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

wonderingsoul Sat 13-Jul-13 12:16:53

i think you need to cut her some slack, youv allready said she keeps her opions to herself.

the pulling rank, yes i think id be alittle annoyed but maybe she thought if she spoke to dh she wouldnt come over as pushy, and expected him to put to you as an idea. maybe she was embarrssed or she thought itd anoy you?

id phoen her and yes, it would be lovely if you took him out for an hour or so while i get things done, but next time please talk to me aswell.

and the bonding thing, i can understand, she sees her other gc alot more and obviousley thing the bond is different, and it is, with out sounding nasty, also she is showing you shes not favouring one over the other.

spamm Sat 13-Jul-13 12:17:26

You are definitely NBU. Her behaviour is terribly childish and that would worry me. I know MILs can have a hard time at getting relationships right, and can be stuck between a rock and a hard place very often, but this does not sound like a sane way of going about it.

One thing I would suggest you clarify gently with her is that this new arrangement sounds great and will benefit you both, but that you expect her to generally follow your way of doing things. You don't want to start this and then find out that your approach to child rearing is so different that you feel undermined.

Good luck

CloudsAndTrees Sat 13-Jul-13 12:19:57

Again, why should a grandparent only want to see their grandchild to be helpful to the parents and not just because they love that child and want to spend time with them?

One day, you will see those little children you love so much start to grow into adults, and you will look forward to the time you have a grandchild to love as well. You will want to be around that grandchild just because you love them, and while you will hopefully want to be helpful too, your reasons for wanting to spend time with your grandchild will not just be about wanting to control and get one over on your DIL or SIL.

Emilythornesbff Sat 13-Jul-13 12:20:02

A bit manipulative with the crying.
But I'd agree to any reasonable offer that helped GC / GP relationship with the added bonus of a bit of time to do chores or go to the gym.

A whole day? Nice. But I'm not sure I'd want that set in stone as a regular thing.
Is she being expected to step up when you go back to work?

Does she want mine for a couple of hours? grin

EggInABap Sat 13-Jul-13 12:21:08

I think YABU about her going to your DP first- why shouldn't she, he's her son and he's as equal a parent as you! You sound like you are looking for a row.

I don't think she's done anything wrong, she wants to spend more time with her amazing grandchild. It might be a bit soon for a full day given his age but who knows in a few years you may end up grateful that your MIL puts the effort in!!!!!

EggInABap Sat 13-Jul-13 12:24:30

Would love to swap MIL's with you see how you feel with one who doesn't give a shit!

I also hate how whenever a woman cries it gets labelled as manipulative. For goodness sake maybe she was actually upset, yes a tad dramatic but aren't we all at times?

Emilythornesbff Sat 13-Jul-13 12:24:36

I do think MILs have a tough time of it. I've seen it with my own friends (I don't have a MIL sad) where their feelings about involvement are dismissed but they're really expected to to look after the DGC for nights out / new year etc.

I would try to be kind.
You have a DS so you are likely to be the MIL one day.

Emilythornesbff Sat 13-Jul-13 12:25:36

Good point egg maybe she was just upset.

LilacPeony Sat 13-Jul-13 12:26:34

Not read the other replies, but i think it isn't always necessary to spend time alone with a child to bond with them, but having said that I found with my sister that she was always watching how i was interacting with her children and telling me i should be doing it so and so way, but i think if i'd been left to interact with them naturally i'd have found it much easier and less stilted. Having said that my niece and nephew are older, but maybe she feels a bit self conscious with you there. Letting her have him for an hour or so while you get on with stuff sounds like a good compromise. smile

daftdame Sat 13-Jul-13 12:28:56

Sounds like she had an overly emotional moment so it is understandable she talked to her son first. Actually I think it might have been worse if she confronted you in this state, at least her son was able to calm her down.

I don't think you should feel pressured to anything you don't want, this is your child, but it sounds like the compromise agreed would be good for both of you from what you were saying.

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 13-Jul-13 12:30:52

Cheeky cow!

How much bonding is she expecting to do with a 6 month old baby hmm

Looking after the baby while you go do your thing for an hour or two...fair enough.

Having him for one day a week? Does she think she is an nrp?

Eilidhbelle Sat 13-Jul-13 12:31:05

I would be so angry about this. It's your baby, you decide what's best for him, not what suits someone else. It's not like she can't see him either, I don't understand why it has to be without you and on her terms.

I think a good compromise is to say, thanks very much for the offer, and take her up on it whenever YOU need it. But not a regular thing if that's not what you want.

I do think it's fair enough that she spoke to your DH, because she probably does feel more comfortable with him. Would your mum phone your DH about something like this?

cantreachmytoes Sat 13-Jul-13 12:33:14


Being a GP is a privilege not a right.

You already let her spend time with your DS. If you want to let her spend more time with him (for whatever reason) that's up to you and you are perfectly entitled to not want to (again, for any reason). Who cares if its a case of PFB?! It's about how you feel and how it works for you.

For people above (and on other threads) who say DH has a right to allow his DM to spend time alone with the baby, well, how about that being time out of HIS alone time with baby (assuming no cases of abuse, etc). He doesn't have the right to insist that baby is away from its mother so his own mother can spend time - it's not his to offer (the time that is).

cocolepew Sat 13-Jul-13 12:38:10

This needing to have the DGC on their own by grandparents 'to bond' is a crock of shit. My mum and dad have seen my DBs children once, very rarely twice, a year since there were babies. They are now 13 and 17.
They have a lovely relationship. I had the same with my gran who I only saw one or twice a year. I looked her dearly, the she with my aunts and uncles.

