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Everyone expects a relationship with our baby(66 Posts)
This will probably be incredibly long so I apologise in advance. Me and DH will be welcoming our first baby in a few weeks via ELCS (this is for a number of reasons). We live in the same area as my family and DH’s family all live on the opposite side of the city.
Basically, my family (mum in particular) are being extremely pushy about being very involved with baby once they arrive. I have 2 siblings (one younger one older) and my mum is unbearable. We decided to tell my mum I was having a C Section and straight away she started talking about telling my sibling/their partner and my other sibling. She pulled her face and could not understand it when I told her not to, that we were coming to terms with it and preparing ourselves and didn’t feel anybody else needed to know.
Youngest sibling and their partner live with my parents and basically take the piss. They have (or had if you asked my parents which is a lie but that’s a whole other thread) a drug problem and have caused innumerable problems over the last 2 years including bringing drug dealers to the door asking for money etc. And my mum and dad just keep forgiving them. They have a good job and earn plenty of money. Their partner does too yet they live it up pissing money up the wall and acting like my elderly parents’ house is their house. They pay a tiny amount of rent and my mum does their washing etc which I think is a joke. They are incredibly disrespectful. My sibling’s partner has never liked me and feels “intimidated” by me (according to my mother) and did not react well when I announced my pregnancy and has acted very strange ever since. Neither of them have ever asked me or DH about scans, how the pregnancy is going, nor have they been to visit us or attempted to get in touch or reach out, yet will say to my parents how they can’t wait for the baby to be born and they (and my mum) seem to think that they are going to be heavily involved with the baby. I do not want them around my child and my mum seems to think I should be allowing them to be “uncle and auntie” even though I don’t have a real relationship with them myself.
Eldest sibling is mid-thirties, never had a partner (or any sort of relationship) and relies on my mum and dad to do everything for them. They lived with them until a couple of years back and have only very recently moved into their own place. They can’t do the most basic of tasks (e.g ordering something online) and there are a number of other problems I have with them which are too vile to list. My mum is always telling me to message them, get in touch with them, let them come and visit (which we did for a while when the lockdown wasn’t in effect but it was unbearable, they have terrible personal hygiene and no social skills and will sit there for 3 hours not taking the hint of when to leave but making no attempt at conversation etc). My mum said earlier that they had bought a gift for the baby so she didn’t like to “keep excluding them” but we have never asked for anything from them, nor did we expect a gift and honestly I don’t know why they have bought one (if they have). We sent them a Christmas card out of courtesy and they never acknowledged it or said thank you and the last time we saw them was months ago. I also wouldn’t be comfortable accepting any gift (we don’t have a relationship and I don’t want one with them and with the way they live I would not feel safe accepting a gift that they had kept in their home as it would only mean more washing for us etc as they live in filth).
My mum treats me like a child and expects me to give her every detail of my life and I feel pressured into telling her things. She expects to speak several times a day and I feel pressured into answering her calls and responding to messages because she would probably turn up at the door if I didn’t. She goes on about having the baby (meaning unattended at their house) all the time which isn’t something we would be comfortable with and gets quite nasty if I try and put my foot down. She also acts like DH’s family don’t exist and will openly say things like how she doesn’t see MIL as the baby’s grandma, how they can’t do this that and the other etc. This really annoys and upsets DH as she’s erasing his family and thinks she’s the only grandparent or relative that matters. This is really threatening our relationship and she does not respect the fact I don’t want my siblings etc to know every detail of my life and don’t want them involved with the baby when they don’t even have a relationship with me or my husband.
I don’t know what else I can possibly say to her because she makes me feel guilty and will turn nasty or cry if I try and put my foot down. I’m sick of doing things to please other people and trying to remain civil at the cost of my own feelings. I am heavily pregnant, in pain, we are preparing for a caesarean and becoming parents and we really don’t need this. DH’s family haven’t been pushy at all and have asked us if we need anything to let them know, they will respect our wishes with regards to visits etc (obviously COVID is also affecting all of this) and it’s been great but my family are a constant source of anxiety and annoyance. I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to cut them off completely (my dad just agrees with whatever my mum says/does for an easy life) but I do not feel like our feelings are respected or even taken into account, it’s like we are just there to facilitate my mum being a grandma (it’s her first grandchild).
Again, apologies for the length of this!! I will be incredibly grateful if anyone reads it or takes the time to reply.
Well you have the perfect reason not to let them be involved due to Covid. Once the lockdown rules ease, I suggest you move to the other side of the city at least.
