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Wife hates my Mom and its making me very sad


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I’m a man, married for 8 years. 2 kids. We live short flight from my parents and a long flight from my wife’s. My wife increasingly hates my mom and I don’t know what to do about it. We see my wife’s parents 2x a year for a week or two. We see mine 4x a year for 4-5 days. Every visit with my parents is a stress as my wife withdraws to her room, takes offence at everything my mom says and afterwards tells me how awful my mom is. My mom for her part is quite a domineering character and I do get why my wife finds it hard at times but I also feel my wife looks to take offence where none was intended and blows small things up into big ones. I try to tell my mom not to give advice etc but she just won’t listen to me and keeps on directly messaging my wife saying she is just being friendly. She even sends messages saying that I have told her not to! It’s led me to have many arguments with my mom and dad because my mom refuses to stop trying to communicate directly with my wife and my dad thinks I should just leave them both to sort it out. It’s now got that any time I suggest that I’d like to see my parents it’s just a massive row and we both basically want a divorce. It makes me so sad as (despite her being quite a difficult person) I love my mom and want my kids to see her and my dad while they are still with us. I never have any problem with my wife’s parents. I travel to see them whenever we can and it’s basically our only annual vacation. But that’s fine because it’s also important to me that our kids see them. My wife complains that I don’t take her side. But I do constantly tell my mom to leave her alone and stop giving her advice. I just also feel that my wife could try to tune it out a bit more and stop taking offence so easily. I say that she gets super angry at me. Overall I just feel they both don’t care about the impact this is having on me and that makes me very sad as they are both supposed to love me. Any advice? 

Edited by Robbie2030
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12 minutes ago, Robbie2030 said:

I do constantly tell my mom to leave her alone and stop giving her advice.

This is a good start. Stick up for your wife. Remember they don't have to like each other just respect the family for the kids sake. 

 Stay in a hotel. That will ease things up.

Unfortunately this has been going on a long time.

 

Edited by Wiseman2
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Of course your mother isn't going to listen to you. If she was that sensitive or considerate it would never have gotten this out of control and inappropriate. That's just not the type of person she is. 

Your wife sounds annoyed with you, more than your mother. She knows she likely can't change your mother but the issues are really within your marriage and the way your wife may feel you aren't the husband she signed up for. You mention she's furious. All that rage is from where? It can't be just your mother.

I'd suggest marriage counselling to look at any other issues plaguing the marriage. I think this is just on the surface. There are probably plenty of gripes and resentments you both have with each other.

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35 minutes ago, Robbie2030 said:

We see mine 4x a year for 4-5 days.

This is way too much. Especially if you are stuck in your parents house. After 3 days people get on each others nerves.

Stay in a hotel and make it a more enjoyable vacation then see your folks without her and your wife can sightsee whatever with the kid.

Or you take the kids and she can relax in the spa, pool whatever at the hotel.

But forcing an overbearing mother on her for 5 days straight is not tolerable. You need to understand that and be much more flexible.

At least make some effort to make it a win-win situation rather forcing people on each other for that long.

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Reading your previous post as well....you essentially married an even more controlling version of your mother, plus insecure to boot. Raging about everything, trying to control everything, even flipping out about presents that your parents have bought for the kids is not sane.

Your father's advice to you is actually sound in this situation - roll over and play dead and let these two women sort each other out by themselves. For as long as you try to step in the middle and play mediator, all that happens is you end up being the punching bag for your wife. 

Kind of makes me wonder how is your marriage at large.....

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Yeah, basically one week every quarter with a mother-in-law like this, and I would not be a happy woman either. It's unclear of who is visiting who. If it's a family of four flying that many times a year, is that really affordable? I hope you're able to save for retirement and have an emergency fund and aren't foregoing that to pay for these trips. 

If your parents stay at your house, I'd stop that practice and let them know it's better for the family as far as getting along, however you want to word it, if they stay at a hotel. And then treat them to a nice meal at your house, and get takeout and bring it over to their place. Ask your wife to be involved in whatever activity she wants to and to be excused from the rest. You should also stay at an Air B&B or a hotel when visiting them. Because when you erect boundaries, you need an escape. If you've told someone to avoid a topic or not to engage in a particular behavior and they ignore that request, you can ask them to leave or if you're at their place, you excuse yourself.

