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To be worrying about how FIL will be when baby arrives...

(129 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:07:55

Currently 30 weeks pregnant and can't tell if I'm being irrational and unreasonable or if there really are red flags....

I have lovely PIL, have never had reason to fault them or be annoyed with them or anything like that, I get on really well with them both. However, over the last few months FIL had been showing some traits that have unnerved me as to how he may be when the baby arrives.

I feel like he is always offering his 'opinion' and that whatever me and DH think or want to do isn't correct in his eyes. Me and DH were talking about our storage plans for when baby arrives, what will go in what cupboards etc but no, FIL has a better idea and we should obviously follow his advice... hmm.

We are having a new kitchen fitted on Friday and FIL has been making negative comments about what plans we have gone for and belittling the decisions we have already made. We are having our garden renovated in the Spring and the way in which me and DH want it done apparently isn't right in FIL's eyes and instead he is telling us what we should do.

He was very pushy about what kind of cot we should buy and now he keeps telling me what kind of pushchair I should buy. He keeps giving me suggestions on what I need to do round the house ready for when the baby comes - including comments on net curtains to keep flies out and how the 'little one' can't be expected to go up a flight of stairs every time he needs the toilet wtf hmm He keeps asking if we've done X, Y and seems to have a disapproving look on his face if we don't give the answer he wants. He isn't doing it in a nasty way at all but it makes me feel like he thinks me and DH don't know what we're doing.

He was passing comment earlier that showed he wasn't happy he'd not been here when we had assembled all the nursery furniture (my dad and DH did it) as he thinks he would obviously had made a better job of it. It is just little digs and comments that are continuously coming. He is never, ever normally like this.

It's like he thinks he knows best about everything and I can't tell if I'm just being over sensitive. I just want me and DH to be allowed to make our own decisions and not have them questioned or belittled.

I actually had a cry over it earlier when I was doing the washing up because I can't help but feel that when baby comes I'm going to be under constant criticism for whatever parenting choices I make sad

KatyN Sun 12-Jan-14 21:11:54

My fil was a bit like this and it bothered me. We don't live close but I worried he'd question my decisions in front of my child etc. then my sister in law had a baby and he melted. I don't know what happened but he changed overnight. Then when we had out little chap he was (and is) the same.
He might be so in love with your baby that nothing you do is wrong?

Or if that doesn't work, I found out I could be MENTAL inherent first few months due to lack of sleep and hormones so have a blow out at him and make your point!

januarysunsetfire Sun 12-Jan-14 21:14:11

Aww ... If he's normally lovely, do you think he's trying to be involved?

I honestly understand it must be annoying, but the cot thing reads to me as if he felt left out!

lekkerslaap Sun 12-Jan-14 21:14:27

The only behaviour you can control is your own.

I would start getting into the habit of listening, making "Mmm" sounds then changing the subject. Then do whatever you think is right.

My Mum has a wonderful habit (bless her!) of telling people what to do. I just wish she spent as much time and energy on her own life!

pictish Sun 12-Jan-14 21:14:47

Three words OP.
Smile and nod.

You smile and nod and make vague polite noises, then carry on as you were doing anyway.

Don't cry. x

Coldlightofday Sun 12-Jan-14 21:15:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PacificDogwood Sun 12-Jan-14 21:15:43

Smile, nod and then do whatever you feel is right.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:15:51

My PIL live on the same street.....

I'm worried that I may have been a bit short with him, not on purpose but just because I can feel my anger gently bubbling up and I find myself making snappy comments or I just look away from him, disengage and wait for the conversation topic to change.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:17:07

Lol - thanks everyone, my DH has also told me to go with the 'smile and nod' approach smile

diddl Sun 12-Jan-14 21:17:21

Maybe when you discuss stuff with him he thinks that you want his opinion?

Tell him nothing & he can't criticise!

And stuff like the nursery-don't let him belittle you & others-tell him that your dad & husband are just as capable as him of following instructions if necessary.

PacificDogwood Sun 12-Jan-14 21:17:33

If anybody should have words, it's your DH - he is his father, after all.

diddl Sun 12-Jan-14 21:19:17

But if he says something toOP that she doesn't like she should be able to respond.

WhoNickedMyName Sun 12-Jan-14 21:19:49

Worrying about something like this often turns it into a self fulfilling prophecy.

You're irritated by FIL, you've let a few little things get to you and now you're hyper-sensitive and perceiving slights or criticism where there possibly is none, or where most people would not even notice or shrug them off.

It's a vicious circle and you need to change your reaction.

Smile, nod, make a vague noise then carry on doing your own thing.

AdoraBell Sun 12-Jan-14 21:20:38

Sounds exactly like my FIL, he didn't change when GDCs arrived.

If he doesn't melt like KatyN's FIL then get used to saying something like

"thank you for the advice, or information, we have decided to do X" then move the conversation on.

WRT the disapproving face, do you need his approval for everything thing you do?

winkywinkola Sun 12-Jan-14 21:21:11

Oh dear.

You're right to be concerned.

When you become a parent, you are often filled with self doubt and if anyone adds to that, you can start to lose faith in your instinct.

Believe me, lots of first time parenting is based on instinct and it's a very valuable tool. But it's also easily ignored when you are insecure and doubtful.

