To worry about how DPIL's will affect my daughter? ( warning sleep deprived and may be being Pfb.(43 Posts)
So I know this is probably a bit precious and ungrateful but I feel really concerned about the way my in laws are going to treat my daughter as she grows up (currently 10ms). I will bullet point for time saving.
1, There main topic of conversation is to make comparisons between people. i often find these unkind although i am a bit sensitive. For example my dh suffered bad acne as a teenager, when we started going out they would often say 'oh DHs brother has such lovely skin, not like poor ....' they have been quite rude about my appearance too, im under no illusion that I'm a beauty Queen but they'll say 'oh so and so in the family is so beautiful she doesn't need make up, it's so unfair isn't it pea' or yesterday when I commented on how lovely someone's hair was 'well some people get lovely hair and skin when they are pregnant, others have greased hair and spots,' pointed look at me. They've started to do it with my baby daughter '....s baby is so dainty, not like peas' . 'Its funny how peas baby doesn't sleep through, all put babies slept from 10 weeks' I guess it's the appearance ones that I worry about most, I don't want her to be continually told she measures up short compared to other children as she grows up, I don't think it breeds good feeling and I don't want her to think that looks matter. Dh and his siblings aren't very close and I think that's partly to do with always being compared. If it was the occasional comment I think it's normal but they make so many of them.
2. They like to buy lots of presents, I know this sounds very ungrateful, but i just find it a bit hard to cope with. They've spent at least £300 pounds on my daughter this Christmas and I find it really overwhelming. They can't really afford it. They also feel that if they buy one gd anything the other has to have something. My daughter wouldn't have any idea, and I'm not counting who gets the most presents. I always say to them I know how much you love her and that you love them the same, we really don't mind if .... Has something and dd doesn't. The most precious thing she enjoys is the time you spend together...etc also we can't afford to recoprocate, we spent about £25 on each of them and that was a stretch, it makes me feel a bit guilty. I don't want my daughter to always instantly have everything she would like, I think delayed gratification is really important in being well rounded. I don't know how to tackle this with them as she grows.
3, they are a bit unkind. I'm on mat leave and just starting to leave my daughter for a couple of hours once a week for us both to get used to it. I find it quite hard to leave her but I know it's important for her to start learning she'a separate from me and not to get attachment problems. She's been a little poorly so wanting lots if mum time when I'm around. we were at a family dinner and I heard mil loudly tell everyone on the table behind us 'well when pea is there dd just cries for her and isn't happy, when oh brought her round the other day without pea she was really happy, she's so much happier when her mums not around' my daughter is usually really smiley n chirpy with most people she isn't a little limpet unless she's feeling poorly honestly. I just feel really upset when they say things like that, and I don't want them to say things that upset my daughter when she's old enough to understand.
Sorry for the essay, is this just normal gps and I'm overreacting? Either way there's nothing I can actually do is there?
I get it, they sound pretty snide. I think I would practice breezy comments for when your daughter can understand, e.g. 'You're perfect just the way you are, aren't you, dd?' and 'we're all different, aren't we?'
I mean this with complete kindness but although I think your PIL are being a bit silly in places you are being over sensitive. They sound like they love her very much and just make very loud observations that are a bit unnecessary.
My DD was clingy at that age and my PIls would always go on about how her children loved being passed around... It's tiresome but just let it wash over you. 300 pounds is a lot for Xmas but if that makes them happy then let them, you didn't ask for it.
Urgh, they sound horrible! I have no good advice except spend a bit less time with them. I think it's important for your daughter that you don't rise to it, maybe when she's a bit older try to diffuse with some flippant comments? So they say something about your hair compared to someone else for instance, just breezily say 'yes, isn't it funny how everyone is different?'
Or you could call them out on it next time they say something?
What a bitch for that last comment, my blood boiling on your behalf. You know sometimes little babies just want mum and if they hear their voice or smell them then they're reaching out etc. So they can sleep better with others but that's not what she was alluding to at all.
