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Name changed for this.
In a nutshell; I have a DH/MIL problem. Same old story, stepping on my/our toes since beginning of relationship, and DH is reluctant to rock the boat. I'm also guilty of always choosing the path of least resistance. On the surface we get along very well, underneath I feel that she is the third party in this relationship and that she doesn't respect my position as DH's wife or my daughter's mother. Everything is always done out of love/kindness, so it's very hard to call her on it.
She's due to provide childcare for 2 days per week for our daughter when I return to work next month. This has been decided since before I even met DH. On the one hand, I feel uneasy because I don't feel listened to. I also feel unhappy that I feel like I didn't get a say in this arrangement. I also have reservations about hygiene, safety in the car, house not being baby proofed etc.
On the other, I know she loves my daughter. I know my daughter will be happy with her. I also think I'm jealous that I cannot afford to give up work entirely and therefore she will be looking after my daughter, when I feel that it should be me. I can over-think and be anxious, although I don't find this debilitating, I am aware that I might be over reacting to some (but not all) of my misgivings.
My question: we can afford for me to reduce my hours slightly or to pay for extra nursery days, in place of MIL having her. This would cause a major rift in the family, possibly one that we could not recover from. What do I do? Do I try to overcome my feelings? Combat MIL when she does the opposite of what I/we have asked with our daughter? Or not let MIL have our daughter at all?
I feel so down at the thought of it all, and I feel like she tries to be "mum" to my little girl, I don't know what to do. Any advice, on what you would do in this situation, would be appreciated.
What do you think is best for your daughter and why? Taking all the emotion and implications out of it, where is your head at with those two questions?
I think this is what I'm trying to do and finding difficult. In truth, I don't know. One huge feeling that I'm struggling with is that we have spent hours researching, visiting and discussing nurseries for 2days of the week. We've looked at qualifications, activities, buildings, hygiene ratings, menus, gardens etc and I'm confident and happy that it's a fantastic place for my daughter to go.
We have not spent this amount of time thinking about MIL having her and I'm struggling with the fact that she's reluctant to baby proof (we're not asking for much, we want things like blind cords made safe etc), her terrible driving, wants to feed the baby rubbish all the time etc.
I will admit, being a first time parent, I am probably too anxious and a lot pfb.
Have you talked to MIL about any of this? Or DH?
Established any 'rules' or talked about your requirements from a nursery?
Talk to them both, see if she is open to guidelines and instructions and take it from there.
Leaving your baby with anyone is hard but you need to be confident they will follow your instructions
Can you move it to your house, my parents have always come to me and talk through any outings. Take control be in charge and see if she listens to you
DH and I talk about this a lot. I should have said in the beginning, he does agree with me on most things. Obviously, as it's his mum, he's a little more relaxed with the situation than I am. With the baby, most of the toe-stepping is directed at me, probably because it's mostly me and that baby she she sees. DH doesn't really want me to reduce hours or increase nursery as although we could afford it, we would have to make some small lifestyle changes or not save as much every month.
DH has in the past raised some issues with MIL, but I would guess that she has no idea that we/I feel this strongly.
Nurseries have been discussed in depth. MIL originally said she'd be having the baby 5 days a week. We said no to this. Agreed on 2 and I'm having her for one day. It didn't go down very well initially.
I know how hard this is. I had to go back when my daughter was very young, a few months old. I'm a single mum.
I think you need to be open with your MIl and tell her that your anxiety about it is nothing personal but it would be great if she could safe guard those few things that are bothering you.
I think it's a nice balance between the nursery and family by the way as long as you trust them and there is transparency in the communications between you and the MIl.
So are you working 4 days, with your daughter in nursery for 2 and MIL for 2?
I think you can't make a decision until you've talked to her about all the safety/food issues. If she doesn't agree then your decision is made for you. Because if you genuinely think your dd won't be safe there you have no choice but to say no.
Maybe try going through a typical timetable she should expect to be having with the baby?
Meals /naps /activities etc. Has she actually thought through what she has to offer /be able to provide?
Put her on the spot with these things in principle before handing over the baby!!
Okay I think I would say she needs to go to nursery 3 days per week for at least x months to settle in. You could then drop down to 2 days per week if you feel happier with the care/relationship MIL is providing...
TBH I think if you want to reduce your house because you want to spend more time with your own DD you should do that??? When is your DH so against it, is to actually keep MIL happy?
It sounds like a quiet power struggle is taking place. Your MIL wants things her way and is not asking for opinions, while you want to have a strong say on what happens with your DD. Your DH won't back you so MIL has no reason to change.
I had this for years and now my DCs are older they know their nan has control issues. I don't have to see her anymore and my eldest has said she would rather not, but that's up to my exH as it's in his time.
Sorry not an answer but a different perspective. You won't lose your DD through MIL being overbearing, but MIL may in the longterm. Try to state your principles and stick to them and see if your DH will help.
I would not send my DD to spend 2 days per week in an environment where I didn't think she was safe. If you genuinely think that MIL's house is dangerous for a baby then you have to put your foot down, refusing to let DD spend time there until the issues are fixed. Family feud or not, your child's safety must come first.
I don't like the way you seem to have been completely railroaded into this arrangement. Remember that you and DH are the parents, not MIL, and that she is being incredibly manipulative to let the threat of a big rift hang over your heads if you don't give in to her demands. If that really is a true reflection of the way things are (I am guilty sometimes of reading things into my own MIL situation that maybe aren't there) then any falling out would be her doing, not yours. Do not allow yourself to be emotionally blackmailed.
In terms of practical advice, I think you need to both have a very frank face to face conversation with MIL - this should be led by DH. I'd tell her that you are anxious about going back to work and leaving DD as it will be a big change for both of you and you will miss her. Tell her that whilst you are grateful for her offer of childcare (which is actually very generous because it doesn't sound like you had an option), you need to know that you are able to raise concerns and have them listened to. Tell her that the fact she is already refusing to carry out simple baby-proofing and is not feeding DD in accordance with the diet you and DH have decided on as her parents is ringing alarm bells and makes you feel that if other concerns should arise, these will be ignored as well, and that this won't work - you are not prepared to relinquish all parental control. Spell it out that if MIL cannot align herself with you and DH on these matters then you will utilise the nursery for all 4 days because that will be the only way for you to have peace of mind.
Thank you for all of the replies. I think a frank discussion is the way forward right now... see where that gets us.
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