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How do I deal with MIL politely?

(33 Posts)
babyperks Sat 02-Feb-13 06:27:27

The more I think of it, the more it winds me up.

Yesterday, me and my OH took my 17 day old DS to his nanny's. We were sat talking about DS and she randomly asked "so are you going to put him on solids at 6 weeks?"
My immediate reaction was "shock No way, I couldn't do that!" Well that went down like a lead balloon!
After explaining how it is bad for them to do it at such a young age, and her looking at me like I'm crazy, she then said "Well I put all mine (she's had 5 kids) on solids at 6 weeks and they're alright" I then said "Yeah I know, but I just couldn't do it, I don't want to and I'm not going to."

We then got on to the subject of SIDS. My mum lost my brother at 11 weeks old 10 years before having me, so it's even more of a worry for me. My OH was explaining the basic guidelines to help prevent it and saying only laying babies on their backs, and not their fronts, was one of them. Again, after another look, "Well I laid all of you on your fronts!" She then said "I think these new health visitors are so far fetched, unless they've had kids of their own, they don't know what they're chatting about."

Basically I'm just getting fed up of me and OH "not being allowed" to bring our son up the way WE want to, and the way WE feel is best. I agree that the way we bring our kids nowadays, compared to 20 odd years ago, is completely different as my mum says the same. But at least my mum accepts that how I bring up my child is down to me and OH only.

I just want to know how you other lovely mummys would react to this, without letting on that you're really pissed off and without just telling them to eff off and let us do it our way not yours! angry

Sorry about the rant, but like I said, the more I think of it, the more it makes me angry! Oh, and sorry for long post too blush

TIA grin xx

babyperks Sat 02-Feb-13 13:08:52

I guess you're right Tolly. Thank you for your advice, its really helpful smile

Tolly81 Sat 02-Feb-13 11:47:44

Sorry! grin

Tolly81 Sat 02-Feb-13 11:47:04

Sorry about typos. Also I would say either it gets better or you start noticing/caring less as time goes on because I can't think of when MIL has done this much recently. Also when your baby gets a older (mine is nearly 9 m) and you're happier to spend a bit of time apart dh can take him round while you sleep/go to the gym/shop etc for a couple of hours thus avoiding the pils, so thrre is light at the end of the tunnel! Works for me [big grin]

Tolly81 Sat 02-Feb-13 11:42:52

It is really tough. I don't think she'll change and it doesn't sound as if you'll be successful in bringing her views up to date as she sounds pretty dyed-in-the-wool tbh (esp if she managed to persuade your SIL to wean at 6 weeks!) so the best tactic is just to say a placatiry phrase and change the subject. If she's really hassling you and won't let up then perhaps get your dh to say something like "it's nice that you're taking an interest but we're going to do it our way/or in line with the cirrent guidelines". My MIL also asked if I was going to start giving dd baby rice at 8 weeks "to make her sleep better" but that was what they were told to do at the time. Just let it wash over you and start thinking about neutral territory - the price of baby clothes? The difference in sizes between shops? Something like that. I really feel for you but take it from someone a few months down the line - it only makes you more annoyed and upset to disagree with someone like that. My tongue is now covered in cuts and ulcers though wink

babyperks Sat 02-Feb-13 10:55:10

I don't think what I said really offended her, it just shocked me that she even suggested to start weaning a 6 week old baby. The way I responded wasn't harsh or mean, it just looks that way written down. The thing that annoyed me was the way she looked at me, and the way SHE responded to my response. Her DD is very easily led, so she had her kids on 3 meals a day at 6 weeks old because MIL said it was ok to, because she did it with her kids. Which is fine if that's what they want to do, but we don't wish to do it that way and I would like to be respected by that. Not looked at as if I'm some complete weirdo!

Another example: When we found out we were pregnant, OH's sister asked me if I was going to BF. I said yes I would like to give it a go. Again I was given a look and she said "Ugh, I don't know how you could do that. Yuck" Did I make a comment about her NOT BF her kids? No because that's her choice, if she doesn't like BF then that's her choice, but there was no need to respond like that.

I really don't want there to be any arguments so I'm really going to have to learn how to bite my tongue! smile

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sat 02-Feb-13 10:24:44

I would simply say something like 'every generation had its own way, I guess you'll either have to respect our choices or stay away' but I have two nightmare families to keep in check so have little time for tiptoeing around!

