Advice and opinions valued(29 Posts)
I am 40 years old and have a 6 month old baby boy. My husband and i have a great relationship and love each other and our little family very much and feel very lucky.
I used to get on with my husbands mum very well. We have done all sorts together.
Since our baby was born she has become quite overbearing. I know her heart is in the right place but quite honestly i now struggle with her hugely. I’m not sure if this is still hormones or just reaction to her suggestions or behaviour ? i also think i may have a tad pnd which i’m trying to manage and have a long history of anxiety and depression which i know can make me irrational at times. I would really value your opinions as third part not connected to my directed family so i can gain some perspective. I am open with my husband and he knows how i feel and to some degree he feels the same however it’s his mum and they are very close so i do bite my tongue a lot !
Our baby was a month early and very small. He spent time in special care.
We arrived home to find that my sister in law had out aoem wonderful welcome decorations up at home which was a lovely surprise. She and my MIL had also tidied the house and also sorted the nursery which i was not that happy about as i was looking forward to doing it , but ever grateful for the house clean !
So day one of being at home , MIL comes round and is literally shaking with excitement . She does not ask how i am and literally is hanging out for cuddles. I get that and expected her to have a little cuddle and hand my son back as we had literally just come home. 2 hours later she still has him. I’m emotional and mad as she is piling blankets on top of him and telling me he is fine. I wanted to hold my son and needed him back. I burst into tears. How could she be so thoughtless and selfish ! i had not even cuddled him for two hours !
It did not stop there . She pulled my husband aside and suggested that i express some milk ( my milk had only just come in ) and leave my baby with her for a few hours whilst we go out for coffee !!! i mean really ? i was FURIOUS ! how did she ever think this was acceptable ! we had tried hard for our son and the last thing we wanted to do on the day out of hospital was leave him !
Husband for the gist and they left. I could not speak to her i was so upset.
I should have realised we would have issues as she messaged me a few months prior to giving birth asking how much time she should take off work to help with the baby ? i mean was she hoping to move in ? that along with the holidays she had planned with grandma, grandad and my unborn child - !!! parents not included !
She constantly texts about my son asking for photos. I do update them anyway and send photos but this does not appear to be enough. She never asks how i am or says i’m doing a good job.
My barriers have gone up and i can’t help but keep her at arms length . Yesterday i had just go my son to sleep in his carrier and she stuck her head in and woke him up. I then find her dragging him down the driveway as she did not release the brake on the buggy ! without asking me.
She also has a huge dog that is not disciplined. We have two dogs which i watch my son with. I don’t allow them near him and certainly don’t allow licking or for them to be in his face. It maddens me.
She does not push the dogs away and was letting the dog lick my sons hands and face. His hands went straight in his mouth . I mean really where is her common sense ! my husband had a word and her response was “oh they don’t have worms do they ?!” not what i wanted to hear ! no apology or reassurance it would not happen again.
She knows how we feel about the dogs.
It’s not got awkward and i feel obliged to hand my son over to her for a cuddle , it’s not natural but i’m in my guard as i feel i can’t trust her with his wellbeing and to respect our wishes. I think the early days have impacted my behaviour towards her as she clearly wanted time on her own straight away , well 6 months in and shehas has none as i’m not happy.
She even takes our son from other family members who want cuddles - her own daughter ! literally they can have him for a monute and she is swaddling him up ! it’s not fair .
She has stopped now but used to call up asking to come round during the evening which was justnot ideal. DS is breast fed and he would cluster feed and it would be like pass the parcel with my son and for really awkward as he would cry for food and she would not give him back . I would say he was hungry and reluctantly she would give him back not saying a word looking really awkward .
She also has her opinions on certain things and she laughs at my set up in the house as i have a play pen so i can safely put him down and the dogs won’t get him .
She had a few drinks a while back and made a dog about not having looked after DS yet. Well what do you expect !!!!
It’s causing me huge anxiety and i have no intention of leaving DS with her or my FIL until they reassure me that will respect my wishes with the dogs, he will be safe and has a clean environment to play in.