It's not the amount of time spent with them it's how the time is spent.

cocolepew Sat 13-Jul-13 12:39:19

Loved not looked hmm

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sat 13-Jul-13 12:40:06

I think it is fine that she spoke to your DP. He is your son's parent too, and her son.

I don't think it is necessary for grandparents to spend time alone with grandchildren to bond BUT I can see that if she has spent a lot of time with her other grandchildren then she will feel that things are different with your baby and be sad about that - and there is nothing wrong with those feelings.

As you have sensibly said OP, don't cut off your nose to spite your face. I would give my right arm to have a handy grandparent nearby who I could leave my youngest with while I went to the gym, shopped for new bras or had a good clearout of my wardrobe.

cocolepew Sat 13-Jul-13 12:40:30

The same with my aunts...
<gives up>

tallulah Sat 13-Jul-13 12:40:40

If my MIL had demanded taking any of my DC for one full day a week at the age of only 6 months she wouldn't have seen them at all angry.

I'd never come across this at all until it has started cropping up on MN and I'm quite surprised at the number of posters who think it's a reasonable request. Presumably none of you BF?

Thanks to geography my DC saw my parents about 6 times a year. Yet they were no less close to them as small children than they were to my ILs who they saw several times a week.

Spending time alone with grandma is fantastic for a child of 2+ who gets plenty of attention and new experiences. Each of my boys went to the ILs after playgroup for the afternoon and had a fantastic time ; my DD (6) spends days with my mum and they get up to all sorts. But at 6 months old they were with me, apart from the odd afternoon etc.

As for going behind your back, that would have annoyed me too, but DH is always firmly on his mother's side and they would have made arrangements without consulting me first shock. Sounds like at least yours is standing up for you.

And FWIW my eldest 4 Dc are all more than old enough to have their own children so I am probably nearer your MIL's age than yours and there is no way I would do this with a grandchild.

Eggs I think you're projecting a little there. I did say I was happy DS has a GM who loves him and I'm happy for the new arrangement to go ahead. As for being upset, maybe she was, but it's obviously been built up in her head to something it didn't need to be. If she was upset why wait until 8 days after the last visit, miss this weeks one and then ring up crying. Surely if she was upset it would be more likely to be triggered by seeing him than not IYSWIM. She does frequently throw sulks/crying fits with both DP and his DB, and will ring the other crying to persuade them to get involved.

WRT wanting to be alpha parent grin: I have previously been the person she contacts if she wants to see DS (sounds formal but literally I said in the beginning come whenever you want but just give me a quick ring first to save a wasted journey). So it was surprising she didn't just say would you like if I took him for an hour or so so you can have a bit if time to yourself. No drama necessary.

LemonBreeland Sat 13-Jul-13 13:00:42

She does not need to spend time with him alone to bond with him. She judt wants to be in control.

It would male me step back completely if I was pushed like that.

badguider Sat 13-Jul-13 13:31:39

I have to say, I don't agree with those who say people don't need to spend time alone with a small child to bond. Being 'in charge' of a child is very different from being in the room with the child and their main carer.
If the main carer is in the room then the child is always focussed on them and you're just an extra random person... it's a totally different situation from being the one to feed them, change them, take care of their needs.
You see this often with fathers who never spend 1:1 time with their children, the child will always look to mum to do stuff for them even when out with both parents as they just haven't learned that dad can help/fix the problem also.

[Whether it's appropriate/desirable/necessary for the GP to bond at 6months is another matter entirely].

pianodoodle Sat 13-Jul-13 13:36:33

I agree with weisswusrt's idea about the possible reason for wanting so much alone time.

Don't see the need for it if mum doesn't need to be away that long but that's just me.

I wouldn't be happy about MIL going straight into emotional manipulation mode before discussing it properly but at least you made a compromise.

Watch out for that behaviour though it's so unnecessary my own MIL has used the same tactic...

My MIL had never spent any alone time with DS2 at all in his entire 14 months of life, until last week. She has a wonderful relationship with him. We live about 5 hours drive away from her and although she stays with us every month-ish for a week, I have always been here when she's spent time with the DC.

I do try and busy myself with other things so she can spend time with them without me hovering, but I don't drive and we live rurally so I can't go out to give her "alone time".

Honestly I don't think it has had a detrimental effect on their relationship, DS2 instantly recognises her when she arrives and calls "garoo" with his arms up for her. Finally she had enough of me begging for a break and took him home with her for a few days last week and he hardly missed me grin
So reassure your MIL that overnights and alone time aren't essential to bonding with her GC, it's quality time that matters not who else is around.

YANBU about the going over your head issue, I think it's easily solved though. Because MIL stays with us for extended periods we had "third parent" issues and were feeling undermined, the best thing I ever did was be frank and honest with her about just talking to me. I made it clear that I knew that whatever either of us said or felt it could only ever come from a place of love for the DC and even if we disagreed there was nothing we couldn't sort out. She was so relieved!

If I were you I would explain to her that you are sad that she felt she couldn't talk to you and although you don't feel ready for overnights yet your happy to go ahead with long walks/days out. If she's an alright sort she'll be fine with it smile

Thurlow Sat 13-Jul-13 14:38:06

I don't see how your MIL talking to her son, rather than her DIL, is going over your head? And isn't your DS as much your DH's son as yours? confused

YANBU to say you don't want your DS going one full day a week yet, he is still very young and you are still on mat leave. But YABU to think she is going over your head. She just spoke to her son.

pigletmania Sat 13-Jul-13 14:56:25

Yabvu she is the babies gran, and your ds has another parent too, her son. Have a few hours a week to yourself an enjoy that time

See I think she did go over her head in that she spends regular time with the OP every week in which she could have brought the subject up. Instead she chose to avoid the opportunity to talk to OP by not seeing her GS that week and then called her son to express her upset at not being allowed to bond.

