Would you like to be on Mumsnet's research panel? We're especially keen for parents-to-be and new parents to join. You can sign up here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive on offer for your views.

Mother in law issues!

(50 Posts)
Kitkatz Sun 22-Sep-13 13:30:17

We're expecting our first baby in march and have just told my partners mum and dad the joyful news, they are understandably very excited. They live in France, and my mother in law in particular is very overbearing, bossy, and obsessed with babies. Their first reaction is to come to see the baby as soon as its born, and are expecting to stay with us in our small 3 bed semi, likely for a week or more. I've mentioned to my partner than I'm worried she will interfere, take charge of our new baby, my house, everything really, and I'll be forced into hiding! I'm worried we'll miss out on vital bonding time. Am I overreacting? Is there anyone else out there who has similarly interfering parents in law and could offer some advice on how to mediate this situation?! I'm scared this is going to create a big argument between my partner and me because he's very protective of his mum.

Doodledumdums Sun 22-Sep-13 13:37:17

My mum had this situation when I was born, DGPs and Auntie came to stay 2 weeks before I was born and stayed until a week after I was born. My mum had to sleep on a mattress in the living room at 9 months pregnant! Eventually she went to stay with her sister as she was so stressed. Then when I was born she had the total opposite of what you are fearing, no one did anything to help, so she was expected to look after a newborn, cook and clean up after my dads family. (My dad couldn't take any time
off work as he had a new business so it was a cruc
ial time.)

Anyway, 26 years later and the memory of it still stresses her out! So I'd say that if you think it's not going to work, then stick to your guns and do what is best for you and your baby.

Congratulations, babies are amazing grin

MammySam Sun 22-Sep-13 13:53:28

Hi with our first I was worried about this too for the same reasons.
We told all our family that they may come to visit but we didnt want anyone sleeeping a ours (quite a big thing as we live 300 miles away from both our families) although the were a little taken a back we explained we wanted the bonding time together. Also told them not to come when I was in labour as we wanted that time together too.
As it turned out we had everyone down for the labour and the birth as things took a dramatic turn for the worse (long story!) however we felt so much better when we had made it clear what we wanted people to do.
Best of luck with your situation and if you approach the matter with your oh by saying you want e time together, lets tell our families that's what we want instead of your family are overbearing (!) it might go down better?!
Lots of sympathy from me! We've had lots of these conversations in our house and still aw to sme extent 4 yrs later!! :S
X

Stom91 Sun 22-Sep-13 13:54:06

I've told. My dp I don't want to see anyone for the first week at least.. I want to spend time just us as a new family....
There is plenty of time to see the baby it's not going to go anywhere.... I don't see why people want to rush to see the baby...
Tell your dp that you want to get used to having a baby around and enjoy your lil family for a few days before everyone bombards you... You're going to want to rest after the birth anyway...
At the end of the day its your home too and you shouldn't be pushed out or made to feel uncomfortable in your own home.
Hope All goes well with the pregnancy and birth xx

tearoomtrash Sun 22-Sep-13 13:56:09

Could they stay in a hotel and just come round each day for a few hours to see the baby & have lunch with you? If you were in hospital recovering, they would only be able to come in at visiting time - why should it be any different when you're recovering at home? You need some time each day just for you, your husband and the baby.

I wouldn't want to have house guests in that first week, relatives or not.

LadyFlumpalot Sun 22-Sep-13 14:01:37

I had this with MIL. DH was too wussy worried about upsetting his mum to deal with it so in the end I just dealt with it.

Was very painful and terrifying but I steeled myself and said "We would love you to come visit when DC is a week or two old. We will be having no visitors until we say we are ready."

She was a bit offended at first but was fine again a few days later.

LittlePeaPod Sun 22-Sep-13 14:16:58

Oh Op I totally feel your pain. My MIL is overbearing, opinionated and judgemental don't get me wrong even though she displays all these characteristics I do like her. We are due to have our first 2nd January and even though I am strong willed, I had similar concerns of her coming over taking over, making me feel inadequate, turning up as and when she pleases lives 10 min drive from us etc. DF soon to be DH tomorrow grin and I discussed my concerns and he told his mother straight that we needed want tie alone with the bay and not to just turn up. He told her in the initial weeks we would invite people round. She wasn't happy about it but has now accepted the situation. I have to say she is on bet behaviour at the moment and I can only put it down to her wanting an invite round.

Can your DH speak to his mum? Old they sty in a hotel or with other family members?