That's how you teach a person to treat you how you should be treated. If they want your company, they will have to abide by those reasonable rules.

And make sure you don't blame your wife for the change. You two are a team and you need to speak in those terms and use the strength of two, here. And you could leave her out of it altogether and make it clear it's your decision so she isn't seen as the enemy.

If everyone was willing to have one or two family meetings (without the children) with a therapist, it could be helpful to hear a professional's advice and take on things. Maybe your mother would finally listen to a professional, and it would make her see the seriousness of the matter.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Edited by Andrina
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Thanks for everyone’s advice. To clarify we don’t stay with my parents 4x a year. It’s a mix of going to a hotel/rental house together or them coming to us and staying in a nearby hotel and us going to stay with them maybe 1x or 2x a year. 

I have offered to take the kids without my wife. But my wife always refuses on the grounds that the kids should not go on a trip without her (even though she does not enjoy seeing my parents).

Also, I am wondering how come you can all see my (very similar) post from 2017 but I cant access it thru my profile. The only post I see on my profile is my one from today. Thanks!

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I don't blame your wife for not wanting the family to go on a trip without her.  Especially being away from the children.  That'll be the day I'm not with my kids for several nights because my MiL is hard to deal with. 

Do you talk to your mom about this or do you tell her what to do and say? An overbearing person is not going to be told what to do. 

Your dad does have a point.  You're both married to overbearing women. but he has more experience.

I like the idea of family counseling. I also think it might be worth it to talk to your mom and your wife (separately) and explain how you feel.  Just how you feel. Not what they need to do to fix it. Can they understand where you are in all this? 

Then offer to listen to them with no interruptions.... 

Then can you find some compromises? 

If they can only think of themselves, then you have to make a choice. You love them both but really.... who needs it. 

My sister & her family live in another region of the country. They never come visit.  And we're not really all that welcome by her hubs or at least that's how we feel at their place. He's not easy to get along with.... It's terrible.  

Of course I always blame my sister for her crap husband but our parents are saints (lol) and just accept it.  basically saying this is her choice.

But my parents are right.  what else can anyone do? 

If a person refuses to be cordial for the sake of others then everyone suffers anyway. 

Time to take a look at your life... what is working?  how's your marriage otherwise? your relationship with your parents?

save your marriage or be with your parents. Maybe if you make a choice it will force the solution. If your marriage is over anyway, alienating your parents isn't smart. 

If you are really on your wife's side maybe a few boundaries with your mom are the way to go. 

You did marry this woman.  you had to know this is how is she is.  You can't really blame her now. 

The funny part is, as the saying goes, most men marry their mother.

 

 

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They probably don't get along because they're too much alike.  There can't be two queen bees in a household or in a family, it just doesn't work.  And I bet neither of them has ever backed down on anything.

Interesting that you married a woman who's just like your mother.  I wonder if you realized it at the time?

I would suggest no more staying at your parents' home or having them stay with you.  And limit the visits to an equal amount of your wife's parents and yours.  Stay at hotels for both sides of the family to be fair and equitable.

And I agree with talking to your wife.  Ask her what she thinks a fair compromise would be.

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7 hours ago, indea08 said:

Is there any reason why you can’t take your kids and go see your parents without your wife?? Not ideal by any means, but why force them to interact when your wife clearly does not want to?

Totally agree with this.  My MIL was a b1tch who gave me a hard time every time I saw her and so I stopped going to her house.  That solved the problem.

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6 hours ago, Robbie2030 said:

That’s what I suggested last time. But my wife was furious that I would suggest going on a holiday without her.

She cant have it both ways!  She would get a short holiday herself if you took the kids to see your parents.  Maybe she could visit her parents when you visit yours.

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I agree with your father--stop trying to mediate. It makes wife furious with you, and it rewards your mother for bad behavior by giving her your attention for it. Even negative attention is attention, and parents can be as manipulative as children--only they're better at it.

Figure out ways to bribe wife for cooperating, and one of those bribes can be an agreement to fewer visits or for shorter periods of time--or both.