Ultimately, you have to do what is best and what works for you and your dh. If you don't then you may as well hand over the reins of your life to your fil and whoever else wants to take charge.

So, you know what your fil is like now so forewarned is forearmed.

You have choices.

You can:

- do everything his way and how he thinks best

- ignore what he says/looks like and think, "I'm going to do what I think best, thank you," and just carry on and do what you want.

- smile and say, "We've done/chosen/decided what is best for us, thanks." And change the subject.

- if he persists, say it's none of his business. He will say his grandchild is his business and you can say, parenting this child is NOT his business because you and your dh are the parents, not him.

He may say he's done it before, this parenting malarky, but I would then stress he's parented his child/ren and not yours. You know yours best.

I'm afraid you may well have to assert yourself quite firmly if you don't want his constant input.

What is your dh's take on this?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:22:43

I did speak to my DH about it and told him I'm worried that his dad will be really critical when the baby is born. My DH completely saw my point and acknowledged that his dad's opinions and suggestions which will no doubt be forthcoming should just be smiled at and go in one ear and out the other. Not in a nasty way, but just because his dad has a personality of being a complete perfectionist and thinking there is only one right way to do something and if it isn't being done in the manner he'd do it then it must be wrong. He works in a job that involves precision and exactness and I think those traits in him might be transferring over to the pregnancy and imminent birth. I know my PIL means no offence or harm but it is getting to me a little bit.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Sun 12-Jan-14 21:22:57

Perhaps he feels a bit "pushed out" because your Dad is involved in things that he isn't iyswim. He may be making imagined slightsd into massive issues and getting all worked up about it, when he actually has nothing to worry about.
Could you find something for him to do/be responsible for maybe? (and I can't think of anything, but there must be something grin) so he can feel involved with the preparations for his grandchild too. Is this the first grandchild? He might just be "over excited" so to speak bless him, and not realise how he's coming across.

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 12-Jan-14 21:23:03

There are a few possible brush offs, from an uninterested "that's nice dear", to a jaunty smile and a "lucky we're not inviting you to live here, then, isn't it?"

Or it might be more fun to fight fire with fire, by visiting their house and saying things like "good god, haven't you got rid of those godawful frilly nets yet?" Or "isn't it time to think about a bungalow? Those hips can't have many years left..." And when they take offence, do the wide-eyed-innocent routine "but I thought, seeing as you were commenting on MY house..."

SanityClause Sun 12-Jan-14 21:23:26

When I was pregnant, I often became bizarrely angry at things and afterwards I thought "WTAF?"

I'm not saying this is true in your situation, but it is a distinct possibility.

winkywinkola Sun 12-Jan-14 21:24:11

"do you think he's trying to be involved?"

Why does he need to be involved in the op's choice of cot, kitchen or anything?

I don't get this. I just think if one hangs back and initially offers only casseroles and help with the washing up, you can't go wrong in terms of building a quiet and mutually trusting, respectful relationship.

mameulah Sun 12-Jan-14 21:26:17

You can certainly go with the 'smile and nod' but there is no reason why, if pushed, you can't say something.

And you can get away with anything when you are full of hormones. Keep that in mind! smile

Writerwannabe83 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:27:33

We did invite him round when we were furniture building as we knew it would be something he'd like do but because MIL wasn't feeling too good he didn't come round. This will be their 5th grandchild but they don't really have relationships with the other 4 as the family live in the USA. They only see the other grandchildren maybe once or twice a year.

Snowflakepie Sun 12-Jan-14 21:31:46

Is it his first grandchild? It reads that way to me. Dads are used to being practical, it's their outlet where others use emotion perhaps. He wants to be involved and his personality is just quite precise and exact.

Unless he says or does something genuinely hurtful, I would agree with the smile and nod route. It's not worth damaging what sounds like a good relationship. Plus, do remember that you are likely to be feeling things more strongly at the moment. So much changes with a baby, and yes he might always be someone who has to pass comment but ultimately you are the parent. There will always be someone who has to have the last word on parenting, no matter what stage your LO is at, so try to view it as being interested rather than interfering. You will come through it. Good luck x

Tinkertaylor1 Sun 12-Jan-14 21:32:11

I get told off my PIL and dgm what's best for my baby .

Fil who had NO involvement in his kids browning up was saying I needed to take professional advise that dd2 wasn't sleeping through yet, she is 9 m.

At the beginning , I smiled and nodded, no I just explain why they are wrong and I am right.

" no mil, dd won't be having rust in her bottle because it's a choking hazard"
" no fil it's not too early for dd to go bed as she needs her sleep to sleep better"
" yes fil we did pay for painters to do decorating and we like it and that's all that matters "

Ignore and defend , they will stop soon enough. Your baby YOUR rules .

PacificDogwood Sun 12-Jan-14 21:35:10

I think you are right thinking about what your responses to him might be in the future as he is not likely to change and you cannot change him, only your reaction to his behaviour/what he says.

Yes, don't let it turn into a self-fullfilling prophesy, so if you are finding yourself going tense in his presence, just 'waiting' for his next great idea wink, then you're probably better saying something out loud, like "I would like to do this my way; it's my first child and I am v excited" or something non-confrontational.
If you find a Zen way of letting go in one ear and out the other, go with that.

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