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Help me be rational and respond to my MIL

(62 Posts)
Hopefulhen Tue 23-Jun-20 13:44:35

I am 5 months pregnant with our first baby who will also be the first grandchild on both sides. I generally get on well with my IL’s, they have some different world views to me but I like visiting them or meeting up for dinner.

After we announced the pregnancy FIL started asking us to come over for dinner almost every weekend. We have had work/other commitments on so haven’t always been able to go. I was feeling really overwhelmed with the constant invitations and I had this strange feeling like they were trying to ‘claim’ us and set a precedent that we will bring baby to them this regularly after she is born. They live 40 minutes away so I was relieved when he got the message that it was too often and stopped asking as frequently.

MIL has been very excited about the prospect of setting up a nursery in our spare room from the start. MIL mentioned to OH that she was looking at some wall decorations for the nursery and sent his some photos of stick on decals, which I definitely do not want in my home. I told OH it would be much better coming from him if he told her nicely that they weren’t really what I had in mind. He seemed exasperated and then went on to say that his mother had never had the opportunity to set up a proper nursery for any of her three boys as they were renting and moving a lot. Anyway, MIL popped in today on her way home from work and told us that she had some things to bring over but was waiting on the last delivery. I mentioned that I didn’t really want anything stuck to the walls but I already had some ideas that I needed her help with, thinking this would make her feel included. She was dismissive. The ugliest, most offensive pink floral decal is on its way and she clearly thinks I will be using it. God knows what else is on its way to our small, storage deficit home.

It’s not really about the wall decal, although they are fucking hideous and tacky. I feel fiercely protective of this baby. I am happy for her to be grandma but I am the mother and I want to call the shots. I don’t know if this is just hormones or whether they are actually trying to push their way in unreasonably. OH is quite critical of his father for being a shit husband/father when they were growing up but consequently he feels really sorry for his mum which makes him reluctant to intervene.

How can I respond to IL’s and involve them in a way that is acceptable to me whilst also setting up some boundaries? Right now I feel like telling MIL that she has horrendous taste and I only want my sister to help me, but obviously I know that would be hurtful. I know this is an overreaction, how can I manage my emotions? Does this feeling pass??

OP’s posts: |
cheeseislife8 Tue 23-Jun-20 13:48:56

Your OH needs to support you on this.

It's not your fault that she missed out on setting up nurseries, you should still be able to do this in your own way.

If you don't want the hideous sounding decals, you and your OH need to tell her. Set your boundaries

LuckyC27 Tue 23-Jun-20 13:55:45

In a similar position but with my FIL, he offered to buy our pram then told my OH he had found one online he liked and was going to buy it without even showing or consulting us! I wouldn't mind if it was a pram he was keeping for when our baby is with him but it is our main pram ill be using on a daily basis! OH went back and said no way we need to view a pram and help decide which one we want that was right for us, our car etc, if he isn't happy with that we would buy our own. They didn't talk for a month 😬 he is very controlling like that and everything he does comes with conditions.

If it is your house she has no right to decorate it? You and OH need to be clear you are decorating as its your house maybe let her know the theme/colour scheme and ask her to buy something specific for the nursery so she feels involved? But stay firm and say everything else is sorted, your OH needs to be with you 100%. If its a nursery she is setting up in her own house for if/when baby stays over that's a different story.

DPotter Tue 23-Jun-20 14:00:58

It's sad your MIL didn't have a support husband and father of her children - however the time for her to be setting up a nursery has passed for her. Your DP has to be supportive of you - you should let him know you expect him to support you in your pregnancy in any way he can - and that includes telling his Mum to back off. One more chat with him about it. If he refuses to step up, tell him you'll be telling her to back off, but you think it will be better coming from him.

It's not your hormones here - it's natural to want your own stamp on your child's bedroom. This will also apply to the clothes they wear, the toys they play with and how you feed them. You are the mother - you decide in conjunction with your DP how to raise your child.

Don't even try to involve people who trample over your boundaries like this - give 'em an inch and all that. But don't rub it in and say your DSis will be helping

ravenmum Tue 23-Jun-20 14:03:16

OH is quite critical of his father for being a shit husband/father when they were growing up but consequently he feels really sorry for his mum which makes him reluctant to intervene.
You need to sit down and discuss this. He has to be on your side and kindly show his mum what she can do instead. Do you feel like he really is on your side, and is just sorry for his mum, or is he actually on her side and thinks that this stuff is fine?

