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MIL too old?

(32 Posts)
234cps Tue 14-Jan-20 14:05:54

My MIL is quite hard work at the best of times and isn't particularly maternal or warm as a person. All of her other grandchildren are significantly older (11- 17) than my children- (6 mo and expecting our second baby in 6 months time.)
She is 72 years old but keeps making comments about taking my baby for the day, wanting to buy her own car seats for the children and "when she has them". AIBU to feel like she is too old to be looking after a little baby? She is also obsessed with not wanting them for an hour or when I am there but only if she can take them for the day on her own. I feel like my baby is too small for one- no one takes her for the day at the moment and as I am not going back to work for at least 18 months there is no need for her to anyway? The obsession with taking her on her own is also frustrating.

This is also coupled with lots of comments about how "we won't listen to what mummy and daddy say and will do what we want" in regards to what she wants to feed my baby. I am all for grandparents giving children treats but she will just totally disregard my wishes and do what she wants to do. (She has done this with her other grandchildren on several occasions).

She is now telling my SIL that she doesn't think I trust her with the baby. I don't really want anyone taking my baby at the moment as she is still so small but also feel she is being unreasonable thinking it is a good idea for her to be looking after a small baby/ toddler at her age.

Any advice on how I can say this to her and not offend her? Trying to dance around the subject will just mean she totally ignores or doesn't hear what I am trying to say. 🙈

Justmuddlingalong Tue 14-Jan-20 14:10:09

What's your DH's take on it?

BillHadersNewWife Tue 14-Jan-20 14:11:13

Age has nothing to do with it. She's just not someone you want to leave your children with is she? My MIL is 76 and works three days a week and has my nephew on two days a week and has done since he was 18 months

But she does sound full on and pushy so I don't blame you.

IncrediblySadToo Tue 14-Jan-20 14:13:54

Her age is unimportant here.

Anyone (seriously) saying * we won't listen to what mummy and daddy say and will do what we want" in regards to what she wants to feed my baby*

Wouldn’t be getting 5 minutes alone with my baby.

tmh88 Tue 14-Jan-20 14:14:43

Personally I can understand as I’ve had this, she was 72 the same but just not as nimble to get up and down off her knees anymore etc she would get down to pick up ds and then be stuck trying to stand back up wobbling around trying to get back on 2 feet with no hands, I had to just say no in the end through fear she just wouldn’t be able to keep up with him!

tmh88 Tue 14-Jan-20 14:15:34

Also I agree with @IncrediblySadToo

Whynosnowyet Tue 14-Jan-20 14:16:52

My mil was only in her 40 's when she told me she would feed my vegi dc meat. I told her well she won't ever have them.
So she never did.
Do not feel any guilt whatsoever that she won't be getting any unsupervised time with dc.Being a dgm isn't a right op.

MissConductUS Tue 14-Jan-20 14:22:10

I've seen this so often on MN - in laws who expect to "take the baby" on a regular basis as a matter of right or custom. My MIL and my DM had no such expectation or desire nor would I have given in if they had. Perhaps it's a cultural expectation as I've never heard of it in the US. It sounds like your MIL just wants to parade the baby around and show it off.

Your baby needs to be with you, for safety and bonding reasons.

peekaboob Tue 14-Jan-20 14:23:47

Have had the same. Firm nope from me and DP said toddler DD is too much of a handful/up the stairs like a shot. DPs mum can't walk without the aid of a stick and no way could change nappies. DP was quite happy to tell her this though, I didn't have to thankfully.

yikesanotherbooboo Tue 14-Jan-20 14:29:43

I don't think that her age is necessarily relevant many 70-80 year olds mind their DGC safely and regularly.
I do think that any help with childcare should be in your child's interests primarily and the boundaries should be mutually agreed upon. Having a toddler for a whole day out of the blue ,if not required due to your commitments ,sounds too long. It would be very normal to slowly let your DC get to know DMIL and if it was what you and she wanted then let them stay for longer.can your DH negotiate ?

Intensicle Tue 14-Jan-20 14:32:25

Her age isn’t relevant if she’s in good health. A 6 month old isn’t going to outrun her! Her attitude is the problem.

She doesn’t get to decide that she wants to take your baby out for the day on her own. Some people would be fine with that, but you aren’t and you’re the child’s mother so it’s what you want that matters. It’s sad when this happens because, naturally, the more she pushes about having your child/ren on her own and disregards your views on things like feeding the less likely you are to trust her judgement and be inclined to go to her first if you need a sitter.

Has her life changed since the other grandchildren were young? Has she retired or lost her partner? Did her other grandchildren spend a lot of time with her as babies?

