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

Writerwannabe83 Wed 15-Jan-14 16:05:45

I didn't know my husband when he bought our house, he lived here for 2 years before we even met. When his parents bought their house my DH was sharing his with one of his friends, I.e renting out one of the bedrooms. I moved in with DH 6 months after we started dating and then his friend moved out a few months later. When I first started dating DH I thought it odd that his parents lived so close to him but didn't really make an issue of it.

In some ways it is lovely having them so close - like last night for example when our kitchen flooded at 10pm and I was able to run to theirs and get help!! When there is water absolutely gushing out your walls late at night it is handy having a second pair of hands only a 10 second walk away smile

EllieQ Wed 15-Jan-14 10:22:27

I'm quite horrified that your PIL bought a new house just down the street from you a few months after you'd bought your house - that would feel suffocating to me!

I agree with Pacific Dogwood's post above - you do come across as wanting your PIL's approval for stuff you have done/ bought. You say that you don't want approval, you're just discussing stuff that comes up in conversation, but I suspect your PIL perceive it otherwise.

The way that they are so over-involved in your life (no doubt due to their proximity!) reminds me of my FIL. He's a nice person, who cares a lot about his sons, and would always help us out. But he very much wants to have that 'patriarchal' role of head of the family, be in charge, and have his sons come to him for help and support. He seems incapable of accepting that DH and my BILs are adults who can make their own decisions and don't need dear old dad to help them.

It's not so bad for us as we live 200 miles away, but one thing we have had to do is stop telling FIL stuff, to avoid the endless questions/ comments/ suggestions, which are all made in a fairly patronising tone. The worst time was when we'd bought our first house - we didn't move in straight away as it needed a lot of work, so DH was there every day after work and most of the weekends. FIL rang him every single evening to find our what he'd been doing. DH tried texting him each evening, but FIL would then call back to ask about it! It did change DH's view of his dad, tbh. We are planning to move house this year, and won't be mentioning it to PIL until moving day!

I think at the very least, you need to stop your PIL dropping in without being invited - their response to this request will say a lot. As pp have said, you need to establish boundaries before they upset you even more. And don't discuss purchases/ DIY/ the garden with them - just mention that you've decided you're doing X/Y when it comes up in conversation.

birdmomma Wed 15-Jan-14 07:21:14

I think these things are best dealt with honestly and in an up front manner. Could you ask to have a talk with them and tell them that you have been finding some of their behaviour difficult recently and you want to set some boundaries before the baby is born. (You and DH). Talk about letting you know before coming round, not giving unsolicited advice etc. it will be hard, but may save the relationship in the long term.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 14-Jan-14 08:29:51

Correct perfectstorm The transplant stuff is from a post I wrote about 2 days ago and I so have no idea why a random sentence has appeared within this thread?? Like you say, I must have accidentally cut and pasted....this IPad does some very weird things!!! smile

perfectstorm Tue 14-Jan-14 03:43:17

I think (correct me if wrong, OP) that this:

I was a student nurse at the time and thankfully the baby got her transplant just before I completed my placement. I got quite close to her parents in the 8 weeks I was there and the impression I got was that they were glad it had gone to court and the decision had been taken out of their hands.

- is a mistaken cut and paste thrown into the middle of her post, but meant for another thread altogether. It's splitting a sentence, that makes complete sense if you remove that part.

Jacksmania Tue 14-Jan-14 03:09:50

Umm... I was ok until the transplant business... could you possibly clarify that? grin

BillyBanter Tue 14-Jan-14 01:52:18

I was a teeny tiny bit confused.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 14-Jan-14 01:31:18

I have absolutely no idea why my previous post is a combination of merged posts??
What on earth?? grin

Writerwannabe83 Tue 14-Jan-14 01:30:26

My DH is their eldest son. We are both in our 30's and have professional jobs.

With regards to his history of living with/near them:He moved to a different City when he went to University at 19 so lived away from them for 4 years. He then came back to his home town where he bought a house with his girlfriend from Uni and they lived together for a few years. I think this was relatively close to his parents but where they used to live (I.e where he grew up) was a small town. My DH then split up with his girlfriend, they sold their house and my DH bought the house that he and I I was a student nurse at the time and thankfully the baby got her transplant just before I completed my placement. I got quite close to her parents in the 8 weeks I was there and the impression I got was that they were glad it had gone to court and the decision had been taken out of their hands. now live in - it was a 15/20 minute drive away from where his parents lived. About 6 months after moving into this house his parents bought the house that was for sale 20 doors down.

DH definitely isn't afraid of his dad smile I think we are both taken aback because like I said, it isn't like this behaviour is 'normal' for FIL, it has just sprung from nowhere over the last few months. My DH is a very laid back character and has told me to just ignore his dad but it's easier said than done. I'm hoping FIL's seemingly recent personality transplant is just because the birth is looming and he is going into 'Practical Mode' - fingers crossed he will revert back to normal after the event.

notmyproblem Mon 13-Jan-14 23:12:18

Has your DH ever lived very far from them? Or always a stone's throw down the street? Is he the youngest btw?

Sounds like FIL is acting like he's got a teenager for a son instead of a grown man about to be a father himself. And the fact that your DH doesn't seem to tell him to shut up stand up to him makes me wonder if he's had a lifetime of FIL knowing best and is unable to.

I dunno... it could all be fine or you could have a nightmare when the baby comes. But you should start putting your foot down now. If your DH is too afraid to say anything directly to his dad, then you're going to have to do it.

