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AIBU to be so cross with PIL over DD

(147 Posts)
iamsoannoyed Thu 06-Feb-14 21:01:10

Well, I don't think I am being unreasonable to be annoyed but I would also like some perspective, as I am getting more and more annoyed over this. Very long, so apologies.

My DHs parents are very religious (FIL is a vicar). DH is not, although obviously was brought up in a religious household. He has not attended church regularly since he left home to go to university. In fact, I think the last time he went was when we stayed with them for christmas a few years ago. I am definitely not religious.

DH and I got married in a civil ceremony, although FIL gave a blessing afterwards as it meant a lot to him (and DH to have his dad do it)- which was nice. They were a little bit upset we chose not to have a religious ceremony, but it would have felt utterly hypocritical saying religious vows in church when I don't believe in any of it.

However, now PIL (well mostly MIL) are kicking up a fuss because we aren't getting our DD (their first GC) christened. DH and I spoke about it before she was born, and he isn't really bothered either way and I am against the whole idea, so we decided against it.

We hadn't discussed this with anyone else, as it really hadn't occurred to us that we would have to justify this decision.

Anyway, MIL told me a few days ago that they had "spoken to" BIL/SIL and they would be delighted to be god-parents and she was thinking the christening could be in the next few weeks- there were 2 free spaces at FIL church and which did we want? I was shock because I can't believe she thought it was up to her/them to decide our DD is getting christened, never mind organising said event without being asked to. Also, she has no business deciding who would be godparents, far less asking BIL and SIL to do it on our behalf.

I was pissed off, but I thought that she (mostly) meant well, was probably just a bit over excited and got ahead of herself (as she did after DD was born). I think she assumed that because religion is so important to her and because DH was christened, we would have DD christened too.

I tried to explain that DH and I had discussed it and decided against it. MIL got very upset and said it was selfish to deny our DD a welcoming to the community of the church, how could we exclude them from this etc etc. I told her it was really none of her business and to keep her opinions to herself. I thought that would be the end of it and decided to just ignore the stupidity of what MIL had done, and move on.

But no, we have had SIL (DH's sister) and BIL (DH's brother) on the phone, saying it is very selfish to deny PIL this, as it is really important to them. They are also hurt that godparent request has been revoked (as there is to be no christening).

I explained MIL had organised this and asked them without our knowledge or consent, but I was sorry they were upset re the godparent aspect. I also said that as DH is not religious and I am not religious. Why on earth would I want to stand up in church and pledge to bring my daughter according to the christian faith, when clearly this will not be the case? They still thought it was very unfair on MIL, I left it "we'll just have to agree to disagree".

Anyway, she's been on the phone to DH pleading to him to change his mind. He has said a firm "no", but she has been crying and making him feel terrible. We came up with a compromise- we have heard of other parents who have had civil naming ceremonies and thought that could give everyone the chance to welcome DD in a formal way, and FIL could do a blessing similar to that he did at our wedding so he could be involved.

FIL seemed happy with this, and was really touched to be asked. MIL, however, is still not happy as we are not going to be having a "proper christening" and won't be bring her DGD up in a religious way.

I am getting increasingly angry about this. The final straw was today, when she suggested they do the christening anyway but I "wouldn't have to be there" if I didn't like it.

I am now furious. I admit I lost my temper at the last conversation and told MIL to go take a running jump- there was no way that was happening, and I expected this to be the last conversation we have on the matter and until she could apologise she was to leave me alone and then hung up the phone.

MIL phoned DH, who pointed out she had gone a bit far- not that she was very apologetic to him and still insisted we were being unfair.

AIBU to demand an apology? And to want to minimise contact with MIL until she can accept the way we are choosing to bring up DD- I don't want MIL to ram religion down her throat against our wishes, and feel if she can't respect our wishes then she can only have supervised contact (not such a problem now, as DD is very small).

By the way, FIL has been very reasonable and given he's the vicar, I thought he'd be more upset than MIL.

exexpat Thu 06-Feb-14 21:05:05

YANBU and I would be livid in your position. Your in-laws had the chance to bring their children up in their religion (though it obviously didn't work very well in your DH's case...) but how you choose to bring up your children is entirely a matter for you and your DH.

