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M-i-L trying to be mum to my 6 month old baby

(186 Posts)
MusicIsMedicine Thu 01-Dec-16 00:23:31

My mil's behaviour is disturbing.

When here, she tries to grab my baby out of arms! Then when I do let her hold baby, she refuses to hand her back to me when asked.

A few times I've been ill and had to go into hospital. She immediately got on a train here and took my daughter out on trips out in pram etc with my partner without my knowledge or consent (baby had been a bit poorly and didn't need to be out on a long walk to the supermarket in pram in 3 degree freezing weather, partner has a car).

Now, the clincher. She started telling me how my baby tries to breast feed her when I am not there. She lost one of her adult children some time ago and lives alone and out of nowhere after I came home after a day at hospital, phoned me up to tell me my baby should go away to live with her for 6 months!! My partner, her son and this child's father, wasn't even mentioned! It was as if she thought I was that ill and weak for a few weeks post pregnancy that I'd just say yes OK and baby's dad had no voice in it!

She is clearly missing the fact that struggling a bit with health post pregnancy doesn't mean I'd simply have my much loved and adored baby moving several hundred miles away to hers for 6 months. Over my dead body!

I was that gobsmacked by how casually she suggested it, like ordering a pizza, that I didn't respond with the outrage I felt. My partner doesn't understand why I'm so angry and won't confront her asking what her intentions are and why she'd think it OK to call me and suggest this behind his back.

I do genuinely think she has ideas that she can take my daughter away to fill the void on her empty life. She's in her late 60s!! She also tries to impose her views constantly on how our baby should be raised, ignores my wishes around our parenting, criticises and undermines me as a mum and thinks she knows what's best for my baby. She has a total lack of respect for others' boundaries. She also keeps trying to move into out home by leaning on me to agree to it, again cutting her son out of the loop as if he has no say in what happens with his own home or child.

Oh she also informed last time she stayed here, at 6am while taking over my kitchen again, that I should have my tubes tied! Again, gobsmacked doesn't cover it!

Help please before I crack up with anger. She is pushing buttons and she knows it.

Terraviva Thu 01-Dec-16 02:30:27

Sounds infuriating angry! Can understand why you're furious... Hopefully someone will come along soon with some more practical suggestions - I just didn't want to read & run

MinnowAndTheBear Thu 01-Dec-16 02:42:29

Of course you are angry, this lady is completely unreasonable. You need to speak to your DP about her behaviour. And keep bringing it up until he gets it. I would try to agree a set of clear boundaries with him, and then present a united front.
Don't fall in to the trap of becoming too emotional about each issue, however. For example, there was really no need to ask your permission before taking baby out in the pram, given that your DP must have been aware of what was going on?

228agreenend Thu 01-Dec-16 03:12:58

I agree with Minnow that you need a major boundary discussion with your dh.

Maybe dh thought that mil was trying to help by coming over. Perhaps acknowledg her 'help', but then explain how she is overstepping the mark. Explain to your partner that she can come over only by prior consent, not on a whim.

It's quit normal,for mil to impose their ways of doing things. You may have to firmly say 'thank you for your advice' and then move on.

Angleshades Thu 01-Dec-16 06:26:08

I don't think you're over reacting to your mil at all angry. And she should have asked your permission before taking your baby out. Are you breast feeding? This alone is a reason not to take a new born out without your permission. Where the hell is her respect?

She sounds horrifically overbearing. It's not normal to suggest that she should have your baby for 6 months. That's just crazy. What new mother would agree to that??? hmm it's insensitive to even suggest it.

It doesn't sound like your husband is going to stand up to her which means you somehow have to find the strength to be firm with her and just say 'No' to her. Personally I would be putting a bit of distance between her and my baby until she toned the crazyness/overbearing ways down a bit.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 01-Dec-16 07:09:24


re your comment:-
"My partner doesn't understand why I'm so angry and won't confront her asking what her intentions are and why she'd think it OK to call me and suggest this behind his back".

Why can he not do that?. I would think he is very much in a FOG state(fear, obligation, guilt) when it comes to his mother. He is very much afraid of her and he cannot or equally will not deal with his mother as a result. His own inertia when it comes to his mother is hurting him as well as you.

