Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Help! Resentful of MIL but we used to get on SO well(31 Posts)
We used to have an amazing relationship, chatted for hours about anything, had a fab laugh, I actually used to look forward to visiting and I always wanted this type of relationship with my own mum (we don't get on well).
However since my son was born I've started to feel quite resentful/irritated with her. Starting to think it may be jealousy. Thing is she takes over loads when we see her. MIL and FIL live a bit of a way away but we still try to see them once a month and tend to stay for a week or two at a time and we recently had a holiday together for a whole week. Still really like her as a person but she takes over too much with my son; she hugs him all the time we are there, plays with him non-stop, she's there every waking second even for his baths, feeding time etc and I start to worry that my son forgets I'm his mum. I had a nightmare at Christmas about this, woke in a sweat because we were there for 2.5 weeks and she took over EVERYTHING. She even cooks him his breakfast, lunch and dinner.
She has a habit of messing up his routine as well. She showers him with so much love which I do not begrudge at all, but sometimes she thnks shes just being loving but she's hindering him. For example, he won't drink milk so I have to get him to eat cheese, yoghurt and cereal with milk. While we were away she kept giving him bits of her dinner so he'd fill up on that and not eat any of his dairy. And at breakfast she kept giving him toast and then he went off cereal for the whole week and refused to eat it. Terrified me no end as he was getting no dairy!!!
Then there's things like she buys him so many gifts for Christmas and birthday, which is lovely but she seems to outdo us or buy things I wanted to get him and that is grating on me a bit. I know it's petty and a first world problem but I can feel the resentment boiling inside. I saw something I wanted to buy him and then she made clear to everyone she was going to get him that as a present because childrne his age LOVE it, and I am now thinking of getting it before she does so I get in there first. And I know I'm being childish.
I do BLW and I felt the whole time she didn't really want me to do it and she cuts the food into tiny pieces when it's unnecessary etc. It's just small petty things but I feel undermined.
I worry they think I'm unloving or a rubbish mum or just controlling/annoying as I feel so pushed out I kinda take a step back and hardly end up spending any time with my own son when I'm there unless it's to step in and say "stop feeding him bread, he needs to eat his breakfast" etc.
Thing is I don't want our relationship to be sour as we used to get on so well. If you're still with me at this point I'd love some advice. And please don't be too hard on me, I know it's a first world problem and I'm being stupid!
You're not stupid, you're his mum, don't apologise. Firstly, what does your DH have to say? Does he think she's too much? She might (giving her the benefit of the doubt) just be totally besotted with her DGS, think you need a rest, and have the best of intentions. You're a great mum, please don't feel unsettled by her. x
You're not being stupid at all, I've felt the same with my mil. She'll buy something knowing we've wanted it for ages for DD. But she's then then other way making digs that she had too many presents and doesn't need more at Christmas Apart from what she'd bought her of course! It's a control thing really. I've had a chat with DH and he backs me up now with her. Have you spoken to your oh about this at all? You need to have his support. Sending you xx
My mil was the same, just over excited. Just gently ask her to reign it in a bit, if you get on well with her shouldn't be a problem.
So irritating. Get bolshier and stroppier and stand your ground.
My mil was just like this, other family members including my siblings and parents wouldn't get a look in either. She'd snatch the baby away and we'd be too polite to grab back or turn away and say no.
Took us 3 years and the 2nd child to learn to stand our ground, as we are not bulldozers by nature in our family. Do it sooner! Stand your ground persistently!
You see them once a month for a couple of weeks!!!! why???
This would really grate on me too- and I know you love mil (I like mine) but she is overstepping boundaries.
I would pull back contact somewhat. She has got far too familiar
Could you not just speak to her? If you get on that well, I'm sure she'd be mortified to know how uncomfortable it's making you.
If you think you might get tongue-tied, make a list of everything that annoys you and what you'd like to happen instead. Then talk to her about it kindly and firmly. She might be a bit upset at first, as she probably has no idea how her behaviour comes across. But I'm sure she doesn't want to lose her relationship with you or the unprecedented access you give her to her dgs.
