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RoseRed135

MIL/DIL conflict - Is it inevitable?

30 posts in this topic

I dislike articles like this because they don't take into account different personalities and different family dynamics. I guess it seems oversimplified to me and not very helpful when trying to solve in-law issues. Plus add in the differences between generations and technology there is no simple answer for why in-law issues can be so hard. I feel like expectations have changed so much since I was a kid, extended family seems to expect more contact (photos, texts, email updates). 

For me I loved my in-laws right away and was so thankful to be welcomed into their home. My Mil and I got along better than my mother and I (who is not in my life anymore) and we became friends fast. She helped me plan our wedding and went dress shopping with me, everything was great.... until we had a baby. 

Mil had 3 boys and always wanted a girl. We were really close throughout my whole pregnancy there were a couple annoying things like she bought all first clothes (without asking and didn't include me) and was really opinionated about breastfeeding and doing without drugs during labor. Mostly things were good, I asked her into the labor room and she saw her granddaughter born. She came and stayed with us after baby was born and sorta helped. My husband had to remind her several times to hand baby back for feeding and I remember wanting to cry because she had held my baby for hours and she was only days old and I wanted her back but was afraid of offending her. 

I think most of our troubles come from mismatched expectations along with some bigger boundary stomps. Our biggest issue so far though has been their dog bit my 12 month old daughter on the face and they so underreacted. We were staying with them at Christmas and for the rest of the trip the dog was still out and about and everything got rug swept for months. I finally said enough if we visit the dog has to be put in a kennel or another room, so my husband had this talk with them and our next visit was horrible. Things were so tense about the dog because we had to keep asking for him to be put away because he won't leave our daughter alone. And we were afraid she would trip and fall again and he would bite her.  Mil ended up yelling at my husbanded saying he was being ****** and making things awful for her (cue eye roll) . They were more worried about their dogs comfort and happiness than their granddaughters safety. This caused us to take a break from visiting their home and really I was so upset I didn't want to permanently ruin our relationship. My husband also was a big problem in this for he just let his mom do whatever and didn't have my back because he didn't want to offend his parents. Now though we are on the same page and our mil apologized for her words and actions (although fil still has a problem with the dog being kenneled). 

Sorry that was a novel but I guess things for us just got more complicated with the addition of our daughter. Mil just struggles with respecting us as parents and peers which wears on me. Overall I feel like nothing will ever be enough for her because I don't know what her expectations are (I think she wants us to need her more and to be more of a 3rd parent.) 

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Posted (edited)

Maybe that is true with some, it wasn't for me.  I never felt jealousy of any kind with my MIL.  I certainly never felt like she knew DH better than me. Heck sometimes it didn't seem like she knew him at all.  Certainly not well because if she had understood him even a little she would have changed her tactic in dealing with him.  Our breakdown happened after the birth of our first child.  The very condensed version is that she had a lot of expectations of what grandparenting would look like, and when things didn't work the way she felt they were supposed to she blamed me and would call regularly screaming.  And when I stopped answering (which took an embarrassing amount of time) she got her mother to start calling and screaming.  And then when that wasn't getting her anywhere she just started calling and screaming at DH.  And when she wasn't screaming she was telling him all about how I had complete control over him.  (This was laugh worthy to everyone else who knows him knows he is no "yes man" and does not respond to ultimatums.)  Ultimately it got bad enough where we did have to end all contact, block phone numbers etc.  It has been 6 years.  She never got to know ODD older than 1 and she has never met my other two children.  However it has been made painfully clear that she is not interested in changing the way she treats people and we are not interested in being treated horribly.

I also see changes as well as unrealistic looks at "How things used to be" didn't help my situation and I don't think I'm alone in that.  I know MIL used to go on about how DH used to come around a lot more before he was with me.  This is true.  Because he LIVED there.  He didn't move out of her house until the Month we got married.  It wasn't just her.  I had friends who had a hard time with the fact that I hung out with them less than before I was married, and that I wouldn't just go out of town on a whim with no notice or go out at 10pm in the evening.  In reality I never did a lot of those things with them, because even in high school I worked a lot of hours.  By this time I was married and I had a job that I had to be up for early in the morning so to me a 10pm hang out was not reasonable. BUT that is not the lens they chose to look through, but I can't help but wonder how it could have played out differently.

I can't speak for everyone in my age group of course, but I think we do value extended family.  I know it has been an adjustment for even my side, because we do see them less than I saw my grandparents growing up. (And yes, we did see MIL way less than her kids saw their grandparents growing up.)  There are reasons for this.  Work hours are longer for DH.  I am a SAHM but we are a one car family.  I can go places during the day but I have to know in advance so we can plan for me to have the car that day.   Also, both of our moms were single moms and I think we both saw our grandparents a lot more often because of that.  I generally did see my grandparents at least weekly and so did he.  Often more.  

I think nowadays it isn't that extended family is less important, but that nuclear family has become *more* important.  Because of the fast paced world we live in that so often is dependent on two incomes, families have to be much more intentional with their time.  Not all households are in a situation where they can sit down to a family meal altogether every day.  I also suspect that Grandparents are busier than they used to be.  People are retiring later, and are often more involved in the community.  My parents are young so that is probably a major peace of the puzzle as well.  My point on that is that it also takes more scheduling on BOTH sides for family to get together.  

 

 

Edited by mrsslant
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On 21/07/2017 at 11:42 PM, mrsslant said:

 I certainly never felt like she knew DH better than me. Heck sometimes it didn't seem like she knew him at all.  

I think sometimes the conflict is inevitable because MIL's are comparing a younger, pre-marriage, pre-kids AC with the married, parent, AC. It's apples and oranges really. Marriage and parenthood is supposed to change you and shift your priorities. 

My DH has strong opinions and loves to have a good debate, about a variety of things. He is most definitely no "yes man" to me either. But he would often go along with his mother's nonsense in order to not hurt her feelings, and having to deal with that. He told me once about something he let go on for years with her because he just didn't want to deal with her not being able to handle him saying no. It went on for years until he got very tired of it and said enough. I remember her complaining once about  my religion trying to "get" DH - which is hysterical, considering what a staunch athiest he is. He's been quite vocal to me about how he feels about organized religion. But he's kept that to himself around his mom, and went to services with her once a  year when he was home at Christmas. So in her eyes, he belonged to her denomination and we sucked him in to mine. Reality is, he has never belonged to either. 

So there was probaly inevitably going to be conflict for us, because I'm not willing to go along with this whole let MIL do what she wants when she wants nonsense, where before myself and the kids came along, he did. 

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On Friday, July 07, 2017 at 7:14 AM, RoseRed135 said:

Found this article elsewhere on the 'Net. It's old, no doubt, but thought-provoking. The writer claims that, as a new wife, she was instinctively jealous of her MIL. Furthermore, she asserts that wives, overall, are "programmed" to resent/envy/"fight" our MILs:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1204365/Why-wives-programmed-fight-mothers-law.html

Could it be? Is MIL/DIL conflict more a matter of instinct or biology than anything else?

That article is the usual GP.com drivel. Personalities are at the root of difficulties. 

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On 7/26/2017 at 10:11 AM, PattyGram said:

That article is the usual GP.com drivel. Personalities are at the root of difficulties. 

It's not from GP.com (look again). But, otherwise, your point is well taken. :)

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