to give up and let mum and MIL fight it out over as-yet-unconceived grandchildren?!(81 Posts)
Backstory: my mum has two grandchildren, both from my brother. She knows DP and I are thinking about babies (though we're in the early stages of TTC, which I suspect she doesn't realise). Mum has always 'let off steam' to me about DB - and particularly about his wife. She likes his wife very much, but she has a blind spot with my brother - he's the golden child - and in particular, she and my dad are united in the firm belief that he is the conscientious, strict parent while my SIL is the lax, permissive one who occasionally undermines his good order.
This would be funny if it weren't so annoying, because everyone else notices in five minutes that my DB's kids have him wrapped around their little fingers and that SIL bombs around getting things organised. She's also developed the belief she is sadly denied opportunities to see her grandchildren, because they often go on holiday to visit their other grandparents in Spain (as you would). DM usually admits she hadn't actually invited DB and family, or suggested she visit them, during these holidays, mind.
Increasingly, it is clear DM is using comments on this situation as a covert way of hinting about what DP and I should do, should we ever have babies. It is very obvious this will put her in direct conflict with DP's mum. DM is a very 70s, conscientious-middle-class-parenting type, thinks breastfeeding is practically a sacrament, that babies should never be in nursery and should always have a large garden to run in, and should always be stimulated with naice books, educational trips, and no TV. DMIL proudly weaned hers before one month, is very relaxed about TV, etc.
Both are vocal about expectations, though DMIL is markedly less annoying because she simply says what she thinks, while DM prefers to convey her views through the medium of contorted facial expressions and hints so subtle DP generally has no clue what she's getting at.
They have never met. They will meet in the next few months. DP and I have realised that this is likely to result in a, erm, robust exchange of views.
Should we a) warn them, trusting them to act as adults, b) attempt to mediate, pointing out that as the potential baby's potential parents, we might have some say in issues like breastfeeding, or c) light the blue touch paper and stand well clear?
(c) and bring popcorn?
You could have a lot of fun agreeing vehemently with both of them and then ultimately completely ignoring their advice and just doing your own thing.
I know it's difficult but just ignore them both unless their advice is something you need at that particular time. They're adults you don't need to mediate between them. Get on with your life and try to ensure that any DC have a nice relationship with both grandparents.
Would they really be taking / arguing about it when baby isn't conceived yet? If something was brought up just mention that you're not even pregnant and to drop the subject. Don't tell either of them you're TTC it's no ones business anyway.
at rubber. It is tempting. But it would be mean!
kay - oh, hell yes, they would be arguing! My mother has been talking about my hypothetical babies for years.
And seriously, we do want any possible children to have a good relationship with them - which is why I am a little worried - but I also want to tell them to please calm down and let us at least get knocked up before they agonise so much!
Smile nod agree with everything whatever each one says and do whatever you like. Truth is there are no rules about parenting we all have to decide for ourselves what's best.
Do not try to mediate. They are adults, expect them to behave like adults.
Then parent any DC you have the way you and DP want to while smiling and nodding at both
when if they tell you what you are doing wrong.
Ooh. My DM and DMIL are like this.
I just stand back and watch.
and try not to laugh
You might find it all changes when DCs arrive anyway. Children have a way of persuading GPs to agree to all the stuff we were banned from.
Frankly I'd be laying my boundaries here and now if they really are going on about it before any child is even on the horizon. Future you will thank yourself for that.
d) tell them babies smell bad and you'd rather focus on your career and buy a cat. Then sit back and watch them unite against you.
Actually what I'd do is, nod, smile and say you'll worry about it when you get to that point. Or change the subject.
It doesn't matter what either one of them thinks, you and DP will be doing the parenting!
Move far away from both of them. I can highly recommend it.
Just being nosy now, why have they never met?
You also need to understand that they (especially your DM by the sound of it) will be talking behind your back and you will get complained about to your DB and SIL regardless of what you do, so you may as well please yourself. I'm one of 7 and given that my DM used to like a moan about everyone else to me, I'm not under any illusions that my siblings got the moans about me and DH. I keep waiting for her to slip up - she is elderly now and gets infections from time to time that knock her doolally - she is bound to slag me off to me one of these days It's nothing terribly bad btw and we all love her to bits.
Good luck with TTC
Light the fuse and stand back. Then after they've gone off at each other, remind them both together (in front of whoever they saw fit to bicker in front of) that their opinions are completely irrelevant, what with them not being the parents to the currently hypothetical child.
The thing is Robins, you won't give a flying fuck once you have your own kids.
The role your mum and his mum have in your life will fade into insignificance when you're the mum, as you'll be the only mum in your family.
It matters not one jot what the MIL or DMs of this world think or do when you're the hand that rocks the cradle. You'll make your own rules to suit your own family.
Enjoy ttcing, and good luck.
Why bother discussing it? A) There is no grandchild to discuss yet anyway, and B) you and your partner will be the parents, so it's how you do things that matters.
But seriously, you parent your way. When dc are at Granny As house there are no screens, lots of lovely finger painting and baking and homemade jam.
When they are at Granny Bs house there is peppa pig, sweets and fizzy drinks.
At your house there is what YOU want and as that is most of the time, you can shrug and let go the activities that don't happen on your watch.
I once read a brilliant blog about how the whole point of grandparents was to buy the My Little Pony Sparkle set that your feminist principles wouldn't allow you to buy but your dd REALLY wanted. win-win.
Smile, nod, say "how interesting" and do what you want.
Oh, and they are adults, so let them get on with it and enjoy the show.
Frankly I'd be laying my boundaries here and now
Ok ... HOW?!
barbarian - ooh, yes, that would not go down well!
venus - I would so like to believe you, but this is one of the lies parents tell non-parents, isn't it? It's very obvious from MN it isn't true!
steppe - ha, I think my SIL has read that blog. She points out similar with regard to her sister buying my niece sparkly dresses. I agree, it sounds like a good way to see it.
Since neither your DM nor your DMIL are TTC at the moment, I'd stand well back and watch.
When you have a baby, take their view as suggestions, anything you find useful, use it, anything you don't, disregard. The only thing you will have to make clear is this will be your and your DP's child. It is hard enough to agree with one co-parent, you do not need 2 others. Keep telling yourself they can give advice and share experiences, but they can not give orders and instructions.
Every time they tell you how to do anything remind them that as parents you will be parenting, should you have children, your way. Repeat. Not difficult.
I know that's a typo, pax, but I am mildly disturbed by the idea of mum and MIL TTC!
And the step after that, tigger, is
'Of course! Oh, we are very happy to help! You do everything your way ...'
Then a 180-hour marathon conversation over months that 'just happens' to centre on This Fascinating Article I read About Breastfeeding and That Time I Weaned You Onto Rice At Three Weeks and so on ...
They mean well. God bless them.
Terrible idea, parents having sex . Nope, wasn't a typo, just meant to say only if they were ttc would they need to worry about how to bring up the resulting offspring. This way, it really isn't their problem, even if they'd like to have a lot of say.
They've had their pop at parenting, your turn now.
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