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How do I manage an unreasonable mother?

(10 Posts)
Caligula Wed 06-Apr-05 17:09:15

OK, most people here post on how difficult their MILs are, but I always think with a mother like mine, I don't need a MIL. Don't get me wrong, she's very supportive, adores the kids and has them in the holidays, for the odd weekend, etc.

But she insists on doing everything her way. Often when I take the kids to hers, she'll undress DD and put her in something else more to her taste. Most of the time, I just ignore it - life's too short, and if she's looking after them, fine, let her do it her way.

But there's one thing which enrages and worries me: she insists on using the front hob of the cooker (instead of the back ones) with the handle pointing out towards the kitchen, and unfortunately her kitchen is situated between the main living room and the garden, so the kids are constantly running in and out.

When they were younger it didn't matter, but now that DD is 3 and determined to "help" with everything (DS is not so bothered), I am getting really worried that she'll pull a pan of boiling water all over herself. My DM pooh poohs this, saying she'd never let the kids in the kitchen without her, she keeps an eye on them, won't let them near the cooker, etc., but my attitude is, why take the risk? Why not just use the bloody back hob, where they can't reach? I've had this argument with her about 100 times (every single time I drop them off) and I'm beginning to think the only way to resolve it is to simply not allow them to stay with my DM anymore. Which will be a big problem in the holidays re work, etc., and a disappointment for her, but I can't see any other way.

Does anyone else have such an unreasonable DM whom they have managed to talk round to their point of view? (You notice I don't ask if I'm being unreasonable - I really don't think I am, I think this is a really basic risk management issue which would be a no-brainer for anyone reasonable!)

NotQuiteCockney Wed 06-Apr-05 17:21:04

Maybe the best argument is based on actual examples? Maybe just giving an example, without saying why, might win her around? An ex of mine had pulled a pot of hot coffee down on himself when he was one, and the scars were still really nasty when he was 30. I can't imagine what his mum went through about that.

I'm sure you could dig up media reports. Or claim it had happened to someone on here, recently? Make up gory details? (Don't let it be a gran's house, that would be too obvious.)

bran Wed 06-Apr-05 17:29:09

Tell you kids how dangerous it is and train them to say "bad Granny/naughty Granny", or less rude, "dangerous Granny, put the saucepan at the back" when they see her putting something on the front rings of the hob. If they say it every time she does it she might get the message, and children are tireless nags once you get them going.

tigermoth Wed 06-Apr-05 17:43:45

Could you tell a white lie here, say your dd at your home very nearly did pull a saucepan of hot water over her, you were absolutely shocked, it was like a nightmare come true. In fact, phone your DM while you are still 'in shock' if you are a good enough actress. Be as graphic as you can be. This will hopefully reinforce the point that your dd is now very capable of pulling a saucepan off the hob. In a shaky voice, make your DM promise she will put all saucepans on the back hobs when your dd is round.

Do they do hob guards? can you make something, find a long rectangular tray or cloth, anything really that your DM can lay across the front hob to cover it up, as a visual reminder for everyone? Next time you see her, apologise for your panic sticken phone call, but reiterate the frightening story yet again, and present her with your hob guard gift.

Just a thought.

Caligula Wed 06-Apr-05 20:55:28

Hmm, a hob guard. Now there's an idea. I might do a little internet search for one of those...

And maybe I'll scour the local papers for "tragic tot accident" tales. She laps those up. [disbelieving icon - it drives me up the wall, this search for disaster stories]

Xzebra Wed 06-Apr-05 21:11:13

What is her argument about why she won't use the back burner???

I met a woman with a son, about 3.5yo, who had pulled a boiling pot of water over himself at about 16 months of age. I could tell the mother was never going to really forgive herself, although she reckoned that the average person would never have expected the child to be able to get to the hot water, either. The boy was scarred on most of his body, thankfully not most of his face, though. He had had many skin grafts, couldn't go outside without sun-protective clothing (lycra) suits & hat, was hopefully going to be able to live a normal life by about 7yo.

tigermoth Thu 07-Apr-05 07:01:51

FYI I just googled 'hob guard' and saw that Mothercare does one for £15.00.

WideWebWitch Thu 07-Apr-05 07:30:11

I don't think you're being unreasonable Caligula. My aunt's son died about 40 years ago by falling into a vat of boiling water left on the floor for clothes washing. Tell her that's your bottom line I think: use the back hob or don't have the children because my children = my rules although you can do what you like on other things in your house. But this one is not negotiable. I think tigermoth's idea about saying it nearly happened is good (hmm, but then you can't really admit to using the front hob in your house can you? you could say it happened at a friend's I suppose)

tigermoth Thu 07-Apr-05 07:45:57

that's very true, www - better to say it happened at a friend's house.

Caligula Thu 07-Apr-05 10:29:16

Ooh what a tangled web we weave!

Xzebra, she doesn't really have an argument, just an insistence that she's careful. Which she is, but accidents happen to careful people too.

Drives me nuts tbh. But I'll pop into Mothercare today and pick up one of those hob guards. I'm also going to impress on the kids that they must not go anywhere near any cooker anywhere!

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