Family Matters
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Overbearing Mother

I hear a lot of people complaining about their MIL, but mine is great.  It's my own mother that drives me up the wall.  My hubby is a kind person and has learned to laugh at her, um, 'antics', but it still drives me crazy when she says or does insensitive or just plain mean things.

Her latest thing that I really can just laugh at now but was so mad about was this:

My parents and my hubby and I were going to a wedding. As usual, we were all twiddling our thumbs while my mother finished getting ready when someone remembered "THE PRESENTS!" So my mom throws the presents and some wrapping paper in the living room and I get up to wrap ours and realize - sitting on a floor bending over a rather large box in this dress could cause some wardrobe malfunctions. So I look over at hubby and ask "Sweety, would you mind wrapping this?" He replies "Sure, no problem." and wraps it.  

The next day my mother confronts me and says " I cannot believe you made Matt (hubby) wrap that gift.  It was sooooo obvious on his face that he was embarrassed that you made him do that." "Mom, I didn't make him, I asked, and I would have had some serious problems with my dress if I tried to sprawl out on the floor wrapping that big box." "You could have stood up and wrapped it on the counter.  Your job as a wife is to make sure he is as relaxed and comfortable as possible and take care of his needs before your own.  Even if you had a job (I'm stay at home) you would still need to take care of the house and him before anything else."

After I gave her a funny look, she put the icing on the cake and said "I'm just worried about you, and I'm worried about your marriage.  I've had a lot more experience than you, and that was not good.  I'm really worried about your marriage."

I recounted all this to Hubby, and after ranting about how nosy my mother is, he calmed down and laughed and said "Why in the world would I mind wrapping a present!!!! I wasn't even doing anything!" and started cracking up.  So we're able to laugh about it now, and even have a running joke with another married couple about how any time one of us helps the other, we say "Oh wait, probably not good for the marriage" but I"m still annoyed at my mom.    

 Thanks for letting me rant! I want to qualify something though: I agree that I should be taking care of my husband and all. I basically cook, clean the house, run errands, and 'take care of my hubby's needs' all day long, so it makes what my mother said even sillier, and to me more hurtful, like I'm not doing enough or failing somehow whenever I ask for his help.  We never expressed how we felt to my mother and basically dropped it.  Should we have told her how we feel?  Thanks!

Re: Overbearing Mother

  • I don't know how that's mean per se -- I don't know how she said it or what she did when she said it.

    If you have any doubts or you're uneasy, sit her down and tell her once and for all things are fine, she can butt out with the helicoper parent-like observations and if she keeps it up, you'll consider cooling it with her until she gets her act together.

    I'm serious about cooling it with her until she wises up. I'd stress that to her if I were you.
  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    Your problem is trying to justify or make excuses to your mom.  Instead of saying "hubby didn't mind," you should tell her "it's none of your business."

    Mom "I'm worried about your marriage,"

    you: "My marriage is none of your business."

    Mom "I'm just trying to be helpful - I've been married longer than you have"

    You "It's none of your business."  (or, not your concern.  Not your place to comment)

    Because the truth of the matter is, as long as you come up with excuses or justifications, you are letting your mom think that it IS her business to interfere or comment.  It's not.

    And really, even if she had all of the answers....her answers only apply to her and her H.  You married someone completely different, and are completely different than your mom.  Also - would you really want your mother's marriage?  My parents are happily married, their marriage works for them, but it wouldn't work for me - AT ALL!  I didn't get married in the '60's.

     

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • lol beat her at her own game. have dh call her and tell her he didnt mind wrapping the gift and ask her why she thought that he shouldn't wrap it.

    i bet she'd be embarassed as hell to know you even told him all of that.

    meh you probably wouldn't do that really but what a funny cono that would be.

     

    id' keep my distance from her honestly. if she made that much of a big deal about wrapping paper everything's fair game. and dont play into those things!! next time she makes a comment like that roll your eyes and walk away. or say you ahve to go and hang up the phone. fueling the fire by even entertaining those stupid comments will only cause you more stress.

     

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  • Ditto Wahoo. Tell your mother that these things are none of her business. Don't justify, explain etc.
  • I agree with alithebride. Your mom needs to understand how ridiculous her comment was. If she's of the mindset that the wife has to take care of the husband (which I think it totally sexist b/c BOTH should take care of each other, but that's another story), then it will def be a wake up call when a MAN tells her it was no big deal and not to worry about it. 

    She seems like they type of woman who will listen to and respect a man, but not necessarily a woman (you).

  • image alithebride:

    lol beat her at her own game. have dh call her and tell her he didnt mind wrapping the gift and ask her why she thought that he shouldn't wrap it.

    i bet she'd be embarassed as hell to know you even told him all of that.

    meh you probably wouldn't do that really but what a funny cono that would be. 

    Haha, yes, this would be awesome! Probably wouldn't happen--nor would it probably change anything--but it would be awesome!

    I wonder, could your mom possibly be jealous? Maybe she sees that you and your husband are clearly a good team who help each other, and it bothers her because she's spent her whole life catering to someone else's needs? And the only way she can make this all make sense is, "Well, that must mean their marriage will fail in the long run?" IDK, obviously I have no idea what kind of marriage your parents have, so it's just a thought...because otherwise, your mother's reactions seems just totally bizarre.

    In the end, there's probably not a thing you can do about outbursts like this, but that's okay. You and your husband are clearly on the same page, and that's the most important thing. As long as the two of you are strong and together, you can learn to keep ignoring and/or laughing at your mom's bizarre behavior.  

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  • You could be very right about my mom being jealous now that I think about it. I love my dad to death, but he really is a bit sexist.  He doesn't lift a finger around the house.  No housework, no dishes, no cooking, cleaning, nothing.  My mother does it all.  She complains all the time about how he never helps her.  So it could be jealousy, insecurity, any number of things. 

