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My MIL and her wanting a certain amount of days with my child...

(147 Posts)
JingleMum Tue 05-Feb-13 13:43:31


Firstly a bit about our relationship; she's a lovely woman, we don't have much in common but we are family and I love her (she gets on my nerves occasionally as do all other members of my family) So no bad blood between us etc...

Ok, my DD is 3, so not a baby, she loves her Grandmother and likes spending time with her. I work 2 days per week and DD is in Nursery.

MIL usually rings me (on the day) and asks can she take DD for the day, usually if we have no plans she takes her, if we do have plans I say no but you can have her another day. She rang me on Sunday said "I feel like I never see her, so I'll take her on Tuesday for lunch, then also Friday and Saturday" This pissed me off, she does this quite a lot, one day isn't enough for her, but bare in mind my mum works full time so I have to factor visits in to my Mum with DD and also my Dad (they are separated) plus I want my own precious time with DD when I'm not working.

Spoke to fiancé about it, he of course immediately defends her and believes that because she doesn't really have friends, and because she doesn't work and is not in the best of health that she should be entitled to take DD whenever she asks. hmm He said I'm jealous because my mum works and he is correct about that, I don't want his mum to hog her, I want my mum to have equal time, I can't help feeling like that?

It caused murder between us, and this happens every couple of months when she tries to take DD a lot.

I feel once a week is enough, and basically that's what is happening. My maternal feelings go crazy when she wants her more than one day, it doesn't feel right and I don't want her too.

AIBU in putting my foot down and saying "No" next time she asks for her more than once a week. She gets bored and I think she wants DD to be her hobby, but it doesn't sit right with me. Fiancé has now listened to my reasoning and has calmed down and is happy to go along with what I decide.

deleted203 Tue 05-Feb-13 14:12:59

I don't think YABU. I'd be highly peeved at anyone (including my own DM) phoning and announcing they would have my child on Tue, Fri and Sat. Presumably you and DF are off work at the weekend and would like to do something as a family! No one is entitled to take DD whenever the feel like it, so I think DF is being unreasonable here.

I think I'd simply say, 'It would be lovely for DD to spend the day with you on Fri, but I'm afraid I have plans for Saturday. Her father and I like to see her too, you know'.

Juanca Tue 05-Feb-13 14:14:56

Well that's her problem! You presumably have some kind of schedule - work/nursery/friends; just because she's not working and is laid back it doesn't mean that works for you.

Juanca Tue 05-Feb-13 14:15:21

Sorry that was to JingleMum

diddl Tue 05-Feb-13 14:16:06

Could you perhaps sometimes include MIL in what you are doing with your daughter?

Maybe she could come to you for lunch?

So more lots of less time?

Or is she only wanting your daughter for as long as possible & by herself?

I´m afraid my children & I were for the most part a unit.

No me-no children!

annh Tue 05-Feb-13 14:18:32

OP, I think your MIL probably is a bit demanding but you yourself have said "can't help how I feel about my mum having equal time. I know it may sound unreasonable, but I can't change how I feel and that's how it is". Maybe your MIL, who is much older and probably much more set in her ways, also can't help how she feels about wanting to see her grand-daughter?

Having said that, your dd is not a parcel to be divided out in equal portions amongst your families! If she is making arrangements which you are not happy with you have to be firm and say "Sorry Friday and Saturday doesn't work for us but how about Tues?" And keep on saying no until she gets the message.

BarbarianMum Tue 05-Feb-13 14:19:31

The thing is once a week is actually an awful lot. If you were saying she could only see dd twice a year cause your mum lived abroad and only saw her that often, now that would be unreasonable.

JingleMum Tue 05-Feb-13 14:19:33

I think she likes to have her by herself, but would have objection to me tagging along (I think!)

She comes to us for dinner sometimes and vice versa, but she really does like to take DD out for the day to visit her side of the family etc... Since we moved to a bigger house she is here fairly often as well...

I guess I'll just have to say "no, you've already had her once this week" but then I don't want to be rude.

