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Grandma wants to be Mum

(63 Posts)
veexox Sat 03-Jan-15 15:43:28

Hi I'm a young mother to a 18 month old daughter, we own our own house very happy and I'm a stay at home mum, we live 100 miles away from DH's parents, I have a generally good relationship with them but find them overbearing at times, they stay over once a month for around 4/5 days I find my house is completely taken over when they come over, cleaning, tidying, I've asked MIL not to "rearrange" my things as I cannot find anything, if I make food for family MIL will not eat it and will cook other things Childcare duties are taken over too, if I'm trying to change, feed, play or talk to her MIL will come in and try to take over hovering. I dont mind she wants to spend time with her GC which is natural but she doesnt take her out alone while staying here, she will say are we going out and will take the buggy off me etc,

she's been telling DH she doesnt think I'm looking after her grandchild properly as she does a lot while staying here I dont want her to I've never asked to do anything I feel sidelined in my home and I feel like I might explode which is why I remove myself from the room, we are 100% fine when she isn't here I've asked her not to do those things but she just ignores me, I dont want to cause a fight, which is why I let her do her thing then she goes home, She's said things like can DD live with her she can look after her she's also skyping us everyday or twice a day even if it's tea time if we dont answer she texts us saying answer your skype etc.

It seems very strange, my parents LO's maternal grandparents see her for 1 hour per week or 2 and babysit her maybe once per month they live 10 minutes away, so DH's parents get to spend 24 hours a day with her for 4/5 days a month so they shouldnt feel left out. I'm finding it very annoying shes slagging me off to DH I'm a good mum I only let her do the childcare when shes here because she doesnt give me a chance and is always saying passive aggressive things trying to take over.

Mishap Sat 03-Jan-15 15:54:55

Explode away! - that is a very reasonable response. You can explode here any time.

What does your OH say about all this? Does he see it as unreasonable? Has he tried to talk to her about it?

It is hard for us grandmas as we do love our dear grandchildren with all our hearts - but we have to know our place!

I am sorry you are having this hassle. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether it is better to grin and bear it or to make an issue of it by trying to make fundamental changes. There is nothing worse than feeling your parenting skills are being undermined - none of us are perfect parents, but we all do our very best.

I think you and OH need to decide whether to tackle it or let it ride.

And no - you are not being unreasonable to find this irritating.

Please try and enjoy this time with your DD - the time will pass very quickly and enjoying her is a precious thing.

Jane10 Sat 03-Jan-15 15:55:17

What a shame. Not all of us Grans are like this. Is the easiest thing just to say she cant come to stay? What does your mum say about it? I'm sure other grans will chip in with ideas. Good luck!

whitewave Sat 03-Jan-15 15:55:30

You need to sit your DH down and talk it all through. Then between you, you can decide what you want to happen. You must both be onside and support each other whatever you both decide.
Your house, your life and you are in charge of that, whatever anyone says. Remember together you stand but divided you may fall so make a concerted effort to both hold the line firm.

whitewave Sat 03-Jan-15 16:04:43

Just another note - my DS has recently moved into a house that needs major renovation, and FIL announced that he would be leaving work (he is retired but works part-time) in order to make the house his project and "help" renovate it.

I sat back waiting for the fireworks as I new that my DS would not be happy.
But nothing happened as my DIL who although loving her parents dearly,supported my DS and gently suggested to her Dad that it may not be a good idea etc etc.

So you see they both held the line together and it was settled - did hear that FIL was not happy about it though, but nothing he could do. DS and DIL hold a united front.

loopylou Sat 03-Jan-15 16:05:58

Welcome Veevox, do hope that GNS can come up with some suggestions, does DH back you up or acquiesces to his mother?
Certainly sounds very overbearing to me, is this their first DGC? And could you make it not so convenient to visit (will need some creative thinking!) and switch off Skype as a starter......?

rubysong Sat 03-Jan-15 16:07:03

4/5 days would have been too long for me to have my in-laws in the house so frequently when our DCs were small. I sympathise as I was in a similar situation many years ago but we were 400 miles away so they had to stay for a few days, but not on a monthly basis, only a couple of times a year so I could grit my teeth. They were nice people but could drive me mad at times 'helping' and we couldn't go shopping without them wanting to pay for everything.

