What would you to a MIL who says she can not visit very often because you work? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the responses.
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#2 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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With your MIL's history I would expect nothing else.
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#3 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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celebrate! lol!

Honestly, I can see what she means-- although I don't doubt she's full of BS. I work, my parents work, my grandparents do not. It's so difficult to see any of the during the weekdays at all because our days and evenings are so packed. I have to see my mom on the weekends, but even those have become over scheduled. I feel that if I was at home, it would be easier to do visits and get out and be social.

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#4 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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From this post it sounds like she wants to vacation...not take care of anyone's kids.With the other DIL she is getting that while you are asking her to "work".You seem to be looking for a support system and that doesn't seem to be a role your MIL wants to take on.

My MIL had/has no desire to be part of my support system either.When my daughter was a newborn it was hurtful.I'm very lucky that my own mother is very supportive.That makes it easier for me to see that my MIL is the one missing out.She doesn't have an amazing bond with my daughter the way my mother does.And the reality is even though some help would have been nice,I really don't want anyone taking care of my daughter who doesn't want to.

I'm sorry you're missing that family support.It doesn't sound like your MIL is ever going to be the person you would like her to be.For your own good I would stop expecting anything from her.At least that's what worked best for me(and my MIL only sees my daughter a handful of times a year for a couple hours per visit and we're only 1/2 an hour away).

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#5 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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I'm going to have to agree with a pp. It sounds as though you're looking for a babysitter and your MIL just isn't interested. My parents don't "babysit" our kids either but would rather just help out as needed through the day, with shoes or pottying or something but not be fully responsible for providing childcare.

I don't think it is a reasonable expectation though either. I don't expect my family to come and visit and basically be either a mother's helper or a sitter. They're here to enjoy everyone's company not be staff.

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#6 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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I think you need to accept that your MIL doesn't want to help you. If she thought it was her responsibility to do it, she would. She clearly doesn't feel that way, so what would probably be best for you is to accept it and create or find another support system.
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#7 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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They're here to enjoy everyone's company not be staff.
I think you and I have different ideas about the role of grandparents. To me, they're not just older playmates. They (should be) sources of support to the young families.

I have vowed that when my children have children, I will help them in whatever ways they find helpful.

If my daughter is at work and would appreciate me coming over so that she can come home to a clean house and a hot meal, then that is how I would like to bless her.

If it's more helpful to her for me to take the children to my home sometimes so that she can deal with her household tasks, then that is what I'll do.

Parenting is hard. Receiving help is such a blessing and can make the difference between a young family who is thriving and one who is overwhelmed and struggling. I've been there!

OP, I strongly agree with everything Rere said. It is a hurtful situation you are in. It's hard to lower your expectations of MIL because those expectations are reasonable. But the sooner you come to terms with her unwillingness to help, the more peace you'll find for yourself.

I've been married nearly 20 years and I'm still working on it!

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#8 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For what it's worth, my MIL does babysit the other set of grandchildren. In fact, they go out for a week or more at a time every 3 months, on a schedule, and for part of the week my brother-in-law and sister-in-law book a few days at a resort and my MIL takes care of the kids by herself.

She's also flown out there on emergency basis at least once to help out when things got difficult taking care of the kids; and she's flown out and spent two weeks there to "bond." Her quote.

She's never done any of that with us, ever. My son is going on 5 now. It's probably not ever going to change.

I don't expect my mother in law to take over my responsibility as a parent. But if she does something for one set of grandchildren and can't do it for her grandchild who is my son, then I get upset. And that's what has been going on.

But you're right...she obviously isn't going to be a source of support.

I just didn't like being told the reason is that I'm not a stay-at-home mom. I think she's either trying to hurt me or she's just trying to come up with excuses that don't really apply to make herself not look so bad.
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#9 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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With your MIL's history I would expect nothing else.
Yeah. Not surprising, I guess. It just doesn't make any sense. It's simply not factual. That bugs me.

But it is totally in line with her character.

And DH's response when I told him was even worse, something I'm not comfortable disclosing here.

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#10 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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I think you need to stop expecting your husband and MIL to make any sense in terms of logic, and start expecting them to behave in accordance with with their (very consistent, from your description) characters.
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#11 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not looking for my MIL to take over my responsibilty as a parent.

