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New baby, huge row with my mum :( Sorry, longish.

(65 Posts)
GreatBigRow Sun 07-Oct-12 11:21:36

Am a bit embarrassed asking this (so have NCed) but have any of you found that having a new baby has made relationships a bit more fraught with other family members? Background: I get on really well with my mum on the whole, we usually have a good laugh and she can be very supportive. She can also be selfish and a bit childish especially when she's tired but tbh we all can.

Basically I have had a row with my mum who was up staying with us last week to help out post-CS and it seems to be escalating. Parents were just leaving and apparently I had been 'snappy' with her (8 days of constant pain and sleep-deprivation will do that to a person - and tbh DH and I replayed whole episode afterwards and couldn't see what I was supposed to have said that set her off confused). She just went mad and had a real go at me, said some really nasty things, including that I was 'horrible'. DH and I were both shock although he said she was probably just a bit tired and on edge about leaving us. I was angry but assumed she would be embarrassed and realise she was out of order, we would just let it go and move on.

Thing is - she hasn't. In fact, her and my dad have completely re-written the whole incident casting her as the victim and me as some kind of villain. They were supposed to come up over weekend to see baby and instead of being sheepish she started laying down conditions for her visit - e.g. that I was not 'allowed' to ask them to keep their voices down when baby is sleeping (they are shouty by habit, not in an angry way, just really LOUD. I did this twice in a 5 day visit to give you some perspective and they argued that it was better to be noisy). No mention of her having a go or the things she said or how she said them (with real venom sad ). I am so angry! Even DH who is always a peacemaker is pissed off and finding it really weird but he is telling me to be careful not to escalate things.

The trouble is she was so out of order that I can't possibly see a way of letting it go - because she might feel it's okay to do it again. If I confront her it might escalate things. At the minute they are angling to come and see us again and I just don't want to see them. I'm too angry and this is really out of character - I tend to be a 'get mad, have a 2 minute rant and rave to DH / trusted friend / on paper, forget the whole thing' person. This is days later and every message they send or phone call they make they send more self-justifying / self-pitying bullshit and I am getting madder and madder.

I know I probably need to talk to her but she has re-written things so much that it will just lead to a bigger row. It's like she has blocked the actual memory of what happened. I honestly don't know what to do. DH wants me to rise above it and normally I would try but I am genuinely too fucking angry. I couldn't sit in my home and look at her and know that she thought it was okay to talk to me like that - I felt like she kicked me when I was down after days of being in pretty much constant pain, breast-feeding and surviving on snatches of sleep. The house is genuinely calmer and quieter without them and DH's parents are coming up this week to help out. I don't want to keep them away from baby but just finding it really hard to stop being angry and I'm not normally a grudge-holder.

Sorry this is long blush Was actually quite cathartic writing it down. If anyone has been in this situation please tell me how you resolved it.

catkind Sun 07-Oct-12 11:47:53

How weird. No experience, but you don't need to deal with people like that right now. I'd just say something like "sorry, but if you can't cooperate with things like keeping your voice down when baby's asleep, this isn't a good time to visit". Keep it polite, but stake your territory.

swallowedAfly Sun 07-Oct-12 11:48:31

maybe a really simple communication that says you found her behaviour completely unacceptable and hurtful and you have no desire to see them unless assured that this won't be repeated.

i'd make it that simple and that firm and then let them explode/whatever as much as they like but you have made yourself clear and it is down to them to sort themselves out.

does your mum like to be centre of attention? sounds a bit like she couldn't handle you being poorly and clearly the one who needed to be taken care of itms.

Diddydollydo Sun 07-Oct-12 11:53:18

I agree, keep it simple.

Email or write if you think you are going to be shouted down if you try to talk to her and tell her that you won't accept that they have re written the facts and that you should not have to accept their 'rules' in your own home.

If they want to come and see you then they are welcome, but not if they are just going to have a go at you. You've just had a baby, you don't need this kind of crap.

AThingInYourLife Sun 07-Oct-12 12:01:49

You have enough going on in your own home without this needless drama over nothing.

