to think my MIL is interfering and judging my friends and me wrongfully(79 Posts)
My MIL was at a party at my house while several of my mum friends were also there. She stood nearby while several of us had a conversation. Two of my friends are suffering from PND and not doing so well, we all have new babies as well as a toddler or two, and I had recently come out of nursing my family through the flu while having the flu myself. We were all talking about fatigue and exhaustion at one point. I talked about walking around with a 40 degree temp and not being able to sit down while looking after the children while ill and how I had never comprehended how much Mother’s go through until becoming one and becoming so much more grateful for all my own mother must have gone through. We all joked about how tired we were. MIL interjected into the conversation although no one was speaking to her, and said, “If you are going to be a mother, you have to like it!!!” I told her I was sure we all liked being Mother’s and loved our children, but what we struggled with was the build up of fatigue from not being able to rest or sleep and the hyper-vigilance required to keep kids safe. Most of us don’t have extra help so that’s just the way it is. MIL then said, “You must learn to be selfless!” I did not want to push back to explain that I do think most mothers learn to be selfless and taking about being tired doesn’t mean they aren’t. But thought the better of it and just smiled at her and changed the topic. I really think it was the last thing my PND friend needed to hear though, because she struggles with perfectionism as it is. And it irritated me no end. MIL sleeps in when she wants to, has gone on endless holidays this year, and her oldest child is 35. She herself says she has no recollection of what it was like to have small children. And yet she is interjecting into our conversation and saying we must learn to be selfless.
If she tries to invite herself along when you're with your friends say no to her and if she pushes you say ''it wouldn't be appropriate after your lack of understanding the last time''.
Or turn the comments around and just sigh and say ''amazing how you forget!''.
Seriously though, you can be selfless, you can be glad you're a mother but it doesn't mean you have no feelings!!!!
She's obviously forgotten how, 35 years ago, new mum's weren't turfed out of hospital an hour after they gave birth. They stayed in about a week and had their babies taken from them at night so the mum's could get a good night's sleep. Might be worth dropping her a little reminder or two some time imo
I don't think the babies were taken off mums in the ward then. My daughter is nearly 30 and they certainly weren't taken off them then, even if the birth was really tough.
I agree she shouldn't have spoken like that. It's not helpful and all it shows is that she's forgotten what it was like. It sounds as though she's got a martyrish tendency, too - make sure she doesn't expect you to have one, too.
She didn't invite herself along though, did she? It was a party at OP's house and MIL had obviously been invited. I don't think that means she has to sit in a corner and not join in the general conversation just because she's not a new mum. Having said that though, she was a bit insensitive in the remarks she made. All she had to do was make sympathetic noises!
The irony though. What you were describing was 'being selfless'. Could she not see that ?
I did Domino (in and out the same dat 35 years ago. Largest Hospital in London. Whats all this taking the babies away at night to let the mothers sleep? never happened to any of my friends. it was all 'breast is best' and avoid anything else for 6 months.
Well she's obviously perfect so you should all try and be more like her. How dare you be tired!
My MIL can be a bit like this sometimes. She isn't as bad as yours sounds but she certainly gives off an air that she was born to mother and any woman who doesn't go full mother earth the second she gets married is lesser. I just change the subject. I don't argue because I can't be bothered, but I very rarely see her so it's not much of an issue. If you see your MIL a lot then maybe you need to pull her up on it when she does this. You don't want to be in a position where your friends start to associate her comments with you.
I'm a mum and a MIL. I wouldn't have said the same remarks in the circumstances, but I might have been tempted to make some different ones. I think modern mothers set themselves v high standards, or have them set for them, in terms of trying to be being totally baby/toddler centred. The Fourth Trimester etc. Babies weren't 'taken away from their mothers' in hospitals, as if they were wrenched from our arms. The nurses wheeled them off to sleep comfortably in a quiet nursery, rather than a noisy ward. They were far more experienced in settling infants than we were. We had some restorative sleep and by the time we left hospital some lucky mothers had a baby who was already in some sort of routine and used to being held by someone other than their mums. I think modern post-natal care is abysmal for new mums. The way they're turfed out before feeding is established and nowhere near recovered from the birth is appalling.
Remember all those comments about 'rod for your own back'? Feeling so worn out and sleep deprived is often, imv, the result of not following that advice. Every granny I know at some point has said to DD/DIL 'Put that baby down. They need to sleep. And they'll be able to do it much better on their own, in their crib.' Babies do not always know best. I. can't remember any of my friends spending whole afternoons on the sofa anchored by the baby in their arms.
