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Am I being ungrateful to my ILs?

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by smithanair11, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. smithanair11

    smithanair11 New IL'ite

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    Hi Everyone,

    This is is my first post in IL and I would really like the help of all you experienced ladies out there to get a perspective.

    Mine is a love marriage and a very happy one. We are from two different states and we live with my ILs. Its been 5 years now and we have a beautiful princess who is nearly 1. My ILs have always been great with me, accepting me into their house and hearts. I for my part have always cooperated and done everything possible to fit in and be one of them. I even learnt the language in a few months. I think the basic problem is that my MIL and I are very different people. All my life I have only known working women - moms, aunts, friends moms. My MIL and all the other elderly women in this family are housewives. Their world seems very small and conversations rarely go beyond saris, jewellery and what was on the menu. I have tried several times to initiate my MILs interest and understand her views on other topics but rarely made any progress. She either doesnt get it or doesnt care. I'm outspoken and express my views openly although I do try to keep my mouth shut when the topics are sensitive to this family. My MIL on the other hand rarely says what she feels and believes in sweeping unpleasantness under the rug. All this was fine until the baby was born and I moved back from my moms house after DD turned 5 months old. Maybe its all the extra work that comes with a baby, but I seemed to have lost patience and my tolerence level is much lower than what it used to be. I went back to work after DD turned 6 months old, which although nobody said anything about, I know nobody understands why a mother needs to work outside the home. I have appointed a cook and a lady to clean the house while my MIL takes care of the baby. She refuses to let me hire a ayah to help out with the baby. She does a very good job and one can see that DD is well loved.

    Maybe its guilt for leaving my DD to go to work and having my MIL take care of her. Maybe my MIL doesnt understand what its like to be a working mom. I come back from work and dont have a moments rest (sometimes no time for even tea) till my daughter goes to sleep aroung 8:00PM. I have about half an hour before we start getting things ready for dinner and would love to take a break then. Because my MIL is the kind who is constantly pottering around the kitchen or dusting or wiping or cleaning something or the other, I cant take any rest and go assist her in whatever she is doing however banal or unnecessary I think it is.

    It also feels like she makes some subtle comments these days which piss me off. "Oh, you forgot to make your bed today too" (sometimes I am so rushed in the mornings that I do skip that). "You always have the flame on high" (not true). "You didnt wash the babies face yet?" (yes I did!!) Small things like this.. but its a steady stream throughout the day. She has even begun getting the maid to clean our bedroom (I hate that!) and moving things around.

    Bottom line is.. these small irritations are eating away at me. I'm afraid given some time, it will ruin the relationship forever. I want to move out while things are still good, but DH will have none of it! Am I justified in wanting to move out? Or am i being unreasonable?
     
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  2. Foundlove

    Foundlove Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Smitha,
    First of all give yourself a break.You are a new mom and you are feeling overwhelmed.

    Here is what I think you have 2 issues.
    1. You feel guilty about working and want to do as much as u can when u get back.
    2. You want to be the perfect bahu.
    My solution to this;
    1. Don't try to be super mom.After U come back from work take ur darling in arms and kiss her,cuddle her and go to ur bedroom and lock urself saying u are changing.Ask the maid to make u some tea.
    2. Spend time with her..relax for 30 mins and then come out.Have ur tea and talk to family.
    3. Involve ur Dh in helping u with making bed in the morning..if he can't..announce in the living room that "MIL pls don't let maid in the bedroom I have my stuff out and I don't like them in there".
    4. Don't try to do everything MIL does.If she is pottering in the kitchen ask her why is she in there ..and tell her that she needs to take rest.
    5. If nothing works keep a full time maid and don't bother about small things.
    Ask Dh to help you.....if not ignore everything.

    Now if nothing works...moving out is not a bad idea at all.But moving will not solve ur issues.Its ur attitude to be super woman that needs to change.
    Whats ur Dh's opinion about the situation...? Have U talked to him?

    FL.
     
  3. sangeeta2010

    sangeeta2010 New IL'ite

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    Smita, From your post I see that your MIL is actually doing more in some ways at her age.
    Anyway, who does how much is not to be measured here. You are not being ungrateful....at all!! So, put that thought away!!
    The only way I see for your situation is to live separately. Then, you can put your baby in day care, manage your house on your own.

    Right now, your MIL is doing all the housework ofcourse with domestic help, looking after you baby and so you feel kind of guilty too that you are not able to contribute to the housework fully. You cannot contribute fully because you work outside the house too. So, can you quit your job and be there with your MIL to help her with housework, take care of your baby etc. NO!!!
    So, you can neither quit your job nor you can go out to work and return home without guilt. You are caught in between the two unavoidable things. It is understandable as we all go through those at some time or the other. That is why they say you cannot have the cake and eat it too!!

