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Am I being unreasonable not allowing my MIL to take my 17 month old daughter out?

(47 Posts)
biscuitytrousers Sun 24-Aug-08 21:09:42

She is a very difficult and complicated person and also spends pretty much every other month in france so isn't a constant in DDs life. She is definitely aware that I feel uncomfortable at the prospect of her taking DD out (she wants to pick her up and take her off not sure where for a few hours then return her) but continues to pressure me. I saw her on Sat for the first time since beginning of July (she was in France) and she hadn't got beyond the hall when she said 'do you think i could take her out?' and then 'all my friends are allowed to take their grandchildren out'. I gave DH a meaningful look but he didn't say anything and i ended up saying 'oh god i know yes you can'. to which she just said 'good' and that was the end of the discussion. it was very awkward and i felt really tearful and persecuted. I'm not sure whether it is just me or whether this is normal. i'm delighted for my parents to take her out with them or have her to stay the night and am not remotely neurotic in any other respect. MIL is a bit of a nervous driver and her house isn't very baby friendly. More than that though i just don't feel it would be a help to me, and would just be an inconvenience. whenever she babysits she turns up about 4 hours before i go out so that she can see DD. i do understand that but EVERY TIME? e.g. this week she is babysitting on wed and fri nght and on both occasions will turn up at 5pm when we're not leaving til 7.30pm. she is not an easy person to be around and i generally find her irritating, e.g. telling me DD should be potty trained by now and being generally selfish and self-absorbed. even more than that her husband absolutely hates children and refuses to even look at DD except that once i saw him making a scary face at her when he thought no one was looking. his daughter implied to me that he used to be cruel to her and her brother as children e.g. make them stand outside naked in the cold after a bath and weird stuff like that. DH tells me it is my issue, she's been asking for ages and i've got to let her take DD out but i just feel so uncomfortable about it. please help. if it is me being unreasonable i'd rather know as maybe it will help me get past this stage.

alicet Sun 24-Aug-08 21:13:30

Sounds to me you don't have any good reason to worry about her taing dd out - just a gut reaction and the fact you don't like her. Unless she was going to be alone with her husband then there is nothing concrete to base your concerns on.

If this is the case the YABU but I do sympathise. I think it would be better to let her take her for an hour and for you to know where they are going rather than her just taking her off to somewhere random for the whole day. If this goes well then you might be more confident to build it up gradually.

TheQueenIsDead Sun 24-Aug-08 21:13:37

Hmm, tricky one. I thought you were just being neurotic till i read you're happy for your own parents to take your dd out. whatever happens, I would NOT be happy for any child of mine to be around that awful man. If she's going to be around him without you there to make sure she's ok, I'd have to tell MIL no.

ilovemydog Sun 24-Aug-08 21:16:41

I think you need to separate your own antipathy of your mil with your DD knowing her grandmother. She sounds irritating and exasperating, but her coming early to see her grand daughter isn't that big of a deal, is it?

Look at this way - at least you don't have to see her very much!

daydreambeliever Sun 24-Aug-08 21:17:31

No I dont think you are being unreasonable. The stuff about her husband is quitre scary and you cant be sure she wont take your DD somewhere with the husband can you? I have similar feelings about my MIL but the difference is she lives v close and DD is very comfortable with her....but I still feel uncomfortable for her to take DD out for a walk, because I just dont know that she wont do something retarded like let go of the buggy on a hill. I have let her take her for brief occasional walks, but she hasnt asked to do so more often or for longer, i dont know how I would handle it if she did. I am much happier to have DD play with her in her house or mine.

I think you have to trust your instincts, your DD is so precious.

Can you just distract her by suggesting an outing where you all go together?

alicet Sun 24-Aug-08 21:18:52

I also think that you should put up with a bit of inconvenience to foster your dd's relationship with her gradmother.

You do NOT however have to put up with her criticism of how you are parenting dd or accept her husband having any time alone with your dd.

thisisyesterday Sun 24-Aug-08 21:19:30

I agree I'd be a bit wary about her being with the husband.
BUT, I think that your MIL just feels like she is missing out on seeing your dd, especially if she spends a lot of time out of the country.

I bet she just wants to take her out and spoil her, all grandparents like doing that. mine beg me for ds lol, and I usually indulge.

I mean, there is a lot to say for mother's instinct, but from everything you've said in your post she just sounds like she desperately wants a relationship with your dd. is that so bad?

laweaselmys Sun 24-Aug-08 21:19:56

I think you need to sort out WHY you don't want her to have her. My mother is the kind of 'difficult' that means when my DC is born she will not be allowed unsupervised contact with them. But, I also know for the sake of family peace, I will try to hide this fact from her!

