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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?

TroublesomeEx Fri 05-Oct-12 13:19:59

Annie smile

I hope you get it sorted out with her.

It sounds like she genuinely cares and you want her in your son's life. But there need to be boundaries and clear expectations.

And you need to be the one driving them.

Good luck. x

MsOnatopp Fri 05-Oct-12 13:13:56

Your child wont have become over weight just from her four days a month. Look at the diet and portions you are giving him if it really is an issue. I am glad you see that. smile

She sounds like a good gran but a stroppy rotten person to deal with. I am sorry for the childhood abuse.

I hope you get this resolved.

AnnieDelores Fri 05-Oct-12 13:02:22

FolkGirl you are right. I don't think she will change. You have a very wise head on those shoulders.

AnnieDelores Fri 05-Oct-12 12:56:15

Paying for two extra days child care will be a stretch on the finances but I agree that it's more important to get it right. My father and DPs parents also have him for one day a month each and I never have issues with them, other than the odd unnoticed pooey nappy!

My mother has always been difficult to manage and blows hot and cold. Loving and generous then running away and sulking. She has a vile temper and flips easily. But the hard part about all this is that she totally adores Sam. She smells his clothes when he is asleep and talks about him constantly. It's like an obsession. He is not her first grandchild, but her first grandson. She had two daughters. My sister was a stay at home mum and therefore didn't have the same issues as me. She also as an obese child from too much cake and crisps.

I'm building up the strength to reply to her now as I know she is not going to like it. I'm also feeling slightly conscious that she may not have been over feeding him recently after I asked her not to the first time, but I have no way of knowing. Even so, she could have told me to shut up and not sulk about it.

MadBusLady Fri 05-Oct-12 12:38:50

God, she sounds like hard work, OP. You've got enough in your life to manage without having to manage her moods. Whether or not the weight gain is anything to do with your mum's visits, it is common sense to give a child clear, consistent boundaries on food, and it's immaturity on your mum's part to throw a strop about this as if it's somehow aimed at her. I don't know what to suggest, I'm afraid, but YANBU to be fed up.

TroublesomeEx Fri 05-Oct-12 12:33:27

Or you can go hardline like Quint suggests grin

TroublesomeEx Fri 05-Oct-12 12:31:57


If things aren't discussed and resolved (because you're still going to be upset about the feeding thing if it continues) then you're only going to dwell on it.

I think I'd be inclined to tell her that whilst you appreciate her looking after him and he really enjoys spending time with her, this situation has made her realise that you do have quite definite ideas about the way you want your son to be brought up and you think it's only fair on all of you (her included) if you get these straight in your head and then discuss it with her.

That way, you won't have to put up with things you're not happy with and she's never going to be wondering whether her actions will get her "into trouble" or not.

My husband has had many a few frank discussions with his MIL about our children. And to be fair to her, we just have very different ideas about what's acceptable. She tries to follow our 'rules' but is really following our rules rather than adopting our approach - so new rules are constantly being introduced (e.g. "no you can't give him wine" wasn't taken as a carte blanche "no alcohol" rule because the next time she came round she brought cider.) but that's because she doesn't 'get it'.

You might have a couple of weeks away from each other - which will give you both chance to calm down and repair bruised egos.

Do you think that might help?

QuintessentialShadows Fri 05-Oct-12 12:28:09

Well, it would seem she is using your child now as a way of trying to manipulate you.

I suggest you tell her you will arrange childcare that suit your working pattern more, and when she is able to have a more mature relationship with you, you and her can resume your relationship and she can see her grandchild socially.

AnnieDelores Fri 05-Oct-12 12:27:36

I also think she is sulking because she still hates the nursery I send him to and I haven't been to see the childminder my sister used. That's all mum knows and she sees what she wants to see when she picks him up from nursery on a Monday afternoon. She says he was "wandering around aimlessly". I say he was perfectly happy exploring the room! She also said that when she handed him to one of the staff so that she could get his coat of of he drawer that he "nearly took the roof off crying", inferring that he obviously hates the place. It's the constant inferences that he is miserable there and that I'm a bad mother for sending him there that has worn me down and worn her down because I'm not listening.

AnnieDelores Fri 05-Oct-12 12:17:02

Mummahubba, I think you are being harsh to call me "spoilt". I'm anything but. I grew up in a working class family and have never been bought a thing other Christmas and birthday presents.

Thank you everyone else for your comments and suggestions. I've been very tearful and this has helped me have a good cry and think. You're right, the two days a fortnight isn't making him overweight but it has led him to want food for the sake of it and he can hear the rustle of a biscuit wrapper a mile away. I think he eats more than he needs generally and this isn't helped by cake and biscuits. When I say no, he has a tantrum because the response isn't consistent.