    So, the best solution is for you guys to move out and live on your own. You will have no guilt and will not see each and every thing your MIL says as bullets aiming at you.

    Try talking to your dh and explain why that is the best way. You may not go very far. May be as far as across the street. That way your dh can be happy to take care of his parents when in need and at the same time you guys will also get to do things your way.
    You may take each others help when needed like when the baby is sick your MIL can keep her or when they are sick you can cook food for them and attend to them in the evenings.
    You need to take some steps before things take ugly turns.

    THINK ABOUT THAT!!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  4. Dilchahtahai

    Dilchahtahai Senior IL'ite

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    Smitha,
    My situation is same as yours, no women from DH family ever worked and every single woman in my side of family is a career woman. Being someone who went back to work when DS was only 3 months old and managed everything at home (cooking, cleaning etc.) without anyone's help, I think I can speak on this topic ad nauseum. However, I would try to be brief.
    When my mom left for her house (DS was 2 MO), my MIL never offered that she would come and take care of DS. Instead she asked us to come and live with her (not possible, we both work in US and she lives in India, in fact totally absurd)
    Her behavior during my pregnancy was so abominable that I would have never taken her help even if she begged for me to take it.
    However, I had to take help from other people (pay them to take care of DS and clean my house).. And I feel it is an adjustment .. I would some times be mad that DS was not being cared for. But at the same time at least I was keeping the woman away who would drive me crazy with just her presence.
    DS is 2 YO now and my schedule is still the same. I enter the house and start my second shift. I dont sit for even 1 moment as I bring DS home with me from Daycare.. So, he is playing around me, I change, splash some water on my face and start working with him (give him bath, make dinner and feed him).. That way he goes to sleep by 8:30 and I have an hour of peace before I go to sleep. So, I never sit down before 8:30.
    Would I change and take my MIL's help now? Possibly not.. but my case is different since she was really bad to me during my preganancy. But the point is, I still have to be flexible to views of people at day care, my cleaning lady (even if I dont agree with them). So my advice is, if she is just making little comments and not really challenging your motherhood or interfering between you and your hubby, let it pass.. till your DD is older and can go to some school etc..
    As far as coming from work and relaxing is concerned, if you really need it, just say you ahve to go to bathroom and spend some time there (wash your face and sit there for 10 minutes)..Then come out and go to kitchen.. make some tea (or ask your maid to make some if you have one) and engross MIL into conversation. Tht would give you some time to sit with your cup of tea in hand and she would be grateful taht you are asking how her day was..
    Try this for some time, it may help..
     
  5. ShilpaMa

    ShilpaMa IL Hall of Fame

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    Smitha, I too got married in a family who at time of match making were open to a working lady.. but later came to know that their definition of working was a pre-primary teacher and not from industry.. cos thats what their own DD can do & my MIL strongly felt that If am doing anything better than her DD then I shall treat her as a villager... same feelings that she harped for her inlaws.

    Yes these very small irritating comments pile up on us.. reducing our energy & occupying the brain with a lot of resentment. My inlaws also leave no opportunity to fill me with guilt feeling even when I feel that if am leaving them with nannies and grand parents in the house, its in best interest of all... But it dint work... MIL is just programmed to hate me & pass comments which she herself cant take from her own husband and verbally thrashes him right away. They love to tell kids & DH how bad am as a mother by starting work when maternity leave got over.

    Dont get into guilty loops, if its really getting on to your nerves try staying close to them for few days in a separate house... so that no one feels that they're being taken for granted. If you feel her comments are not distancing you from child & DH but more about managing your room & cleaning & if you can live with it.. then keep sailing.
     
  6. smithanair11

    smithanair11 New IL'ite

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    Thank you to everyone who replied to me. I found that each one of you something to say that I could use so here's what I've decided for now. I'm going to keep everything the same for some more time. MIL doesnt cause any probs between DH and me and neither does she openly criticize my parenting (although we do have very different views on some aspects of parenting). I'm thinking of only DD for now and she really is in good hands with MIL. It would be stupid to change this arrangement and put her in some daycare or with a maid. I will on my part ignore the jibes as much as possible, or scream into a pillow when i cant take it anymore ;). I will explore the possibility of hiring someone full time too to help with MILs pottering. Once DD is able to go to school, I will broach the subject of moving out to DH and we'll see how it goes from there.

    Hope I will have the will power to stick to this decision.

    Thanks again all you wonderful ladies out there :)
     
  7. Foundlove

    Foundlove Gold IL'ite

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    Great you have it figured out...:cheers.
    Don't feel guilty ever..because working mothers always give quality time rather than quantity time.

