Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Need advice about MIL

Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
Hi everyone! I need some advice on how to handle MIL''s unwanted commentary from ladies more tactful than myself
Here'' the background -- I''ll try to keep it short.

I lost my job in the beginning of January, and I''ve decided to take a break from working for a month or two. In the meantime I am not looking for a new job, and am enjoying my time relaxing at home, getting our home together, and doing all the cooking, and cleaning.

My last job was 100% travel, so I only slept at home on the weekends, and DH and our home went neglected. Having this time off is really nice, and I finally feel like we''re a normal family, and it''s fabulous to finally live with DH!

Now on to my question... my MIL calls me every couple of days to see how DH and I doing. She usually starts off by complaining that DH doesn''t call her, and tell me to instruct him to call her
The last two times that she''s called me she has been asking what I do during the day. The first time I told her that I cook and clean and hang out with our doggie, to which she answered "you do that all day," in a thinly-veiled judgemental, you-sit-on-your-ass-all-day-doing-nothing tone. I told her yes, I do that all day.

Then today she calls again, asking about DH, why he doesn''t call her, and that she didn''t even know that he went to Seattle to spend the weekend skiing with his BFF. Then she proceeds to ask me what I was up to this weekend, and I told her that I was resting, and relaxing this weekend. Then she says in her sarcastic, judgemental tone "well yes, you must get tired."


How would you ladies tactfully tell your MIL to mind her business, and that my decision to take a career break is not for her to judge?

For the record, my not working at the moment is not a financial issue, as we can live and save on DH''s salary, even morso now that I''m able to cook all our meals at home.
 

Kaleigh

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
29,570
I would be honest with her, tell her why you need a break. She sounds like she is the passsive agressive type?

ETA: Do you have caller ID, don't take all her calls..
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
Thanks Kaleigh!

She''s IS a passive aggressive type. When we were planning our wedding, if she had any ideas of comments about what we were planning, she would call my mom and ask her to suggest it to me
. DH had a talk with her, and that stopped, but it seems every time there is something new.

I was thinking that perhaps I could explain to her why I want the break, but I don''t want to give her the impression that her behavior is acceptable, or that I am somehow accountable to her for decisions that are made within our marriage that don''t concern her.

I don''t have a problem with her wanting to know what goes on in our lives, and asking as such, but I don''t appreciate judgement and snark. At the same time I don''t want to flat out say what I think, and offend her.
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
Just saw your edit, haha! I have considered not picking up when she calls, but I don''t know how long I can do that. At some point she''ll get in touch with DH, and complain that I never pick up my phone when she calls


We don''t have a landline, so she calls me directly. It''s not like she''s calling looking for DH, and gets me instead
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
7,485
"You really should communicate with [insertDHsnamehere] regarding your wish that he call her more often; perhaps you could send him an email or leave him a mesage to that point."

"As a couple we have made the decision that my not working for now is the right thing for our family and I'd appreciate it if you could respect our right to make that choice, as a couple, and not comment on it whether or not you agree."

Neither conversation needs to be confrontational on your end and if she becomes so I would say "I think it's best that we talk later, about other things, as I don't wish to discuss X with you because it is only harmful to our relationship." Then hang up, and call her in a few days and talk about other things.
 

Kaleigh

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
29,570
She''s triangulating. Never a good thing. I''d set some guidlines, if she calls and wants to vent about your DH, her son, you say politely, you need to chat with him. Boundaries set early are key. Start setting some now. Trust me, I was in your shoes a long time ago. I spoke up, said my piece. Hubby backed me up. This was 20 years or so ago.

I wish we had had, Caller ID back then!!!
 

Allisonfaye

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 18, 2004
Messages
1,455
I say don''t answer it. She''ll get the hint soon enough. Sounds like you would be playing her game. By the way, glad you are enjoying your new time with your DH.
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
KimberlyH - I''m very comfortable with that response to her questioning about DH, but I''m a bit weary of being so straight forward with her about her comments about my being at home. I don''t want to end up looking like I''m hypersensitive to her comments, since they are very thinly veiled. She will probably just say that I misunderstood her. I am usually a very straight forward person, but I guess I''m looking for a less straight forward way of letting her know that she should zip it. I''m sure she knows I don''t appreciate her comments, and that it doesn''t make me feel good hearing them.