It sounds like you are just as much to blame speaking with your mother up to four times a day? That is ridiculous and on you as much as her.
I don't like the way you speak about your siblings. Particularly the one who sounds like they have special needs. They are family. Of course you don't have to agree to them babysitting but some of your comments are extremely immature. You don't know why your sibling with mental health or SEN has bought your unborn child a present because you aren't even close? So bizarre of you. They are family and you sound like you are ashamed of them. It's down to you to set the boundaries.
The diet of least information.. Be vague about your delivery date. Say mw suggests 10 days isolation post getting home.
Basically lie. They can't argue with medical advice even if they want to argue with you...
Ignore bullying regarding your siblings.. If necessary let dh answer your phone and filter calls. After all you will be napping post birth. Assign him your PA..
This is your baby. Your family have zero rights..
This is all extremely hed to unpcik, there seem to be a few different issues going on here.
With the hygiene and lack of picking up on social cues and inability to do basic tasks it sounds like your eldest sibling has some kind of learning difficulties. I dont think you should stress about things like them nti acknowledging a christmas card or not leaving when they're supposed to. Also I get it's an emotional time but there are some things not worth bothering about, like your mum passing on details of a c section. Its not important and has no impact. But I think she is being so shit about other things that everything is winding you up.
Your mum does sound full on and I can see why that's bothering you, it is overstepping boundaries to expect contact with the baby so often especially if you make this clear and then she gets in a mood etc- this is manipulative and bullying. It's your baby and you get to say what you're comfortable with.
You have three options though and none of them are that pleasant.
1. Do what you're doing, keep answering the phone, and cave into pressure to see them. I personally think this might be putting your baby in danger if they are left alone with your siblings. Even spending lots of time supervised may not be that healthy, it sounds like a toxic family dynamic
2. You state your boundaries firmly and clearly and dont give in to emotional manipulation. You want to speak once every 2 days on the phone because you're busy with baby things. The baby will not be doing overnights with anyone until they're talking. The baby will have an equal relationship with all grandparents. And then if she kicks off you say you will talk to her later when she is calm and wants to respect her boundaries and ignore her. This might 'train' her to act reasonably depending on how used to getting her own way she is
3. You go no contact and have no pressure or stress but I appreciate this is difficult
And agree you should accept any presents from your siblings in good grace. You dont need to keep them but refusing them seems cruel if you want any kind of future relationship with them
You need a decent therapist. Your relationship with your family is really dysfunctional and it’s you damaging your relationship with your husband by not creating and maintaining reasonable boundaries. Get a copy of Toxic Parents and read it while you’re waiting for the baby or when you’re up at night feeding.
I assume you’re an adult. You’re married. You’re having a baby. You have a phone for your own convenience and you’re not obliged to answer it to anyone, ever. If your mum asks you something you don’t want to answer then don’t. She might get huffy or nasty but what can she actually do to you? This is yours and your husband’s child. If your mum is horrible or unreasonable she doesn’t get to see you or the baby. It’s quite simple.
His family sound normal and will hopefully have positive supportive relationships with you both and your child. One decent set of family is plenty.
The way to talk about your siblings is confusing. If you have no relationship with one of them why send a Christmas card? Why do so then get annoyed at no thank you? If someone gives you a gift for the baby accept it then either keep it, give it to a charity shop or bin it.
If you don’t choose to stay in contact with or see your siblings then they won’t know your baby will they? That’s a valid choice on your part. But there’s no point getting upset or annoyed about stuff like cards or baby gifts. You can’t have it both ways.
If your mum says she’ll be having the baby without you then just say no and refuse to discuss it.
You’re in the FOG - fear, obligation, guilt - and it’s going to take you some work to unpick things and get into a healthier place. Start now.
Best of luck with the baby.
FFSAll and Anne have both summed it up perfectly.
As FFS states you now have three options. Personally I would go for option 3 as I think your mother in particular will never respect any boundary you care to set her. Your dad will continue to enable her for his own reasons. Emotionally healthy people do not behave like your family does with your parents further enabling your living at home sibling and attendant partner. Your mother is manipulative in the extreme and cries crocodile tears at the drop of a hat?. BTW what if anything do you know about her family background and childhood, that often gives clues. It is not your fault she is like this and you did not make her that way.
Why would you not want to cut them off completely?. What is a more palatable alternative to you?. Is that really your own FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) talking here along with a lack of boundaries when it comes to your family?. Put your own small but significent boundaries in place; stop giving her so much information, stop sending christmas cards out of courtesy (a misguided notion to say the least) and do not answer the door to her if she shows up at your home.
