tango.' I love my grandkids and would like to play an active role in their lives. Maybe DIL is stressed with the new baby and when things have settled down our relationship will be better. Here is hoping.  :)

I posted this in September last year. It is April now and though in the meantime things seemed to get better, I cannot see a definite improvement in my relationship with DIL. We don't seem to be speaking the same language and I don't blame this on anybody.
I wanted to put the family first and myself second and offered help whenever needed. I don't feel this is appreciated though and when I do make a mistake by not telling them about a prior engagement, I'm blamed for 'letting them down' - AGAIN! This is how they feel and I must respect this but in reality I'm there about five days a week. Also my DS often tells me off for not doing things the way his wife wants me to. It is a really weird state of affairs and I had never experienced this is my life before (I'm 61 now and thought I'd seen it all!) 
Now my dilemma is whether I should leave this situation and go to live again permanently again with my DH who works in a different country or if I should give it another chance and stay one more year. With regard to the money situation, I'm spending a lot of money by living near the family as I'm renting and running a single household with all the expenses just for myself. If I went back to live with DH all this money could be saved and I sometimes think it could be better spent, maybe on paying the family this money as an allowance.
I would leave with a heavy heart as I love the GC so much and I'm part of their lives now. But maybe it is sometimes better for all concerned to put myself out of the equation - maybe if only for a while.
DH will retire next year and then we could reassess the situation and move nearer them as a couple.
Suggestions from you Wise Women greatly appreciated.
(No worries I'm still smiling and seeing the funny side of things ;D)

Joanna Trollope, the British novelist has written a new book called Daughters-in-law. I haven't read it but I suppose it's fun. Art imitates life.


Offline FAFE

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2011, 07:52:01 AM »
In my humble opinion, I think I would pursue my own happiness and let them hire a nanny or whatever, so they can dictate what said nanny does, etc.  I probably would have gone thru that twice and then I'd be GONE!  Apparently, they do not appreciate you at all.  Surely they don't think you are entitled to doing whatever you want too without getting permission.   

LaurieS

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2011, 11:14:10 AM »
While I think it's sweet of you to want to be there for your ds/dil and their baby... it's their life.. I think you need to live yours with your husband who must be a great guy to be so understanding of your decisions.  You are not enjoying your position within your ds's family.. it's time to change things up... go have a blast again with your soon to be retired husband and save the visits for your ds and his family. 

I agree, they can hire a nanny and see how far micro managing gets with her.

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 11:21:58 AM »
I bet they'll miss you when you're on that jet plane !! lol
I would just mention it , and see what the reaction is ....you are 61 , don't you think you've earned your freedom ?
I knnow you'll miss your GK , but I think they are taking you for granted .

Offline forever spring

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2011, 10:51:05 PM »
Thanks for your replies. I now think it's the best to go away and cocentrate on myself and DH (who is indeed a great guy).
A year ago, DS called me to help and I rallied round. I don't think any of us thought how the reality would pan out. Now we know. I did give it a go and I'm grateful that I could, but the time has come now when I realise that I'm facing failure. Hard thing to come to terms with but there we are. A new experience in the rich fabric of life.  :) One I could have done without but I suppose that is the nature of 'life experiences'.
Thanks again for your replies, much appreciated.

Offline Pooh

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Re: MIL job description
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2011, 07:37:34 AM »
This is going to sound ugly, but it's just what I personally feel.  I have learned that if I don't feel appreciation, then I am not appreciated, I'm being used.  People that truly appreciate it will show it.  It may be a small way, like a thank you, hug or just a general feeling that you are appreciated.  They may forget to actually verbally express their appreciation, but you can feel it. 

If they are yelling or griping at you..well frankly, then they could do it all themselves, if it was me.  I am with the others, it's time to move on with your own life and let them figure out their own.  And as far as still sending them money....no way.  Spend that money you are saving on yourself and your DH. 

I know you love the GC, but please do not let your love for them be your reason for letting them treat you badly.  There is no excuse for that and you don't deserve that type of treatment.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell