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Mother in law issues!

(50 Posts)
Kitkatz Sun 22-Sep-13 13:30:17

We're expecting our first baby in march and have just told my partners mum and dad the joyful news, they are understandably very excited. They live in France, and my mother in law in particular is very overbearing, bossy, and obsessed with babies. Their first reaction is to come to see the baby as soon as its born, and are expecting to stay with us in our small 3 bed semi, likely for a week or more. I've mentioned to my partner than I'm worried she will interfere, take charge of our new baby, my house, everything really, and I'll be forced into hiding! I'm worried we'll miss out on vital bonding time. Am I overreacting? Is there anyone else out there who has similarly interfering parents in law and could offer some advice on how to mediate this situation?! I'm scared this is going to create a big argument between my partner and me because he's very protective of his mum.

Ledkr Tue 24-Sep-13 07:32:45

All I am saying is this. Make damn sure you pre agree this well in advance and don't get bulldozed into it st the time if birth when you are vulnerable.
I am still bitter as is dh two yrs later and our relationship with pils is extremely tense.

Read my threads if you dare.

Having people staying just after you've given birth is far far worse than you can even imagine.

HazleNutt Tue 24-Sep-13 07:51:39

I would not wait too long, they might go ahead, buy the tickets and organize the trip if your DH does not say something - will be even harder to tell them not to come then.

rallytog1 Tue 24-Sep-13 08:13:15

You also need to bear in mind that there is a chance you may need to be in hospital for more than a day or two, or may need recovery time at home, eg if you end up with an emcs. The last thing you'll need then is people getting under your feet.

You need to put your foot down with your partner, explain some worst case scenarios of how you may be physically and mentally after the birth (obviously hopefully none of them will come true but it may help focus his mind), and work out a plan together for visitors. Good luck!

FlankShaftMcWap Tue 24-Sep-13 08:13:56

Oh no, do not accept the quiet "don't worry" and let it go. You need total clarification that he is going to deal with this. My DH said exactly this when I spoke to him about FIL's plan to stay post birth with his wife's teenage grandson.
I was utterly horrified at the thought of an unrelated teenage boy in close vicinity of my post natal self and said as much to DH.
He seemed very understanding and did the "don't worry" thing, which I stupidly took to mean he would deal with it...

So when he turned to me the day after we got home from hospital and mentioned his DF was arriving the next day with his DGS in tow I hit the roof! The visit went ahead and it was torturous, the bathroom was right next to where they were sleeping which isn't ideal when you're leaking from every orifice! I ended up having to traverse the landing past a 14 year old boy with rolled up pads in my sleeve on the way to the bin blush
I also cried on the loo having my first post natal poo as I was in there for ages and it must have been so obvious why, I was so embarrassed in case they heard. Just horrid!

I still resent DH to this day for putting me through that, I adore FIL and don't blame him at all. He had one child 30 years ago and worked away so wouldn't have given a thought to why it would be unpleasant for me. DH knew though, and he didn't have the back bone to do anything about it hmm

You really need to be clear on this, "this is why it would be unpleasant for me and why it cannot happen. Are you going to deal with it or shall I?"

minimuffin Tue 24-Sep-13 10:14:00

Everyone has said pretty much everything there is to say, but we had this issue and it caused real tension for us in the first weeks of DS1's life, so try to agree ground rules now. You really do need privacy and rest for the first week or so as your body and mind recover. My ILs live a short flight away and they came for just one night, 6 days after DS1 was born. MIL then returned on her own 2 or 3 weeks later for a longer visit (during which she said she would do some washing and ironing but wouldn't tell FIL she had done it as he'd say she was there to "help with the baby"hmm). Had it been anything other than this I think I'd have imploded. Acknowledge that they will want to meet their grandchild as soon as possible and keep the visit as short as possible. Ask DH to talk to his mum about how it was when she had her first - mums love to re-live this stuff and it might jolt some memories about how she felt and make her see things more from your point of view.

The things that grandparents on both sides seem to forget is that no-one can know in advance 1) when the baby will arrive, 2) how the baby will arrive and 3) what state you will be in afterwards. Booking travel in advance is just pointless and worrying about when people are going to roll up adds a layer of stress you as parents just don't need, esp with your first.

You say your MIL is an expert on babies - she won't be the expert on yours, you will. You might not feel like you are in the early days but having space to get to know your baby is vital. I just needed my mum around because I can admit feeling vulnerable to her and because I felt 100% comfortable handing my baby over to her whereas I didn't with MIL because she's not my mum and I didn't actually know her that well at that stage. It's an instinctive thing.

Anyway, karma has bitten me on the arse as I now have 3 DS's and am probably going to be the dreaded MIL. I am writing notes to myself so I remember not to behave like a maniac if/when the time comes grin

SeriousStuff Tue 24-Sep-13 10:56:30

You are well within your rights to set some ground rules. No-one is allowed to come and stay in our house immediately before or after the baby is born - I just imagine how awful it would be if I'm exhausted, having trouble feeding etc. let alone wanting to have some time to bond with just me, DH and the baby.

It's even worse when it's parents in law, because if you're like me, you can't tell them to back off as I would my own parents if they were becoming overbearing.

I guess the issue here is that they live abroad so need somewhere to stay, but it's not unreasonable to expect them to stay in a hotel or with other family members.

We are setting one or two days aside for visitors, then looking forward to at least a week with my new little family.

gemmaj66 Tue 24-Sep-13 12:01:40

Have had various in law issues with previous 3 DC's but the worst unwelcome visitor was our neighbour. She hammered on the front door at 7.30am the day after I had DS1 demanding to see the baby!!! My mum sent her away with a flea in her ear. grin

As it's been 18 years since our last DC there's been a fair bit of excitement in mine and DH's family about our surprise DC4. (Currently 20 weeks).

I am only little and our DC's have all been whoppers. After previous births I've been pretty much semi-incontinent (sorry tmi!) for the first week and have hobbled around feeling like it's me who needs the nappy and worrying that my insides will drop out! Really feel like I can't cope with this AND a flood of excited visitors now I'm an old fart in my forties so we've decided simply to give them a vague due date and then NOT tell them the baby is here for the first few days. I know it's mean but you can never get back those first few days with your LO...

KarmaBiatch Tue 24-Sep-13 13:15:45

It's such a shame that what should be a joyous and exciting time for us expecting babies is being marred by worrying about the bloody in-laws! Don't you just wish that you could go in to hiding, have your baby and not have anyone else interfere or give unwanted advice until the baby is at least 18 years old wink

ButterMyArse Tue 24-Sep-13 14:14:18

"All I am saying is this. Make damn sure you pre agree this well in advance and don't get bulldozed into it st the time if birth when you are vulnerable."

Yes, what Ledkr said. You will be in no position to negotiate when you're tired and bewildered and looking after your baby.

We were very, very clear on the fact that we wanted time together before visitors descended and everyone respected that, although I know it was hard for our ILs. It was a lovely time and I'm glad we planned it that way.

And PLEASE nip any 'I'm an expert with babies' crap in the bud. ASAP. I also got this as MIL had five children, but what I did was have a line ready each time - 'thanks, but I'm happy with the way I'm doing this', delivered in a firm voice, and I also acted hugely confident, even if inside I was going WTF is happening?! So there was no room for my MIL to manouvere.

tertle Tue 24-Sep-13 14:23:24

Goodness, I could have written your post myself OP! My inlaws also live in France (they are French, are yours too?) and are overly excited to meet the baby when it's born. I understand that it's an exciting time, but since we told them I'm pregnant, it's all been about THEM, esp MIL. She keeps blabbering on and on about how much 'she loves babies' and 'can't wait to become a grandmother to have the baby for holidays'. To make things worse, she assumes that I don't know a thing about babies so has cast herself as the 'official advice giver' on every topic ranging from when I will feel the baby move (now, apparently, although nothing yet!) to what kind of pram/toys/bed we should buy.

I know MIL wants to help and wants to play a big role in her first grandchild's life but she too is overbearing and can be quite manipulative. She has 'kindly' offered to arrive a week before the baby is born to do all my washing and cooking for me and has suggested she 'stays as long as we want, a week, two, anything is fine'. Her constant offers of exaggerated 'support', such as staying for two weeks, are seen by everyone else as super kind and generous so that I now feel I can't even refuse them because it would seem churlish of me (as I said manipulative!). I mean, how do I say, 'no, not two weeks, one night will do?'. Everyone in the family would be horrified.

I told my husband I wasn't happy with this, and would prefer that they come when the baby is one or two weeks old, and that they stay in a hotel, but he tells me I am being unfair and denying them their rights a grandparents. Obviously not an easy situation.

Sorry, have totally hijacked your post and don't have any real advice (but the above is all very good so I will be following it too) but wanted to say that I know how you feel. I think the best thing to do is discuss things calmly with your partner - and try to get him to understand how big a birth is and that you don't know how you will feel when the baby is born. This is what I am trying to do anyway. I am also planning to mention my feelings to PILs when I next see them, as my husband is very protective over his mother too, and I know I can't count on him to pass the message on.
Good luck to you

BummyMummy77 Tue 24-Sep-13 14:35:13

Hmm, if he's protective over his Mum that's tricky. You need to explain it's a special time and you need your time to bond as a family.

There's LOADS of literature about this online and in books, if you didn't feel it was too aggressive maybe you could should him some?

If my mil wanted to stay for a week I would expect hubby to be my strong man and talk up for me but in reality he's a space cadet and pretty insensitive lol.

Anyway, try having your mil the next house along FIVE MINUTES AWAY. She is a sweetheart and is very generous and tries to do everything she can to be kind and supportive but in reality she's as supportive as a wet fish and her CONSTANT and very strongly worded advice on how I should do things makes me want to take her feet out from under her and pummel her WWF style.

She's insisted everything we buy be consignment (f* that I'm not having a 2nd mattress or car seat) and that we're spending too much money. (They were hippies and hubby was raised for 10 years in a wood hut with no electric or running water).

She also insists that all this 'no quilts, blankets and putting to sleep on their back' is new fangled rubbish and that they change the guidelines constantly. (Er, no the back sleep thing has been since 1992 and docs have advised sleep sacks or similar since 2005). And that she will put baby to sleep how she knows is best. Well guess what sister, you ain't getting your hands on him overnight for at LEAST 18 months after that comment.

Add all the 'I can show you how to change a nappy' comments (I've trained and worked as a maternity nurse for over 18 years) and I have to constantly chant a 'she's only trying to help' mantra or I'll beat her with one of her own shoes.

alteredimages Tue 24-Sep-13 16:41:17

i am now feeling super guilty because my MIL is a dream. I lived with PIL throughout pregnancy with DD and up until she was 2 and a half. My problem was my mum turning up having called two days befire the birth. She wasn't too bad in the end but traditional Egyptian hospitality meant it was a bit stressful for MIL and she and DH both slept on the floor for a week. This time it's just me, DH and DD in a really tiny flat in paris and i'm concerned she might pull the same trick. I don't have a great relationship with her and I can't pawn the issue off onto DH. Any ideas to make telling her easier? could be v embarrassing especially if she weren't planning to come anyway. last time she simply called to tell us when her flight was getting in with 48 hours notice. confused

BummyMummy77 Tue 24-Sep-13 17:20:00

I'd not tell her until the baby is born Altered.

My in laws will not get a call until it's done as I'm doing a home birth and they live down the road. They'll all be camped out!

Phones OFF, curtains SHUT.

firstimer30s Tue 24-Sep-13 17:30:22

I have told everyone the due date is about a week after it actually is. The last thing I need is to be overdue and had relatives waiting outside the door!

BummyMummy77 Tue 24-Sep-13 17:34:28

Now THAT is sensible!!! Why didn't I think of that???

firstimer30s Tue 24-Sep-13 17:38:38

I still have time. Your admiration is making me think I should extend it to 2 weeks after the real due date... Hmm...seriously considering this now. 2 whole weeks of no nagging!