Kundry Mon 13-Jan-14 22:21:16

Wow what a good tactic HearMyRoar - I am taking notes smile

HearMyRoar Mon 13-Jan-14 21:51:17

Just wanted to suggest that alongside smiling and nodding you should always be sure and even a bit over enthusiastic about what you are planning or have done. Don't just mention you are moving the downstairs loo tell him in excited and glowing terms just how amazing it will be and how much you are looking forward to the extra space. Then look at him expectantly, ideally with big, excitable eyes filled with the wonder of the extra storage to come.

If he should then in anyway critise your plan just laugh as if he has said something a bit ridiculous and repeat how amazing its going to be.

This always works for me and I also find it strangely enjoyable. grin

On a separate note I am absolutely with those who say you need to sort out the unwanted visits before the baby arrives. Set rules now, the arrival of the DC is the perfect excuse.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jan-14 21:49:42

I like the "Stop going on about you are really bugging us line" actually smile I might start practising and slowly build up the courage to say it to his face grin

Ok then, maybe he is just rude then grin.

"Stop going on about it, you are really bugging us" should do it then <evil cackle>

Maybe it's like toddler wrangling: just be consistent.

Ach, don't listen to me - I am sure you'll find a way as long as you have DH (and DMiL) on side.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jan-14 21:42:03

We definitely don't need/want their approval and don't seek it all - but that doesn't mean we want constant disapproval either. As everyone has rightly said, our choices are our business, not theirs.

I'm not upset about the fact he doesn't like our kitchen plans or pushchair plans, I don't care what his thoughts are, but what does upset me is the criticism and his need to constantly make out he knows best and imply we are clueless.

I just have absolutely no idea why FIL feels the need to comment on everything? We don't run things past him, we don't ask for his thoughts or advice, we don't invite his comments, we don't ask for his opinions but he just gives them every time he sees us hmm

How can we physically stop him from talking to us and telling us what he thinks?? I'm not sure gagging is allowed..... grin

Kundry Mon 13-Jan-14 21:32:13

You could go one step further - he comes round, you just happen to have a pushchair in use.

I don't think you not listening to him is going to stop him, he's going to carry on regardless!

"You have to find a way to NOT want to prove to them that you are capable of making your own decision"

Good grief, I should really proof-read - a crucial 'not' missed out blush

You have to find a way to want to prove to them that you are capable of making your own decision.
Stop needing to make them see that your are adults.
Just behave like adults - like making purchasing decisions yourself wink.
Don't run it past them, don't invite them to see the pram because that kind of implies that your are breathlessly awaiting their 'approval' (I am exaggerating for dramatic effect, but I hope you get my drift).

Seriously, in my middle-aged opinion, having had my own battles with overbearing parents (although being 100s of miles away helped), you will only 'free' yourself from this tension when their opinion doesn't actually matter to you/DH anymore.
This sounds terribly cold, and I don't mean in like that.
Imagine how you'd feel discussing prams with a friend: you might take some of their advice, or see their point, but disagree, or think they are utterly wrong. They might be the same about your choices. In any equal friendship you'd both be able to 'agree to disagree' and leave it at that, knowing that you'll each make decisions according to your own judgement and that is how it should be.

Only when you feel you can have that kind of conversation with your FiL, will you be 'grown-up'.
It took me a long time to really fully understand that not all of my opinions or decisions have to be popular or universally liked and they could still be right for me.
I care what my parents think about my life choices, of course I do, but I accept that they disapprove of some of them. Like I wouldn't make the same choices they do in some circumstances. And that's fine.

Stop seeking his approval. Be nice about it, but detach yourself a huge bit.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jan-14 21:05:54

Hampton - "3.... "then invite ILs to see it." Why? Why make such a drama out of it?"

I meant this in terms of showing them to prove that we are more than capable of making our own decisions and that we are quite capable of buying a pushchair of our own choice. We aren't bothered about getting his approval otherwise we would do as he suggests, we just want him to realise that we don't need his advice and that we aren't really listening to it anyway smile He might stop offering it when he realises that.... smile

hamptoncourt Mon 13-Jan-14 20:43:45

OP your game plan.....
3.... "then invite ILs to see it." Why? Why make such a drama out of it? I am not knocking you, I think you have been conditioned by them to think you need to run everything past them and get their approval, or not mostly. Most people just buy a pushchair and the parents/ILS don't really see it until it is in use. I can't imagine that most would give a flying fuck what it looks like so long as it can carry the baby.

If you are going to survive this with your mental health intact you really need to start detatching from them. You do not have to discuss everything with them.

FIL sounds like a dreadful control freak. Seems there is a very good reason the rest of the siblings/GC are in the US......

CarriesPawnShop Mon 13-Jan-14 20:40:52

He's surfing the limits over many things you've mentioned but he's right about the toilet.

winkywinkola Mon 13-Jan-14 20:02:59

Bruno, very insightful posts. Helpful too. Wish I had had you around when my own mil went bonkers when I refused to wean my ds1 on her instruction.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jan-14 15:46:59

I've already made it clear to DH that we are not using IL as childcare when I return to work smile

WhenWhyWhere Mon 13-Jan-14 15:42:00

Another thing to consider is to stop or greatly reduce the amount of help you recieve from them. If they are paying for things then it's a little bit understandable that they think they can give advice.
If your in laws help babysit your new baby then you mustn't be suprised if they want to do things their way or if they comment on how you are raising your DC.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jan-14 14:40:39

Lots of good advice there Bruno thank you smile

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