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Long thread! OH family causing arugments(17 Posts)
Myself and my OH have been arguing quite a lot recently about his family's involvement in our 10 month old son's life. OH wants to take our son to visit his family once a week when I am at work, which I would not have a problem with at all if the circumstances were different.
OH's parents are together but don't always visit our son together. His mum, our son's paternal grandma, has made the most effort and visits once a month for 2 hours. OH's dad has visited 3 times for 2 hours and his other family (brother & sister) have not bothered to visit or meet our son at all.
OH's parents booked a holiday for the time that our child was due and weren't interested when I went into labour, they didn't want to come to meet their new grandchild for a week after he was born we had to travel 25 miles to them and they've spent hardly any time with our son since he has been born.
OH understandably wants our son to spend time with his family but I am not happy with my son going to his parents house when I'm not there to keep an eye on things because they have a pet that poos all over the floor, eats out of saucepans and sheds hair everywhere. It's just not suitable for a crawling baby. Our son also has a lowered immune system so I wouldn't feel comfortable with him being in a home that is as dirty as theirs is.
Also, perhaps childishly, I don't see why OH should travel to his family once a week when they can't be bothered or are too busy to spend more than 2 hours a month with us. They have their other grandchildren that they are happy to spend time with and do things with so they just aren't interested in our son.
This has caused so many rows between us because my OH thinks that I am being unreasonable and slagging his family off by saying that I'm not putting my son at risk of infection for people who aren't interested in him to start playing happy families. It's so frustrating and what annoys me the most is that my OH knows deep down that his family aren't interested in our little family, he'll sometimes admit it when he's a bit drunk and emotional, but he'll argue with me to the point that it's causing a serious rift between us.
Advice on how to help my OH and how to handle his family?
No advice but didn't want to read and run. hope you manage to work it out, sounds stressful. Xxx
When you say you need to be there to keep an eye on things - Do you not regard your DH as an equal parent who has yr child's best interests at heart?
My OH works away 4-5 days a week so spends considerably less time with our child than I do and when our son was poorly in hospital my OH had to work so he is obviously less aware of our son's day to day needs and has less of an understanding of his illness and ongoing immune system problems. So when it comes to our son's illness and preventing further illnesses, no my OH does not have equal knowledge to me
I would get advice from a doctor about this and then use it to your advantage and make your case using their advice, say 'the Dr says.....'. Sounds sensible to me that they come to you to avoid animal poo. Unless there is a practical solution eg can he stay in a high chair or in someones arms?
Your issue is that you don't trust your DH to be a good father.
It makes sense given he has such limited time that he spend it with his son and his family.
Neither of my parents (divorced) visit me, I'm always the one to go to them as my parents always have been to visit their parents. I go without my DH due to his work.
Your son goes out in public I assume, where you have no knowledge or control over cleanliness.
I'm sorry but I think this is more a case of you not liking the in laws and being controlling over it.
It's unhealthy because of his immune system.
That's all there is too it. Just keep pointing that out.
I second Joysmum in what she said. You seem intent on putting your husband and his side of the family down. If your husband is a poor parent, then you need to address this but it might be that you need to loosen the reigns and let him be a equal parent. If he is not aware of how serious your sons condition is then make him aware. Would you be upset if your husband slagged your parents and tried to stop you travelling to see them with your son. You would probably say this was controlling behavior.
Its lovely when grandparents dote over your child but not everyone is like this. Its a shame but your partner seems to be trying to facilitate contact as much as possible. I would let this go, and make it between your husband and his parents.
Joysmum - It's not that at all. My OH is a wonderful dad but he doesn't have an understanding of our child's illness because he couldn't be there for the 3 weeks that he was in hospital and he has only been able to attend a few of his follow up appointments. That in no way means that I don't trust him, that means that I will see the risk of infection in a situation when it won't even occur to him. He has never been particularly close with his family anyway, he only really wants our son to spend time with them because they spend so much time with their other grandkids and it upsets him that they haven't bothered with his child. My issue is that I don't want my child being put at risk of another serious illness for the sake of playing happy families. And of course my son goes out in public, but if we went to a cafe and I saw that it had dog shit on the floor and a pet eating out of a saucepan then my son wouldn't be going there either. I would have thought that was common sense really, even if your child hasn't been seriously ill.
