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I suspect the MIL is going to be a nightmare......

(58 Posts)
Crazyone84 Fri 18-Sep-20 11:38:23

We are due our first child and this will be the first grandchild for MIL.

A bit of background:
We have been together for 15 years and throughout this time the MIL has always put pressure on us getting married, having children etc. she wants a wedding, she wants grandchildren!
We have been too busy travelling the world and enjoying ourselves but now decided it is the time to have a child but no where interested in marriage, I love a wedding, just not for us.

MIL is a "character" not to judge but she has had a string of bad relationships resulting in 4 children, all from different difficult relationships and none of her children have had any contact with extended family members for many year. My partner for instance has not heard or seen any of his dad side of the family since he was 5 and he knows he has step brothers and lots of aunties and uncles. My partner and sisters talk a lot about their difficult upbringing, mum not around, constant stream of abusive boyfriends/husbands, mum drinking problems, the list is endless.

Partner has a very basic relationship with his mum. See's her when he feels he needs to, helps her out with gardening etc. Her health is quite bad so will collect prescriptions and do her shopping but limits time spent as he finds it very stressful. She still drinks from time to time even though she has a big drinking problem. Will knock her self out with sleeping pills along with the drink because she sits up all night drinking coffee and doesn't eat well or even walk anywhere. She is not the sort of person to be proactive and help herself. Rather sit on the sofa all day smoking when she has a lung condition.

Since letting her know we are having a baby she has been relentless.

She wants us to get married, she wants to look after the baby, she wants to buy everything even though she does not have the money. She is over baring on everything as she feels it makes up for her lacking as a mum in her younger days. She even wrote in partners birthday card last week, she apologies for being a bad mum and he will be a better father than she could ever had for him and she wants to make up for her wrongs with her grandchild (I personally didn't think this was the place to be writing her thoughts, what was wrong with happy birthday, love you kind of message??)

We have agreed once the baby arrives we want her to be involved as much as possible but at our house only. Her house is messy, dirty, untrained dogs, smokes ALOT and just generally loud and unruly.

She does not drive but has said she will get a taxi to us every day once the baby is here so she can spend as much time as possible, we don't want her every day at ours. we need to get to know this baby before anyone else.

Also once she is at ours it will not stop the loud shouting (because she cannot seem to talk like a normal person) the smoking, the swearing and just general over compensating in every way.

As a couple we are both quite active and enjoying being outside and sociable. We both feel we lead healthy lifestyles, eat well, keep fit but also like nothing more than a peaceful evening on the sofa just to chill out and watch Eastenders! Our life is very different from hers.

So after all that, my question to you, can anyone related to this? how did you manage the MIL pressures and insecurities but still have a grandparent involved in their grandchild's life? i do not want to limit their time together if possible but i also don't want a stressful situation for us and around the baby who i am sure will feed off our energy if we are stressed.

OP’s posts: |
Piffle11 Fri 18-Sep-20 11:53:51

You are going to have to limit her time with the baby. I really don’t understand why you say you want her involved as much as possible… There is nothing you have mentioned that would make me think she is going to be an amazing GM. You need to set your stall out right now: if you’re happy for her to come to you, pick a day and say she can come on X day at X time. And stick to it. Preferably when you are both at home, so then if you feel like having a nap, your partner can keep an eye on his mother. I really wouldn’t want this woman looking after my child, or breathing all over him with her smoky breath. She drinks, she smokes, takes sleeping pills ... It’s not as though you are ever going to feel comfortable leaving the baby with her, is it? The more involved she is, the more she will feel she has a right to have the baby to herself. I think a lot of people, and I include myself in this, are too easy-going with difficult parents when the baby arrives. We all have this idealised image of the perfect family relationship, and we try and foster that. Believe me, when you’re sleep deprived and your hormones are all over the place, the last thing you are going to want is to have to deal with the shouty woman turning up at your house every day. She will make your life a misery, even if it is unintentional.

Alexandernevermind Fri 18-Sep-20 11:59:15

Can this be an opportunity to get her to change doe the better (or am I extremely naive). Something along the lines of "visit once a week for a couple of hours, but if you have been smoking / drinking, clothes smell of smoke, breath smells of smoke / alcohol, we won't let you in".

Purplewithred Fri 18-Sep-20 12:04:20

Flipping heck, I'm with Piffle - why would you want her anywhere near you and your baby?

