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Help, I'm a jealous control freak!

(37 Posts)
genia Tue 02-Jul-02 20:07:21

Hi... Does anybody else feel possessive about their baby and who does anything remotely care related with him/her? I have a lovely 7 month old boy who is a real sweetie... I love him and know he deserves all the attention and love he gets from extended family etc... Sometimes I feel a little envious of this attention and feel like the invisible backdrop behind the baby - even though I know I have had my turn at being doted over by grandparents etc... Also, I'm very used to feeling that Julian is mine and my partner's (in so far as he is anybody's - of course he is his own person), then when we see other family THEY all act as if he belongs to them - especially of course my parents and MIL. I find this hard to deal with - that I will have an ongoing connection with so many different people not because of me but because of my child... I know I sound a little strange and I promise I do want what is best for him and of course all this loving contact is very good for him... but it's as if people sometimes forget that you are the person that gave birth to this baby. My mother for one would be in there with lots of unwanted advice if I didn't keep my distance a little. I'm 33 years old and feel I can manage okay without unsolicited advice. Also (and tell me if I am being ridiculous), yesterday my BIL asked my MIL if it was okay to give Julian a piece of mango - he didn't ask me which annoyed me... I know it's only a piece of mango and not the end of the world, but it's hard to be totally in control at home and then find yourself not-so-in-control elsewhere.
Can anybody relate to any of this or do I have to grow up?
Thanks
Eugenia

Lindy Tue 02-Jul-02 20:33:29

Please try & relax & enjoy the fact that your baby obviously has a large family who love & care for him very much - I am probably not the best person to advise you as I expect I am the opposite to you!! I am only too happy for others to get involved but unfortunately we live miles from any relatives but I do make sure my DS spend lots of time with friends & neighbours & I really don't mind if they want to 'take over', in the nicest possbile way!! Can't you use the time for yourself - if only to get a little peace & quiet and 'do your own thing'.

Take all advice from relatives/others with a pinch of salt - don't take it seriously, don't overreact, my standard answer is 'yes, that's a good idea' - whilst ignoring it totally!!

threeangels Tue 02-Jul-02 20:50:03

I think its normal to feel the way you do especially if its your first. Its all new to you. I assume he is your first little one? Its normal for a new baby to be in the spotlight. They dont stay tiny forever. When I was pregnant (with all three kids) I had so much attention all the way up till I gave birth. After that I was wondering where everyone went. My mom is always giving me advice which drives me crazy but im trying to work on understanding she is only trying to help. Although we dont always see it this way they can be a lot wiser in life with some things (not all things though). I am the type that hates when people tell me anything about my kids. This is something I have been working on with my mom. I know she is only there to help me. I do understand how you feel. Its wonderful your son has a lot of contact with family. This is how my family is also.

leander Tue 02-Jul-02 20:54:00

genia
I can relate to you about being a backdrop i sometimes feel that im not my own person im just Joes mum, people phone and one of the first things they say is how is J not how are you and i feel that they dont care.On the other hand i have a large family and they all dote on him as soon as we walk in anywhere he is taken from me and they all fight about who's next to hold him but i dont feel resentfull i feel happy and proud that they all love him so much and i know that in the future he is going to have all the love and attention he will ever needso dont get upset about it enjoy it and be happy that you have a loving family to share him with.
hope this makes sense!

manna Tue 02-Jul-02 21:10:10

babies should be (hopefully) part of an extended family with the input of all generations and experiences. Thank God that you are not one of the many people that have no contact with family and feel isolated and alone. I also have very hands on mil with a 7mths old ds. I am so profoundly greatful for the break I get when she takes him that I am ready to overlook the occasional idiosyncrasies.After all, they do have experience too. Try and enjoy the in put, as long as it's not overbearing. Take the opportunity to put your feet up, you deserve it

