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Need to vent...need advice!

Hey girls,

 I have had the amazing blessing of having a great family-in-law. My husband's parents and ten siblings are the most incredible and loving people, and I am so lucky to have them in my life! I love them with all my heart!

However, there are times when my MIL acts as if I am one of her kids...in a bad way! The moment I step foot in their home, she immediately starts assigning chores to me, and ordering me to do stuff in the kitchen, etc. There are times she even scolds me or gives me a sharp answer, just like she does with her children!

I am FINE with helping out; I love my MIL, and she has a lot on her plate with all those kids. (DH is 22, and the oldest. His next eldest brother is 20, married, and lives elsewhere. All the other kids, from ages 18-3, live at home!) However, I am not one of her children, and I want to be treated like an adult member of the family, not like one of the little ones!

 I have talked to DH about it, and he agrees that it is not right, but doesn't exactly know what to do about it. I am getting very frustrated...!! MIL is not the easiest person to talk to about hard, confrontational issues like this one...plus, I'm not good with confrontation with most people!

 HELP! 

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Re: Need to vent...need advice!

  • Sue_sueSue_sue member
    5 Love Its

    What, are you married to the Duggar kid?

     

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • It's not complicated.  If you want her to treat you like an adult then you need to act like one. 

    Be honest but polite- 'MIL, I enjoy our visits and am happy to help out, but I need you to respect that I am an adult.  If there's something I can do to help, please feel free to ask, but realize I'm not one of your kids and I'm not here doing chores'.

    If you're not able to say that much to her (or some variation of it), than you're just justifying why she sees you as a child.

  • Then act like an adult.  When someone speaks to you sharply or rudely correct them.  She may bristle, but if you do it kindly and warmly it won't be WW3.  Be prepared to displease her, its only natural when exerting your automonmy but don't be afraid to use humor, too.   

    And don't wait to be told.  If you fall into the mix as one of the oldest, then volunteer or find a nitch that you excell at and don't wait for orders.

    And certainly give your MIL a break.  The help she needs is real.  And she is just barely getting used to having adult children to manage, not teens. If you hold yourself as an adult, follow-through, relate as an adult and are useful and resourceful then the tide will turn.  Who knows, she might even find it a relief. 

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • image livinitup:

    Then act like an adult.  When someone speaks to you sharply or rudely correct them.  She may bristle, but if you do it kindly and warmly it won't be WW3.  Be prepared to displease her, its only natural when exerting your automonmy but don't be afraid to use humor, too.   

    And don't wait to be told.  If you fall into the mix as one of the oldest, then volunteer or find a nitch that you excell at and don't wait for orders.

    And certainly give your MIL a break.  The help she needs is real.  And she is just barely getting used to having adult children to manage, not teens. If you hold yourself as an adult, follow-through, relate as an adult and are useful and resourceful then the tide will turn.  Who knows, she might even find it a relief. 

    Ditto.  Especially the part about her actually needing help, and getting used to having adults around.  But if you come in the door offering to help and ready to jump in, she may REALLY appreciate it. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • Totally agree with others.  Don't wait to be asked- go in with offers of ways to help in mind, just like you would if you were going over to the home of a friend or neighbor or coworker of yours who you know needs a hand.  When she invites you over, say, "What dish can I bring?" If you hear someone mention that Johnny needs help with his science project, volunteer to assist him before she assigns you too.  And if she does snap or reprimand you, respond gently but as an adult- "I appreciate your concern for us, but we're handling our finances fine." Another thing to do- you might do well to respond to what you believe is behind her snapping as opposed to just reacting to the snapping. I.e. "You sound frustrated- let me take over peeling the vegetables for you so you don't have to do two things at once." Or whatever- but it puts you in the frame of responding as an adult to adult, who understand that each other gets frustrated and seeks to help each other out.

    And, be mindful that this is an adjustment for her.  We're often very focused on how a new marriage or new in-laws are an adjustment for us, but her oldest is just a few years past being a teenager, and she is still heavily in the raising children/ teenagers part of life.  She spends a much greater portion of her day needing to delegate/ assign/ reprimand/ assist her children than she does relating to her children/ DIL as an adult.  Not to say that she shouldn't grasp the concept, or that she won't, but just to be mindful that it's probably more a function of what she's used to having to do to get things done, and still, in her household, probably does have to do to get things done, than a personal reflection of how she perceives you.  