I think our relationship is damaged through her slightly overbearing crazy thoughtless behaviour , she has bought two kids up so let me do it my way and step back.
My husband says he feels sorry for her but tbh it’s because of her overbearing behaviour i feel i need to retreat and protect my son. It’s too much at the moment .
Opinions please and advice for anyone who has been in a similar situation ?
I’m even considering moving house to get away from the constant pressure i feel to accommodate her !
I could write more but you get the jist i think !
Thank you 🙏🏻
I have had a very similar experience. Great relationship with MIL until we had kids. I haven't been able to change her behaviour but 2 things my health visitor told me helped with perspective. She said it's really common and that as I am Ds's mum I have all the power so I shouldn't be anxious or stressed because she can't over rule any decisions I make. That stopped me stressing about her behaviour. Whenever she goes too far now I tell her and distance myself/become busy for a little while. It was also easier after the first year because I didn't feel as protective because son wasn't as fragile as they are at the start.
WOW - you need to see your HV and GP for interventions before that anxity/PND gets a proper grip.
MIL really is only trying to help - how many people on here are so isolated and alone and have absolutely no help, and are ground down with the relentless responsibility of sole child care? here you have a wide welcoming family and you're complaining.
her slightly overbearing crazy thoughtless behaviour - she is not 'crazy'... but i also think i may have a tad pnd which i’m trying to manage and have a long history of anxiety and depression which i know can make me irrational .... you really need some professional help.
You need a sense of perpsective on this.
Ignore the previous poster.
Your MIL needs to back the fuck off.
She’s not crazy but perhaps she is being a little overbearing . I think you should speak to your hv or gp. You don’t sound well . In the grips of my pnd I had a falling out with my in-laws , I look back now and realise they were only trying to help .
You’re in a bit of a pickle here, you should seek support from your HV / GP to help with PND. It’s extremely difficult anyway hormonally anyway but this will be clouded your judgement.
You are feeling threatened which really isn’t her intention, she is focusing on the baby as she probably feels shut out from you. If you’re unhappy about any aspect of how she’s questioning you, just offer that you’re feeling a bit tired or something and would she mind helping with x or y.
You can reinstate boundaries, ask for her guidance but limit it to “I’m considering doing x or y, which would you think is better?” If she veers off your two options, say no I’ve considered that and am only comfortable with x or y.
Once you’ve started getting some sleep and confidence with baby, you won’t feel so threatened and might welcome the odd hour respite!
I’ve only just left my baby a few times (5months) with MIL or Mum to walk dogs or nip to the shops, and honestly I did feel like both were critical or doing things I didn’t like at the start. But I’ve calmed down and so have they! Both ask what I want them to do before I leave baby, and both respect my wishes! (We also breastfeed and that can be tricky too)
Try not to damage your relationship with your MIL as there’s lots of ladies who have and it’s awkward, especially as your at a vulnerable time of your life and you used to get on. Good luck OP, you’re doing great x
PlainSpeaking - it's really not OK to armchair diagnose someone, nor is it OK to gaslight them.
She is being really overbearing. Taking a newborn away from it’s mother on the first day home from hospital and refusing to give him back until the mother cried is not acceptable and she absolutely should have known better.
It’s so hard for you but I think you need to keep being firm about your boundaries. Practice telling her calmly and firmly that aw has to give him back etc. And make sure your DH knows that he has to back you up on this.
Also I’d be unhappy with some of her actions, get your DH to explain exactly what you want boundary wise!
Honestly this is a common issue with MIL or Mum, they think they know best etc x
You need to start saying no to her. Clearly and firmly. You are in charge. You do not need to feel obliged to do anything she wants. You decide who gets to hold your son and for how long. You decide when she is welcome in your house and when you need her to leave. You need to take control, OP, and the sooner the better, because it will only get harder.
Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I value your opinions .
