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How have people achieved a good balance?

(47 Posts)
fruitloop101 Mon 01-Nov-10 11:49:49

I'd love to hear what people do when grandparents visit for the weekend....

My MIL is VERY excited about her first granddaughter - which is lovely! However, whenever she turns up (which is a lot - averaging about one in every three weekends at the mo!), I come under a lot of pressure to allow her to take my baby out for long walks alone etc. It's clear she wants to do this without involving me.

Of course they should enjoy time together alone, but I also work full time and naturally weekends are extremely precious. And I have no issues with us all hanging out together, involving MIL in our lives, etc.

So what arrangements have folk found that work for them? What is a reasonable expectation on all sides? Is it reasonable to feel somewhat excluded when repeated demands for one-on-one time are made, or should I just embrace the enforced "break" (which I don't ask for!!).

TrillianAstra Mon 01-Nov-10 11:51:07

In what way are you potentially being unreasonable? What is the question so I can say YANBU or YABU?

upahill Mon 01-Nov-10 11:51:50

One in every three weekends isn't over the top.

You are very lucky.

Ryoko Mon 01-Nov-10 11:58:01

My Boy's grandparents don't look after him at all.

DF parents are in Cornwall, my parents are close but my mum said from the start her looking after kids days are over, and I wouldn't let my dad anywhere near him.

I read somewhere that parents should get a break 1 day a week for "us" time, the nearest we get is the odd "me" time randomly, which for me last time was an 18 hour long bender at a frends house about 2 weeks ago.

quizling Mon 01-Nov-10 11:59:44

I think 1 in 3 weekends is a lot, especially if weekends are your main time with your daughter and MIL insists on taking her out alone. You're her mum and you get first dibs.

Fibilou Mon 01-Nov-10 12:04:41

You think one in three weekends is a lot ? My MIL comes over one afternoon a week and usually at least once at the weekends. I work 27 hours a week and also do party plan. You don't say how old your DD is but mine is 9 months old, into absolutely everything and I am very grateful for MILs visits as I know that on Wednesday afternoons I am going to get 2 hours where either Nanny entertains Kitty in the house or takes her out. Why do you mind MIL taking her out alone ?

yama Mon 01-Nov-10 12:04:52

Personally I think your MIL is being unreasonable. My parents and in-laws are either invited to spend time with us or we visit them.

Any one-on-one time evolves naturally and with everyone's blessing.

And I think one in every three weekends is a lot if she isn't actually invited

staranise Mon 01-Nov-10 12:07:22

I have similar issues with my mother, who is also very obsessed with getting one-on-one time alone with her grandchildren. TBH, now that the children are older and I'm a SAHM, I appreciate the time off but when DD1 was a baby and I worked long hours, my mother's insistence on taking DD out all the time and doing all the feeding/dressing etc (excluding me) was irritating beyond belief. I put up with it because we didn't see my mum that often (we lived abroad) but if we'd seen her every one in three weekends, I would have been upset.

Can't you say to her something like 'I don't get to see DD a lot during the week so I'd rather we all went out together?' Could she visit DD during the week - perhaps collect her from nursery early one day etc? As to less frequent visiting...hmmm, tricky and probably best discussed first with your DH.

PutTheKettleOn Mon 01-Nov-10 12:08:42

how old is DD? I find it a bit odd that she wants to take her out alone tbh, especially as if she is a baby it's not like she can interact that much on a long walk!

Perhaps just let her do it every now and then, not every time she comes to visit? When you are there do you let them interact together without too much interference or are you a bit overbearing, you know.. 'no, she likes it like this, no, don't hold her like that etc..' Apologies if you're not, just can't think of another reason why she'd be so desperate to be alone with the baby!

However, if she wants to come round and take my two out for a long walk she is very welcome! wink We have no grandparents living remotely close by and it sucks.

fruitloop101 Mon 01-Nov-10 12:13:46


I guess my question is, what is a reasonable amount of time for an excited gran to spend alone with her grandchild in a given weekend? I'm really just interested to hear what works for other people.

My issue is that I am pushed repeatedly to allow MIL to take my baby out (repeated demands, MIL watching me and looking for every opportunity/excuse to give me a "break"), and I'd find it much easier if I was just given a bit of space to just let it all evolve naturally. This issue doesn't exist with my parents as we all just hang out. But I'm trying to resolve the conflict by offering quality alone time.