Now she could have done this because she's manipulative and controlling, but it's more likely that she didn't feel sure of a reasonable response from OP and skipped a step directly to her son who she is more sure of. Her actual request isn't unreasonable but approaching it from the "OP won't let me bond" angle before she's even sounded OP out about her idea is a bit off IMO.

twinklyfingers Sat 13-Jul-13 15:16:52


I'm not sure why it is thought to be acceptable for someone, even a grandparent, to effectively announce "I want to have your child to myself."

Your mil will get plenty of time to bond with gc during normal visits and babysitting when you have a function to go to or something, if it is convenient for her of course. My own mil is concerned that she and fil will not be as close to my dd as my parents as they will be looking after her twice a week when I return to work. Fortunately, relationships between normal human beings do not work like some sort of counter that clocks up time which equates to amount of love someone feels.

lordleofric Sat 13-Jul-13 15:45:46

YANBU and what Flank said.

LJL69 Sat 13-Jul-13 15:54:36

I really dont believe you need 1 2 1 time to bond. My step dads parents lived 400 miles away and so only got to see them when we or they visited when I was young. It was more about how my nana treated me that built the bond. She always was interested in what I was doing/saying, always made a point of having my favourite drinks etc in when we visited. Once I was old enough to make my own travel plans I would go and visit and also called her most Sundays. Not because I felt I had to but because I wanted to. When she died it was awful, but in her shopping bag they found her most recent list and on it was to buy a photo frame for my graduation photo. (It was just before my finals so she had faith in me!) The bond we had was very strong and she was my step GP. So really what I am trying to say is it has nothing to do with time spent alone or in quantity, but everything to do with how someone treats you as a child and makes you feel special and wanted in their lives.

Jenijena Sat 13-Jul-13 15:54:39

I had four grandparents til
I was 21; up to that point I had one overnight with my paternal grandparents (when they stayed at our house when my parents were at an interview), a night when my sister was born when my maternal grandparents came to stay, and about six hours with my maternal grandparents when I was in my early teens and my mum and dad were invited to something near their house. This is the sum total of time I ever spent alone with any of them.

Yanbu. Frankly, I found going to the shops for half an hour and leaving my baby with DH hard enough in the early months. A baby is not a toy to be passed around, it is your child and you can do exactly (within the law) what you wish with them. One full day a week? What planet is she on? I

Sparklysilversequins Sat 13-Jul-13 15:58:22

"Have a few hours a week to yourself and enjoy that time".

No. I will be going back to work soon and will have loads of time to be away from my baby then thanks! Would be my answer to that.

If someone doesn't feel comfortable leaving their child why should they be forced to so someone else gets a turn? And on a SET day once a week?

OP doesn't WANT to leave her baby and have this arrangement and its not for anyone else to make her.

DoJo Sat 13-Jul-13 17:35:22

I think it's the crying and suggesting a fairly large chunk of time that is the problem, not the fact that the MIL wants to see her grandchild! If she was upset about something, why not wait till she'd calmed down before calling her son unless it was to use her emotional state to get what she wanted. And why open up the discussion by suggesting one set full day a week when that is possibly not going to be convenient and hasn't been even mooted before. particularly when it would seem much more sensible to suggest her second option which would be a better compromise and could ramp up the mythical 'bonding' process much better? I can see why you're annoyed OP, and that the compromise is a good one, but don't allow her to dictate her interactions with your son unless you and your husband are happy with them too.

pigletmania Sat 13-Jul-13 18:10:01

My goodness I am not looking forward to being a MIL, seems they can do no right, either they are criticised for not seeing their grandchildren enough, or in this case, they want to spend some time with their grandchild. I know grandparents do not have rights tothe child, but it is in the chids best interests to know their wider family (unless they are violent, abusive, toxic). I think that op came up with a good middle ground, leaving him for a couple of hours with her

jellybeans Sat 13-Jul-13 18:28:03

I would say no to demands like that. My MIL demanded to have DD alone from a week old and to take her abroad without us. I declined. However my MIL was a complete bitch!!!

flossy101 Sat 13-Jul-13 18:31:47


The couple of hrs thing sounds like a good compromise, I wouldn't agree to the set day thing either. We see my parents once a week for couple of hrs and same with PIL.

ouryve Sat 13-Jul-13 18:38:43

She sounds like a bit of a drama queen, tbh,

My parents are 100 miles away, both boys have ASD and don't travel well and consequently, we see them every couple of months, at the most. DS1 gets on wonderfully with my mum, at 9.

curlew Sat 13-Jul-13 18:41:32

Why shouldn't she talk to her son about this? He is the baby's parent too!

ChunkyPickle Sat 13-Jul-13 18:48:27

I think that talking to her son was the right thing to do - I actually find it annoying that I'm the contact point for everything (DP is forgetful, so I can see why, but still).

I also think that she's trying to strike a useful compromise, and it's probably worth taking her up on it.

However, you don't need the alone time to bond - especially not super young. MIL didn't even meet DS until he was a year, and now (despite having no alone time with her until she started taking him to sing-song club when he was about 14 months) they absolutely dote on each other - DS (nearly 3) adores her and his grandad, and they spoil him rotten.

WinkyWinkola Sat 13-Jul-13 18:57:54

Ah the thick laying on of guilt with tears.

She's being manipulative.

Why can't all these desperate gps stop being so desperate and just behave normally?

I'm sure your mil will get plenty of time with your ds. Don't let him stay there again if you're not 100% happy about it.

daftdame Sat 13-Jul-13 19:01:47

My advice would be to ignore the emotional blackmail. Your DH has dealt with this aspect.

