To be worrying about how FIL will be when baby arrives...

(129 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:07:55

Currently 30 weeks pregnant and can't tell if I'm being irrational and unreasonable or if there really are red flags....

I have lovely PIL, have never had reason to fault them or be annoyed with them or anything like that, I get on really well with them both. However, over the last few months FIL had been showing some traits that have unnerved me as to how he may be when the baby arrives.

I feel like he is always offering his 'opinion' and that whatever me and DH think or want to do isn't correct in his eyes. Me and DH were talking about our storage plans for when baby arrives, what will go in what cupboards etc but no, FIL has a better idea and we should obviously follow his advice... hmm.

We are having a new kitchen fitted on Friday and FIL has been making negative comments about what plans we have gone for and belittling the decisions we have already made. We are having our garden renovated in the Spring and the way in which me and DH want it done apparently isn't right in FIL's eyes and instead he is telling us what we should do.

He was very pushy about what kind of cot we should buy and now he keeps telling me what kind of pushchair I should buy. He keeps giving me suggestions on what I need to do round the house ready for when the baby comes - including comments on net curtains to keep flies out and how the 'little one' can't be expected to go up a flight of stairs every time he needs the toilet wtf hmm He keeps asking if we've done X, Y and seems to have a disapproving look on his face if we don't give the answer he wants. He isn't doing it in a nasty way at all but it makes me feel like he thinks me and DH don't know what we're doing.

He was passing comment earlier that showed he wasn't happy he'd not been here when we had assembled all the nursery furniture (my dad and DH did it) as he thinks he would obviously had made a better job of it. It is just little digs and comments that are continuously coming. He is never, ever normally like this.

It's like he thinks he knows best about everything and I can't tell if I'm just being over sensitive. I just want me and DH to be allowed to make our own decisions and not have them questioned or belittled.

I actually had a cry over it earlier when I was doing the washing up because I can't help but feel that when baby comes I'm going to be under constant criticism for whatever parenting choices I make sad

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 12-Jan-14 21:35:58

When I was PG first time round, PIL had lots of opinions. Still do in fact, three years and a second DC on. I think they have really struggled with the family focus moving from them and their ideas/ideals/values etc to DH and I and our children/family unit. They are forever trying to impose their way of doing things on us (and it is imposing - buying things for the kitchen I have said I don't have and don't need, but MIL thinks I do so goes ahead and buys them anyway).

Honestly? It's made me distance myself from them as they need to recognise us as adults in our own right. Seriously, we're mid 30s and they want to have a say on things we do/buy blah blah blah. It's ridiculous. If we were younger, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and see it as helpful advice. Now I just see it as stupidly controlling. SIL is a solicitor and she and DH's DB are buying their first house. FIL wants to be involved and is very concerned they won't be everything properly. Despite the fact she is a solicitor and this is her field!!!

I wish I'd been straighter with them sooner and made it very clear that their interference wasn't necessary. They've had their time being parents. If I were you, I'd ask DH to take it up with your FIL before things get so bad. Good luck.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:41:09

I'm also a bit worried that once the baby is born the IL will be here every day. Like I said, they are lovely and aside from this I have no issues with them at all and I'm close to them both - but I'm so worried they are going to turn into overbearing grandparents sad

As a previous poster said - I can't tell if I'm being hypersensitive because of my hormones. I'm just scared it is going to blow up. The first time he was going on about pushchairs, practically telling us what to buy, I let it go but when he started on us for the 2nd and again on a 3rd occasion I just wanted to scream!! I just want to be allowed to have my own thoughts and make my own choices without other people's opinions being thrust upon me as though I don't know what I'm doing.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:44:05

wibbly - I like what you said about you becoming your own family unit and them perhaps struggling with that. Maybe PIL finds it hard to accept that his own son is now going to be a dad and the patriarchal family dynamics are going to change.

