Urgh Here We Go Again! (MIL)

Updated on September 23, 2010
K.T. asks from Joliet, IL
21 answers

Before y'all start reading I want to say that this might be a long post. I needed to vent because my MIL just made me so angry.

My MIL just called me and asked me if she can take my DD to her house tomorrow because her parents are coming up from Tennessee for my DD's first b-day on Sunday the 26th. I know they don't get to see her a lot so I understand they want to see her but the thing is she didn't even ask me if I wanted to go over and spend the day with them. She does this everytime family comes to visit and not once has she asked me to come over and spend the day with them. She just always wants to see my daughter and not me. I know I shouldn't let it bother me but it does. I talked to my DH about it and he said that he knows his mother does not like me. For the most part I try my hardest to not let the things that she does bother me. But, It's getting so bad that my husband suggest that we move to Kentucky to be closer to his dad's side of the family . I know that is not the solution and I can't just pack up and leave my side of the family.

These are some of the things that she does that just drives us crazy and makes my DH and I so mad.

1. The other day we went over to her house just to visit and the entire time we were there she did not let anyone else hold my DD.

2. When my DD cries and wants to come to me or my DH my MIL takes her away to another room. I don't know why she does that.

3. She sees my DD more than anyone else in the family and she still acts like she nevers sees her and she gets mad at us if we go over to her house and we don't have my DD with us.

4. She does not listen when we ask her not to do something. EX: In August we went to my MIL's house for husbands 50th and daughters 30th b-day. When it was time for cake I told my MIL that she can give my DD Just a few small bites of cake but no frosting. I went back to check on my DD 10 mins later and she had frosting all over her face. I was so mad I had to bite my tongue and walk away.

5. Oh, I almost forgot...She said she bought my DD a radio flyer wagon for her 1st b-day. I thought that was nice of them until she said " It's for her b-day but we're gonna kept it at our house." What the hell is this woman's problem why would you buy someone a gift and keep it at your house. What's wrong with it being at our place? I mean my daughter does live here with us and not over there with her.

I can keep going on and on about her. Some of you may think I'm the one who is crazy after reading this post. But, I just want to say that it not only bothers me but it also bothers my husband but he is tired of talking to his mother because she just does not listen . My mother does not act like this so I'm not sure how to feel , what to do , or how to handle this. I talked to her about it before and she says she will try to calm down but nothing has changed. Her own husband has talked to her and it hasn't helped.

Sometimes I feel like I have to let her get her way just to please her for my daughter's sake. I've been trying so hard not to let her get to me. I don't know how much more of this I can take. I feel like i'm going insane.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

My husband and I went to talk to her. My husband did most of the talking and I stayed quiet most of the time. We did let her know that whatever we say goes because we are her parents. We make decisions together when it comes to our daughter. My MIL explained to us that her parents were really upset because they didn't get to see their great-granddaughter a lot when they came up to visit. I understand that but they also have to realize that my husband was working 12 hr shifts when they were here and we went to visit them whenever we had time. We also had doctor's appt and other appts we had to attend to. I expressed my feelings and it seemed like my MIL understood my point of view but we will see if anything changes.

For some of you who may have misunderstood...I do not spend a lot of time with my MIL. She babysits my DD twice a week because she insists on spending time alone with my daughter. We only see my husbands side of they family 1 or 2 times a month and that is only when we go over to their house. They hardly ever come over to our house. I'm not sure why cause we only live 10 mins away.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I learned a long time ago just to pick and choose my battles wisely. A lot of things that bothered me, weren't worth the fight. So I let a lot of it go. I actually started seeing that maybe it was me that was too tense about things, and that a lot of the in-laws actions were meant with no harm intended. =) Good Luck.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dayton on

This is YOUR daughter. You have the first and last say about everything that happens with and to her. I know you don't want to do anything that would cause a rift in the relationship between your daughter and her grandma. I really respect that. But, you do need to set some kind of boundaries.

1. If she can't respect your wishes, then everywhere your daughter goes with her you go, too. This means if she spends the day, then you spend the day. Next time she asks if your daughter can spend the day with family, your answer can be, "We would love to be there. What time do you want us?" Let her TELL you that you aren't invited. Bet she doesn't.