When wife vents, listen and don't try to correct her. You'll get far less resistance if wife feels understood and backed up by you instead of being told she's over-reacting. Tell her how proud you are of her for raising your children to have a good relationship with ALL of their grandparents, and learn from wife what she wants to make this easier on her.

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10 hours ago, Robbie2030 said:

 It’s a mix of going to a hotel/rental house together or them coming to us and staying in a nearby hotel and us going to stay with them maybe 1x or 2x a year. 

Why can't you your wife and kids take your own vacations without your parents?

This is too much. Your family is your wife and kids, not your parents.

No. It's not fair to just take your kids. What's fair is standing up to your mother and being a family with your wife and kids.

There's no reason you need to be in lockstep with your mother this much.

You're foolish to think you are going to change your mother or your wife.

Stop forcing them on each other. You're the problem. Especially since your mother is chronically pestering and critiquing your wife.

You'll have to decide if you are married to your mother or your wife because it can't be both.

Have you two or you and just your wife and kids ever had a vacation without your mother around?

 

Edited by Wiseman2
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2 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Stop forcing them on each other. You're the problem. Especially since your mother is chronically pestering and critiquing your wife.

Isn’t that a bit harsh? Is it wrong for me to want my parents to see my kids? And of course we have had family holidays w/o any grandparents but it’s not easy as we see my wife’s parents 3 weeks a year and try to see mine 4 weekends as I mentioned. I get that my mom is difficult but I am not prepared to say to her and my dad that they won’t see their grandkids even 4x a year. After they spent 18 years of their lives raising me and a lot of that looking after their elderly parents too, I would feel that is very disrespectful.

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1 hour ago, Robbie2030 said:

Isn’t that a bit harsh? Is it wrong for me to want my parents to see my kids? And of course we have had family holidays w/o any grandparents but it’s not easy as we see my wife’s parents 3 weeks a year and try to see mine 4 weekends as I mentioned. I get that my mom is difficult but I am not prepared to say to her and my dad that they won’t see their grandkids even 4x a year. After they spent 18 years of their lives raising me and a lot of that looking after their elderly parents too, I would feel that is very disrespectful.

YOU have every right to go see your parents, and bring your children to see their grandparents. Your wife also has the right to not want to be around your mother. But, if your wife isn’t going to work with you to reach a solution, then honestly, she gives up the right to keep complaining about it. She can’t say “I don’t want to go, but I’m not going to NOT go, and I’m going to make you miserable because you want to go.” If my understanding is correct, your wife is the problem here and she doesn’t get to hold you and the kids hostage. You really need to have a discussion with her and don’t walk away without a compromise.

Edited by indea08
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8 minutes ago, indea08 said:

YOU have every right to go see your parents, and bring your children to see their grandparents. Your wife also has the right to not want to be around your mother. But, if your wife isn’t going to work with you to reach a solution, then honestly, she gives up the right to keep complaining about it. She can’t say “I don’t want to go, but I’m not going to NOT go, and I’m going to make you miserable because you want to go.” If my understanding is correct, your wife is the problem here and she doesn’t get to hold you and the kids hostage. You really need to have a discussion with her and don’t walk away without a compromise.

Some pretty strongly differing opinions here. I would have thought a compromise where I see them with the kids 50% and my wife joins us 50% would be Ok. But any discussion of it just leads to an argument. A big problem is that my wife is resentful that we live nearer my parents then hers though we do not honestly live very near either set. I would be OK to move to be closer to hers but I am resentful that that would mean she has the chance to see them all the time while during the time we have been ‘close’ to mine I have only seen them 4x a year and every time is a battle. Also hers live overseas and I would be concerned that if we ever got divorced she would not allow me to take the kids to see my parents ever. 

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Are you seeing where resentment leads? You guys are NOT a team. For each you your parents mean more than your partner does. That isn’t a marriage. My husband and I both recently lost our fathers. Guess what? What do we have now ? Each other. Our mothers won’t last long either and then we have each other. 
 

What are you both going to do or fight about or be resentful about when you have no parents? That day is coming and sooner than you think. We all think our parents will last forever but they don’t . 

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33 minutes ago, Robbie2030 said:

 hers live overseas and I would be concerned that if we ever got divorced she would not allow me to take the kids to see my parents ever. 