  • Does she treat you the same way she treats your DH?  Or does she treat you like one of the younger siblings?
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  • I agree with the advice the others have given so far.

    I also want to point out that given your age I really don't find it surprising that she is treating you like another one of the kids. You are barely older than the oldest child who is still living at home.

  • Tell her when your mom dies she can have the job.  Until then, I don't want to be scolded like a 7 year old.
  • Sue_sueSue_sue member
    5 Love Its

    Well, to be fair she has children aged three to 18 living at home. Her entire life is bossing kids around/disciplining/instructing etc; and her job is 24 seven; it's not like she can shut it off or something.

    I agree with the others; come in acting grown up and she'll probably be glad to have one less person standing around waiting to be given something to do.

     

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • image livinitup:

    Then act like an adult.? When someone speaks to you sharply or rudely correct them.? She may bristle, but if you do it kindly and warmly it won't be WW3.? Be prepared to displease her, its only natural when exerting your automonmy but don't be afraid to use humor, too.? ?

    And don't wait to be told.? If you fall into the mix as one of the oldest, then volunteer or find a nitch that you excell at and don't wait for orders.

    And certainly give your MIL a break.? The help she needs is real.? And she is just barely getting used to having adult children to manage, not teens.?If you hold yourself as an adult, follow-through, relate as an adult and are useful?and?resourceful then the tide will turn.? Who knows, she might even find it a relief.?

    ?

    I totally agree with acting like an adult. And did she know you as a younger teen, when you were a child that could/ would be bossed around? If so, how have you changed your behavior to demonstrate that you are more mature??

    And maybe I'm a terrible person, but just because MIL has a grip of kids and is overwhelmed with them, doens't mean her oldest son's new bride is a free babysitter. Visit like an adult, not every day like a kid after school looking for a snack. Say hello, play cool auntie, have adult discussions, and then don't have to stay forever, you have a lfe of your own.?

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/ab19id.jpg[/IMG]
  • image Me?Married?:
    Tell her when your mom dies she can have the job.  Until then, I don't want to be scolded like a 7 year old.
    Yea. This.  I think this will take you FAR in creating a good, solid, happy relationship w/ your MIL.....

     

    Indifferent

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • I agree with PP, I think you need to offer to help in ways that make it clear that you are a peer: bringing food or wine, helping one of the kids with homework, picking up some groceries for her perhaps. If she treats you like a child or scolds you, you can pause, look her in the eyes, and tell her (as you would a friend or co-worker) excuse me mom, I'm sure you don't even realize it, but sometimes you use a short tone with me, and it hurts my feelings. It makes me feel _____, and I don't want it to interfere with the friendship/relationship that I appreciate so much. I knew that I could tell you this without you getting upset.

  • What kinds of chores?  Is she asking you to help set the table for the dinner she's hosting, for example, or is she asking you to scrub her kitchen floor?  Big difference.

    And for the record, she's treating you like a kid because you ARE a kid.  Getting married doesn't change that fact.

    image
  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    image jdbmjm:

    I totally agree with acting like an adult. And did she know you as a younger teen, when you were a child that could/ would be bossed around? If so, how have you changed your behavior to demonstrate that you are more mature? 

    And maybe I'm a terrible person, but just because MIL has a grip of kids and is overwhelmed with them, doens't mean her oldest son's new bride is a free babysitter. Visit like an adult, not every day like a kid after school looking for a snack. Say hello, play cool auntie, have adult discussions, and then don't have to stay forever, you have a lfe of your own. 

    Ditto this.  The OP didn't choose to bring a houseful of children into this world, her MIL did.    If the MIL is too busy and stressed to help little Johnnie with his science probject, it's not the OPs job to pick up the slack for her.  If it were finances that an IL was too overwhelmed to take care of (because they had more house than they could afford, for example), I wouldn't tell someone to take over the bills because, after all, "the ILs are overwhelmed, and you have free cash."

    image Sue_sue:

    Well, to be fair she has children aged three to 18 living at home. Her entire life is bossing kids around/disciplining/instructing etc; and her job is 24 seven; it's not like she can shut it off or something.

    I agree with the others; come in acting grown up and she'll probably be glad to have one less person standing around waiting to be given something to do.

