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AIBU or is she being as manipulative and scheming as I think she is.

(124 Posts)
Giraffinalaugh Sat 29-Jun-13 00:48:49

And if so what do I do?

DP and I have a 3, nearly four week old son. His mum lives in the same road and I did make a point of saying to her when we got home to pop in whenever, which so far has been about twice a week for 5 or 10 minutes and doesn't really pay so much attention to the baby. She doesn't always hold him or seem that fussed by him (when I found out I was pregnant she said she was shocked because I'm not maternal, but she doesn't seem that bothered with him really).

Getting to the point, she spends the time when she is here telling me, not suggesting.. Actually insisting on everything I'm doing wrong in her eyes. She came up twice this week and on both occasions told me the room was far too hot because the gro egg room thermometer was orange and about 21 or 22 degrees. Using my common sense straight away I checked the back of his neck when she mentioned it and he felt neither hot or cold to me so I thought nothing of it. Would have opened a window or taken his blanket off if he was warm, but when he was born he was in Scbu because he was so cold so regardless of room temp I'm more bothered about his temp.
He's also significantly tounge tied and until he has it snipped we have been using bottles, she made a point of telling me that if he's struggling to feed I'm probably holding the bottles wrong. And that she has never heard of a baby being unsettled and crying for hours (this has only happened once so far and I know it was down to the tounge tie and wind, there was a midwife here at the time who wasn't concerned) but she is really really concerned because babies just don't do that and she's never heard of it.
I was having a nap yesterday and I woke up to her screaming at DP in the hall (well I've raised kids, I know!!!) and then slammed my front door almost off its hinges. Is it me or is this just not normal behaviour?

She also takes issue with the fact that I have spent the last three weeks sleeping on the couch with him in the Moses basket next to me.. It works for me for now as one of the windows in our room is jammed and it gets very hot in there sometimes, I've had a c section and its just easier for me staying downstairs close to the kitchen and with all if his stuff in one room than being upstairs and cgoing up and down all night. I'd rather save my energy for getting out for nice walks with him in the day. But I'm wrong and I can't give him a proper bedtime routine if I'm not carrying him up the stairs at three weeks old.

The shit hit the fan yesterday when after a series of texts saying how concerned and worried about him she was.. She sent this beauty.. Nt to me though but to DP behind my back

"Hi, how is baby this morning. I am working close by today if giraffe needs me so tell her to ring me if she needs someone. I am really worried about how she sits in the front room when it's hot and doesn't seem to look at the temp egg, you need to keep the door open to keep some air flowing. I wonder sometimes if she does it deliberately. Please make sure she opens windows. I know I go on but I think it's because she either doesn't want advice or doesn't listen to it and baby is very precious and needs proper care xxx"

I confronted her about the txt last night, her only defence was that it is a private txt and none of my business. My issue is that she never bothered touching baby to see if he was hot or cold, yet is so so worried by the temp on a gro egg that she can insinuate I would neglect my child. When I confronted her about this she said that she has raised babies and she knows and then started literally screaming "cot death, giraffe, cot death!!!" I my face like I was stupid. I spent four years training as a nurse, I can gage a temp for gods sake.
I wonder how you can be not worried enough to reach in and check baby, yet worried enough to tell my DP things like that behind my back.. It doesn't feel genuine to me, it feels really manipulitive, like she is interfering and trying to break us up or see me fail or something. She's very bitter in general and always slating some one but to cause all of this over something so trivial.
Understandably I was very angry but couldn't even justify myself as a parent as she was standing there smirking and rolling her eyes saying to DP "see, look what she's like, see you weren't raised to be a drama queen like that" all very patronising and school playground behaviour. I ended up walking out and telling her if she didn't change then she wouldn't see me or baby again. It's out DP in a horrible position but I feel like I have to make a stand. I know this was really long winded but what would you lot be doing? She doesn't have a lot of friends and doesn't speak to a lot of family other than her daughters and just poisons people against each other, I don't want it to spoil these early days for us and really don't want ds hearing it all. Wwyd???

AgentZigzag Sat 29-Jun-13 00:54:49

Just on the face of it, she sounds threatened by you being a mum for some reason.

