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AIBU or is she being as manipulative and scheming as I think she is.

(124 Posts)
Giraffinalaugh Sat 29-Jun-13 00:48:49

And if so what do I do?

DP and I have a 3, nearly four week old son. His mum lives in the same road and I did make a point of saying to her when we got home to pop in whenever, which so far has been about twice a week for 5 or 10 minutes and doesn't really pay so much attention to the baby. She doesn't always hold him or seem that fussed by him (when I found out I was pregnant she said she was shocked because I'm not maternal, but she doesn't seem that bothered with him really).

Getting to the point, she spends the time when she is here telling me, not suggesting.. Actually insisting on everything I'm doing wrong in her eyes. She came up twice this week and on both occasions told me the room was far too hot because the gro egg room thermometer was orange and about 21 or 22 degrees. Using my common sense straight away I checked the back of his neck when she mentioned it and he felt neither hot or cold to me so I thought nothing of it. Would have opened a window or taken his blanket off if he was warm, but when he was born he was in Scbu because he was so cold so regardless of room temp I'm more bothered about his temp.
He's also significantly tounge tied and until he has it snipped we have been using bottles, she made a point of telling me that if he's struggling to feed I'm probably holding the bottles wrong. And that she has never heard of a baby being unsettled and crying for hours (this has only happened once so far and I know it was down to the tounge tie and wind, there was a midwife here at the time who wasn't concerned) but she is really really concerned because babies just don't do that and she's never heard of it.
I was having a nap yesterday and I woke up to her screaming at DP in the hall (well I've raised kids, I know!!!) and then slammed my front door almost off its hinges. Is it me or is this just not normal behaviour?

She also takes issue with the fact that I have spent the last three weeks sleeping on the couch with him in the Moses basket next to me.. It works for me for now as one of the windows in our room is jammed and it gets very hot in there sometimes, I've had a c section and its just easier for me staying downstairs close to the kitchen and with all if his stuff in one room than being upstairs and cgoing up and down all night. I'd rather save my energy for getting out for nice walks with him in the day. But I'm wrong and I can't give him a proper bedtime routine if I'm not carrying him up the stairs at three weeks old.

The shit hit the fan yesterday when after a series of texts saying how concerned and worried about him she was.. She sent this beauty.. Nt to me though but to DP behind my back

"Hi, how is baby this morning. I am working close by today if giraffe needs me so tell her to ring me if she needs someone. I am really worried about how she sits in the front room when it's hot and doesn't seem to look at the temp egg, you need to keep the door open to keep some air flowing. I wonder sometimes if she does it deliberately. Please make sure she opens windows. I know I go on but I think it's because she either doesn't want advice or doesn't listen to it and baby is very precious and needs proper care xxx"

I confronted her about the txt last night, her only defence was that it is a private txt and none of my business. My issue is that she never bothered touching baby to see if he was hot or cold, yet is so so worried by the temp on a gro egg that she can insinuate I would neglect my child. When I confronted her about this she said that she has raised babies and she knows and then started literally screaming "cot death, giraffe, cot death!!!" I my face like I was stupid. I spent four years training as a nurse, I can gage a temp for gods sake.
I wonder how you can be not worried enough to reach in and check baby, yet worried enough to tell my DP things like that behind my back.. It doesn't feel genuine to me, it feels really manipulitive, like she is interfering and trying to break us up or see me fail or something. She's very bitter in general and always slating some one but to cause all of this over something so trivial.
Understandably I was very angry but couldn't even justify myself as a parent as she was standing there smirking and rolling her eyes saying to DP "see, look what she's like, see you weren't raised to be a drama queen like that" all very patronising and school playground behaviour. I ended up walking out and telling her if she didn't change then she wouldn't see me or baby again. It's out DP in a horrible position but I feel like I have to make a stand. I know this was really long winded but what would you lot be doing? She doesn't have a lot of friends and doesn't speak to a lot of family other than her daughters and just poisons people against each other, I don't want it to spoil these early days for us and really don't want ds hearing it all. Wwyd???

tobiasfunke Sun 07-Jul-13 10:40:55

I agree with EdithCleavage. I think she hates not being able to control the situation. She is probably genuinely worried about the baby being too hot (unneccessarily) and therefore is not coping very well about not being able to do anything. Control freaks don't do well when they have no influence and IME get all stressy and shouty and demanding as they don't trust anyone elses judgement except their own.

cornypony Sun 07-Jul-13 10:22:04

are you both planning to talk it out with MIL tomorrow?
Was that MIL's idea?
It sounds like more attention seeking, manipulative behaviour.

She sounds like she is trying to sabotage your precious time with your newborn as she can't bear the thought of you being happy.

maddy68 Sun 07-Jul-13 09:54:36

Ps I do think she is a loon smile

humdumaggapang Sun 07-Jul-13 09:54:34

Barmy not barry . Cunting predictive text

humdumaggapang Sun 07-Jul-13 09:52:17

If she was not around would you DP and DS be getting on with things just fine?