    Really?  I bet she manages to "shut it off" when other people come to her home.  People who aren't married to her son.  If her husband brought home a 22 year old employee, do you think SHE would be asked to help around the house and given chores?  A neighbor of the same age?  Would MIL "scold" a hired babysitter or mother's helper?

    * * * *

    to the OP - - I think you need to step back and think about what MIL asks you to do.  If she is asking you to do "normal" things that family helps out with when you are over their house (set the table, keep an eye on the three year old while MIL finishes making dinner, get drinks for everyone), I would go with the flow.  When my kids were younger, even when I "hosted" dinner, my family would help me out by entertaining my kids so I could focus on dinner, or by offering to set the table, etc.  Now that my kids are older and more manageable, when I visit my sister I'll....hold her baby, help her get dinner on the table.  Some of that is just family helping family.  There are "adult" ways to contribute to a party....ask if you can bring a dish or a dessert, offer to watch the kids outside while MIL finishes whatever she does, help clear plates after dinner. 

    I also think your DH needs to take a role in the changes.  If your MIL gives you an order, your dh needs to say "hey mom, wife isn't here to help you with the vaccuming.  We have our own house that we take care of.  Why don't you ask Billybob or KathyJo to vaccum?'  I find it hard to believe that as you are asked to do chores, ALL of DH's siblings are hard at work.  If so, your ILs really can't plan, b/c nobody in my house is doing chores when my guests come to visit. 

    I also think you need to teach people (ie your MIL) how to treat you.  If your MIL tells you to go fold some laundry, laugh and say "MIL, if I wanted to fold laundry, I'll go home and fold Dh and my own laundry!"  If MIL "scolds" you, tell her "MIL, please don't speak to me like that."  If she says "like what?" Say "I don't like the tone you are using with me.  If there is something you want me to do, please ask me nicely."  YES!  She may bristle and be angry, but that is the cost you are going to have to bear to be treated the way you want to be treated.  It's a WHOLE lot better for you to speak up now, rather than grow resentful of your MIL, or worse, stop visiting.

     

     

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • image ReturnOfKuus:

    What kinds of chores?  Is she asking you to help set the table for the dinner she's hosting, for example, or is she asking you to scrub her kitchen floor?  Big difference.

    And for the record, she's treating you like a kid because you ARE a kid.  Getting married doesn't change that fact.

    Pretty much any kind of chore, from cleaning the kid's bedrooms to setting the table. Like I said, I do not mind helping her out! She has a lot on her plate, and I am more than willing to help!! I just don't like being ordered around like I'm just one more member of the pack. I'm not against being helpful around the house; I just don't want to be excluded from adult conversations at meals because I'm watching the kids at the kids table or picking up dirty clothes off the floor of the bathroom. 

     Also, she treats my 22-year-old DH the same way...and even if you view 22 and 19 as "kids," you don't treat all ages the same way. And I do disagree with my DH and I being called "kids." Young adults, maybe. But not children!  

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  • Cleaning the kids' bedrooms?!  And what do you say to that request?  You don't actually do it, do you?

    image
  • image Wahoo:
    image jdbmjm:

    I totally agree with acting like an adult. And did she know you as a younger teen, when you were a child that could/ would be bossed around? If so, how have you changed your behavior to demonstrate that you are more mature? 

    And maybe I'm a terrible person, but just because MIL has a grip of kids and is overwhelmed with them, doens't mean her oldest son's new bride is a free babysitter. Visit like an adult, not every day like a kid after school looking for a snack. Say hello, play cool auntie, have adult discussions, and then don't have to stay forever, you have a lfe of your own. 

    Ditto this.  The OP didn't choose to bring a houseful of children into this world, her MIL did.    If the MIL is too busy and stressed to help little Johnnie with his science probject, it's not the OPs job to pick up the slack for her.  If it were finances that an IL was too overwhelmed to take care of (because they had more house than they could afford, for example), I wouldn't tell someone to take over the bills because, after all, "the ILs are overwhelmed, and you have free cash."

    image Sue_sue:

    Well, to be fair she has children aged three to 18 living at home. Her entire life is bossing kids around/disciplining/instructing etc; and her job is 24 seven; it's not like she can shut it off or something.

    I agree with the others; come in acting grown up and she'll probably be glad to have one less person standing around waiting to be given something to do.

    Really?  I bet she manages to "shut it off" when other people come to her home.  People who aren't married to her son.  If her husband brought home a 22 year old employee, do you think SHE would be asked to help around the house and given chores?  A neighbor of the same age?  Would MIL "scold" a hired babysitter or mother's helper?