I don't want her to just babysit for me.

I want her to want to bond with her grandchild, the way she says she goes out to see her other grandchildren to do just that.

It's sort of hard to hear, "Oh, by the way, I'll be flying to X state on Y dates to bond with grandchild A and grandchild B" when she has never done that with your child.

I want a support system in my MIL, yes, but more than that I want her to be fair and treat her grandchildren equally well.

And not make up excuses that it's because I am not a stay-at-home mom. Um, her son doesn't want to be a provider nor would he want me to be a stay-at-home mom. So to hear that from her is very unfair, I think.

In my opinion, she shouldn't be spending more time with one set of grandchildren because their mother is a stay-at-home mom. At least she could say the real reasons.
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#12 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you need to stop expecting your husband and MIL to make any sense in terms of logic, and start expecting them to behave in accordance with with their (very consistent, from your description) characters.
Yeah, I'm letting them walk all over my feelings, aren't I?

I'm so stupid. I know they aren't going to change, and they just keep saying these hard to believe things.

It's just that my MIL in law has the means to be a decent source of support. She has the time, she has the money. She's retired and financially stable. She is a system of support for two of her other grandchildren. There are two other grandchildren, as well, (5 total) and she isn't a very good grandmother to them and neither is my husband's dad. So, it's not like it's just us that are excluded.

I have to figure out a way to cauterize the expectations and emotion attached to dashed expectations I have when it comes to DH and his parents.

I don't know how to do that. I'm sure when my son is in high school and things are much easier as a parent, it won't be such a shape knife cutting me.

But right now, in the thick of struggling with keeping a career and caring for a special needs kid, to have a MIL in law who says these kind of things is such a stab, to me.

I wish I could just be like "to hell with you then, your loss" but I really don't have the time, energy, or money to do all this on my own. I do need help. I need that village. I just have a village of well, jacka@@e@.
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#13 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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Your MIL has consistently lied and gone out of her way to avoid bonding with your DS, starting from when you were still pregnant. Of course it is legitimate for you to be sad about her dishonesty and avoidance, but it is not going to change. She has been quite honest in one respect-- she has shown you exactly what kind of a person she is, for five years. Believe her.

You posted before I did: I think you need to "grieve" your expectations, in whatever way seems best to you. It is legitimately sad to lose an entire dream, and it can take a while to recover from that loss.
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#14 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She has been quite honest in one respect-- she has shown you exactly what kind of a person she is, for five years. Believe her.
Yeah, that sure is true.

I wouldn't characterize what she's said as outright lies, just illogical twists and turns to justify.

...well, though saying she can't visit my son the way she visits the other two grandchildren because their mom is a stay-at-home mom and I work, that is a lie.

Because when I was a stay-at-home mom for two years, she was no different. And when my sister-in-law did work, my MIL's pattern was no different with them either.

So, yeah, that's a lie.

But mostly she's full of illogical twists and turns of logic that are just attempts at excuses to make herself not look so bad. Probably she is defensive.

Maybe it's senility, though. That could very well be. She also probably has a good amount of hate for me and no matter what she isn't going to help, and she doesn't want to come right out and say that. If she was more honest about things she might lose DH's support, you know?

As for bonding with my son, she thinks she can do that by visiting a couple of times a year for a few hours. She thinks I stand in the way and if I'd just let her come a couple of times a year for a few hours there would be no problem.

I tried explaining how my own dad was with us for a week, and on the first day of the visit, my son was like "who is this guy?" but the second day he was like "oh, I think I like this guy. he might be fun" and on the third and subsequent days he was telling everyone at school "I'm going to the park with my grandpa. My grandpa is my best friend. I love my grandpa." Bonding takes more than a few hours a couple of times a year. My son didn't really bond with my dad, who has visited before, until the third day. It takes kids some time to warm up and become comfortable with people.

My MIL doesn't get that. When I told her this she said, "well that's wonderful, but..." and then came the illogical excuses again.
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#15 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you and I have different ideas about the role of grandparents. To me, they're not just older playmates. They (should be) sources of support to the young families.

I have vowed that when my children have children, I will help them in whatever ways they find helpful.
Thank you. Me, too.

