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To be angry at my mother for treating my 14 month old like her own child?

(54 Posts)
AnnieDelores Thu 04-Oct-12 13:19:04

My mother comes to look after my 14 month old son two days a fortnight and travels 2 and a half hours to stay with us. She sometimes visits for weekends too with my stepdad.

She is FANTASIC with my son and has heaps of energy and love for him. He adores her too.

The problem began when she started feeding him cake and biscuits (she has an unhealthy diet) and giving him his dummy during the day and giving him proper glasses and bowls rather than his own plastic ones. I noticed he was getting a bit chubby (95th percentile) and asked her to cut back and offered alternative healthy treats for him. After seeing no improvement I asked her if she was still "spoiling" him and she took offence. She is also overly worried when he has a cold and picks him up all the time rather than encouraging him to play independently. She also doesn;t like my decision to send him to nursery two days a week because she thinks he will not get the love and attention he needs there. This is just silly as I have him all to myself on Fridays and together as a family at the weekends.

Its a long story so I'll keep to the main points. My mother was not a good parent after having me at only 19 years old. She hit me and abused me regularly. I have forgiven her for this because she has changed and is a wonderful generous grandmother and mother. But she does cross over boundaries and spoil my son so I find it difficult to manage his expectations.

Its almost as if my son is her "2nd chance" and she feels like he is hers. She was present at the birth because I asked her to be there.

She hasn't spoken to me for over a week now, despite my calls, because she is upset that I accused her of over feeding my son and thinks I am being generally snappy and difficult to get on with. I probably am, but I'm tired juggling a job and a child and trying to do my best even though I'm exhausted.

She now says she will only speak to me with my partner or her husband present which is typical dramiatic behaviour on her part.

AIBU to be fed up with this?

ClippedPhoenix Thu 04-Oct-12 13:28:18

I'm not sure how much she'd have to feed him for those 2 days every fortnight to make him put on loads of weight op?

Sounds like you have unresolved issues with your mum still op.

I know my mum indulged my son when she had it, I always saw it as what grannies do.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 04-Oct-12 13:28:34

"had it"! had him of course.

Pippa6774 Thu 04-Oct-12 13:28:52

She is fantastic with him( your own words) and none of the things you describe sound bad to me.In fact she sounds very devoted
The thing glaringly obvious to me is that you haven't forgiven your DM for your own childhood and you are projecting all this onto your son's relationship with her.

DesperatelySeekingPomBears Thu 04-Oct-12 13:34:09

Are you sure your son isn't due a growth spurt? Lots of kids look really plump. before suddenly shooting up and evening out so to speak.

Mrsjay Thu 04-Oct-12 13:36:53

get somebody else to look after him then if you are not approving of the relationship . and he is getting a bit chubby hmm he is a baby a bit of cake twice a month isn't making him put on weight ,

Fairylea Thu 04-Oct-12 13:38:34

None of that sounds wrong to me I'm afraid
... but I couldn't forgive my mother for abusing me as a child. Maybe that's the issue here. If so I really don't blame you.

TroublesomeEx Thu 04-Oct-12 13:39:24


I agree that it sounds like you have unresolved issues with your mum.

But I also agree that it sounds like she might be seeing him as her 2nd chance.

My MIL is a bit like that. She had DH at 16 and (for various reasons) she was a pretty lousy mother. I think sometimes she forgets that I knew DH when he was a youngish teenager (although we didn't get together until our mid twenties) because she paints a picture of his upbringing that I know just wasn't the case.

I think she regrets a lot of the things she did and choices she made and because she can't go back and correct them, she has massively rewritten the past.

Your mother might be in a position to 'make amends' for some of her choices now with your son.

Maybe you should let her and find some comfort in the fact she recognises she made mistakes. She might not have the power to change the past, but she can have a more positive influence on your future.

However, I suspect that what you are seeing in her behaviour now is the current day manifestation of whatever caused her to behave the way she did all those years ago - she sounds a bit self centred and immature.

As far as your baby goes, I find the old MN mantra "your baby, your rules" works well. If your mother wants to sulk - let her. I'd set clear expectations with her. And let her know it's not up for debate.

AnnieDelores Thu 04-Oct-12 14:21:43

Maybe I do have unresolved issues, and maybe events like this trigger them. I have been willing to let them go because it was a long time ago and I know she must be sorry......although she has never apologised......I've always taken her renewed generosity and love for my Son as her apology. It's difficult when she sulks and is dramatic. I'll arrange alternative childcare for next week and tell her we can talk when she is ready. I feel like I need a break from her too.

TroublesomeEx Thu 04-Oct-12 14:26:19

That sounds like a pretty good plan to me smile

ClippedPhoenix Thu 04-Oct-12 15:27:08

I second that good plan OP.

Like you, my mum wasn't up there with the best and as much as I forgave her I still have hurt sloshing around in there which comes to the fore every now and again, it's natural.

Teamumizumi Thu 04-Oct-12 16:09:36


1) Don't worry about the percentile. My DS was ENORMOUS until he was about 2. He was so fat at 12 months he just sat there like a lump. He is now 5 and pretty skinny (I hate it when he lies flat on his bed as his stomach disappears and you can play a tune on his ribs. Slightly joking, but...). Saw some pictures of DH when he was the same age and he was a baby porker too. DH is now slim (curse him). So don't panic about that

2) BUT you need to encourage healthy eating. YANBU

3) My own mother has always treated my DD as her own daughter and it is really annoying. She also took DD one afternoon AND CUT HER HAIR which I was very upset about.