At leas your DP is backing up your thinking, nt trying t get you to do it his um's way!

constantnamechanger Sat 02-Feb-13 10:21:18

sorry op there was a lot more to my post it disappeared

Tolly81 Sat 02-Feb-13 10:16:39

Sympathies baby perks my MIL is the same. I don't think you're over-reacting, I always felt really annoyed/threatened/got at/irritated when MIL did this but as others have said when you respond with shock and incredulity you are also criticizing her parenting (I know that isn't your aim of course) that's why the stock response is "well I raised x number of children and they were fine" - they're defending their own practices. The thing about guidelines from a pp is a very good response. I would only give her leaflets if she seems genuinely interested otherwise she won't read them and it will just make her angry. I tried getting my DH to say something but it doesn't work. My main advice is avoid the conversations in the first place, then you can't get wound up. All parents like to give advice (you'll find yourself doing it in a few months to mates/relatives) but just avoid the conversations. If they keep on about it just say "well I'll have a think about it..." etc. the confrontation is not worth the upset. Change the subject. Seek their advice on things that don't matter - like should we go to x, y or z with the baby for the weekend (make sure they're all places you wouldn't mind going) or tell her about this thing that he did and that thing etc. Good luck!

TempusFuckit Sat 02-Feb-13 07:39:15

What Nagoo said. Your shocked reaction to her well-meaning suggestion about solids was far ruder than the question itself as it implied she'd mistreated her DC. She doesn't know the latest guidelines.

I love a good bonkers MIL thread, but it seems from the bare facts here she's just taking an interest and having it thrown back in her face.

You're allowed to overreact when you've just had a new baby, but try to see it from her side and practice your best smile and nod skills or you may not always get on with her as well as you say you usually do.

NotSoNervous Sat 02-Feb-13 07:29:30

Sorry don't have any advice I but I'm in a similar boat to you so very interested in this thread. I use together on great with my MIK but oncebPFB arrived everything started to change, she thinks the way she raised her kids I'd the right way so why aren't I doing it the same, questions why I do certain things constantly, "suggests" things I should do but it's more this is right so do it this way then seems pissed off if. I don't and there's a million questions as to why I haven't done it ect... Also seem abit of contest over who sees DC more angry

Tinkerisdead Sat 02-Feb-13 07:28:46

I get a lot of this off my own mother amongst others. I have to say things like "well they didnt have access to mri, better cancer treatments etc then either. I say isnt it amazing how we can treat cancer more effectively, control AIDS,, see whats actually in breastmilk, look at the effects of weaning on tummies etc. i just fawn over medical marvels and usually they shut up.

QueenoftheHolly Sat 02-Feb-13 07:27:34

Oh & during pregnancy I got lots of "Really? You won't eat pate?! In my day we ate what we liked! It's a miracle any of our children survived!" (That last bit sarcastic obviously)
To which I used to answer "Gosh yes it must have been so much easier then, but of course so many more pregnancies failed. It's amazing how much they know about it nowadays".

ipswichwitch Sat 02-Feb-13 07:25:07

Of course you could try the approach of offering her similarly insistent advice on aspects of her life when she starts telling you what to do in a "oh I thought this lifestyle advice thing went both ways" fashion. I have done this before when at the end of my tether, but then again I am a belligerent sod!

EMS23 Sat 02-Feb-13 07:18:22

Smile, nod
'mm, yes, I'll look into it'.
'Yes, I'll speak to the doctor'.
'Yes, all these rules, it does sound like it was easier in your day'
'Yes, I'd heard about that'

Platitudes. Then go off and do what you want. It's not your job to educate her on current standards and she's unlikely to change her mindset anyway.

kazzy77 Sat 02-Feb-13 07:15:46

she obviously isnt up to date with the fag thing either! isnt it an hour after a cigarette where you cant hold a baby. poor u thats a difficult one!! she is probably feeling that she needs to compete with her knowledge against yours on who is the better mum but in the meantime belittling you! she has called me a mean mummy before, albeit in gest, but it still annoys me cause she made a point of it! its usually when my ds is wanting to fall asleep a couple of hrs before his bedtime and i am keeping him awake otherwise he wont go down for his nap! or when he is just grizzling in his cot having a nap whem my dp was going to go soothe him but i said wait a moment he will go off again in a minute (when your with your baby all day every day you know them inside out what they may do) and she called me a mean mummy for that! but sure enough my ds grizzling stopped after about 30 secs as he fell back asleep again! which i was rather smug about!! I have now come to the stage where i rise above it and let her comments go over my head!! makes me feel better not taking offence to it cause as long as i know i am doin the right thing by my ds and he is safe and happy then i am happy! is there anything you can make sly digs at her in a joky way? i found i can with harmless things but make it sound like its more a joke. that makes me feel like i have one over on her too! childish i know but i dont care

upinthehills Sat 02-Feb-13 07:12:38

My hospital ran grandparent session as part of the post natal care - basically to counter all the outdated crap. If yours run then would she go to one with you.