Grandparents have zero custody rights. And since you are too close to your parents, shoving them down your wife's throat, taking their side against her, etc., divorce seems like an eventuality you'll have to consider

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You two seem to spend a lot of time resenting each other and keeping score on who gets what. You're even speculating about what would happen in the event of a divorce. How successful a marriage can you have with all this resentment and score keeping?

Do you feel the two of you are headed for divorce?

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You should go get some relationship counselling. Why in the hell is either of you mentioning divorce?!? Holy crap, if my SO said anything like that to me I'd be on edge wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. It's not something you ever say casually! It's only to be said when you actually are thinking of divorce. Not sure if either of you are actually considering divorce or if it's being thrown around as a bomb in fights, but either way, that's a death knell and you better pay attention and do something quick if you do want to stay together. 

This fighting over seeing the parents is a symptom. It's something you should have been able to resolve by now on your own, it's not rocket science here. Something else is wrong. Something big. 

Just my opinion. 

Edited by itsallgrand
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My see my one set of in-laws once a year, if that for two days, and they only live a few hours away, and I love them.  And my FIL, haven't seen in a few years cuz he's 3000 miles away, and a nurse working with COVID patients, and he and his wife are awesome.  And you guys vacay with your folks for 4 to 5 times a year for 5 days??? WOW. And 2x a year for your only annual trip to her folks? That is way over the top.   And to boot:

21 hours ago, Robbie2030 said:

She even sends messages saying that I have told her not to! It’s led me to have many arguments with my mom and dad because my mom refuses to stop trying to communicate directly with my wife

Try taking your wife and kids on a real trip, a real vacay, where your mom isn't someone stirring the pot obsessively.  You do realize, you married your wife, your wife is your wife, and your mom is not your wife.  Stop with the massive travels to just grandparents.  I get you like seeing your folks, but is it more important than your marriage, cuz I am exhausted just reading about how much you vacay together.

Not sure how old your kids are, but for the littles, Puerto Rico and Hawaii are super nice.  For older kids, Costa Rica.

If you want a different result, try something different.  Plan trips that have NOTHING TO DO WITH EITHER PARENTS or YOUR IN-LAWS.  Break up the cycle.

Edited by tattoobunnie
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2 hours ago, Robbie2030 said:

Some pretty strongly differing opinions here. I would have thought a compromise where I see them with the kids 50% and my wife joins us 50% would be Ok. But any discussion of it just leads to an argument. A big problem is that my wife is resentful that we live nearer my parents then hers though we do not honestly live very near either set. I would be OK to move to be closer to hers but I am resentful that that would mean she has the chance to see them all the time while during the time we have been ‘close’ to mine I have only seen them 4x a year and every time is a battle. Also hers live overseas and I would be concerned that if we ever got divorced she would not allow me to take the kids to see my parents ever. 

How strongly does it factor in -for each of you -the best interests of the kids in having a relationship with grandparents? I didn't always get along with my FIL but he was awesome with our son -and that was by far the most important thing to me.

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11 minutes ago, tattoobunnie said:

My see my one set of in-laws once a year, if that for two days, and they only live a few hours away, and I love them.  And my FIL, haven't seen in a few years cuz he's 3000 miles away, and a nurse working with COVID patients, and he and his wife are awesome.  And you guys vacay with your folks for 4 to 5 times a year for 5 days??? WOW. And 2x a year for your only annual trip to her folks? That is way over the top.   And to boot:

Try taking your wife and kids on a real trip, a real vacay, where your mom isn't someone stirring the pot obsessively.  You do realize, you married your wife, your wife is your wife, and your mom is not your wife.  Stop with the massive travels to just grandparents.  I get you like seeing your folks, but is it more important than your marriage, cuz I am exhausted just reading about how much you vacay together.

Not sure how old your kids are, but for the littles, Puerto Rico and Hawaii are super nice.  For older kids, Costa Rica.

If you want a different result, try something different.  Plan trips that have NOTHING TO DO WITH EITHER PARENTS or YOUR IN-LAWS.  Break up the cycle.

I was going to say that try for a year not to see anybody’s parents neither ones. 

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