Author Topic: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57  (Read 20549 times)

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lowspark

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2013, 08:39:08 AM »
It sounds a bit to me, OP, like both you and your DH actually feel bad, and maybe a bit guilty about your house being untidy and like you kind-of deserve the criticism, and that's why you've both let it go on for so long.

You know what? Even if your house is untidy, no-one should be criticizing. Even if I'm a bad cook, no-one should be criticizing. Even if I choose bad gifts, no-one should be criticizing. Even if I'm bad at managing my money, no-one should be criticizing.

You don't deserve the criticism. Do what you need to to get it to stop.

This is a good point. You've mentioned a few times that yeah, your house/closet/whatever is messy.

But here's the thing. It's your house/closet/whatever. And you don't have to apologize for that to anyone. If a friend came in and did what MIL is doing, how long would you stay friends?

she'll start out her PA comments with "I know you're going to tell me it's [DH's] problem, but . . ." 

This is really perfect because she is now giving you advance warning that she's about to say something you don't want to hear. So stop her right there. Interrupt her. Every time.

"Whoa there MIL. It sounds like you're about to wonder into "criticize Slartibartfast" territory. Let's just end this conversation right here." And leave the room.

I think the only way to end this is to stop her from saying this stuff to you in the first place. You don't need a strategy on how to defend it or deal with it, you need to just put a stop to it.

GratefulMaria

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2013, 08:46:54 AM »
What is she doing in your master bedroom?

And, why are you allowing her to further trample your boundaries by putting up with her inviting other people to your house?

This type of person is pretty unstoppable...a hydrogen bomb might work, but nothing on a smaller scale will ever give them a clue. MIL is like this (without the sweet side) and it was just a matter of putting up with it. Once you say 'No,I'm afraid you can't bring your friends over when you come next week' then she would go to the friends (who of course have already been invited) and says that I've said all manner of awful things about them and 'don't want them in my house'. There is no winning. The only thing to do is stand up for things you ABSOLUTELY can't stand, because their personality will never change, and you'll just beat your head off a wall for , oh about 30 years. The absolutes are worth fighting till you're in tatters over, very little else is.

That said, Slatibartfast , I think you should really be able to at least say that her remarks are unkind, and that 4 people messing up a house shouldn't have to cleaned by 1.  When I couldn't stand it any more I told my MIL that 'It doesn't look as if he was ever taught how to tidy up after himself.' Oops. Lost it a bit there....but oh, the constant nagging and 'hinting' is SO wearing.

What we realized about my MIL is that getting her way is her priority.  There is no price she is unwilling to pay to be the one to define a situation.  She'll pay lip service to how family is the most important thing to her, but what that means is that controlling family is the most important thing to her.  Over the years (our sons are 20 and 23, DH and I are 50, she's in her late 70's) we have progressed from trying to appease her, trying to explain to her, trying to change her, to trying to avoid her.  We're being kinder to ourselves and have gained quite a measure of sanity and peace (thanks eHell!), share almost no news with her, and handle the one or two times a year we see her as business meetings.

She has said disparaging things about us to others, I'm sure.  (About DH we know for certain, because a family member of his sent him a copy of a letter in which she criticized the way DH was handling a job hunt.)  Even though the idea troubled us, we just let the situation play out or not.  It turns out that everyone in her life has ended contact with her.  She said as much to DH a few months ago, mystified at what had gotten into everybody, not even considering that she's the common denominator.  So it may take thirty years, but people will either get fed up with her, or they will be on board with her.  And the biggest relief in DH's life is in realizing that her opinion, and that of those like her, has no value or place in our home.

TootsNYC

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2013, 08:49:30 AM »
We're planning family stuff Tuesday evening and a party for friends on Saturday afternoon.  I would rather just have our nuclear family on Tuesday, but the only way I can keep the entire extended family from showing up at her birthday party Saturday is to have them over on Tuesday

I am curious, why can't you keep your extended family from showing up on these dates?

Because MIL already told FIL, SIL2, and SIL1's kids (whom we rarely even see) about Babybartfast's party, apparently in a way which led to them believing they were invited  ::)  Luckily she didn't know the exact time (we're having it in the evening; she assumed afternoon). I was able to explain to SIL2 that this is actually a party for 5-year-old girls; I'm just betting on SIL1's kids not bothering to come.  We haven't actually said anything about them coming over on Tuesday, but I'm expecting the ". . . what time should we be there?" call any day now.  I also expect that DH will want them there, and I don't mind *that* much (I wouldn't have invited them but I do enjoy MIL/FIL/SIL2's company) so even though we haven't extended an invitation I think I can count on feeding a larger group Tuesday.


Slarti, dearest--grow a spine!
(said with an affectionate smile)

Say to SIL, "Oh, sorry, MIL got that all screwed up. We're actually not having a family birthday celebration this year."

You are NOT obligated to keep your MIL from looking bad!