ipswichwitch Sat 02-Feb-13 07:12:22

I had a number of issues regarding MIl and our parenting choices - particularly my decision to BF. I tell her that we're just following latest guidelines just like she did when her DC were born. She has a tendency to regard me as some sort of tree hugging lentil weaver because I bf and has actually put her DD off bf her DC when it arrives because of her odd views, and her belief that bf caused DS to be a poor sleeper (it didnt).

She doesn't know that I still give DS a bedtime feed - he's 16 months- and I'm not telling her. I've mastered the nod an ignore approach now.

QueenoftheHolly Sat 02-Feb-13 07:12:06

Oh I have so much sympathy!
I have to see a lot of my in laws as my DH's business is based on their farm.

We had our PFB barely a week before Christmas & of course he's been passed round like a parcel practically since day one.

When he was about a week old (so, you know, absolutely tiny!) & had been handed round for a while & started to cry, I said "Right, looks like he's hungry now" & my MIL just said "No" & carried on holding him
I thought she'd miss heard me but then she did same thing again a few days later. That time I looked angry & PIL saw & I think was abit shocked (at me, not her).

Thank god they've gone on annual trip abroad to visit relatives for 2 months.
She is lovely, helpful etc but such a know it all to everyone. It's exhausting being round her!

To preempt interference in feeding method etc, I told mine that WHO recommends breast feeding til 7 years old. She was shock (as am I tbh, & think perhaps I got that wrong!!) but compared to that, weaning at 6 weeks would sound crazy ;-)

I will get less & less polite, & more and more direct, otherwise I'll pop with supresssed annoyance!

babyperks Sat 02-Feb-13 07:09:32

Mrsmushroom: It's quite hard to do that as OH gets a lot of proud daddy moments and goes through stages where all he talks about is DS. So he would tell her everything anyway.

babyperks Sat 02-Feb-13 07:07:11

Constantnamechanger: You could be right, I may be over reacting. I do not cope well on lack of sleep, so may be taking it more to heart than normal.

Barefootwalker: She does know about my brother yes. And I have explained to her before how it scares me even more due to the death of my brother.

Jayne: I like your way of thinking. I think that's probably the best way to go about it to be honest. I just need to remember it!

I think I'm just going to learn to smile and nod. Make her believe that I may follow her way, but then actually do the complete opposite grin

MrsMushroom Sat 02-Feb-13 07:07:03

The only way I found was to never discuss my chidren's development, health or diet with my MIL.

Mine used to obsess over one of my DDs and moon over felt unhealthy and I stopped allowing her to be so hands on. she wasn't like that with DC number 2 which I found more offensive. ..favored the oldest.

babyperks Sat 02-Feb-13 07:00:52

Nagoo: I don't think she does feel that way. She just thinks that she's mum of the year and I should abide by her way. I don't think so.

Kazzy: I could try and speak to OH about it, but I can moan about his mum a lot, (she smokes, we don't, from the beginning of the pregnancy I have had strict rules about baby not being held after someone has just had a ciggy. Although she doesn't hold him after having one whilst we're there, she will still kiss him or touch him, which just makes my blood boil. Or she will have one before we turn up, not tell us, and hold him. I don't realise until I pass DS to her, and feel too much of a bitch to pull away and say no sorry you've had a fag!) so I feel quite bad for him, as at the end of the day, she is still his mum.

grin at mattysmum. Me and MIL get on, she just gets on my nerves grin

Thanks everyone for your replies smile

barefootwalker Sat 02-Feb-13 06:57:57

Good advice Nagoo. Guidelines will keep on changing constantly and you'll probably be in her shoes in 20 years or so. I would just make light of it and say these things go round in circles but you and your OH are following the current guidelines. Is she aware that you had a brother who passed away due to SIDS? She might be a little more sensitive if she knows its something particularly concerning you.

constantnamechanger Sat 02-Feb-13 06:55:26

you are completely overt reacting smile sweetly and ignore

Titchyboomboom Sat 02-Feb-13 06:52:50

With my family it was always 'ooh, she's got a wind pain, lets have a go at getting it up' after passing her round like some kind of toy for half an hour when all she wanted was me. I would be former with a second I think, and may risk the politest p off...

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