Eachpeachtree Tue 23-Jun-20 14:05:42

I felt exactly the same when I was pregnant with my first baby, every time we saw the in laws my MIL would give me something. It infuriated me, I wanted to buy the nappies for MY baby, thank you very much!
But the feeling did pass eventually - and oddly she calmed down a lot a few months after DD was born. Now I recognise that her constantly buying things wasn’t about me or even about the baby, but about the pleasure that she got from doing it. Insensitive to your feelings perhaps, but meeting some need that she has. Distance yourself from it as much as possible, as she’s unlikely to change, and trying to force her to will just cause upset. (Ideally DH would have a word, but doesn’t sound like he’s going to!)

You’ve already done a good thing by politely saying no thank you and suggesting alternatives, and I think this is all you really can do without having a huge argument. Let her get on with it and make herself happy buying loads of pink flowery crap because she likes it. If you’ve told her you’re not keen then just smile, nod, accept and then donate. If she asks where it is, just say it’s not your style but you gave it to a friend who loves it, or similar. She can’t say she wasn’t warned.
Similar with the clothing she will undoubtedly buy that you will hate - say thank you, keep the tags on, send a pic of baby wearing it (for ten seconds while you took the photo), then donate or sell. She’s satisfied her maternal craving and you don’t go crazy. It’s what I do and I think it’s the best way to keep the peace!

Spied Tue 23-Jun-20 14:06:08

She is trying to put her stamp on dgd before she's even born. She's trying to get herself in prime spot as the go-to favourite grandmother thinking that if you visit weekly and she 'helps' with the nursery she'll become super close and indespensable to you.
I think she's insecure and potentially very jealous.
Do you see much of your Mum/family?

SandyY2K Tue 23-Jun-20 14:09:14

So if she takes over on this, you will also miss out on having the opportunity to do your child's nursery.... then become overbearing with your DIL .

It's hard to know what to say...because there was never a moment my DH would have given his parents his opportunity to think this was something they had a say in.

I would let her know that you're quite clear on what you want for the nursery and if she does want to buy anything like decor, that you need to see it first.

With the thing that's on it's way..... see if she can get a refund...otherwise I'd be flogging it on Ebay....very cheeky of her.

Aussiebean Tue 23-Jun-20 14:09:27

Just remind him that he is your husband not her husband and that you need a kind and supportive husband. Not a husband who is busy trying to make someone else happy.

morriseysquif Tue 23-Jun-20 14:10:02

So she didn't get the chance to set up nursery so wants to take that from you ? Bonkers. You need tell your DP straight that's she is overwhelmingly you.

How about you choose an activity to share with her that you feel ok with?

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 23-Jun-20 14:15:01

"I don’t know if this is just hormones or whether they are actually trying to push their way in unreasonably".

Its not your hormones, both of them are trying to push their way in here.

"OH is quite critical of his father for being a shit husband/father when they were growing up but consequently he feels really sorry for his mum which makes him reluctant to intervene".

I would be wanting to talk to him about this a lot more. He needs to be on your side here; who is his primary loyalty with and to now?. His parents are secondary now as he is making his own family unit consisting of both you and his child. He needs to realise too that his inertia when it comes to his mother also hurts him as well as you. He may well also have some FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) re his parents and he really should now tackle that as well.

And those decals sound bloody awful; you do not have to use them at all.

SeaToSki Tue 23-Jun-20 14:15:03

Can you divert her onto a project that doesnt really matter to you, but she could be useful in. Ask her to research prams and make a list of suggestions with pros and cons - you of course can ignore all her work if it doesnt suit but it might be helpful.
It sounds like she has good intentions but is going about it in the wrong way.

GrumpyHoonMain Tue 23-Jun-20 14:16:50

I was in your exact position only with my mum (she never got the chance to do anything she dreamed of with us or with her other grandkids) and she lived in such an abusive situation with my dad’s parents that both DH and I pitied her too much to tell her to her face. Fixed it by asking her to set up a nursery in her home. As for the decals - just put them on canvases and only bring them out when she comes over. It might also help to involve her in more mundane stuff - shopping / food prep (ask her for home made meals you can pop in the freezer) /advice.

frazzledasarock Tue 23-Jun-20 14:21:41

Your husband in trying to make up for his mother having a shit husband is sailing close to the wind of emulating his father.

Tell him that.

Sit down and talk to him.

What next; Will your MIL want baby overnight whenever she fancies, have the final say in naming the baby, will your IL's demand you go to theirs every single weekend or come over every single weekend to your house, want to be at the birth of your baby, expect to come and stay as soon as you're home with your new baby?

All above I've read on here and in real life shockingly.