I sent a text to my mother last night saying as I hadnt heard from her i would organise alternative childcare. She replied saying she would "look after Sam as normal" but wants to leave at 5.30 pm at the latest. In other words, so she doesn't want to hang around for a social. She said she thinks we "need a break" from each other.

She is being immature and to be honest, Im not sure I want her to come if she is still stroppy, but I don't want to inflame the situation by telling her not to bother! I think there are other things bothering her at the moment as she lives away from her family in Ireland but she should talk to me about that rather than bottle up all her stress.

So should I tell her not to bother or let her come and see if she softens a bit?

nirvana1111 Fri 05-Oct-12 10:04:43

Being a young mum doesn't make you an abusive parent.
Being an abusive parent makes you an abusive parent.

TroublesomeEx Fri 05-Oct-12 10:04:15

IgglePiggle I don't think there has been any stereotyping of anyone tbh. I'm not stereotyping, I'm sharing my personal experience of one individual. I've known her for 21 years and I know her very well. I think if you met her you'd see exactly what I mean.

I wouldn't presume she represented all 'teenage mothers' though.

YouMayLogOut Fri 05-Oct-12 09:43:06

How about providing her with some healthier snacks such as rice cakes?

Flisspaps Fri 05-Oct-12 09:36:52

I wouldn't leave my child with someone who had slapped me as a child and not apologised.

Being 19 is a bollocks excuse - both my DM and MIL were teenage mums and neither of them saw the need to slap their kids.

girlywhirly Fri 05-Oct-12 09:32:04

The most important issues (to me) that you raise are that your mum is critical of the nursery's care because she presumes hers is superior, she won't discuss and take on board your wishes for your childs care like a mature adult, she goes off in a huff leaving you to organise alternative childcare to cover for that, and she doesn't respect you as an adult, she still views you as a child still.

If you can, arrange childcare to cover all your work time and let the times when your mum sees her grandson be social ones. Let her carry on with the dramatics and so on, because ultimately she is only depriving herself of her time with her grandson by sulking.

I think that a relationship where you are not feeling obligated to your mum for childcare would be best given you past history.

akaemmafrost Fri 05-Oct-12 09:08:51

I think the weight issue is a red herring actually. I think it's more that OP can't say to her mum please don't feed ds so much crap without her Mum having a big hissy fit so OP feels she has to justify why she's asking.

mummahubba Fri 05-Oct-12 09:05:06

Making other childcare arrangements for your child is an over-reaction I think. It sounds like child is bearing all the weight of the unresolved conflict between you and your mum. As a mother with no mother of any real use I think yours sounds like a lovely grandmother. Your ideas about over-feeding don't sound based on facts, as pointed out already two days a week don't make an over-weight child. You say you spend fridays and all weekend with child which doesn't sound a huge amount and if I were you I would be grateful that someone else is prepared to devote so much time and love to your child. When other people care for your child they do it their way, they can only be themselves. Have the conversations with her about you and her and leave your child out of it, there's no need to spread the muck down the generations. I think you sound a bit spoilt yourself to be honest and ungrateful, harsh but that's how it all comes across.

QuintessentialShadows Fri 05-Oct-12 08:18:43

She has him 4 days out of 30 days in the month, and you blame her that he is putting on weight? What about the other 26 days?

I think you have some issues.....

What foods does he get in the nursery?

IKilledIgglePiggle Fri 05-Oct-12 08:14:26

I can't believe the stereotyping of young mothers on this thread, there would be absolute outrage if some suggested that having a mother aged 40 plus is a bad thing.

Crappy mothers come at all ages and backgrounds.

Nahla321 Fri 05-Oct-12 07:32:07

I don't think unhealthy food once every two weeks has made your son overweight.

altinkum Fri 05-Oct-12 07:03:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

akaemmafrost Fri 05-Oct-12 06:58:20

don't have these kind of mothers.

akaemmafrost Fri 05-Oct-12 06:54:49

I don't think you're projecting at all, she sounds like a royal PITA!

No offence but people who have these kind of mothers cannot understand what it is like to have to "manage" them.

My mum used to be a right old sulky chops (also similar childhood and background to you OP) and would stop talking to me for months if I didn't take her "advice" about dc eg weaning at 6 weeks. She missed the first year of both my dc respectively because she had fallen out with me about something petty.

The best thing is to ignore, ignore, ignore. Don't ring to ask if she's ok. Why wouldn't she be? After all a normal person wouldn't get the arse over the things she does, so pretend she's normal wink and don't feed into it.

When my Mum tries to intervene with me and dc I completely ignore and talk over her because I am NOT taking advice on child rearing with someone who did the stuff she did to me.

ChillyButterNut Fri 05-Oct-12 06:43:10

Make not made

ChillyButterNut Fri 05-Oct-12 06:41:36

You are definatly not being unreasonable. He is YOUR chid and your mother should respect the choices you made for him.

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