Would you move near your MIL if she drove you crazy? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My MIL is bearable, but honestly, I am fine not seeing her for months at a time (we live 1500 miles away right now). She does things very differently than me -- she's kind of intense, lacks much of a sense of humor, is extremely detail oriented, is overprotective of my kids (for example, when she visits, she finds it horrifying that I let them play outside barefoot in the summer and tells me so), and all of this affects how we interact when she is in our house, with our children. So no huge issues, but I really don't want her around all the time. We just don't mesh well.

 

We currently live 1500 miles away from both of our families. We'd like to be closer (well, I'd like to be closer to my family...DH is fine either way) and he has a possible job opportunity near my MILs town. We'd probably live 15-30 minutes away from her. It's still about 1.5 hours from my family, but at least not a plane ride away and at this point, there is not much hope of moving super close to my family.

 

She is a very busy woman so she wouldn't be dropping in all the time, but I'm sure we'd see her a lot more often than now (twice a year). She is very active in the community and we will most likely get a lot of invitations from her to go to charity events, orchestra concerts, etc (which are not really our speed and with 3 kids and a 4th on the way, just not possible). 

 

I just can't decide if living close would slowly kill me or if it's possible to strike a balance. Honestly, it is so tense and uncomfortable when she is here it's just painful. To make matters worse, DH is not very close to her and they are awkward around each other, so all around it's just...uck. I would never CHOOSE to live near her for any reason besides she lives in a great area of the country, it's moderately close to my family, and DH has good job prospects there. Any thoughts?


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#2 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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Nope.

 

It sounds like 15-30 minutes away would be pretty awful for you. Even if she wasnt dropping by all the time, she would expect see you more often. You'd probably have to share holidays and stuff with her (like birthdays, mothers day, easter, ect.) and if shes a pain to deal with, Id try to make it at least a couple of hours away from her.


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#3 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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That sounds like it would be too close. I would try to be a bit farther away than that. I think if you guys are not super close to her it could be awkward living that close. We were in a similar situation where we lived 20 mins away from my DH's mom and stepdad, who we are not at all close to, and it was super weird. I guess when you live that close, and if you're family, there will be an expectation to see you a lot more often. Especially when grandchildren are involved. It's so much better that we live 6 hours away now. Good luck with your decision. 

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#4 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 05:04 PM
 
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We have had similar discussions about my MIL and I usually come to the conclusion that if we lived closer to my ILs things might not be as bad as I imagine they'd be.

 

I find when my In-laws visit (or we visit them 2-3x/year) things are really stressful the first few days until we figure each other out again.  Because they aren't around us during our 'regular' lives they only see our vacation selves.  We're all on our best behavior, trying not to step on toes, etc.  We have a decent time, but there are always the looming goodbyes that put a damper on things.

 

If we lived closer we wouldn't stress so much about each visit being perfect.  My parents live an hour away and their visits are much more relaxed because we aren't trying to fit 3mos of grandparent time into a 4 day trip.   If they lived closer visits could be shorter and more event specific.

 

If we lived closer my ILs would know our friends and would have a better feel for our lives.  They would trust us when we said that what we're doing is working, because they would see it first hand, not via Facebook or our blog or video chat.  Our girls wouldn't have to perform every time they saw their grandparents, they could just be.

 

Some of that may be fantasy, and my ILs are pretty great overall, so your mileage may vary.  You might find that MIL isn't quite as insufferable when she goes home after an hour visit instead of staying for a week.  She may also be able to introduce your children to her activities, which they may end up loving!

 

I just read that your DH and his mother have a strained relationship.  Being closer may or may not help. I'm no help there!


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#5 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses. I'm really going back and forth on this issue, because I would LOVE to live in the area my MIL lives (great schools, great towns, proximity to big city and beaches, fairly close to my family). My DH would move there in a heartbeat, not because he wants to be close to his mom, but because he loves where he grew up. I talked to him last night about his mom and how that would all play out. He's in the "we'll figure it out when we get there" camp...which only makes me more nervous. He admits we have problems dealing with her, but since he grew up with her, I think he is used to it and it really doesn't bother him that much. 

 

Woodchick - I think you have better in-laws than I have! Usually our visits start out fine because we're all on our best behavior and then she starts criticizing how I do things or back seat cooking (seriously!) and I get tense and the whole visit goes to pot. It also doesn't help that she isn't great with kids - she doesn't seem to know what to do with them, so she generally just talks to us and doesn't engage with them.

 

In an ideal world I would never intentionally live near her -- 2 hours would be a great distance. But there are so many other factors that are at play. The most important one - I would really like to live closer to my family. We are very close, I have 3 sisters with kids who all live near each other. We used to live near them all (we only moved away a year ago), but the area where they live is incredibly expensive, intense, just plain difficult (I'm talking about the metro DC area) and we hated it there. It was really hard to leave, but it really was out of necessity. Now that we've been away a year, I just know I can't spend my whole life seeing my sisters twice a year. Ugh.

 

 


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#6 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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I don't know... It sounds like it might be easier, in some ways.  When you live 1500 miles away, any visits have to be several days long (I assume).  If you're 30 minutes away, you can get together for a meal or something once in a while and then get on with your lives. It's easy enough to turn down the invitations to the events that aren't your speed.  In a lot of ways, I think it would be easier to avoid the issues that you mentioned.

 

I think it depends on how intrusive you think she'd be...  When my MIL was alive, there was no way we could live close by.  She didn't respect our boundaries at all, and there would have been issues all the time. 

