My MIL is driving me crazy...help!!

(64 Posts)
mrsbun81 Mon 21-Oct-13 13:17:42

My DS is 12 weeks old, I'm English and my DH is of African origin. Since the day he was born my MIL has been antagonising me with comments about my DS, ranging from saying I'm not feeding him properly, not winding him, he has bowlegs which she 'will fix' to telling me that he will cry when he goes to nursery because I don't let anyone hold him (entirely not true!), we must pull his fingers out of his mouth when he tries to suck them, we mustn't let him do this and that.
Yesterday she came for Sunday lunch and started shouting at my DH because apparently we have given him the wrong name - we should have consulted her first and let her choose his name as this is the tradition in her culture! Then she took my DS and put him face down over her knee and started to pull his legs and say she would fix them. After I'd taken my DS away from her she asked me who in my family has bowlegs, I told her that he is absolutely fine and normal, she then proceeded to scream and shout at me saying that she would like to give him massages with hot water to straighten his legs but she hasn't because she knows that my DH and I are 'the wrong character'. I finally snapped and told her that he is my son and that she has no right to fiddle with his legs, nor to shout at me in my own home. My DH and his sister never speak back to her, they just let her scream and shout and say nothing so I don't think she was expecting me to tell her off so she stormed out of the house.
Frankly, I never want her to set foot n my house again and I'm really concerned about what she's going to try to do to my son next, but she is his Grandmother, and my DH's mum so I can't just cut her off.
What should I do?!!

missfliss Mon 21-Oct-13 13:27:52

YANBU

Chippednailvarnish Mon 21-Oct-13 13:28:09

Your Mil isn't the problem, your DH's passiveness is.

Goldmandra Mon 21-Oct-13 13:32:06

Standing up to her was probably a shock to her but a very good move on your part. Better to set the boundaries early on.

'Massages with hot water to straighten his legs' would worry me.

I am generally of the opinion that GPs want the best for their DGCs and wouldn't harm them but I think this would make me terrified to let my DS out of my sight when she's around.

Has your DH commented?

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 13:33:17

but she is his Grandmother, and my DH's mum so I can't just cut her off.

Yeah, you can.

Your husband needs to grow up, however, and prioritise his family over his mother.

Various people are accredited with the phrase "when I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my revolver". They meant culture in the sense of opera and theatre, of course, but these days it seems apposite towards mother-in-laws raising the "in my culture" card.

holidaysarenice Mon 21-Oct-13 13:35:22

When she apologies, as she must if she wants to be around you and ds, then lay down the ground rules very clearly. This is your time to lay out exactly what role you feel she has, how she must respect ur role as his mother etc.

Make a list, discuss with ur dh and have to hand when she gets in contact.

reelingintheyears Mon 21-Oct-13 13:36:54

Has she only just found out his name at 5 weeks?

What Holiday said, I would also add in a very clear line from you, that whilst you respect her culture, it is not your culture and you will not have anything imposed upon your child that you are not comfortable with. Cruelty and ignorance is far too often dressed up behind cultural traditions so you really need to lay down the law.

reelingintheyears Mon 21-Oct-13 13:39:35

Sorry, 12 weeks, how come she didn't know his name sooner?

enriquetheringbearinglizard Mon 21-Oct-13 13:42:43

I agree with holidaysarenice

I think it must be part cultural differences and part her character. It won't have helped any that her children never stood up to her or challenged her opinions and she's stormed off as it probably came as a shock.

Domineering people do often back down though when they're shown that they can't just railroad everyone.
Be firm, but don't lose your cool and let her know that you and DH will be bringing up your family the way you see fit and that's all there is to it.

MrsAmaretto Mon 21-Oct-13 13:45:46

Holy shit. She would give your baby hot baths?? !!!

I'm sorry but this is shocking. She wants to abuse your child?? Wtf next? Goes to granny for a sleepover when 10 & is excorcised or something for being cheeky?

Being from a different culture or nationality does not excuse dangerous behaviour towards babies & children.

If you read any pages about sling use etc. they all show how babies legs are a bit froggy/ bowlegged & should be supported like that for natural development.

Do not let that woman have unsupervised access to your child. Ever.

If she can not be polite & respect you she should not be around you.

You need to make sure your husband does not have any of these crazy/ dangerous ideas.

cees Mon 21-Oct-13 13:49:55

Don't leave her alone with your son, you can't trust her and your dh won't stand up for your son so you can't trust him to help your son if she starts pulling and applying hot water to his legs.

She sounds almost manic, is she always like this or is it since ds came along and she isn't the main Mother anymore, do you think?

Either way she can't be trusted with your son and your dh needs to face up to his issues about his Mother because he needs to back you up here.

LittleBairn Mon 21-Oct-13 13:54:13

At the very least make sure she is never alone with your DS.
Pulling at his legs like that could seriously damage him and hot baths WTF.
What does your DH think/say about trying to 'correct' your DS?

