Mother in law problems(44 Posts)
I need some advice about my mother in law. For months she has been driving me crazy and I feel things have come to a head and I can't cope with her anymore.
It began the day we announced I was pregnant when her first questions were whether my mother knew and how long she'd known, then she went on to the name and told us she didn't like the name we had picked, then she repeatedly asked to be at the birth and 'not to be sidelined'.
In the following weeks/ months she continued to say she didn't like the name and asked every time if we had changed our minds and even told us to check the top 100 baby names for ideas. She also badgered me constantly about what she would be called, despite me agreeing to her being called nana (which was what she wanted) she was not happy as my mother was also nana.
When my baby was born she came to the hospital and brought me nothing and didn't ask if I needed anything, she did nothing for us after we came home with the baby whereas my family helped with cooking, washing, shopping etc. Her only contribution was to ask to take the baby for walks, which isn't what I wanted as she was only days old. She asked when my child was 10 days old for me to think of days that she could have her every week, I said I wasn't ready for that but she asked again an hour later.
Since then I have taken the baby to see her almost every week for several hours at a time. I have on occasion left the baby with her but reluctantly because on one occasion she would not return my child when I asked and said she was out with her when I said I would come and pick her up, she then said she was sleeping which was a lie to put me off going to get her.
I feel really uneasy going to see her because she tries to get the baby off me the second I enter her house, and she doesn't give the baby back until I am at the door to leave and she usually tries to stall me.
Whenever I see her she always says that she wants me to leave the baby with her while I go shopping or something or she wants to take the baby somewhere without me, she has even sent me messages telling me there are films on at the cinema and I should go and leave the baby with her. She was pushing me to work days that would mean she could have the baby more, regardless of what suited me best.
I know a lot of people would probably think I'm mad and love to offload their children, to clarify I'm not completely possessive, I don't mind leaving her with family, but I just find it really unsettling that from day one it has been her objective to see my baby without me or my husband being there. She's also really difficult with my husband and gets irritated and sulks if he tells her what to do with our child.
If anyone can give any advice I would appreciate it. I am fairly certain the reason is she doesn't like me or my husband, but still wants our child, I just don't know how to deal with her anymore.
If you don't want to leave your baby with her then don't. Say NO whenever she suggests it. Be brave and stand up to her
What does your DP think? It sounds like strange behaviour. I'm not sure she will build a good relationship with your baby if she's always snatched from your arms.
My advice to you would be to establish and enforce very strong boundaries with this woman. Talk your dh about them so you present a united front. She honestly sounds extremely self centred - offer an inch more than you are comfortable with and she'll take several miles.
Probably not the best advice but FUCK THAT for a game of soldiers. You need to have no contact until you've gotten the strength together to stand up to this woman
Thanks for your replies. DH goes back and forth on it, at times he's backed me 100% but then others he tells me as I'm on mat leave it's for me to go and see her and he expects me to go at least once a week and even suggested I should see her as much as my own mum, who I have always been really close to and would see every few days even before having a baby. He once joked when I said that I was close to just leaving visits down to him that he 'didn't see why he should be punished'. To be honest I don't think he can be bothered with her either, they've had a volatile relationship as long as I can remember.
Say a loud and firm NO to her every single time she asks. Mean it and refuse point blank to hand over your baby.
From what you say I would have some doubts about her suitability as a babysitter or childcarer anyway.
Yeah - that is odd.
I agree with Barbarian that you need to be a joint force and set things in stone NOW. The further you let her go the more ammo she will have/control she will take.
I'm all for Grandparents taking an active role, but her behaviour is not normal and I wouldn't have gone to see her alone without my DH at all - let alone leave a baby with her.
I think backing off and going together for a while will help - as will a united front. Even if you and your DH can't start a conversation addressing the issues, you need to tackle her statements as she makes them.
"Leave the baby with me and you go out for a while"
No Mum/MIL - baby is still very little and needs her mum, and we don't enjoy leaving her.
Sorry - we don't want to do that.
Go to the cinema, I'll have DD.
No thanks - I'm not interested in being without her for a film - I'll watch it on TV next year.
Grandparents who don't respect the parents' roles and the fact that the child is theirs to bring up not a toy to play with/something to own, probably shouldn't be doing any childcare for you... Just a thought.
is there a back story to mil ? this is strange behaviour and i'm probably pissing in the wind buti've heard cases like this before when an older woman has lost a child at a young age and they have never gotten over it [as if you really would] but then try to replace that child... sorry i did say it was daft.. but good for dh for standing up to her, she risks losing contact if this was my child and my mil tbh.
She sounds like a psycho. Don't let her pressure you into doing things you don't want. No of course you shouldn't want to offload your child into this woman, she is definitely trying to assert herself and muscle you out of the way. Tread very carefully with her - or cut her out of your life, she sounds an absolute nightmare
you don't even have to explain, a straight 'no thank you' should suffice and keep the visits to few as possible.
