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MIL said something that upset me

23 replies

TaiTai · 30/09/2005 00:12


Feel very cliched having to start this thread - I'd hoped I would never have MIL problems! BUT, here goes..

My MIL, Jan, comes a few times a month to lsee my now seven-month-old daughter and look after her for a few hours while I go out. Jan has always been great with my daughter and loves her very much. My daughter is a very happy, smiley baby and Jan has commented on this. Although I like Jan she can be very sensitive and take things very personally - to the point of being self-obsessed, to be honest. This hasn't been much of a problem before.

Today she came round and my daughter, who is teething, has a cold and was tired because she didn't have her morning nap as usual, cried a bit when I went out of the room. Jan took this personally. When I went to pick my daughter up Jan looked annoyed and said to my daughter "who's being a spoilt madam, crying until you get your way". I said light-heartedly "don't say that!" but I'm actually upset by it. I feel very strongly about not using negative language to or about my daughter - for a start, she's a baby for God's sake, and doesn't comprehend being naughty! For another thing, she was hardly trying to get her way. She just wanted some comfort from me. My parents have always spoken to me and about me in a very negative way (we're talking verbal abuse), and I am determined not to repeat the pattern.

I don't like my MIL speaking to my daughter like this, even if it was in part jest (which it didn't seem to be). My MIL has always been very protective over my nephew - her grandson - who at seven is badly behaved to the point where all of his schools and nursery and have complained about him. MY MIL will not except he is at fault in anyway, but yet she thinks it's OK to call my baby spoilt.

I'm tempted to mention it and clear the air, but the problem is she takes potential criticism extremely badly. Am I being over-sensitive? I'd welcome your thoughts.

OP posts:
Tortington · 30/09/2005 00:17

although you have a point - and i am not dissmissing it, i understand you are feeling hurt, but it really isnt something to get upset over. much bigger issues wil come your way ( says i as one of those annoying done it all mothers) really its not worth a fuss

Dior · 30/09/2005 00:19

Message withdrawn

TaiTai · 30/09/2005 00:26

She didn't say anything when I said "aw, don't say that". I did say it lightly, but I think she heard. I followed it up quickly by explaining dd was teething and under the weather. I think she spoke more harshly than she might have done because she was feeling bad that she couldn't comfort DD. When I got back from being out, my MIL said DD had had a nap and had been really happy and good. She said something about her being a really lovely baby.

You're right, it's not worth making a fuss over. I think if she says something like that again I'll explain calmly that I don't like using negative terms about DD because of my parents. My parents were physically and verbally abusive, so I'm very sensitive about how DD is treated and talked about.

OP posts:
TaiTai · 30/09/2005 00:29

I think I also found it unfair because DD is such a smiley sociable baby that people always comment on her good-naturedness.

OP posts:
Pixiefish · 30/09/2005 00:56

My mother does this all the time- says that dd has won again and got her own way. I, like you correct her at the time and ask her not to say things like that. Doesn't really seem to be working but like your MIL my mum is very touchy and oversensitive

Tortington · 30/09/2005 00:56

maybe if you have a good relationship with her you could say " i am a bit arsey over negative comments becuase of what happened to me ..."

that way the negative connotation is with you rather than her and its more digestable for her - but the point may be taken onboard

TaiTai · 30/09/2005 01:05

Thanks. I suppose we have quite a good relationsip in a limited way. I was planning on trying that tack next time she says something. She knows I don't have a relationship with my parents anymore but doesn't know why, so hopefully she will be too curious to know details to worry about taking things personally!

She has a habit of feeling she is being rejected if my daughter cries round her, when it is simply my daughter being a bit wary of someone she doesn't see every day and preferring mummy. I would have thought as a mother of three and grandmother of four she would understand this, but obviously not.

OP posts:
cinderelly · 30/09/2005 01:30

I can understand where your coming from, how can a 7 month baby be acting spoilt? I used to get this all the time from my friends who would warn me that I was spoiling dd if I gave her attention every time she cried. How can you not give them attention at this age, teething or not? I agree she is being far too sensitive, but think that maybe you are taking this more serious than you normally would. Dont let it get to you, you are in protective mode. Forget about it for now, she is being insensitive and has obviously forgotten how it feels to be a mum to a new baby!

TaiTai · 30/09/2005 07:24

I agree I've taken this more seriously than it merits. This discussion has helped me clarify my thoughts and has thrown up something else that worries me. Like Pixiefish's mother, my MIL is the type of person who I fear will carry on saying what she likes regardardless of what I say. She is very stubborn. What concernsmeabout this is actually something to do with my nephew. I've remembered that years ago she told me she'd slapped my nephew on the hand, despite my SIL and BIL being against slappping. Now, I sympathise with her in that nephew is not disciplined at home and therefore is used to getting his way. I don't think a (presumably) not forceful slap on the hand is that bad, but what really worries me is the conscious going against the parents' wishes. DH and I are against using slapping of any kind (but not the use of voice control! - DD will certainly get disciplined). I guess I'm concerned that in the future she will have respect for our wishes re how she behaves with our daughter.

