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To treat my children like this and ignore MIL

(137 Posts)
spritesoright Wed 12-Mar-14 02:47:12

DD1 is 2.5 and DD2 is 3 weeks old. DH went back to work last week so we asked MIL if she could come and help out, mostly so I can try and catch up on sleep. She has been here today while DD1 was at nursery and half of yesterday when she wasn't.
Up to last night it was going really well. Then DD1 asked if I would put her to bed and kicked off when I was trying to get her nappy on for bed.
She has been generally enthusiastic about her new sister but also challenging for DH and I and has smacked DD2 a couple of times.
I had DD2 in the sling and could feel myself getting angry with DD1 so I went and sat in the corridor while DD1 screamed and demanded her Daddy.
MIL exclaims "Oh my God!" Steps over my legs and goes to comfort DD1. I was in tears so grateful for the help.
I finished putting DD1 to bed and after she demanded a 5th story, water, a lullaby, Daddy I finally told her no and left the room to her whinging.
Got downstairs and MIL tells me she is leaving because of the way DD1 "is being treated." I already feel guilty about DD1 having to cope with new baby and told MIL I am doing my best on very little sleep. She told me "not to be a martyr"since tonnes of women have raised more than one child. Apparently I should put DD2 down to scream for 30 minutes while I do bedtime and I shouldn't have DD2 in the sling all day as it makes DD1 jealous of my attention.
I am already struggling and the last thing I need is criticism of my parenting and pointing out DD1's behaviour.
DH came home and backed me up and she tried to patch it up by saying she did think I was a good mother and she will stay tomorrow. Honestly I just want her to go home as I will feel judged all tomorrow but for the sake of our relationship I will muddle through I guess.
But AIBU to think DD1 will just have to get used to DD2's need for me now and her behaviour will improve. I do try hard to incorporate DD1 into helping and to pay her lots of attention but I'm not prepared to put DD2 to cry in the Moses basket while I do this.

PastPerfect Wed 12-Mar-14 02:53:02

DD1 is obviously quite young herself so honestly I do think sometimes you need to let DD2 cry and focus your attention on your eldest - or since your mil was there why not get her to hold DD2 whilst you put DD1 to bed?

If you insisted on keeping DD2 in the sling whilst trying to do DD1 bedtime routine I can see why your mil might think you a bit of a martyr.

However sleep deprivation does funny things to us all - just take a step back.

spritesoright Wed 12-Mar-14 03:00:18

I had asked MIL to hold DD2 while I put DD1 to bed but she didn't want to as she thinks she should be put down.
Obviously if DD1 needed me briefly I would put DD2 down to cry while I sorted it out. But I should leave DD2 to cry the whole bedtime? How does not doing that make me a martyr?

bubblegoose Wed 12-Mar-14 03:03:31

Oh you poor thing. That is tough. But it does sound like you just had a bad night, we all have them. Even when you're not sleep deprived dealing with a defiant toddler can be so difficult.

I wouldn't let DD2 cry either, but that's totally up to you. No need to call you a martyr over it. It actually sounds like your MIL was a bit of a martyr herself, threatening to leave. And who gives a shit about the other women bringing up 45 babies all at once, they are not you.

I was in your position about two months ago, I also kept DD2 in the sling. DD1 didn't seem to notice and would ask where the baby was! I found it the best way to just get on with it.

bubblegoose Wed 12-Mar-14 03:06:03

"I had asked MIL to hold DD2 while I put DD1 to bed but she didn't want to as she thinks she should be put down."

Why?? Isn't she there to help you out? It sounds like she means well but she has her own idea of how to do things. Honestly, it sounds like she is causing more stress for you. If the options for bedtime when she is there are

baby in her cot screaming OR
baby in sling

then what is the point of her actually being there?

spritesoright Wed 12-Mar-14 03:17:55

Yes I am feeling she is more hindrance than help now. At least she started dinner while I put Dd to bed.
I know DD1 is still young and I feel bad that I am feeling resentful of her bad behaviour. In all honesty I wish I could just cuddle DD2 all day and not have to deal with DD2's demands but I am trying very hard to ignore that and reassure DD1.

spritesoright Wed 12-Mar-14 03:19:56

Sorry, DD1's demands. She is lovely and engaging most of the time but when she kicks off or hits it is very hard not to resent her.

innisglas Wed 12-Mar-14 03:32:16

I only ever had one child so I am certainly no expert (I'm sure I would have been hopeless with more than one, actually) and I am also probably preaching to the converted, but I think it might be better to let the baby scream a bit so that DD1 doesn't grow up resenting her.

