Should You Pay For Your In-Law's Expensive Plans? Mumsnet Weighs In

Of course, fellow parents have thoughts.
Daniel Lozano Gonzalez via Getty Images

A parent has taken to Mumsnet to ask whether it’s normal her mother-in-law suggests nice days out for the family to go on, but never pays for anything (not even a drink) – and plenty of people can’t believe what they’re hearing.

The user, known as BadgerSetGo, wrote on the ‘Am I Being Unreasonable?’ forum that their mother-in-law, who lives on her own, claims to “not have a lot”.

That said, she has paid off her mortgage, works part-time and lives “a very nice lifestyle” visiting restaurants, getting her nails done, and going to the gym.

“She wants to meet us for various days out which she suggests – fancy things like kids theatre days or theme parks, but thinks it’s categorically wrong for her to pay anything towards this,” wrote the parent.

They clarified this means paying her own way – not paying for the parents and their children.

“She won’t even pay for a drink when out with us, she acts like another child who doesn’t have access to any money,” the outraged parent continued.

Providing a bit more context, the parent said their mother-in-law believes her son should provide for her and added that she’d previously said all her friends have “lovely sons who book all kinds of activities for them to do with their grandchildren and she always makes sure to tell us that the grandparents are never expected to pay a penny”.

But they were a bit confused by this, especially as their own parents would do the opposite and would like to treat the couple, and their kids, all the time.

The parent asked how is best to navigate all these treat days that their mother-in-law suggested, “without burning bridges and being rude or coming across as mean”. They then asked if it’s normal to pay for a grandparent every time for things like this.

Of course, people had thoughts. One commenter wrote: “In this scenario there is no ‘we’. This is definitely something your husband speaks with his mother about. No drama or nastiness. Perhaps he takes her out for lunch and talks to her then, kindly.”

Another added: “Wow. This isn’t normal in my experience. Both sets of grandparents used to offer to pay for outings so we used to alternate – we pay for one and they for the next. I bet her friends don’t all go for free.”

One parent suggested that in their experience, it’s usually the grandparents who pay. They recommended that the next time the mother-in-law suggested a day out, they should say it “sounds lovely, but things are a bit tight for us at the moment so we can’t afford it”.

Some parents didn’t find it unreasonable that she didn’t pay for the day out, but did find it odd she wouldn’t pay for drinks.

“I think I would always pay for the grandparent to go as it’s not necessarily a place they would choose but in return I would think they would maybe buy drinks for everyone or lunch,” said one commenter. “Or offer to bring along a picnic lunch – but contribute in some way.”