JingleMum Tue 05-Feb-13 14:21:47

Is the "I feel like I never see her" that irked me. She does!! She saw her twice last week (came to us for dinner but came about 3pm, left about 8pm, plus took Dd out for the day another day) is she taking the piss? How can she say that? It's got my back up.

DontmindifIdo Tue 05-Feb-13 14:22:29

you need to start having a lot of plans. A lot of plans.

Can you sign up to some groups and pre-plan things with your mum and dad?

Only interestly, don't ever have plans on one day of the week (perhaps Fridays as suggested?) then when your MIL calls, sorry, you have plans already, but are free on Friday. Keep at it. Then after a month, perhaps suggest that as you are reguarly booked up (lots of play dates, classes, activities, other family who work to fit round), you'll 'kindly' keep Friday mornings free of plans so it can be "her" time with DD if she's feeling up to it.

She might not like scheduling, but that doesn't mean you have to also not do scheduling. If your DH complains, ask him why he thinks you should cancel your plans so she can have DD or turn down invites on the off chance MIL will want DD that day? Why should DD miss out on the off chance MIL is free? You'll keep making plans and of course if you are free when MIL wants DD, you'll let MIL have DD for the day/morning (if you have afternoon plans)...

Troubleintmill Tue 05-Feb-13 14:22:57

You're very lucky that MIL wants to spend time with her GD.
My DM never asks to take my DS out at all and she only lives 20mins away. We see her once a week maybe for a couple of hours and that seems enough for her!
I can see why you don't want mil to have DD 3 days a week but surely you can come to some arrangement that suits you all? I think the helping out with pickups etc sounds a good plan -that could be arranged on the day? That way she gets to spend some time with DD and you have a bit of extra time maybe to get stuff done? Or like pp suggested maybe DD go to her/other relative when you want to go shopping or something.
I would love my DS to spend more time with his GM and so would he but it looks like its not going to happen for us. Hope you work things out OP. try to keep things amicable though as you never know when you may need MIL's help.

CheeseStrawWars Tue 05-Feb-13 14:24:59

What does "my instincts go off" actually mean?

JingleMum Tue 05-Feb-13 14:30:12

I don't know cheese it sounds ridiculous!! It's like my maternal instincts send me into overprotective mode? It just doesn't feel right as mum, like someone is trying to take my child from me?

The thing with pick ups is that she's still want other days with her, no doubt about it.

I'm going to ask her to babysit once a month or something, if she feels needed that may help. Thing is she is needed, we love her, I just don't love the fact she calls multiple times per week wanting to take my daughter.

Viviennemary Tue 05-Feb-13 14:30:42

I think once a week would be enough time. But it is hard to say no I suppose. If you don't really have a reason. A regular day would be the best idea and then everybody would know where they stood. But of course it could be very flexible. But one day a week most weeks.

atthewelles Tue 05-Feb-13 14:31:54

I think you're both BU in different ways. Your MIL should take it one day at a time not start listing out a load of days that she assumes she can have your daughter.
But you also seem to have an issue with people who love your daughter (your MIL and yourAunt) wanting to spend time with her. You keep saying she's just their 'hobby'. I doubt that's true. My mum loves spending time with her DGC. Not because she needs a hobby but because she's their grandmother and she adores them.

Haberdashery Tue 05-Feb-13 14:33:58

Three days a week is ridiculous. I think there isn't a nice way to do this, you just have to say 'sorry but I need time with my daughter too and I feel you having her once a week is enough at the moment'. Then just stick to it. If you feel kind, then you can invite her over once or twice a month for lunch at the weekend or similar. But then you will also be there and it won't feel so much that she's trying to take your daughter away.

AmberSocks Tue 05-Feb-13 14:35:05

this is all alien to me.

in my family,you have your kids all the time,you might go round and see grandma but whole days over there?is this normal?Obviously if they look after them while you work its different,i cant get my head round kids being shared around families though,i wouldnt want to do it.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 05-Feb-13 14:35:46

I'd want things arranged I advance, be it a regular day or week by week, getting your diaries out and agreeing.

