Is this ok for my Mum to do?(7 Posts)
I have primary school age children. Divorced but in a new relationship and have plans to marry in a couple of years.
My parents are fantastic for helping with the dcs. The have always been a great support since I left my abusive marriage. My mum picks up dcs from school two evenings a week sometimes three and keeps them til I finish work. I leave some money on the kitchen table every week, though less than I would be paying a child minder. I am on a low income. I am very grateful for all she does. My dad also offers to take the boys doing a mutual hobby at times. I rarely ask him to but he offers.
The problem is that my dm has no boundaries when it comes to how I bring up dcs. If she thinks I'm doing something wrong she will pull me up on it. She often tells me what I should/should not be doing with them, activities we should/should not be doing, how I should dress them, what time they should go to bed etc.
If I don't follow her advice she takes it badly. This ranges from sulking and silent treatment for small things, to full blown rows for bigger issues/decisions with her occasionally saying horrible things eg., the dcs don't stand a chance with me as their parent, I haven't a spark or an ounce of sense, I am as bad as ExH (he was abusive physically and emotionally towards me, and treats the dcs poorly), the dcs won't want to know me when they are older and I will end up with no one. All of the above have been said when I am not handling issues with the dcs the way she told me to. The most recent was when DC age 5 had made up a story about things that happened at school. She mentioned it when I picked up dc. I said dc probably a bit jealous as other DC won a prize at school. A week later she brought it up again, was very confrontational. Accused me of looking at her with 'a look' and eventually said that DC was going to turn into a very unlikable child if I didn't do something about his lies. All of this said in an angry, confrontational tone.
We have talked about this before and she seems to feel that because she is close to the DCs and helps out a lot she has every right to have an input and keep pulling me up on things if I'm not doing them right. We had another long talk today. I explained that it's fine for her to tell me if there is an issue, give her opinion, or give advice but she can't lose it when I don't follow her advice. She has to accept I am the parent and let me make the decisions myself and trust that I won't ruin the dcs lives. I have also pointed out that if my grandparents had ever told her what to do with us they would have been told where to go. She responded that they didn't help as much as she did and so she has the right to have a say in what happens with dcs. She said that she loves the dcs so much that she can't see how she can do a, b and c then not do d. I asked if she thought she could find a way to not do d and she said she would be lyng if she said she would change.
I have been slowly starting to make decisions without her approval over the last couple of years. Got a dog and she said a piece of her died inside that day. Because there was enough for doing without caring for a dog. (Dog is small and easy to care for and makes me and DC very happy).
The decision to get married did not go down well either. My divorce was messy and though she approves of dp she doesn't understand why we want to get married. She has asked us not to have a wedding do as it will be too stressful for her and df. She won't be asked to do anything other than show up but this makes no difference. I am considering cancelling as I feel the tension on the day will ruin it for me.
They have an old house close by that dp and i plan to do up and live in. I am starting to feel that this is a no go as if they give us a house I will be seen as ungrateful if I step out of line. The other option is moving to dps house but that would mean changing schools and uprooting dcs. I think parents would never forgive me for this either.
Looking for a job that fits in with school hours.
Do I just need to suck it up and take her opinion into consideration more or is she being unreasonable. I feel very low today.
No, it's not OK. Her help is appreciated but they're not her children.
No I don’t think it’s ok either. It’s lovely that she looks after your DC but that does not automatically bestow the right to expect her opinion and choices regarding your family to be followed.
I might sometimes ask DD if she’s thought of doing something but it is occasionally and I don’t expect her to take what I say on board. Sulking and silent treatment is a form of abuse imo and to tell you that your children won’t want to know you and that you are as bad as your ex is definitely abusive.
You absolutely do NOT have to suck this up. I also agree with you about the house. It’s not hard to see how helping you up the housing ladder will be thrown back in your face the second you choose a paint colour she doesn’t personally approve of.
She is making everything you do and everything you say you want to or might do, all about her. Your wedding would be too stressful for her but that shouldn’t stop you going ahead. It’s emotional blackmail. You have your family and within that you and your DP are the ones who get to choose how your family lives and what you do.
Thanks for the responses. I think I know it's not Ok, but I've been doing this my whole life and it's difficult to see clearly.
I have realised over the last few years that I spend my life trying to suss out what she thinks before making decisions.
I just wish the was a way to establish some boundaries and still have a relationship.
You need to get childcare that doesn’t involve your parents and certainly don’t live in their house.
Tell them they don’t have to come to your wedding do but they aren’t allowed to mention it AT ALL.
Because they do so much for you they feel as they have “ownership” over you and your DCs. You need to cut the cord.
If this isn’t doable then I’m afraid you will
Need to put up and shut up (not meant unkindly).
Don’t take the house otherwise it will be another hold she’s has over you.
I would be looking for alternative childcare.
Her theory that she looks after dc 2-3 afternoons per week for a few hours so therefore it gives her a right to instruct you on how to bring up your children is rubbish.
If dc were in ft after school care for the same amount of time would the person running the childcare have the same input and be telling you how to run your life
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