 

One of my FIL's (DH's bio dad) recently moved into our town.  We've really liked that.  We see him for a meal every so often, and that's that.  We don't have to have him here for a whole week at a time once a year. 

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#7 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 03:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berry987 View Post

Woodchick - I think you have better in-laws than I have! Usually our visits start out fine because we're all on our best behavior and then she starts criticizing how I do things or back seat cooking (seriously!) and I get tense and the whole visit goes to pot. It also doesn't help that she isn't great with kids - she doesn't seem to know what to do with them, so she generally just talks to us and doesn't engage with them.

 



Well, regardless of my own ILs, I think that more frequent visits, for shorter periods of time, might still be beneficial in your situation.  If she's not great with kids it might be nicer for her to have a short visit. She'll know that she's leaving soon and might be able to put up with them.  If you invite her for supper she can just come for the eating part, not the preparing part.

 

Personally, I think that if you can see many benefits for your family to living in that area, and your MIL isn't completely toxic (and what you've posted doesn't seem too bad) you shouldn't stay away just because of her.  All of the other benefits might outweigh the stress of being near her.

 

And also, you might find that you are able to improve your relationship with her.  I have found that it sometimes takes a lot of practice and intention to improve a relationship, and being closer to your MIL might offer you that chance.

 

I guess if you didn't have other reasons for moving near her I probably wouldn't be arguing for it, but you seem to have a list of good things about the area. It would be a shame to miss out on those things just because of one strained relationship.


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#8 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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Way too close. And as she ages.. she may have more time on her hands.
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#9 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 06:26 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by berry987 View Post
Usually our visits start out fine because we're all on our best behavior and then she starts criticizing how I do things or back seat cooking (seriously!) and I get tense and the whole visit goes to pot. It also doesn't help that she isn't great with kids - she doesn't seem to know what to do with them, so she generally just talks to us and doesn't engage with them.

 

... We used to live near them all (we only moved away a year ago),

 

 


I've never had a mother in law, so I'm not sure if my opinion is valid BUT I think if you do decide to live closer to her, you will need to set some serious boundaries that she isn't going to take kindly too. As it is, you've been avoiding that and just let her be annoying and let her get to you. If you move closer, you'll be happier if you figure out how to end conversations and not take her views to heart. (the books Toxic Parents or Toxic Inlaws might be helpful)\

 

Living 30-40 minutes away might be better than living 15 minutes away -- enough distance that she can't ever just stop by and visiting seems like more of a commitment.

 

My second comment doesn't have anything to do with her, but rather that you've only been where you are for a year, so I doubt that you've really figured the place out or how to maintain your relationships with the distance. I think it takes a full year someplace to really figure it out. The second year in a location is always better and easier.

 


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#10 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 09:46 PM
 
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I agree with adalinesmom, my mother in law lives 15 minutes away and complains that i live too far, I used to live in louisiana prior to moving near the family. They will always find something to complain about, I say move closer to your family, which is what im currently working on :)

 

Also, MIL always used to drop by, it was horrible. I'd be nursing my babe and i'd hear a knock at the door, once or twice i didn't answer because my babe had just fallen asleep. stay away!


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#11 of 16 Old 04-16-2011, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Way too close. And as she ages.. she may have more time on her hands.


Yep, this. 


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#12 of 16 Old 04-16-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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We live around 15 min away from my MIL.  She's okay, but with kids now we don't have the best relationship and I avoid being around her without dh to support me and our choices.  She talks up lots of things she wants to do with our kids - but realistically, we see her *maybe* 1x/month and her visiting ends up being pretty equal to my family (who lives 6 hours away and visit for a week or so a few times a year).  I probably get more stressed out about visits than I need to, because of past incidents.  But things tend to go over pretty well - with us mainly needing to keep watch that things are fitting within our family schedule and not hers (otherwise we're out until like 9pm with overcranky, hungry kids like early visits tended to go).  

 

Living closer together does also make for possibilities like monthly brunches out with grandma (less stressful visiting than at your house, possibly).  Meeting up at the library or park where the kids can do whatever for the 30 minutes you're all there at the same time, and able to have a short visit.  Maybe she'll just randomly stop by and leave you cookies and baked goods or chocolates not even expecting a visit? (would be great, no? winky.gif)

 

If it's really a great area and significantly closer to your family also, I'd not let this have so much weight on your decision.  Unless she truly would expect to visit almost daily and is *really* overbearing about things.  

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#13 of 16 Old 04-17-2011, 01:29 PM
 
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My MIL does drive me crazy and personally, I would find it much easier to deal with shorter, more frequent visits than longer ones that involve either being or having houseguests for days (or weeks at a time).  I would rather deal with 2-3 hour visits every few weeks over a week-long visit twice a year.  I do find that a lot of "issues" are avoided when the visits are short and don't involve staying together.   Once the distance is so great that it involves an overnight stay, things get much, much hairier.


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#14 of 16 Old 04-18-2011, 06:32 PM
 
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I have a similar relationship with my IL's. I have come to the conclusion that a week of staying in the same house is a lot of the problem. If we lived closer we could just have dinner together!!!! OR I could send dh over to mil's house and I could skip it!


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#15 of 16 Old 04-19-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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NO. No no no.


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#16 of 16 Old 04-21-2011, 03:48 PM
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Well I moved in with mine and yes she does drive me crazy...

Honestly what has helped me the most is to remember the nicer I am to her the nicer she will be to me and things have improved since I have drilled that thought into my head!

 

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