If so, she needs to back off for a bit. I or your DP if he feels the same should tell her in no uncertain terms. She Will hit the roof, but give it a week for her to calm down then see if she wants to come round and if she accepts she must act differently.

IMO there is a definite PFG syndrome out there. My mum has it too on a lesser scale but it drives me Barry. Her favourite expression ' I never did that with you' i.e. You shouldn't either. Makes me all the more likely to do whatever I 'shouldn't' just to wind her up

maddy68 Sun 07-Jul-13 09:39:37

Being totally objective. I can see both sides.she is rightly concerned about the temperature. Why don't you open a window when it's hot?

She did send a private text to her son which wasn't intended for you to see

She has tried talking to you first abc you don't take any notice

Ok.... From your pov she is interfering But she is concerned.

Keep the room cool !!!

Sleeping on the sofa - non of her business. However it's not a living environment for your oh. Be careful dont get wrapped up in your baby and forget you are a couple too.
Perhaps your oh has mentioned this to his mum?
Abc actually it is important you can get your baby into a routine in his room so he feels safe and secure there.

SofiaAmes Sun 07-Jul-13 02:00:47

geeze. I wonder how babies in the tropics survive. Or even babies here in LA...where it's regularly 30 in the summer.

HopHopHoppitySplash Sun 07-Jul-13 01:24:02

Ask DH to keep her away for a while, you don't need this stress while DS is so young. He is your baby not his mum's.

wonderingagain Sun 07-Jul-13 01:06:15

What is it with these narcissistic MIL's? They have their own sons wound up so tight that they can never wriggle free enough to look back at them, to see them in perspective. This is what your DP needs at the moment, to step back somehow and see the behaviour for what it really is.

Once he can do that he may be able to reconcile it somehow and to see it (as others have also suggested) as being all about her and no reflection on you or him. I hope you can get him to take a step back.

I doubt whether she will change but it may help to maintain in close contact with other members of dps family so that he doesn't feel as though he's losing everyone.

Afrodizzywonders Fri 05-Jul-13 19:30:53

Hi OP, how did your talk go? Have you binned the egg yet?

Giraffinalaugh Fri 05-Jul-13 03:56:04

Room temp hit above 23 tonight.. i definitely need to pop this baby in the frdge! Haha

EldritchCleavage Mon 01-Jul-13 11:43:58

I think the temperature is a complete red herring (because as OP says, if she were that worried why not check the baby himself?). This is about getting you to accept her control.

That doesn't make her evil. It might come from anxiety about the baby, about having a role, whatever. It's not acceptable though, and you and your DH need to work as a team to get her to row back. Don't have her round for a while (lock her out if necessary). Throw the bloody egg thing away. Then DH can have a word with her about boundaries and you can all try to have a proper relationship.

WinkyWinkola Sun 30-Jun-13 21:34:57

Griffin, whatever you do, always be polite to her. You can be firm and very assertive without resorting to rudeness or yelling. You sound like you can hold it together anyway.

Remember that your mil's behaviour says a lot more about her. It's not necessarily about you at all.

I'm not saying you have to be sympathetic - you don't - but you don't have to take the defensive which can lead to anger and then irreversible problems.

I would just make it clear that it is your turn to find your way as a parent and that you will ask if you feel you need help. If you don't need help, then she has to butt out.

She might be an expert on her children but she's not an expert on yours.

Wrt your dh, his family will probably go a lot longer without aggro if he tackles this head on now. If his mother chooses to flounce off then that is emotional blackmail. She will be telling him that unless he does exactly as she wishes, she will get a strop on. How loving is that?

Giraffinalaugh Sun 30-Jun-13 20:43:43

Fairyegg, im definitely sure a cot death isnt the reason. That would have come up in conversation as her daughter had a stillborn a few years ago, but has had another dd since and has never been accused of neglect because shes so so worried.

I really dont know how this will end now. My dp is in bits and feels like his family is falling apart but i cant let behaviour like this go on. We havent spoken to his mum since it all kicked off and are planning to talk it out tomorrow. I think he maybe has unrealistic expectations of how it might go though. Who knows. I just know that for some reason i feel guilty for wanting answers as to why im being treated this way.

Fairyegg Sun 30-Jun-13 19:19:31

She just sounds (wrongly) worried to me. Are you sure either her, or someone close to her has never been affected by a cot death? Bear in Mind years ago it may have been brush under the carpet, So perhaps even your dh is unaware? The advise she's giving you may be the advise she was given when having kids. It sounds to me that she needs some reassurance, so I Would direct her to information from the lullaby trust. When we have grankids the recommendation will probably be something like don't start babies on solids until 1 year and we'll probably all be trying to shove bits of banana in them at 6 months when our ds / dd's aren't looking!