BummyMummy77 Tue 24-Sep-13 17:49:21

No. Extend to a month. I'm going nuts now trying to think of how I can explain to everyone my due date got confused! :D

My Dad (bless him) has MS and is getting very confused and forgetful. He is ringing everyday as he keeps thinking it's the due date and if I don't answer the phone immediately he goes into a panic and thinks I've died in childbirth. Poor soul! It's really sad and I love him to bits but it's driving me bonkers lol.

Kitkatz Tue 24-Sep-13 17:50:03

I cant thank you all enough for your support. OH and I had a long chat over a nice lunch and he has promised to respect my wishes. I've stipulated that I don't want them to buy plane tickets before I deliver (this is also a superstition thing especially because I've had a miscarriage in the past and I have a bicornuate uterus), that they have to stay in a B&B, and not before 3 weeks post delivery. I hope we don't fall out over this as I do truly like my inlaws, I don't want to upset them or make them feel unwelcome. But there is this instinctive feeling within me to protect my first few weeks.

Tertle- yes they are French! She has been nagging me to have a baby for at least 10 years (we've been together for 11) and she is also manipulative, has a deep seated control over my OH which I struggle to overcome at times. Is this a French thing? I'll pm you!

Also the advice about having comments ready for when she tries to tell me how to look after the baby and acting confident is spot on. I'm so scared about this new arrival but I won't let her know it. If she arrived in the first few days she would be in her element, showing me how to do everything, I won't let her have that satisfaction! If rather struggle along on my own than have a know-it-all stick their ore in.

ButterMyArse Tue 24-Sep-13 17:50:11

I did the late due date too - but it didn't work as DH's cousin had her baby at 34 weeks when I was about 32 weeks so from then on in I got lovely text messages saying simply "any twinges" most days. I used to reply with stuff like "actually my old wrist injury is playing up again, how did you know?"

I could sense the eye rolls from 200 miles away.

Kitkatz Tue 24-Sep-13 17:52:07

And OMG great idea, I have to change the due date!!

ButterMyArse Tue 24-Sep-13 17:54:01

Good for you, OP! You sound resolved. Let us know how you get on. Those of us who have been there are all rooting for you.

Weegiemum Tue 24-Sep-13 17:56:04

When dh told mil we were expecting dc1, without asking she took unpaid leave from her job as a teacher and booked flights for the fortnight surrounding my due date shock

When I found out we were both a bit wtf? and dh phoned her to say in no uncertain terms to cancel the flights and time off until we invited her. She sobbed on the phone and (we heard later from bil) she took 3 sick days off because she was so upset that we "didn't want her there".

She came when dd1 was 3 weeks old and it was fine - I just couldn't have coped with her before that, and I wanted my dad and Stepmum to come first.

We invited her to come first after ds was born.

impatienttobemummy Tue 24-Sep-13 18:32:09

My Minlaw turned up at the hospital uninvited when I was 6cm.... My face said it all! She was worried as we had not contacted her yet! Stans your ground be clear and firm do not take for granted they will understand how you feel!

My Minlaw is usually sensible and lovely! Having grandchildren does strange things to min laws! I'm preg with DS2 ill get her to look after DS1 so I know where she is at all times he he!

tertle Tue 24-Sep-13 19:12:51

Haha, I thought as much! The nagging has been going on for years too - it's been unbearable. Pm me yes - I'm sure that there's a lot we will have to share on this subject!

So glad you partner has seen sense and agreed to what sounds like a very good plan.

infamousmrsjones Sat 12-Oct-13 17:04:36

Could do with somewhere to vent my frustration with my partner's mother! She has always been a PIA but this escalated when I fell pregnant and has become unbearable since my baby was born. I've bitten my tongue each and every time she has p****d me off and she has finally picked up on my feelings towards her and confronted me, this led to an argument and we are now not speaking. It's not fair on my partner and quite frankly things were said and now I want nothing more to do with this selfish, rude, overbearing and controlling woman. I wouldn't stop my child seeing her but I do not want to be in her presence. Also it worries me how obsessed she is with my baby it is not healthy. Anyone else dealing with this? Any advice you could offer? Talking to her has got no where and only made things worse, my partner tries to stay out of it and when he does say something she ignores everything he says so I don't know what is best angry

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