My parents visit all the time and make me miserable(55 Posts)
Help me out here mn, are my parents being assholes or am I being a hormonal mess?
History - I don't have a good relationship with my parents, usually better with my dad than my mum but contact is limited. They had me when they where 17 and made no attempt to hide the fact that I was unplanned and unwanted. Here in NI abortion isn't an option but if it was I suspect it would have been used. When I was growing up I was often treated like an inconvenience and basics nurturing just didn't happen. I had a very lonely childhood but thankfully had a wonderful granny who looked after me a lot. They never had any more children.
I'm now 27, happily married with a good job and home. I've just had my first baby and their only grandchild. From my baby has been born I've had no help or support along the way from either set of grandparents. My dh's visit once a week, hold the baby and say how cute she is and give her back. This is where the AIBU begins. My parents regularly rock up unannounced (5 times last week) come into our house without knocking the door. I have a colicky baby who screams from 5-10pm usually and it's always during this period. Last night they did the usual. I had just got the baby settled on my chest in my bedroom with the lights off. Gave her twenty minutes to settle but felt I had to take her down to see them as they'd visitors. She started screaming again. My parents proceeded to start telling me all the things I was doing wrong with her. "Let her cry it out she's just spoilt" "that baby needs a bottle shoved in its mouth" "you can't let her rule you" "you need to get out with her more". My mother took her off me despite the fact that the baby was showing hunger cues and is breastfed. She wouldn't give me her back and proceeded to try and wind her making her scream more. Cue me having a massive breakdown into tears and telling them not to bother coming to visit anymore. Was IBU? This episode has really annoyed me but basically shows the lack of any compassion or parenting skills that I always knew my parents didn't have. Now that I have my own baby I can't believe they treated me the way they did. So what should I do? I am tempted to discontinue all contact with them from now on.
That sounds really rough. Don't have advice just for you. Congratulations on your baby.
You're completely allowed to go NC with these people - even without any rational reason. You already know they have poor parenting skills.
Be brave and let them go - it sounds as though they can only have a negative impact on your and your dc. Find other people who support your more compassionate way of parenting.
Can you tell them to only come over once a week? They sound very insensitive. How annoying that you had just got your baby settled and that they then started in on you with their "advice".
You need to have a really honest conversation with them and tell that she's your child and you will do things your way, which will be different to the way they did things. Also, ask them to text in advance to see if ok to pop round?
Keep the door locked & don't answer if it isn't convenient.
Just be honest with them, something along the lines of:-
"Love your visits and glad your trying to build a relationship with baby. However, this won't be able to continue if each time you come around you pick holes in my parenting.
If I want advice I will ask for it (albeit not from you!) but have faith that as a grown woman I am doing every little thing for this baby with consideration and thought. So please any opinions on my parenting please keep to yourself otherwise this relationship is gonna break down very quickly"
Also don't wake baby if they arrive unannounced.
They sound like idiots.
Be the person you want to be. Look after your little DD the way you think best. If that requires you to have less contact with your parents, because they stress you out, then have less contact with them. A stressed mum is not what your DD needs. Five times a week is insane if you don't enjoy it - you can have a good relationship with far less contact, it's quality, not quantity (as you know!).
Assuming you want to have them visit at all, set a time once a week for half an hour when it suits you, let them in and talk to them as though they're valued guests (it generally makes people behave better), then using your newfound Mummy Of Steel Willpower, get rid of them bang on time. And don't let them back in until the next time you set. You are the adult here. It's your life for you to run, not theirs to trample on. Lock the front door, and change the lock if needed (no explanation necessary: "yes, Mum, we changed the locks. No, you can't have a key, noone can other than us now. Oh look, isn't DD cute when she does that?")
My parents have been a nightmare since the pregnancy with 7mo DS was announced, but when they visited over Easter things went too far and words were had afterwards. I told them that if they wanted a relationship with their grandson then they needed to grow up and behave like respectful adults, and told them exactly what needed to change. The relationship soured for a bit, but I have just visited them and they were better than they've been at any point in my life previously!
Wishing you all the steely willpower you need to stop giving these people too much of your headspace.
I'd certainly be tempted to go NC with parents like that. You sound a lovely mum, and nothing that they're doing is helping or supporting you, is it, they're just undermining, invading, and being critical. They have no right to upset you so much, let alone when you have such a young baby. If they can't actually help and be loving, you need to at the very least have firm boundaries with them.
congratulations on your baby, and on getting your life together so excellently, too. Next step - putting the dysfunctional parents in their places by whatever means you think is appropriate.
I realise you've just given one example here, but it does seem like all your stress and problems could have been avoided if instead of bringing the baby down you'd just said "Sorry, she's just dropped off." and left it at that. Is it possible you have a bit of a need to please your parents? Perhaps seeking the sort of validation they never gave you as a child or something? You really don't have to do that.
