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Handling Smooth Operators

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by mimita, May 27, 2022.

  1. mimita

    mimita Senior IL'ite

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    My mil is what one could call a 'smooth operator' . Like the camel who put his nose in the tent and gradually brought the tent down . I have seen this behaviour , so i don't trust her anymore and we had lot of cold vibes. She lives with us. We have a cook and she gets her diet required meals separately done as per her wishes, while we get generic stuff from the cook as well. Usually my husband and i decide on the generic stuff. All this has happened over the years with much problem else she was controlling everything.

    Today told me ' let's have stuffed paratha made'.I was caught totally by surprise. I am the non-confrontational, polite sorts. I just told her that we can do it over the weekend and left it at that.

    The thing is, with my mil, it is never that ' she just felt like eating it'. It is a way of getting back control over what we eat :)
    How should i respond to this? I know where this will go, every weekend she will decide what we get made on the pretext of giving friendly suggestions.
    I am a very transparent person. This Slyness is not something I am comfortable with.
    We do get stuffed parathas sometimes and last week she had relatives over when we were not there and got her food made the way she wants, so it is not like she is craving for it. We order food sometimes and my husband asks her what she wants as well.
    Whats the best way to handle? Should i just say my kid doesn't feel like it and ward it off?
    I don't want her interfering in what I eat.

  2. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    Is the cook preparing her requests? If so let your MIL get what she wants and you eat what you have planned.
    chanchitra likes this.
  3. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    That one sentence sums up the struggle and uphill effort you must have gone through for years to reach what is now normal in your household, to reach the state where you have a say in and control over things. Such past struggle turns a person into being on constant alert for signs that things are slipping back to the previous state. One becomes like the soldier on the Indo-Pak or Indo-China border who having defended their country, sleeps with one eye always open and scanning the border for insurgencies. : )

    At the same time, sorry to say this, your attitude comes across as a bit not-inclusive. You say "she lives with us" while she thinks "we all live together." She maybe only trying to be part of the family, have a say in what gets cooked, and likes to have good food. Maybe there is no slyness. Older people like to eat good food for many reasons. A friend's FIL once said to me, "Beta I have how many years left now? Oily non-veg food is one of the things I can enjoy? So what if it kills me a bit earlier?" His logic is faulty and sad at the same time. There could be many innocent reasons why she is craving stuffed parathas though she had lots of good food the previous week. She may be sly and all, but why stoop to the level of judging a PIL's craving.

    Like MalStrom said, let her have what she wants and you have what you want. Pay the cook more if needed for the extra cooking. Another approach could be weekly menu planning. Come up with a tentative plan for the week. This also can become a tug-of-war arena but it's worth a try. Here are some examples:

    When the pandemic and WFH and online school started, my family somehow naturally concluded that instead of office cafeteria and school lunch room, they'd just be coming to my kitchen. Service level, hours and food choices provided would be the same. As often, Amazon had something that helped: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PF1V51N/
    Last edited: May 28, 2022
  4. Amica

    Amica IL Hall of Fame

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    @mimita, you've been dealing with a hostile home situation for a long time. Home should be a peaceful, safe haven to return to at the end of the day.

    Unfortunately, your DH is an only child. No matter how horribly she treats you, he can't move her out. All you can do is make the best of a bad situation.

    Many of your problems with her seem to revolve around the kitchen. Having your cook make separate meals for her is awesome. Let the cook make stuffed parathas everyday if she wants them. Just make sure there are healthy meals available for those family members who want them.

    How? I don't understand why her parathas are a problem for you. You don't have to eat them. What am I missing?

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