    Who knows.  All that matters is that DH and I are SO very happy together.  While I do most the housework, he pretty much always does dishes after dinner.  OH yes, he's amazing!  hahahaha.  But don't tell my mother - it's probably bad for our marriage ;)

  • Tell your mother that what is dangerous for her marriage isn't necessarily a bad thing for yours.  You are not your mother and your h is not your dad.
  • image rebecca+matt:

    You could be very right about my mom being jealous now that I think about it. I love my dad to death, but he really is a bit sexist.  He doesn't lift a finger around the house.  No housework, no dishes, no cooking, cleaning, nothing.  My mother does it all.  She complains all the time about how he never helps her.  So it could be jealousy, insecurity, any number of things. 

    Who knows.  All that matters is that DH and I are SO very happy together.  While I do most the housework, he pretty much always does dishes after dinner.  OH yes, he's amazing!  hahahaha.  But don't tell my mother - it's probably bad for our marriage ;)

     

    Yeah, it really is a team effort. In my situation, I do most of the cooking, but if H has an idea, I'll ask him to show me his idea and he'll cook part of the meal. He ALWAYS does the dishes if I cook the meal. If I'm not too tired, I'll usually help put the food away or something while he cleans, but if I'm tired, then he doesn't mind doing all the clean up himself.

    On Saturdays, we both clean the apartment. We just divide and conquer, but there are no "set duties." I grew up in a somewhat sexist home and while I don't mind doing the typical "wife" duties, I don't want my H to think I have to do them or that he's off the hook. At the same time, I've told him that when we get a house, I'm more than happy to help with the yard work as well. I grew up learning how to do all the duties b/c my parents wanted me to be independent (despite the mild sexist attitude of my dad).

    H and I think of it as serving each other. It's never about "me and my needs" but what can we do for each other. So far, it's working really well!

    Your mom will just have to get over it and deal. Live your marriage the way you and your H are comfortable.  

  • Do you think that maybe your dad gave her a hard  time for making everyone wait on her and she is trying to divert attention away from herself and onto you ?

    You know the old playground game of when you are being picked on, you find someone else to pick on so that people will leave you alone ?

  • is your mother June Cleaver?
  • NukkeNukke member
    Fifth Anniversary

    image SueBear:
    Tell your mother that what is dangerous for her marriage isn't necessarily a bad thing for yours.  You are not your mother and your h is not your dad.

    This is what it comes down to.  Tell her it's none of  your business.  If she doesn't get it, repeat.  Still not getting it?  Repeat.


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  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    image stw_77:

    Do you think that maybe your dad gave her a hard  time for making everyone wait on her and she is trying to divert attention away from herself and onto you ?

    You know the old playground game of when you are being picked on, you find someone else to pick on so that people will leave you alone ?

    I have a different take on this.  I think your mom's "lateness" is a form of passive-agressive behavior.  She HAS to take care of your dad, she CAN'T let him make his own dinner "or her marriage will be at risk....."  But she can make the whole d*mn family wait for her while she gets ready.  Your post makes me think mom runs late more often than not.

    I also think that her own life really doesn't feel like it is under her control (strange dance between her and your dad), so she turns around and tries to boss you and/or "manage" your marriage. 

    Tell her you have your own marriage under control.  Rinse.  Repeat.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • image Wahoo:
    image stw_77:

    Do you think that maybe your dad gave her a hard  time for making everyone wait on her and she is trying to divert attention away from herself and onto you ?

    You know the old playground game of when you are being picked on, you find someone else to pick on so that people will leave you alone ?

    I have a different take on this.  I think your mom's "lateness" is a form of passive-agressive behavior.  She HAS to take care of your dad, she CAN'T let him make his own dinner "or her marriage will be at risk....."  But she can make the whole d*mn family wait for her while she gets ready.  Your post makes me think mom runs late more often than not.

    I also think that her own life really doesn't feel like it is under her control (strange dance between her and your dad), so she turns around and tries to boss you and/or "manage" your marriage. 

    Tell her you have your own marriage under control.  Rinse.  Repeat.

    THIS x 1000 is my MIL. (with the passive-aggresive/lateness/attention seeking stuff)

    I will forever remember the incident where we were driving with my IL's to meet my parents in Philly (where my parents live) for lunch and do the 'meet the parents' thing before our wedding. On the way there, my MIL asked us to stop somewhere so she could use a bathroom.  Obviously I'm not going to make her wait until we get to the restaurant, so we stopped at a Macy's we were driving past along the way. That did not stop her from making us wait in the car for 45 minutes while she changed her shirt, then proceeded to go shopping for a new shirt when she dropped her lipstick on herself. (don't even ask)

    45 MINUTES!!!!! And all she could say when she finally came back to the car was 'your mom is a woman....she'd understand'. No, 'I'm so sorrry.' No, 'I didn't mean to make everyone wait.' As far as she was concerned, she did absolutely nothing wrong.

    I could probably write a book about all the silly things she's done, but you know - I just have to laugh to myself about it at this point because this is just who she is. If I got angry at every little thing that she said and did that I felt was out of line, I would be miserable. If it's really THAT bad, I just let my H know and have him deal with her ;)

  • I'm sorry - I should be offering you advice since this is your mother we are talking about...

    Honestly, just like everyone else has said here, just tell your mom to mind her own beeswax. I would not engage her in any way either when she makes such out of line comments because anything you do say to argue with her, she's just going to have an answer for. (my MIL is the same way) So best to just keep repeating as necessary and then tune her out ;)

    If it really gets bad - I would even say limit the amount of time you spend with her...I realize it's your mother, but still....you are an adult and don't need to take that kind of bs from anyone, even if it is your own family. GL

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