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QUESTION: My mother-in-law makes everything about her: Advice?
“I have a question, and I’d like to be kept anonymous. Am I wrong about my mother-in-law? When her birthday comes around, it’s all about her, for holidays she wants everyone to come to her house, etc. As far as everyone coming to her house, apparently, back in the day, she had a car accident, so now she gets nervous about riding in cars or going on long trips. Anyway, we only live an hour from here (my husband, my son, and I), but she wants us to always come to her, even in the middle of the week when the traffic is a monster.
When my mother-in-law wants to go somewhere, she can get a ride if she wants, but it’s not the same when it comes to our son. She’ll call my husband and me multiple times, annoying us to death, because my mother-in-law off and wants to see him, but she can’t get a ride to come and see him. We have to waste our gas to come to her. It’s my husband’s mother, and he’s not concerned about it. His attitude is if she can get a ride everywhere else, she can get a ride here. I go there, but only when it’s convenient for me. Am I wrong to feel that way, especially since I have a mother that lives several miles away and a heart condition, and she still manages to come and see her grandson?”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“My answer won’t be a popular one. I say go to her house drive that hour. smile and enjoy time with her and don’t complain about the drive. but be grateful she is still around to visit. Be grateful for The car that takes you. life changes in the blink of an eye. Maybe next year she won’t even be here to visit. Count your blessings. Teach your children well to honor their grandparents.”
“I mean it is her birthday, it should be all about your mother-in-law. She sounds like a family person which is nice to have, be grateful! When it comes to the driving part, I understand the frustration but imagine someone telling you to get over your fear and judging you for having one. A fear of driving is so understandable, you have to accept and try not to be heartless with comparing mothers. Everyone is different.”
“If she can get a ride everywhere else, she can get a ride to your house. I don’t make anyone a priority if my child isn’t one of their priorities. If they don’t put in the effort to come and see my son, I don’t put in the effort to go see them.”
“I’d be happy she loves you and your child so much. When she does get a ride how far does she go? Because it seems she really has a fear. Maybe if you can’t always make it that is ok but at least try when you can.”
“I can see how this would be frustrating for you, but she obviously has considerable fears and anxiety about driving from the accident she was in. Maybe plan to visit her once a month at her house and think about getting her an Uber gift card for her birthday or the holidays so she can come to see you at your place without having to worry about finding a ride.”
“I take my daughter 4 hours away to see my grandma every single month and would do it way more if I could. One day all he will have is memories, and it won’t be of driving to see grandma but the time he spent there surrounded by love. Those memories are worth it.”
“I agree with everyone else. Also, I just want to point this out, you mentioned she can get rides to do other things, be mindful that while that’s true, her friends near her that may give her rides to the store or to do errands may not be comfortable taking her that far away and visiting you all or having to find something to do while she visits and then taking her back. Please just visit your mother-in-law, you don’t have to inconvenience yourself every week or at her whim but at least try as regularly as possible. If you’re that concerned about “wasting your gas” maybe she would be happy to help with some gas money sometime.”
“We go see my in laws all the time. They rarely come to my house. No big deal to me. There’s just something about going to grandma’s and grandpa’s for the kids. Grandparents aren’t getting any young. Be thankful she is still around”
“Relationships are a two-way street, it’s great that MIL wants to see grandchild and wants to be in their lives and I get that, be thankful, but also woman gets rides somewhere else that she needs to go, so even if she makes an effort to come once a quarter or couple times a year would be something. As far as driving to see her, sure, like every other weekend or such, but not an hour each way on a school night, that’s a lot for little kids. Holidays again, I am sure your family wants you around for it as well, so rotate to every other year or every other holiday with his family and your family.”
“I married into a family that holidays and such were at the oldest woman’s house. First, it was Grandma. Then as it became too much for her, it was my MIL. Then after her death, it was me. I long for those days when they did the cooking, but I do enjoy it. Whatever happened to just being nice. When you’re preparing a meal have hubby go and pick up mom and have mom alone time. To be happy you need to take the cards you’re dealt with and make it work. Accept this situation and find an acceptable solution you can deal with. You’re not always going to have it 100% your way. I think of all the things my mil did that drove me crazy and now that she is gone, I can look back and think many times I was pretty petty.”
“Just remember, you have a son, so you too will be the mother-in-law someday.”
“I’m gonna be the oddball out here but I feel for you! It sucks to CONSTANTLY be the one going to other people’s houses. Especially with a kid. I hate hearing “I haven’t seen you in a while”. Well, buddy, roads work both ways. I don’t really have advice but just here to say, your feelings are valid.”
“Life is but a vapor. Embrace and cherish the allotted time, regardless of the ‘inconvenience’ of traffic. It all seems so trivial and small later.”
“I am 68, soon to be 69. Just a different perspective. I don’t drive out of town very often. Between night blindness, and certain phobias that have popped up over the years. If I do get a chance to go out of town, and someone is willing to take me, I will am beyond thrilled. Your mil loves you and her grands, and yes..it is about her at this point. It’s her birthday, and the way she was raised. Be thankful, and tolerant, you will be glad you were at some point.”
“Yes, I understand what you’re feeling. It’s tough when people expect you to always be the one going out of your way to visit or stay in touch. It’s a tough situation. But I understand your feelings of frustration.”
“Maybe explain to your mother-in-law that all the driving is a lot and maybe set to just see her on the weekends or if it has to be in the middle of the week, make it every other week. My mil lives an hour away from us and she cannot drive her car to us because it has mechanical issues. She knows I will come in on Fridays and Sundays and maybe during the week if we have appointments. But she understands I have 8 kids and can’t drop everything just to drive to her. I make it a point to see her often though because she had a heart attack two years ago and hasn’t been doing well since. I also lost my own mother right before mil’s heart attack.”
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