Is there any way you can tactfully reduce the time or frequency of these visits?
When DS1 and young family were 100 miles from us we used to go early, stay for lunch and come home before bedtime. We did that about every six weeks and all (I hope) enjoyed it.

HildaW Sat 03-Jan-15 16:12:29

Her Grandchild!!!!! She's not her anything......she is your baby.
Only recently I've ranted on to another rather 'involved' Grandma that being a Grandma is a privilege and has very little to do with biology. Its all about the relationship and those have to be negotiated.

You and your DH need to sit down and calmly talk this through - present a consistent and united front. Whatever this woman thinks she is, she's a guest in your house - and although she might have brought your DH into this world she has no right to influence the relationship you have with him or the one you are building with your baby.
I am no Bible quoting religious type but is there not something about not coming between a wife and husband!!

I'd just say that its probably not a good idea to involve your Mum too much in this otherwise there will be accusations of 'taking sides'. Just sort out how you want these visits to go.....fewer and for less time in my book....then stick to your end of the bargain with as good grace as you can muster and get on with your life. This is your child.....and quite frankly this lady needs to read a few of the threads on here about estranged Grandparents because she is a very lucky lady to have the amount of contact she does.

Anya Sat 03-Jan-15 16:12:46

Far too long. There's a saying that fish and guests stink after three days. Take control Vee and limit their stay to two nights.

littleflo Sat 03-Jan-15 16:22:59

You must be a saint to have them 5 days a month. I think you have to be firm but kind. If they have a long way to travel then maybe very 6 to 8 weeks. However you do have to find a way to impress on her that it is YOUR home and YOUR child.

I am sure other grans on here will help you find the words.

soontobe Sat 03-Jan-15 16:23:59

I agree re timing.
I am having to learn this with my daughter.
3 days at most.

MargaretX Sat 03-Jan-15 16:28:41

Sorry to hear about this. WE grans should know our place and most of us do. I live 100miles from DD2 and altough I sometimes stay overnight -when they are ill or when DD2 is off for a night or two away. Other times its there and back in one day. Don't let this get into such a habit it can't be broken.
Turn your phone OFF and the Skype. She can't have forgotten what you all look like in 3 weeks absence. If you can't face life without a phone then get another number. Freeze her out
If you don't stand up to her now it will only get worse.

grannyactivist Sat 03-Jan-15 16:29:28

Under the circumstances you've described any grandmother who suggests that the grandchild lives with them is way out of order in my view. Presumably your husband is repeating back to you what his mother says, so I wonder how he responds to his mother when she says these things? I would expect him to tell his mother that the child is well and happy, therefore how you both parent your child is none of her concern. I know it's much more difficult to change the status quo once arrangements have been going on for some time, but in your situation I would be saying that as long as your mother in law continues to undermine you then visits will be curtailed, perhaps limited to one or two days. I agree that you and your husband need to sit down and come to an agreement about how to handle this situation and it should be your husband who takes the driving seat in explaining things to his mum.

loopylou Sat 03-Jan-15 16:29:50

Like rubysong we live 100 miles away, go up early and get back before bedtime, also Skype probably once a fortnight, sometimes more often, and it seems to suit everyone well.
If we go and stay it is never more than a couple of nights.

ayse Sat 03-Jan-15 16:55:32

I suggest you talk to your OH about your feelings and try to agree some common ground. Perhaps once you have agreed he could talk to his parents about any decisions you have made. I'm not surprised you are feeling under pressure. My MIL (years ago) always made me feel as if I didn't know what I was doing and I used to feel totally inadequate - fortunately we moved with my husbands job and I didn't see her so frequently.
My daughter has just had twins (two weeks ago) and as I am the nearest Grandparent it is so, so tempting to go to visit frequently and interfere. I'm doing my best not too!
My ex-husbands OH sounds a bit like your MIL. They came to visit and she couldn't sit still, trying to 'help' by cleaning etc. Apparently it was really unsettling - my SIL said, she was trying too hard. Perhaps you MIL is doing her best not to be nuisance and is therefore trying to do everything 'to help'. I'm not surprised you feel put upon but I suspect she is interfering without meaning any offense.
A united front and communication (for me) would be the way forward to resolve the problem before it becomes a bigger issue. Good luck

Tegan Sat 03-Jan-15 17:21:46

MIL is totally out of order imo. Doesn't she realise it's hard work having people come to stay when you have young children?