Just withdraw from them until the bullshit storm is over.

You just had a baby, focus on that and ignore people who want to have fights about things that don't matter.

And don't have them in your home until this whole episode is over.

Refuse to acknowledge it.

javotte Sun 07-Oct-12 12:15:38

Your house, your baby, your rules. If she cannot accept it, then she shouldn't come.
My mother is an expert at rewriting this sort of incidents. I cannot win so I just withdraw until she is in a better mood.

defineme Sun 07-Oct-12 12:21:38

I have heard of this sort of thing happening actually.
Is it 1st grandchild/first dd to have a child? This can be a mindblowing thing for some grandmothers ime and they can go a little bit crazy They are facing up to all sorts of things that can mess with a woman's head like ageing/loss of fertility/not being number 1 mum.
It's also just a very intense situation and some people are crap in stressful situations.
It's not fair because you're the ones in need and if all was fair you'd be able to rely on your mum. Such is life though.
I would restain yourself from laying it all out.
Just say you are booked up with vistors and you appreciate they have their views, but you need to do it your own way and perhaps a compromise can be reached?
I don't usually advocate swalloing it up, but in this case I would wait and see, have some space, and then if it does continue every time I'd start laying down my own laws smile

Whocansay Sun 07-Oct-12 13:20:38

It sounds like everyone needs to calm down. You're still healing. Give yourself a bit of time.

I'm not fantastic at confrontation. Rather than being direct, in this instance I would probably make up something along the lines of hospital appointments that you must attend / breastfeeding clinics / you or baby is poorly, and simply tell your parents that its not a good time to visit.

Then when you're feeling a bit stronger and your mum has calmed down, you can talk to her. Because she was wrong. You must explain that it is your house, your child and your rules. Not hers. She has no business trying to dictate anything. And having a pop when you're so vulnerable is really unkind.

And if you have a baby brain like I did, write it down before you talk grin

GreatBigRow Sun 07-Oct-12 13:29:19

Thank you for perspectives! I was really beginning to doubt myself - when they phoned yesterday and were so off hand about whole thing I bawled to my DH and kept asking "Am I mental? Was it me? Did I say something outrageous?" And he kept saying, "No!" And also what the rest of you are saying - if you are in someone else's house and they ask you to be quiet you accept it, you don't argue back with them sad

At some level I think she knows she was out of order because she keeps texting and I just want her to leave me alone. We are all kindof backed into a corner now sad This has never happened before and I don't know how to handle it. It's making me feel quite sad I honestly don't know what to do.

Thinginyourlife I kindof am refusing to acknowledge it but that's what's causing the problem because she is getting to keep the re-written version and pretend that she's done nothing wrong and I'm just too angry to let it go. They want to come up and see the baby and I just don't want them here. Everything is so calm and peaceful with just me, DH and baby and I am starting to heal from CS. PIL are coming up during the week but they are very thoughtful and measured, especially MIL, so don't need to worry about any outbursts. They will just do practical, helpful stuff.

Defineme she's not the first GC, my sister has 2 kids BUT she lives nearby so parents never have to stay with her - they just go up for a few hours. We live miles away so they were up to stay and think it just all got too intense. I do think you're right about other stuff going on - think mum is having problems with getting older but she's the kind of person who when she's unhappy instead of reflecting on why she kind of turns the misery outwards and starts nit-picking at other people. The actual episode that kicked it off was that we had the baby's cord stump and were wondering whether to keep it or keep the clip or throw it all out because it's a bit <boke> smile. She started going on and on about it being 'dead cells' and throwing it out. She said about 4 times we should throw it out. I was BFing baby and not really interested that second. She was waving it round so I said firmly but politely, "Mum just leave it, we'll sort it later." This was what started the whole thing. As DH said, she was probably on edge and ANYTHING could have started it.

GreatBigRow Sun 07-Oct-12 13:31:43

X-posted Whocansay - thanks. Like you I am not wildly confrontational. The easy way out would be to say, "We're okay at the minute and PIL arriving for week so no need to visit at minute." Trouble is she'll then become a martyr, say we only want her up to help us, they want to see baby (she's already texted to say they are missing the baby and give her a kiss - real emotional blackmail stuff) etc.

