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And preventing my MiL from bonding with her DGS?

(119 Posts)

MiL used to be a bit of a PITA but has been fine since DS was born. Her own mother has been really critical so I can only presume that she remembers how terrible it was when DP and his DB were younger and is keeping her opinions to herself.

Backstory: DP's DB has a DS (2.5y), he was a surprise baby and BiL, SiL and DN split their time between MiL and SiL's DM's house until they got one of their own. This meant that MiL was around DN for long periods of time from birth and spends 3-4 days per week with MiL even now.

Our DS is 6 months, MiL has had him to stay overnight once (under duress, I didn't want to leave him with anyone at that point) and for an hour while I went to the gym once. For balance my DM has had him 4 times (2 x o/n, 2 x gym session). MiL visits once a week for a couple of hours and we chat while she plays with DS. DP sees her every 1-2 weeks as she comes when he's at work. I trust her completely to look after DS.

Yesterday DP got a tearful phonecall from his DM at work. She hasn't been this week and hasn't called to say why. She feels that she hasn't bonded with DS as she doesn't get to be alone with him and so wants to start taking him one set full day a week. DP immediately told her this was a no go, I'm on maternity leave still and he knew I'd never agree to that. So she wants to start taking him for long walks while I do the cleaning or shopping or so I can go to the gym.

The second idea is sensible at least and it sounds like a good plan. I'm just about getting to the stage where I am ready to leave him for an hour or two and the jobs are piling up. So I wont cut my nose off to spite my face. But I do object to her going over my head rather than discussing it with me when she saw me. She has a history of crying to get her own way and this obviously works better on DP than on me.

AIBU to want her to have discussed this like a grown up rather than throwing a paddy and pulling rank? Also do others think it's necessary for a baby to spend 1-on-1 time with DGPs at such a young age in order to "bond"? I was a bit hmm at the suggestion that it will affect their future relationship if she doesn't get her own way.

Ragwort Sat 13-Jul-13 11:23:36

I think she is probably a bit over awed by you and felt it easier to speak to her son, why don't you just call her and say 'thanks very much for offering to have DS whilst I go to the gym/whatever, it's a very kind offer'.

You do sound a little bit PFB about this, many new mums would really appreciate some help - but like most issues on Mumsnet - you just can't win grin.

I don't think it is 'essential' for a child to spend one-to-one time with a grandparent but my (single) mum had no option but to leave with my GPs when she worked and I had the most wonderful relationship with them. My own DS only has GPs on my side now and I make very sure that he spends as much time as posisble with them, he is 12 now and has a lovely relationship with them. smile.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 13-Jul-13 11:24:20

Oh this really boils my blood.

It's YOUR baby, she has had her babies. One full set day a week? Fine if that's what YOU want but demanding that you hand your ds over like he's some sort of Time Share Baby!?

I'd tell her I didn't appreciate her going to DP either. My MIL used to do it. Put it this way it never worked for her.

mynameisslimshady Sat 13-Jul-13 11:25:14

I don't see why she needs to be alone with your child to bond. As for tearful calls go your dh's work shock that would really annoy me.

Imo she needs to bond with your child before overnight stays and whole day visits, not have the visits and stays in order to bond.

Just keep doing whatever feels best for you, it sounds like your dh is backing you up so thats really good. She may have a skewed perception of how much is 'normal' because she sees so much of her other grandchild.

Needtostopbuyingcrap Sat 13-Jul-13 11:26:07

Sorry but she sounds like a sneaky mare. She should of asked you first, after all you are the childs main carer.

I was walked all over by my DM and MIL when i had my first baby. They took over completely and it totally ruined that first year. I would wake up and my baby was gone, my mil would of put him in the pram and left with not so much as a note.

Nip this in the bud before it gets worse.

DawnOfTheDee Sat 13-Jul-13 11:26:47

Past history notwithstanding, i can see why she wouldn't want to discuss this with you directly. Up till now you haven't wanted her to have any alone time with her gc. It's not the way I am but you're entitled to feel like that which is fine.

However for your mil it's a big difference to how things have been with her other gc so I can see why she feels shut out. Maybe she feels you don't trust her and that's why she's upset?

Personally I think it's lovely she wants that sort of relationship and 1 on 1 time with her gc. I think it does help them bond. My DD is much closer and more comfortable with my inlaws than my parents - it's purely due to the amount of time they spend with her (my parents can't due to distance from us and medical reasons).