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narnalisa · 06/10/2005 11:21

New to this so apologies if I get the rules wrong! My MIL is a hypercritical old witch who didn't come to our wedding and said to my husband that we shouldn't have children as they will suffer when we get divorced. Now her only grandchild is here, it is all she can talk about. She lives about 400 miles away (thank goodness) and is fishing for an invitation to see dd but I am resisting so far - she hasn't asked outright. I'm getting in a state thinking about her appearing - particularly as she is a very heavy smoker. Am I correct that even smokey clothes can hold risks for the baby (3 weeks old)? AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

staceym11 · 06/10/2005 11:42

your dd wont like the smell of her and as smoke remains in your breath for up to 3 hours after you have had a cigarette, and she probably smokes more often than once an hour so it can damage her from your MIL's breath!

hope that helps to keep her away!!!

eefs · 06/10/2005 12:23

Sorry Lisa you might not agree with me here. I think you owe it to you DD to try and foster a relationship between her and her grandmother. Rise above the comments, be serene and be the bigger person. She may still be unbearable, she is not entitled to slag you off in any way, she does not have the right to overrule you in any respect esp regarding smoking etc but I think she should be entitled to at least try to have a relationship with her grandchild.

At least you can say you tried if it doesn't work out and I'm sure your DH will appreciate your efforts.

sandyballs · 06/10/2005 12:25

TaiTai - older people do have a very different idea of how to bring up children and maybe she didn't mean to sound harsh (giving her the benefit of the doubt ). My own mum was the same when mine were babies, she used to tell me off for letting them fall asleep on me after a feed, saying "I was building a rod for my own back". How I hate that saying and I'm so glad I ignored her and enjoyed that precious cuddly time when they're so tiny. Enjoy your DD, do what you think is right and try to ignore these comments.

Bozza · 06/10/2005 12:29

Agree with Eefs. And think you handled it well TaiTai. You made a point without it getting out of hand. Also although your daughter is teething she is getting to the age where seperation anxiety starts so you may have more of these moments where she cries for your MIL.

jenweber630 · 06/10/2005 12:40

I also think you handled it well taitai - my MIL drives both me and my dh crazy in many ways which is part of the reason why we moved here from the states about 5 months ago - our son is nearly 10 months old now. I take enough over the phone as it as and I think just politely but firmly making a comment to detract from negative statements is about all one can do. However, as my son gets older, if the comments don't stop, I'll have my hubby will talk to his mom about it...

LadyCodofCodford · 06/10/2005 12:41

she only 7 months! I donthtink the comment will kill her
anyway people of that generation talk deifferntly ot babies

suzywong · 06/10/2005 12:48

it's very easy to get enraged by a MIL comment but it is also easy to put it in perspective once the red mist has cleared, IME and I live with my MIL so I do know a bit about it.

FWIW, this evening my MIL said "hot, hot, the food is hot?" to the kids as they were heartily and happily tuckingin to the fish and chips I had bought them. (English is not her first language) I took this as an implication that I was a halfwit who had haphazzardly given her children dangerously hot food and that she was the only one wise enough to point it out.

I got quite shirty in an English way, which thankfully she doesn't "get" so she can't take offence. All she meant was she could see steam rising out of the fish. I was furious and moaned to DH when he came home who told me not to be so touchy and that it wasn't personal at all.

What I mean is that it's very helpful to have other people's perspectives as you have had here, And one just has to give old people a bit of lee-way in regards to the whole generational way of saying things. Hope it doesn't wind you up too much.

narnalisa · 07/10/2005 22:24

I agree that I should not stop dd having a relationship with MIL but can't help getting stressed out about the old witch - I have been kind and sent photos but don't much feel like volunteering much information as in the past, any information I gave her about ANYTHING has been turned on its head into the opportunity to have a go at me! Maybe she will have the manners to behave in my home when she inevitably comes to visit but I am still getting angry in advance of her visit! I've only met her ONCE!! And with the smoking, I know that she will tell me that she smoked through all her pregnancies and her kids are fine (except for the asthma and hayfever!) How do I tell her my views on the smoking without it resulting in a scene?!

Caligula · 07/10/2005 22:32

Just get her to watch Little Angels - to get her used to the idea of positive language with kids. You never know, it might rub off on her.

Pinotmum · 07/10/2005 23:01

narnalisa, my fil came to stay (with mil) when dd was 2 weeks old and finally left when she was nealry 6 weeks old. He smoked non-stop in my kitchen (even got up in the night to puff) and although I was not happy about it at the time my dd is fine. I did insist he went outside when I had my second as I had grown a spine minus yellow steak by then

frogs · 07/10/2005 23:05

Others are right -- bigger issues will come your way. Save the fullblown confrontation for something more clearcut and serious, eg. she smacks your child, or cuts her hair in a style you don't like without asking you first (happened to us!). If you make a fuss about the little things, any points you make in relation to big things will be less effective.

TaiTai · 07/10/2005 23:33

Hi, Thanks all. I was unhappy about it for a day, but I'm over it now. I don't know whether any of you saw my post though about the fact my MIL had smacked my nephew even though she knew my bil and sil are anti-smacking.. That was at the root of my concern - that she would go against our parenting style in the future.

OP posts:
narnalisa · 18/10/2005 16:33

You are right - bigger things will come my way! I think I will have to be firm but fair and not take any bad manners from mil but still be beyond reproach myself which is pretty much how I have tried to be from the beginning. Maybe she will think I am wonderful because I have provided the grandchild
Hopefully she won't stay too long - poor you, Pinotmum!

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