April2013 - I have actually thought about doing that or speaking to the health visitor. Might help people to understand that a child's health isn't a game.
My ILs haven't met my 3 month old yet. They won't come to our house. They expect us to travel there.
Both ILs chain smoke and are not great at keeping the house clean. They never open a window and their house is extremely non-toddler friendly. When my DH was little he was hospitalised with respiratory problems due to his parents smoking. To this day it's never been acknowledged which is a source of anger for my DH. If it had been today he would almost certainly have been taken into care.
I will not allow my kids in their house and luckily my DH 100% agrees. If this weren't the case it would be a source of tension between us.
Your DH needs to be educated on your child's illness. He is unaware of why cleanliness is so important and he needs to get it in order to make good choices for his child.
In terms if the disinterest thing I've got to the point where sometimes I feel angry but it's them that are missing out not us. Bottom line is they were neglectful parents and now are neglectful grandparents. What a shocker
zippey - My OH is not a poor parent at all, he's just away a lot and couldn't be there when our son was in hospital. He didn't see him hooked up to endless tubes, covered in bandages, screaming in pain and being given morphine. I did. There's no way that he could be expected to be as vigilant as me. Our son was so poorly that for 4 days it looked like we might be losing him.
I genuinely don't see how it's controlling that I want to keep my son healthy and not in a situation that could actually cause him to become seriously ill. If my OH's parents didn't live in an unsafe environment, which it is, then I wouldn't have a problem with it. I'm just not going to gamble with my son's life.
I think a lot of in laws get so defensive, make out its the DILs fault for being overly anxious or fussy etc (I had this) but if I was a MIL I'd be bending over backwards to play ball, child proof my home, do what they ask to improve hygiene etc etc. Just try and explain its what the Drs have advised - to stay away from pets - even though it is just basic advice a HV would give for any child (stay away from animal poo), hopefully it will make them believe you without getting defensive, perhaps you could offer to meet them at a soft play place or cafe etc instead of their house? Maybe somewhere near their house to keep them and your DH happy. It's such hard work protecting your child! People should be a lot more accommodating but they often aren't. I'm sorry to hear your child was so poorly, sounds horrendous.
I think you need to help your OH gain knowledge of the hospital stay and illness and trust that he'll follow things through. At least give him that chance. You can't always be 100% there physically, for example nursery, school where he'll pick up allsorts of common bugs etc.
Although he wasn't actually there when your son was in hospital, that doesn't mean he is incapable of understanding how serious your son's condition is. Presumably you told him all about it?
Speaking to your GP or health visitor together is an excellent idea.
He may not have shared in the trauma you experienced seeing your son so ill but that doesn't mean he doesn't understand the illness or how to prevent future illness. You need to give him the opportunity to get to know your child and your child's limits. I understand how easy it is to become over protective of a sick child but if he's a good dad as you claim he's only going to have your child's best interests at heart and while his methodology may be different to yours that's something you have to compromise on a bit.
Essentially there are two issues here, and you are mixing them up.
YANBU to want your DS to avoid unhygienic environments given his health issues. Therefore educate your DH, using advice from your GP/HV as necessary. He can then approach his family and advise them to a) clean up the home environment or b) ask to meet in a cleaner place e.g another relative's house or cafe etc.
If, after this reasonable request, your ILs refuse then you have done your best.
YABU regarding your feelings towards your ILs and your perception of how little you feel they care about your DS. Your DS is part of their family too, and your DH has a right to facilitate contact if he wishes. You are being controlling to want to interfere with that relationship. By having increased contact, your ILs may see the error of their ways and visit DS more, or it might not make a difference. However you don't know what could happen, and if your DH is willing to try, during a time that doesn't inconvenience you (you would be at work) then you should leave him too it.
Your husband is flogging a dead horse. His family is not interested in your child and I doubt they ever will be. However hurtful that is, he needs to start coming to terms with it (instead of trying to force his family to keep seeing your son). No way in hell would I be forcing myself or my family on somebody who doesn't appreciate it. I would let them visit whenever they want and see how often they will bother. Wouldn't keep my hopes up with his lot though.
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