People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles; what are your roles here?.
You may well want to look at and post on the current "Well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these Relationships pages and also read "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward as a starting point.
Your child needs emotionally healthy role models and your parents (and siblings) do not fit the bill. If your H's family are nice and importantly emotionally healthy then concentrate your resources on them going forward. Children need grandparents yes but they need to be emotionally healthy ones.
Would you have tolerated any of this from a friend, likely not. Your family are no different. Your parents were likely not good parents to you when you were growing up and they have not changed at all. Your dad is still very much her enabler here acting out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He is a weak man who has taken her side at yours and your siblings expense; he has singularly failed to protect you from the excesses of her behaviours.
I'll try and respond as best I can but the responses may not necessarily be in order so I apologise, I've just read everyone's replies so far and will try to cover the main points.
The eldest sibling doesn't have SEN or any mental health problems. They choose to live like that - they would rather let my elderly parents run around after them (which I understand is my parents' fault too for doing it) than do things because it's easy. With regards to the personal hygiene etc it's simply laziness. They have a full time job, a car, and will go to the pub/other hobbies etc no problem. As I have said, there are other reasons why I do not want a relationship with that are so vile I can't list them but think along the lines of why you wouldn't want an adult to have a relationship with your child (or be near them).
I sent a Christmas card for my mum's sake - I have tried to remain civil to please her although she is heavily in denial about the impact that both siblings' actions have had on all of our lives. Especially the drugs etc. My parents will constantly make excuses for my other siblings but I am scrutinised for every tiny little thing which is frustrating and it's hard seeing my elderly parents being taken advantage of. A lot of my pregnancy has been taken over by their problems with my siblings (particularly the one who lives with them) and me being expected to be there for my parents to complain to etc but not actually take any of my advice. It's quite a heavy burden and I've told them on numerous occasions I don't want to hear about certain things but she won't stop.
If I allow my mum to have a relationship with the baby then inevitably the siblings will be involved to some extent as one lives with her - she will send them pictures of the baby etc and involve them herself even if I never speak to them or take the baby around them.
It's my mum's first grandchild and I feel awful preventing her from having a relationship with the baby (and us) but she doesn't seem to acknowledge or respect any of my boundaries no matter how often I lay them out or repeat them. She actually laughed in my face recently when I reiterated the fact that my siblings won't really be involved in my child's life.
I completely acknowledge I hold responsibility for allowing it to go on as long as it has but I think because I'm a girl (and obviously having her grandchild) I feel somewhat obliged to keep in contact with her. This is probably a whole other thread but the dynamic of our relationship has always been like this - I feel guilty if I lie to her or withhold information and even my husband says I tell her too much and I shouldn't allow her as much access to my life as I do but I think it's ingrained into me to do so. I had a very hard relationship with her as a teenager and I know she didn't have a close relationship with her mum so she really wants and expects that with me.
Ime once your baby arrives you won't have time to give so many fucks about what meddling /mean and nasty people have to say /advise....
I really appreciate you all taking the time to reply and signposting me to things to read that may be helpful.
When I think back to my childhood (and definitely my teenage years) my parents weren't really great parents a lot of the time. My mother suffered with mental health problems (particularly when going through the menopause) and I can remember a lot of incidents that were horrible to witness as a young child. As a teenager I was never allowed any freedom and even now my mum still tries to dictate to me about what I can and can't do (with regards to things as trivial as hair dye or clothing etc) and I find it difficult to say no to her.
I think it says a lot when I think about it and I realise I do not ever want to parent my child the way I was raised and me and my husband are definitely on the same page with regards to parenting and morals/values etc.
What is your younger sibling's relationship with the older sibling like?
When you hold your baby in your arms, you will know how your mum feels about you and your siblings, even now that you are all grown up.
She wants you all to get along and like each other, and for you to be a close family. Obviously that won't happen, but I do think you could try to understand why she gives the siblings you despise so much slack - she loves them.
You will have to set boundaries and be very clear - there's no other way. But I also think that your outlook might soften once your baby arrives.
@GingerBeverage they don't have a relationship with them. They don't speak, don't have each others' phone numbers etc and never see each other. The eldest sibling is our half sibling and my mum constantly rammed them down our throats growing up acting like they were wonderful and telling us to do things with them/for them, wave goodbye to them, tell them things etc. The eldest sibling is 8 years older than me and there is only 18 months between me and my younger sibling.