Smile sweetly and thank her for looking after your DS, while you have some me time (at your convenience) and put it down to a mad granny moment.

diddl Sat 13-Jul-13 19:10:34

Would make me feel like cutting off my nose to spite my face tbh!

Of course there's nothing wrong with her speaking to her son-but it was something she could have asked OP-and no need for the tears.

She was the one who hadn't visited-she hadn't been told she couldn't.

It's all about her & what she wants to do, isn't it?

Okay so consensus is that DP should be her point of contact, but I'd rather she'd spoken to him before it got to crying down the phone as willyoudothefandango won't let her bond with the baby. She has never mentioned wanting to see him more/alone.

I want to reiterate that I have never complained about her wanting to see him or denied that she's a great GM. I just don't want to be told I have to hand over a 7th of my precious time with DS for the short time I am in mat leave.

daftdame Sat 13-Jul-13 19:31:14

I would say you don't have to hand ds over. People often do behave badly. I was amazed when my own mother woke my ds up from his sleep and argued with my brother over perfectly reasonable parenting.

It does seem to be something grandparents go through. My mil is no saint either, plenty of examples of atrocious behaviour.

However if you think she is able to care for your ds well enough, you could ignore all this and just take the bits you like. Or not...up to you entirely.

WinkyWinkola Sat 13-Jul-13 19:53:07

Another great thread to teach us all how NOT to behave as gps.

pianodoodle Sat 13-Jul-13 21:27:38

I don't see this thread as a reason for anyone to say MILs can do no right etc... And how they're not looking forward to being one.

Just don't go crying to your son with problems about DIL you haven't mentioned before?!

I'm sure you'll be fine as long as you don't start acting all dickish.

DontmindifIdo Sat 13-Jul-13 21:40:45

So let me get this right - you invite her over into your home every week when DP isn't there and host her, allowing her time with her DGC, but because you are there as well, she doesn't think this is good enough and she needs to see DGC weekly without you? You've weekly extended hospitality to this woman without your DP there in order so she can bond with her DGC and she's basically said "no, I don't want to have to deal with WillYou, I want the child handed over to me alone."

I'd find that a little insulting, and would reconsider having her over without DP there again because she's obviously doesn't want to spend time with you. If she's not capable to bond with a child playing with them weekly, then that's her problem, not yours.

Don't feel bullied into doing what she wants because of what BIL and SIL did, it doesn't sound like they gave her a lot of time with DN because they wanted to do it for MIL, it sounds like they did it because they needed the help. You don't, and do you think they would have done that if they didn't need to?

BangOn Sat 13-Jul-13 22:06:00

Don't let her manipulate you.

It's weird for a gp to be demanding alone time with a gc. Her primary goal should be doing whatever she can to support you both as new parents: if that happens to involve her spending time with your ds alone then great. If not, that shouldn't be a problem for her. She's puttig the cart before the horse imo.

curlew Sat 13-Jul-13 22:23:21

"Why can't all these desperate gps stop being so desperate and just behave normally? "

Or, why can't all these defensive DILs stop being so precious and behave normally?"

Works both ways, you know!

fabergeegg Sat 13-Jul-13 22:37:08


She absolutely went over your head. You are the person at home with the baby, so if she took him out for a day, you're the parent that would be affected. Furthermore, it sounds like you are the person MIL has been chatting with where the baby is concerned. Crying to her son is spectacularly immature and ill-judged. It puts your son in an awkward position (which woman does he choose to support?) and she's made it harder for you two to work together about your access to the baby - since she will obviously run crying to your hubbie if she's not offered the deal she wants.

I think GP bonding is a lot of rubbish. GPs always bond, sooner or later. They're irreplaceable. But they don't have a right to have weekly input.

If you don't need anyone to look after your baby and you have no wish for free time, that's your prerogative. You're the one who carried him and you're probably the one he needs to be with at this point. I've noticed grandparents are playing their violins a lot more recently and harping on about their rights. Where children are concerned there aren't any rights, only responsibilities. Their responsibility is not to create dissent but to support the family unit at the direction of the parents, as and when they're able. And of course, provided it doesn't happen all the time, they should spoil their grandchildren rotten when they do see them.

fabergeegg Sat 13-Jul-13 22:40:04

And why is your MIL viewing you as a threat? At six months, your baby will not be able to give her more satisfaction if she sees him alone.

curlew Sat 13-Jul-13 22:42:27

It's only "going over her head" if you regard the father as the senior parent. hmm

What is actually is,ins her talking to her son. I realise that a woman having a relationship with her son is considered unreasonable behaviour by many dils, but still.....

pianodoodle Sat 13-Jul-13 22:54:19


I'm sure there are many "precious" DILs out there.

The OP doesn't seem to be one though and she hasn't stopped MIL from bonding at all.

Would you phone up your son crying because your needs have not been sufficiently met despite the fact that you get plenty of time with a grandchild, simply because it doesn't meet your expectations? No one has acted "precious" in this scenario apart from the MIL.

It is all about her wants - that is selfish and not how a grandparent should be supporting the family.

Mamacj Sat 13-Jul-13 23:03:22

With all this don't feel
Pressurised, I learnt a few things on maternity leave- I didn't want to leave my baby but still wanted to get hair cut now and again so someone put it- use and abuse for ur own benefit. I think the Bonding thing is a bit strange - all kids just want their mums and dads at the end of the day but the offer for some babysitting is good. I thought mil was comin over today as she hasn't seen ds for 6weeks but the weather was too good to come over- couldn't believe it!

TotallyBursar Sat 13-Jul-13 23:29:32

One aspect that I think is quite unhelpful is her fist dgc - I think that as she has been acting as a co-parent (regardless of any advice offered to S/BIL she has taken on lots of hours of sole care), her only other parenting experience has been with her own children so she doesn't see that actually you are offering a perfectly normal grandparent relationship.