Keep taking the vitamins and don't be too hard on yourself

bubblegoose Wed 12-Mar-14 03:43:05

There are plenty of ways to make an older child feel secure and loved that don't involve letting the baby scream. I know some people can do that, and that's fine. But there is no way I can be a loving, attentive mother to my older child while listening to my newborn crying out for me. MIL needs to respect that.

OP I think you're doing a brilliant job, and the fact that you're aware of being pulled in different directions tells me you're already trying to address it as best you can.

Can you get MIL to take DD1 out for a couple of hours tomorrow? That way DD1 will get lots of one-to-one and you'll get a rest with the baby.

TheXxed Wed 12-Mar-14 03:50:28

FFS your baby is 3 weeks old of course you should hold her as much as possible. I am glad you stuck to your guns and ignored MIL.

redcaryellowcar Wed 12-Mar-14 03:55:38

I have a 2.8 yr old and 2 wk old. Dh goes back to work this week and i am about to go solo. Think my dmum might pop up for bathtime for a couple of days. I plan to do as you are, dc2 in sling. Dc1 getting as much normality as possible! I can't see point of putting dc2 down only to cry. Your mil sounds less than helpful. Maybe you could ask her to do other Stuff Like dinner. Tidying the toys away Etc?

Doingakatereddy Wed 12-Mar-14 04:12:41

When I had my second I was given a great piece if advice that if both kids were crying, I should try to go to the oldest first as the baby didn't know any different (if that makes sense?!)

I've tried to ensure that I gave my oldest my attention at bed time & where I couldn't, made sure day after DS got nice hug or activity with just me.

I know DD2 is little, but putting her down for half hour won't harm her. All your DD1 is seeing at the moment is DD2 in your arms all day & that's a big change for a toddler.

However, your MIL is been an arse for flouncing. Smile, nod but make sure she knows your rules apply & if she doesn't like them she can keep quiet.

spritesoright Wed 12-Mar-14 04:26:28

If both children were crying in need then yes I would go to DD1 first. But DD1 was having a tantrum over bedtime and not putting her nappy on so regardless of DD2 my response would have been to ignore her until she stopped screaming.
There is a difference between a toddler having a tantrum and a newborn wanting to be held.
I put DD2 down in the basket or her buggy if she's asleep but I don't see how listening to her sister scream for 30 minutes is going to be reassuring for DD1 while we spend 'quality' time together.

exhaustedmummymoo Wed 12-Mar-14 04:53:51

Hi sprite sounds to me like MIL completely over reacted, what you did was very sensible you walked away from a tantruming toddler rather than get angry with her. I don't know if this is helpful as all children and babies are different and so are ways we all parent, but when ds slept I gave dd my full attention. Tbh I probably ignored ds the first few months of his life as I was so worried about dd who was 16 months when ds was born, I also couldn't use a sling so ds really had no choice but wait for me. He's 2 now and really cuddley happy and confident so no harm done ! But toddlers are full on, and you dd may just be kicking off because its what toddlers do! As for her smacking dd2, just tell her no explain dd2 loves her and its better being friends!
Good luck with it all. And don't be hard on yourself its bloody hardwork and you MIL is not the one dealing with sleep deprivation and flying hormones, nor does she have all the emotional crap to deal with. You sound like a brilliant mummy to me smile

BlackholesAndRevelations Wed 12-Mar-14 05:34:39

Ah her behaviour is normal for a 2 yo, let alone one whose little world has been turned upside down. Just think about that when you start "resenting" the poor girl.

I've just had my third with small age gaps so believe me, I know how you feel in terms of tiredness and hormones. Do think your mil should be holding dd2 instead of judging you and if she can't help you you'd be better off if she just left you to it!