2. If she can't respect your wishes, then her time with your daughter will be more limited. If you say no cake frosting and there is cake frosting that means that she isn't respecting your right to handle your daughter's diet and sometimes that can have dangerous consequences.

3. When she walks away with your baby, follow her and ask (demand nicely) for your daughter back. If she doesn't give her to you, then the minute your daughter is out of her arms, pick her up and leave.

Let her have the wagon at her house. It's catty on her part, at least the way she put it, but she may want to have things over there that are special for your daughter to do.

It sounds like your MIL has some control issues. You need to assert your authority and let her know that if your parental wishes are not respected there will be consequences. It sounds like, for all her faults, she does love your daughter so I bet she wouldn't be willing to risk losing time with her in order to make her point. And, hey, she doesn't like you anyway so what do you have to lose. You may not ever be buddies, but at least you will have peace.


8 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

This is a tough one b/c it's clear that she doesn't like you (not sure why) and that she wants to control the interactions between your daughter and others.

Here's what I would strongly suggest- have your husband tell her very clearly that this is her grandaughter and that you want her to be part of her life, but the way that she treats you both is unacceptable. State the parameters VERY clearly (with her husband present b/c he sounds like he gets it):
- Our requests for our daughter are to be honored or you will not have alone time with her- period.
- Treat you with respect as a mother. She doesn't have to like you as a DIL, but you are the mother of the child.
- You want your daughter to have relationships with all of her family members and will not allow her to be monopolized at family gatherings
- If your MIL wants "alone time" with DD, designate one afternoon a month for that purpose, as long as your requests are honored. It's okay to spoil a little bit, but there is a difference b/w an extra treat and letting your daughter eat something that may well make her sick.

If she doesn't agree to the parameters or can't stick to it, attend only family functions and avoid other visits for a while.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Comments on the issues, as you listed them:
#1. She's a baby hog! lol Does your daughter like being held by her grandma? If so, what's the problem?
#2. She tries to calm your daughter down herself...getting some private space so your daughter can be soothed by her grandma.
#3. She misses her when she's not around--what a shame! If your "kidless" for a few hours, why are you at your MIL's house? ;-)
#4. Did your daughter get sick from the frosting? Why did you blacklist the frosting (best part)? Makes no sense to me...
#5. Who really cares? Let her enjoy the wagon when she's at the grandparents house. If you need O. or want O. at your house--go buy O..

Seriously, it doesn't sound like you're doing much to please this woman or even trying to please her. That's OK. You don't have to. But don't expect her to like you when you have an attitude of me vs. her. It's going to get old with your husband too, eventually.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I think Kentucky's looking pretty good! It's a beautiful state!
"My MIL just called me and asked me if she can take my DD to her house tomorrow because her parents are coming up from Tennessee for my DD's first b-day on Sunday the 26th."
I'd say "No". They can see her on her birthday like you already have planned.
Just say no to you MIL more often till you are comfortable with saying it.
It's what's best for you and your child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Philadelphia on

Why not start putting your foot down a little harder... like when you walked in on Icing on the face... you should have cleaned her face, looked right at your MIL and told her you were leaving, because she directly disobeyed your wishes.
It is your child, not hers....
God my MIL drives me nuts with this kind of stuff...

It could be worse... Mine lives with us! 24/7! All the time!!!

It takes everything I have not to lash out at her on a regular basis... and she is very babying... Our daughter is 15 and my MIL will still try to do everything FOR her... it now drives my daughter crazy...

Put your foot down, and if worse comes to worse, let her know that you will have to limit her visits to when you are available to be there, so that you can keep an eye on your daughter and make sure she is being raised the way YOU want to raise her... If it continues, tell her she can only visit at your house, when you are available and it is convenient for you.

I hope you can work something out...Good Luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Johnson City on

I guess I'm gonna be in the minority here, but I have dealt with a woman much like your MIL for too many years and have learned to just let a lot of things go. I know that is much easier said than done, but she sounds exactly like my ex-MIL who will fight to her death to get her way. It doesn't sound like you are going to get her to reason with you, so at some point you have to either give in or give up.

