Advice On Becoming A Better Dil

I hope it is okay that I joined this group to share my story and ask for advice. You see, I am not a MIL. I am a DIL, and I don't think I am a very good one. I have looked for advice on the internet and turned to friends, and everyone seems to think that my MIL's dislike of me is unfounded. The advice is always that she needs to grow up or let her son live his life or something else pushing the blame onto her. This sort of advice is deeply disturbing to me. She is older and wiser than me, and I respect her with all my heart. The last thing I want is to take her son away from her. In fact, had I known that she would grow to dislike me, I would have ended my relationship with her son. I believe in a mother's love for her son above all else. I believe that moms know what is best for their children, and that they are only against something if it is really bad for their kids. I just wish I could have learned that I was a problem before I had our beautiful daughter--the first grandchild on either side of the family. Now, things are complicated, and I have become a little obsessed with learning what I can do to be a better DIL. So, I am asking you folks who have issues with your DIL's to offer any advice you can so that I can give her the grandmother experience of her dreams. I will do anything to make this better. Anything.

Some background info, or some of the things about me that are problems:

1. I come from an upper middle class family, as does my husband, but my dad isn't a doctor or lawyer...he made his money in a business usually associated with lower class folks. For anonymity's sake, let's just say he owns McDonald's restaurants. What he does is similar to that. I think my MIL would prefer that her son married a girl more up to her social standards. I didn't know this at first. I feel bad about it now, but I can't change what my dad does.

2. My husband got a job far away from our hometown awhile ago. I missed our families and wanted to move back home. We almost did, but, at the last minute, we moved closer to our hometown but still far away. This was his decision, but my MIL assumed it was because I didn't want to be around her, and he didn't tell her the truth. Now, I know I must have done something wrong for her to assume this in the first place. There had to be something about the way I acted around her that made her think that. I just don't know what it was...

About a week ago, on a family vacation, I realized that I was going about everything all wrong...

Things seemed okay at first. I followed all my MIL's advice about our granddaughter, and I apologized when she woke up in the middle of the night and when she napped at times that seemed inappropriate. I am doing some things differently than my MIL did, like breastfeeding instead of bottle feeding, but I would change that if she asked me to. I am not trying to say that my choices are better, just different. I would follow any advice she gave me. One evening, my daughter started to fuss just as I was finishing my dinner. I got up to feed her and put her to bed, but my MIL wanted to try to calm her first. I prayed that my baby wasn't hungry and would settle down and sleep for her grandma. She didn't. I appologized and tried to politely offer to take her, but my MIL wanted to try some more. My daughter began to cry hysterically, so I went in the other room b/c it was upsetting to hear her cry. I know I was probably being too sensitive. I just wasn't sure what the best action was. My MIL thought I was mad at her. She said I obviously thought she was a bad grandma and told me to take my daughter. As the baby continued to cry, my MIL tried to take her to comfort her again. I was really confused and flustered, and I said, "I think you are better at this than me." I meant that. I meant that I trust her wisdom. She thought I was mocking her. I walked away, shaking and crying and unable to breathe b/c I knew I blew it.

When I came back, she confronted me. She told me I take everything she loves away from her. She said I never let her have time alone with her granddaughter. She said she knows I hate her. She said I was the most disrespectful person she knows. I kept apologizing. I felt so bad. I love her, but I don't know how to show it.

The next day, I tried to make a point of letting her have time alone with her son and granddaughter. I didn't make a big production of it, I just tried to stay out of the way. I thought I was doing the right thing. Later, she told me that I was mocking her by letting her have time alone with the baby b/c I obviously didn't want her to. I really, really want her to have a good grandmother experience. I wish I could just be someone else. Someone she can be proud to call her DIL.

I continued to do the wrong thing the rest of the trip. I could tell everything was making her feel awkward. My husband tried to call a family meeting, but she wouldn't participate. I told her how much I love and admire her, and she rolled her eyes. She keeps thinking I am lying. I really, really love her, though! What am I doing wrong? I know you don't know us, so it is hard to say what it is about my actions and demeanor that is so offensive. I know her side of the story would be totally different, but she doesn't want to share it so I don't know what to do. I would do anything. I read all the stories on this site and sob b/c I can't believe some DIL's would be so mean. I am one of those people who loves everyone, and I am sensitive and feel hurt when I know anyone, especially someone I love, is hurting. To know that my baby's grandma is so hurt because of me makes me feel like the world's worst person. Please help me be better.