    * * * *

    to the OP - - I think you need to step back and think about what MIL asks you to do.  If she is asking you to do "normal" things that family helps out with when you are over their house (set the table, keep an eye on the three year old while MIL finishes making dinner, get drinks for everyone), I would go with the flow.  When my kids were younger, even when I "hosted" dinner, my family would help me out by entertaining my kids so I could focus on dinner, or by offering to set the table, etc.  Now that my kids are older and more manageable, when I visit my sister I'll....hold her baby, help her get dinner on the table.  Some of that is just family helping family.  There are "adult" ways to contribute to a party....ask if you can bring a dish or a dessert, offer to watch the kids outside while MIL finishes whatever she does, help clear plates after dinner. 

    I also think your DH needs to take a role in the changes.  If your MIL gives you an order, your dh needs to say "hey mom, wife isn't here to help you with the vaccuming.  We have our own house that we take care of.  Why don't you ask Billybob or KathyJo to vaccum?'  I find it hard to believe that as you are asked to do chores, ALL of DH's siblings are hard at work.  If so, your ILs really can't plan, b/c nobody in my house is doing chores when my guests come to visit. 

    I also think you need to teach people (ie your MIL) how to treat you.  If your MIL tells you to go fold some laundry, laugh and say "MIL, if I wanted to fold laundry, I'll go home and fold Dh and my own laundry!"  If MIL "scolds" you, tell her "MIL, please don't speak to me like that."  If she says "like what?" Say "I don't like the tone you are using with me.  If there is something you want me to do, please ask me nicely."  YES!  She may bristle and be angry, but that is the cost you are going to have to bear to be treated the way you want to be treated.  It's a WHOLE lot better for you to speak up now, rather than grow resentful of your MIL, or worse, stop visiting.

     

     Yes, my MIL has known me since I was eleven, and I've always been "part" of the family. However, since my parents raised me to be helpful when visiting other people's homes, I was always ready to help with cooking/preparing dinner, gathering eggs, washing dishes, etc.  

    I agree with you, Wahoo. It really boils down to how she speaks/reacts towards me. Asking for help with supper is one thing; ordering me to go slice an onion is another thing entirely!

    For example, when two adults are having a private conversation and one of the kids walks in, all that my MIL (who I call "Mom") has to do is say "OUT" and the kid turns around and leaves. At a birthday dinner we were hosting at my parents' home for my DH, my father, and my SIL (who all have April birthdays), I walked into the kitchen for something. My MIL and my mom were talking. She looked up, saw me walk in, and snapped "OUT." I was stunned and walked out of the room without a word. I told my DH, and he was surprised beyond words! (He did have a talk with his mom several days later about the issue, and she hasn't done that to me since.) 

    I do not want my relationship with my MIL to go down-hill; honestly, I got a great MIL who is an incredibly precious and wonderful woman. She does so much, and she makes no secret of how much she loves me! I want to catch this issue now before it gets any worse and we start fighting! :[

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  • Nothing is going to change until you talk to her.  You need to show her that you are an adult by having an adult conversation with her and explaining how you feel calmly and rationally.

    It does sound like you have a bit of an H problem- that he's comfortable and ok with her still treating you both like children. 

  • Not that it matters, but I say this because I tried the helpful, pitch in, just blow it off thing with DH's family in the beginning and it didn't seem to sink in with polite manners.  These people sounded just the same so I just cut out the middle ground which, I'm sure, the poster has already tried.

  • For example, when two adults are having a private conversation and one of the kids walks in, all that my MIL (who I call "Mom") has to do is say "OUT" and the kid turns around and leaves. At a birthday dinner we were hosting at my parents' home for my DH, my father, and my SIL (who all have April birthdays), I walked into the kitchen for something. My MIL and my mom were talking. She looked up, saw me walk in, and snapped "OUT." I was stunned and walked out of the room without a word.

    And you want me to believe that NONE of you wouldn't have snapped her head off at this comment...really?

    Then you are waaaaayyyyyy better people than I because I don't talk to my dog like that.

  • SueBearSueBear member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments Combo Breaker
    image rachelandjon09:

    Pretty much any kind of chore, from cleaning the kid's bedrooms to setting the table. Like I said, I do not mind helping her out! She has a lot on her plate, and I am more than willing to help!! I just don't like being ordered around like I'm just one more member of the pack.