This seems to be what you want as well, I don't know her and have no way of saying whether this is reasonable or not. Try and be rational about it - would you let your DC spend time alone with other people eg, relatives or close friends? If you are uncomfortable with anybody you might just be being a bit sensitive. and therefore BU If it is just her or more or less just her, I would recommend going with your instinct and saying that she can't, making whatever excuses you think are necessary. And YANBU!

What you've told me about her DH's behaviour with his kids would certainly make me very unhappy about him spending any unsupervised time with kids, especially if your Mother seems a bit blind to this. In terms of his past behaviour I certainly don't think you would be being unreasonable to deny unsupervised contact with him.

I hope you're able to work out what the issue is.

PootyApplewater Sun 24-Aug-08 21:20:24

Suggest that you and MIL take your DD out together for the first time.

Go to a park, so MIL can take DD for a walk and a play on the swings, whilst you sit nearby.

That way you avoid the issue of her husband being around.

giddly Sun 24-Aug-08 21:20:52

I don't quite understand why you're happy to let her babysit but not take her out (assuming it won't mean contact with her husband, which I weould definitely understand).

MaloryDontDiveItsShallow Sun 24-Aug-08 21:22:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MmeLindt Sun 24-Aug-08 21:23:34

Hmm, I think that you are not being totally unreasonable.

Do I have this right? She lives abroad, has not seen DD since July and as soon as she is in the door she wants to take DD out?

So DD has not seen her Gran for 6 weeks? I think that is a bit much. We live a good bit away from my PILs and we would spend at least an afternoon with them before they took the DCs out alone, at that age.

I would definitely not be happy about DD being in contant with MILs DH. He sounds weird.

I don't know how you can stop this without offending them though. Perhaps if you said that DD is a bit funny with new faces at the moment and it would be better to spend some time together before heading out with her.

georgimama Sun 24-Aug-08 21:23:59

daydreambeliever, am I gobsmacked that you believe your MIL is in some way incapable of taking your daughter on a walk - presumably she didn't do anything "retarded" (nice choice of words there hmm) with your husband who somehow survived her parenting skills???

To OP, the husband sounds like a fruitloop, I wouldn't let my child anywhere near him.

As for the babysitting thing, I do think you are being unreasonable. Presumably the idea is that whilst she is babysitting the child is asleep, so it is understandable that she would want to turn up in time to see her awake. You are happy for her to babysit when you want to go out, but not for her to have some quality time with her grandchild? That is not on.

alicet Sun 24-Aug-08 21:24:58

Actually I am finding it hard to nderstand where you are coming from. I think from the things you have said in your op I think you probably don't understand that well yourself why you are struggling with this? I would try and look at WHY it is you feel uncomfortable and maybe then you will have your own answer as to whether you are unreasonable to feel like this or not.

If it all stems from her husband and you do not trust your dd would not be left alone with him then YANBU at all.

However you clearly trust your mil with her if you are happy for her to babysit. So if she is taking her out and will not leave her alone with her husband what exactly are you worried about?

I don't mean this as a criticism or attack on you by the way. Gut reaction is a very important thing. I am just curious as to where this comes from as I can't see any reason not to encourage your dd's relationship with a grandmother who clearly loves her from your op...

thisisyesterday Sun 24-Aug-08 21:27:31

hang on, we don;t know how old the dd is anyway.
can you clarify biscuity?/

PootyApplewater Sun 24-Aug-08 21:30:39

17 mo - says in title. smile

tots2ten Sun 24-Aug-08 21:30:43

I have never left any of my 5 children alone with my mil, for the simple reason is I dont like her, and she had her 2 grandson's (bil's sons) and took them out to the shop, nephew1 was 4yrs and nephew2 was 1yrs (give or take a few months) nephew2 was in the buggy, and n1 didnt want to go inside the shop, so she let him stay outside shock n1 thought mil had left him so decided to walk back to her house, he was crossed over a busy road by the postman shockshock worst of all mil hadnt noticed that n1 had gone and walked home, it was only when she got home she realised that n1 had got home without her. hmm

She regularly tells stories of what happened when bil was about 2yrs old, she used to work nights, came home from work and didnt have anyone to look after bil, so sat on the sofa while bil was playing with toys, she woke up a while later to discover that he had gone, he had opened the front door (it was never locked, just closed) and had walked up the road in just a nappy, thankfully a neighbour saw him and took him home and left a note on the front door [WTF] and mil sees nothing wrong with it.

thisisyesterday Sun 24-Aug-08 21:32:40

sorry yes, duh,. I re-read thread looking for it and didn't think of looking at the title lol.

