My MIL says I'm selfish.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
My MIL says I'm selfish.
10
Thu, 01-24-2013 - 4:34pm

My mom is in very poor health right now, and has been unable to travel to see our family for several years.  I've taken our kids on trips out to see her, but we only have so much money to do this.  My MIL told my husband that she is upset that we aren't making the same effort to bring the grandkids to see her, she told him that she thinks I'm selfish.    I feel like I'm in a no-win situtation.  My MIL is in really good health, takes trips throughout the year with her sisters and is totally capable of coming to visit us.  My mom, unfortunately, does not have that same capability.  Should I feel guilty about this or just let her be upset?  I was considering trying to talk to her about it, but it really, really bugs me that she's being so difficult about this when I don't know how much time my mom has left.  It's really cooled my relationship with her, which I thought has generally been good up until this point.  What would you do? 

 

Chelsea

"Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open."

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2012
Thu, 01-24-2013 - 7:39pm

There are several parts of your post that stand out for me, so I'm not sure which to reply to first! :)

One, no, you aren't being selfish.  I'm assuming between available vacation time and available money, you can only take so many trips every year, your mother is sick, to the point where you indicate she may be dying, and your MIL is in fine health, if anyone's being selfish, it's your MIL.

My real question though is why did your husband share this with you?  Does he agree with his mother?  If I were you I would tell your husband that you only have so much vacation time/money available, and you want to make the most of your time with your mom before she's gone.  He should be supporting you in that. You say in your post "I've taken the kids" I read that as you've taken the kids to visit your mom without him.  Why can't he take the kids to visit his mother?  I assume you're not barring him from doing that? 

My own MIL moved a few states away 2 years ago to help my SIL raise her kids.  My IL's are still married, FIL lives close by DH and I, and MIL has been back to visit 2 times in two years. She makes almost zero effort to keep in touch with my DH and absolutely zero effort to keep in touch with me.  The two times she has been in town, she's broken promises to my DD and my BIL's kids about spending time with them in favor of sitting in her house alone with SIL's baby.  (MIL's house is literally 2 minutes from my house and 15 minutes from BIL's.) Yet, she had the nerve to call my DH and complain the other day that "we really need to take a trip down to see her."  DH and I both work full time, and only have a few vacation days every year.  There is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks I am spending ANY of my vacation days visiting her, when she can't even be bothered to call us when she's in town. (There's obviously lot's more to the story, but that's the part that parallels yours.) Thankfully for me, I have a DH who agrees with me, and has no problem telling his mother exactly why we aren't going to be visiting. 

Good luck to you, I say tell your DH how you feel, and just ignore your MIL.  She had no right to call you selfish (frankly, I don't think that term even fits by the definition she wanted it to in this case), try not to let it bother you, and don't feel guilty at all about making the most of the time you have left with your mom!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 01-25-2013 - 11:38am

I think it should be pretty obvious why you are taking the trips to see your mother & not your MIL--your MIL isn't sick & can travel.  Your DH should be the one to tell her this, not you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Fri, 01-25-2013 - 1:38pm

Hi Chelsea,

I so agree with the other posts - you are not being selfish and your mil needs to be told this by your DH.  I also think that it was wrong for your DH to tell you this (because it is hurtful) and unless he had a resolve to it, just served to upset you.  I have lost both my mom and dad.  My Inlaws were so insensitive to this and looking back, they were reall a&_&()*()&*( about it.  But, there were so many times that I spent time doing things for them that I should have spent taking care of myself and visiting with my parents.  

I think that selfish people are just that and can't think past their own needs.  If it were me and it was brought up again, I would look them straight in the face and say that I'm sure if this was you and your son's situation that you would want me to encourage him to spend as much time as possible with you.  And, hold them to an answer.  