Kitkatz Sun 22-Sep-13 14:17:00

Thanks for the posts! I'm going to suggest the hotel idea to my OH and that they wait a week or two before coming over but I just don't think he gets it..! I'm not known for my tact, but I'll take the softly softly 'we need to bond' approach and see how that it swallowed! I'm imagining life will be hard enough with a new baby and I know that having family to stay will be unbearable! I reckon he'd wimp out of telling his mum too. Oh Lordy.

Kitkatz Sun 22-Sep-13 14:25:41

Congrats littlepeapod on the upcoming nuptials! That's a whole other issue for us! LOL. Yes, your MIL sounds just like my MIL. In many ways I'm so relieved she lives 1000 miles away but when I do see her, it's in short, intense, week long episodes and I'm usually pulling my hair out by the end of it. She has good intentions, and we do get on, she's just very opinionated, she has set ways of doing things, she is an 'expert' on babies and I'm going to feel so inadequate. sad I think it could work out 2 ways, either they come as they have planned and we all row, or they get offended!

LittlePeaPod Sun 22-Sep-13 14:36:09

Kitkatz thank you. I am so excited and nervous but this time tomorrow I will be a married woman grin. Your post sounds like you are describing my MIL. Ha ha ha.. My thoughts, my MIL was offended too when we addressed it but she has come to accept it. Ultimately you need to do what is right for you (as a new mum with all the valunerabilities that we will face at that time). What matters is you feel comfortable in your own home at such a special time. Don't worry about offending her, she will get over it. My MIL did.. smile

Oceansurf Sun 22-Sep-13 14:42:45

My MIL did this. Was planning on staying for a week 2 days after giving birth. When I objected (bad birth, forceps, episiotomy plus had to inject twice daily) because I was just in no fit state to have a houseguest, she flipped her lid. Two days later she insisted that DH took DD on his own and stay at theirs where she had a crib next to her bed for DD ( I might add I was breastfeeding, and was told, well, the baby can have bottles for a few days) hmm

She's a nutter. We now don't talk. Just saying!

littlemonkey2013 Sun 22-Sep-13 14:43:01

i had the same issue of MIL suggesting she will come and stay as soon as baby is born. i have told DH to make sure she wont be staying with us at least for the 1st 6 weeks. i put it more as a privacy issue than just bonding. ie im expecting to be bleeding heavily, so dont want embarrassment if i get caught short and i need to walk underwearless from bathroom to bedroom if i need to change.
also for breastfeeding, i have never done it before so if i need both my boobs hanging out i want to be able to do that with only DH there. i am told newborns feed very often so dont want to have to spend all my time in the bedroom just to get some privacy while i get to grips with feeding.

DH seems to understand this so its up to him to keep her away for that time smile

LadyFlumpalot Sun 22-Sep-13 15:36:18

The other thing that I found helpful was to point out that for 5 days after birth you will be getting home visits from the midwife which will involve intimate exams, questions about poo and all sorts of intimate things.

MIL backed down at the mental image of her DIL having her stitches examined on tne sofa!

Kitkatz Sun 22-Sep-13 15:44:45

OMG oceansurf! That's insane! But I can kind of see my own MIL concocting some similar idea! And littlemonkey- THANKYOU, you have just confirmed why they can't stay, there is only 1 toilet in the house and we don't have a spare bedroom so they'd be sleeping in the office on a air mattress. Also my FIL always sleeps on the sofa. I just need to be relaxed and let everything hang out if needs be! I think I've got some great arguments to take to DP now to help him understand my point of view.

KarmaBiatch Sun 22-Sep-13 16:02:44

oh my word.. I have same issues!

We are originally from the UK but currently live in the states, only been here since January and got pregnant in February (due in 4 weeks grin ). My PIL followed us to the states and only live half an hour away (that's a story for another day, but to say I wasn't happy is an understatement).

My parents still live in the UK and are coming to stay with us for a fortnight 5 days after the EDD, and my mum has already stated that she is purely coming to help with cooking/cleaning/relieving me of baby when I get stressed etc, and she is the kind of mum that will go out of her way to help so that we get all the time in the world to bond with baby and as a wee family (this is our first), so I'm really excited about them coming over!