HollowTalk Fri 18-Sep-20 12:05:07

Why on earth would you want her to be so involved? And you do realise you'll be paying for the taxis, don't you?

Purplecatshopaholic Fri 18-Sep-20 12:10:50

Your thread title says it all, and nothing in the thread counters that. Yet you want her to be involved as much as possible, and don’t want to limit their ice together? Crazy! Set rules (no drinking, or smoking), and pick a day for visiting. If you don’t set the parameters now you will rue the day

Oldraver Fri 18-Sep-20 12:14:36

From what you've said I doubt she will drag her ass if the couch to visit every day

But yes set limits and boundaries but I have a feeling she won't be bothered

Disappointedkoala Fri 18-Sep-20 12:18:47

Why would you want her to be involved as much as possible?

DifficultPifcultLemonDifficult Fri 18-Sep-20 12:19:32

Make it clear from now that she will only be coming over 1 day (or whatever you're comfortable with) per week.

This is her grandchild, not a second chance at parenting, which is what she seems to see it as.

Next time she says anything about coming over every day, just remind her you will have other things to do. The sooner you start dropping reminders into your conversations, the less of a shock it will be when the baby is here and reality kicks in that she isn't some sort of third parent.

Neron Fri 18-Sep-20 12:23:22

You are judging her. You don't approve of her history or her life, and it clearly bothers you. We are all entitled to feel how we do however, so have a discussion about only see the baby at your house etc.
If she can't afford much, she certainly won't be getting daily taxis to you will she, so maybe it's her desire or excitement talking rather than the reality.

CalmdownJanet Fri 18-Sep-20 12:24:09

I think you need to take every opportunity now to set her straight as and when she says things. Trying to approach something after the fact is much much harder ie:

I'll get a taxi over every day when the day is born
Haha you will not, you'll be broke and nobody needs visitors that often. We'll see you once a week, more some weeks, less others, depending on what we have on.

Much easier said there and then as opposed to having to create a conversation of "mil remember you said you'd be over every day etc etc"

Taking the moment is easiest, letting the moment pass and saying nothing with some people is the same as giving them the green light to do whatever it is they were talking about

Crazyone84 Fri 18-Sep-20 12:24:17

I am from a large, close family so it feels foreign to not have a family member in my life.
I don't agree with her life choices neither does the partner. We have tried on many occasions to help her change for the better but lasts all of a few days and she reverts back to her old ways. Also she does not take "help" well and always feels she is being attacked which normally results in an argument and she turns to the bottle again.

I don't feel comfortable leaving her alone with the baby, not to say she would not love and care for it but she would not understand her ways are not what we want for our child.
Also i feel the minute we put i restrictions these will be taken in completely the wrong way then you have the guilt of turning her to the bottle again........i know this is her issue but still makes you feel a certain way
@HollowTalk you are right, we will end up paying the taxi in a roundabout way!

OP’s posts: |
Star81 Fri 18-Sep-20 12:25:35

To be honest after what you’ve told us about your partners unbringing I am surprised he is open to this level of not limiting contact let alone you being ok with it ?

What do you want from this relationship ?

LifeInAHamsterWheel Fri 18-Sep-20 12:28:58

Whatever about your partner's mother, YABU to have a child without the security (for you) of a marriage certificate. You don't think a wedding is for you - fair enough, just do a quick in & out to the registry office and get it sorted. I'd be far more worried about that than any potential future problems with your partners mother!

Crazyone84 Fri 18-Sep-20 12:31:44

What do you want from this relationship ?
Ideally, i'd like our child to have a grandparent to spend time with and create memories with. I know my partner has sadness about all he has missed out on from lack of family connection on his side. My family will be there regardless. i just want to even the load a bit. unfortunately the reality is its out of our control and history prevails she won't change and i feel sad about this

OP’s posts: |
Crazyone84 Fri 18-Sep-20 12:33:22

@LifeInAHamsterWheel don't worry, we have lots of legal documents drawn up with mortgage, work, life insurances etc between us.

OP’s posts: |
IwishIwasyoda Fri 18-Sep-20 12:39:58

OP please don't take this the wrong way but I think you need to take a big step back and think about what's best for your baby here, not MiL and to an extent not you and your partner. Please don't get caught up in the 'making memories' malarky.