Spending money they haven't got is crazy but this is your dh problem tbh. Giving your kids something you don't want them to have yet seems to be a universal GP trait too.
I sympathise with you on the comments thing. That needs nipping in the bud. It can do even more damage to a girl. You need to have a very neutral but very firm response to this to deploy (better mumsnetters than me will come up with something) but be v careful not to show your own upset about this or your insecurities. Although fwiw it is hard not to feel they are comparing you when they praise someone else.
I'm not planning to use them for child care, but we live very closely and so spend time with them every week.
Thanks for the advice so far, I think i will definitely have to just chill out about some of it, especially the presents. I like the idea of just breezily brushing the comments off. I think my family are probably a bit sensitive as a whole so it just surprises me as I haven't grown up with similar comments, New Years resolution grow a thicker skin!
I don't think you're overreacting. The appearance/comparison thing would piss me off but I also may be more sensitive to this than others. I would make a point of saying to my DD that these things don't matter and everyone is different and thats a nice thing. Do this in front of GPs and at other times. Your influence will be a lot greater than theirs. The spending loads of money thing there isn't much you can do. Again as DD grows up just explain to her thst everyone has different amounts of money to spend and prioritises it differently. I would only really address this with the GPs if it was seriously undermining your parenting e.g if they were using money/gifts to buy her affection or to make a point of how little others have.
I must admit I think those unpleasant comparisons are awful and I don't know how happy I would be for any daughter of mine to be hearing that sort of thing as she grows up.
I wouldn't take the comments about you too much to heart, however. My exMIL, who is lovely in so many ways, used to say things like she only started crying when you arrived in such a way that made me feel inadequate. Then when I looked after my friends' children I found out that it is how they all are.
Ok so Im going to be a stuck record with 'yes so funny how we're all different', they do love her and there is lots of lovely stuff about them too, I guess learning to be a part of someone else's family is always going to be a bit tricky!
Actually, I think your PiLs are being very unkind and insensitive. Those sort of comments are really uncalled for. You are not being U.
Yanbu. Those comments are nasty and unescessary. I would follow every snidey remark from them with a comment about how everyone 's opinion is different, DD will always be wonderful in my eyes, and how important it is to be kind to other people, because nasty remarks just reflect badly on the person making them.
Some of them you are being sensitive about - for example saying so & so doesn't need make up & looking at you does NOT mean they are saying you look like the back end of a bus. They're just commenting on someone else.
The bit about 'she's happy away from her mum' would piss me off but the rest wouldn't register. But it depends on family dynamics. If people start with lots of compliments in our family they.'re treated with suspicion as we tend to be jokey with each other.
Having said all that my MIL used to be incredibly rude to me in the early years (said I would have no friends because my house was so dirty - not true btw, said I dressed immaturely (I'm not glam for sure), said I was over protective of ds1 (who turned out yo be severely disabled), said I was holding ds1 back etc etc. I kept a list of the outstandingly rude comments. It took me a few years but I did have to set some boundaries & she wouldn't DARE say such things to me now & if she did I'd tell her to wind her neck in. You are entitled to let her know where your boundaries are.
The same is true within our family. Ds2, ds3 & DH love being rude to each other about their appearances & call each other fat (ds2 & 3 are skinny) - they howl with laughter. They don't do it to me or about DS1 as they know I don't like it & I don't do it to them (I have also explsined it's a family only joke & they must never do it outside the family & they must never comment on anyone's weight as people find it hurtful). So what I'm saying is that even if some things are acceptable within a family that doesn't mean you just have to accept them - you can still have your own boundaries.
YANBU to be concerned about any of those things, but I think you need to find strategies for dealing with them as I doubt you will be able to make them stop, unfortunately.
My mum is guilty of comparisons - not so much with DD (10) but will constantly harp on in front of her about how me, DH & my dad fall short compared to her friend's family members. There is also one aspect of DD's appearance that she will bring up regularly. DD & I have both perfected shrugging off & rolling our eyes at one another, but when she comments on my DD I go a bit feral & we'll end up having a stonking row/tears/three day standoff.