Your MiL has stepped way over the line, and definitely owes you an apology. Would it be worth you and/or DH having a word with the much-more-reasonably FiL to try and get her to back off a bit?

gordyslovesheep Thu 06-Feb-14 21:06:16

Blimey! No YANBU what an odd thing for her to do

Oddly in our family it was my non church going MIL who got all cats bum face about us not getting the girls Christened - my Christian church going mum totally accepted our choice to let the girl make that decision as adults

NatashaBee Thu 06-Feb-14 21:06:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RandomMess Thu 06-Feb-14 21:07:35

I would ask your MIL "Do you think God condems baby's to hell if they haven't been christened?"

I really do wonder how much of her unreasonable behaviour is fear and how much is about appearances...

Holdthepage Thu 06-Feb-14 21:08:36

They brought up their own children how they wanted & you will do the same with yours. Tell her to keep her nose out of your business.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 06-Feb-14 21:11:37


You don't christen someone else's child. You just don't.

The child in question isn't part of the church community anyway, which makes it more bizarre.

It sounds like this is about MIL's standing with other people. The Vicar's Wife - I bet she's already invited half the WI to the christening "do". She's not looking forward to how daft she will look when she has to tell them it ain't happening...

SIL/BIL will have been told about it as if you were planning it. They will think you're lying and backtracking because The Vicar's Wife can't possibly be wrong.

Don't have a naming ceremony if you don't actually want one. Stay assertive. On baby's birthday have a moderately boozy "we survived our first year as parents" party. The Vicar's Wife can put her best frock on for that instead.

VoldysGoneMouldy Thu 06-Feb-14 21:12:53

The fact that you didn't tell her to get stuffed shows you're better person than me, to be honest.

Given her attitude, I wouldn't even go for the naming ceremony idea, because you can guarantee that MIL will kick up a bloody fuss and spoil the day.

Talk about crossing lines. She called BIL and SIL and asked them to be godparents? Christ on a bloody bike.

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 06-Feb-14 21:13:49


It would be (and was) utterly non negotiable for me and anyone who tried to back me into a corner would regret it long before I did. It is one of those issues I would be prepared to walk away over if someone was trying to force my hand.

AmysTiara Thu 06-Feb-14 21:13:54

You are so not BU. I cannot believe the cheek of your MIL.

DoJo Thu 06-Feb-14 21:15:48

YANBU - she's rude, presumptuous and pretty much consigning herself to a life of 'duty only' visits from you and her oh-so-precious grandchild if she carries on in this way. I think holding out for a sincere apology that acknowledges that she has seriously overstepped the mark is fairly generous given that she clearly has no qualms about upsetting you.

PatrickStarisabadbellend Thu 06-Feb-14 21:17:36

The first time you leave your child alone with these people they will christen her. Mark my words.

sighbynight Thu 06-Feb-14 21:17:51

Oh dear. You have been the model of restraint. Of course YANBU.

foslady Thu 06-Feb-14 21:19:27

I would have lost it big time OP - you have been more than accommodating to your -M-PIL. I would suggest a gift of a ;good grandparenting' book. (I thought my story of PIL overstepping the mark with grandchildren was bad, and they got themselves the book - which helped a lot!)

Mellowandfruitful Thu 06-Feb-14 21:19:55

I too think the naming ceremony is a more than reasonable compromise and she has been completely out of order to try to arrange a christening ceremony without your knowledge. Your DH should be the one to deal with her now and should say that you both need to be clear that nothing like this ever happens again, or sadly you will have to control the contact she has with your DD because she can't be trusted not to make decisions that are not hers to make. What next, will she be filling in applications for the nursery /school she wants your DD to attend? Or sneaking her off to Sunday school without telling you while your DD is visiting?

Incidentally, my parents are religious and would never do anything of this sort. Please don't think this says anything about people who have faith; it just tells you that some people are hugely unreasonable.