I've certainly learned a lot about the kind of grandparent I want to be, if I have grandchildren. My MIL has been very instructive about that.

In fact, one thing that keeps me going (a little) at work when things get tough is knowing that I should (hopefully) have a pretty decent pension and retirement.

I want to be able to have the time and the money to help my son and his family.

I really do believe that it takes a village. So, I plan to be a contributing member of that village for my son (whether he has children or not, actually).

I can't wait until my son is older and hopefully I'm in a stable place financially, and we can maybe travel together or volunteer together, etc.

I'm definitely always planning to be involved. For life.
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#16 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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But mostly she's full of illogical twists and turns of logic that are just attempts at excuses to make herself not look so bad. Probably she is defensive.
How are those not lies? I'm not one to say all lies are bad-- there can be good reasons for lying occasionally-- but this sounds so habitual that it's a predictable part of her personality.
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#17 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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I think you should change your mind. She is toxic- you don't want her to bond to your kid, then he'll be caught up in her toxic cycle. I wish to point out that my in-laws are similar, and my dh has a similar history to your dh. He was abused as a child, worse by bio mom but also by stepmom and biodad, and he is verbally abusive and explosive to our family like your dh. His bio family ignores his existence, but is very involved in his brother's life and his half sisters. (His bio mom has been out of his life since he was 12). So, I am asserting in brief that the pattern of your mil ignoring you is part of the pattern which created the monster of your dh, and is similar to the pattern which created my monster dh. Jump at the chance to break your kids from their cycle of being treated as 'less than' the other grandkids.
I live in the jackass village too. My mom claims to be devoted to my kids, but only babysat for my brother's kids. My babies used to cry, why does nana love patty more. . . . I don't know what to do about it either. I really want to tell her to frack off, but I'm trying to leave my h and she might actually do some babysitting now. Sigh.
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#18 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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It IS more difficult to visit with a family who has no one to HOST the family on weekdays. But that doesn't make sense for the weekends or during periods of maternity leave.

Seems like an excuse.

When my MIL recently told me she would not be visiting us for the next few years because I was taking her son and grandchildren to a country she would NEVER EVER visit, I mumbled under my breath "promise?" and Dh said "well you haven't been invited yet, mom so that's a bit premature, isnt it?"

heh heh heh.

Her "help" is never really that much help anyway because she only holds the baby when the baby is well fed and happy and clean, and she only wants to hang around and fret over every speck of dirt and make me feel guilty for not keeping the house spotless. So I say, good riddance. With "helpful" inlaws like that, who needs enemies, right?

I DO see what you mean though. It is really unfair of her to play favorites with the grandkids and they will realize it as they get older that their cousins get way more preferential treatment and that basically she is punishing perfectly innocent children because she disagrees with or can't find a way to work around YOUR career choices.

I think she is harming her relationship with your kids. Maybe it IS a personal judgment of you, maybe it is just practical like your DH thinks. Doesn't matter WHY she is doing it, the fact is missing birthday WEEKENDS and births when you CAN avoid it but are choosing not to is not okay. Not under such a lame excuse. My grandma used to do this, because my parets got divorced and she didn't agree with divorce, so she deprived me and my sister and lavished gifts upon my cousins. So dumb.

Maybe if you explain to her how sad you are that she is treating her grandkids so differently, approach it from the negligent grandma rather than the negligent mother/MIL...she may feel zero responsibility to you or in helping YOU, but might react to the idea that as her grand kids grow at your half the grandkids will not know or care very much about her. That's GOT to strike a chord in her ego.

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#19 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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I would say to her that she is seriously missing out on her grandkids lives! Aside from the fact that she isnt able to help you, by making herself unavailable, she is going to miss out on some pretty important things. In the long run, the kids will start to remember that she wasnt there very often or very long.

What does your DH think about her behavior?

My MIL recently alluded to my "schedule being too diffucult to work around." I am a WAHM. We live in a store that is open 40 hours a week. She could come anytime that we are open, and I have tried to make time for her even on the two days per week that my store is closed and I have time to run errands, shop, ect. It seems that she pretty much refuses to come to my house because we live in a way that doesnt make her comfortable (no air conditioning or cable). It seems like everytime I ask her to watch the baby she has a "meeting" (she is researching our family history). Somehow, it has become my responsibility to figure out when I can take my kid to her house on a day that she has nothing to do. DH is finally seeing that his mother is not perfect.

