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MIL is a liability

(14 Posts)
purplebynature Thu 05-Feb-15 13:16:41

I am 38 weeks pg with my 2nd. My DS is 16 months. He has a great relationship with my MIL, who lives much closer than my own parents. She comes over most weeks and plays with him, takes him out for walks, and occasionally looks after him by herself for a few hours at my house. He loves her and I get on well with her too. I always plan these times to make it easy, leaving dinner in the oven etc. She's never had him for more than a few hours and never overnight.
However the plan we have agreed for the birth of DC2 is for her to be looking after DS1, which she's really keen to do and has kept her diary clear for weeks and weeks specially. She's coming over a bit more often now, both to help me out with being mega pg with toddler, and also to get familiar with the whole of his routine.
The problem is that there are beginning to be incidents, minor mostly but getting worse. Yesterday she left the grill on. I was upstairs having a lie down and smelt acrid melting plastic. I came down and turned it off. I pointed it out and she said she would have noticed the smell, that it was ok, that she's brought up 2 children and they were fine. The smell was so bad that my DH noticed it when he came home 3 hours later. This was after she had burned 3 pieces of toast in a row at lunchtime, causing the fire alarm to go off.
This morning she made porridge and left the gas on and lit. She'd turned it low instead of off. I pointed it out and same conversation again, she's never burned a house down yet. I told her I was worried, could she please triple check everything. Her attitude is that we are over sensitive first time parents. She's very defensive and doesn't want to admit there could be a problem. She's blaming jet lag but has been home 3 weeks. Later this morning she didn't put DS car seat straps on properly, even though I'd just said, make sure they go over his shoulders. She doesn't really listen, just makes her own justifications in her own head.
I really don't want to upset her. In all likelihood she'll not have DS for long during the labour but obviously can't be sure. I could make other arrangements but it would be fairly nuclear, she'd be distraught. We've already decided that after the birth, we will make no more plans to leave her alone with them and just get her to be an extra pair of hands, and manage it that way.
So really it's just the birth. What would you do? Post it notes? Disconnect the gas? Phone her every 30 mins and make her check the gas? Or cancel the whole thing?

elastamum Thu 05-Feb-15 13:19:35

How old is MIL? TBH it sounds like the start of a memory problem, she doesn't know she is doing it. Sorry, but it may well get worse by degrees. sad

heartisaspade Thu 05-Feb-15 13:20:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LoblollyBoy Thu 05-Feb-15 13:22:02

could you brief a friend to drop in a couple of times in the event of a long labour?

Quitelikely Thu 05-Feb-15 13:22:53

Strange. I don't know how she has t burned her own house down!

I would take him a packed lunch and a microwave dinner. Make up some silly excuse as to why he must have them

juneau Thu 05-Feb-15 13:28:53

Hmm two almost-fire incidents in a short period of time? That's a bit worrying. Her defensiveness isn't helpful either, really. I wish you a very short labour! Mine with DS2 was 2 hours and 20 mins and I was home again within hours, so hopefully you'll be similar. If its a daytime labour and birth could anyone else pop in to check up on things for you?

purplebynature Thu 05-Feb-15 13:31:03

She is 70 but fit, she goes running.
I think you are right about getting her to see a Dr sad
I'm racking my brains to come up with a scheme. There aren't any other family members near enough and anyone else who could come doesn't know her, so she'd know she was being babysat.

RunnerHasbeen Thu 05-Feb-15 13:32:22

This is all in the last two days and she is blaming jet lag, is it possible she is feeling unwell, in a similar way to jet lag, kind of fluey and exhausted? Is she someone who soldiers on when she is ill? I'd perhaps suggest she has a few days rest, is looking tired and will need her energy to help when the baby is here. See if things have got better by then.

I would avoid suggesting she has some long term serious health condition over two bad days, if there were no worries before. I would just say things like "you don't seem yourself, you seem really tired, we don't want to make you feel worse" instead of floating the idea she can't be trusted. If she still seems run down by the birth then have a back up plan to make it easier for her, she can't go nuclear over concern that she might have a bug of some sort.

purplebynature Thu 05-Feb-15 13:33:26

Quitelikely I think she's better in her own house, it's dealing with unfamiliar stuff that's worst. Though DH says she's set things on fire loads of times when he was growing up confused

purplebynature Thu 05-Feb-15 13:40:37

@RunnerHasbeen there have been things before. When DS was tiny she managed to pin his arms under the stand for his baby archway and couldn't work out why he was crying. She was also a bit worrying when he was learning to walk, as she didn't seem to see accidents coming, he always gets a few more bumps when she's around. I never let her drive DS until today because there were concerns. But nothing life endangering so I let it go.

DeliciousMonster Fri 06-Feb-15 10:07:23

Yeah - I think you both need to act on these 'nothing life threatening' things now. Because - those sorts of behaviours are life threatening...and if she has always done it then she just doesn't see it as a problem.

He needs so sit down with her and have a chat about it. And you need to find someone else to help out during the birth of your second child.

SugarOnTop Tue 10-Feb-15 17:08:55

i'd make sure someone else was with her for the time she will be 'alone' with your dc, i'd rather risk offending/upsetting her than allow her to put my child's life in danger.

she may well currently be having memory problems but if she was doing things like this during your dh childhood then she's got deeper underlying issues. either way i wouldn't trust her alone with my dc.

yomellamoHelly Tue 10-Feb-15 17:14:27

Sounds like my mum when her memory was starting to go. Can you ask your neighbours / friends to keep an eye / pop in.

saturnvista Sat 14-Feb-15 15:12:29

Your little boy is your responsibility, not your Mil's feelings or even her health. From what you have said, there is very real cause to doubt her ability to keep your child safe. You have to make other arrangements and kindly explain why. It doesn't matter about how she chooses react, that's not within your control. What would be fairly nuclear would be trying to live with yourself afterwards if something happened. It didn't sound like you're getting precious. This is a pattern of seriously dangerous incidents.

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