Younger sibling won't even remain civil with the older sibling for my mum's sake for the same reasons I've mentioned in this thread (and more). But my mum doesn't push their relationship for some reason, she just expects me to accommodate them. My younger sibling (although problematic in their own many ways) has no problems telling my mum no and she lets them do what they want and they get away with murder. It's only me that she thinks she can tell what to do etc.
You’ve alluded to some serious issues with your older sibling and if it’s what I’m thinking then you’re wise to keep your child away. Are your parents aware of the full extent of the issues between you?
Yes having a child makes you see your own parents in a new light, but I disagree that it means you may soften towards them. It may be the opposite as you may not be able to understand why your childhood was like it was and your parents actions regarding your siblings vs you when it’s not something you can contemplate with your own children
I know my own dm treats myself and my sibling differently but I just can’t understand it when looking at my two boys
This all sounds so very hard. You are desperately juggling things trying to be all things to all people, doing the right thing.
It doesn't sound as if your dm has realised you have grown up.
It really sounds overwhelming and stressful.
Will dh step up and answer the door/phone and say, 'Not today, First is having a lie down. We will let you know. Goodbye!'
As for your dm and her relationship with your db and dsis, well it is all rose tinted glasses and mother love and not going to change is it? They have worked out what suits them all and you don't have to understand it. Dm wants some sort of picture perfect happy happy with all her children getting along like the Von Trapp family and you are too clear headed to play along. Difficult to see what to do with all that. Seems like dsis and db are not bothered and it is being pushed along by dm. Another big plus of having a new dd/ds is you won't have time to think about it all, let alone worry.
I can say, you will stop juggling all this and put in boundaries and not give a wotsit. You can't imagine it now but, this year, you will answer the phone to your mum with 'I'm busy now, speak to you later.' That and a big sign on the door, 'Baby asleep, Go Away.'
I think you should decide what your boundaries are around the new baby - agree with your husband and stick to them rigidly
It will help to write them down and give them out if needs be
Then completely ignore any behaviour outside of those boundaries
People will throw their toys out of the pram - but especially in the relationship with your mum don't let your baby grow up seeing that sort it now
Are you saying your sibling is a paedophile or that he abused you as a child? Is that why you don’t want to accept his gift for your baby?
Haven't read the full thread but if your family members are safe people to leave the baby with, sounds like they're just excited about their new family member. A lot of what they plan probably won't materialise or continue anyway once the honeymoon period of "new baby" ends. They'll come a time in the not so distant future where you'll be utterly desperate for someone to give you breaks from the relentlessness of parenting.
You probably belong on the Stately Homes thread, OP - lots of people with similarly dysfunctional families.
I think you have to work on learning to ride out the FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) they have instilled in you. These are just misplaced emotions, you do not have to cave in to them.
You can't choose your family, but you can choose your boundaries. Whatever you do, nothing is ever enough for them, so choose your own path, not what they want from you. And don't let them wreck your relationship with the in-laws.
And tell your mother you won't be answering the phone to her several times a day any more. Tell her you won't be answering the phone to her every day. Decide what amount of contact suits you and stick to that.
It's bonkers that you're in that much contact.
Hmm some interesting advice so far. At the end of the day your baby = your rules. It doesn’t matter what your family say, it’s up to you and your husband. You don’t need to mimic your family and their dysfunctional weird ways
My mum tries to control and micro manage me to little success but it’s easier as l live 100’s of miles away. But l know it’s hard to break free
I think one of the worries is that OP’s inability to manage her relationship with her mother is already damaging her marriage and you can see why her husband has serious concerns about the impact and influence his toxic inlaws will inevitably have on his vulnerable postnatal wife and innocent new baby.
I dont have much more to add but if you dont feel comfortable cutting your mum off and going completely NC then perhaps try and taper off the communication over time.
So eg when something happens, whether big or small, dont tell your mum. This will get you used to having a private life and over time you'll feel more comfortable avoiding direct questions.
Work on answering the phone less, or ignoring messages and again reduce it down over time.
If it were me I would genuinely look to move further away, if you get on with your ILs then perhaps move to their side of the city.
Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!
I think it’s time to leave the negativity of your childhood behind and become an adult. Your focus should be on your partner and your new baby. Your mother cannot force herself on you unless you let her. You need to gradually move away from the 4 phone calls a day. It’s invasive and unwanted. Send her a text on a morning and tell her you will ring her later. Then turn your phone off and concentrate on your own life and let her get. In with hers
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