My mil was the same, just over excited. Just gently ask her to reign it in a bit
My FIL was hilarious as he would be so jealous over my dd. If I told her to eat, he would say "leave her be", but if I didn't encourage her to eat I was a bad mum. But I had serious reasons for loving the man, so though sometimes it would get my goat, generally I just thought it was sweet.
OMG is this me? When I first saw my first GC I fell deeply in love. Everything about her absolutely fascinated me. I bought things all the time and must have been soooo irritating. But luckily it was a DD who had the first baby not a DIL. So she was able to tell me to back off.
Show your MIL some of the posts on MNet and try and explain gently that you want room to be his Mum. If she is as lovely as you say she will see reason.
Mind you when she is on her sixth or seventh GC, you may be posting the opposite situation on MNet...ie that she doesn't see enough of them. MILs get a real rough ride on MNet.
"I would pull back contact somewhat. She has got far too familiar"
Too familiar- with her grandson?????
It's not unusual to have a big change in a MIL relationship when the children arrive. Tbh sounds really difficult.
My dh was the first GC and treated like a golden prince by his Gp. The other gc were nothing like as interesting to them, so one option is to have another asap... As grandchild 7 on one side and 15 on the other I certainly don't recognise these hyper close GP relationships!
You absolutely need your dh to set boundaries to support you. However, do not think for a minute that your child will forget who his mother is.
Communication is key- she will not realise she is doing anything wrong/ that upsets you unless you (and dh) talk to her! Explain about baby led weaning- it will be new to her. As for dairy/diet I understand the frustration but both my parents and dh mum spoil ds- he has more treats and less veg when with them. I'm ok with it. If your not just say he can have toast after cereal and get them to put aside- you may have to be assertive.
If you see something you want to get your ds tell her and explain how much you are looking forward to giving it. If she says she will get it explain that's really kind but you've sorted it perhaps she could get him x instead.
I would suggest for now limit visits to a week to help ease pressure and can increase again if you want to when feel happier.
As a MIL why hasn't your DH said something and what's stopping you from asking her to back off a bit?
You're clearly happy enough to visit very frequently so she's probably thinking she's doing nothing wrong but being really supportive and giving you a break.
My DS or DDIL would just tell me what they wanted, not fester away like you are.
I'm sure she's unaware her input is resented by you so how on earth do you expect her to know?
It's such a tricky dynamic. i don't think your feelings are unreasonable at all but it sounds like she is well-intentioned.
In terms of things like the BLW, dairy and routine, I think I'd involve her more, - so send her links about why BLW is great, ask for her advice on how to make sure he eats dairy or keeps to his routine. That way she can put energy into doing stuff your way but you aren't criticising her involvement.
In terms of preferring MIL to you, you are your DS's mummy and you will always be the best to him, you are his world! You say you had a good relationship with her before, could you confide in her and say you are worried with all the presents, attention etc. He will start to prefer her? If she is at all sensitive I would imagine she would be mortified and will rein it in.
If you have more DC the attention gets diluted a bit, and it's really nice for your DC to have a good relationship with their DGPs so they can give them much needed attention when subsequent siblings come along so I wouldn't squash the relationship too much for that reason alone.
Try mentioning toys you have no intention of getting him. She'll probably buy them and then you can go ahead and buy the ones you wanted to buy.
Stuff like his diet - could you frame it as oh I can't seem to get him to eat dairy (I'm not convinced dairy is important tbh but if you think it is) he just won't do it for me, and see if she takes it as a challenge
Get your DH on board and start being clearer in your mind - stuff that needs to happen your way practice saying no, and I'm going to do that with him thank you. Stuff that is actually just you being uptight, let it go. My MIL does totally different things with DC than I do and I actually prefer it that way to her trying to force or mimic our routine. She has her own relationship with them and is so loving I get a bit teary sometimes!
If your MIL is a loving kind person who is just being a bit pushy try to remember how lovely it is that your DC is loved that much. All kids flourish with love.
Do you really see them once a month for 2 weeks ie they are staying with you, or you them, for 2 weeks out of every four?
Why on earth so frequently? A good starting point would be to reduce the amount of time you all spend together, in a tactful way.