As others have said - be the person you want to be. You don't have to pretend and then wait until you're pushed over the brink and cut contact in a sudden melt down. When they do something that's not nice in some way, tell that it doesn't work for you/you disagree/it's not convenient/you don't like it/etc. right then, before it becomes a big deal. If they push back let them know they don't have to come round if they can't find it in themselves to be kinder. That's if, really, you want to stay in touch, you don't have to and if you want them to never come round again then just stick with that line if they try again. You don't have to see them.
Your baby, your house, your life, your rules!
Tell them no more unannounced visits.
Don't answer the door.
If you want to go low contact or NC, you can do that.
It doesn't sound like they are being helpful or loving. It does sound like there's a lot unresolved in your relationship with them. If you think they might listen you could try and discuss your history with them - if you're going NC anyway so there might not be a lot to lose. If you think they'd dismiss you then maybe accept that things are the way they are and move on in whichever way you feel is best.
Ensure the door is locked and don't answer it particularly if in bed. Text them that you're all settled in bed and not getting up
Long term look to move away a bit. You're probably too accessible
My inlaws are very opinionated and self absorbed and unhelpful.
Also I would start by telling them you'd rather arrange specific days to meet rather then just have them popping in at impractical times. Then suggest days/times that might suit you both. Sunday morning and Thursday at x time.
I'm not sure that minimising the visits will work unless the relationship changes massively. Also very difficult people sometimes can't change and it's very hard to accept that but important to face it if they don't respond to you setting boundaries.
It's easy for other people to underestimate how hard it can feel to be assertive if that was a dangerous thing for you to be when you were young. However you must be assertive now, because carrying on like this with them will make you ill.
Your focus has to be on creating a calm healthy positive atmosphere for you and your baby. If you find it hard to stick up 'for yourself' then you can do it as a mum for your baby. Refuse to let your baby be treated by them how you were. Recognising that this is happening (as you have already done) is the first step towards stopping it. Good luck. However this resolves you may find counselling very helpful for dealing with your own experience of being parented.
You sound very reasonable to me. Possibly a bit too much of a pushover though. You are the grown up here. Your house, your rules definitely applies.
Set some boundaries that suit you around the timing and frequency of visits and stick to them. Double lock the door/change the locks if necessary they may well flounce off for a few weeks but that would be their loss not yours.
Good luck and congratulations on your baby.
Thank you everyone for the lovely replies and reassurances.
It's been a long running bad relationship. My mother goes out of her way to make issues unfortunately - another example was she offered to buy my wedding dress, knowing full well I picked one that cost £700. Went in to order it and she decided I wasn't worth £700 (her words) and as I'd only have it on for a few hours it wasn't worth spending that amount and I could just get one at £75 off eBay. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOP!!
Needless to say I ended up buying the dress anyway myself but the fact she tried to make me feel so rubbish about it that I wouldn't buy it speaks volumes. When she does come to visit she doesn't ask anything about me the conversation revolves entirely around her. I had an elective c section as the baby was breech and growth restricted - she wanted to know on day 3 post section why the house hadn't been hoovered so no these aren't short term issues she just has absolutely no compassion or motherly instinct and is very self centred.
I'm glad I'm bout BU. I was beginning to think I was last night.
Yes you're all right - I need to be more assertive and less of a pushover.
They sound like a poisonous influence in your life, and the random visits are certainly not helping your baby. Lock the door and tell them you're busy.
Congratulations on the baby and getting your life together despite your DMs efforts to undermine your happiness! Ideally you need strict rules for her or NC but it is easier said than done if it is your DM! Good luck.
Really sorry they were such terrible parents. Congratulations on your own darling baby.
You can, if you choose, go no contact, your choice, no justification, it's your life.
But actually you might get more out of it in the long run in terms of your own self esteem if you take some control and establish strong boundaries.
Could you have a calm and direct conversation with them about why you were upset? Work out your script and stick to it without getting heated? "When you do this it makes me feel cuz" "what would work better for me is if I invite you over once a week, so that you can come when we are calm and not busy or distracted "
Explain colic, say GP or HV has advised strict routine, you are following advice and to avoid confusion you will not be discussing your baby's crying with anyone else. Or answering the door in the evening after 5pm. And stick to it. "Oh, did you ring? Sorry, thought I explained all that, come at 4 on Sunday, maybe?".
You really didn't need to have got up when they arrived last night. It is your home, your new baby, make your boundaries and stand in confidence.
Why are they letting themselves into the house? Do you keep the door unlocked or do they have a key?
You need to lock the door or change the locks. Is moving house an option?
You need to lay down some boundaries and restrict their visits. What does your partner say?
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