She may not know how she will bond with your baby because she has never experienced it. However silly she is coming across she might feel legitimate worry she won't be able to have the same kind of relationship as she does with dgc1 - many parents go through this when having second children - and doesn't realise she actually shouldn't be expecting to because so far she hasn't actually been a grandparent, she has been a heavily involved almost 3rd parent.

Mix that all together with her being a drama llama and a bit of a wally and you end up getting phoned at work by your sobbing mother hmm

You aren't restricting the contact that works for your son. No 6 month old needs to be away from their mother in order to bond with anybody.
Keeping your boundaries will do more good for future relations than giving in and growing a resentment.
You will be happier, gm will bond in the time agreed and most importantly your son will have a stable unit of people that love him and know where they stand.
She has kept a reign on her bad behaviour, keep on with your firm boundaries of what's acceptable to help her continue.
You and your DH are on the same page and if you can compromise (well you can as mentioned, if she can agree) then it should help everyone find a happy medium.

foreverondiet Sat 13-Jul-13 23:54:07

Use her in the way it suits you - if it was me, I'd agree to a couple of hours a week two or three times a week to go the gym. Whole day not necessary etc at this age but maybe appropriate at around 2 years? If she has him 2 x 3 hours a week he'll be very familiar - could also visit as a family at weekend. Again with overnights I would jump at that free babysitting to go out with DH but once a week might be a bit often at 6 months.... Don't dwell on it or get upset just work out how to use to your advantage!

DuelingFanjo Sat 13-Jul-13 23:57:58

I think, if you feel like she should have come straight to you and been a grown up, then you need to go straight to her and say that you don't feel comfortable with him going to her for full days so that isn't going to happen but maybe she could take him out for a walk as she has suggested, for an hour or two.

Flibbedyjibbet Sun 14-Jul-13 00:02:54

Your son is still very young to be away from you for long periods of time so I wouldn't be happy with the full day set up either in your shoes.DD2 is 8 months old and I've probably had 5 hours away from her in total (3 occasions). I'm not being PSB, she is a Mummy's girl, ebf and won't take a bottle.

Playing devils advocate though, why does she have to speak to you and not the child's other parent.?

WaitakereWaif Sun 14-Jul-13 00:19:06

A granny here ....and I do not think you are being unreasonable to be cross.

Firstly ...there is no "head to go over"! and zero "rank to pull", because NO-ONE outranks you when it comes to your baby!! Luckily your husband obviously knows that smile Your MIL chose to talk about her issues directly with him, but he backed your wishes 100%.
Do not be held to ransom by these ultimatums!!
Grandparents do not need to be alone with their hrandchild to bond. Full stop. I have had babysat for my GC on seberal occasions as his mum hyas become more confident about leaving him ....but she only developed that confidence because I was around when she was!! I visit ...she cleans ... or irons ...I make sure DG is happy smile/ We share....and chat together when DG is cheerfully playing!!
We go shopping ....she shops, I entertain the passenger in the trolley smile

Please don't let yourself be held to ransom over this. One on one time is something that happens as needed, or as it works for you .....not an entitlement for GPs and absolutely not a necessity!!!
Don't leave your baby until you are happy about it.

fabergeegg Sun 14-Jul-13 01:32:36

WaitakereWaif you sound like the perfect grandparent. How unreasonable it is to expect every DIL to single-handedly create the perfect access situation you describe, without a mature and loving MIL on the other side. Maybe you should write a book and those of us who are less fortunate in our MIL can give them out as Christmas presents smile

WinkyWinkola Sun 14-Jul-13 01:55:35

Curlew, which "defensive dil" are you referring to? The op sounds very reasonable.

Or are you of the automatic mil defender brigade that lurks on MN, who refuse to consider each case as it stands?

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sun 14-Jul-13 02:19:29

bollocks she needs to spend one on one time with him.

what exactly about your presence is ruining bonding between them confused

curlew Sun 14-Jul-13 08:11:00

winkywinkola- you generalised about "all these desperate gps". So I generalised back about "all these defensive dils"

And I don't see any automatic mil defenders. What I see is that if someone wrote "My MIL......." and accidentally pressed "post" without writing anything else, there would be 10 posts saying "how dare she, the toxic bitch" before the OP had finished typing "has just had her living room painted pale yellow- and is wondering what colour curtains to buy, any ideas?" Or "has just saved my child's life by her expert knowledge of CPR" or has asked me what I want for my birthday- what shall I ask for ?" Or "has just told me a fantastic joke I want to share"

WinkyWinkola Sun 14-Jul-13 08:25:27

All these desperate GPS - I was referring to the ops and my dcs gps actually.

And really? You think you'd get a barrage of kill the bitch mil posts just from mentioning the word mil? Try it. Let's do an experiment.

I think there are just as many problematic dils as there are difficult mils.

CabbageLooking Sun 14-Jul-13 08:29:40

The wisest piece of advice I have ever seen on mumsnet is simply this: "be kind". I completely understand where the op is coming from as I have a similar MIL myself. She drives me mad, makes me feel like I am keeping her DGS from her BUT she loves him and they enjoy spending time together. Personally I think that, within reason, and without doing anything that makes you uncomfortable, it would do no harm to say yes to her request. It would be the kind thing to do.

curlew Sun 14-Jul-13 08:44:00

"I think there are just as many problematic dils as there are difficult mils."

So do I. But it's just you and me on Mumsnet!

diddl Sun 14-Jul-13 09:01:56

I agree.

I was very possessive of my PFB & could barely stand my mum to hold her, let alone my MIL.

But often the "problem" is that you just don't get on as well with your MIL & naturally turn to your mum first.

It's not a slight.