Squooodle Sat 13-Jul-13 11:26:49

My MIL asked to have dds overnight, as she did some of her other dgc. I said no, she completely respected that I wasn't that kind of mum. She used to worry that she wouldn't bond because of this and the fact that we live in another city... But now my dds are older she's got a good relationship with them. So just be the mum you are, ask mil to babysit if it is useful to you and let her talk to your dh ( who is her son after all) if she needs to. It will all work out fine, I'm sure

NewAtThisMalarky Sat 13-Jul-13 11:27:21

I think YAB a bit U. She is his mum, and he is the baby's dad. Surely he has a say too? Its not as if he has agreed anything without your input. And it does sound like a really positive way forward.

But I can see where you are coming from.

angeltattoo Sat 13-Jul-13 11:30:37

You ANBU. You sound really reasonable and as you are not saying a blanet 'no', cutting off nose etc.

I just don't understand why a GP thinks they need to be alone with a GC to bond. What's wrong with the parents of the DC being there?

With regards to her doing to your DP, that's a good thing. He should deal with his mother. I'm glad he told her no. Lots of threads on here where men don't put their partner's wishes first. and hopefully he'll see the tears and trantrums for the pathetic show they are. He should inform her that the situation with his DB an DN was unusual, and the set up you have is much more the norm.

Your maternity leave will be short enough, and it is ^ your^ time to bond with your baby. Maybe she can help out when you return to work? Her lifelong relationship with her DGS does not depend on her separating you from your baby. They can bond while you all spend a normal, reasonable amount of time together. No need to agree to anything you're not happy with.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Sat 13-Jul-13 11:32:09

I think she's a cheeky cow to be honest. She went to your dp because she can't wheedle and cry at you. I also don't see why she has to be alone with him to bond. My dd is so close to her grandparents and they don't watch her alone because I have nowhere to be right now and its nice being all together.

mrspaddy Sat 13-Jul-13 11:33:10

I don't like people who cry to get their own way and can't be straight up about things. Surely she could have talked with you woman to woman. sorry if that sounds cheesy. I think you will be glad to get a few hours to yourself but I would be careful about it being too organised/expected. You are the mum.. she needs to know that.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 13-Jul-13 11:34:43

Bonding isn't something that has a time limit. He is a tiny baby and needs to be with his parents, not passed around like pass the parcel. Fair enough to your SIL and BIL if they needed/wanted the extra help, but you don't. Of course she can bond by seeing him with you/DP there. She can have him alone when he's older.

I would thank her graciously for the babysitting offers and then inform her, firmly, that you'll let her know when you need a babysitter.

Thanks for the replies. So it seems about half and half for PFB mum/overzealous MiL. That's probably about right grin

As I said I am happy for her to have him. I think that the new suggestion of taking him for a long walk while I tidy up or me dropping him with her while I go to the gym is a great one. It just feels a bit much that rather than either suggest it to me or even suggest it to DP, she rang in tears making demands. I shall be taking her up on the offer as it's mutually beneficial and DS can only gain from having a GM that loves him.

SolomanDaisy Sat 13-Jul-13 11:37:18

Total nonsense. At that age my parents hadn't spent any significant time alone with my DS. His first word was grandad.

Embracethemuffintop Sat 13-Jul-13 11:38:47

I am not a first time mum (I have four kids 3-13) and I wouldn't want to be away from my babies or littlies at all. He is your baby and you should only leave him when you and he are comfortable with it, and with someone who is very attached to him. And for a baby to be away from mum for a day is just mad IMO. What about breastfeeding? Your MIL can completely bond and not be alone with him. My friends are very attached to my younger children but I am always there. Don't let her bully you or your baby. Do what is right for HIM.

badguider Sat 13-Jul-13 11:46:07

My MIL feels the same about time with my (not even born yet) DS. She looked after my neice and nephew one day a week (her daughter's children) and wants the same with my DS.

I don't really understand it myself but I have made arrangements so that I don't depend on her childcare and it's just an optional. I'll start at a couple of hours and build up from there as we all get comfortable with it. Nobody is going to force me to leave him with her 9-6 like DSIL did but i don't see the harm in leaving him with her for a while if it means so much to her and if he seems happy.

weisswusrt Sat 13-Jul-13 11:53:27

I think this being alone malarkey is so that the babies can't look for mummy if they get upset, they have to turn to granny and this feeling needed convinces them that they are bonding.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 13-Jul-13 11:54:46

I don't think she's going over your head by talking to the parent that's she's closest to, her own son.