I need to say something to her about it, but I figured I'd wait since Im not all that excited about anyone watching DD anyway (shes only 4 months). But my parents , who live 5 hours away have watched her more than his mom (who only lives 1 hour away). If it continues to be a trend, my child will develop a better relationship with my parents than his. I would suggest trying to talk to her about it from a "your relationship with the child" perspective.

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#20 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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We have no family within 1000 miles and very few friends, none I would trust to really help me with my children. I get the unfairness of it. My sister moved across the country so that she could be 1 mile from my parents so my mom could help her (we both work, she is a corporate business type while I am in recreation). I guess that's the price i and my kids pay. My MIL lives 3000 miles away and first saw my dd at 9 months, my ds#1 at six months but not again until he was 4 when she met ds#2 for the first time when he was 2. She has not been to our house in almost 17 years. Is it crappy? Yup, just as your situation is. I can't change either set of grandparents or my kids' perceptions of their grandparents. I only have control over how I deal with it.
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#21 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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I'm used to making do with no help, so maybe that colors my perceptions. I don't think that grandparents have any particular obligations to do anything.

But yes, I can see why your MIL doesn't have much interest in driving three hours if nobody is home all day. Maybe she doesn't like being alone taking care of the kids. Maybe she has a better relationship with her other SIL. Maybe that's not fair, but it's not likely to change by complaining about it.

My dad remarried a widowed woman after my mother died. They do all sorts of things with her kids, but almost nothing with his. They mostly live out of state, but spend summers here. She's not a bad person, and I think that if my dad expressed a preference for spending some time with his own grandchildren, she would be OK with that, but it would have to come from him, and it doesn't.

When I first had kids, and was working full time, I tried to invite them over for dinner on weekends. They would never come because they always had plans with her kids, and would tell me that they'd rather come in the middle of the work week. Umm, sorry, I can't work all day and have guests. It bugged me to no end.

I finally just let it all go. I stopped inviting them. We see them a few times every summer if somebody has a party. But that's it. I'm much happier now that I have no expections at all from them.
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#22 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have no family within 1000 miles and very few friends, none I would trust to really help me with my children. I get the unfairness of it. My sister moved across the country so that she could be 1 mile from my parents so my mom could help her (we both work, she is a corporate business type while I am in recreation). I guess that's the price i and my kids pay. My MIL lives 3000 miles away and first saw my dd at 9 months, my ds#1 at six months but not again until he was 4 when she met ds#2 for the first time when he was 2. She has not been to our house in almost 17 years. Is it crappy? Yup, just as your situation is. I can't change either set of grandparents or my kids' perceptions of their grandparents. I only have control over how I deal with it.


It is hard, isn't it. I feel for you.

My MIL visits the grandkids who live 3,000 miles away MORE though. She flies to see them regularly and spends a week with them every three months or so. I wouldn't wish less for them.

Just an equal amount for us.

We live about 250 miles away or 3 hours. She almost never comes and if she does it's only for a few hours, and almost always for less than 24 hours.
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#23 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 02:51 PM
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I'd be really happy my MIL found a reason, any reason, to visit us less often.

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#24 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How are those not lies? I'm not one to say all lies are bad-- there can be good reasons for lying occasionally-- but this sounds so habitual that it's a predictable part of her personality.
DH must be getting to me. Yes, you are right. They are lies. Not like outright, lie to your face, change the truth to the opposite of what really happened.

What she is saying is inaccurate, yes. Maybe not so much a lie in the true definition.

But, yeah, definitely NOT TRUE!!
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#25 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd be really happy my MIL found a reason, any reason, to visit us less often.


Oh, yes, on a personal, selfish level I'm quite happy with it. If I didn't have a kid, trust me, I'm not sure I'd want her to visit and it wouldn't bother me a bit. I mean, ideally, I'd want a good relationship with a MIL, but not one so unfair and flippant and prone to illogical excuses that aren't accurately when it comes to the facts.

But, yeah, I'm not sad they aren't visiting me.