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 14:02:05

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

3bunnies Mon 21-Oct-13 14:02:44

Also worth considering whether she might try to circumcise him given half a chance. It depends on the tradition in her culture, but if your dh is and you don't want your son to be I wouldn't leave him alone with her. She sounds dangerous.

Nancy66 Mon 21-Oct-13 14:05:40

Restrict her visits and make sure she is never alone with your child. Ever.

mrsbun81 Mon 21-Oct-13 14:28:27

She knew his name straight away. The tradition in their culture is to have a middle name that corresponds with the day he was born, so we have given that name and also my grandfather's name, so he has 2 middle names, already excessive in my view but she apparently feels that we should have consulted her before we named him and she should have chosen a third middle name. Why she feels it's acceptable to kick off about it 12 weeks later is beyond me!
DH is quite a passive character and I think he just wants to try and keep the peace but I have told him that he must tell her that she can never disrespect us like that ever again, but whether he actually does that is another matter. I'm really scared that if he doesn't stand up to her and she keeps behaving like this our relationship won't last. I will never allow her to babysit my DS as I'm just too scared of what she might do. My DH used to get beaten by her as a child so what if she feels she can do that to my DS? It's such a sad situation to be in.
cees she's always been like this. I personally think she's got mental health issues.

LimitedEditionLady Mon 21-Oct-13 14:35:55

This sounds a nightmare.I think you should carry on standing up to her.This is your child,dont let anyone do anything you arent happy with.Sounds like she wants to be in charge of...EVERYTHING

And I thought MY MIL was bad! No way would I ever leave my baby with this woman. Your DH may/ may not be able to stand up to her, his upbringing will be working against him in this, however, you CAN do so and really need him not to undermine you at the very least. Obviously, in an ideal world he would be speaking to her and laying down the law but you can do that yourself providing he backs you up, even if only by keeping out of it. Good luck

LadyRabbit Mon 21-Oct-13 17:53:05

OP what is your relationship with your own mother like?
Just wondering if you get on ok with your mum whether it might be worth having her over next time MIL is over to maybe stick up for you. It might keep your MIL in check. And also remind her that your DS has TWO families not just her side. Just a thought.

SuperStrength Mon 21-Oct-13 18:42:27

Being a mum sometimes means protecting your child from other people, sometimes those people are family.
In your shoes I would be extremely harsh with her, I would be very concerned about my child's safety in her care & there is no way on earth i would leave the child alone with her. She has a long road back to re-gaining your trust, until then.....keep her at arms length.
You don't need your DH to stand up to her because you can do it on your own...it's better if he does too, but you don't need to count on him.
I was beaten as a child by my mother. My children have never met her.
My sister initially took a different road & even let our mother babysit her 1st child. Needless to say, it didn't end well & my mother no longer has contact with any of her grand children.
So based on my experience, I would say prepare for the worst. If she beat your DH, she is likely to beat your child too because that is how she 'loves'. It's quite common with narcisstic personality types.

PAsSweetOrangeLurve Mon 21-Oct-13 19:00:02

Does your DH seriously think it is acceptable to sit back and watch his son being hurt? If he chooses not to speak up for himself then that's his choice, but bloody nora he ought to be speaking up for his son - that's his job as a father.

I would have very serious reservations about continuing a relationship with someone who was prepared to stand back and let someone actively try and hurt their baby, just because they are family.

It's not your MIL you need to be harsh with - it's your DH. I really don't get this mentality that family trumps all. Family is nothing more than a blood relationship. It is essentially meaningless unless we choose to make something more of that tie. You wouldn't volunteer to spend time with someone you didn't like, so why put up with it just because you are related?

diddl Mon 21-Oct-13 19:18:03

Did your husband want his son naming as per his culture?

If so, fine.

His mum sounds dangerous tbh.

"Fix his legs"????!!

WTAF is that all about.

As for your husband...

His mum used to beat him & it sounds as if she is already looking for reasons to start on your son.

mrsbun81 Tue 22-Oct-13 09:25:47

Luckily I have a really good relationship with my Mum and she's amazing, all she wants to do is play with my son and love him like a GP should. Unfortunately though, my parents live in France so we don't see them as often as we'd like. My mum is totally on my side though and I think she would definitely say something but I sincerely doubt my MIL would say anything whilst my parents were there, especially as now she knows I'm going to stand up for myself.
I'm still waiting for DH to say something to her, I felt like he was making excuses for her last night so now I'm worried that he's not going to say or do anything....I'm trying to make him understand that if he does nothing he may end up on his own....is that really harsh?! I just feel like if I can't rely on him to have my back, and protect his son then I can't be with him. I love him more than anything but my DS comes first.

diddl Tue 22-Oct-13 09:42:08

"I'm trying to make him understand that if he does nothing he may end up on his own....is that really harsh?!"

I don't think so tbh.

If your husband wants to do nothing & take it whilst his mum dishes it out he can, as an adult, choose that, although my respect for him would rapidly diminish!

When it comes to your son, who cannot defend himself, you should both be on side.

What if for some reason you aren't there & he gets browbeaten into her taking your son out for a couple of hrs?

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