Kaleigh - Caller ID is a wonderful thing, and should never be taken for granted
I''ll definitely tell her to take it up with DH next time she makes comments about his calling habits. I know they have had these conversations before, and his view is that if he has nothing to say, he wont call. He thinks the "hi, how is everything" calls should occur once every week or two. His mother thinks he should call them every day, and tell them everything that went on that day. I think it''s a bit excessie, and it''s not interesting for him to discuss the minute details of his day with anyone, especially his parents. Neither of us are really phone people, so we just don''t like to talk on the phone to 99% of people, unless there is some specific information that needs to be conveyed. I guess his parents don''t understand that


Allisonfaye - Thanks - it''s so nice to finally have a clean house, good food, to know what it feels like to sit on my own couch
Interesting idea about not answering her when she asks these questions, if it''s a direct question do I just stay silent and pretend I didn''t hear her? Or, if she asks about what I do all day, should I just say "nothing?" LOL
 

justjulia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
2,308
My dh''s family does the same thing--my dh doesn''t like to talk on the phone so everyone calls me to get to him. I got to where I just do not pick up on those calls. Finally I emailed one sil to please call him on his cell. Now she won''t speak to me. Oh well, you can''t win them all.

I would play passive agressive right back. Do not answer her calls and if she brings it up to you later in person, appologize profusely and say you have had your phone on vibrate and missed the calls. What can she do? She has to be conditioned not to call.

Sorry to sound harsh-ish, but sometimes that is just how it has to happen.
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,659
I wonder why your dh isn''t calling his mother more often. Then she can ask him all the questions.

What do you think her problem is? Do you think she is jealous that you don''t have to work? Does she think her poor son isn''t happy with the arrangement? And if her son told her how much he enjoys you not working and sleeping at home and preparing meals, she wouldn''t have to ask you about it. You''d just be doing it to please her son. How could she agree with that???

I think the key is your husband.
 

jewelgal

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 6, 2004
Messages
194
Hi Brooklyn,

Dr. Joy Browne (a psychologist, has books out there) says that if u have a problem with a MIL the best thing to do is to act
"stupid and cheerful" because nobody can argue with that. If she says something that bothers you say something in a joking manner/stupidish
and upbeat/cheerful. She says this advice over and over.


I would do that or have your DH handle it. It''s his mother and I think it''s his problem to fix, as u would probably do if it was switched w/ him in your place.

You could also look at it from her shoes. She might be hurt underneath. The fact that she calls often indicates to me that she might not have much of a life of her own and identifies her son and you as her life. She might be lonely. She also might me a bit jealous (she''s human) that this change means a change for HER, too. For example, she might not get as many calls from her son as she did before, when u weren''t there. He probably did call more because maybe he was lonely at times, too, who knows. Now you''re around and he no longer calls as much. Maybe she has to work and can''t afford to stay home and is jealous (?). Does she work? What does SHE do all day? Just curious.

Did u see that show "Momma''s Boys?" I loved it. You can see this clip on there (abc?) of Joe-Joe (the son) walking on the beach with his mother (and he is thinking about his same date with this other girl) - the mother was SO jealous she couldn''t take it. You gotta see the clip.

Anyway, keep us posted and if u could give more background to the questions...
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,038
no advice, just sympathy. Been there!
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
justjulia - This is more along the lines of what I was hoping to do. I''m sorry that your relationship with your ILs isn''t a pleasant one, and it really sucks when they put you in a crappy position where you end up looking like the bad guy
This is just the thing that I''m trying to avoid. I don''t strive to have a very close relationship with my IL''s, as I don''t think that''s necessary. I want us all to be on good terms, but I don''t want people butting into my business, or feeling like they have a say. And I certainly don''t want to play the middleman disciplinary and nag DH about calling his mother. He''s an adult, and he''ll decide when and if he wishes to speak with her.

swingirl - Honstly, he''s not much a phone person, and he doesn''t like to call people for no reason. If he has something to say, sure, he''ll call them and tell them, but he doesn''t want to call them every day (which is what they want) and answer detailed questions about his day at work. He doesn''t see the need to call them more often than every one or two weeks. It appears to me that his mother is trying to force a very close relationship that they don''t have, and he doesn''t care for.

As far as what her problem with my not working, I''m not sure. Maybe she does think that I''m freeloading off DH, which doesn''t make much sense to me, what with our being married and all. The jealousy reasoning I would also consider. She''s made some comments in the past that were of a jealous nature.