So I really just wanted to hear what other people do. For example, I don't really feel happy letting MIL go off for an entire Sunday morning with my baby, but is this unreasonable on my behalf? I don't want to be an overly possessive mum! But as I say I work full time and weekends are precious.

@upahill: do you say I am very lucky because you have more visits? or less? And yes, my baby is certainly extremely lucky to have doting grandparents!

Suda Mon 01-Nov-10 12:14:28

I think YABU to think one in three weekends is too much visiting by a grandparent but YANBU to not like being dictated to - by the sound of it - as to what form that visit takes - i.e. your MIL not you has decided she has to take GC out on her own for long walks - just take over the reins yourself again if you are not happy with this - suggest you all ( or just you and her ) go out for a walk with baby - or that she watches her while you cook dinner/lounge in bath whatever so she is getting time alone with her - if none of these suggestions are working then you will simply have to tell her that you would prefer if she wasnt out for hours on end - as you only see your new dd at weekends etc. You could maybe even give a reason why you want her back at a certain time - feed nap - grown ups meal will be ready etc etc. Another thing is that you are all not seeing much of each other when she visits if it is just her and baby out alone for a big chunk of the visit so you could say you both want to see her ( your MIL that is ) a bit more while she's visiting.

upahill Mon 01-Nov-10 12:20:50

fruitloop My MIL died 10 years ago when my youngest was one. She loved the boys and we loved her.

My parents live miles away and my mother has cancer. My father spends a lot of his time looking after his mother who still lives in her own house and his father (who is in a home) My parents are shattered. They adore my sons (and their other grandson) but can't do much to help

You never know what is around the corner.

Sure your weekends are extremely precious but so is everyone's time. Enjoy your time as a happy extended family as it may end before you expect it to.

fruitloop101 Mon 01-Nov-10 12:23:01

This is very helpful! Thanks everyone.

To answer some questions....

DD is 9.5 months old.
I guess I mind MIL taking her out alone as weekends really are the quality time I get to spend with my little girl. Of course I do see her in the week - but the weeks are nuts busy and it's not the same sort of quality time as the weekend.

Yep - when we all hang out together I make sure I'm not an interfering mum. I deliberately walk out the room leaving MIL and DD together, I go off and surf the net, or actually finish a whole cup of coffee! And then I'll join in again after an hour or so. But to be honest sometimes I'm made to feel a bit of a spare part in the whole proceedings.

@staranise - your mum sounds very similar!

I'm sure as DD gets older I'll be grateful, but at the moment I just enjoy her company, and want to relish it as it's so short lived!!

mummytinks Mon 01-Nov-10 12:24:30


Don't feel guilty because the grandparents love their grandchild, you do not owe them anything.
Which isn't meant to be as harsh as it sounds, sometimes GP have this way of saying "you have a wee break.." that kind of flattery just so that they can have their GC all to themselves without your input (which would be wrong anyway as MIL knows best) [bitter] hmm

It is totally understanable that you want to spend time with you DD, the issue is probably that you are being excluded. When my in-laws did that to me I would just say 'yes a walk would be lovely, I'll get my coat'

They actually stopped being to intrusive as they realised that actually I was his mummy and wasn't going anywhere.

messylittlemonkey Mon 01-Nov-10 12:24:53

First of all it's great that she wants to be involved, but I can imagine that it could be irritating.

My DDs see my parents once a week for a couple of hours as they live nearby so short, but regular visits suit best. They see DPs parents perhaps every other weekend for half a day or so.

DD1 who is five sometimes goes out for the day with them, but they don't take DD2 (7 months) anywhere without me or DP being there too. Not for any reason other than I prefer it that way whilst she's still small (and I get to see her all the time as I'm a SAHM, so no excuses for me to put the restrictions on!)

Anyway, you have to remember she's your baby and you have first say.

strawberrycake Mon 01-Nov-10 12:28:48

Send her to walk my ds who's never had anyone but me walk him!!! Happy for weekly loans.

WitchyFlisspaps Mon 01-Nov-10 12:30:50

I'd just say that you don't need a break but thanks for the offer. Be nice, but firm. Say you can all go out together and let MIL push the pram.