Backstory- no family, fell out with DH's parents for years... I get the feeling someone has just had her own way for a little too long.
I really appreciate all of your advice, I know I need to be stronger it's just hard when you're trying to avoid an argument with someone you have to see regularly!
Sorry to hear you're going through this.
I agree you need to be strong to say no, and be united with your husband. But, I find having a packed social calendar means opportunities for visiting in laws are really limited. It's important you have time alone with your baby and time to meet other parents
This thread is really new and from what I've seen on MN you will have a billion people saying you are being ungrateful for the 'love' that your MIL wants to give.
BUT I whole heartedly agree with what has been said so far.
NEVER feel you have to give your child to someone else
NEVER feel you have to wait until someone else is ready to give them back.
They are YOUR baby, so you lay the rules. If it upsets you you should feel free to say something. I don't think you are unreasonable. Be strong. X
You're right, it's a difficult and awkward situation but it's entirely her own doing. I take it you live local to her? MIL's like this are a fucking nightmare. She's been the matriarch for so long she expects everyone else to bow down to her demands. It's really hard but you've got to try and be more assertive with her. Say no, stand firm.
Or just go NC........just a thought
but then others he tells me as I'm on mat leave it's for me to go and see her and he expects me to go at least once a week and even suggested I should see her as much as my own mum, who I have always been really close to and would see every few days even before having a baby. He once joked when I said that I was close to just leaving visits down to him that he 'didn't see why he should be punished'. To be honest I don't think he can be bothered with her either, they've had a volatile relationship as long as I can remember.
Sod that. If he wants you to see his mum it can be when he's around. Stop going on your own. And if you want to see your mum every day it's up to you.
And DO NOT let her have the baby when you return to work.
Nothing to really add except sympathy as I know exactly what you're going through!
I agree to not taking DD to see her and to not telling her look after unless you want it. Definitely arrange going back to work, if that's what you want, on day when she can't look after DD.
I know I need to be stronger it's just hard when you're trying to avoid an argument with someone you have to see regularly!
An important thing to remember - you really don't have to see her regularly if she's behaving in such a way as to make you uncomfortable. You're an adult and this is your baby, so you make the decisions. She sounds like a bully and you might just need to tell her very plainly to back off sooner rather than later, or risk letting her sour what should be a special time for you.
She sounds like a bit of a fruit loop - mine is too. Last year my DH finally lost it with her and there was a huge row in which he said things he'd been bottling up for years about her weird and controlling behaviour and her jealousy over my mother and her close relationship with the children. It felt awful at the time but it really cleared the air and things have been a lot better since. I'm not suggesting that a row is the solution here but it would be really helpful if you could get DH to talk to her.
In the meantime, be strong and don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
<shudder> I remember this well and the feeling of panick as if my child had been abducted (I blame the hormones!). Please do be firm and say no now and not store it up and have a huge blue screaming fit at her like I ended up doing
quick PS - i'm a bit of a peace and love hippie but if anyone refused to give me my baby back when agreed they'd rue the bloody day. I wouldn't have left dd alone with her at all after that tbh.
Whilst it's very natural for grandparents to want to spend time with DGCs this is really obsessive and unnatural behaviour.
As others have said - just say "No!" Tell her that you want to spend as much time with DD as you can before you go back to work - say your GP has recommended it, if it makes you feel stronger.
Tell your DH that if he doesn't want to spend time with his own mother, why should you? Also tell MIL that if there is any problem/delay in getting your baby back, that it will be the last time you ever leave her with
the old cowbag her Nana DH. She will be left with her Nana Clare instead.
She's ruined her own relationship with your DH - don't let her interfere with your relationship with your beautiful child, because believe me, if she's like this, she will do her very best to sabotage it.
Is there a FIL in the picture or is she a widow/divorced? Is your DH an only child? Is your DD the first grandchild? Your MIL seems very invested in the baby.
Your baby is only a baby for a short length of time - you need to enjoy her while you have the chance. Don't let this interfering bat spoil it for you.
She sounds like a fruit loop. She wouldn't be allowed on her own with my baby. Nope.
I had almost this exact situation, all I can say is that what worked for me was to be very firm about taking my baby back when crying etc, I didn't let mil look after on her own her til she was closer to 1- i just said I really wasn't ready, they weren't happy but what could they do. I felt the same feeling of unease about leaving my child with someone who seemed so desperate to get rid of me all the time. All I can say is that things have got better as we have transitioned to toddlerhood. They look do childcare occasionally and seemed to back off a little once they got 'their time'. Also my toddler is very clear about what she wants now and that makes me feel better that she can stand up for herself a bit more than a vulnerable baby so they can't 'take over' with her anymore as she will just come to me when she wants me. In fact they are actually pretty good with her nowadays.. I feel like if you can manage to retain some kind of a relationship with her (while maintaining clear boundaries) you might grow to appreciate her when your child is older/when you go back to work.
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