TW2013 Fri 18-Sep-20 12:42:40

Maybe you can focus on going out with her - parks, coffee shops etc. This makes it easier for you to make excuses and leave, if she smokes you are outside or in a place where she cannot smoke. You can sell it as really wanting to make memories with her rather than sitting at home all the time. Tell her you want her to be a grandmother rather than someone who feeds/ changes nappies/ tells the child off etc. Obviously you might not feel up to going out all the time initially but something to work towards.

Oncemorewithfeelin Fri 18-Sep-20 12:43:25

Tell her your house is a no smoking zone. Start now as you don’t want to be inhaling second hand smoke. If she is just loudly talking and swearing ask her if she can try and stop swearing and try be a bit quieter in preparation for baby arriving.
Try to set limits and behaviours now before baby is born.

Star81 Fri 18-Sep-20 12:43:36


I understand where you are coming from but she hasn’t as yet changed her life around and if your being honest with herself probably won’t ever.

She had her time with her children and it didn’t go well and it doesn’t sound as if she has done anything over the years to rectify this apart from to write a few words in a card. Actions speak louder than words is the perfect phrase for this situation.

You can try and create this ideal grandparent / grandchild relationship but if you can’t even trust her to be left on her own with a baby how will this even work ? I get this makes you sad but I think you need to be realistic. You’ll need to spend a lot of time with her and do you even want to do that ?

Jokie Fri 18-Sep-20 12:52:49

I think you need to put on the reality specs rather than the rose tinted glasses and see MIL for who she is and not who she wants to be. She is an alcoholic, smoker who hasn't changed and will be unlikely to change her ways. There is no "making memories"... Or at least positive ones.

Put the boundaries in now and be prepared that she will return to the bottle /guilt trip you.

Your responsibility is to your baby. Not an old woman.

FlamedToACrisp Fri 18-Sep-20 12:55:28


Can this be an opportunity to get her to change doe the better (or am I extremely naive). Something along the lines of "visit once a week for a couple of hours, but if you have been smoking / drinking, clothes smell of smoke, breath smells of smoke / alcohol, we won't let you in".

Not naive, but utterly cruel. Drinking and smoking are not minor irritating habits, but serious addictions. What you'd be saying is, "Give up two serious addictions, or you'll never see your grandchild."

There is no health reason why her clothes should not 'smell of smoke' when handling a baby, especially outdoors. Third-hand smoke is unpleasant, but has not been proved to be dangerous. And as for her breath smelling of alcohol, that hasn't even been suggested to be dangerous to babies AFAIK!

We all have relatives whose lifestyles we don't approve of. Using a new baby as a lever to enforce changes on an adult who is behaving legally (if unwisely) is completely unfair.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 18-Sep-20 13:00:51

"I am from a large, close family so it feels foreign to not have a family member in my life".

You'll get used to it and not all families are like yours by any means. His mother is not a safe nor emotionally healthy person to be around your child. She is all take, take and take.

Your partner lucked out when it came to his mother. She was NOT a good parent to him when his siblings and he was growing up and you want your baby to be around her at all?. There is NO evidence to suggest that she has changed. Both of you need to give your heads a wobble here and develop firm consistently applied boundaries. Non existent or too low boundaries re her will allow her to walk all over you both at the expense of you and your child.

If she is too toxic/batshit/difficult/alcoholic/abusive for YOU to actually deal with, its the same deal for your child too.

ArnoJambonsBike Fri 18-Sep-20 13:02:14

"Give up two serious addictions, or you'll never see your grandchild."

Too fucking right.

The disgrace of a woman was a terrible parent and the smelly bitch would be nowhere near my child breathing her poison in its face.

Aquamarine1029 Fri 18-Sep-20 13:08:35

Ideally, i'd like our child to have a grandparent to spend time with and create memories with.

I'm sorry, op, but it's like you aren't even connecting with what you wrote about. Your child will never have a normal grandchild/grandmother relationship with your MIL. Why would you want them to? This woman is a fucking mess and I wouldn't have her anywhere near my child.

Also once she is at ours it will not stop the loud shouting (because she cannot seem to talk like a normal person) the smoking, the swearing and just general over compensating in every way.

Excuse me, what? She will smoke at your home? Are you joking? You do realise you make the rules in your home?

Time to start thinking clearly and disengage from this woman. She should not be a main fixture in your child's life. Barely a minor one.

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