I can't fucking win!!!! Aaaaarrrggghhhhh!!!!

swallowedAfly Sun 07-Oct-12 13:35:02

i think it's the centre of attention thing.

no one was paying attention to her and what she thought was important in that moment. not a big surprise really given you were busy breast feeding and others were probably busy with other things.

then you had the 'audacity' to say leave it mum and she blew her top.

you did nothing wrong except not make her the total centre of the universe. which is clearly not a crime to anyone except one who believes they are indeed the centre of the universe.

might be worth a tentative chat with your sister to see how she deals with her.

TheProvincialLady Sun 07-Oct-12 13:46:14

I think it is quite common for there to be a sort of power struggle between parents (not just mothers) and children when the child has their first baby. I certainly experienced it and so did DH. You have to be firm and assertive. Your parents have behaved really unreasonably here and even more so because you were recovering from sleep deprivation, an operation, learning to BF etc etc and they weren't.

I would email them and tell them how upset and disappointed you are and tell them not to contact you until they can apologise, and then you'll move on and not before. Anything else will mean that they think their behaviour was justified and that they can continue to disregard your perfectly reasonable wishes about your own baby in your own home.

AThingInYourLife Sun 07-Oct-12 13:57:57

" They want to come up and see the baby and I just don't want them here."

So just tell them that.

Don't pay any attention to her martyr act or what she believes happened.

It really doesn't matter.

You know what you know.

You can deal with her shitty behaviour later.

For now just keep her at arm's length and ignore the blackmail and the persistent texts.

She can only get to you if you let her.

Enjoy your baby, enjoy your PsIL's visit and tune out negative bullshit from the childish and petulant.

Put your anger with her in a box and deal with it later.

Don't let it spoil this lovely time.

Congratulations on your new baby smile

janek Sun 07-Oct-12 14:01:01

I don't have much advice to offer (i'm more of a passive-aggressive grudge-bearer), but i reckon the reason you're having trouble getting over it is your hormones. I'm not saying they are right, nor that you have over-reacted, but post-natal hormones are such a weird thing (it is only with hindsight that you realise how 'differently' you were behaving/thinking)(that's what happened to me anyway).

Fwiw i think the first couple of bits of advice up-thread were best - getting your point across in a no-nonsense way and moving on. Good luck!

Longdistance Sun 07-Oct-12 14:16:03

Right, I've been in a similar situation to yourself. Although, a the time I was at my mums when she was being a cah.
I upped and left her in a heated moment, as if to say, 'I'm off with your grandchild, don't bother'.
She soon snapped out of it, but our relationship has never been the same since. She was awfully to me in my time of need.
I'd take on the advice from pp and uninvite your mum and dad. You could do without the hassle now. Really rude to start laying down the law on what they want to happen. I hate loud voices, and it's not because of my dc sleeping, it's cos I genuinely cannot abide people arguing and loud voices.

GreatBigRow Sun 07-Oct-12 14:52:25

Okay, have drafted a text (they don't check email) - would be grateful to know your thoughts:

"We have help for the next week or two so there is no need for you to come up. If you would like to come up and see (DD) that is different but you need to assure me that you will not repeat your completely hurtful, unacceptable outburst including calling me 'horrible' after days of severe pain and sleep deprivation. You glossing over it has just made me angry. (And if you are asked to be quiet in someone else's home then you do what you are asked.)* If I was snappy with you then I apologise it was not my intention - but frankly any normal person would see I wasn't exactly at my best. I do love you x"

* Think this is probably overkill...

Is texting a bit passive aggressive? I just don't have the energy to get into a debate about who was right and who was wrong because if we go down that road I honestly think things will be said which are going to go down a path we don't want to go down...

AThing - thanks for the support. I feel a bit bad now as normally we get on really well - this seriously is a one-off. I guess I don't normally 'need' her in the same way.