But I also think you should sit down and ask your DH why he felt the need to tell you about what they said considering the circumstances?  Let him explain and put himself in your shoes - what would he want to do if it was his own mom/dad?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2012
Fri, 01-25-2013 - 8:32pm

Cookie,

I agree with the other posters and understand where you are coming from. My MIL, bless her heart, lives almost 400 miles away in another state and sometimes we don't see her for a year. We talk a lot when we can to catch up, but she understands that it is difficult for our large family to travel that far, and she lives in a single wide trailer and there isn't enough room for us all even if we camp out on the floor. So the few times we have gone to visit her we make it a big todo and stay at a hotel with a pool and bowling alley so it becomes an all around vacation.

She tries to come see us at least once a year to stay a month or longer. She is 84 and still in good health, though she really shouldn't drive anymore, so usually someone goes and gets her and brings her back.

My mother lived with us for a year before she passed away and my MIL never had a jealous moment. I hope you guys can work it out and that your hubby explains it to her gently that she is more able to come visit you all, then you all visiting her.

Maybe she will visit more often if you put it to her that way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sun, 01-27-2013 - 2:19pm
I could have written this post. My MIL always measures her visits TO us by how many times we see them, And the year my own mother passed away was the year my oldest child was born, I would never compare how often DH, my baby and I saw my family by how often it was we saw his family, Some of that she's never let down as it's led to her no shows at big events in my childrens' lives like baptisms and first communions too, I've learned to not let it bother me so much. You're not going to change your MIL, Don't feel guilty and don't let that small mindedness upset you!

 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Sun, 01-27-2013 - 3:59pm
I don't think you are being selfish, but I do wonder the time period involved. If your mother has been ill for several years,and you are saying you have visited her multiple times in several years and never visited your mother in law, then I would say she might have a point. If you are talking about a few months, then she should back off. And I think this also depends on what your husband thinks. Does he want to go visit his mother with the kids? If so, then he should do that. I will also point out that health does not always indicate length of life....if you are feeling like your kids should get to know your mom now because they might not get a chance later, jeep in mind that things like accidents, strokes heart attacks, take people instantly. Unless there are other factors, children can benefit by having opportunities to build relationships with all their grandparents throughout their lives. Personality and distance will make each of these relationships different, but they can all lead to special memories.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Mon, 01-28-2013 - 3:25pm
Thanks for backing me up on this, travelormom08! My husband chose to tell me because he hates dealing with her and was trying to pawn the task off on me. She can be pretty passive aggressive and he gets tired of it. I didn't really think about his reasoning at the time, but all of your responses have brought up very good points about that and I've told him that he needs to deal with it. I'm just going to ignore her comment and do what I think is right for me.

Chelsea

"Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open."

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Mon, 01-28-2013 - 3:27pm
I'm sorry that you had unreasonable inlaws as well. I did talk to my dh about it, and he'll be dealing with her about the issue in the future. He fully supports me going to see my parents, and totally understands why. He's just a baby when it comes to dealing with him mom ;)

Chelsea

"Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open."

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Mon, 01-28-2013 - 3:38pm
Let me clarify for you then, the last time my parents were able to visit us was 2.5 years ago (I think - the dates are getting mushy). They were supposed to fly out the following year, but my mom's health had gotten dramatically worse over the past 18 months. I got the chance to see them that fall , and then the following fall I took my youngest out for a week. My mom started chemo after that, but I managed to take my oldest out to see her this past summer at a family wedding. I took my youngest again to see them last month. I really can't afford the trips we have made and it's been a stretch to pay for them. Plane fare is outrageous, and so we have to make some difficult decisions. If his mom was in really poor health, than I would be encouraging him to do the same. I understand what you are saying, but his mom can easily travel here to spend time with the grandkids. Also keep in mind that I'm not only going to spend time with my mom, but to also help my dad who is her primary caregiver.

Chelsea

"Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open."

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Tue, 01-29-2013 - 8:14pm

Hi,

Your MIL is retired? Then SHE can come and see her grandchildren!