I can see needing to prioririse fitting your DM in when it suits her but not rationing everyone else's time according to her availability (which is outside her control now but what if she stops work and wants two days a week? Is dd then out with GMs for four days every week?). Unless of course the amount of time you really want to spend with dd equals full week minus DM's time x2.

Remember the GMs won't be around forever though and wanting time with your dd as a hobby is much better than not wanting it.

CheeseStrawWars Tue 05-Feb-13 14:36:03

So do you think you need to "protect" your child from your MIL and Aunt, or is this a possessive thing? Are you worried for her safety, or are you worried that if your DD gets attached to other people she will love you less? You might be a bit U, though I do think your MIL is being unreasonable to ring on the day and expect everything to be dropped.

juneau Tue 05-Feb-13 14:36:07

I wouldn't say 'No, you've already had her once this week', I'd just say 'Sorry, we're busy that day' and if she presses and you can say you've arranged a play date or are taking her swimming or something. Being defensive and territorial isn't going to help anyone, but there is more than one way of getting your own way!

JingleMum Tue 05-Feb-13 14:36:18

atthewelles no, I assure you it isn't that. They both assume & almost try to dictate. I'm in charge, not them, and it is getting increasingly difficult to please everyone.

My mum idolises my DD and says "if you need a hand or want me to take her let me know and I'll sort my days off in work" she never assumes or pressures me. My mum also sees her atleast once per week, but I'm usually present. She has her overnight occasionally too, but she offers to have her to give me a break, or I ask her if I want a night out. She never pressures me.

JingleMum Tue 05-Feb-13 14:43:22

cheese no, not at all. I love spending time with DD and my aunt & MIL are bored, therefore they like time with DD, but seeing them both once a week is enough. Aunt is fine with that, MIL pushes for more. I don't like it, I have plans, we have play dates, DD goes to ballet/playgroup etc... So we are generally quite busy, yet MIL still rings on the day and seems put out if we have plans.

drjohnsonscat Tue 05-Feb-13 14:45:34

It's like my maternal instincts send me into overprotective mode? It just doesn't feel right as mum, like someone is trying to take my child from me?

I think this is at the heart of it. You feel that MIL is getting something she shouldn't and will try to be the mother when you are. But nothing you have said gives any evidence of this as a motivation on MIL's part so I'm assuming MIL just really enjoys spending time with DD (unless I am reading this wrong).

I think YA being a little bit U when you say "I can't help how I feel". No you can't but there's no need to act on feelings that you confess are a little bit unfounded. I can see why your fiance gets a bit annoyed - if his mum is free and wants to see DD, why not as long as no one else is being inconvenienced? If the only reason is because you think DD will end up loving MIL too much, or even just more than your mum, then you are being unreasonable - or perhaps just insecure. Your DD will never belong to MIL - she's your child and always will be. You sound fearful that DD will end up loving MIL too much or that that side of the family will get too much control or something. I wonder if that's right?

Fairylea Tue 05-Feb-13 14:45:57

If she rings on the day and you don't want her to have dd I just wouldn't answer the phone. I've got really quite selfish as I've got older and if I don't want to talk to someone at that particular time then I won't. If she asks later just say you were busy / driving / out etc.

I think once a week is fine especially as you are busy with work etc and other relatives.

fluffyraggies Tue 05-Feb-13 14:46:03

There's a difference between 'seeing' the child once a week and expecting to have her for the day once a week.

Like others have said a pop in to hers (or viceversa) for lunch for a couple of hours one week, with a whole morning with the child perhaps the week after sort of arrangement would seem enough to me. With a babysitting thrown in once a month.

Sometimes there isn't enough days in the week for everyone to have a rigid 'whole day a week' arrangement.

I would be selective about phone answering and would perfect the art of being on the brink of going out with your DD for times when she catches you with a request for an unplanned visit.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 05-Feb-13 14:46:14

The lack of planning would drive me demented. How can you make best use of your time without your dd if you don't know when it's going to be?

My MIL takes baby dd one day a week, because she wants to spend time with her. This is a regular day that can sometimes be altered. So, I can book appointments for myself, plan to meet someone in a child-unfriendly place, know I can get certain tasks done. It is really helpful for me, as well as giving them time together.

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