Longdistance sorry you had the same experience. That's actually why I want to resolve things because I'm afraid things won't be the same again if I just try to pretend it didn't happen.

Arithmeticulous Sun 07-Oct-12 14:57:51

I don't know about texting. You're not having a row with them so much as they are at you- giving them words to twist might be too much ammo.

monsterchild Sun 07-Oct-12 15:04:18

I think your text is fine. If you want to get really passive aggressive, say something like (I was raised to be polite and if asked, I keep my voice down when visiting someone else's home)

Congrats on your DD!

diddl Sun 07-Oct-12 15:07:55

If they have texted you a question, I don´t see why you shouldn´t reply by text.

If they want to know when to visit, I would simply reply-"will let you know".

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 07-Oct-12 15:10:19

Would not text what you have written simply because that could be used against you in future episodes as well. I would not respond at all to her.

I would think about boundaries and what is and is not acceptable with regards to your mother's behaviour. It may be that you in time will have to raise hose boundaries an awful lot higher than they are currently. Fortunately for you, your DH is supportive so it wilol be easier for the two of you to present a united front.

All sorts of feelings come to the fore when parents have their first child; sometimes either the mother or father think of their own parents and perhaps also go on to eventually realise how inadequate as parents they actually were or still are. I think you have been more than reasonable with regards to your mother. It is she who chose to rewrite history.

I also saw that you write that your mother can be selfish and childish especially when she is a bit tired. I would argue that she is selfish and a bit childish anyway regardless of being tired; rewriting history to her advantage is a timed honored tactic often used to gain the upper hand and to make you say sorry. You may well want to resolve things; she equally may not. This is really about power and control.

I note too that neither she or her enabling husband (I would not let your Dad off the hook here as he is equally responsible, he certainly did not pull up his wife on her behaviours because women like your mother always but always need a weak and willing enabler or bystander to assist them) have apologised for their actions nor take responsibility for them. All are tactics used by toxic parents to gain one upmanship over their what they see as errant offspring.

I sincerely hope it is not the case that you have gotten on well to date primarily because you have up till now fallen into line with your mother's wishes.

Way2Go Sun 07-Oct-12 15:15:03

I wouldn't send the text, it is very unlikely that you are going to change your DM's opinion of what happened so I would phone and not mention it unless prompted. If prompted I would just say that you are sorry (in general, not personally) about what happened but you don't want to discuss it again.
I would also put them off visiting for a good while, you can say you have appointments, have colds or whatever.
I would then carry on as normal and just be a lot more wary of your DP's in future.
If you do confront your DM you should work out exactly what you want to achieve. I imagine you would like them to admit their unpleasant behaviour and apologise but I do not think that they will ever see that they have done anything wrong.

LeChatRouge Sun 07-Oct-12 15:15:40

I do think your text is a bit OTT.

But then I don't know you or your mum, it may be appropriate for you.

I would instead ring and say that you and your new family are going to spend some time getting to know the baby over the next few weeks and suggest a weekend visit (one night) in early Nov.

My mum told me I would never be able to cope with my three boys (all under two!) on my own, this pissed me off so much that she was implying I couldn't do it, that I barely saw her for the first year of the twins' lives, which 18 years later is such a shame.

I do feel for you, but chin up chicky.

javotte Sun 07-Oct-12 15:19:43

OP, I wouldn't send the text. She will find a way to twist it against you. Don't engage.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 07-Oct-12 15:21:31


"Think mum is having problems with getting older but she's the kind of person who when she's unhappy instead of reflecting on why she kind of turns the misery outwards and starts nit-picking at other people".

The second part of this sentence that you wrote about your DM is very telling.
Now why do you think that is?. You are not responsible for her own behaviours and you did not make her that way. She actively chose to act as she did for reasons only known to her. She has likely pulled such crap on you before (not to such an extent though) so you may have minimised or dismissed it.

Felicitywascold Sun 07-Oct-12 15:32:40

OP, don't send the text. I think you can make the same point more succinctly by just telling them that they can come for a short visit when you are feeling up to it, perhaps mid November?

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