Wife / Mother - What to try next
My wife and mother used to get on very well until about 3 years ago.
After the birth of the twins (children 2 and 3) my mum and sister were very involved. My mum would be over 6 or 7 days a week and my sister would sometimes share a room with my wife in the week to bring the twins over to her when they needed feeding / burp them / change them.
Over time my wife became frustrated at mainly my mum's continued presence. Sadly the first I knew of this was when she lost her temper with them. She tried to apologise but my mum had a hard time getting over it and that would annoy my wife who would then lose her temper again and so things continued to deteriorate.
I suggested my mum see the children on a couple of fixed slots a week (thinking my wife could use the time to recover / catch up with friends / maybe eventually even improve the relationship. I thought this would stop my mum dropping in and stop my wife stressing about the next visit.
I think it sort of worked ok for my mum. She complained a bit about not seeing the children as much / wife not caring how she felt etc but she started to get used to it and things seemed to be moving along ok.
Then my wife told me she didn't like the fixed slots. Last time the problems started my mum had said that it would have been ok if my wife had talked to her rather than lost her temper, so, my wife suggested they meet for a drink whilst I looked after the (now 4) children.
Next morning on the way into work I had the panicked phone calls from mum (being cut out, etc). I tried to explain / reassure her. The drink came and went and wife seemed to think it had gone ok.
But a couple of days later I came home from work to find them going at it. I said to mum that we had tried it one way for 2 years and now we needed to try a different way. To be honest there was a lot of resistance / heel dragging. That subsequently became tears and a sort of dismal, depressed acceptance.
In an effort to improve things we tried counselling but that only seemed to make things worse so we gave up after 4 sessions.
I can get on board with about 80% of what my wife says. At the beginning it was more but there seems to be a bit of a punishment agenda coming in too now (eg not inviting her to youngest's first birthday, talk of "putting her in her place", she should only be able to see children if it's doing wife a favour / never on her own, not allowed to put dates in diary - has to just wait till wife suggests it).
It seemed like a bit of a break was a good idea so we agreed that the way my mum would see children is if I took them to hers or neutral venue. Obviously this can only be on weekends (as I'm generally working quite long hours during week) and then, only when we don't have other things planned.
Problem is when I try to find out what we're doing a week in advance I get short shrift and told I should just wait and see if a moment that suits her crops up nearer the time.
I think it's made worse by the fact that mum is especially close to the eldest (age 6) who adores her and that is the child my wife finds it hardest to relate to.
I know I'm supposed to support my wife in these situations but it feels that she's making it harder for me than she needs to now.
We've been married 12 years now and, while we've had our ups and downs it's generally been a happy marriage. I don't want this to impact on the children either but increasingly my wife will make comments in front of them / to them.
As I write this I'm in the car, having gone for a drive to get away from the tension (we're at her parents' house for the long weekend). I had to get out last time we were here too (Easter) so it feels like things are getting harder not easier.
Does anyone have any silver bullets?