    So focus on that and don't try to do extra work ...Please ask your DH to help you as well.Don't try to be supermom..

    Good Luck!!!
     
  8. vidhkarthik

    vidhkarthik Bronze IL'ite

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    Smita, My take on this is can be a bit different. Please bear with me...but ofcourse it could also be good for you to hear different views.

    I believe that when you involve a parent or IL to take care of your kid full time at their age, you also give them the inherent right to make some parenting decisions. They are not paid caretakers who will do your bidding and abide by your views of parenting alone. It is only natural that they think that they are helping you a lot and hence have a say in your kid's parenting or a few things here about how you should be with the kid. This would have happened even with your Mom.

    Your MIL seems to be a genuine nice person who does not interfere in your relationship with your husband and does not abuse or illtreat you. I agree that these little irritants can affect a healthy relationship and can cause lots of difficulty to you and the ideal situation for you if you want your own way in everything including bringing up kids and those smaller jobs around home is to move out.

    You have clearly anyways mentioned that the moving out option is out because you need her help. When you need her help and she does a good job taking care of your kid( which is by no means an easy job), You have to be thankful for the help and take your time to appreciate them for that. Why dont you try that sometimes? Sit down, have a detailed talk with your husband that these small irritants eat you away and you want to put a stop to this. So..Suggest to him that you guys go out for dinner outside or any picnic spot, sit down and have a nice talk about everything else and add your couple of irritants also in a very casual, non-hurting manner. Eg: You can tell her that " You are doing a great job with our kid and I do not know how I could have managed without you - Esp since work is so tiring these days. I get back so tired from work that some times I do not have time to make the bed, your son also does not do it as he is also very tired...Life is so hectic amma/aunty" - You get the drift don't you?

    When things are not bad and either side are decent people and its only these very minor irritants and you need their help and cannot move out, Instead of seething inside you can go out and extend a warm hand and you might be surprised to see how things fall quickly in place.
     
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  9. smithanair11

    smithanair11 New IL'ite

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    Hi Vidhkarthik,

    Different views are always welcome - thats the reason I posted here in the first place. I think I may have come across as being unappreciative of my MIL in my hurry to type out my post, but let me assure you thats not the case. I appreciate everything she is doing and makes sure that she knows it too. As with anyone in their generation (including my own mom) we do have different views on some aspects of parents. Things that are not too important to me I let MIL have her way. But there are other things that I'm particular about and wont compromise on, and MIL respects those decisions too. No issues there. The problem is the comments that come parcelled.

    For eg, this family eats a lot of bakery products (cakes, puffs), biscuits and stuff. Their snacking habits are quite unhealthy even for adults (lot of sugary fried stuff). I have tried subtely to change their habits, but it hasnt worked too well. I'm very particular that at this age where DD is learning good eating habits she should not be given these unhealthy snacks on a regular basis. I buy biscuits and snacks meant for children, and ensure fruits and other finger food is available so that DD is given those instead. MIL does give DD what I have asked her to, but will tell neighbors that "oh, no don't give her that cream biscuit, her mom doesn't give her ANYTHING". This is of course a translated version and sounds much nastier in the local language. She makes it sound like I'm depriving my child. I have explained to her the need to inculcate good eating habits, and healthy snacks, even lied that the doc said so. She nods her head, agrees to everything and even follows what I have said, but for these comments!!!

    I have brought these things up with DH jokingly mostly but he just laughs it off. I will have to talk it out with him someday but its going to be a herculean task, and not something i look forward to. I know I'm very lucky compared to a lot of other people whose inlaws are downright inhuman, but that doesnt mean I can ignore and be totally immune to my situation. Comments which I initially didnt even notice, and later started ignoring or laughing off, are now seriously grating at my nerves. But I have to wait it out for a couple of years, and thats what I plan to do.
     
  10. monita

    monita Platinum IL'ite

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    hey Smitha,
    I think you have made a good decision. It's not easy to find a good help to look after your kids.Your MIL is doing a good job of it, so make the most of it.
    Your MIL has a very different personality from you. She seems to be a conventional housewife and want to have the house the way she likes all the time. I think, when you come back from office and if she is in the kitchen just let her be. May be she is cleaning, dusting etc. because she wants to. You make tea for yourself, ask her if she wants too and just relax for a while. Let your MIL do what she is doing.
    About irritating comments- maybe that's her idea of having a conversation. Just ignore the comments you dislike. I have been married for 17 long years.I am a full time housewife. I do all the work, my MIL just sits and watches. I don't even have a good relationship with my MIL and she still doesn't stop from making these comments.
    Just ignore the comments. Let her do what she likes doing and you do what you like doing. To show your appreciation, you can do something like buying gifts for her once in a while, or cook something special on a weekend etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010

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