It's nice having a variety of baby activities. There were v few in my day. But they don't need to do all of them and it seems to be turning into a competition. One of the best things for dc to learn is being able to entertain themselves. But mothers seem to feel guilty about not playing with them all the time. They learn just as much from pottering about after you while you do the chores. Talk to them - yyy. But they were much better at making up their own role-play than I was.
In my opinion, mothers are too selfless these days, if anything.
did she know that two friends there had PND? not defending her insensitivity but we call all be unintentionally insensitive sometimes - she sounds like she meant to be supportive and advising in her own way actually though I understand how annoying it actually was at the time. Maybe just talk to her about how hard a few of your friends are finding it with PND and did she have any of that and if not wasn't she lucky not to have to go through that whole hell hole xx
how I had never comprehended how much Mother’s go through until becoming one and becoming so much more grateful for all my own mother must have gone through.
I concur with you 100% on this point. I appreciated my DM so much after I had my first DC.
Let your friends know that MIL is living in the dark ages with that attitude and to take no notice of her.
Jesus, if someone told me that I had to learn to be selfless, I may have told them to fuck off.
Or, as someone else suggested - tell her that she should learn empathy. Yes, that would be better.
Does your MIL help you OP? It doesn't sound like it.
Maybe her response was defensive.
It's bloody exhausting having a new baby especially if you also have other children, so she's talking out of her arse.
These stupid women ^ ^ saying it was easier in the old days are no less stupid than mothers today who are lucky enough to have 'easy' babies.
Having had one of each I know there is a major difference in your tiredness levels so talking about perfectionism being part of the issue is just nonsense. 50 years ago being the perfect housewife was far more prevalent than it is today. People also have a better understanding of the needs of babies, and being taken away from a new mother or left to cry in a nursery is not one of those needs. Breastfeeding too is a major source of exhaustion.
That isn't true - my DS is 35, I was sent home the day after giving birth with 3th degree tears. The baby was with me all night.
My DD is 30, I came home the day I gave birth.
I wish people wouldn't rabbit on about '35 yrs ago' as if it was Victorian times.
I think your MIL was rude OP - especially when your friends needed empathy and ressurance that they weren't failing to cope but that everyone finds it hard. Babies are so utterly different - my DS didn;t sleep through the night until he was about 3 and half. Up until he was nine months he woke every hour - I was exhausted. My DD on the other hand lept through at 10 weeks - I kept poking her to see if she was OK ! . We all struggle at some point whether when they are tiny or when they get toddlery or teenagery - each stage has it's challenges. And it isn;t being selfish to say you are finding things hard at any given time.
I sounds as if your MIL might have felt you were having a dig at her (she sounds quite unhelpful) so she got a bit snappy. i'd just make sure she's not around when your friends come over next time (I don't mean do her in - just don't invite her )
very well said Thymeout - motherhood seems particularly challenging these days particularly with the lack of recovery time after labouring
"She's obviously forgotten how, 35 years ago, new mum's weren't turfed out of hospital an hour after they gave birth. They stayed in about a week and had their babies taken from them at night so the mums could get a good night's sleep. Might be worth dropping her a little reminder or two some time IMO"
Er no and no. I was out of hospital 24 hours after my 3rd child was born. Babies were not taken off. I came home to solely caring for a one-day old baby a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old. Cushy it was not. Pots of judgments here
MIl was not at all tactful. I wouldn't have said that. In the postpartum period I wouldn't have been up to going to a party either. I think I might have moved away from the conversation as I might not have been totally onboard with it but would have left them too it
“I don't think that means she has to sit in a corner and not join in the general conversation”
Of course it does- she’s a MIL!
Hmm, sounds like you were deliberately leaving your mil out of the conversation so no wonder she was a bit narked.
Ou do sund like a bit of a martyr though: where was your DP or your mum or even your mil when you had flu and needed help? It’s really not unreasonable to have an expectation of help in those circumstances.
I had a high needs first baby myself, and three kids in five years, so I get the relentlessness of it all. I do think nowadays there is more pressure on women to pretend everything is perfect in their lives and utterly amazing. I felt no guilt about just muddling through, doing my best.
I'm 35 and my sister is 33 and mum was straight home with both of us.
Your MIL is spectacularly tactless.
Oh and not being able to sit down when you're ill is not "selfless" it's shit!
YOu do sund like a bit of a martyr though: where was your DP or your mum or even your mil when you had flu and needed help? It’s really not unreasonable to have an expectation of help in those circumstances.
On the plus side if you mean to your friends about your MIL (not judging - we all have odd moans no matter how much we love someone!) your friends will know exactly what you're dealing with!
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