Tibby2 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:49:23

I would tackle this with FIL now, mine was the same and i tried the smile and nod approach, he got worse, tensions rose and it turned into a huge fallout and we now haven't seen PIL's for 6 + months. My FIL was extreme in that we would explain how we wanted things bit he would flat out ignore us so this may not be the case with yours but i really think swallowing emotions and smiling and nodding can only lead to resentment. Good luck with whatever you decide and more importantly your new arrival! X

Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:58:07

It's interesting how myth suggests that MIL are nightmares but we are having FIL issues. My MIL has actually told FIL to back off and let us make our choices but I'm not sure it had much effect. I just know he's going to come round on Friday once the kitchen fitters are finished and point out faults... hmm

missymayhemsmum Sun 12-Jan-14 22:05:52

OP, maybe you are being oversensitive about this?
Try taking it as an expression of worry and concern about you both and baby, especially if he's someone who needs to have everything 'just so' to feel that it's all safe and ok. Smile and say 'we are grown ups you know, we do know what we're doing' and then find some things to ask for his advice and support about??

It's really hard being a grown-up's parent, you know!

happytalk13 Sun 12-Jan-14 22:13:18

My FIL is like this - you say anything and 30 minutes later he's still giving you his opinion on how your opinion should be - went as far as telling us not to come crying to him when our planned homebirth went wrong (it went very well as luck would have it).

Just smile and nod, change the subject as soon as you can and keep on with your plans. It really doesn't matter what he thinks. Honestly, it doesn't.

schnockles Sun 12-Jan-14 22:29:12

You might be being a bit hormonal, but I do wonder if this is his very clumsy way of wanting to be involved or wanting something to do in prep for the baby?

My MIL (normally wonderful) went a bit dolally when I was pregnant and was extremely overbearing and pushy. I ended up, on advice from DH who had tried and failed to curtail her on several occasions, letting her buy a couple of pieces of kit "seeing as, MIL, you know best". We've taken both items back and swapped them for more practical things now DS is here (she thankfully did listen and bought from John Lewis, who were very understanding!). MIL was unimpressed but could see why we'd had to exchange things. Funnily enough she hasn't pushed as hard since and has reverted back to the woman I love!

Perhaps you could give options for him to choose from or put him in charge of something? Hopefully that will help him feel more a part of it all. And pray he goes back to normal/completely gooey after the birth!

winkywinkola Sun 12-Jan-14 22:32:08

It would make me just not want to tell fil anything about my or my baby's life tbh.

Bogeyface Sun 12-Jan-14 22:35:49

Men of a certain age were not involved (or indeed wanted to be!) in having babies, so he has no experience of supporting you and DH emotionally. He is doing what was expected of him when he had his own babies, which was problem solving, fixing, getting everything ready.

He is excited and worried for you just as your MIL is, but is just showing it in a different way. As long as he isnt as pushy about your child rearing choices (and I suspect he wont be) then I think it is rather sweet, but I can see how irritating it would be!

bisjo Sun 12-Jan-14 22:37:50

One thing you are learning that applies to every single person who has ever had a baby - everyone has an opinion and likes to share it with you and you will never be right in their eyes. The sooner you learn to smile and nod the easier it will be (and this applies to everyone not just your FIL!).

BillyBanter Sun 12-Jan-14 22:42:30

I agree he is probably excited more than anything and wants to share his expertise.

I'm with the smile and nod but you may also have to incorporate a 'well, we decided to go with this one as it's what suits us best' [sweet smile] change subject.

Sounds like your MIL will back you up.

I've actually had a conversation with my mother about how she'd had her chance at child rearing and now it was my turn. To do things similar to her (I had a lovely childhood), do them the same and to do some things differently. And to make my very own mistakes grin.

The trick is going to be finding the right side of assertive without being aggressive or coming across as rude. It is possible, but not always easy.

Kundry Sun 12-Jan-14 22:49:32

If you end up being short with him, so be it, he has been provoking. If you can manage to smile and nod that's fine, but you may end up needing to have a blunt 'we don't need your input on this' or 'do not just pop round' conversation or he will continue to think you are finding him really helpful.

altogetherwonderful Sun 12-Jan-14 23:05:32

Hormonal or not, OP needs to set a boundary to this man. Since when are FIL so damn interested in pregnancy & birth & preparing for new arrivals anyhow?

Also sounds like other family member tiptoe around FIL. Time to set a boundary OP...

WhenWhyWhere Sun 12-Jan-14 23:06:31

I think it's better to be a bit more proactive in letting your FIL know that you don't welcome. There is no need for it to become unpleasant or for you to be rude but it's better to address it rather than let it fester.