I'm sad they aren't being fair to my child, and I'm a little more harried without help, though I'm not sure she would be much help. You sort have to want to help someone to actually be of help, you know? If she doesn't want to, she doesn't want to, and she's better off staying home.

Plus, she has very different ideas about the world. She's not educated, and she's definitely not understanding of AP. We had an incident long ago when she gave my newborn who was having latching issues after getting out of the NICU a pacifier when I told her not to because it would cause even more nipple confusion. That was the advice of the lactation consultant. And I woke up to find my baby had a pacifier. I was pretty livid.

Also, she was really happy when my SIL weaned at one year and MIL was pretty suspicious and dismissive that I nursed for 2.5 years. When is that going to stop? That kind of thing.

Also, I delayed solids until 7 months. She was on my case about starting cereal for a couple of months.

So, yeah, much easier without her, but not ideal for my child.
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#26 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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I guess I kind of see her point, but do they really need to be entertained by you the entire time they're visiting?

My fil comes from out of state once a year for a week. Dh and I both have always had jobs when he's come to visit. During the day, he does his thing; mostly napping, reading, seeing sights, whatever. In the evenings, we're all together.

I'd assume she doesn't want to visit very badly if she lets something like your job get in the way.
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#27 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by provocativa View Post
I think you should change your mind. She is toxic- you don't want her to bond to your kid, then he'll be caught up in her toxic cycle. I wish to point out that my in-laws are similar, and my dh has a similar history to your dh. He was abused as a child, worse by bio mom but also by stepmom and biodad, and he is verbally abusive and explosive to our family like your dh. His bio family ignores his existence, but is very involved in his brother's life and his half sisters. (His bio mom has been out of his life since he was 12). So, I am asserting in brief that the pattern of your mil ignoring you is part of the pattern which created the monster of your dh, and is similar to the pattern which created my monster dh. Jump at the chance to break your kids from their cycle of being treated as 'less than' the other grandkids.
I live in the jackass village too. My mom claims to be devoted to my kids, but only babysat for my brother's kids. My babies used to cry, why does nana love patty more. . . . I don't know what to do about it either. I really want to tell her to frack off, but I'm trying to leave my h and she might actually do some babysitting now. Sigh.
yes to the bolded. i only have one "good" grandparent. and she is the one who is now bonded and loves my kids. the others could care less, don't call, don't send cards etc but we were pretty much raised to not expect much (my parents made up for it, they knew their parents were awful to them, didn't want them etc) and its not because they hate us or anything that is just who they are. they like my cousins better and we respect that and are kind if they ever do come to visit or we speak on the phone. however we do have a running joke when my grandparents visit (they have always stayed with my uncle) that we are not the "favorites" but really we could care less!!

mama to one '07 and one '09
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#28 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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American families kind of suck at being supportive. I wish it were different. It's not like this in any of the foreign families I've met, or even in American families heavily influenced by a "mother culture" (including my own.) I hear this stuff all the time on here, and IRL too. I think that I got lucky with my MIL, who is pretty helpful, but even so there is just something off. Like I know that my there is a line that I couldn't expect my MIL to cross in terms of helping out family, but that line doesn't exist with my family. Like I know my dh, my kids, and I could all go live with my mom (and sis and BIL and their 2 kids) in her house without a second thought. I'm talking permantly. Because to my family, that's just what you do for family, whatever you have to. But I don't think I could do that with MIL, and that's always in the back of my mind.

OP- do you think this underlying hostility is directed at you, or DH? Is the family she visits her "favorite" child's? Either way, sounds totally toxic. You guys need to circle the wagons with some good friends and make a new kind of family. Because, yeah, it totally takes a village.

Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...

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#29 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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I don't expect help from the grandparents. They did their part by raising their own kids.
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#30 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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Maybe she feels that when she goes to the other DIL's house, it's more of a vacation because the DIL is already there taking care of the kids. Maybe she's not comfortable taking care of children by herself and she'd rather just relax.
Maybe instead of inviting them over to help you, invite them over instead to do something together as family like sightseeing or something and then see if they come. Maybe they'll be more inclined to visit if there's an activity planned.

Ryan 08-28-08  & Julianna 5-3-11
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