It is a difficult time but it'll get easier soon enoughflowers

wannaBe Wed 12-Mar-14 05:59:10

You don't know dd2 was going to scream for half an hour as you refuse to put her down for a second. Also, if you'd given your attention to dd1 for a bit instead of the baby she might have kicked off less and bedtime wouldn't have taken so long.

It doesn't hurt babies to cry a bit sometimes, and your dd1 has just had her world turned upside down and is being given the message that she doesn't matter as much as dd2. That won't help the resentment she already feels towards her sibling. Yabu a bit.

Stubbed Wed 12-Mar-14 06:03:59

I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old and while my toddler never played up at bedtime I have been in the same position and I would have done the same. It's just hard, there are no answers. But it does get easier before you know it....

99redbafoons Wed 12-Mar-14 06:11:03

Sounds to me as if you don't actually want any other advice apart from to say ignore DD1, don't put DD2 down for a second. Why do you feel resentful of DD1 when she has a tantrum?

attheendoftheday Wed 12-Mar-14 06:21:52

Wow, I think you're getting a hard time op. Your mil sounds unsupportive and I would be uncomfortable after her comment too.

I think it's fine to have the baby in a sling while seeing to your elder one's needs. It's better to meet both children's needs, why pick one if you don't have to? I don't see the logic that you must leave the baby to cry or dd1 will feel ignored or resentful, a sleeping baby in a sling does not take up much attention. I did this, and my girls get on very well.

msmoss Wed 12-Mar-14 06:25:01

I have a 16 month gap sometimes I had to put the baby down and he cried whilst I got DS1 for bed, it has done him no harm. It wasn't for long and I had no other choice.

To be honest whilst I see your point and i do sympathise I feel quite sorry for your DD1, not only does she have a new sibling but her mother is flat refusing to give her any one to one attention at bedtime, you need to be a little bit more considerate of how she's feeling.

It's very easy to start thinking of the older child as the big boy/ girl who should know better in these situations and actually it was only when DS2 reached the age that DS1 was when he was born that I realised just how out if kilter my expectations had been.

TamerB Wed 12-Mar-14 06:33:06

I can see that it is very stressful and you don't want to beat yourself up for not handling it well. Also give MIL some slack- as a bystander she just had an instinctive reaction to how DD1 was treated when she is little more than a baby herself.
I would just sit down with MIL and have a chat, explain that it isn't that easy and clear the air.
In future I think that you will have to put the baby down at some points and give your eldest your full attention, she will be resentful if she always sees you with the baby attached. Bedtime is one of those times to give her your full, undivided, attention and cuddle up for a story without a baby in the way.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 12-Mar-14 06:36:54

Um, you can actually give a toddler one on one attention with a sleeping newborn in a sling! DD didn't used to know ds1 was there! Chin up op, you're doing a grand job.

I think it's factually inaccurate to say that ignoring a newborn for half an hour is fine. I say this as someone who has a whinging six-month old in a bouncy chair most evenings while I cook tea. Three weeks is very new.

youbethemummylion Wed 12-Mar-14 06:37:45

Why do you need MIL to help? Yes its lovely to have help but if she is not helping and making you feel bad whats the point?

Eatriskier Wed 12-Mar-14 06:38:45

I have a 20m age gap between mine and sometimes I still (ds is now 18m!) have issues like this. Yanbu at all. You walked away from a tantrumming toddler. Best thing. Your mil isn't helping you, she is trying to stamp her authority and I think you should treat her like a tantrumming toddler too grin

Ds has bad reflux so he was held almost constantly, in arms or slings. Worst thing we could do was let him scream as it caused the reflux to set off. The only angry words I had with my mil were when she suggested we should let him cry. It isn't as simple as that. She thankfully pitched in after that.

The best advice I got was when they're both kicking off go to the one you can deal with quickest, that way there's less tears overall. Sometimes dc2 will have to get on with it but sometimes dc1 will too.

You aren't doing a bad job thanks

gingercat2 Wed 12-Mar-14 06:39:04

My bub is twelve weeks with DD1 a six year old, and had similar scenarios for the first six weeks or so. I wasn't comfortable with putting baby down to scream either, and bath time was very stressful for a few weeks. You have to parent according to your own personality - if you prefer to hold bub rather than let her scream then that's what you need to do. Hang in there, it really will get easier soon.

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