I think you either need your husband on side, or an almighty row so he is clear that pacifying his mother is not the road to a quiet life.

piscis Tue 23-Jun-20 14:23:34

And because she missed out on setting up nurseries for her own babies now you need to missed out too? Makes sense...confused
Out of order
I will look at the positives and I think it is better that you can see her ways now before the baby is born, maybe you can put some boundaries before the baby arrives, because otherwise it will get worse.
I thought my MIL was out of order, but some things I read on here...OMG

Splattherat Tue 23-Jun-20 14:23:55

We had this with IL’s who lived 3 hours drive away. MIL told me a few months before I gave birth that she would be coming to stay with us for two weeks to help out with the baby as soon as it was born. I got really stressed and panicky about this. Eventually I had to ask DH to tell her to back off which eventually he had to agree to tell her a one or two night overnight stay with us when the baby was a week or two weeks old or they could stay in a hotel but anymore would be too much in the first few weeks.
Also had a phone call one night that MIL and SIL had been looking at cheap and nasty prams for us but they hadn’t decided which one to get us yet. Again we said as I was tall I wanted to look at a few, try a few out and then decide which one to get ourselves.
Our first was the first grandchild on DH’s side. Now FIL has died I wished I had let them be more involved but MIL was so pushy I felt I had to keep her at arms length all the time. She also wanted to give my DS some chocolate cake within about two days of him starting on baby rice and implied I was depriving him. She wasn’t joking and was deadly serious.

Nartl0ngNow Tue 23-Jun-20 14:31:58

Give her a job.
She sounds bored and will end up with just continuing to ruin your once in a life time moments with your child.
Suggestions: she plans an event at hers like a BBQ for meeting the grandchild.
She buys the baby's first something like a toy or bouncer.
If all else fails, ask her to birth your baby for you as she seems intent in taking over. confused

ravenmum Tue 23-Jun-20 14:37:09

I let myself be shushed by my exh for many years because of his parents' good intentions. We were generously given large items of furniture that were not to my taste, and if I said anything, he was always on their side: they meant well, and I was BU and nasty. They said that I "did not know how to be grateful". No support from exh.

Years later, our son son had therapy for an unrelated issue, but when my exh and I went to see the therapist, it turned out that our son had been talking about his gps and their "well-meaning" ways. My exh started to defend them again. The therapist said that even when people are well-meaning, you can set boundaries with them and complain about things you don't like. I was amazed when my exh agreed with him and stopped defending their behaviour.

Since his mum died and we broke up, my relationship with ex-FIL, and his relationship with my exh and his sister, have got much more equal and honest, and it is so much better. It's a real shame it wasn't like that all along. Being honest and setting boundaries is not nasty. I hope your dh works it out.

mindutopia Tue 23-Jun-20 14:37:26

I would either just say thanks, and either bin it or if it's anything of value, sell it on. Your dh should be able to say that you've already had some things of your own in mind for the nursery, and that they should ask what you need before buying anything. Or they could contribute money to something and you order it. They'll get the idea eventually when they never see any of the stuff again.

AfterSchoolWorry Tue 23-Jun-20 14:38:44

Tell her to set up a nursery in her own home.

This is your baby not hers.

Put your foot down.

dontjustdont Tue 23-Jun-20 14:44:46


Tell her to set up a nursery in her own home.

This is your baby not hers.

Put your foot down.

Just this. That's all you need.

You are an adult about to have a child and it is your baby and your home not hers.

She doesn't get to tell you what to do.

AllyBamma Tue 23-Jun-20 14:44:54

Do you even know if you’re having a girl?
I would just be really straight forward with her from the get go otherwise you’ll be dealing with this sort of thing forever. Say something like ‘thank you for the thought but I have something different in mind for our nursery, how about you hold onto them and if you decide to have a nursery at your house, they’ll be perfect. And if she keeps at it then repeat no thank you. Ad nausuem.

Another thing I would nip in the bud now is your OHs lack of support. Don’t let that precedent be set.

PersonaNonGarter Tue 23-Jun-20 14:47:50

You have a DH problem.

Ask your DH why YOU should miss out on decorating YOUR baby’s room?

Really, deal with him and he can deal with his DM. And learn to just say No. Its an essential parenting skill and you need to start now.

Splattherat Tue 23-Jun-20 14:49:36

Yes I would say so well these are lovely but as this is our baby we have our own ideas about decorating our babies nursery. But its a shame to waste them so we were thinking it would be lovely if you can set up a nursery at your house.
Or as someone else said earlier say agree she can host an event to meet DD among her friends and DH’s family at her house (providing the lockdown rules allow it).
Or could she help out with some painting in the nursery or cleaning as you get bigger more uncomfortable.

Sunnydayshereatlast Tue 23-Jun-20 14:55:29

Beware of her setting anything up at her house.. She will be expecting overnights from birth to get use out of HER moses basket..
My mil had The Rage that I bf and had a reason to keep MY baby close by..

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