WhatALearningCurve Tue 14-Jan-20 14:38:03

It depends on how your relationship is in general surely? If my mum said "oh we'll ignore mummy and do what we want" then i'd know she was saying it in a jokey way in that she's done her parenting and now as grandma she gets to pander to wants and be less "responsible" in a way (like I get to be the "fun aunt" to my nieces and nephews). But I also know she wouldn't ignore my wishes about anything serious.

My mum is also 70 - has raised 6 kids and my child is her 9th grandchild that she has helped to care for, so at the end of the day I know that she won't put my child in harms way and I trust her to make choices that are best for my child.

In regards to food choices - it depends what you mean. If (like @Whynosnowyet said) she's going to give meat to a child being raised vegetarian, or non kosher food to a Jewish child etc then it's completely unacceptable. If what she's going to do is feed the child pouches when you're insistent on all food being home cooked, then I think that for one meal a week or whatever it is, it wouldn't hurt to relax on that.

But like I said - ultimately it depends on how your relationship is in general

WhatALearningCurve Tue 14-Jan-20 14:39:32

Also - my mum lives 10 minutes up the road and I see her multiple times a week so my son is incredibly close with her. If your MIL lives an hour away and you see her once every few months - then again that changes things

Broken2020 Tue 14-Jan-20 14:43:39

@Whynosnowyet shock You deprived your MIL of quality bonding time with her grandchildren because of a row over meat???

Disgraceful behaviour and I think you know that. You should be ashamed of yourself, they're not your possessions

Savingshoes Tue 14-Jan-20 14:45:45

Hasn't she had her opportunity to dictate what children in her care eat/wear/do etched she parented her own?
Just do hour long supervised visits in public places every 3/6 months to give her the space she needs to grow up.

Broken2020 Tue 14-Jan-20 14:46:48


My Mum is 75 and has my one DC overnight every Saturday! She's fitter and more physically capable than I am! How the hell do you think disabled people manage?!

YABVVVVU and discriminatory! hmmhmmhmm

Can't believe some of the this. Shocking

234cps Tue 14-Jan-20 14:53:01

Thanks everyone you have made me feel a lot better.
Apologies I am quite new here and don't know how to respond to individual posters but re food the issue is constantly talking about giving her meat even though I am raising her vegetarian.
I know she has completely disregarded direct instructions from her other DILs before so I know she would do this.
DH agrees with me it is too much for her but it's how to say it to her.
I think I'm going to have to get him to go and have a word with her because you are all right in that maybe it is less of an age thing and more of a combination of factors which don't make me feel comfortable leaving my baby with her.

Fallowyear Tue 14-Jan-20 14:53:27

I think you probably need to nip this in the bud before dc2 is born, or it will just escalate.
You need DP/DH 100% on side with you, and preferably having this conversation with his mother himself. He could say that you’re both not ready for anyone to have the children yet, and probably won’t be for at least 18 months. Things may be different further down the line.
What is she like with your 6mo when you’re all together? Does she try and impose her own rules?
The “we won’t tell mummy and daddy” attitude drives me crazy, it’s so utterly disrespectful to you, and I consider it a real safety red flag. Encouraging a child to keep secrets from their parents is a really stupid thing to do, and you have no idea what she might say to them or encourage them to hide from you in the future. Not cool behaviour.

Fallowyear Tue 14-Jan-20 14:54:48

Also, you are the parents, and whatever you saying regarding your DCs upbringing, goes. Period.

Justmuddlingalong Tue 14-Jan-20 14:58:59

If you and DH are in agreement, let him deal with her. Let him be the meanie, in her eyes, not you.

Confuddledtown Tue 14-Jan-20 15:05:49

@Broken2020 @Whynosnowyet shock You deprived your MIL of quality bonding time with her grandchildren because of a row over meat???

No, her MIL deprived herself of quality bonding time with her grandchildren by not respecting their decisions and boundaries.

Chocmallows Tue 14-Jan-20 15:06:36

Your DH needs to say to her that he does not want her to waste money on car seats, pushchairs or similar for DCs as you two are going to be caring for DC and will see her through visits.

If she then buys car seats etc. it's up to her as she has been told she will have visits and not parental responsibility.

She cannot force you to leave them with her, nor remove them from you.

wibdib Tue 14-Jan-20 16:18:42

Of course you can have her mi, once I am ready to be apart from her. Shall we put it in the diary now? How does April 27th 2042 sound from 10am? We can see how it goes and take it from there...

And see how long it takes for the penny to drop...

Just use that as your default reply until you are ready and she stops saying she will feed your dd meat (don’t tell her the latter as she will think it rather than say it and you won’t know!).

Drum2018 Tue 14-Jan-20 16:26:05

You don't need to say anything to her. Let Dh deal with her. Stop fretting about it. She can want all she likes but it doesn't mean she gets what she wants.

mimiblack Tue 14-Jan-20 16:31:05

Sounds weird AF. I would just ignore her wishes until hopefully she gives up asking...

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