What sort of a relationship does he himself have with his mother these days?. He is also the problem here as well as his overbearing mother if he does not really have your interests first and foremost at heart here. Its his child too and it is also clear his mother is not emotionally healthy; emotionally healthy people generally speaking do not act like this.

She will still ride roughshod over any boundary you care to set her but your own boundaries can and should be raised a lot higher now. Do not allow her into your home any longer, do not take her calls and do not see her at all. Keep your child also well away from his mother, she will harm your child in similar ways as to how her son has been harmed.

Tell others about her behaviour.

I would also suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward as this could help you further.

April2013 Thu 01-Dec-16 07:30:04

I've been there and it wasn't as bad as this! If your DH doesn't get it then harness your rage and sort her out yourself, you can do it! I would not be letting her hold the baby again any time soon and I would be keeping her away at least in the short term. Ring her and tell her what you have told us, tell her you need and leave the ball in her court. If she apologises and promises to change then you could see how she is with just holding the baby and whether she will give her back without any protest. You are just protecting your baby. If when she has had her behaviour explained to her she shows genuine remorse and apologises then you could give her a chance. Good luck! Don't let this behaviour carry on. I wouldn't ever let her have the baby unsupervised again. It's horrible but sometimes you have to throw your weight around and make people realise that if they don't respect your wishes as the mother then they can't have the baby unsupervised and if it's really bad they won't even be seeing the baby whilst another adult is there. I hope that you can just explain what she has done wrong calmly and she responds well and you can move forward with her but that doesn't seem too likely.

Underthemoonlight Thu 01-Dec-16 07:33:45

She sounds excately like my ex's mother what a bitch she was. It only gets worse believe me the constant undermining demanding and if her son is going to allow her behaviour then the relationship isn't going to work I learnt the hard way but thankfully I have a fantastic DH . Your DP needs to put his foot down with her behaviour

April2013 Thu 01-Dec-16 07:38:24

... actually if it was me I wouldn't ever let her hold the baby again tbh, that might seem extreme to others but she sounds not to be trusted at all. I have cut contact with my in laws for similar reasons and it was and is a sh#t storm but I don't think any mother should be made to feel like this.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 01-Dec-16 08:03:02

Hmm... having lost a child, even a grown one, may explain her desire to replace him/her. However, that doesn't give her the right to take someone else's baby! If your DP wants to support his mother, letting her try to live out this fantasy of the replacement child (if that's what is going on) is not going to help at all. Again, re moving in, it's understandable as she's lonely but she's not exactly endearing herself to you in the process. I can't imagine it working out from what you've said. I think you need to get together with your DP and any of his surviving siblings and work out a plan for How To Support Mum - which does not include moving her into yours and/or handing over a baby to her care! Whether she agrees to the plan or not, you have to draw a line. Being sorry for her is all well and good. Pandering to her is not. And trusting your baby to her, out of your sight, when she is clearly not in a very stable place would be unwise. The 6 month thing is too ludicrous to consider.

I'm wondering why she didn't want you to have any more children, or whether that was just a spiteful remark as you suspect. I wonder whether she was always this bad or it's just a hurt lashing out thing. Either way, it doesn't mean you should have to be subjected to it.

ps Little babies often do kind of nuzzle other people's shoulders etc when they're hungry in hope that there may be a handy breast somewhere about. It doesn't mean she'd be happy to replace her mum.

OzzieFem Thu 01-Dec-16 09:50:54

Just use the phrase "It's not going to happen" instead of "no" when denying your MIL anything. A scottish workmate always used and repeated it, if the person involved just kept on! Sounds so much nicer and makes the utterer sound in control and the opponent cannot then say she was rude or emotionally unstable.