I would suggest limiting her alone time with your daughter if you feel she is really making un-safe choices for her. If it is just aggravating things like the wagon and monopolizing your daughter, maybe try not to react. A lot of times a person with this personality is just living off your negative reactions. Try to ignore her and she just might get the point (eventually) that she is not going to get to you and maybe that will make her grow bored of acting that way. Also, try to remember she won't be here forever and your daughter should be able to have cherished memories of her grandparents (hard as it is for us to watch them be made, they are still important to the kids)

GL and hang in there! Hope the visit tomorrow goes as smoothly as possible.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The most troublesome thing is she does not invite you over, & instead just wants your daughter at her house. Everything else sounds pretty typical of grandma's. Some so desperately want to be loved & seen as a favorite, that they go a little batty. My own mom did the same thing w/ cake until I discussed it w/ her. I actually think it's good to leave toys at grandma's house, even gifts, b/c it gives the child something to do there. I actually wish my mom would buy a gift & offer to leave it at her house b/c there are hardly any toys there & my house looks like a daycare w/ all the toys. It sounds like she's being a great grandma...just not a great MIL...so I would bite my tongue to keep the peace. However, the next time your daughter cries at her house...you run over & swoop up your daughter & take care of her first...b/c you are the Mommy!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Ah, the eternal struggle with the spouse's mother. Let me gently suggest that she's probably doing most of these aggravating behaviors unconsciously. She adores her grandchild, can't get enough of her, would love to devour her if possible, and may not even realize how intrusive and "grandchild focused" she is.

Now, that doesn't make it okay, but it's just the way some of us are. I'll bet if a really objective observer were to watch your or my behavior for even a few hours, she'd tell us things about our automatic choices that would startle us. So, I'm suggesting that you take a few deep breaths and try to put some perspective on these annoyances.

If your MIL doesn't like you, and you don't like her, how is anything going to change? Do you have any choice in making things better, and if not, then why would you expect her to? Problems like this are seldom one-sided.

She doesn't invite you, but do you ever invite her? She doesn't talk to you, but do you ever talk to her? Do you seek common ground? Your brain is probably still more youthful and flexible than hers (I'm speaking as a woman in my 60's who is APPALLED at how much my mental functioning and focus has slipped in the past 10 years).

Sounds like you are both engaged in a passive-aggressive power struggle. Unfortunately, it's virtually impossible to "make" other people change, but if you work on your end of it, you might be able to transform this relationship for the better. How much of that might you be able to work with?

I've been doing this kind of work on myself since my 20's, and I know how much sacrifice (of control, of self-interest, of ego) it entails. The good news is that it is so worth it. My sense of humor, my ability to endure obnoxious people, my sense of personal peace, have all grown over my lifetime because I work on them consciously. My son-in-law would tell you this has made me a great MIL, by the way, and you may be one someday, too. Just sayin.'

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

Honestly, I know you are not going to see it this way, but your MIL is just obsessively in love with your dear daughter (I imagine that is what DD means). She is controlling in a "good way" but I really don't think she means you the harm you are thinking. I do not think it directly has anything to do with you, but most people/grandmas only see the kids, parents of the kids are non-existent. I visited my mother and very few times I get acknowledged. I will mention it and then I am the afterthought "Oh hey Amom2, and I get a hug"...I just take it as all in the family. Based on what you describe above, the center or focus is on your daughter, and I would actually be happy she is so in love with her and just pass off her actions as being an overly caring grandma. I would try not to let it bother you so much. How you deal with that is not push it more than necessary, because your MIL has to win and the more you push, the more she is going to go against what you say. Just try to control your side. If you don't want your daughter to go over, then just don't let her. Your MIL will be mad, but that is your decision. You can only control you and nobody else.

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answers from Detroit on

Oh, in laws can be tough! And even when your husband has your back and tries talking to them, it doesn't always work. I have a SIL bought my son a sled for Christmas and then kept it at her house, thereby she could be the only one to take him sledding. When I told her we were gonna buy him one also, she got defensive and said it was "something special for only he and she". So I don't believe for one moment that your MIL is keeping the wagon there strictly for something to do with your daughter....its a power thing, a "this is something ONLY I can do with her" thing.

My MIL and SIL also do the "keeping my son from me" thing, all the time. When he gets hurt, they will literally shove me out of the way to get to him first and then when I attempt to get him so I can make sure he's ok, they walk away from me with him. My hubby has had to walk up, yell at them, snatch the child away and hand him to me and say "we're leaving". And then they have the nerve to look all hurt and shocked by it. They in no way see what it is that THEY did to create the situation. That may be the only thing you and your hubby will be able to do with her in that situation. She may not like it, or even recognize HER role in it, but it will make you feel SO GOOD to see the look of shock on her face. Believe me!

