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Treading on eggshells round MIL

(14 Posts)
Lixxie Wed 01-May-13 22:15:18

Hi all
I'm in a quandary and would love some advice please smile
My ds is 4 months old and the best thing ever. He's the first grandchild for both sets of parents. However my dh's parents live in Durham and we're in Cornwall, very near my parents. We travelled by car to see the ILs for Easter and it was great to have my ds spend time with them, my step-mil made me very stressed. She's never had her own los, but knows all about raising children and proceeded to tell me how to raise my ds. When i suggested she did something or tried something and it went wrong she'd say 'mummy told me to'. she can't be wrong either, and i feel terrible that i didn't stand up to her when she put my ds on his tummy and he cried but instead of rushing to pick him up, past experience has taught me that she'd make a fuss and it would have been me who'd done something wrong. She also threw a party for some family to meet ds but refused an offer of any help with various excuses why not (control freakery bein the main one) then proceeded to throw a strop later on because noone was helping her! When I got upset she more or less told me to pull myself together, even though we were the ones who'd driven 9 hours and were waking up all night. My ds picked up on the fact that dh and I were stressed and didn't eat or sleep very well. Fil is lovely and as laid back as you like, but doesn't tell her she's being unreasonable-they've not been married very long and I think he likes a quiet life. She wants us to visit again or visit us but following the toxic experience last time, I really don't want her to, but I also don't want my fil to miss out onetime with his first grandson. Also, i feel a bit guilty that my parebts get to see ds lots as they're local. Please help!!

CocacolaMum Wed 01-May-13 22:24:17

Make her visit you next time and don't put up with her crap, if you don't stand up to her now then you WILL see this behaviour snowball..

Why feel guilty?

Lixxie Wed 01-May-13 22:29:26

Thank you, that is kind of what I thought bit it's great having someone else say it! She has a history of falling out with people who she believes are rude/odd etc, then cutting them out. But I'm also wondering dh or I need to have a word with fil and telling him how we feel and getting him to man up a bit and stand up to her?

Springforward Wed 01-May-13 22:34:01

I wouldn't put my family through a stressful visit like that one again in a hurry.

I'd also suggest they come to you next time. Do you think you would feel able to be more assertive with MIL on your own turf.

I'd have set her straight TBH but then my family are used to it.... We always seem to find a way through!

What's DH doing to support you when MIL starts?

Springforward Wed 01-May-13 22:35:24

And if she's never had her own children, what's her claim to know best based on?

Lixxie Wed 01-May-13 22:41:02

Hopefully I would, and then if she didn't like what I had to stay she'd have to put up with it! Although last time she stayed with us It was wrong that I was considering putting up curtains in the lounge instead if blinds because she doesn't really like them, and apparently mozzarella isn't good on a homemade pizza because its soggy (told us this while chi wing down on my homemade pizza). These are just little niggles but its almost constant-she has her way of doing things and if anyone does it different, it's wrong. However she has been very kind and generous on occasion... But they're few and far between.

Dh is supportive but doesn't want to upset his dad, who he's really close to. If it was my own family I'd have said something by now but I'm still not 100% comfortable round her.

Lixxie Wed 01-May-13 22:42:48

She just knows best about EVERYTHING...

candyandyoga Wed 01-May-13 22:54:25

You need to grow some balls and stand up to her as she sounds like a right prat and a bully. You must, must, must stand up to her. Tell your dh to have a word with his dad about some ground rules and he needs to grow a pair too and tell his wife to back off. If she doesn't like it tough, she is the one causing problems not you. Do NOT put up with her shit!

Springforward Wed 01-May-13 22:55:07

I'd be tempted to start every conversation about DS with "in my experience..." or "well, what we find is...", then when she challenged on a parenting issue ask "oh, what makes you say that?".

When I was pregnant with my PFB someone told me that trying to imagine what motherhood felt like was like trying to imagine a colour you've never seen.

I'm not suggesting that you should throw her lack of children in her face, nor be cruel about it, but seriously, she's just not been there or done that - with all of the imperfection and self-doubt and regret that comes with it - so really, unless she was a fantastically well-experienced nursery nurse or something, I just wouldn't feel inclined to allow her to believe that I was going to take her advice on how to care for my child, and I would find a polite but firm way to tell her so.

Lixxie Wed 01-May-13 22:57:50

Thanks ladies. Your advice is ace smile

Springforward Wed 01-May-13 23:09:28

Ooh, and when my late DM used to start moaning about everything - and I do mean everything - I used to privately challenge myself to keep pushing the conversation until I could persuade her to say something positive. Occasionally it even worked! But most importantly it helped me to feel less overwhelmed by the constant negativity and therefore a little bit more like I could control the situation, and my reaction to it, a bit better. I suspect I'd want to try it on your MIL too....

Lixxie Wed 01-May-13 23:15:38

Genius! Love it! Secretly, I think she's not that bright so sometimes I try to talk about things I know she's got no idea about or thrash her at trivial pursuit etc! That helps sometimes, even though its extremely petty...

MrsPoglesWood Wed 01-May-13 23:19:43

I can't claim this response as mine but my BF had a very, very overbearing MIL who claimed to know everything about everything. But didn't.

Whenever she suggested something mad my BF would just say "Yes I checked that out with the doctor/midwife/health visitor and it's totally untrue. The doctor/midwife/health visitor thought I was totally bonkers to even suggest it so I explained that you mentioned it and they explained that it was accepted practice back in the 1960s/70s but isn't anymore" Brave girl!

Things change. DS is 26 this year. If his girlfriend and he were to become parents I wouldn't dream of telling them how to bring up their DC. I last did it 26 years ago, I've forgotten loads and I was certainly no expert! I would help as much as I could but I would do what they wanted me to do as much as I could.

Norem Wed 01-May-13 23:42:42

Hi op so this lady has just married your fil?
If so I don't think she really warrants you worrying about upsetting her too muchsmile
I would suit yourselves and make her fit in with you.

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