Not sure this site right place to post but here goes... PFB due in 6 weeks.
Was out with PIL last week and MIL started asking about christening details. She got onto had we made a decision about godparents? DH and I said we had thought about it and had some close friends in mind. Well... MIL was not pleased. She started really going on about would we not think about SIL (lives 250 miles away)
I explained we were thinking about the friends we are thinking about as we see a lot of them and thy would be about on a daily/weekly/basis etc whereas SIL will be a fab aunt but is vvvvv busy with her own life and career. In all honesty, she moved away 6 months ago and has been back up north at least 10/11 times in that time. Of those trips home, we have seen her once. This is fine as I know she has close friends she wants to see and is very busy with her career. Her and my DH are not very close - in fact, we only see SIL if I arrange anything, DH wouldn't bother if I didn't contact her. He doesn't dislike her at all, they are just very very different. We have such different outlook on life that while we get on well when we do see each other, our paths would never cross if I weren't married to her bro.
Anyway, MIL then started saying we SHOULD ask SIL as because of her career she may not have kids of her own and 'she is a good godparent to her friends son' and 'she will give great presents'
Well, great presents aren't all that high on my list of priorities!! I have been brought up going to church and while I don't go EVERY week I certainly go a few times a month. My other issue with SIL as godmother is that she is a complete non believer. She makes no secret of being a non believer so to me to stand upon church and make the promises would be hypocritical.
MIL then started saying we should ave SIL lined up to take care of baby should (heaven forbid) anything happen to me and DH again using the 'she my not get chance to have kids of her own due to career/life etc.
I just feel really pressured by MIL and don't know how to respond without causing conflict. Please help...
P.S sorry for the length.
I had a similar conversation with my own DM about the fact that we weren't intending to asky Dsis to be Godmother to our children.
Now we didn't get major pressure because a) my parents were so pleased we were having our DCs Christened whereas DSis didn't And b) obviously given that Dsis didn't have her DCs Christened I wasn't asked to be Godmother.
However we did have a looong conversation along the lines of "but don't you think she'll be very hurt ("no"). What finally shut the conversation down (nicely) was me saying that I took the Christening of my children very seriously and that I could not possibly therefore have a non-believer as God-mother. There really wasn't much she could say to that.
I stuck to my guns and ask two of our closest friends. My sis will always be their dear Aunt.
BTW regarding the (just in case) guardian thing. I would absolutely recommend writing a will and naming a guardian but bear in mind you don't actually have to tell anyone what's in it. We have named one set of parents (Dsis lives too far away) but this would cause MASSIVE problems if anyone knew. As it's extremely unlikely to come into force we've just not mentioned it.
Finally, it's a good idea to stay friends with your child's DGM but remember that it's your child and she isn't in charge and isn't actually entitled to a say in what you decided.
I find a firm but bright and breezy tone does the trick (mostly).
How is MIL normally? Does she usually insist on getting her own way? Good advice from CharlieBlanche there
She is already an aunty which is a special role.
When I pick godparents it won't be uncles and aunts for that reason, they are already special.
Can you explain it a bit like that then it won't be personal.
that's rather unfair of your mil! Would she respect your saying,
"family relationships are very important and I'm sure sil will be a lovely aunt, but I feel strongly that I'd like pfb's godparents to be practising christians." It sounds perfectly reasonable to me!
As for guardianship, she will probably never need to know what's in your will. (and it's really unfair of her to expect to influence such an important decision.)
Thanks for the advice-I general get on we'll with the whole family. It's just the situations like this arise and MIL always thinks she knows best.
She made me laugh a few weeks back when DH and I were looking at prams. MIL text me to say enjoy going looking and not to hesitate to call if we needed any advice on making a decision. I said to DH, I'm pretty sure prams have changed somewhat since she bought one 35 years ago!! Most of the time I let the little things go but I'm not willing to budge on the whole godmother/guardian thing. They had their choice of godparents for their own DC and I want to be able to make those decisions for mine (with DH of course).
Bright, breezy but firm - I'll keep it in mind. :-)
Oh, the their problem - I'll defo make a will with info re guardianship but I know what MIL is like-she'll ask outright who we have in mind to be guardian. Like, literally, she'd just ask the question and catch me off guard. It doesn't help that I'm not a very good liar or dodging the truth.
I was surprised to find how much my relationship to both my DPs and DPILs changed when my DCs were born. It's as well to give this some thought before your baby arrives.