     

    I'd put my foot down on cleaning the bedrooms or bathrooms.  It's not your house, that's not your job.  Why can't the kids pick up their own bedrooms?  My son is 5, but when he was 3 he knew how to pick up his own clothes from the floor!  And my 7 year old can clean her own bedroom.  Yes, she makes her bed very lumpy, but she's sleeping in it anyway!

    I also teach my 5 and 7 year olds to ask nicely, not to give demands.

    I would just say "MIL, I really don't think it's appropriate for me to clean the kids' bedroom."  Repeat this for any chore that doesn't involve helping get dinner on the table. 

    I also agree that your dh needs to say something the next time this happens. "Mom, Rachel didn't come here to clean your bathroom.  She came to enjoy dinner with the family."  If HE wants to clean the bathroom - let him! 

    image rachelandjon09:
     

    I'm not against being helpful around the house; I just don't want to be excluded from adult conversations at meals because I'm watching the kids at the kids table or picking up dirty clothes off the floor of the bathroom. 

    Hmmmmm.  I'd like to ask, are the adults MALE adults?  I was never asked to clean the bathrooms, but I had a boyfriend and at his mom's house, all the men sat and talked after dinner, while the women cleaned up (girlfriends, sisters, mom).  At first I did too, to help out, but then I was like WTF?  My boyfriend was sitting around shooting the bull with his dad and brothers, while *I* was clearing the table?  I started just sitting there as well, and believe it or not, the roof didn't cave in.  I felt bad about not helping the mom, but if she needed help, there were 5 of her grown sons plus a husband who could have done something.

    I don't think its right that you're "working" while other people are relaxing and enjoying themselves.  Even if you were "assigned" to help out with the younger ones, once dinner is over, you can move over with the adults. JUST SIT THERE LIKE YOU BELONG.  If the kids misbehave, there are plenty of other people there to get them to mind. 

    image rachelandjon09:

    Asking for help with supper is one thing; ordering me to go slice an onion is another thing entirely!

    When this happens, I would say "MIL, are you ASKING me to help you cut up the onions?"  Or, "MIL, I would be happy to help you out if you ask me." Say it gently, but firmly.  There doesn't need to be a big confrontation, but do remind MIL of her manners.

    The thing is, if you're normally a helpful, nice person, this shouldn't hurt your relationship with MIL in the long term.  She might have to make an adjustment b/c this is a change in your relationship, but if she suddenly hates you b/c you're not picking up the kids' clothes in the bathroom, she needs to remember that you're not Cinderella!

    Although you are family, I would step back and think "would she ask one of her friends to do X chore?  Would she scold one of her friends for doing X?  If the answer is no, even though you are family, I would decline.

    Ditto those who have said you teach people how to treat you (and nobody can take advantage of you without your permission).  You've been doing chores so long she probably takes it for granted that you'll help.

  • image SueBear:

     Hmmmmm.  I'd like to ask, are the adults MALE adults?  I was never asked to clean the bathrooms, but I had a boyfriend and at his mom's house, all the men sat and talked after dinner, while the women cleaned up (girlfriends, sisters, mom).  At first I did too, to help out, but then I was like WTF?  My boyfriend was sitting around shooting the bull with his dad and brothers, while *I* was clearing the table?  I started just sitting there as well, and believe it or not, the roof didn't cave in.  I felt bad about not helping the mom, but if she needed help, there were 5 of her grown sons plus a husband who could have done something.

    I don't think its right that you're "working" while other people are relaxing and enjoying themselves.  Even if you were "assigned" to help out with the younger ones, once dinner is over, you can move over with the adults. JUST SIT THERE LIKE YOU BELONG.  If the kids misbehave, there are plenty of other people there to get them to mind. 

    ... 

    The thing is, if you're normally a helpful, nice person, this shouldn't hurt your relationship with MIL in the long term.  She might have to make an adjustment b/c this is a change in your relationship, but if she suddenly hates you b/c you're not picking up the kids' clothes in the bathroom, she needs to remember that you're not Cinderella!

    Ditto those who have said you teach people how to treat you (and nobody can take advantage of you without your permission).  You've been doing chores so long she probably takes it for granted that you'll help.