As for the dairy thing, you sound awfully fraught to say that you were "terrified" he wasn't getting enough milk, yet we're not able to explain this clearly to MIL. Surely she'd understand if you just had a chat about why you don't agree with how she feeds him? Same with the BLW - have you shown her any books or articles on the subject and had a chat about why you've decided to do it? It's probably just an idea that wasn't popular when she was raising her own child (ren).
I'm going to against the grain here, but my first born was a horrendous baby who I couldn't put down, who never slept, who cried constantly. My MIL used to take over and I just let her, I just handed him over and snuggled up with her crappy Take a Break magazine and left her to it. It was bliss. He is still her favourite grandchild twenty years later.
I have a similar situation. Mil turns up and and turns into number 1 caregiver. She lurks on the landing to be ready for when DD wakes up and then won't leave her alone until bedtime. It's hard work! I can totally emphasise with your frustrations.
However unlike you, I didn't have a close relationship with mil previously so it's been very hard to manage this. Any suggestion of her backing off has been met with real anger and indications that I am preventing my mil from having a relationship with her gc. As you and your mil are close maybe you can talk to her or at least speak to dh. Explain how much you like her but her behaviour is starting to frustrate you. Maybe he can have a word. Your mil must love having a dil who she gets on with and it's great she is able to play such a big role in her gc's life, she should be open to reigning things in a bit if she wants to preserve this good relationship.
I would also suggest cutting down on visits - sounds like you see them for half the month?! That's a lot even if you love them dearly! What about your family? And you need your own family time too. Then it won't matter as much if mil messes up ds's routine a bit; if it's less frequent it won't be a problem.
Finally, things get better with time. I couldn't stand my mil taking over when my dc was a baby but now she's older, it's easier. Pil take her out and have fun and when they come back she runs straight to me for cuddles.
As far as the calcium thing it is worth relaxing. My son refused milk from 10 months and didn't eat yoghurt. If you look it up calcium can be got from a huge range of foods including bread which is fortified with it. Spinach is good too, I used to buy frozen cubes of it and add one to things like pesto pasta (you couldn't tell it was in there), you can also add it to bolognaise etc. Cereals are also fortified with it and I used to serve cereal as a dry snack go get him to have some. It's well worth doing some research on it.
BLW is tricky for the older generation. My family accused me of deliberately trying to choke my ds and thought it was something I had made up, they didn't believe me it was a very common way of weaning. I would lend her a book but ask her not to cut up his food so much and gently explain that cutting up the food is more dangerous as it becomes a choking risk.
I don't see the harm in Grandparents buying the big ticket toys. We actively encouraged to save us the money, your son won't understand who they are from anyway. However if you don't want her to buy them don't mention them.
You spend 25-50% of every month staying at their house??? Really?? Why?? It's too much, cut back to a weekend.
Personally I would cut back on the visits but accept that, while we were staying with her, she would be doting on gc just as you describe.
So she cooks his meals, buys him gifts and plays with him constantly? So what.
She buys gifts that you would have liked to buy? Who cares. DS gets the gift, and you save your money for something else. Does it matter who buys it for him as long as he gets it?
You have got a wonderfully involved grandparent who loves your DS as much as you do. Lucky DS! He isn't going to forget who his mum is, and children are easily able to differentiate between environments. He will just grow up knowing that the rules at grandma's are different to the rules at home.
Relax and enjoy the break. Speak up when you need to (unecessarily cutting up his food for example) and be happy that your DS is so loved.
There's 'wonderfully involved' and then smothering/taking over.
I don't think there's anything wonderful about hogging a baby.
Start fighting back and insist on preparing meals if that's a source of anxiety for you/may effect your baby's health. You are your baby's carer and you have to feel able to do what is in their best interests. At the moment you are putting your mil first.
It sounds like she benefits from huge amounts of involvement so shouldn't have an issue with this.
You may need your DH to tell her you have been advised by a Dr/dietician.
You're for ding far too much time with them.
If you only went for a weekend once or twice
at the most a month, the things she dies wouldn't be so annoying as you're only there for a short time.
Could they also just do day visits so you don't have to do overnighters.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.