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And preventing my MiL from bonding with her DGS?

(119 Posts)
WillYouDoTheFandango Sat 13-Jul-13 11:18:15

MiL used to be a bit of a PITA but has been fine since DS was born. Her own mother has been really critical so I can only presume that she remembers how terrible it was when DP and his DB were younger and is keeping her opinions to herself.

Backstory: DP's DB has a DS (2.5y), he was a surprise baby and BiL, SiL and DN split their time between MiL and SiL's DM's house until they got one of their own. This meant that MiL was around DN for long periods of time from birth and spends 3-4 days per week with MiL even now.

Our DS is 6 months, MiL has had him to stay overnight once (under duress, I didn't want to leave him with anyone at that point) and for an hour while I went to the gym once. For balance my DM has had him 4 times (2 x o/n, 2 x gym session). MiL visits once a week for a couple of hours and we chat while she plays with DS. DP sees her every 1-2 weeks as she comes when he's at work. I trust her completely to look after DS.

Yesterday DP got a tearful phonecall from his DM at work. She hasn't been this week and hasn't called to say why. She feels that she hasn't bonded with DS as she doesn't get to be alone with him and so wants to start taking him one set full day a week. DP immediately told her this was a no go, I'm on maternity leave still and he knew I'd never agree to that. So she wants to start taking him for long walks while I do the cleaning or shopping or so I can go to the gym.

The second idea is sensible at least and it sounds like a good plan. I'm just about getting to the stage where I am ready to leave him for an hour or two and the jobs are piling up. So I wont cut my nose off to spite my face. But I do object to her going over my head rather than discussing it with me when she saw me. She has a history of crying to get her own way and this obviously works better on DP than on me.

AIBU to want her to have discussed this like a grown up rather than throwing a paddy and pulling rank? Also do others think it's necessary for a baby to spend 1-on-1 time with DGPs at such a young age in order to "bond"? I was a bit hmm at the suggestion that it will affect their future relationship if she doesn't get her own way.

wonderingsoul Sat 13-Jul-13 12:16:53

i think you need to cut her some slack, youv allready said she keeps her opions to herself.

the pulling rank, yes i think id be alittle annoyed but maybe she thought if she spoke to dh she wouldnt come over as pushy, and expected him to put to you as an idea. maybe she was embarrssed or she thought itd anoy you?

id phoen her and yes, it would be lovely if you took him out for an hour or so while i get things done, but next time please talk to me aswell.

and the bonding thing, i can understand, she sees her other gc alot more and obviousley thing the bond is different, and it is, with out sounding nasty, also she is showing you shes not favouring one over the other.

spamm Sat 13-Jul-13 12:17:26

You are definitely NBU. Her behaviour is terribly childish and that would worry me. I know MILs can have a hard time at getting relationships right, and can be stuck between a rock and a hard place very often, but this does not sound like a sane way of going about it.

One thing I would suggest you clarify gently with her is that this new arrangement sounds great and will benefit you both, but that you expect her to generally follow your way of doing things. You don't want to start this and then find out that your approach to child rearing is so different that you feel undermined.

Good luck

CloudsAndTrees Sat 13-Jul-13 12:19:57

Again, why should a grandparent only want to see their grandchild to be helpful to the parents and not just because they love that child and want to spend time with them?

One day, you will see those little children you love so much start to grow into adults, and you will look forward to the time you have a grandchild to love as well. You will want to be around that grandchild just because you love them, and while you will hopefully want to be helpful too, your reasons for wanting to spend time with your grandchild will not just be about wanting to control and get one over on your DIL or SIL.

Emilythornesbff Sat 13-Jul-13 12:20:02

A bit manipulative with the crying.
But I'd agree to any reasonable offer that helped GC / GP relationship with the added bonus of a bit of time to do chores or go to the gym.

A whole day? Nice. But I'm not sure I'd want that set in stone as a regular thing.
Is she being expected to step up when you go back to work?

Does she want mine for a couple of hours? grin

EggInABap Sat 13-Jul-13 12:21:08

I think YABU about her going to your DP first- why shouldn't she, he's her son and he's as equal a parent as you! You sound like you are looking for a row.

I don't think she's done anything wrong, she wants to spend more time with her amazing grandchild. It might be a bit soon for a full day given his age but who knows in a few years you may end up grateful that your MIL puts the effort in!!!!!

EggInABap Sat 13-Jul-13 12:24:30

Would love to swap MIL's with you see how you feel with one who doesn't give a shit!