You do not have to justify yourself as a parent to anyone (bar your DP/police/SS etc).

She has no claim whatsoever on how you decide to bring up your baby.

Don't have her round, simple as that.

If you DP wants to see her/take your baby to see her, it's his own business.

You're doing fine <hug> distance yourself from her/what she's saying (because you know she's wrong talk to you like that, if she had any real concerns, she needn't go about bringing them up in such a nasty way) and enjoy what you have.

dontcallmehon Sat 29-Jun-13 00:54:55

Blimey. YANBU. She sounds awful.

WildThongsHeartString Sat 29-Jun-13 00:56:31

She sounds awful. I hope your dp can support you through this although it will be difficult for him, you and baby are his priorities. My mil was so bad that we ended up totally sidelining her and she missed most of my DS growing up.

quietlysuggests Sat 29-Jun-13 00:56:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AgentZigzag Sat 29-Jun-13 00:57:59

I'm melting over the thought of a 3/4 week old baby grin

Please don't let her make this time about her (but in the same vein, don't be worrying she's spoiling it all and you'll never get it back, plenty of time for other things to go swimmingly/disastrously)

SoftlySoftly Sat 29-Jun-13 00:58:46

I normally think on mil threads the dil is being too precious and tbh for such a short time each visit you could just nod smile and ignore.

The text though is fucking rude and you did need to bring her up sharp before resuming nodding and smiling.

Lora1982 Sat 29-Jun-13 01:02:21

Chuck the gro egg at her.what a pain in the arse she is. Also I slept on the sofa for about two months. She raised her kids 30 years ago... tell her theres been 'improvements' since then. Also I wanted a gro egg because my house is freezing but I never got one and my baby is still alive and well so chuck the egg at her grin

WestieMamma Sat 29-Jun-13 01:06:58

If it were me, I'd do nothing and leave it to my DP to sort out his mother.

kc77 Sat 29-Jun-13 01:07:58

YANBU treat her like the arsehole she is, and stop her from visiting until she can keep her opinion to herself

Kleptronic Sat 29-Jun-13 01:08:39

Ok you've just had a baby and obviously there's a whole enormous amount of stuff going on for you right now. However, I don't think threatening her with never seeing the baby again is reasonable. Congratulations on your baby DS. Try to step away from this, get a helicopter view on it, this could be getting in the way of your first few weeks with your son, and I don't think it all should, really I don't.

fabergeegg Sat 29-Jun-13 01:08:40

These are her issues, in her mind. It's very sad for her and for you - but I don't think it has to get under your skin if you and DH have a friendly but firm stance together. Harder for him. Easier for him if you don't give ultimatums but say what you need in terms of defining boundaries.

You ask if she's being as manipulative as it seems. I agree she's being toxic but it could be the way she does everything, rather than her being consciously out to destroy something or turn your DH against you. I do think you've drawn the short straw having her for a MIL and I admire the way you've borne with her so far.

IMO your MIL needs to know
1. Boundaries around your role as parents. You're capable of looking after your own child and she has to let you get on with it. You don't need her to be the grown-up, informing your DH that babies are precious. That seems a rather manipulative way of getting heard. If she doesn't stop doing it herself, firmly and kindly stop her. I was in a similar situation and found it helpful to practice being assertive in a manner that doesn't cause her to lose too much face (did this in front of DH nightly until he couldn't stand it anymore).
2. Boundaries around your role as parents together. She needs to know that if she does find herself unable to eat/sleep with anxiety about some aspect of your DD's care (and who knows, maybe she lost a child once, unlikely as it is), she has to speak to both of you together. She has to arrange a time and come around and have her airtime for half an hour. Then you can reassure or tell her kindly that you're on it. Either way, it means you can, as individuals, ruthlessly silence her at all other times. And I wouldn't be surprised if she can't usually be bothered to do it.
3. Boundaries around your position as her son's DW. She needs to know she cannot ever, under any circumstances, make an insinuation about you to DH that he will tolerate or keep to himself. She needs to know she'll incur her son's wrath and possibly distance herself from him. She needs to know that, otherwise she could be poisonous.