I think also some MILs are so fearful of being "second best" that they ruin any existing relationship.

My MIL isn't 2nd best GM.

But she isn't & never will be as important to me as my own mum.

Fantail Sun 14-Jul-13 09:07:04

The crying thing is a bit weird, 10year olds do that, not adults.

My parents didn't see DD until she was 4 months old, they have a great bond with her. They isn't need one-on-one time or overnight says to do this. In fact, DF has said that they were wondering how the bond would develop and whether it would be "love at first sight" or take a while to develop. In their case it was th former. DD loves them and they love her.

HeffalumpTheFlump Sun 14-Jul-13 09:11:43

I don't agree with the way the mil has gone about this at all. There was no need for an emotional confrontation when a calm conversation with either her son or dil would have sufficed. I think she is expecting far too much too soon due to her relationship born out of necessity with her other dgc.

All of this said, I think it all comes from a place of anxiety that she won't have the same relationship with the ops child which is actually quite nice. After reading all the threads on here where the pil favour other gc it's good to hear mil is making it clear that the ops dc is just as important to her as her other gc, she's just going about it the completely wrong way!

I do very much agree though that the mil seems to only know how to bond with her gc by actually playing the mothers role rather than the role of a gm. Although maybe not her fault, this is not at all fair on the op. I think a conversation needs to be had to question this as otherwise it will cause endless problems.

TotallyBursar Sun 14-Jul-13 09:25:21

I'm quite often on MIL's side and do tend to try and gently call out precious or pfbness.

Two things though -
By virtue of being a mil you know these are women who have done it before, they have been the first time mum trying to find a parenting groove and adjust to all that having a new person entails. Most reasonable people will remember that and try to make it a bit easier. There are plenty of stories of MILs saying the equivalent of 'count your blessings my mil/dm was terrible' while doing the exact same thing.
I do think grandparents should be held to slightly higher standards than, say, an over enthusiastic sil who doesn't yet have any dc.

Secondly why is it so frowned on here to be closer to your own mother? People have said to op's that they are unreasonable for this. I have boys and girls, I certainly do not expect future wives to find me a replacement for their own mum when they are having a baby or are ill. Or to give me equal access on pain of tantrum when they are knackered, sore, needing to get boobs and bits out - it would be lovely to be close enough to be able to offer that comfort but can completely understand wanting your own mum. That's not to say we won't have a good relationship (or try to) but why would you think it is unreasonable to not be given equal footing? In the same way I wouldn't turn my son away and tell him to take it up with his mil.
An adjustment for me as a parent will be letting them go, but I will bloody well expect him to be loyal to his wife and stand by the mother of his child - if that means telling me no, so be it but I don't want a son that runs after me at the expense of his family. There's plenty of that on here too 'I don't want to lend family all our savings, mil pressuring DH' or 'inlaws have never spent time with our dc and think I'm unreasonable to not let her go on a 2 week holiday with them. DH has caved to his mother and insists I say no as he can't'.

There are some shockingly awful people posted about here and selection bias means there will mostly be awful mils in exactly the same way there seems to be no decenct husband in the country - but we know that's not the case.

jaggythistle Sun 14-Jul-13 09:33:43

No its pants.

My DC see both sets of GPs about once a month and have bonded fine, DS1 loves them and chats on the phone all the time. DS2 is a bit smallwe but also seems to love seeing them. I've never left either of them overnight and the oldest is nearly 4, its not compulsory. (except when DS2 was born ! )

DS1 sees his uncles even less and its still excited to Skype the one who he never really sees as he lives a very long plane ride away.

It's your baby, take the help that suits you, not what MIL demands. sad

middleagefrumptynumpty Sun 14-Jul-13 11:25:59

I think you are being quite reasonable and have already shown that you are accommodating her. However, I would NEVER give into emotional blackmail. Tell her straight that she can have him for a few hours, but you won't put up with hysterics when it comes to YOUR baby.

Just to update: Popped round to MiL's with DS and she nonchalantly said "If you ever fancy an hour or two to yourself feel free to give me a ring as I'd love to have DGS for an hour or so, maybe take him for a nice walk in the pram." Now if she'd done that last bloody week she'd have saved me a thread grin I of course said "Oh that'd be lovely, I'll give you a ring in the week and may pop to the gym or something."

Then she mentioned taking him out for the day to a seaside town an hour plus away and must have seen from my face that I wasn't comfortable with that and said maybe next summer when he's a bit older, which I'd also be happy with.

In conclusion, I was capable of being reasonable and so was she! wink

DontmindifIdo Sun 14-Jul-13 20:44:28

oh good! BTW, I was thinking about this earlier. Because DS was bfed, DH didn't get more than 2 hours alone with him before DS was 6 months, in fact DS was nearly a year old before DH had a whole day with DS without me being there.

DontmindifIdo Sun 14-Jul-13 20:47:47

Sorry, posted too soon!

But although DH hadn't had 'alone' time with DS, he was still bonded with him. DD is now 5 weeks old, and again, DH hasn't had any time with her when I've not been there too (at least in another part of the house) but they are bonding well.

The idea that you need time alone being in sole charge of a child to bond with them is quite frankly nonsense, I'm sure there's lots of other families like ours where due to bfeeding the Dad doesn't get more than a couple of hours in a stretch in sole charge of their baby, yet have a great relationship with them.

Don't let anyone try to push you into thinking that the only way for someone to bond with a child is to have time alone with them.

Ragwort Mon 15-Jul-13 12:06:48

Agree with curlew - the voice of sanity. Out of interest what are your childcare plans when you return to work? Are you really saying you are happy to leave your baby in a nursery for 7-8 hours a day but struggle with a loving DGM looking after her for half a day or so hmm - sounds odd to me. And wouldn't you like to have DGM on board in case your DD is ever unwell and can't go to nursery?