I also hate how whenever a woman cries it gets labelled as manipulative. For goodness sake maybe she was actually upset, yes a tad dramatic but aren't we all at times?

Emilythornesbff Sat 13-Jul-13 12:24:36

I do think MILs have a tough time of it. I've seen it with my own friends (I don't have a MIL sad) where their feelings about involvement are dismissed but they're really expected to to look after the DGC for nights out / new year etc.

I would try to be kind.
You have a DS so you are likely to be the MIL one day.

Emilythornesbff Sat 13-Jul-13 12:25:36

Good point egg maybe she was just upset.

LilacPeony Sat 13-Jul-13 12:26:34

Not read the other replies, but i think it isn't always necessary to spend time alone with a child to bond with them, but having said that I found with my sister that she was always watching how i was interacting with her children and telling me i should be doing it so and so way, but i think if i'd been left to interact with them naturally i'd have found it much easier and less stilted. Having said that my niece and nephew are older, but maybe she feels a bit self conscious with you there. Letting her have him for an hour or so while you get on with stuff sounds like a good compromise. smile

daftdame Sat 13-Jul-13 12:28:56

Sounds like she had an overly emotional moment so it is understandable she talked to her son first. Actually I think it might have been worse if she confronted you in this state, at least her son was able to calm her down.

I don't think you should feel pressured to anything you don't want, this is your child, but it sounds like the compromise agreed would be good for both of you from what you were saying.

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 13-Jul-13 12:30:52

Cheeky cow!

How much bonding is she expecting to do with a 6 month old baby hmm

Looking after the baby while you go do your thing for an hour or two...fair enough.

Having him for one day a week? Does she think she is an nrp?

Eilidhbelle Sat 13-Jul-13 12:31:05

I would be so angry about this. It's your baby, you decide what's best for him, not what suits someone else. It's not like she can't see him either, I don't understand why it has to be without you and on her terms.

I think a good compromise is to say, thanks very much for the offer, and take her up on it whenever YOU need it. But not a regular thing if that's not what you want.

I do think it's fair enough that she spoke to your DH, because she probably does feel more comfortable with him. Would your mum phone your DH about something like this?

cantreachmytoes Sat 13-Jul-13 12:33:14


Being a GP is a privilege not a right.

You already let her spend time with your DS. If you want to let her spend more time with him (for whatever reason) that's up to you and you are perfectly entitled to not want to (again, for any reason). Who cares if its a case of PFB?! It's about how you feel and how it works for you.

For people above (and on other threads) who say DH has a right to allow his DM to spend time alone with the baby, well, how about that being time out of HIS alone time with baby (assuming no cases of abuse, etc). He doesn't have the right to insist that baby is away from its mother so his own mother can spend time - it's not his to offer (the time that is).

cocolepew Sat 13-Jul-13 12:38:10

This needing to have the DGC on their own by grandparents 'to bond' is a crock of shit. My mum and dad have seen my DBs children once, very rarely twice, a year since there were babies. They are now 13 and 17.
They have a lovely relationship. I had the same with my gran who I only saw one or twice a year. I looked her dearly, the she with my aunts and uncles.

It's not the amount of time spent with them it's how the time is spent.

cocolepew Sat 13-Jul-13 12:39:19

Loved not looked hmm

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sat 13-Jul-13 12:40:06

I think it is fine that she spoke to your DP. He is your son's parent too, and her son.

I don't think it is necessary for grandparents to spend time alone with grandchildren to bond BUT I can see that if she has spent a lot of time with her other grandchildren then she will feel that things are different with your baby and be sad about that - and there is nothing wrong with those feelings.

As you have sensibly said OP, don't cut off your nose to spite your face. I would give my right arm to have a handy grandparent nearby who I could leave my youngest with while I went to the gym, shopped for new bras or had a good clearout of my wardrobe.

cocolepew Sat 13-Jul-13 12:40:30

The same with my aunts...
<gives up>

tallulah Sat 13-Jul-13 12:40:40

If my MIL had demanded taking any of my DC for one full day a week at the age of only 6 months she wouldn't have seen them at all angry.

I'd never come across this at all until it has started cropping up on MN and I'm quite surprised at the number of posters who think it's a reasonable request. Presumably none of you BF?

Thanks to geography my DC saw my parents about 6 times a year. Yet they were no less close to them as small children than they were to my ILs who they saw several times a week.