You need to put this into perspective.

We as parents can't have the benefits of a caring grandparent who would literally risk their own lives for their grandchildren because they love them so much, without having the other side of that love as well.

This woman just wants to spend time with her precious grandchild so that he grows up to be close to her, and she is probably worried that if she doesn't spend time with him when he's small, she won't have as good a relationship with him.

Like you say, your ds can only benefit from having a GM that loves him, and you can benefit from knowing that there is someone there who lives your child almost as much as you do as well.

You might not like the way she has gone about this, but she's only human.

ByHecuba Sat 13-Jul-13 11:55:47

Well done to your DP for saying no.
She does not need to 'bond' with him at this young age. Little babies just do best with their primary carer. It's not PFB to say that; it's just stating biological fact. Loving relationships with GPs grow naturally over time; they don't need to be forced.

The tearful call is really not on IMO. She hasn't visited this week because she is upset that she doesn't see enough of your DS? I really don't think it is unfair to see this as manipulative.

This is a good suggestion >
'why don't you just call her and say 'thanks very much for offering to have DS whilst I go to the gym/whatever, it's a very kind offer'.'
and don't mention the previous phonecall and tears. This keeps it adult and firmly on your terms.

If the full day suggestion is raised again, you can just say 'Oh, that's kind, but we're not comfortable with that.' And repeat.

If she doesn't show up again, you will know she's more bothered about having her own way than what is actually best for your DS.

Jcee Sat 13-Jul-13 11:56:45

I think the afternoon whilst you go to gym/get jobs done is a great idea so you get some time and she gets her bonding time. I used to do this with my MIL and really appreciated it and we both used to look forward to the afternoon each week.

I think you need to discuss this with your DP to agree an approach with so that when the queries like this come up, especially if they are accompanied by tears etc he feels ok to thank her for the offer and say you'll let her know when you need a babysitter/sleepover.

My DP can be a wuss where his mother is concerned and initially would say oh I'll ask Jcee and come back to you and so it would look like it was me saying no even when he didn't want DD to have a sleepover either!

We've continued with firm but consistent message although MIL still tries it on - last week she had DD for a sleepover whilst we attended a wedding and a few days later whilst we were visiting she waited till I went to the toilet to suggest to DP that he has DD for a sleepover every friday night because she's always free then and has nothing to do!

CloudsAndTrees Sat 13-Jul-13 11:59:36

Only on MN could a grandparent offering to regularly babysit be referred to as 'trying it on'. hmm

It's very sad.

Cravingdairy Sat 13-Jul-13 12:07:18

She might have been genuinely upset even if it was for a daft reason. I get upset all the time, it doesn't make me a manipulative cow.

My MIL usually contacts my husband about visiting and taking our girl out, it's fine with me as we decide things like that jointly.

Don't get into a drama, just stand your ground politely. Once your maternity leave is finished you will be very glad of willing babysitters so I would certainly start letting MIL take the baby out for walks etc now so you both can get used to it. I feel my family find it easier to look after our toddler now because they have always spent time with her so have seen her personality develop and grow. It's lovely to see other people fall in love with your child!

Even before you mentioned her "history of crying to get her own way" I was thinking that her phonecall to your DP sounded manipulative. Personally, I don't like people trying to manipulate me; it changes my relationship with them, makes me wary of their motives.

YANBU to want her to have discussed her desires with you. She's not trying to be helpful to you, it's all about her wants; not yours, and not your DS's. You said she's been a PITA before DS's birth, it looks to me as if she's bided her time and is now reverting to type. Expect more of this behaviour to come sad.

I've never understood this need for overnight stays at grandparents', nor this 'need' to have the GC all to themselves without the parents present. I find it odd.

CloudsAndTrees, probably because it sounds less like an offer and more like a demand.

TidyDancer Sat 13-Jul-13 12:16:35

It's not a bad thing that she spoke to her son. As close as I am to my MIL, I would expect that if she had anything she wanted to discuss, she would go via my DP first (although I would be happy to talk to her as well!).

I also don't really think (as you have seen) that her request is all that unreasonable.

Honestly, I think this stings you a bit because you weren't seen or treated as the primary parent. Regardless of your feelings at leaving your DS, the impression I got from your post was that you were more bothered MIL spoke to your DH than you were that she asked to take your DS out.

I'm glad you can all find a compromise that suits. smile

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