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Grandparent being competitive

(13 Posts)
Jessiejane123 Wed 09-Mar-16 16:05:47

It seems I have had a number of issues to say the least with my mother in law since my daughter has been born. My own mum, nothing, she's totally relaxed and laid back. My MIL will retire from her 9 hour a week job to look after my DD for 1 day, she volunteered to do this when I was pregnant and of course I was grateful. Now she is acting so competitive, I feel anyway and to be honest it worries me that she is trying too hard to be uber nan!

She wants to look after DD at her house. She has everything there, a high chair, buggy, cot , toys feeding utensils etc. But now she has bought a boarder for the walls and curtains from mammas and papas to decorate a room which she calls my daughters room. I get the cot bit as they are more sturdy than travel cots, although a travel cot wouldn't be a problem. But a boarder and curtains? she's creating a nursery in effect! She has bikes, scooters (DD is only 7 months) and is spending £100 on a toy box.

The latest thing with her is toys. Of course she has toys at her house so that DD has something to be amused with. But whenever we go round we sit there with no conversation because all they do is play with DD and no one speaks, or they just stare while I'm feeding her or changing her. But the latest thing is that she KEEPS saying 'nannys toys are boring' as my daughter was a bit distant (overwhelmed and tired really) but it's all she kept saying. The next time we saw her it was the same thing, 'nannys toys are boring'. They are just the basic baby toys that most people have! Then when she came to our house she couldn't catch her breath at the amount of toys we have. We had a lot gave to us, bought some second hand and we also have bought new toys as u do. Well all she said was 'nannys toys are boring, no wonder when you've got all this'. She's announced now she will be looking for better toys for at hers, but knowing her she will go completely overboard as she does with everything. She will buy as much as she can. At Christmas she went mad on singing and dancing decorations and I saw how over the top her and fil went so I just know what's in store. It bugs me because my mum doesn't have money to do that, my mum will look after my DD at my house for 1 day, so she hasn't bought all the stuff at hers and she doesn't have a room! When DD grows older she's going to obviously favour her other grandparents because of what they have at their house. I've seen it happen with my friends daughter, where she openly says she likes one nanny better than the other and it's the same situation. She also loves to say to DD 'your a nannys girl aren't you...nannys girl you are' its a constant thing, she ALWAYS says it. Whereas my mum adores my daughter but has never once said she's s grandmas girl, let alone say it every time we see her.

My worry is, she's trying so hard to create a home from home environment and it's only for 1 day, for 6 hours to be exact. My DD is going to love it there as much as her own home and well my poor mum doesn't stand a chance at competing with it all. I've said all of this to my partner and he just does not, won't not, understand. He thinks I'm paranoid, all the rest of it. I know I'm not, my feelings are not completely irrational, I know it. I just hate how it is and wish we lived further away!!!!! I'd of put DD in nursery for that day and paid the cost, but partner wouldn't have it because of what it would look like to his mum.

MrsOlaf78 Wed 09-Mar-16 17:34:57

Some grandmothers do see their new grandma role as a 'second motherhood' and i think your mil is a prime example of this. She's given up her job and become a professional grandma. It sounds as though she is insecure about not being a grandma who is adored by her grandchild so she has gone into overdrive, booking a regular time slot with her grandchild before she's even born, turning her house into a wonderland, taking it to heart if her devotion is not obviously reciprocated (which it won't be - children don't perform to order) and naming her grandma's girl, staking 'ownership' of her and claiming herself as your daughter's favourite before she's old enough to even understand favourites.

It puts you and your daughter under a most intense pressure to be what she needs you to be. Her behaviour may calm down as time goes on but it may well be a long term source of irritation. You will just need to learn when to laugh it off, when to say something and when to take action.

Please be reassured that children may be dazzled by toys but in the long run, you can't buy their affection. I loved both my grandmas and my happiest memories did not involve toys, they involved talking together me having lots of cuddles and laughs. Your daughter will love different people in different ways - one love doesn't cancel out another. She will love your mum too and my even find your mil rather suffocating. Children are very perceptive and instinctive.

You need to have a line though of what you will and won't tolerate - I would suggest that if she's trying to control what you do or causing divisions in your home then that's when you need to put your foot down.

Your daughter is lucky she has so many people to love her but she's not here to fill anybody's void and her mummy and daddy are who she will always need the most.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 09-Mar-16 18:00:21

I echo what the previous poster says. I think your MIL may have overlooked the bit about bonding by just spending time with her granddaughter. There are plenty of ways to interact that don't require much financial outlay. I can well imagine excitement at the prospect of looking after your infant. Of course as we all know, babies are sometimes cranky and demanding as well as cuddly or easy-going. Maybe the arrangements will fall through.

Having agreed some time ago, DP doesn't like to think of the fallout if his mum feels you don't trust her before she's had her first day looking after DD. Why not wait and see how they get along? I wouldn't worry too much about MIL's efforts somehow putting your mum in the shade.

icklekid Wed 09-Mar-16 18:06:41

I do think your worrying too much about your daughter preferring your mil rather than your mum. Your daughter will love them both because they love her. Both my grandparents were very different and my sister and I loved them both. Your daughter will love being at home with your mum (and may well sleep better) and the novelty of new toys with mil.