Put your foot down on sweets and biscuits - tell her that it's more to do with his teeth than his weight, then it won't be too much of a criticism.

Bite your tongue about the over-mothering.

Good luck!

Teamumizumi Thu 04-Oct-12 16:10:51

It was her FIRST haircut too - and I didn't even want it cutting!

hellymelly Thu 04-Oct-12 16:23:50

My Mum was a tricky parent, I was smacked quite a bit, that kind of thing, (although fairly typical of my age group ). Your Mum may have hit you because she really didn't know any other way, 19 is very young and inexperienced generally and some young mothers find it hard. Anyway, my Mum is lovely to my two small daughters, and I find it has helped me forgive and have some empathy for, her behaviour when we were small. You can't change what happened in the past, but your mum is showing her love and care for you by lavishing love on your ds. She is also clearly showing that in different circumstances she would have been a different mother. Talk to her about your own childhood if you can, but I think you should enjoy her relationship with your ds. No child can have too much love.

LizLemon007 Thu 04-Oct-12 16:27:00

That must be hard for you, that your mum can be loving to your son when she was so hard on you. Have you had psychotherapy. I have had some and it's quite good at tweaking how you react to things. I have had some. I can't change MY mother but I have been able to change the way I react sometimes which has been great.

If your son is with you MOST of the time, don't worry about the odd biscuit.

OHforDUCKScake Thu 04-Oct-12 16:28:19

I think she sounds really nice tbh.

You're basically saying that she is guilty of being too nice. There are far worse things. Dont be too hard on her.

I think the alternative childcare is a good idea. I always think when it comes to free childcare you have 2 choices - let them do things the way they want or don't have them look after your child. I personally can't let certain things go so I choose the latter.

I'm pretty sure the odd cake here and there will not be contributing to your son's weight gain, but as a pp said you can always use the 'excuse' of worrying about his teeth instead.

It's perfectly possible for your mum to have a relationship with your son without being responsible for him. It sounds like something (for whatever reason) you feel very uncomfortable with and for that reason I would probably put him in nursery for those extra 2 days and arrange some meets with your mum on a social basis only

missymoomoomee Thu 04-Oct-12 16:31:49

In the nicest possible way are you possibly a bit jealous of the way she is treating your son now, and maybe wonder why she couldn't be so devoted to you as a child?

I do think its more about you and your Mum than her and your son.

It is a tough situation for you to be in but maybe stop using her for childcare and have her for visits instead.

sookiesookie Thu 04-Oct-12 16:34:57

Honestly, its very difficult to make a child chubby in 2 days over 14.
I think this is related to your relationship with your mum.
You plan sounds food.

LizLemon007 Thu 04-Oct-12 16:36:16

ps, my mother was pretty hard on me too growing up. harder on me than on my siblings and that hurt. she had epilepsy and was on medication and my dad was no support. we were all slapped as well. i wsa sent to bed at 5pm sometimes. I remember my dad coming home and letting us out of the bedroom she'd locked us into at about 5.30 on a summers evening. BUT..... now i have kids who fight and drive me insane I have forgiven her. Pretty much. I still feel she was a bit more forgiving to the brother younger than me, but now that i've more than one child i get that relationships with some children are easier than with others. it's not about love. it's about how easy it is.

Mrsjay Thu 04-Oct-12 16:50:36

fwiw my MIL used to beat her sons and was pretty harsh with them I think that is what she was expected to do ( still not right) and was an amazing grandparent, Annie I read my post to you and it sounded really grumpy didn't mean to be smile

Mrsjay Thu 04-Oct-12 16:53:47

My mum had me at 19 and was a fab mum I can't remember getting smacked or her being cruel she did have a 'look' though but she said she wasn't ready to be a Gp and wasn't that great when my dds were smaller,

TroublesomeEx Thu 04-Oct-12 18:48:08

She hasn't spoken to me for over a week now, despite my calls, because she is upset

Has everyone who is saying that she sounds really nice just overlooked this bit?

Whatever he motives for the feeding bit, this is childish and manipulative.

LizLemon007 Thu 04-Oct-12 18:49:53

Yes, you are right folkgirl. i missed that bit. that is immature. it's like saying 'don't challenge me at all'. my mum is the same funnily enough. i can never get a chance to reason with her. she says her bit and then puts her hand up as if you say 'don't upset me'

TroublesomeEx Thu 04-Oct-12 19:01:54

God that sounds frustrating, Liz!

I can't speak for other teenage parents, obviously, but DH's mother is in her 50s now yet she quite often behaves like a petulant teenager when she can't get her own way - e.g. getting 'stroppy' when told not to put make up on DD, or give DS a large glass of wine (aged 12) and being told "no" when she'd bought a bottle of cider for them to share when they watched a film...

DH just says that it was almost as though she had a baby, decided that made her a grown up and then just didn't mature beyond that point.

That isn't strictly true, of course, she has mellowed and she is able to moderate her behaviour more than she did when I first met her (when it seemed to be her sole intent to force alcohol on me and get me drunk hmm) or is at least less inclined to lock horns with us but you do sometimes get the feeling you're 'managing' a teenager rather than communicating with an adult.

I just wondered whether that might explain some of what Annie is talking about.

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