Shoegazer Sun 24-Aug-08 21:36:04

I agree with Malory, I don't understand why you have her to babysit i.e when it is convienent for you, but not to take her out in the daytime. Also why is it awful to turn up early when you are going out, perhaps she thinks you can get ready more easily if she is playing with your DD. Not unreasonable about her H though, I wouldn't be letting her near him.

biscuitytrousers Sun 24-Aug-08 21:38:25

ok do understand the importance of fostering her relationship with DD and in my nicer moments (usually when MIL is taking a break from being difficult) i just think of her as a grandmother who wants to see her granddaughter and have a relationship with her. i was very close to all four of my grandparents and understand totally the importance of that relationship. to clarify she lives 10 mins down the road, is retired and spends approx every other month abroad then expects to be here several times a week when she's here. i am happy for her to come here / be with me and see DD and as i said i understand her wanting to see DD awake OBVIOUSLY....! but when it's twice in one week (plus a daytime weekend visit the weekend before and after) with no regard to the fact that it means i have to change our plans completely it gets on my nerves. is that BU?

she does tend to ignore my instructions, e.g. alwyas leaves light on and door open when putting DD to bed despite being told several times etc and she gets very nervous when being given the simplest of instructions (which i always write down for her) and acts as though she's not sure she'll manage to do the simplest thing. BTW it's very unusual for her to babysit twice in one week, usually more like once in 6 weeks. i'm happy with her babysitting as she comes without her husband. malory, it's not jsut that i'll allow her to do the things that suit me. i'm not precious or neurotic - plenty of other people take her out and look after her and i am relaxed.

thanks for input!

thisisyesterday Sun 24-Aug-08 21:42:02

"but when it's twice in one week (plus a daytime weekend visit the weekend before and after) with no regard to the fact that it means i have to change our plans completely it gets on my nerves. is that BU?"

why let her then? if you've already made plans and she asks to come over, just say actually we've already made plans to do x, y or z and then suggest a time that's more convenient for you.
you don't have to let her be there as and when she wants.

I think sometimes grandparents do keep making the same "mistakes" even when they've been told becasue it's just how they did it and it just comes naturally to them.
not that it makes it ok for her to keep doing it, but just keep reminding her. or put DD to bed yourself.

I do think that the issue isn't whether or not she should take DD for a walk. you seem to have a lot of deeper things going on here with MIL that you need to figure out.
from everything you have said, Yes, it is unreasonable not to let her take dd out

tori32 Sun 24-Aug-08 21:42:46

Sorry but I think from a MIL taking her out POV YABU. She comes early to see your dd probably to give her more time to get used to her if she doesn't see her that often (although she sees your dd far more than the 4 times per year my dcs see any of their GPs! Yet I still allowed dd1 2.5y to go with them for a pub tea on thursday when they haven't seen her since May) She is trying to have a relationship and is trying to help you. IMHO you sound very precious. With regards to her husband you need to speak and establish the facts with his daughter before hanging the man. What you saw as a scary face may just have been a funny face to him, trying to make her laugh.
Remember she has brought up a child and although it might have been a while ago I am sure she would be fine. I would invite her out for the day and leave dd with her while you go for coffe etc, then go to the loo and just find excuses to let her take the reins to see how she manages. Ask her to change dd for you etc. When she takes her out give her a rough idea of what dd does when. This way she shouldn't get too lost with things and forget to do things.

thisisyesterday Sun 24-Aug-08 21:43:06

and I do think you have to take your DH's feelings into consideration too. how would you feel if he refused to elt your mum take DD out?
he obviously trusts her. I am sure he would never do anything that may cause your dd to come to harm would he?
and his opinion counts too you know.

ilovemydog Sun 24-Aug-08 21:46:42

Aside from details, what you need to ask yourself is whether DD is safe when she's with her grandmother?

I don't understand your mil's insistence on taking your DD out. What's that about? Not even anywhere specific as far as I can tell - not like, 'would love to take DD to (park, zoo, swings, sea side) which makes me wonder whether it's a matter of getting you to agree?

By the way, I don't let my mil take DD or DS out. She forgot the front door was open once hmm when babysitting and a neighbor found DD down the street shock. mil hadn't noticed apparently.

trust your instincts.

DustyTV Sun 24-Aug-08 21:47:55

I can kinda see where you are coming from. YANBU re your FIL, now way would I leave DD with a FIL like that.

But you are lucky in the fact that your MIL will babysit for you. My MIL lives 10 minutes away and only sees DD every couple of weeks and really looks as if she can't be arsed when she does. She has never offered to babysit DD and I have asked and was told 'no' !!

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