ProfYaffle Wed 09-Mar-16 18:17:56

My parents were exactly the same as your MIL when DD1 was born. The nursery, the crazy amount of toys etc etc. It has calmed down though, my dc are 12 and 9 now and Mum and Dad still indulge them massively but it's lost that hysterical, desperate edge.

My dc undoubtedly do favour my parents over pil but that's solely down to the fact that my parents talk to and play with them whereas pil don't. The material things, the twelvety billion talking Santas at Xmas and the like, hasn't made a difference in itself.

LittleBearPad Wed 09-Mar-16 18:24:51

She will love your DM just as much regardless of toys etc.

Sounds like MIL is getting carried away but she does mean well. Try to let it wash over you.

PeteHornberger Wed 09-Mar-16 20:33:40

I second what other posters are saying about your DD loving both your mum and MIL, regardless of the amount of toys.

My dad likes to spoil my kids and gets a lot out of it, however, my kids also love spending time with my mum, as she is good at playing games with them. My MIL does lots of craft things with them and baking and my FIL lets them help with his jobs around the house! All of which they love and get something from. Your mum will find stuff that she can do with your DD that is special for them, as will your MIL. If you can, view it that it's nice that your MIL wants to be this involved. Tbf, it doesn't sound like she's going OTT to be competitive with your mum, just that she's a bit full-on with some things (xmas etc.).

LouTheMac Wed 09-Mar-16 20:37:59

My Mum also decked out her house as if the baby was going home to them. She was just so happy and excited to be a Granny and they were also only having baby one day a week. To be honest as baby gets older you'll just appreciate her having a home from home where she is happy safe and secure, so many people don't have that support.
Your Lo will love your mum just as much it's not about the toys at all, it's the people and the bond they have with them, games they play, reading books, trips to the park etc. Try not to let it annoy you too much, just think how lucky your DD is having all these people that love her so much!

AlmaMartyr Wed 09-Mar-16 20:41:05

Yes, agree with everyone else. My MIL has always been super indulgent with the DCs, but they don't love her anymore than they love my mum. In fact, DS is more comfortable with my mum because he doesn't like too much fuss. What the DCs actually love is time with their grandparents.

It can feel quite intense though. My MIL moved near us and left her job to spend more time with the children. She had visions of her being their full time nanny, having them after school every day, sleepovers every weekend. They see her at least once a week, often more, and it is never good enough. It is quite suffocating.

Cornishclio Thu 10-Mar-16 13:54:09

I am a GM to a 5 month old and will be childminding my DGD for 2 days a week from July so have a few pieces of equipment as we sometimes have her overnight at the moment. She does not get her own nursery though so has a bedroom which I also use as a dressing room (with dressing table/sink in there) and all my book shelves and piano which are used when DGD is staying. It is certainly not decorated for a child so I think it is a bit weird for MIL to do that.

I have a travel cot, changing mat and supplies and some baby toiletries. We also have a toy box which we are gradually getting things for but at this age they do not need many toys. My daughters PIL also spend a lot of time with DGD and have the same travel cot but very little else. I am determined not to go down the competitive GP route even though we are better off financially as I think it is more important to spend time with our DGD rather than splash out on expensive toys etc and are firm believers in not spoiling a child with things but would rather buy her a few special things over the year so she appreciates them as she gets older. If we want to treat her we buy stuff for her to use at our daughter/SILs as obviously that is her home. I also would never call my DD a nanna's girl - she is my daughter's girl and her own parents are the special ones in her life and we get to be lucky enough to have our own special relationship with her.

It is a shame if your MIL goes down the route of buying lots of expensive toys etc for your DD but I do not think she will compare your mum unfavourably simply because of a nursery as kids are not bothered about that. Is your mum worried or upset about it? I am sure that as your DD gets older things will iron themselves out as rarely do kids bother too much with expensive toys until they are much older. I remember my Dad spending a fortune on some all singing and dancing toy for one of our DDs and she was more interested in the box. As they get older though it could be an issue once they get to the stage of wanting games consoles, ipads etc etc.

Perhaps you and OH should say to MIL you do not want your DD spoiled and point out many of the toys you have are second hand. My DD has passed some of the toys she was given when DGD was born to us and PIL to use at our houses.

Arfarfanarf Thu 10-Mar-16 14:17:50

she's not going to obviously favour her for the stuff that she has because she is your daughter and you are going to raise her better than that! Don't worry. Be happy that she is surrounded by so many people who love her so much because a child absolutely thrives when they are loved.

If your mother in law says anything that makes it seem like a competition - put her straight. Same with your mother. Stress the importance of being a team.

SOPH781 Thu 10-Mar-16 14:26:09

It does sound like she's going overboard but I feel a little jealous! My mum has never bought anything for my son because she's always skint and my Mil is disinterested in him... it sounds kind of nice to have 2 nannas who clearly adore her

kiki22 Fri 11-Mar-16 10:41:10

Im don't think it's fair to say your child will favour mil because of toys and a room. DS has a room at his nannas and a bunch of toys that stay there because they have the space and the money at my mum's he sleeps in her room and takes toys with him he loves them both equally I have faith that he's growing up to be the kind of person that isn't swayed by possessions. He feels the love from both of them that's all that matters.

She's going overboard yeah but it's not harming anyone, its not fair that your mum doesn't have as much money but thats life. Also if she is a very affectionate person its not fair to expect her to tone it down because your mum's not.

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