Ariadne Sat 03-Jan-15 17:23:52

You have got to talk this through!

You could be describing my mother, who arrived with her own rubber gloves and dusters, and cleaned, ironed, washed, and left me feeling totally inadequate when DD was born. "You haven't got time to clean behind the cooker / bleach the dishcloths" etc.That is 50 years ago - I was 19, an only child, and from a family that talked about nothing. It was, I see now, a complete take over bid. But she may not have seen this, of course...

The thng is, it sounds so wonderful and helpful, but it was too much!

My heart goes out to you, and my advice is to do something now. Hugs, by the way!

Coolgran65 Sat 03-Jan-15 17:24:49

My ds lives 6000 miles distant. Skype about once every 10 days. Dgs is 16 months. We visited for two weeks and all went ok. We smiled a lot and kept our opinions to ourselves. Ddil was very generous in sharing dgs. Was happy to let us take dgs out and she and ds used the time to get things done. They have no family nearby.
We were a bit nervous at first, our first visit.
They live a pretty green and organic lifestyle.
We got if we had never had our own children. We smiled and said..of course.

Ds has no difficulty telling me what way they do things....
And we agree that their their way.
I am very glad that ds speaks very directly, the air is clear.
No one falls out. Though many a time I bite my tongue I must do so because
It's their life.
We know where we are.
Your mil wouldn't last 5 minutes with my son and his wife.

I'd suggest you and DH decide what you want. Then speak face to face with mil and fil. On the lines of........

...this is how we'd like to raise dd and how we'd like things to be in our home when you visit. I'm sure you'd agree all young parents have their own wishes and ways. We want your visits to be happy for everyone and we're sure we can work things out. You probably felt the same etc etc............

Would they do the talk calmly.
I haven't put this very well but you get the gist.

granjura Sat 03-Jan-15 18:23:44

Coolgran 65, couldn't have said it better.

Veexox- it's funny (not to you, sorry, I know) but only today I posted about the fact we, the grand-mothers and mothers in law, spend a lot of time here complaining about our own parents, who are now very old (mine are no longer with us) and that the next generation complains about us- forgetting they will, sooner then they think, become the new grand-mothers and mothers-in-law- and maybe not so perfect either (said with humour not criticism- hope you realise).

Due to distance, my parents had to come for 2 weeks at a time- we got on so well, but there was a lot of tongue biting on both sides- same now with our DDs and grandchildren- of course.

Bonne chance.

merlotgran Sat 03-Jan-15 18:23:49

I think one of the problems could be that your own parents live just 10 mins away. I think your MiL is so afraid of being sidelined she's not going to give an inch and will carry on in her domineering way.

As others have said, you have to talk this over with your DH because she will eventually drive a wedge between you if you don't act.

Four/five days a week is far too long. Much as I loved visiting my DGCs when they were small (they live three hours away) a regular lengthy stay would have had us all at eachother's throats.

Agus Sat 03-Jan-15 18:41:47

I think I've got it right when I say I see what is happening here.

Could it be that you stole her precious boy as I did when DH and I got married? Over 40 years on and she still can't accept that we are happily married, and the fact that we were capable of running our home and raising our family.

Time for your DH to tell her that there are boundaries and make it clear to her she is not in fact entitled to have any say regarding his family.

It's also time she respected your position in her son's life and realises she can't live her life through your and DH's family.

When she comes to your home, she is a guest, she is not your mother, or your baby's mother.

J52 Sat 03-Jan-15 19:01:09

Wise words from all the Grans here. Hopefully you will be able to talk through this with a peaceful outcome. You may, in years to come look back with some amusement.

My Mil, 40 years ago, took a magnifying glass and paint scraper and scraped off all the tiny paint spots on our wooden doors. There was no row about it because I was speechless!

Good luck. x

NfkDumpling Sat 03-Jan-15 19:20:50

It's all been said. You must unite to sort this out before she pushes an irreversible wedge between you and your DH. Can your FiL help? How do you get on with him and he her?

ninathenana Sat 03-Jan-15 19:27:04

There is no pleasant way to say this......

Reading this and some of the other posts here I'm glad in a way that MiL passed away before DC were born. I have a feeling she would have behaved similarly.

ninathenana Sat 03-Jan-15 19:28:46

Sorry veexox should have said welcome to GN and you have my sympathy smile