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AIBU Mother in Law gave baby phone

(276 Posts)
Rooandrose Thu 25-Feb-21 22:00:39

Hey everyone,
Background - Our 11 month old baby visits my mother and father in law at their house twice a week so that my husband and I can have time off from childcare to work.
since he’s been born I’ve told all the family that a goal of mine is to keep him away from screens for as long as possible, so I never watch YouTube or any apps with him. We use the phone to listen to music on Spotify. But It’s 2021 , and I know he will eventually be using screens, but as he’s still a baby this is a really important for me to maintain this time before he starts to get interested in screens.
I also think it’s a slippery slope once you do introduce phones and tablets, they are designed to get babies hooked.

Today I casually asked how he was doing during his visit to their house and my mother in law replied saying me he was having his lunch and ‘watching his Shows’
I asked what she meant by shows, and she explained he watches a few cartoons. I explained that I was really surprised because we had told them I didn’t want him to watch screens, to which she said it was ‘only 20 mins of cartoons each visit.’
I feel really hurt and actually quite angry about this. I feel as the parents we should be the ones to introduce screens , or at least asked first if we are ok with them showing him screens.
My husband acts like everything is no big deal so has tried to stay out of it, which is also quite annoying.
I know times are different now, it’s the digital age, but I’m trying to keep my son protected from screens for as long as possible.
Also for context - after I asked my mother in law not to use her phone during my wedding .a she FaceTimed her sisters, during mine and my husbands wedding ceremony... so she has been known to ignore requests this before. AIBU ?

OP’s posts: |
Wondermule Thu 25-Feb-21 22:04:26

Slippery slope to what? Coronation Street? Deal or No Deal?

I think your demands are wayyy too precious given your mother in law is doing you a favour twice a week.

TeddyBeans Thu 25-Feb-21 22:06:49

Couldn't get mad at this

Rooandrose Thu 25-Feb-21 22:09:04

Replying - I mean a slippery slope to once he’s got cartoons he likes that they’ve introduced him to, he will want to watch more when he’s with us. He is already quite a hyper baby.

Regarding them helping us twice a week, they told us they don’t like our nanny and asked us to get rid of her so they could take him twice a week. I’m very happy to have a nanny instead but wanted them to get to see their grandson

OP’s posts: |
Thistles24 Thu 25-Feb-21 22:09:58

Honestly, you’re going to have to pick your battles when you use family for childcare, and this isn’t a big one. I remember feeling similar to you, and DS1 only watched 1 episode of in the night garden each day until he was over 2. By 2, DS3 would ask to watch Toy Story 1,2,3&4 consecutively. And sometimes I’d let him!!
Both have grown up with fantastic speech, and outside hobbies and love school, despite their different tv habits!

PurpleDaisies Thu 25-Feb-21 22:10:01

Come on. You’re getting free babysitting.

It’s hard to see how anyone could reasonably be annoyed at this.

MaizeBlouse Thu 25-Feb-21 22:10:14

I understand you're reasoning but really YABU and a bit pfb. You get free childcare twice a week from them, I wouldn't begrudge them showing him 20 mins of cartoons during this time. I can imagine caring for an 11mo is pretty knackering if you're not the parent, plus babies make a lot of mess. It sounds like there's long standing issues between you and your MIL so that maybe clouding your view. If you really don't want them showing any screens then don't accept the free childcare. And FWIW at my sons Montessori Nursery they show the kids story book cartoons on an ipad during collection time while they wait in the lobby, no where is safe OP!

VinylDetective Thu 25-Feb-21 22:11:08

So your baby is exposed to 20 minutes of TV twice a week. Your husband’s right and you’re being ridiculous.

bababra Thu 25-Feb-21 22:11:27

Not something I could get het up about during free childcare.

Love51 Thu 25-Feb-21 22:11:40

I agree and iirc the government advice does too. No benefit to screens before age 2.
How to approach it with the in laws depends on who is doing who a favour! If they are only doing a couple of hours here and there at their request id be hurt too, it isn't as if 11 month olds are hard to entertain - literally every is a novelty to them!