There does seem to be so much anti-MIL feeling on Mumsnet, and much of it is totally unreasonable grin.

I would have loved to have my parents or MIL near me when I had my baby - none were near enough to ever help out with childcare or even just to spend time with their DGC.

2rebecca Mon 15-Jul-13 13:18:28

That sounds much more sensible. The idea of grandparents needing regular time alone with a baby "to bond" sounds bonkers, they haven't got the hang of the fact that they are not a parent this time round. My kids' grandparents lived several hours away so they saw the kids whenever it was convenient for all involved.
Now the kids are teenagers they go over and stay with the grandparents in the holidays, go away with them without a parent etc. It hasn't impaired the bonding at all. The grandparent/ aunt etc bond is completely different to the parent child bond.
The best way for grandparents to have a good life long relationship with their grandchildren is to get on well with their adult children and their spouses and offer help when needed, not try and push the surrogate parent angle.

Thymeout Mon 15-Jul-13 13:25:05

i agree with Curlew and Ragwort. i can also remember umpteen threads from new mothers complaining that it was more difficult for them to bond with their new babies because the house was so full of people or their DM or MIL were always there.

I do think time alone helps the bonding process. The granny feels responsible and the baby turns to them for comfort. It's a two-way process. We're only talking about a couple of hours here. Perhaps MIL was beginning to feel she wasn't trusted.

I'm glad OP has managed to come to a compromise with her mil. It really is worth making an effort over this. Grannies don't have rights, but babies do - to have a relationship with both sides of the family.

pianodoodle Mon 15-Jul-13 13:40:36

Let's not waste time worrying about the proportion of rude MILs to rude DILs or who gets the worst deal.

If someone is an unreasonable person in general they'll probably fill both roles at some stage smile

Yesterday's rude DIL is probably today's rude MIL - maybe even with new and improved rudeness from all the experience!

Ragwort if when I return to work MiL is able to have DS (she works a lot) on a regular basis I would be happy with that. I work 9-5 a long commute away, when I go back to work I will have to adjust to spending much less time with DS. But during my maternity leave I am not willing to commit to 1 day every week where I have to hand him over. This is one time in his life that I can devote myself to him entirely and I don't think that's it's okay that I have to disregard my feelings so that MiL can have him alone.

I also don't think that she's thought through how she would be able to have him. She works 5am-1/2pm each day (sometimes she takes either Wednesday or Sunday off, sometimes working 7 days). She has DN mon, wed, fri afternoons and approx 1-2 saturday nights per month. If she takes Wednesday off she has DN all day, he is 2.5 and a handful. When she has him she has to get her mum to help as she can't cope alone. DN is very jealous of DS, having both together would be a disaster. Sunday is DP's only day off so that's a no go. So as far as I can see she could do tue or thurs afternoon.

Whoever said about time spent with versus MiLs, Taft doesn't apply here. My DM does not spend lots of time alone with him either. I know someone up thread suggested that MiL take DS 2-3 times per week. Surely in the interest of fairness I'd then have to so the same for my DM.

YoniWheretheSunDontShine Mon 15-Jul-13 14:14:12

where does all this bonding with GC come from?

what sorts of relationships do GP expect?

I saw mine a few times a year due to distance and tons of us.
I have fond memories, the handbag and sweets and the girdle.

I don't feel bereft or anything I didn't need them to parent me!

All this staying over night - alone time, bonding bonding bonding, it sounds like madness?!

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 14:24:40

I adored my grandmother she lived 1500 MILES FROM ME shock

Thurlow Mon 15-Jul-13 14:26:44

Yoni, no, it's not essential. But I suspect a lot of GPs would like to be close to their GC. It's beyond me why so many people on MN think that GPs who would like to see their GC regularly are somehow thinking that they are the parents, or that they want to do it all over again. To me, that's bonkers too.

They don't have to see them regularly to be close, but if they do live nearby then it seems a shame for them not to see the GC regularly. The time alone aspect is presumably because they want to feel trusted too. My parents love having DC overnight for silly little reasons like the fact that DC is in an awesome mood first thing in the morning, they love those 7am cuddles they wouldn't get unless she stayed over. My DC has spent time alone with my parents since they were tiny, it means she has been happy from a baby to be alone with them and see them as 'carers', if that makes any sense, and in the long-term this is great for everyone. You say you didn't need your GPs to parent you, which is great, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with GPs being close to their GC to look after them regularly and for the GC to feel completely comfortable with them from a young age.

In the OP's case I fully agree with her that maternity leave is so short it isn't ideal to not have your DC one day a week, and I think she's reached a great compromise. But all this complaining that GPs who want to be involved are trying to steal your baby away from you... It's just odd.

WinkyWinkola Mon 15-Jul-13 14:37:01

Funny. My mil actually said to me if she could take my ds1 to be a mum again, she would. That's nice isn't it?

DontmindifIdo Mon 15-Jul-13 14:40:40

Thurlow - but in this case, the MIL sees her DGS weekly for a few hours as it is, it's just she doesn't think she can bond with the OP, her DIL being in the house at the same time. There's a lot of this amongst grandparents and i dont understand why the view is that you need to have alone time with a child to bond, if the parents are there then you can't. Yes, it's different if the parents are there too because they are the ones 'in charge', but it seems really odd that so many people feel they can't have a relationship with a child unless they get to be the one who makes decisions for a while, not just via spending time playing/reading stories/having fun with them.

As I said, many Dads who's DP's breast feed their DCS don't get much more than a couple of hours max 'alone time' with their DCs at this stage in the baby's life (I believe the OP said her DS was 6 months old).