I would stop any staying at your place, make sure MIL doesn't have a key and tell your DH that you find his mother too controlling and that it's not her home it's yours. If he uses the "but she's only trying to help" suggest his mother go and help at a local charity instead!

pallasathena Thu 01-Dec-16 10:09:44

Some good advice here. This has to be managed by yourself otherwise some very difficult precedents are going to be made which you will have enormous difficulty shifting as the months and years roll by.
Number one, assert yourself. You are your baby's mother which gives you total control over how your baby is cared for and I'd include emotional as well as physical care here.
Your MIL is disturbed. There's no other way to describe her behaviour. Yes, she's very likely suffering from the trauma of losing a child and that is desperately sad, but, and its a big but, your baby cannot be looked after by someone going through serious emotional problems its just not right, or healthy, or safe. You have to set down some cast iron boundaries now. And don't worry about upsetting people when you do. Your baby must come first as I'm sure you already understand.

BertrandRussell Thu 01-Dec-16 10:12:05

It's really, really important to sort out the deal breaker stuff from the mildly irritating. Otherwise when you talk to her about it she can focus on the stuff that's mildly irritating any you can end up being made to feel in the wrong.i

If you were in hospital, for example, and your MIL was helping your dp look after the baby, there is no reason why she should ask your permission to take her out for a walk, particularly as dp was there.

The bf thing- depends how it was said. Babies do root towards any breast they find themselves near- someone on the Archers said last week while holding someone else's baby "Oh, sorry, that cafe's been shut for a long time-go back to mummy!" Only you know how she said it- but bear this in mind.

She is completely out of order in trying to move into your house or suggest she takes the baby away or snatching the baby out of your arms. And in criticizing and undermining- be firm about this. And make sure that you and dp are on the same page here. The "Sorry, that's just not going to happen" line is a good one.

How does your dp feel about his mother?

Are you back to full health now? If not, do you and your dp have other support?

Oly5 Thu 01-Dec-16 10:16:21

OP, she does sound unreasonable but don't cut contact with her. My own mother took over when my eldest was born as she thought she knew best but also really wanted to help!
I don't think a baby going to a supermarket is a big deal but the suggestion to take him/her away for six months is!
You are in control here - just say no and get your partner to back you up.
But don't cut her out of your life. She's suffered an enormous amount already and probably is desperate to be involved

debbs77 Thu 01-Dec-16 19:00:25

Do you know what I would do? I would buy her one of those reborn dolls. She sounds like she is struggling with the loss of her own child.

You have my sympathies!

happychristmasbum Thu 01-Dec-16 20:11:28

I don't understand. She lives several hundred miles away (in forrin?) so how come she is around so much to criticise and interfere?

DH needs to start standing by your decisions and tell his mother to back off. I would limit the amount you see her and the amount of contact. tell her as little as possible about what you are doing. Do you have caller display so you know it's her calling? Time to get tough.

MusicIsMedicine Fri 02-Dec-16 22:53:21

Happy Christmas - she has been just turning up unannounced.

Those that say it's OK for in laws to just turn up unannounced and take her out for a walk without even speaking to me - it's not OK. Firstly she was poorly and it was 3 degrees outside and partner has a car. Secondly we have a court case pending with a man who threatened us at my old bedroom window, holding a weapon and drunk and he has been granted bail! Now imagine me lying in hospital knowing this and unable to get in touch with my partner then I find out his OAP mother is casually out having a stroll with my baby in the same area! I have a right to expect to know where my baby is at all times. I'm her mum, that's my job. I believe mil did this to make a point and establish dominance. Another classic example, sitting beside me on the sofa then when baby looked at her, saying loudly oh no I'm not your mum!! Why say this to a baby!!

She is full of games. After all that age has now written me a letter as if nothing has happened. She plays nice when partner is around and behaves in an unpleasant mean way when he's not there. Totally sick of it.

SandyY2K Fri 02-Dec-16 23:24:53

She sounds totally crazy. I'd be running away from her with your daughter.

Do you have any family of your own that can look after your baby if necessary?

Does she turn up when your DP is home? If not I wouldn't be opening the door or answering her calls and I'd have 'other plans' with friends when she turns up unannounced.

I don't like unannounced guests.

DistanceCall Sat 03-Dec-16 01:09:40

She's deranged. And she's clearly having some strange fantasies about adopting your child as her own (and she wants you to get your tubes tied because your having more children would disturb her little fantasy - more than one child? What do you mean?)

I would be very careful around her. And certainly never entrust her with my child.