gooddil gooddil
6 Responses Jul 14, 2010

Hi, I would love to have a daughterinlaw like you. I would think I had died and gone to heaven. You are a very special person and I can tell you sacrifice alot to make everyone as happy as you can. Just keep praying. Give it to the Lord which I am sure that you have. I go thru things very similar but my DIL wont tell me she just ignores me most of the time. I do feel I am in the way. We have lived together for 17 years and I try to hard. When things get odd or difficult I just go to my room. I dont say anything I dont want to upset the family or my son or my grandson or even my daughterinlaw. I am at my wits end most of the time. My son has told me on numerous occasions that he does not want me to move out because he enjoys my company. But my DIL has to force herself to put up with me. I need to move, but my grandson doesnt want me to or my son. But
God knows I would love to stay, but it is making her very uncomfortable. It would put a hardship on the family because they could not make it financially. I pay them between $1200 and $1500 a month. They could not make it without my help. I dont want to hurt or make anyone uncomfortable, I love my family, but there is alot of resentment because I am here. In some ways, it would be best for me to move. I have only mentioned moving 3 times in 17 years and the last time I wanted to move my son wept bitterly and so did I. I didnt really want to go, but I knew my DIL wanted it. It is hard I have to tell you.

I am also a DIL and I am very nice to my MIL too but I find it hard to please her!!! I feel like everything I do is wrong and nothing is ever right... I think you are trying way too hard to make her happy. I think what you need to do is take a step back and just be yourself. If you feel a certain way take her aside and have a LONG LONG talk with her. She might not even realize what she is doing to hurt you. There is no use bending over backwards for someone who treats you badly, trust me I am done bending over backwards for my MIL! Maybe when you stop trying so hard she will miss all of the nice things you used to do for her. They say that sometimes you don't miss something until its gone. Good luck with everything girl we are both in the same boat!!!

Gooddil,<br />
ok - I just found this site and I was astounded by your comments. If I had another son I would like to introduce you to him and have him steal you away from your current husband. Just kidding, it sounds like he is a very lucky guy and his mother needs to count her blessings.<br />
I think the best advice I could give you here is to first, have a conversation with your husband about your feelings and his mothers reactions to see what his take is on the situation. You both need to be on the same page. A comprise if you will, before it gets out of hand, if it hasn't already. I do realize that I am adding my comments months after your post. <br />
I would also offer that if you use open ended questions with situations that occur - like the feeding vs. comforting situation above - it may help ease the situation. Example - what would you do if? Do you think I should try to feed the baby first? I do think though your mil does have some issues to deal with, remember her son was a baby once too. I am sure she didn't forget how to deal with those issues. I think it is a confidence issue, especially if she is widowed. It sounds like she is feeling she isn't needed any more or that she is being replace in someway. Aging is not easy. I do hope this helps with your situation. Please know that your desire to make it work with your mil does show through in all you have posted here and your compassion will help you get through the tough spots. Just becareful not to become the door mat, its hard to go back once someone gets use to wiping thier feet on you. As an exmil that was the lesson I didnt learn early on but not to worry, I have turned it into a possitive and use the relationship scenarios with my exdil as a teaching tool for my grandkids. Good luck!

I wish you were my daughter in law, not because you want to please her in anyway, but because it matters to you that she is pleased. I'm on this site to find mothers who are in the same boat as I am and I find a young woman who truly is a gem. Now for the advice and it happens to be the same advice I give myself...kill her with kindness! If for no other reason you are able to say to yourself "I'm doing what I am able to do and hopefully with time she will get it" My best wishes to you and your family.

Oh, honey ! you need to wake up ! nothing you do will make this woman happy. NOTHING. She's going blame you for every thing. You remind me of my sister in-law R.J. She kissed my MIL's behind for years because she wanted her acceptance and approval and the only thing my MIL did for her was to constantly hurt her and stab her in the back. You need to accept the fact that you didn't do anything to this woman and that she is never going to like (let alone love) or accept you.

sad... but true

Hi,<br />
<br />
I am not a mother in law either. But I was reading your post and just wanted to comment. First of all, it is wonderful that you want to please your mother in law. Your desire for peace and love is admirable. But, there are some people you just can't please, and if you keep trying to you will only drive yourself crazy. All you can do is your best. Treat your mother in law the way you would want to be treated and leave it at that. No one is perfect, even your mother in law. I hope things work out for you.<br />
<br />
Take Care