Ellaroo Tue 02-Jul-02 21:56:29

Eugenia, can really relate to how you feel - it is the most bizarre instinct, because rationally I know I am being controlling, over-protective and just plain weird, but emotionally I can't stand other people doing things for my baby (not so much friends, more family actually, as they tend to storm in more like it's their right and be very over-powering). I try not to let it show how I feel though as I know that if it were the other way and if no one wanted to help at all then I would feel equally annoyed. I am also hoping it is an instinct that is strongest with a first child, and that by the next one I will have chilled out somewhat and be glad of their help. However, can defintely sympathise and the mango comment would have irritated me too, even though to say anything about it to them would sound a bit bonkers! It also drives me mad about the holding thing - my dh's family refer to it as 'I want a go on her' when they want to hold her. I have to keep my mouth very tightly closed as it makes me fume to see my baby being passed around like a sack of potatoes and being referred to as something you can 'have a go on', rather than as a person. My MIL's current favourite is trying to feed her chocolate - only 8 months old. Grrrr! Don't get me started...

Melly Tue 02-Jul-02 21:57:47

Genia, I understand how you feel. It's funny how little things annoy you, I remember when our dd was born the card that MIL chose, the wording was "thank you, for our grandaughter", I don't know why, but I really didn't like that wording, but I suppose it was the old hormones making me ultra sensitive.

MotherofOne Tue 02-Jul-02 22:11:10

Eugenia - I think your emotions are completely normal, but we all suffer at the hands of our in-laws (in particular) and you'll have to find a way of coping with it, or it'll stress you out forever! As someone else mentioned, try to find a way of turning it to your advantage to get a break for a bath/ read a newspaper etc.
I found my in-laws were happy to hold the baby at times convenient to them, but all disappeared if there was a nappy change imminent or a feed to be given. Now my son is 2 it is a relief to have parents/in-laws who want to be involved (albeit irregularly as they live quite far away) and you can get your own back by getting your child to ask Granny to give them their bath/ read stories !

jodee Tue 02-Jul-02 22:18:27

Genia, I just loved the 'help, I'm a jealous control freak' title, it cracked me up! I think your feelings are 100% normal, I remember feeling the same, and still do sometimes now (ds is 2). I just couldn't stand other people (family, mostly) telling me my baby should be eating this, that or the other, going to bed at a certain time, etc., it was as though they were totally undermining my capabilities as a mother (having said that I did feel pretty useless at times/most of the time, but my feelings were - if I want your help, I'll ask!) Looking back I see they were just being caring and wanting to help, and now I am only too glad to leave ds with Mum/mil whilst dh and I have an evening out!

Ellaroo, I'm still laughing at the thought of your family 'having a go on' your baby, as though she were a ride at the funfair or something!!

jasper Tue 02-Jul-02 23:32:40

Genia, wait till he gets older and others start feeding him stuff you disaprove of!
Sure all your feelings are entirely normal.
Be sure one day you will be very glad of others wanting to take over for short periods.

winnie1 Wed 03-Jul-02 08:44:44

Genia, my advice would be relax and enjoy it. My two children have one grandparent and one uncle and I really worry that they miss out terribly on an extended family. And to be frank dh and I could really do with a night off now and again! How you feel is completely normal however as each day goes by all babies are growing towards complete independence and a lot of input and love in their lives can only help them. However, as for the unwanted advice I think everybody recieves this even from complete strangers in the street. Filter it: some of it will be good, some of it (possibly a lot of it?) pointless some of it down right offensive. If it really is an issue be honest with MIL etc., as it is very undermining & potentially destructive to just put up with it and become bitter and angry.
To be honest I think these things just get easier to deal with as your baby grows up and ones confidence as a parent increases. However, as others have said being by ones child side is inevitably about learning to let go and it will be much harder on you and him (and thus your relationship) if you really are overprotective and controlling in the extreme but it is a learning process for all parents and it takes little steps... don't be too hard on yourself Good luck,

Joe1 Wed 03-Jul-02 09:55:12

Genia, I was exactly the same as you. Ds was first child and first grandchild for both our parents. I was invaded by dh's family mainly when he was born and all I wanted was some peace and quite and not handing my little man around to everybody as if he was a parcel. I had lots of views on how I was going to do things and at 33 too I felt I had the experiences and a good head to cope without all the advice (mil wanted me to give up breastfeeding or a bit of both so they could feed etc, my mum was a bit easier to cope with). I did eventually manage to relax and told dh how I felt and he used to step in sometimes and take ds back for a touch base (although he was quite happy at that age to go off with family for a cuddle, it was more me). I also started to tell myself that I have him all the time and he is our son and they just borrow and he will always come back to us if he is upset and when it is time to go home. I couldnt leave him until he was 18 months, now I can leave him for a couple of hours and not worry too much but cant wait to get back and pick him up. You wont ever stop feeling those feelings as you are a mum but you will find it easier.