My PIL are the complete opposite, they say they will arrive at a certain time, and then turn up a couple hours later (with no 'sorry we're running late' texts or anything) and then plonk themselves on the sofa and expect to be catered on for EVERYTHING! Both my MIL and FIL have lectured me about breastfeeding (it was sooo weird coming from FIL) and how 'they' did it, I.e only breastfed for a few weeks and then went on to bottles, and when I stated I wanted to express and breastfeed there was the 'oh, but how are we going to feed baby, that's nonsense'. urgh! Also, my DH brother and sister have booked to fly over 1 week after EDD to meet the baby, without even asking us if that's appropriate, but MIL has enabled it angry so I've made it clear that baby might not have even arrived and they should push the trip back a bit (they are also expected to be waited on hand and foot) but MIL never spoke to them and has said everything will be fine. they are so overwhelmingly selfish and all about themselves and can't even see that we don't want to be bombarded with people! The whole visitor thing stresses me more than the thought of labour! I don't want to still be establishing breastfeeding infront of a gaggle of people who want me to make them cups of tea, nor do I want to feel like I have to hide away in my.own home so that they don't feel uncomfortable with mt breastfeeding! So many issues, not enough tissues!

Oh god, sorry.. total essay there!

katebakes Sun 22-Sep-13 16:07:02

You're are NOT overreacting! I had kind of the same thing. My DH is American and has been working there and I've been living with my parents in London. It's not ideal but they're very supportive, helpful and I'm very close to them - plus the house is more than big enough and when DS arrives he'll have his nursery etc. we aren't sure where we'll live at the time being so will stay with my parents for a while.

My inlaws are very nice but have a LOT of children and very busy lives. I felt a little over whelmed staying with them for two months and even more so when my MIL kept suggesting we move in with them! In a house barely big enough for her own brood, in a different country, being far away from my parents, family and friends and not being able to drive which is a must where they live - otherwise I'd literally be isolated! I had to say 'thanks but no thanks. I'm staying here with my parents and DH can work here for a few months until he decides where he permanently wants to work.'

Then she had the bright idea of coming for the birth... Please bare in mind I haven't seen DH for 10 or so weeks. I was honest and said maybe wait a few weeks so that we can have time to bond with the baby. My parents know no to get too involved either. Just be honest and try to explain to your partner how you feel.

Good luck x

One thing to remember, no matter how expert she may be with babies when it comes to YOUR baby YOU are always the absolute expert, even when it doesn't feel like it, because noone knows your baby like you.

katebakes Sun 22-Sep-13 16:16:52

@karmabiatch - you're mum sounds like my mum smile

hermioneweasley Sun 22-Sep-13 16:18:47

If you are planning to breast feed you will want the house to yourself for at least a week so you can establish feeding. Even then you might want to be on your sofa watching tv in the night for long feeds.

I'd suggest they leave it a few weeks and then stay in a hotel.

KarmaBiatch Sun 22-Sep-13 16:19:26

Kate we must remember to be like our own mums when our kids decide to breed, and not take after our MILs grin

Kitkatz Sun 22-Sep-13 18:18:27

Thanks for all the replies, I've since had a chat with the OH and he was very quiet and didn't say much. He just told me not to worry... Hmmm. I'm pretty sure he knows my stance not and hopefully as time goes on I'll work on him a bit more!

HazleNutt Sun 22-Sep-13 19:03:52

no no that won't do. to me it sounds like your DH is saying not to worry, they will come but you'll manage and it won't be so bad. But he has to make it clear to his parents that there will be no visitors until you say so.

it's not just bonding, but the practicalities - newborns feed all the time, are you comfortable sitting in the living room with your tits out in front of PILs? If not then being forced to hide in the bedroom instead of relaxing on the sofa watching tv. How comfortable would you be taking your time in the toilet if FIL was hovering at the other side of the door?
And yes, if you're not that close and they're not helpful, they should certainly stay in a hotel.

Kitkatz Sun 22-Sep-13 19:36:02

You're right, I'm going to hold my ground on this one, but for now, I'm going to let it lie and give it time to soak in, after all, I'm 16/40 so there's time yet.

Jorior Mon 23-Sep-13 06:39:32

What is it with MILs? Don't they remember having their own babies?

I'm pregnant with DC3 and I have a very overbearing, interfering MIL. After the birth of DC1 nature took over and I found I had no problem establishing boundaries and doing what was best for me and my baby. She wasn't happy but she had to get over it. We don't get on but we have an understanding now that in my house it's my rules and in her house it's her rules.

My advice is to be firm but polite and start as you mean to go on. Good luck!

I would never have anyone staying in my house immediately after giving birth.
tell them to book a hotel.
those first few days are the most precious and if people want to visit then they are welcome but must go home afterwards!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now