How to handle MIL?

Hi all! I’ve been feeling bad about issues with my MIL, but it’s actually good to be able to read others’ stories, it makes me feel less alone in this. We live abroad, so my MIL spends a week at ours and we spend about 1-2 weeks when we return our home country. In the time when she’s here she always starts off being very nice and I do try my very best every time even trying to adapt to her just to keep the peace. So last time I felt like her stay sent me to depression. My husband would really like us to get on, but he knows that she’s criticising everyone for everything, that’s her nature, that’s how I should accept her he says. So a few examples: I said to my toddler that he can’t have dessert, without having had dinner. I said that very clearly. My MIL said to him that he doesn’t have to eat dinner, he can just have dessert. This is not the first time that she tried to overrule what I asked from my son. :( Another time I asked when was my son’s cup been filled the last time, my husband said yesterday so I just went to refill it. She said that last time she drank a one week old water and she was fine, they used to do this all the time and she’s ok. I told her that as I’ll probably have a bit of free time with my son starting preschool, she suggested that I could learn to cook, after having eaten the lunch I’ve done. (I’ve been cooking dinner every day for 2 years now, before it was every other day) I’m also 31, have started practising at 16. At my mum’s house she visited us and as it has a communal area with a playground she took my son down I was with them too. I asked my son to leave other kids’ bikes alone as that’s not ours, we don’t know how they feel about us trying it. She kept on pushing it like she didn’t hear me. That time I got quite upset as it was also my mum’s area where she should try and adapt to others. I just feel like she’s interfering so much and she comes across as very rude. Although she does have a nice social personality too, but I just feel like I’m in her way. :( I’m a bit disappointed as I love my husband, but these things can create arguments between us too, especially when I feel like I got overloaded and go into depressed mode. I’d like to ask if anyone has a similar MIL and/if there’s any way to handle this situation right? I’ve always been very fond of my grandmas, so it’s important to me to try to have a good relationship. *I should add it all started when we got engaged, we had hardly any issues for 9 years before that. It got intense when my son was born.
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Shes actually a preschool teacher and probably culturally she things younger people should respect the elder, meaning we should except everything she says. I feel like someone other than me should sit down with her as her reaction to me is always over the top.

@Bella when I refer to anything close to that he’s actually my son, she gets even more upset. :( Once other youngsters put him on a rusty old barrel or sg like that and I asked them to remove him from there. Then she said I shouldnt worry too much. Karma was harsh as the next day my son was with her and had a not too nice accident. I know she cares for him and I somehow would like to remove the bad bits. She’s single and clearly her one grandchild is everything atm.

Thank you for replying! ☺️ Yes, the thing is I get on 100% well with everyone else in their family. They have lots of members and even organise a family camp yearly. So I’m even good friends with lot of them. The thing is, everyone knows that she’s like this, but no one would ever dare to say anything, they just ignore her. And that’s what they tell me to do as well, as they wouldn’t want to get into an argument with her either. I also respect her as a grandma, and she’s actually interacting a lot with my son, so that’d be a two-sided punishment.

Or even when mil comes over if she says the opposite of what ur saying then respond to her in that moment and say my son will be doing it my way but thanks for the suggestion. It's hard when the men can't speak up but sometimes u gotta push him to

At this point it seems like you need to have a sit down with ur husband & tell him this is the last time you'll bring it up that his mom is causing you to feel depressed, her comments aren't helping anything and is causing ur son to learn bad habits and if he doesn't put his foot down with his mother and fix it because u can't just all get along when ur uncomfortable and mil won't listen then u will have to cut her visits to less often or not at all until she can get the message. You don't deserve to live like this and someone has to stand up for you

@Bella Yes, that’s why I’ve done it a few times now. Also I tend to be more around my son, my husband is often away working, so then it’s just the 3 of us. But I also don’t want to be the one who keeps on replying to her, I feel like I shouldn’t be doing this over and over again. I’m not this type generally, I’m a people pleaser, so it’s draining me.

Thank you for your advice btw, really appreciate it 😊

The only person she looks up to her own mum, who’s very nice actually, but my husband is still resistant to talk about it, and I wouldn’t want to be the one, as I’m already in the centre of the attention for saying anything.

I have actually done this a few times straightaway. I think she’s not used to getting any comments back. I did say all those things once and she had no idea what I was talking about. I mean like you say I’m worried about this as a pattern, but she doesn’t feel like that’s what she’s doing. I think she even said to my husband that I didn’t seem as direct, so she thought I didn’t mean it… I was just trying to say things politely. I did tell my husband what happened, but when her mum coming to him crying that of course questions who’s right. My husband sees it as he’d just like me to ignore these and if we could all get on with each other. The hard thing is however we both had told her these she keeps on doing it. And it’s just very hard to be polite. I feel like I have to say something because of my son. Having a deep conversation would be good, but my husband is too afraid to do so.

This can't keep going on. Think about how it's going to affect ur son and ur relationship it's not healthy time to put ur foot down

Next time it happens, I'd suggest telling her directly. I love you, but you are teaching my son not to listen to me, and I don't appreciate it. You are an important part of his life, and I'd like to keep it that way, but it's hard if you keep telling him to do the opposite of what I say. Also, let your husband know beforehand so when she comes crying, he knows you did not say anything to hurt her. If he can't support u in this, then he needs to be the one to tell her you two are limiting babies' time with her until he's older so he doesn't pick up bad habits

I know that she does, but she does that to my husband too and my brother in law. I tried standing up for myself and calmly address it a few times. Usually she pretends she doesn’t understand what my issue is, says I’m oversensitive, which is probably true. Then she complains to my husband how rude I was to her then crying loudly. Well when my husband’s there and he sees it he corrects her, but when he’s not he’s unsure about the whole story. So because of this I don’t really dare mention anything. I do see a little bit of change, she compliments me a lot, I guess that’s her effort, but then she still criticises how we do things anyway. Last time I haven’t mentioned anything and it seemed like she had a good time, but then I was feeling awful. 😣 Clearly in their family they tend to not work through issues, like we had to work on that with my husband, but I’m just not used to this. :/

It sounds like she keeps undermining you especially with your son. Try to calmly explain to her that you’re his mom and what she is doing is encouraging him not to listen to you at all. You should also have a conversation with your husband and fully explain what is going on and ask him to help back you up. Yes, a grandmother’s job is to spoil her grand babies, but not to teach them that they don’t have to listen to their parents.

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