We were over their house for dinner one night, and DH was loudly complaining to me about testers and developers that he had to deal with at work, describing a piece of code where he thought the logic was flawed. Well his mother starts in with, "why don''t you ever talk to me about these things?" I blurted out, that I have some thoughts on this since I happen to be a software developer. Apparently she was offended by that comment becase about a month later, we were at their house again, and she saying that she was looking for a nice handbag. I suggested she get a coach bag (they''re my faves), and she says, "well I''m not a software developer, but many I can have such a fancy bag too."
WTF? I had a face as if I didn''t know wth she was talking about.

That was one of several times where she showed some jealousy towards me.
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
jewelgal - That''s really funny. I will definitely have to try that, but it''s difficult for me, as I was raised to not beat around the bush, and communicate with subtleties. I say what I have to say without any evasion. I will try this and hopefully she''ll get the point sooner than later.

My MIL does work, she has a 9-5 job as a lab tech in a hospital, she lives with FIL, and she has an older daughter, and two grandchildren. I can''t honestly say that DH is her entire life, because he''s not. She is much closer with his sister.

It is true that she doesn''t get as much phone calls from his as she used to. He was always *expected* to call them daily, and if he didn''t they would get mad. I saw how annoyed he was by this, and told him that he really doesn''t need to call them every day if he doesn''t want to, and that he should start weaning them off the phone. I don''t believe in being guilted into a relationship, and being that he is an adult, he should also have a say in what kind of relationship he wants with his parents.

I just saw that clip from Momma''s Boys, and that woman is terrible! Her son needs to move far far away!

Tacori - Thanks for the sympathy, I just have to try and take care of that brain to mouth filter
 

jewelgal

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 6, 2004
Messages
194
That mother''s crazy, right??? OMG!!!!!!!!

Try Joy Browne''s tactic - I bet u it will work. :)
 

nycbkgirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2008
Messages
1,176
IL''S SUCK! Lol...just tell her...
"I bust the windows out ur car" :)

I warned of this and knew it would happen...apparently being a mom of a son is a tricky situation..and u have to be very smart but unfortunatley most men''s mamas are not! (Speaking from someone who is about to have a boy....trust me I wil not be one of those mil''s!) she is rude, disrespectful and kaniving! Tell dh to grow a bigger pair (lol j/k) and let her know once and for all not to be all in your personal business! This is only the beginning my dear...so set the standard now!

Love <3
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,659
It seems like his mother and you are competitive for dh''s attention. I could see why his mother was offended by your answering her question about why dh doesn''t talk to her about work. She isn''t interested in software. She''s interested in maintaining her relationship with her son. Even if he doesn''t think they are close, his mother feels close to him and feels like she is loosing him to you. As a mother of young adult children I understand the dilemma of suddenly not being numero uno in your kid''s life. For your sake your husband should force himself to check-in with his mother at least once a week. Maybe she would stop being jealous of you, which I think is the problem.

But humor is going to be best solution for now. It must be hard to deal with a sarcastic MIL. I am lucky, I love mine. And, boy, am I learning what NOT to do when I become one myself!!!
 

purrfectpear

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
4,079
My convo would have gone much differently...

MIL: What do you do during the day?

Me: I sleep in till noon, then I eat bon-bons till the mailman or pool boy arrive, I usually fire up the blender for some daquiris and flirt with them for a couple of hours till it's time to order in food. Then I shop on QVC and order up a bunch of clothes and shoes while I wait for hubby and dinner to arrive. How did your day go?
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
Date: 2/1/2009 11:36:36 PM
Author: purrfectpear
My convo would have gone much differently...

MIL: What do you do during the day?

Me: I sleep in till noon, then I eat bon-bons till the mailman or pool boy arrive, I usually fire up the blender for some daquiris and flirt with them for a couple of hours till it''s time to order in food. Then I shop on QVC and order up a bunch of clothes and shoes while I wait for hubby and dinner to arrive. How did your day go?
LOL! love it!

movie zombie

ps don''t answer the phone. but once every other day or so.....and then spring this on her.
 

rainwood

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
1,485
Brooklyn -
I sympathize. I too am a straightforward person and my MIL is an expert at the passive/aggressive thing. I''ve gotten similar questions for years and the cheerful oblivious route is the one thing that seems to work. When my MIL calls and asks "What are you doing?" I always answer "I''m talking to you on the phone. What are you up to?" and offer no details. Or if she asks "What did you do today?" I''ll say "I cooked, I cleaned, and otherwise took excellent care of your son" then start talking about something else. The key is to sound cheerful, state the obvious, and then switch to another topic. Don''t go back to the first topic and don''t explain. It is the ONLY thing that works with my MIL and it took a lot of trial and error before I stumbled into this solution. Think of it as a way to preserve your sanity.
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
jewelgal - That woman is certifiably insane! I hope she is just acting that way for the show, but she is one selfish cow! I will try Joy Browne's tactic, but it's not a long term solution for me and I will eventually call her out.