     It's not normally the men that are sitting down chatting; it's generally any adult (parents, aunts, uncles, etc.). The kids wash the dishes, put away the food, and tidy up the kitchen. Because of all the kids, each one has a chore that they do to make the job go much quicker and smoother. 

    I will say this: it is better at larger family functions. Every woman (teens, married, and even some of the guys) leap into the kitchen and start cooking and putting food together. The extended family is huge -- FIL has two brothers and one sister, all married with least three kids! It's primarily the smaller events with just the immediate family in which I am "ordered" to help out.

    The cleaning up rooms/picking up clothes/etc. have been slacking off recently, but it's still there as an issue that trips my trigger when it does pop up. 

    Also, I do tend to be the kind of person that loves to help out and make other people's lives easier. I guess I can see how that can come across as "usable" to my MIL.

    I just do not want to come across as b!tchy or selfish! I do not want to be one of those people who hate my MIL...(no offense to anyone; every situation is different...please, no flames!). I'm just at a loss as to how to approach her lovingly without coming across as a selfish brat.  

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  • image rachelandjon09:

    I just do not want to come across as b!tchy or selfish! ... I'm just at a loss as to how to approach her lovingly without coming across as a selfish brat.  

    I'm leaping back in again just to say- I think one of the turning points for you here will be to recognize that there is a ton of middle ground here.  Your concern is that you're being treated like one of her young children, and you want to change that- valid.  Your fear is that you're going to be viewed as b!tchy and selfish by someone whose relationship you value.  But there are so many other possibilities- and, truly, so many more likely possibilities- that fall into the range between being a servant and being a selfish, unhelpful brat.  The world is not so black-and-white, and if those are the only two possibilities your MIL really would see, then you probably aren't going to have a happy two-way relationship with her regardless.  It's great to really want a good relationship with your MIL and to do your best to have that, but good relationships depend on both parties participating and making an effort to have one with each other.

    Also- re: your comments that you like to be helpful and to make people's lives easier.  It's great to be helpful, I'm not knocking that at all.  However- your company is also valuable.  Your friendship is valuable.  Your opinions are worth hearing, your stories are worth sharing, your presence is worth having.  You have worth to your in-laws beyond how many of their chores you help them with.  Is this something you fully believe, or are you using your helpfulness as a way to try and "earn" your way into being liked? I do get a vibe from your posts that is very "I want people to like me" (understandable) and also a vibe that's very "If I do what people ask, they will like me, and if I don't do what people ask, they will not like me"- and where you're getting some posts about being young/ childlike is related to the fact that this is a young/ childlike mindset.  I think that really thinking of yourself as an adult- as someone who has a place at the grown-ups table whether or not she's told- will go a long way for you.

    All the best. 

  • Family roles are a funny thing.

    As one of the elders in the family you feel you should be treated differently to the kids. As a youngest I was always resentful that I was general dogsbody for everybody because everyone was always asking/telling me to do chores from setting the table, to fetching things, to giving up my seat etc etc etc.

    So I agree you don't deserve to be snapped at, although this could be a function of a tired, hard-working woman as opposed to her viewing you as a child. but I don't see any reason why you can't pitch in. You're family.

    There's a difference between being ordered to do something, and like pp I would insist MIL speak to you respectfully, but why not help out.

    I visit my Mum and I help fold her laundry, do her dishes, weed her garden but she never has to ask. I just see what needs doing and lend a hand, whilst we gossip. If she's working in the garden, i empty the wheelbarrow for her etc but I was always taught, "many hands make light work"

    So I guess you need to separate out the issues. is it how she speaks to you? is it being asked to help out? is it the specific chores or just being asked to do any chore? is it how she asks you to do the chore?

    Isolate your issue and then address it with her. You're within your rights to be treated how you wish, but defniitely work out what the concern is. 

    [IMG]http://i55.tinypic.com/213pzit.jpg[/IMG]
    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • SueBearSueBear member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments Combo Breaker

    I wouldn't worry about being b*tchy.  You're a guest.  It's actually quite rude for your MIL to expect you to clean up while she and her husband sit down and talk (even nice people can do rude things).

    If you are asked to do something, politely say, "well, I was actually planning on visiting / chatting with uncle Betty and Uncle Ted. I haven't seen them ina while and I wanted to catch up on their vacation."  What is MIL going to do?  Send you to your room?  As long as you are polite, she can't find fault.