Blushingm Sat 03-Dec-16 09:25:14

She sounds like a clone of my ex's mother.
Ex and I are now divorcing partly because she's controlling and says mean/spiteful things to me/my family/my children. Stbxh could never ever stand up to her, in his eyes she's never ever ever wrong and possibly upsetting her is the worst thing imaginable- upsetting me? Who cares??

Ex fil hit my ds. Ex Dh knew as did ex mil and neither told me - they thought it was ok but knew I'd hit the roof. I found out from ds weeks later. Your dh needs to start standing up to his dm- he needs to decide where his loyalties lie, with you his dw or with his (crazy controlling) dm or it will just get worse

happychristmasbum Sat 03-Dec-16 10:22:08

Bloody hell! So she turns up unannounced from hundreds of miles away shock It's bad enough when nearby rellies pop in but that is awful. Does she expect to stay with you as well or does she book a hotel? How long do these visits last for?

WHat does your DH say about all this?

MusicIsMedicine Sat 03-Dec-16 12:25:17

Happy Christmas, last time she turned up and was still here 2 weeks later. After her first day here, she changed her address to ours! I only knew because she left her laptop open and there were letters informing various companies of her new living arrangements!! She was sleeping in a mattress on the floor of baby's nursery and started referring to it as "my room" - it was either that or she was insisting on sleeping on the sofa in the front room. When I suggested she go and see friends after 2 weeks, she went, but had the hump and then with no discussion with us got on the train the following day to come back! She also tried to keep a key to our house and made me out as unreasonable when I asked for it back. Had I not done so, she'd have just been turning up when she fancied and letting herself in. She has no concept of boundaries.

My partner won't deal with it. He has had years of her overbearing domineering controlling ways, so it's almost like he gives up and lets her have her own way. His father says it's been that way for years and she just grinds them all down until she gets her own way and everything is about her.

The worst part is she shares a house now with relatives since her and f-i-l split up and she brings constant stomach bugs and colds here. I have no immunity since issues in pregnancy and coming off immunosuppressive meds so things that she shifts in days put me in hospital. She is oblivious. She made little one ill too on her last visit.

Have nearly split with oh over her behaviour. Telling me to get sterilised at 6am one morning as her first words of the day was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I've learned that when she acts nice, it's usually because she wants something. She is one of those people that is scheming constantly and always has an agenda.

DistanceCall Sat 03-Dec-16 12:30:15

Make sure that your husband is on your side and you present a united front against her, because this woman sounds like really, really bad news.

If your husband cannot support you and prefers to hide his head in the sand or takes your mother's side, then you have a husband problem.

SandyY2K Sat 03-Dec-16 12:35:39

I wrote a post but it disappeard.

You need to expose her to her son. So when he is with the both of you ... you say

"Your mum was telling me to get sterilised earlier today when you were at work"

"Your mum was talking about coming to live here while you were out"

Keep saying the things she says to you like that.

Your DP needs to instill stricter boundaries with her. If he can't, then he needs to reduce contact.
She sounds like an awful woman to say the least.

MusicIsMedicine Sat 03-Dec-16 12:50:55

blushing that sounds very similar to my situation. It's OK for her to upset me and say spiteful things to our lo, but God forbid anyone stands up to her or upsets her. There's something very calculating about her. She wants to come and live with us and is trying to get me to agree and behaving as if her own son should have no say in anything. I think this is because she knows he won't stand up to her and say no.

I actually think she is jealous of my maternal instincts and breastfeeding my baby. She makes comments about it all the time even though she doesn't understand it.

She made a point of phoning me up after last surprise visit to inform me that she had it far harder as she had more kids! Even though it was decades ago and they had help and secure affordable housing and life was very different. Why she compares herself is inexplicable. She admits herself she had easy pregnancies and none of the health issues I've had. Given that I nearly died and been in hospital a lot, there's no point in someone healthy comparing themselves.

The clincher was her referring to me as an invalid because I was struggling after my c-section, having had previous spinal injuries. Only the 2nd time I was able to take baby out in pram for a walk, she was insisting on how she should push the pram because she's the nanny and tried to grab it out of my hands!!

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