nycbkgirl - So, you're suggesting I follow the my bachelorette party advice T-Shirt
Yes, you did warn me of it, but there isn't really much I could have done to prevent it. In the meantime, I will think of how to explain to her in Russian that her comments are not appreciated, and that I find them very rude.
<----- Has a very poor Russian vocabulary


swingirl
- Thank you very much for your perspective! I suppose my MIL is competitive with me for DH's attention, even though I don't feel that way towards her. I understand that she wants to maintain her relationship with her son, but at the same time, her son is now a married man, and jealousy and compition with his wife is unacceptable in my book. He's supposed to pay most of his attention to his wife, and to be realistic, when a child gets married the relationship with their parents changes.

The way I see it, as his mother she should be happy that her son now lives with his wife, and is not lonely all week because his wife is 3 hours away. Instead she is jealous and mad because that means that he doesn't pay her as much attention as he used to during a time he was unhappy to not be living me.

The incident I described was at a time when I was home every other day, and even when I did go home, I would come home at 9/10 pm and have to go straight to sleep because I had to wake up at 6 the next morning. As I refuse to ever have another job like that, I will be home in the evenings from now on, so I don't see her jealousy simmering down anytime soon. Frankly this worries me a bit, as she doesn't have our best interests at heart.


Perhpas he should call her more often, but that is something that has to come from him, not me. I'm don't think it would be healthy for my marriage if I play messenger or enforcer between DH and his mom. I'm very careful not to bring other people's issues into our marriage.

At the same time DH's mom has to make it pleasant for him to speak with her. Which means not badgering him for not calling her more often when he does call. Who wants to call anyone if the know they're going to get a guilt trip about their relationship with said person, and having to be defensive? A lot of the time he doesn't pick up the phone when they call because of this very thing. I guess it's not as simple as just calling more because she wants him to call every day, and neither of us think that's an appropriate expectation.

I'm sure it's being a mom of adult children. All children at some point in their lives become adults, and don't rely on their parents for their needs. If they're lucky, they fall in love and have a happy family of their own. I don't know what could make make a parent happier than seeing their children happy and well adjusted. Isn't that what parents raise their kids to do?

purrfectpear, movie zombie - LOVE it, you guys are hilarious!!! I might try that if I'm in a chipper mood. At the same time, I will pick the phone up a lot less now, at least that's one thing I can do immediately.

rainwood
- It sucks when a non-expert is put against an expert - NO FAIR! I definitely don't go into details with her, but she is the type of person who asks about the most :miniscule details, so it's hard to avoid them. I usually try and say that I have to go, using the dog as an excuse, but sometimes she asks general questions, and when I answer them in a general manner, she responds with snark
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,038
brooklyn, I agree with Lisa that you need to put a stop to it now b/c *if* you have children it will get 100 times worse! Trust me.
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
Tacori - You're absolutely right! We are planning to have children within the next 2 years, and this is going to be a whole can of worms because we are considering moving back to Brooklyn when the kids come. I have 2 nieces, and when my sister had them, the whole family helped out with taken care of them. I've taken care of them numerous times, and I don't need to tell you that it's hard. I can't imagine how my sister would have managed without both grandmothers and a baby loving sister to help out.

The in-law issues were making me question if it's a good idea to move back. She is not on speaking terms with my mother either. I don't know how pertinent this story is to this thread but here goes:

During wedding planning MIL was on pretty good terms with my mother, and their discussions of the wedding were somewhat productive. On our last visit to NYC (2 weeks before the wedding) MIL was acting very rudely towards my mother whenever we met with vendors. She made sure to have all ideas to be opposite of my mothers, and was very nasty about it (always cutting my mother off, and not letting anyone else speak in general).

This all came to a head on the day of my wedding. We rented tuxedos for DH and my dad. They had to be slightly altered, and when DH picked up the tuxedos the jackets were switched, and he took my dad jacket (3 sizes too big, and a completely different style) to his parents house to get ready.

Well, he didn't notice that it was not his jacket, but his mother noticed that it huge, and hanging on him. She didn't say a word to him and let him go to my house to take pictures in my dad's humungous jacket. Luckily, when he got to my house my mother noticed right away, and made him change into his jacket.