    I think you need to start acting like you belong at the adult table.  You might think of some mental boundries before you go over - - for example, if you help prepare dinner, then you will relax after dinner.  Put your foot down with cleaning her house! 

  • Are there any cultural undertones to this?

    DH's best friend, they consider each other brothers, and his wife are the only family we have down in Florida so we often spend weekends with them. A few months ago her mother and sister moved in with them.  The mother tends to bark orders at her family "get me a drink" "oh, you get up? refill my my plate while you there, eh" 

    Last time we were there she did it to me "Oh I want milk too."  I did it but told DH later on that I was taken aback by the way she spoke to me and that it made me feel uncomfortable.  He told me that it was a West Indian thing that children are supposed to listen to elders and not complain, just do as they're told.  I'm not a child,  but have been warned that because I am still of the younger generation any thing other tan performing the action would be seen as disrespectful and I should pretty much know my place as long as she's there.

     My family is also from the Caribbean, but I was born and raised in NY, so it is taking some getting used to, but knowing the cultural norms (as much as I disagree with them) almost makes it easier to bear.

  • image jdbmjm:
    image livinitup:

    Then act like an adult.  When someone speaks to you sharply or rudely correct them.  She may bristle, but if you do it kindly and warmly it won't be WW3.  Be prepared to displease her, its only natural when exerting your automonmy but don't be afraid to use humor, too.   

    And don't wait to be told.  If you fall into the mix as one of the oldest, then volunteer or find a nitch that you excell at and don't wait for orders.

    And certainly give your MIL a break.  The help she needs is real.  And she is just barely getting used to having adult children to manage, not teens. If you hold yourself as an adult, follow-through, relate as an adult and are useful and resourceful then the tide will turn.  Who knows, she might even find it a relief. 

     


    And maybe I'm a terrible person, but just because MIL has a grip of kids and is overwhelmed with them, doens't mean her oldest son's new bride is a free babysitter. Visit like an adult, not every day like a kid after school looking for a snack. Say hello, play cool auntie, have adult discussions, and then don't have to stay forever, you have a lfe of your own. 

     

    ...this 100%

    Pregnancy Ticker
  • Admittedly I have not had a chance to read each of the replies so similar advice may have already been given.

    First I would suggest having a conversation with your husband about this issue.  Afterall it is his family and he may be able to shed a little light on your MIL's behavior (ie maybe your MIL was expected to help her MIL in the ways she is now expecting you to help).  Ask him (very neutrally as this may be a point of confrontation for you) if he has noticed the way you are treated by MIL.  Hopefully he has made his own observations and share's your perspective.  Let him know that you are more than willing to help out in certain ways, but that you also feel that some of the requests your MIL makes are unreasonable/inappropriate.  Ask him to speak to his mother about this.  It is more HIS place to speak with his mother on your behalf than it is yours if he is willing to do so.

    If your husband is unwilling to speak with his mother for you then speak with your MIL yourself.  (In all of this be sure to let your husband know that you do feel the need to bring this issue to your MIL attention.  However, be respectful of your husband in the way that you go about this issue.)

    When you are NOT feeling to agravated about this issue ask your MIL if you can speak with her privately about something. Tell her how you FEEL about the way you are treated more as one of her children as opposed to accusing.  Assure her that you are willing to help out with certain this (ie dinner, setting the table, cleaning up after etc) but that you feel some of the other request are a beyond what you feel comfortable doing (such as cleaning bathrooms/bedrooms). 

    In terms of when she speaks curtly to you always take into consideration the circumstances surrounding it.  It sounds like she has ALOT on her plate and may not even realize when she takes it out on you.  As strange as it may sound, this is probably an inidcator of how comfortable she is with you.  She doesn't feel the need to hide when she is stressed out.  If it continues to bother you or if it seem more personal handle it similarly to addressing the chores. 

    All in all sounds like a sensitive matter.  Good luck and I hope soon things impove for you!

    Nov. 19, 2010 BFP #1--m/c Dec. 24th, 2010 First cycle after m/c on Feb. 2, 2011--March 8th, 2011 BFP #2 EDD Nov. 19, 2011. Nadia Dorothy Grace born on 11-18-11 @ 3:04pm 6lbs 14oz Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
  • NOT trying to sound snarky, honest... but I think that your MIL is treating you like a child because you are still a child! You are a teenager for cryin' out loud...


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