Would you give your brand new baby over for an afternoon ?!!!! and think that is ok having got home from hospital the day before ?!!!! NOT REASONABLE , i don’t see in what any level that is ok to even ask ! totally selfish and inconsiderate . What we needed was for people to help with cooking, cleaning etc not to take out newborn away. I think this has been a trigger for my pnd and anxiety tbh.
Boundaries need to be put in place and your H needs to support you. Fine for her to hold the baby for a bit but she gives him back when you say, not when she feels like it. Dogs are kept apart from baby.
Maybe it would be less pressured if you said that she won’t be having your son solo until he is older. You could arrange to go to theirs once or twice a week (if this works for you) and then that means you can leave when you are ready.
But basically find what works for you and start making it clear how things will be. It doesn’t have to be done unpleasantly, but firmly, so start saying give me the baby back now please, he is hungry/thirsty and if she won’t then you ask her to go home, or leave yourself. It may be a bit awkward or uncomfortable, but you have to put your health first.
@Save - sorry love, Its coffee break here, one psychiatric nurse, one SW and one A&E matron here, all with MAs in various disciplines, all having a read and offering opinions. Slightly more medically qualified than you to offer an opinion. There are times when ‘There, there hun’ doesn’t cut it.
What we needed was for people to help with cooking, cleaning etc not to take out newborn away they did this and you complained She and my MIL had also tidied the house and also sorted the nursery which i was not that happy about as i was looking forward to doing it , but ever grateful for the house clean !
"MIL really is only trying to help"
Really? You think that taking her DIL's baby off her for a 2-hour cuddle when they had literally just arrived home from the hospital and then expecting DIL to express milk and go out leaving the newborn with her for a few hours is "only trying to help".
Trying to take OP's child out without permission is not trying to help OP.
How is letting dogs lick the baby's hands and face remotely helpful?
Refusing to give the OP her baby back when needing to feed is very unhelpful.
The examples we have been given show the MIL is self-centred and not thinking of her DIL at all. MIL is just focussed on her own desires.
OP - this is only going to get worse. I'm not surprised you are feeling anxious. It's not you, it's her. Your DH needs to support you. Your MIL has had her children and brought them up how she saw fit. This is yours and DH's child and DH needs to make clear to his DM what your boundaries are.
If you feel it would be helpful to move, and you can afford to do so, then do it.
Don't encourage her to arrive unannounced. If she calls unannounced just open a window and tell her its not a convenient time and tell her you or Dh will call/text when it's suits for a visit. If she has a key to your house and just walks in, take the key back and explain that you need your privacy. She needs to be told either politely if she wouldn't accept it easily, or bluntly that she's is being overbearing and needs to back off. Your Dh needs to listen to your concerns. PND is bad enough without having mil make you feel inadequate. Dh needs to support you first and foremost so that you can be in the best health to mind your son.
When she does visit and takes the baby for cuddles, don't be afraid to take him back after a few minutes if he's due a sleep and put him up to his cot. Don't let her upset whatever routine you establish just because she wants a cuddle with baby.
Plain. Oh big congrats on attaining your MA, 'love', like millions of the rest of us. If you work in healthcare you should know better. No ones saying you have to say 'there, there hun' if you think you have some advice or an alternative opinion, but armchair diagnoses and gaslighting can be harmful, and your posts came across, in my opinion, as ignorant and bit spiteful. I expect the 'psychiatric nurse' will now say I've got a personality disorder and the 'SW' will try and get me arrested >makes wanker sign<
@plainspeak should you really be giving medical opinions on such limited information without seeing the 'patient'. My husbands a doctor and very much doubt he spends his break handing out diagnosis online
restlessrobin sorry about this stupid nonsense on your thread
OP your MIL sounds quite overbearing and as difficult as it is, you have every right to stand up and say "I'll have him back now" or "no thanks" and it doesn't need to be a big deal.
My MIL is a little like this and when the babies were tiny I found her suffocating. DH was a wet lettuce so it fell to me to say "enough" and once I did, she got it. She didn't like it, but she got it. Boundaries make everyone happy and healthy. They also help your mental health enormously.