Spending time alone with grandma is fantastic for a child of 2+ who gets plenty of attention and new experiences. Each of my boys went to the ILs after playgroup for the afternoon and had a fantastic time ; my DD (6) spends days with my mum and they get up to all sorts. But at 6 months old they were with me, apart from the odd afternoon etc.

As for going behind your back, that would have annoyed me too, but DH is always firmly on his mother's side and they would have made arrangements without consulting me first shock. Sounds like at least yours is standing up for you.

And FWIW my eldest 4 Dc are all more than old enough to have their own children so I am probably nearer your MIL's age than yours and there is no way I would do this with a grandchild.

WillYouDoTheFandango Sat 13-Jul-13 12:44:04

Eggs I think you're projecting a little there. I did say I was happy DS has a GM who loves him and I'm happy for the new arrangement to go ahead. As for being upset, maybe she was, but it's obviously been built up in her head to something it didn't need to be. If she was upset why wait until 8 days after the last visit, miss this weeks one and then ring up crying. Surely if she was upset it would be more likely to be triggered by seeing him than not IYSWIM. She does frequently throw sulks/crying fits with both DP and his DB, and will ring the other crying to persuade them to get involved.

WRT wanting to be alpha parent grin: I have previously been the person she contacts if she wants to see DS (sounds formal but literally I said in the beginning come whenever you want but just give me a quick ring first to save a wasted journey). So it was surprising she didn't just say would you like if I took him for an hour or so so you can have a bit if time to yourself. No drama necessary.

LemonBreeland Sat 13-Jul-13 13:00:42

She does not need to spend time with him alone to bond with him. She judt wants to be in control.

It would male me step back completely if I was pushed like that.

badguider Sat 13-Jul-13 13:31:39

I have to say, I don't agree with those who say people don't need to spend time alone with a small child to bond. Being 'in charge' of a child is very different from being in the room with the child and their main carer.
If the main carer is in the room then the child is always focussed on them and you're just an extra random person... it's a totally different situation from being the one to feed them, change them, take care of their needs.
You see this often with fathers who never spend 1:1 time with their children, the child will always look to mum to do stuff for them even when out with both parents as they just haven't learned that dad can help/fix the problem also.

[Whether it's appropriate/desirable/necessary for the GP to bond at 6months is another matter entirely].

pianodoodle Sat 13-Jul-13 13:36:33

I agree with weisswusrt's idea about the possible reason for wanting so much alone time.

Don't see the need for it if mum doesn't need to be away that long but that's just me.

I wouldn't be happy about MIL going straight into emotional manipulation mode before discussing it properly but at least you made a compromise.

Watch out for that behaviour though it's so unnecessary my own MIL has used the same tactic...

FlankShaftMcWap Sat 13-Jul-13 14:29:29

My MIL had never spent any alone time with DS2 at all in his entire 14 months of life, until last week. She has a wonderful relationship with him. We live about 5 hours drive away from her and although she stays with us every month-ish for a week, I have always been here when she's spent time with the DC.

I do try and busy myself with other things so she can spend time with them without me hovering, but I don't drive and we live rurally so I can't go out to give her "alone time".

Honestly I don't think it has had a detrimental effect on their relationship, DS2 instantly recognises her when she arrives and calls "garoo" with his arms up for her. Finally she had enough of me begging for a break and took him home with her for a few days last week and he hardly missed me grin
So reassure your MIL that overnights and alone time aren't essential to bonding with her GC, it's quality time that matters not who else is around.

YANBU about the going over your head issue, I think it's easily solved though. Because MIL stays with us for extended periods we had "third parent" issues and were feeling undermined, the best thing I ever did was be frank and honest with her about just talking to me. I made it clear that I knew that whatever either of us said or felt it could only ever come from a place of love for the DC and even if we disagreed there was nothing we couldn't sort out. She was so relieved!

If I were you I would explain to her that you are sad that she felt she couldn't talk to you and although you don't feel ready for overnights yet your happy to go ahead with long walks/days out. If she's an alright sort she'll be fine with it smile

Thurlow Sat 13-Jul-13 14:38:06

I don't see how your MIL talking to her son, rather than her DIL, is going over your head? And isn't your DS as much your DH's son as yours? confused

YANBU to say you don't want your DS going one full day a week yet, he is still very young and you are still on mat leave. But YABU to think she is going over your head. She just spoke to her son.

pigletmania Sat 13-Jul-13 14:56:25

Yabvu she is the babies gran, and your ds has another parent too, her son. Have a few hours a week to yourself an enjoy that time

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