Regarding your bil I would have answered him before mil could making it very clear you are his mum. Everybody wanted to give ds white chocolate as they thought he could do with a treat as soon as he was on solids but I stuck to my guns.

sobernow Wed 03-Jul-02 12:26:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bundle Wed 03-Jul-02 12:54:45

genia, I have felt a bit like that too. the things which helped me to get over it were: family being quite a distance away (so GLAD of their help whenever they appear!); dd going to nursery - seeing others tend to her every need and her delight at seeing them showed me how she could develop good relationships with people who aren't even related to her, but obviously care deeply for her and enjoy her company. I now relish the fact that she knows things I don't - eg new songs/nursery rhymes - and how that independence stands her in good stead for later on. having said that, there are times when only mummy will do and that of course makes me feel on top of the world. although she is 'my' daughter, she's definitely her own person, even at 2 yrs old

PamT Wed 03-Jul-02 15:07:59

I am still possessive with my 3 yr old DD, we have just been on a toddler group trip today and one of the helpers comandeered DD to sit next to her on the bus home. I felt really lost and quite upset but just had to accept it. I suppose I had better get used to losing my baby, she will be going to school before too long and I'll have even less control.

Harrysmum Wed 03-Jul-02 15:28:26

I so understand where you are coming from Genia. I found it hardest in the first three months as we live a long way from all relatives so we had visitors every single weekend between October and the middle of January after ds was born and they all assumed that he was theirs! I have quite a difficult relationship with my dad and I found him the hardest - he was so possesive, would phone every night to see how ds was (NOT ANY DIFFERENT FROM THE LAST TIME YOU CALLED!!!) and he really upset me when I did have something new to say (smiling at us for the first time) when he replied , oh yes he was smiling for me last night (he had been up and had stayed whilst I slept). That was pretty much the final straw but my mother continues to insist on asking "how's my boy" and I have to restrain myself from saying "MY boy is..."! On the other hand, I don't want to alienate them as they do make v handy babysitters when we want a couple of days to be a couple again...

Bozza Wed 03-Jul-02 22:16:37

Genia that title could have been written by me. I am getting a bit better 16 months down the line and have tried (with some success) to teach myself to relax. We left DS overnight with my parents for the first time last weekend and I did find it quite stressful. I could feel myself getting tenser as the time drew nearer.

genia Thu 04-Jul-02 08:45:38

Thanks for all your messages everybody - it has been very interesting to read them - both the "relax more" messages and the "I feel the same way" messages. I guess it is something that will come in time... My big thing is that I don't want people to be feeding him rubbish which I know they will when he is older. On the other hand I'm sure he will be buying his own stash of chocolate and sweets when he can so I can't control everything right??? I suppose the most one can do is try to eat healthily at home and try to impose some guidelines on what other people give him. The sharing him with other people part I find really hard (except for with my partner or with family members I get on with well) - I had no idea how hard I would find it and it has come as something of a shock. I don't like the being invisible part either - as some people were saying - after your baby is born you wonder where everyone has gone as their only questions are about the baby... It's as if they think - well you must be COMPLETELY fulfilled now, what could there be to ask about? It sometimes feels quite lonely and I am glad for the friends with babies that I have because they seem to be the only people with whom I have real conversations nowadays. Also, I'm a fairly solitary person in some ways and we have seen both sides of the family SO much in the past 7 months that it would be nice to have a family free 6 months!!! I suppose after you have a baby it takes a while to get used to the lack of privacy as other people walk in and out of your house not to see you but their grandchild, nephew or whatever...
Re-reading this message I sound quite bitter and depressed. I think I'm going to start looking after myself better and doing some of the things which I have put on hold for so long while trying to be indispensable to Julian...
Thanks again for all the messages.
Eugeniaxx