Thurlow Mon 15-Jul-13 14:45:38

I'm not saying its necessary. I'm just saying I don't think there's generally anything deeply nefarious about wanting a bit of time on their own with their GC.

I know from my parents point of view, as they've never had alone time with my older-than-my-DC nephews, not even 5 minutes to the local park, that it makes them feel completely untrusted.

It would be really interesting to know how much interaction our parents generation had with their GPs. It might be a generational thing, that they grew up spending a lot of time alone with their GPs, and they have based their expectations on that?

umpti67 Mon 15-Jul-13 14:52:22

Mine definitely opens up more if she's with her GP and we're not there. I think one to one time is good, if the gp is someone you trust. Demanding a full day if it doesn't suit you is out of order. But I think that's a lovely compromise - I'd have bitten the hand off someone will to help for a few hours a week. I had no relationship with any of my gp. They lived a long way away but also none of them were capable of being nice to us caring for us.

babybythesea Mon 15-Jul-13 16:26:23

Isn't it the way she went about it that is the problem? Rather than what she wants?

She wants to have time with her DGC - fantastic. But why on earth didn't she mention it on one of her regular visits rather than making a big deal of it by phoning in tears? On most things, DH is the baby's parent every bit as much as the OP and has equal say, but in this case he doesn't. Because it's not his time he's offering out. If he was the main carer, off on paternity leave to spend time with his baby, then it would be his call. But you can't make unilateral decisions about your partners time. Mat leave goes so quickly anyway - the OP is not alone in not wanting to give up the little time she has to devote exclusively to her baby before returning to work.

She may well have been upset. In which case you wait until you calm down before making the call. Phoning in tears is an attempt at emotional blackmail, rather than trying to have an adult discussion about it. It's the difference between saying "I wondered if you'd like a bit of help - I am happy to have DGC for a bit if you want to do things" and "Stamp! Wail! Sob! I neeeeeeed to have the baby all by myself or it's just not fair."
I'd be delighted with the first, pissed off with the second, and yet they basically want the same thing.

babybythesea Mon 15-Jul-13 16:27:44

(Oh, and the fact she did eventually go with option 1 and talk about it rationally shows she does know how to ask nicely - like a toddler trying a tantrum first, didn't get what you wanted, now ask nicely like you really know you should have done to start with!)

Squitten Mon 15-Jul-13 16:34:30

YANBU to be irked at how she went about it but don't let it ruin the relationship.

She is naturally going to be more comfortable talking to her son than to you and it sounds like he handled it well so it's great that you're both on the same page. It also sounds like you have got her to negotiate down to something you are happy with so that's great for you all. She sounds like hard work for sure!

Keep a mind towards the future though OP. I have a 4yr old, a 2yr old and another on the way and I think I'd happily hand my kids over to ANYONE who asked for an hour's peace right now! smile

Thymeout Mon 15-Jul-13 17:54:57

The biggest change has been mothers going back to work while their dcs are still very young. So..mothers are more possessive about their babies while they are still at home. The time is so precious. i don't know why OP hadn't suggested MIL took the baby out on her own in the pram long ago. I used to push my ebf dgs round the park so my dil could have a nap even in the early weeks. We both knew she wouldn't be able to sleep if she could hear the baby crying and dgs settled better in the pram.

Grannies are often expected to pick up the slack in childcare and need to have a more active relationship before suddenly being given the child to look after. Or they know they will have less time with gcs because once they are in full-time nursery access will be limited.

In the past, it was all more relaxed.

But regarding the DM/MIL access problem. I know it's easier to rely on DM, but do think of the children. I know mine feel slightly 2nd class gc because my MIL - for practical reasons - spent more time with her dd's children than she did with mine.

I think often it's MIL trying to make sure she's being evenhanded with gcs rather than wanting to muscle in on DIL's territory.

babybythesea Mon 15-Jul-13 18:05:40

"So..mothers are more possessive about their babies while they are still at home. The time is so precious. i don't know why OP hadn't suggested MIL took the baby out on her own in the pram long ago. "

I think you answered your second sentence with your first! I never suggested anyone take my PFB out - not because I was overly PFB but because it never occurred to me. She slept really well snuggled against me and so that's what I did - took a nap with her curled up next to me on the bed. I wouldn't have wanted anyone to take her out so I could sleep because I treasured the chance to sleep next to her. With PSB, I'd love to do that more - I can, if someone takes PFB out for me and leaves me with the baby!

I've not suggested it as I didn't want it. I love taking DS out in the pram. He naps well on me and I love having him there. I also haven't suggested my DM take him out as I've repeatedly said but posters seem to keep harping back to DiLs favouring their family over the ILs.

Thymeout Mon 15-Jul-13 18:51:20

But, Willyou, in your original post it's clear that DM has had ds twice as much as MIL. So quite reasonable to think this is an issue. Especially in terms of you MIL's relationship with her other gc's.

i was replying to a poster upthread who wondered if different expectations were generational.

Ime, there is a difference, tho' fortunately both my dd and my dil are v grateful for an occasional break. If you'd let your mil do a bit of solo pram pushing, perhaps you'd have avoided the current upset? I do feel for you wanting to make the most of your maternity leave, but, v gently, it needs to be pointed out that there could be consequences further down the line.

MiL works 5am-1pm, she will not do evenings at ours as she goes to bed at 7pm. So she doesn't have him if I go for an evening gym class only a daytime 1 as I'd have to take him to hers and pick him up at 9:30pm way after his bedtime and hers.

Likewise if we wanted a babysitter for a meal out she will only do an overnight at hers, whereas my mum will pop round and sit with him here for a couple of hours. The overnights done so far are a red herring, they'd done 1 each until my birthday last weekend. The next 1 will be MiL's.

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