FryOneFatManic Sun 30-Jun-13 19:18:50

OP, I'm with the others, check the baby not the room temp. I had the opposite temp issue, a cold house. Both DCs have turned out absolutely fine as I dressed them/covered them as appropriate for the temp (and not overloaded them with multiple layers to the point of them sweating as if in a sauna, like one relative would have had me do). The temp on any gadget, not just a gro egg (whatever that is) is a guide only, nothing more.

But realistically, you do need to get your DP onside. He needs to understand that things are different now. Advice is different because of better research, etc, and what was the done thing when he was a baby will not necessarily be the done thing now.

(I like how you're dealing with the effects of a CS, I would bring DD down in the morning and she'd sleep in the carry cot during the day. No way was I going to keep going up and down stairs.)

He also needs to understand his mother is effectively accusing you of not caring about the baby. Does he really agree with that? If getting an HV in to explain things to him will help, then do that.

Giraffinalaugh Sun 30-Jun-13 19:00:20

Yes fryone. I tryed to name change to be fair and anonymous but failed massively by commenting and not realising what i was logged in as on my phone.

Im just so gutted to be in this situation. Gutted for my dp. Really dont know what to do.

YummyYummyYum Sun 30-Jun-13 13:45:39

I would have said: F off long time ago. YANBU.

Guitargirl Sat 29-Jun-13 20:54:51

This is her problem and is becoming yours because of her behaviour. It is plain and simple jealousy.

My own MIL was extremely difficult after the birth of both of our DCs. When I was expecting DC2 when DC1 was aged 2, she told SIL that it was 'far too soon' to be having another baby and that she knew we were going to 'neglect' DC1. I was very upset, probably exacerbated by pregnancy hormones. In a weird kind of way I can probably credit her with the fact that I bf both the DCs for so long. I was so determined to prove her wrong when she tried to tell me that I didn't have enough milk, that they were hungry because I wasn't doing to right, etc. I know of many grandmothers who seem to also have had some kind of hormonal surge after the birth of their grandchildren and it all gets so horribly territorial.

At least her visits are short. If I were you I would arrange all visits in the presence of your DP and just avoid her as much as possible.

FryOneFatManic Sat 29-Jun-13 20:50:41

Tequilatequila Are you the OP with a name change? Your posts read as if you are.

HildaOgden Sat 29-Jun-13 20:42:35

...also meant to say,she wouldn't be visiting my house,I'd make sure all visits were to her house.That way you can leave exactly when you want
and tut-tut about her dusty shelves,unsafe steps,whatever

HildaOgden Sat 29-Jun-13 20:40:41

She's jealous that her son loves you.

It's as simple as that.You're a rival...she can't compete on other ahem levels,so she acts like she is the wiser mother.

Pity her...resolve never to become like her....and ignore her.As much as humanly possible.In fact,next time she rants,smile sweetly and say 'thank you dearie (or something equally patronising),I'll have a think about that.You're so wise'.

Then do your own thing anyway.

*ps...congrats on the new baby,ever so slightly jealous of you getting to sniff a newborn grin

fuckwittery Sat 29-Jun-13 20:25:04

the insinuating you are disregarding her advice deliberating (deliberating what, to annoy her - and risk your baby) and the baby is precious thing (no, you don't agree, you are too risky) is absolutely toxic.
She wouldn't be coming into my house again until she had apologised and I would expect mY DH to support me in this. I would let DH take the baby there for 5-10 minutes as long as you trusted him to bring the baby back quickly, or wait until your baby is a bit older for DH to take for longer visits.

dayshiftdoris Sat 29-Jun-13 16:54:30


I'm a midwife and whilst its ok to open a window it not the right way to control room temp with a baby... A breeze can affect a baby's core temp differently to an adults - they can become colder quicker than us from even a light breeze...
That's why maternity units are like ovens!! We don't dare open windows unless there is absolutely no breeze at all and even then it provokes a ward shift round so cots are not by windows grin
I usually say open the window in the next room and have the door open.

So your MIL is wrong

And for what it's worth what you are doing re: temp is PERFECT - checking the back of baby's neck and responding accordingly :-)

Tog ratings / thermometers are great tools but don't lose that instinctive judge you appear to have as it is that which will highlight any potential problems with baby.

And I worked on maternity units for 15yrs and I probably looked at the ward thermometer a handful of times... Each time in extreme weathers (very hot / cold) and because I felt it was hot / cold.
I remember it hitting 40c one day and we went round the ward to advise mums to strip their babies to vests and light blankets and regularly check them... Everyone single mum already had apart from one who was asleep and dad had smile
They appreciated the advice though I am sure wink

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 29-Jun-13 11:28:00


No she's not. That temp and 1 blanket is fine if the baby does not feel hot.

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