Giraffinalaugh Sat 29-Jun-13 01:11:00

Thanks softly, I was nodding and smiling for a while but the last visit lasting about 5 minutes, she barged past me at the door without even a hello, shouting at me that the dog shouldn't be out like that, (our little pfb doggy wasn't in the same room as baby, but because she was in the hall and not locked in the kitchen she had a go, and literally I smiled and said "do you want to come in the front room and see baby then, and hence came the "it's far too hot in here" "you're feeding him wrong" comments ect. I've been very tolerant up to now.

She also screamed at my mum in the street that she wished he had never met me when confronted about said txt.

Through out the pregnancy she offered me wine and when I refused would act like I was being silly, she called me a drama queen for not wanting to be around her daughter when they all knew they had a v&d bug, told me that ds shouldn't b strapped into pram because it was cruel and I needed to just lie him on a pram sheet. I know people do things differently and I respect that but to be so so worried that she insinuates neglect oh god I'm just so angry. I don't want ds around her at all but don't want to cause problems for DP. When I told her the baby felt fine to me and that's what mattered she just said "well why have you got the grow egg if you won't listen to it"
Why won't she listen to me when my baby is healthy and happy.
Sorry for venting !

YouTheCat Sat 29-Jun-13 01:11:51

I'm in the smiling and nodding camp.

This was most effective when I had twins and lived with my ex mil. If I'd done half the stupid things she said I should I don't think my kids would have survived to 18.

Giraffinalaugh Sat 29-Jun-13 01:13:20

Kleptronic I don't mean never ever again.. I just mean until she can start acting a bit more grown up and less homewrecker playground bitchy esquen iyswim

YouTheCat Sat 29-Jun-13 01:14:19

And she tried to rehome my cats as she said they'd smother the babies. hmm

AgentZigzag Sat 29-Jun-13 01:16:04

I used to ask my mum for advice on how to look after DD1, but in the end she used to take it as a given that she'd fucking outrank me in deciding what was good/bad with her.

Even to the point of arguing the toss about something insignificant, just so she'd be proved right (and the better mother I would guess at).

Choose not to play the game.

Every suggestion should be met with an answer that makes no bones about you (and your DP) being in charge of you're lovely baby.

CoolaSchmoola Sat 29-Jun-13 01:16:26

Print off the tog advice relating to room temperature and SIDS (21° and 1 layer of blanket is fine) and give her it. Then tell her you are following the official guidelines from the researchers who write them, rather than her guesses at what is too hot, then tell her to back off.

YouTheCat Sat 29-Jun-13 01:18:21

Could you tell her she might be having a hot flush?

That would really piss her off. grin

ThirdTimesABrokenFanjo Sat 29-Jun-13 01:18:58

I wouldn't have her in my home. the text was totally out of order

NatashaBee Sat 29-Jun-13 01:23:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oscalito Sat 29-Jun-13 01:23:30

The trouble with this situation is it's only three weeks in so you're still finding your way and working out how you're going to do things. I would ask for a bit of space for a few weeks and then when she comes back again you'll be that much more confident about what you're doing and everything will have calmed down a bit.

I had my mother behaving in a similar way when my DS was about 5 weeks old and she came to stay from overseas. I am just glad I had those first five weeks to find my way without her as I was better able to stand my ground.

She needs to back off for a while. You're the boss now.

AgentZigzag Sat 29-Jun-13 01:23:48

I can see what you're saying Coola, but the OP doesn't need to justify herself or prove she's right, it's getting drawn into the game she's playing.

The fact that the OP's said 'I know what I'm about' should be enough for the MIL, and if it's not, then there's something else afoot (ie MIL being a controlling, manipulative PITA because she's been proved to be a fantastic mum (as in she's brought up the OPs lovely DP) and should be deferred to, plus she'd like the reflected glory of the OP hanging on her every word as a self esteem boost).

Oscalito Sat 29-Jun-13 01:24:19

And yes, definitely suggest that she may be having a hot flush. Very sympathetically.

Kleptronic Sat 29-Jun-13 01:25:40

You are in charge. It's hard I know when people are acting out and undermining and being spectacularly unhelpful, but you are in charge. You're doing what you think is right and that is good enough. Step away from the MIL, you give away your power if you engage with her woeful tripe. She's a big goady troll, don't feed her!

All power to your elbow smile

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