When MIL got to the our venue (luckily this was 2 hours before the wedding, and no guests had yet arrived), she went off on my mother, yelling, asking her how she could put her son in such a horrible tuxedo, and that she's trying to make him look like a fool
I witnessed the whole thing, and if FIL hadn't held MIL back, I'm pretty sure she would smacked my mother. It looked like she was going in for a fight.

She did not apologize for this at any point during the wedding, and only did so after DH and I sat her down and told her that she absolutely has to apologize to my mother.

My mom is still pretty upset that she basically ruined my wedding for her, and I'm pretty upset with her over that as well.

So, in closing she has no business being rude to me, or taking issue with me. Not after the way she behaved at my wedding. I don't even want to think about what would have happened to my wedding if FIL had gone to the men's room at that moment
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
Date: 2/2/2009 1:40:40 PM
Author: brooklyngirl
In the meantime, I will think of how to explain to her in Russian that her comments are not appreciated, and that I find them very rude.

<----- Has a very poor Russian vocabulary






"Ya ne panimayo esli/tchem vie mienya uprikayete? Shto vie imiete ve viedo?"* Apologies for the crappy transliteration - I never did learn to do that properly. My basic response to passive-aggressive behavior is to just act very, very confused. It works wonders. People who'll say otherwise appalling things will get very flustered when they're called upon to explain that, so I fall back on a variety of "I'm not following you. What do you mean?" whenever I'm faced with it.

P.S. - When you mentioned the Russian, it all fell into place, as my parents have some of the same attitudes re: contact and family (though more sense/manners than to act them out with my husband). My sympathies!

* "I don't understand if/what you're rebuking me for? What do you have in mind?"

ETA: I have no idea why this is all in bold. Not for emphasis, I assure you! Just technical ineptness.
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,038
It *is* hard (this coming from someone with NO local family and a DH who works long hours) but it can be done. I would never want my child to be around someone who sounds as toxic as your MIL. Not saying I would forever keep him/her away but living far away has its advantages. Haha. My MIL looks like a saint compared to yours. In fact I never really even *noticed* her passive aggressive behavior until my daughter was born. Then I felt like she was judging every move I made. So the fact she is being so rude and controlling NOW would be a cause for concern. After all you do not just marry a man. You marry is family. If I were you I would stay far, far away. Better yet convince YOUR parents to move where you live
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
Circe - Thank you! That is a much better idea than than calling her out in plain sight. Then she will have to explain *herself*. HA! Also, perfect wording, thank you
. I will be using that, and it''s much better than the long-winded speech I was going to deliver.

It''s sad that my MIL has lost her manners. Makes life difficult for everyone, including her.

My parents are the same way about wanting me to call often. I don''t call that often, because usually, I have nothing to say, LOL. But my mother would never call DH and ask him why I''m not calling or take the issue up with him in any way.

Hmm, odd about the bold. Perhaps you hit Ctrl-B without noticing?

Tacori - She really started showing herself once the wedding close to happening. She has said silly things before, but it was very rare, and I brushed them off. Now that we''re married she feels like he can say these things often, but I''m not having it. Hopefully if I keep calling her out on her shenanigans she will stop them because she won''t get any satisfaction out of it. If she continues, she just won''t see our children very often, no matter where we live.
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
My MIL is much the same way...she loves to just turn everything negative and put a poor spin on things...like instead of saying "oh, I''m so happy you did XYZ" she''ll instead say "That''s nice, but you should have done ABC"...

For me, the thing that really worked with that, was not answering the phone when she called and letting my DH update my MIL on our lives...
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
Italia - MIL''s commentary is certainly negative. She even said to me after the wedding that she didn''t like our centerpieces. Why she felt the need to voice that, I don''t know. I will try and not answer the phone too often when she calls, and next time she has a snide remark, I''ll do as Circe said, and ask her to elaborate. Hopefully she''ll feel embarassed, and stop her antics. A girl can dream, right?
 

packrat

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
10,615
Sending big hugs! I rarely talk to my MIL anymore, so I understand how you feel!
 

brooklyngirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
1,071
That''s the goal, packrat
Thanks for the hugs
 
Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    What is White Gold?
    What is White Gold?
    Push Present: Engagement Ring Upgrade
    Push Present: Engagement Ring Upgrade
    20th Anniversary Upgrade
    20th Anniversary Upgrade

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top