OP I think you MIL is just very excited & the is misdirecting itself into behaviour that isn't really appropriate or helpful. Your anxiety & possible PND probably isn't making it any easier to cope with & like others have said, you should speak to your HV/ GP about getting some help.
The things your MIL is doing are not really normal behaviour, but she may be unaware that her actions are making you feel threatened & upset. Perhaps having a talk with her & your DH about how you are pleased that she's wanting to be involved with her grandchild but that sometimes you have differing ideas about bringing up kids might be sensible.
Would you be happy maybe leaving him for a short time in your home with your MIL - say while DH is there too so you can go & do something for yourself. It might build your confidence in MIL being able to look after him & make you feel al ittle more reassured about it.
@Plain - all I can say is that I'm glad you're not my psychiatric nurse, I'm all for being straight talking with people, but your comments are unhelpful and have a distinctly unempathetic tone to them.
YANBU, but as a previous poster said, this isn't uncommon. I think when you have a baby, you become very protective of your own little family- you, DH and the child. You might be open to letting your own family in, but not for a while, and you feel hostile to DHs family. I do think your MIL is trying to help and that her heart is in the right place, she's just lacking in empathy. Remember you're the mum and you make the rules- if shes cuddling him too long as for him back. If you don't want to leave him with her then don't. Once the hormones die down and you're sleeping better things will feel calmer and you'll feel more in control. Until then, let DH deal with any issues that need to be addressed and explain to him that although you know her heart is in right place, you're DSs mum and your way needs to be recognised as the right way, not hers
Again thank you but if you are that qualified then you should know better than to offer unconstructive comments. Your comments have made me feel guilty for how i feel and that i am in the wrong ?
Not good when advising someone whom potentially has pnd ?
To everyone else - thank you and i’m goong to seek support of my HV and GP - i just wanted to know if what i was feeling was reasonable or not regarding my MIL and for some advice / guidance / reassurance or to see if anyone had similar experience ? x
You are doing the right thing to seek help for PND.
I think there is two things, you being a bit precious regarding cleaning but your MIL is overstepping by taking a new born away from Mum. You need to find your inner tiger mum, this was the advice given to me by my friend. Discuss your boundaries with DH and tell him to sort it with his Mum or you will and you won’t be as polite as him.
I had this OP - mil came round to sit and hold the baby for hours and be supplied with cups of tea on the afternoon we came out of hospital. Baby had been in special care for a week and I’d hardly held her myself. Nothing changed until I grew confident enough to take my baby back and decline visits.
I really didn’t know how to say no - I’d always had a good relationship with mil and welcomed her with open arms. But her sense of entitlement towards my newborn really put my back up. And the sudden twice weekly visits when previously we’d seen her every couple of months were a bit much!
I felt panicked that at I was clearly expected to leave my baby with her alone. So I didn’t, for a long time. What changed was when my daughter became old enough to express an opinion. She adores her grandma. And I roll my eyes when mil spoon feeds a 3 year old and babies her and gets frantic if she climbs on anything higher than a chair, but they both clearly love spending time with each other.
I’m expecting another now and won’t be steamrollered from the start this time, but I’m also aware that the grandparent relationship can be really special for a child, so if you can nurture that for the benefit of your son you’ll appreciate it down the line.
She does sound a bit overbearing but you also sound like you're not coping very well and her nonsense is affecting you more than it should. You just say no. DS was unexpectedly quite early and DM, MIL,SIL cleaned and tidied our house and washed all of DSs stuff while DF and FIL built the nursery furniture. Wrangling a newborn was hard enough, especially as he was poorly and we were in hospital nearly a week, without having to do all that when we got home from the hospital too, and yes they put some bits where I wouldn't have, but I just had a little rearrange. Yes offering to take a newborn out the day you got home was ridiculous, but you don't need to let it taint these early months with your child. No one has baby sat for DS yet, I'm on mat leave and there's no need, so I don't think YABU to not let her do that or to have an issue with her dominating wherever you are in a wider family setting, but maybe some help with your anxiety/one will help you to be assertive without her getting to you.
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