I would bring it up with your InLaws and let them know that you have noticed that you have been receiving lots of 'advice' from everyone around you and that you have decided to tell everyone that you are really looking forward to working things out for yourself. I would add that you hope they understand and that you will promise to go to them when you do want advice.

You can see how it goes when the baby arrives but if they start visiting too much you must take control and just say that you don't want any visitors for a day or so. It really is that simple.

Good luck grin Be strong

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jan-14 00:16:39

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

In a way I'm glad I'm having a c-section as at least I know I will have some uninterrupted baby bonding time with restricted visiting hours smile I feel bad saying that because they really are the loveliest IL but I don't fancy bring bombarded with advice straight from birth. I think he probably just wants us to do things as he would do things. When he was initially being super pushy about the pushchair my own dad was also with us and it was quite uncomfortable. FIL did come across as a bit of a control freak and I think my dad was a bit surprised by it. I really just don't want things to come to an almighty explosion because in every other way he's a brilliant FIL...

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 13-Jan-14 00:29:02

And that's probably what makes it harder. My PILs, as above, are extremely overbearing. But they are also, in their own way, very nice people. Good neighbours, would give you the shirt off their back, kind of people. And that's when it becomes really hard. Because why would you be unkind to someone so lovely? Except that their interference isn't lovely - eek! They may think they're being helpful, but it's as though they haven't moved on from their children being teenagers. And thus the divide begins... It's also harder to navigate as you're hormonal, feeling less like your old self and don't always have the energy to defend yourself as you once might have (or this was the case for me, anyway). Get your DH to set the boundaries, or, failing that, be very assertive but polite. Don't get into asking their opinions, just state what is going to happen. Failing that, you could always move house(!).

WhenWhyWhere Mon 13-Jan-14 00:39:41

If your FIL is a nice man then he won't mind be asked not to give advice. He might be a bit put out initially but he would probably prefer to be told.

Greenmug Mon 13-Jan-14 07:17:04

Stop telling him stuff!

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jan-14 07:41:57

We don't really - he just makes comments off his own back smile
It's his obsession with the pushchair that I find most odd - he is always researching into them and being quite forceful about what he thinks. I think he knows I'm a bit annoyed with it so now he has started cornering my husband when he's alone send 'discussing it with him. FIL thinks we should get a 2nd hand one and doesn't seem to understand why I want a new one. He also can't understand why I want to go out and look at them and make a decision as opposed to just buying one off the internet based on a picture. I keep explaining my reasonings to him but whenever we next see him he starts up about it again.

noplacelikehomedorothy Mon 13-Jan-14 07:47:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WandaDoff Mon 13-Jan-14 07:58:04

Why don't you ask him to help you choose something?

Perhaps the car seat? Lots of different fittings & technical stuff to keep him busy researching & looking for good deals for a while. Give him a job of his own.

From your description, he's coming over as wanting to be involved but rather overenthusiastic.
If you can direct all that enthusiasm towards something in particular rather than just being an overbearing knowitall about everything he might be a bit easier to deal with.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jan-14 08:02:40

My DH does always joke that his dad is a 'Grumpy Sod' - he is just very factual and intense sometimes.

I'm worried that smiling and nodding is only fuelling his attitude because it gives the impression that I want to hear his thoughts and that I'm interested in them - almost like I'm admitting he knows best. Plus, I'm finding it harder and harder to be nice about it. Pregnancy in general had made me much more assertive, I find myself saying things I never normally would and I'm worried I'm going to snap.

When he was offering his opinion on what cot to buy more like telling us it got very annoying. He seems to think a cot is just a cot, a pushchair is just a pushchair and so what we 'want' is irrelevant and should just buy any old one. It was difficult because PIL offered to buy the cot so he was acting as though it was his right to choose it and wouldn't stop forcing his opinion on us, constantly showing us online images of random cots over and over again and telling us he thought we should get it - that is the point where MIL told him to back off and that we should be allowed to choose our own cot. In the end me and DH just went out and bought the nursery furniture we wanted and showed them afterwards because we knew it was our only option. My husband could see how stressed I was getting over the whole thing.

ImpOfDarkness Mon 13-Jan-14 08:08:33

My ILs are like this, constantly giving unsolicited, outdated advice. I try not to point out that they managed to estrange their son for ten years and their daughter still refuses to talk to them. Mostly I go for non-commital hmmms and leave it up to DP to put them straight.

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