LouiseTrees Thu 25-Feb-21 22:12:26

You are being precious. I’m a minimal screen time individual too but when baby watches something on a phone at grandparents it doesn’t make them ask for the phone at yours if they are with you more often , unless you remind them of it by having your phone out. It’s something they associate with being at the grandparents.

Rooandrose Thu 25-Feb-21 22:12:29

Because I asked them not to use screens and they did it anyway. I’m intrigued by people’s perspectives here because I’m trying to gauge if anyone else worries about screens and babies as much as me! All research I’ve seen says it’s best to avoid for babies under 2.

OP’s posts: |
saraclara Thu 25-Feb-21 22:12:35

You said you didn't want to introduce screens, but did you specifically ask HER not to? She didn't lie to you, so presumably she didn't think she was doing anything wrong. Did she mean on a phone? Or was he watching them on TV? If the latter then you might not have made it clear what kind of screens you meant.

She's doing you a favour by providing childcare. As a GP who also occasionally has her toddler GC for childcare, I can tell you it's exhausting, and nothing like mothering my own children was when I was younger. It's a relief to put a couple of toddler cartoons on TV so I can regroup for 20 minutes and sit down with a drink. I don't think you can insist that your MIL's don't have that break.

Maggie900 Thu 25-Feb-21 22:12:39

I didn’t allow screen time for 9 months but I finally gave in to 30 mins a day whilst I hang washing out etc.

Baby still plays beautifully on his own is reaching milestones quicker than expected (now 11 months), and is still thriving.

I understand youre hurt, but I think that is more because MIL went against your wishes

Tankflybosswalkjam Thu 25-Feb-21 22:12:50

Fast forward a bit and they’ll have a screen strapped on like a pit lantern. YABU v PFB. grin

MarkRuffaloCrumble Thu 25-Feb-21 22:12:55

It’s admirable to try and keep you baby off screens, but honestly it’s not really a big deal who introduces screens to your baby - it’s not exactly up there with their first steps or first ice cream!

I’d be annoyed with your MIL for going against your wishes but I have to admit that looking after a baby even at my age (late 40s) is exhausting and I’m sure by the time I’m a grandma I’ll need to make looking after them as easy as possible if I’m expected to do it for any significant time. Your MIL is helping you both out here, so as long as the baby is safe and fed I think you may need to back off the expectations of how he’s entertained.

notacooldad Thu 25-Feb-21 22:13:12

Jesus wept Op!!!!!

Maggie900 Thu 25-Feb-21 22:14:28

Sorry, posted too soon.

I really wouldn’t get too worked up about this. Not ideal that MIL went against your wishes but I’m sure she only did it because no harm was caused and little one enjoys it.

saraclara Thu 25-Feb-21 22:14:43

He is already quite a hyper baby.
So they could do with a break for 20 minutes.

WonderWomansPants Thu 25-Feb-21 22:14:53

People are missing the point here. It doesn't matter what your request was, or whether or not some people think screentime is fine... the fact is you made this specific request to your MIL and she completely went against it. I'd be bloody pissed off too.

shhsecretsquirrel Thu 25-Feb-21 22:15:09

PFB syndrome - the second baby will come out iPhone in hand

Ostryga Thu 25-Feb-21 22:15:31

I wouldn’t be worried. It’s a pandemic, I have (and most parents) used screens constantly to get through homeschool/nursery and actually get some work done.

Pick your battles. If you don’t want your child to look at a screen for 20 minutes, pay for nursery or a childminder.

Handsoffstrikesagain Thu 25-Feb-21 22:16:23

Stop overthinking this and stop reading nonsense OP. A little bit of screen time now and again will not affect him.

Sameshirt Thu 25-Feb-21 22:17:06

I miss Deal or no Dealblush. Do you mean screens as in tv too? Watching tv with my mine on the sofa was a nice rest, when mine were little.

Ostryga Thu 25-Feb-21 22:17:08


People are missing the point here. It doesn't matter what your request was, or whether or not some people think screentime is fine... the fact is you made this specific request to your MIL and she completely went against it. I'd be bloody pissed off too.

If every grandparent lived by the rules of the parents of PFBs it would be insane. Most first time parents are a bit weird about screens, sugar etc. Thankfully it does calm down.

Clearly MIL can raise pretty good kids or op wouldn’t be married and having babies with her son!

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