It can take a while for everyone
MIL to adjust to the new dynamic. You may need help immediately after the baby is born (I had twins so I certainly did) but bear in mind that needing help doesn't equate to helpless.
I had a fairly firm rule that people coming to help in the early days came to help with everything except the babies. Cooking, cleaning, laundry etc all very grateful received but nappies, baths, feeding etc was all down to my DH and I. Now of course everyone got lots of time to cuddle the babies when they visited but everyone was clear who was 'in charge'
even if I was crying in the corner.
I get on very well with my DPs and DPILs, they are all wonderful. However they are all (given their professions) used to Being the boss and telling others what to do. Prior to my DCs I did a lot of smiling and nodding with my PILs but found that that didn't really cur the mustard once the DCs were born.
My advice, agree a plan of action (for everything) with your DH and stick to it. You don't need to justify it or argue about it. Just stick to it (bright and breezy).
My immediate thought would be given your SIL has a career that is so all consuming she is unlikely to have children of her own, she would be unlikely to have time to look after yours in a guardian role. Not sure how MIL could come back from that argument.
Also, would your SIL actually want to be guardian? Not everyone would want this level of responsibility, especially someone who has no children of their own. You will have to discuss who you are putting in your will as guardian with them in advance so keeping it secret is not that easy.
Panicnotanymore...do we have the same MIL??? Stick to your guns and Good luck. X
Your SiL will always be your dc auntie that will never change.
I would just stay firm and advise if she asks again you have already asked your friends
Tell her god parents are intended to bring outsiders (friends etc) into your family, SIL is already DCs family.
I was asked by my brother to be godparent to my two nephews and, although grateful and polite, I did find it a slightly odd suggestion for the reasons several people have said - I'm already their aunt. How old is your SIL and is there any reason to believe she doesn't want children or is that a projection by MIL? Definitely stick to your guns.
V good advice from CharlieBlanche about the changing relationship with DILs after DC. The arrival of first grandchild requires a big adjustment for everyone!
Your MIL, like many of her generation, might not be able to see that SIL while being 'career minded' now will never have DCs, unless she's already in her 40s and single, the fact that she's pushing her career now doesn't mean that she's never going to have any of her own.
I would politely tell your MIL that you are only going to ask people who are regular church goers as you want them to be the spiritual guidance for your DC, whereas you will make different decisions when deciding who to put down as your DCs legal guardian in your wills (you do'nt have to put SIL either, you can just use that now to stop the nagging then put whomever you want).
You might find your relationship with your SIL changes once you have a DC though, family relationships do change after a baby is born.
You have been given some great advice already op we have a will and guardianship is in place- imo its really not her business, plus she may think it should be sil as then mil will be in charge and have care instead!
You could make dsis a trustee, which would seem more sensible IMO. People without dc might not actually want them, and it takes a great deal of courage to say no to family in her situation. You could meet up with her alone and say you are doing a will and were thinking of x for guardianship and her as a trustee what does she think. You don't have to tell anyone the components of your will, and if it slips out then it won't matter as sil is ok with it.
Godparents do not have legal rights to a child and it is a role for guiding the child- have you said anything to your dsil? I should imagine she won't mind, as for you it is a role to be fulfilled, not extra presents!
I love your advice about how to cope. Do you have anymore wisdom to share?
re. guardianship - surely if SIL may not have kids due to her career/lifestyle that is because she may not CHOOSE to.
Therefore assuming she would even want to look after your children is a bit fucked up. MIL needs to review her thought process here....
oh BTW - when I got pregnant at the grand old age of 30 having been married for just over a year, my mum was shocked as she was convinced I wouldn't have DCs and she'd never be a grandmother because I'd seemed so focussed on my career in my 20s and didn't seem to rush settling down. We go married, then bought a 3 bed house in an area with good schools then had a baby, yet because I'd got to 30 without getting pregnant she'd decided that wasn't something I was going to do.
Similarly, MIL was shocked when SIL got pregnant within 6 months of getting married, again as she was "so focussed on her career" - it seems that generation either you were married with DCs by the time you hit 25 or you never did it, and that if you were focussing on a career it was a sign you'd not have DCs because why put the effort in then quit? They might know that woman now have DCs later and often go back to work (so an earlier career focus isn't "wasted" once you have DCs), but they still find it hard to apply that knowledge to their own family.
Many many thanks for all your suggestions. It really is appreciated. I foresee a fair few of these dilemmas in the coming years where MIL is concerned. Just going to have to learn to stand my ground. :-) x
Join the discussion
Please login first.