And because cut-and-paste gets annoying, please go read lowspark's very, very insightful post. She has some very good points.

-stop feeling guilty
-interrupt her when she says, "I know you're going to tell me"

(actually, that comment of hers shows that she does hear you, so you need to switch from the "it's DH's problem" to "I'm tired of hearing criticize me and complain about the state of my house. It's boring, and it hurts my feelings, so don't do it anymore." Feel free to use blunt language. Heck, feel free to sound a little upset.

artk2002

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2013, 10:19:50 AM »
"I know you're going to tell me ..."

Response: So why bring it up, then? You know the answer already!

I agree with leaving the conversation at that point.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Deetee

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2013, 11:01:26 AM »
Adding my voice to the chorus.

First: Unless your house is an active health hazard that requires the intervention of professionals to protect the health of your children, it is no business of ANYONE what your house looks like.
You know the saying  when considering whether to say something that may hurt someone's feelings " Is it kind? Is it true?  Is it necessary?" This stuff may be tr true but it's not kind and it's not necessary. In fact it is mean and hurts your relationship.

CharlieBraun

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2013, 12:36:02 PM »
Since this is a continuing saga of your MiL refusing boundaries and your dh continues to refuse to stand up for you to his.mother, I see this as moving from etiquette to a marriage issue.  Your DH needs to stand up to his mother and it appears he continues to dismiss your feelings on her deep boundary crossing.

Thank you for expressing what I could not, and so very well.

This is not a MIL problem.  This is a DH problem, and this one is on him.

I'm frankly shocked at your OP where it was just "easier" on him to shove off his childraising responsibilities to his mother.  Being a parent isn't easy, and it's his laziness - sorry to be that blunt - is the root cause of this.  He's not "easy-going," he's a doormat to his mother and is allowing her to wipe her feet on you as well.

I know you need your girls weekend like anything - but I think you need to find another alternative to child care.  As in - your husband is 100% responsible for his children, without subcontracting it to his mother.

Wishing you all the very best.
"We ate the pies."

Eden

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2013, 12:46:22 PM »
Since this is a continuing saga of your MiL refusing boundaries and your dh continues to refuse to stand up for you to his.mother, I see this as moving from etiquette to a marriage issue.  Your DH needs to stand up to his mother and it appears he continues to dismiss your feelings on her deep boundary crossing.

Thank you for expressing what I could not, and so very well.

This is not a MIL problem.  This is a DH problem, and this one is on him.

I'm frankly shocked at your OP where it was just "easier" on him to shove off his childraising responsibilities to his mother.  Being a parent isn't easy, and it's his laziness - sorry to be that blunt - is the root cause of this.  He's not "easy-going," he's a doormat to his mother and is allowing her to wipe her feet on you as well.

I know you need your girls weekend like anything - but I think you need to find another alternative to child care.  As in - your husband is 100% responsible for his children, without subcontracting it to his mother.

Wishing you all the very best.

I agree with all of this. Not an etiquette issue at all but a relationship issue.

wheeitsme

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2013, 03:23:10 PM »
DH's email back:

Quote
It's not going to be practical to stall Grandma from ever coming inside till you come back, but I'm not fond either of kids being babysat at our house.

Saturday I'm thinking we can bundle everyone to the [children's museum] toy room, and Mom wants to go out to dinner, so that's plenty of interaction without bringing them to our house.
Sunday I'll take everyone to church, and we can have the evening without visitors.
Monday I'll deliver [Babybartfast] to her class and work from home with [Bittybartfast]. Mom wants to have a dinner with [Babybartfast] opening dad and grandma's presents, but I will insist they can wait to Tuesday.
Tuesday Mom and Grandma can pick up the kids in the morning, and deliver [Babybartfast] (which Mom is for some reason unwilling to do on Monday) and entertain themselves somehow with [Bittybartfast] on the town until [Babybartfast's] pickup, after which I can chaperone everyone at our house until you get back.

So yeah, sounds like a good plan to me, and having it worked out ahead of time will mean DH won't get caught by surprise if MIL suggests something later.

And the nice thing about his plan is that it is HIS.  So if MIL has a problem with it and tries to change it, she's going to be dealing directly with the author of the plan. 

"Well I know Slartibartfast planned it this way, but I think we should do it this other way..."

"This was my plan, Mom.  And I'd rather not change it."   ;D

TootsNYC

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2013, 03:39:54 PM »
One of his big arguments for them not being in your house is this:

"I'm working. I can't have people here--I can't concentrate. I'm OK w the baby, but I can't have anyone else here."

And

"If I'm not home, I'm not comfortable leaving other people behind in our house, so the days that I'm out of the house, you'll need to babysit at your place."

amylouky

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2013, 04:06:20 PM »
the more I stand up for myself the more he tends to brush off any complaints I have about his mother as a "my wife versus her MIL and I'm staying out of it" thing.