Mum is also a horror for spoiling DD. It seems to be her mission to ensure that she has to wait no more than a week for absolutely anything she wants or needs. I know this is partly born of the fact that they have more disposable income now than when I was small & they are older GPs so want to indulge her while they can, and generally I let this slide, although we occasionally have a barney when bigger things are involved.
My MIL was guilty of the third point on your list & unfortunately I did have to use her for childcare when DD was tiny, but as soon as that was out of the equation it became less of an issue. My lovely BIL also gave her a bollocking about it which helped.
I think the most important thing you can do is talk to your DH about how this makes you feel & ensure he's on side. You will have to let a lot of this go, but if you have his support on the big things you can pick your battles if they really overstep the mark.
I really don't like the comparisons thing -you will need to work hard to counteract it by your own attitudes at home. I would tell your daughter outright when she gets older that you don't know why her grandparents do this and it isn't very nice.
At least you won't be relying on them for childcare and your daughter will be with you much more than she is with them.
Keep an eye on it-if it gets worse and they start to set grandchildren up in competition with each other you will need to confront it.
I allowed my Mum to say this sort of thing in front of my kids-I regret it now-it affected their self-confidence. I should have been more assertive.
Well I would have to say something over comparing appearance. I had that to an extent and it does register and it does hurt. I would say something at the time. To an extent people only treat you badly if you let them. My brother is vile to a lot of my family but nice to me because he knows I wont put up with it. It does mean causing a 'scene' but so bloody what they're being rude.
They sound horrible. When they say these things can you not say airily"Well I think it's very rude/unkind to judge" or if you can't face that "I don't like to judge others myself"
I wouldn't worry about falling out with them - it wouldn't be much of a loss from the sounds of it.
I would try to see them less often, put some physical and emotional distance between you.
I would cause the scene now, whilst your DD is too young to understand about the comparisons. And I would bring out the big guns, and ask MIL how she thinks harping on about the perfect skin of her other DC is possibly helpful to your DH.
And I would ask her if she has ever considered that this type of comparison might be a major reason why her DC are not close now.
But I would do all of this in a considered 'sit down over a cup of tea' sort of way, rather than in the heat of the moment. And say that it is because you want a healthy relationship in future, that you feel it is important to be clear now.
pea, the good thing is that you know what they're like, so you can have strategies for dealing with and countering them, including lots of positive reinforcements with your DD about how everyone is different and that's fine. Okay, it's not great that you have to deal with their crap, but you sound well-prepared to tackle it. Good luck.
"Oh, *'s MIL us so polite and sensitive, it's such a pity for you that you never got taught good manners MIL"
I think you're wise to be concerned, tbh. This sort of commentary is bound to become hurtful as your DD grows in understanding.
My own grandad had a bit of a "thing" about women being overweight, and would often pass a "jokey" comment about my sister's weight - except she never found it remotely amusing, only hurtful, and liked him less because of it (to say nothing of how it fed into her low self esteem etc.)
If you don't feel you can bring it up with them, then you need to learn some stock "diversionary" phrases - such as "oh we don't say XYZ in our house, do we DD, we prefer to live and let live" or similar.
I'm with you on the comparisons. I think it can give children complexes and low self-esteem that can last for life. My DS is two weeks' old and tiny. My niece is three months' old and a fine sturdy example of how formula can't be that bad for them. Already my parents have started saying that darling niece is a 'boudin' (my dad is French & it means little greedy/pudding). I told them very sharply (easier with own parents) that I NEVER want niece to be called that. Not fair & can have a lasting effect even when they are tots.
You absolutely must not feel obliged to leave your baby if you don't want to. Strong attachment comes from your baby knowing you're always there for them when they need you, not leaving them with others before you/they are ready.
Are these your inlaws? What does your husband think about these comments?
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