TheUnstoppableWindmill Thu 06-Feb-14 21:21:17


umptyflump Thu 06-Feb-14 21:21:58

YANBU. All I wanted to add to previous posts is to make sure you stick to the no unsupervised contact rule. My grandad secretly took all of his 5 children for 'a walk', individually when each of them were babies and had them christened in the Catholic church against my grandma's wishes. She never knew (and neither do his children now aged between 58 and 72.) He told me about it before he died.

cornflakegirl Thu 06-Feb-14 21:22:05

I'm a christian, and I don't think you're being unreasonable. I also think your suggestion of a ceremony with a blessing was lovely and very gracious.

If FIL is being reasonable, maybe you could get him to talk to her?

FunLovinBunster Thu 06-Feb-14 21:22:13

YANBU. Stick to your guns.
I wasn't christened. DD hasn't been christened. It's not ethical to brainwash and choose a minors religion as they can't give proper consent.

FunLovinBunster Thu 06-Feb-14 21:23:06

And yes to not leaving child alone with PiLs.

mumbaisapphirebluespruce Thu 06-Feb-14 21:24:01

YANBU to expect an apology and for MIL to draw a line under it and move on. She has overstepped the mark in organizing something that is the responsibility of the parents if they wish to do so.

But...... I do think YABU to limit contact and only allow supervised visits. Your DD will come into contact with all kinds of people in her lifetime, with many different opinions on religion, politics etc, and she should be able to make up her own mind based on the information she has available to her. You can't shield her from their influence just because you don't agree with it. You are non-religious and that is your choice, same for you DH. Your DD should be allowed the same courtesy. You would absolutely be reasonable to answer any questions she may have when she gets older, but equally you have to expect she might ask questions of her grandparents too.

My own DM is religious, but I'm not christened and none of my siblings are. She believes that it is a decision that you make as an adult, because you need to fully understand the meaning of it. I was never pushed into it, although I did attend Sunday school and had a church school education, but neither me or any of my siblings have ever felt the need to get christened or confirmed. I can't tell you if I believe or not, because to be honest I don't really know, but either way I don't feel my life is missing anything because of that. I'm happy as I am.

Trust that your DD will grow up to be an intelligent individual who can make her own mind up - whatever that may be. Just let her know that you are always available to answer her questions whatever they may be, and likewise she can ask her grandparents too.

FixItUpChappie Thu 06-Feb-14 21:25:38

YANBU - she has really overstepped. Its very disrespectful. I think it may not be the path to happiness to demand and apology TBH (though your certainly right that she should) - but to have your DH advise calmly that the matter is closed, she is damaging her relationship with you and that you both will be raising your DD with an open mind but in accordance with your values as all parents do.

I empathize. I am an atheist but was raised a Catholic. I've never felt the need to discuss my adult personal beliefs with my mother and was unprepared for the matter to come up when she asked about Christening the children. She was upset when I told her we were not going to but dropped it. Then this Christmas we had a very awkward and brief conversation where she asked me out of the blue what we were telling our eldest about Jesus. Um, erm.....I was caught off guard. I told her we are okay with the religious stories being introduced as stories but not as factual events which clearly made her very unhappy but the subject was dropped. I know we are going to have to have a bum-clenching uncomfortable conversation about it at some point. As its going to come up more and more as the kids get older.

I feel bad for my mum, who I get only cares about their souls and all that. From her perspective it must be a bit mortifying. I try to be empathetic because it must be frightening for her as it is trying for me.

FrontForward Thu 06-Feb-14 21:25:40

I'm a Christian. I don't believe in christening. I absolutely don't believe in christening by people who don't have faith. Adults choose whether to follow a faith. Babies don't. Your MIL is behaving appallingly and without any concern for your feelings. I'd write and tell her she's not demonstrating Christian behaviour

brettgirl2 Thu 06-Feb-14 21:25:58

yanbu re mil, but its unclear what fil has actually done...... other than be a vicar

youmustbejoking75 Thu 06-Feb-14 21:27:19

As my username says. I would cancel the naming ceremony tbh as she is a loose cannon and can't be trusted. I also work with a priest who says grandparents are constantly asking him to secretly baptise children. When he says no they do it themselves. Your mil is so far over the line she can't see it. I would never leave her alone with my children.

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