My mil has gone out of her way not to behave like that, but I can tell it is difficult for her. Before I met her son she did all of his laundry (he owns his own condo and lives in a different town from her), bought all of the necessities (socks, underwear, undeshirts), they would go out to eat (her treat) at least once a week and then she would bring bags of soda, cookies, left-overs (she would purposley cook too much so she could bring left overs to him), and other goodies.
Eventually all of this started driving me crazy, and when we moved in together I stopped her from doing his laundry — because he has a perfectly good washer and dryer in his condo!!
Long story short, I’ve found that by letting her take us out to dinner a few times a month, or going to her house for dinner and accepting the left overs, letting her do our dry-cleaning, and being gracious when she brings us bags of laundry detergent (I’ve never had to buy any!), soda, and cookies — she still feels that she is part of her sons life. I still think it is weird, but it is a comprimise I can make to keep relations between her and me good.
Now that we are married and buying a house things have changed a bit. We still let her do all of the above, just not as often. We also have learned not to talk about how I cook dinner almost every night, because it obviously bothers her. The biggest issue we’ve dealt with is where we want to buy our house.
His parents (I know I keep saying mil, but his dad is just as bad) want us to live in the OC, close to them because she wants to baby-sit our (future) kids! They even offered to let us borrow $30K so we could afford a house in the OC. My parents live in Temecula, and they don’t have that kind of money to offer us to be close to them.
So, we turned down their money and now I am the one making her son move far away — to Corona, a whole 20 minutes further than we live now and a little closer to my parents!
So how to deal with it — it is all up to your fh or husband!!!! We found that by having my husband take credit for wanting to move to Corona, and having him talk about how great it is and how much he loves it there, and how much he really wants to show her the house, and even having her meet him at his work so she could drive to the house with him and see how the commute isn’t so bad, then she backed off. She wants her son to be happy, so she really can’t complain now.
Wow, I had no idea I was going to write such a long answer! Whew! Your husband is the one that needs to make things right with his mom – and you need to find some sort of way to make her still feel involved in his life. Even it it is as simple as letting her buy laundry detergent, or making him cookies. Seriously!