My SIL also has a bad habit of saying stupid and hurtful things to my son about my hubby and I and our parenting skills. She called not long ago and asked to take him to a movie. Sure, no problem. When I picked him up, on the drive home, he said "so, did you enjoy your break from me". HUH?? Turns out my SIL told him that he was getting on my nerves and I needed a break from him so I could spend time alone with his baby brother! Are you KIDDING ME?? Why she would do this, I have no idea, but I've since told my husband that it needs to be made CLEAR to his family that they will no longer have time with my son without he or my supervision. PERIOD!

Finally, you do need to realize that, as your daughter gets older, she will start to see the writing on the wall and will use it to play on the attention she gets from your MIL. Case in point, my SIL used to tell me son that she loved him more than I did. She apparently thought it was hilarious to say it. Until one day, at the age of four, he got in trouble for something and I was putting him in time out and he said "I want to go live with Aunt B because she loves me more than you do". OUCH!

Sorry that this is sooo long, but I really feel compelled to make you see the changes that need to made so you don't end up allowing it to go one (like I did) and then end up REALLY regretting it!

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answers from Toledo on

Get a book about Toxic Parents. It was written with your family in mind. There are explanations for her behavior, and strategies to deal with people like her. Hubby needs to be the backbone here, because you are not "family" in her eyes.

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answers from Detroit on

I had one of those once. She was always trying to control what I did and my kids. Even after I divorced her abusive son she still tried to control things. She would buy really expensive clothes for my daughter as soon as she would get her to her house for a visit she would give her a bath (just had one before she left) change her clothes do her hair and put on hairspray which I asked over and over that she not do. It was never ending. She was jelouse of me for who knows what reason and I would bet your MIL is of you also. You are younger and prettier and you have her son. I would have a talk with your DH and tell him either he tells her to at least treat you like you are the Mom or her visits will be limited.She sill teach your Daughter to traat you the same way. Private message me and we can swop stories. Good Luck.

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answers from Anchorage on

First off, if my child wanted me and someone took them to another room, I would follow and collect my child, even if I had to be a little mean about it. I would also tell mil that if the child is not allowed to actually have the wagon, if it is only for at grandmas, that I would prefer she did not give it as a birthday gift since this could upset the child when you all go home. No one likes to be given a gift just to have it taken away. Also, if she wants your daughter to come over, especially on a birthday, I would simply show up and than stay if I wanted to, you are always welcome were your child is, and if not, than take the child and leave. I had issues with my Fil, but when I made it clear that i would not be disrespected in front of my child, things improved. It is so great you are fostering a good relationship between DD and grandma, but it should not come packaged in with disrespect for momma.

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answers from Dover on

It isn't going to be easy to get her to change but here are some ideas that may help. Your immediate concern is obviously tomorrow...assuming you didn't already tell her "NO", I suggest you ask what time her parents will be arriving and then tell her that you are more than happy to bring your daughter over to visit with them. (Example: if they will be there at 11 am, tell her that you can arrive either just before so you are there already or just after they get settled but you (both of you) have to leave by 4 pm for an appointment or some other previous committment...even if you don't have one). As for food/drink and safety issues, you have to put your foot down. I had to with my MIL (current and ex). You need to tell her that this is your child and you and hubby make the rules...as grandma you expect her to bend certain rules sometimes but not break them especially when it comes to certain things...spell it out for her.

As for the other items...she takes your daughter into the other room assuming that 1) your daughter will stop crying to go back to you or her dad if she doesn't see you and 2) you won't hear her if she does continue crying. You need to either accept that or speak up and not allow it. Not doing so is allowing it. She exclusively holds your daughter because she doesn't understand the difference between mom and grandmom....same w/ wagon (or she doesn't think you will take care of it at your home). Your hubby said his mom doesn't like you but you didn't mention if she had any real issue or what she percieves as justification to feel that way....assuming she doesn't my guess is it is just that you are the "woman" in her son's and granddaughters lives and she may have issues with letting go. Wanting your daughter there when you visit is normal especially while she is so young and if she is the only grandchild. As for birthday presents being kept at her home...I guess if she told you that than you know upfront. You can either take the stand that "well, if you are giving it to her for her birthday than it should really be at our home but if you are buying it to have at your home where it won't get as much use we'll go ahead and get her one at home". If it is a gift that she opens at home, just quietly move ALL gifts to a non-accessible room after they are opened.