Ellaroo Tue 16-Jul-02 19:50:28

I'm ressurecting this thread as it is so appropriately titled for me! I feel really annoyed every time I think about something one of my aunts did yesterday that is really petty and silly, but I can't seem to let it drop and keep winding myself up thinking about it. I see her probably about every four months as I find her quite hard work (very political in quite an aggressive way & swears and smokes like a trooper!). Anyway, she kept waltzing dd (9 months)round the room saying 'I can't believe you're mine! You're all mine'. I didn't say anything but her saying this really grated on me (particularly as she's only seen dd 3 times and is not a particularly important person in our lives). Anyway later on dd got a small cut on her finger and I was trying to put a plaster on it (dd has never had an injury before and as it was her first one I was quite upset and a bit panicked - it was just a cut, but the sight of her bleeding really upset me) and my aunt kept saying 'she doesn't need a plaster she's fine' and then took her into another room whispering 'what nasty thing is your mummy trying to put on your finger, you don't want a plaster do you' etc etc. Dd started crying as she is not very good with strangers if she can't see me or dh whilst being held and my aunt actually started backing away to try and stop me from taking her back. This probably all sounds really petty (and is), but I just wanted to get it off my chest (don't worry I am aware that I am a jealous control freak!). I wish I didn't feel like this. Grrr. Rant over.

leander Tue 16-Jul-02 20:11:44

Ellaroo
Youre definately not a JCF just a normal concerned mum sorry but your aunt sounds like a nightmare(hope this doesn't offend you)

SofiaAmes Tue 16-Jul-02 21:43:03

Ellaroo, totally not a jcf. I am quite happy to hand my son over to others, and would have quite happily let him be danced around by a wacky aunt who wanted to fool herself into thinking he was all hers. However, in the plaster scenario, i would have lost it and told her to get her own child and leave mine alone, and i can guarantee it wouldn't have been said very nicely.

eemie Tue 16-Jul-02 21:59:44

No, you're not petty or silly. It's good of you to allow her to hold your baby at all, especially if she's a heavy smoker and not someone your baby knows well. Many babies her age would scream the place down if an unfamiliar person came too close or held them. I vividly remember my dd crying like an abandoned waif because I let my sister hold her while I was only 2 feet away.

My sister once passed her baby son to our older cousin for a cuddle, and before she knew it the cousin had passed him, without asking, to a male friend of hers. He was a compete stranger to my sister and was smoking a cigarette at the time.

Your aunt may have been trying, indirectly, to reassure you by saying your daughter didn't need a plaster. Hard to think of a clumsier way she could have gone about it.

I bit my mother's head off the other day for grabbing my dd by the arms and trying to drag her across the floor when she was going into a strop. (Dd, not my mother.) I was already on my knees talking to dd, didn't want interference and would never allow anyone to pull dd by the arms anyway. It's a strange thing to come back to Mumsnet and read recent posts about 'what do you do if you see someone mistreating a child in public?' alongside those saying 'treasure your mother while she's alive'. I'm still so cross about that incident it puts me off inviting my mother again, so no wonder you're seething about your aunt.

Still, relations and visitors come and go. You are the one who's there all the time including the tough bits. You get the best smiles, the best cuddles. No matter how insensitive people are they can't take any of that away from you.

ionesmum Tue 16-Jul-02 22:22:02

Well done for not lumping her one!

jasper Wed 17-Jul-02 00:00:26

Ellaroo my ds is 3 and I have only just stopped cringing when my mil( who is great)yells MA BOY! every time she sees him

Ellaroo Wed 17-Jul-02 12:52:46

Thanks for your support! I feel a lot better now and will try to relax until her next visit! No offence taken Leander, she truly is a nightmare and it seems to bring out the worst in me. LOL, Jasper, she sounds like she temporarily thinks she's something from the Wild West - at least she's nice the rest of the time though.

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