I've only left DD a couple of times with PIL (and my own parents) for maybe 2 hours tops when we go out, never on a regular basis and I ALWAYS feel panicky when I do. I know that she is safe and probably having a ball, but I am not happy being away from her. It's not a break, it's more stress and worry and to be honest I like my DD's company (even if she is only 7mo)

fruitloop101 Mon 01-Nov-10 12:30:52

@upahill - I am so sorry to hear that. Wise words indeed. I hope I am not sounding ungrateful - I am really not. My little girl is the luckiest little girl to have such wonderful family around her. I am really just for advice to make sure we're all happy - MIL included. I want her enjoy DD to the full - which was why I was asking what everyone does.

@Suda - yep, it does feel like I'm being dictated to, and yep that's exactly what I did. I gently said that we wanted to spend time with MIL too, and wanted us just to all hang out together. And I make an effort to place MIL at the centre of the action. I was just feeling guilty that I didn't give in to her repeated demands, and so wanted to know if I was being unreasonable! I think guilt is all pat of this mum thing though so should probably just get used to it!!

Squitten Mon 01-Nov-10 12:36:31

My MIL has helped me out a lot over the last few weeks as I was completing a Uni course and have had various appointments for my current pregnancy.

My DS is just turned 2 and so can walk easily, talk well and eat pretty well (when he wants to). That means that there's nothing difficult for MIL to manage about him other than a possible nappy change and they can go to the park, go to cafes together, etc. She loves to spend time with him, he loves to spend time with her and I (SAHM) have to say that it's nice to have a bit of peace and quiet.

That said, I wouldn't have done it at 9.5mths and would likely have been less keen if I was working and this was always happening on weekends. I think in your situation, there's no reason why you can't all do things together

greenbananas Mon 01-Nov-10 12:37:24

I think it's worth talking to your MIL about how you feel. If you're lucky she might understand completely and say that she was only trying to help. She might think you're tired after your working week and want a break... perhaps she will be happy if you explain that you would rather all spend time together.

When DS was very tiny, MIL was desperate to take him out alone in the pram. I wasn't comfortable with that and said so (although it was hard for me to be so assertive!) She was disappointed but not particularly offended.

These days I invite her over at least once a week, and she often takes DS into a separate room or into the garden to play. DS adores her and their time alone has evolved quite naturally. I think our relationship is stronger because I was able to be honest with her in the early days.

Fibilou Mon 01-Nov-10 12:41:33

So what you are talking about is a couple of hours every 3 weeks. I'm going to break the mould here and say yes, YAB a bit U.
Personally I think the fact that your MIL is watching you like a hawk for any chance to have some alone time speaks volumes, maybe if you just relaxed a bit and let her she might not be so desperate.
MIL + baby relationships are very difficult to negotiate, I have found that keeping my previous great relationship with my own MIL has been difficult since having the baby (although I hope I have not showed it). She is desperate to keep DD overnight and I have had a lot of pressure to "lend her out" overnight but as she is still breastfeeding this has been quite easy to avoid.
I found that the less I wanted to give DD up, the more desperate MIL was to have her. A far happier medium was reached when I tried to see things from her and my husband's perspective and just rolled with it

Fibilou Mon 01-Nov-10 12:42:56

Oh and to clarify, I often now leave DD with PIL for a day - she loves it and is building a good relationship with them because of it.

fruitloop101 Mon 01-Nov-10 12:45:21

Yep - I reckon as DD grows up it will get easier and easier. Once she's walking and talking I'll probably be posting on here "why doesn't MIL take her out more?!" grin
I think she's just so little at the moment - and I really do just enjoy hanging out with her. She's such happy company.

I am quite an assertive character in my professional life. Haven't really had to be in my family life before and I must say I find it hard not to give family members what they want. But these posts are very helpful - and I feel far less of a loonie than I did earlier today!

VictoriasLittleKnownSecret Mon 01-Nov-10 12:46:38

I suspect if your MiL backed off you'd also relax.

I am with the camp which wishes they had lots of help with their children. I can't even get my youngest's father to get that involved.

VictoriasLittleKnownSecret Mon 01-Nov-10 12:48:45

x posted- I really would gently confront the issue by saying how you value the time with her and your DC and be clear. She is wrong to push you to part with your child but her enthusiasm may outweigh her recognition of this fact and you don't want to ruin a good relationship by letting this fester with either of you

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