Good luck!

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answers from Seattle on

If you don't like her... WHY spend so much time with her?

Ditto... when she treats you badly, or doesn't listen to what you ask... why do you bed over backwards in the same moment to "keep her happy"?

WHY... when she takes your crying baby away from you when she's calling for you or daddy do you not follower her in and TAKE your daughter into your arms and either comfort her, or if she wants papa to take her to papa?

WHY is watching mommy be a doormat good for your daughter's sake? You can still be polite while being firm. Standing up for yourself with grace and dignity seem like pretty good lessons to be teaching instead.

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answers from Phoenix on

This is very simple. LIMIT your time with her. When she wants only your daughter to come over, sorry, you are taking her to your friends house for the day. Or wherever. You must become very busy until she learns her place. If she wants your daughter because people from out of town are coming, you say GREAT! We'll be over at whatever time so I can see them too!!! I don't think you can just "let it go" like some posters have said. And she admittedly doesn't like you. This relationship will not get better. Limit her visits, simple. Invite her to YOUR house for holidays and birthdays. When she takes your daughter into another room, you go get her. That being said, you must "choose your battles" and "don't sweat the small stuff". And really, most of it is small. But the bottom line is she MUST respect the fact that you are the mother and she can't overstep that, ever. I hope this helps you. Good luck!!!

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answers from Denver on

Ideally, your husband has (another?) sit-down with your MIL - but ALONE. He needs to tell her something like, "I know you don't care for my wife, but she is MY WIFE, and when you disrespect her you are disrespecting ME."

He needs to TAKE your DD from you MIL when DD wants him or you. Then he either holds her or GIVES her to you, depending on what she wants.

Your MIL needs to know that you and your husband and DD are the PRIMARY family and that your husband will not ALLOW her to behave otherwise.

The wagon, I'd let go. Some parents prefer that grandparents keep big gifts at their houses. And really, this is small beans in what you are describing.

I have had a terrible time with my MIL (see my questions:), so much so that I have told my DH that he is NEVER to leave me alone with her anymore. All I can say is that "killing her w/ kindness" didn't work. She interprets everything I say and do as ABOUT HER and NEGATIVE and if she can't do that, she decides it's a mind game (yes, I loaned you my car to mess with your head, uh huh).

Go ahead and let her "get" to you. It's time. Your DH needs to take charge. And let your husband know that if he does NOT take charge, you'll have to. Which might mean taking back your your DD and walking out the door....

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answers from Dallas on

Honestly, if both of you are not happy with this, your husband needs to let her know that her behaviour is upsetting ALL of you, and that if she wants to spend time with her granddaughter, then she needs to respect the both of you. If not, too bad.

Stop taking your child over there. You don't HAVE to deal with this. I hate to say this, but your daughter is one, she has other grandparents. I wouldn't let my mother be alone with my child because I don't trust her judgement. Sometimes you have to be tough, even when it's close family, especially when it comes to your children and the health of your OWN family (hubby, baby, you.). Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

First, take a deep breath. Don't take any of it personally. Your MIL, like many, is simply in love with your daughter and either doesn't realize how overbearing she is or is just caught up in being a Grandma. With that being said, you have to set boundaries with her, you have to sit down with her and be firm, make specific points about your expectations and explain the consequences if she doesn't comply (that you will leave with the baby, etc.). If she doesn't comply and you are at her house, you must stick to your guns and collect your baby and leave, other than that, she is not going to get the point. I'm sure this is a point of stress for your husband and the madness has to end for everyone's sake. Another suggestion is that you should make your house the point of contact for relatives to see your daughter so that your mother in law does not hog the baby and leave you feeling misplaced or out of the loop. Invite them to "your" house where you are in control. You also have to choose your battles and the one about the wagon being kept at her house, let it go. You need to clear this up before its too late and a knock down drag out family feud happens. Good Luck.

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