You know, PP's have said just about all there is to say, but I just had to address this from the OP because it jumped out at me that your DH even HAS a "my wife versus her MIL and I'm staying out of it" thing.

Oh heck no. He needs to have your back. Actually, not even your back. She's his mom, he needs to be dealing with her.

Petticoats

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2013, 05:09:52 PM »
you need to switch from the "it's DH's problem" to "I'm tired of hearing criticize me and complain about the state of my house. It's boring, and it hurts my feelings, so don't do it anymore." Feel free to use blunt language. Heck, feel free to sound a little upset.

I really like Toots's approach. It calls MIL's attention to the fact that this long-standing pattern of her complaining (a) hasn't led to her getting the results she wants (that is, you making housekeeping your #1 life priority) and (b) damages your relationship because it hurts your feelings and frustrates you. Maybe ask her: "MIL, how many years have we been having this conversation? And has it ever gotten you the results you want? Every time you bring it up it hurts my feelings and ends with us both being frustrated." Maybe letting her know explicitly that she is not going to change you (or your DH) will help her have an epiphany.

Or she might take it as stubbornness. You'll have to make that call. :) Either way, I really feel for you.

kckgirl

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2013, 05:54:30 PM »
You could always try Dr. Phil's line. "How's that working for you?" ;) Really, have DH tell his mom to back off with the comments.
Maryland

Slartibartfast

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week...
« Reply #57 on: July 31, 2013, 12:53:36 PM »
UPDATE

Got home yesterday evening.  I called during the afternoon to let DH know we were close - and got MIL.  (At my house, while DH was at work.)  Which I thought we pretty clearly decided was NOT what we would do.

When I got home, DH and I had time for a talk before going out to dinner for Babybartfast's birthday (our compromise so we didn't have to have everyone at our house).  He thought he was doing exactly what we had agreed - Grandma wasn't at our house (she tagged along with FIL yesterday).  I guess I should have specified "I don't want MIL and/or Grandma at the house without one of us there."  It was a good talk, though, even though it was mostly me doing the talking (as usual).  He didn't realize how much MIL criticizes me behind his back, and he promised to be more aware of situations like that in the future.  He said I shouldn't be upset that he accepted MIL's offer of help while I was gone because I wasn't the one who would be here to deal with the kids, and I explained that wasn't the point - her "free" offer of help wasn't free because it always comes with strings later.  Now she'll feel we owe her a favor, and she'll also feel that she gets more say in how we raise the girls.  DH thought she was doing fine, but I pointed out that just that afternoon, MIL had told Babybartfast she could skip her nap (naps are NOT optional in our house - you don't have to sleep, but you do have to stay in your room and be quiet!) "since it's her birthday."  She never mentioned that to DH and probably wouldn't have told me if I hadn't happened to call.  Not surprisingly, Babybartfast tried to wheedle out of going to bed on time that evening "Since it's my birthday and I don't have to take naps anymore."  Yeah, not happening.

Long story short, we're imposing a "grandparent moratorium" the week before and after Babybartfast starts kindergarten, so Babybartfast can get into her new routine and MIL can't interfere with our parenting while we're trying to nail down a new normal.  DH has also promised to run every single Babybartfast-related conversation past me for a while - he really didn't understand how MIL takes his non-answers.  Conversations often go

MIL: "I think Babybartfast's room needs to be pink!"
DH: "I have no opinion and am not really listening anyway.  She does like pink."

And then DH goes away thinking absolutely nothing happened, while MIL goes away hearing "I now have permission to buy pink paint and new bedroom furniture for Babybartfast because my son said it's okay!"  And then I end up being "the bad guy" (and have to expend the emotional energy to intervene) when she shows up with buckets of paint because DH doesn't care enough about the color of Babybartfast's room to stand up one way or the other.  He's going to work on making sure she doesn't come away from any conversation with the belief that she's okay to go through with whatever thing she just randomly decided.

Deetee

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #58 on: July 31, 2013, 01:45:21 PM »
You keep saying this woman is nice and loving. I just don't get it.  She sounds suffocating. She sounds loving like a python squeezing the last gasp of air out of your lungs.

I'm glad to hear your husband is getting on board. But please don't think you are unreasonable. That level of involvement in my life would have resulted in a ban/ backing away/ serious distancing a loooong time ago.

If someone showed up to paint my kids room, I might flip (or I might not-I might think FREE LABOUR- but I reserve the right to flip out about that)

*inviteseller

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #59 on: July 31, 2013, 02:06:00 PM »
Your DH is used to her and probably just tunes her out, plus if she is sneaky he will not hear her criticism of you or phrase it where he doesn't get it is a dig at you.  You just have to keep discussing the boundaries with him.  I don't think it is anything against you or for his mom, just cluelessness on his part.  My ex accepted his mom's behavior as normal and never understood why I would get so upset until both myself and his sister talked to him about how she treated me..smiling and lovey when he was around..evil when he wasn't.