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AIBU Daughter in Law issues

(69 Posts)
Deborahrose Tue 29-Sep-20 18:47:52

So a little backstory: I’m from the United States and I’m a registered nurse that has worked both in Labor & Delivery and Pediatrics. I have a middle daughter in law I am estranged from. But my oldest and youngest I have a good relationship with. I also just want to say thank you for your insight in advance.

So my youngest daughter in law brought her first baby girl into the world about 3 weeks ago. Nobody was allowed to visit for the first 2 weeks because of covid and if you are not a grandparent you cannot visit for the first 6 weeks. Her mother and I are over for a visit and we get onto the topic of what her childcare plans are when she decides to return back to work.

She and my son look at me and her mother and say they are still weighing their options but are not sure. They mention that middle daughter in law had given them a call and was suggesting to not allow family to be involved with childcare. There has been a recent rise in grandparents rights cases and allowing family or grandparents to stay with you and help or babysit could mean that they could sue for visitation or even partial custody. Her mother and I are shocked. Now son reassures us that they don’t think we would ever do that and hope that we wouldn’t. They start discussing daycare or even a nanny. We all start discussing pros and cons of each option.

We get to the grandparents option and she says that she truly never thought of grandparents or family as an option. That she chose to bring a child into this world and that passing them off for family to essentially raise them seemed wrong to her. She wasn’t planning on anyone to change feed or bathe the baby either unless they were staying overnight. She thinks that grandparents are supposed to role models and stand with the parents and spoil them every once in a while. She begins mentioning some friends who allowed their grandparents to babysit and they began doing things like disregarding the parents rules. Giving them haircuts without permission and constantly overstepping. Out of curiosity Her mother ask her about some of these cases.

My son chimes in and states one where the mother was sleeping and dad was at work. Baby in crib and mother in law snuck into their house and took the baby from the room. Mother woke up and couldn’t find the kid and mother in law sends a picture of the baby at her house. She still won visitation. Others where the grandparents won more visitation than what a divorced dad would get and access to medical and school records. Others where they were abusive and still had to allow them overnights even though they’ve never stayed with the grandparents ever.

We change the subject to overnights and unsupervised time. She and my son have decided until the baby is 1 to 1/2 they won’t be allowing overnights.

Other than that the visit went very well and I got to see my granddaughter. Is there any advice you could give me. Am I being unreasonable in thinking that it’s absurd to not want grandparents to help take care of a child if they are offering?.

Pantglas2 Tue 29-Sep-20 18:52:53

As you chose what to do with your own children, they get to do it their way as well.

State clearly that you are happy to help ‘when asked’ and leave it until they do so.

MissAdventure Tue 29-Sep-20 18:53:53

I don't think it's absurd at all.
It all sounds reasonable to me, and of course, things may change over time.

paddyanne Tue 29-Sep-20 18:58:38

I think its their choice and you need to respect it .Be happy to see the baby when the parents are there and look forward to maybe being allowed longer visits as baby gets older .Avove all dont criticise the way the want to raise their child .

silverlining48 Tue 29-Sep-20 19:00:14

I think you will find it’s up to them and refreshing in a way that they are not asking for childcare because generally that is the expectation, certainly here in the UK where we don’t really have grandparents rights.
You clearly have a good relationship with them. Don’t argue or debate it, the baby is very young, they need space and time. What did her mother think?

Madgran77 Tue 29-Sep-20 19:00:38

I agree with Pantglas. It is entirely up to them. I think it is sad, and rather strange that they seem so fearful but in the end they are making decisions which they feel are right for them and their baby. I wonder what the reason for those fears are? What has caused them to even think about these possibilities?

If they wish to speak to/discuss with/ask advice from the DIL you are estranged from so be it. That is also up to them.

Tell them you are happy to help anytime, then just wait.

Hithere Tue 29-Sep-20 19:19:52

I would let the parents bring up very sensitive subjects such as childcare, overnight visits, etc., and then discuss them with you.

You truly do not want to make it sound like you are setting up a custody agreement.

I know you mean well but it might looks like you are pressuring them to make decisions on subjects they are not ready or it's not their priority right now.

Enjoy the visits and let the relationship develop organically.

I would caution you to avoid mixing the issues you have with your middle dil and the rest of the family.
If your son and young dil choose to listen to her and have a relationship with her, it is their prerogative.

What happened that with your middle dil that you dont talk now?

Illte Tue 29-Sep-20 19:22:51

It was a bit of a Spanish Inquisition wasn't it? I would have been too busy going OoohAhh to get into all that heavy stuff.

I think you put them on the defensive between you. Made them feel like it was an exam?

I think I'd confine myself to enjoying the new baby and telling them what a good job their doing. ?

Hithere Tue 29-Sep-20 19:28:22

Also want to caution you against using your background (RN) to your advantage.
It may not make any difference for some parents on their decision making for their baby

Chewbacca Tue 29-Sep-20 19:28:31


As you chose what to do with your own children, they get to do it their way as well.

State clearly that you are happy to help ‘when asked’ and leave it until they do so.

This. Their baby, their rules. And there's a chance that if you stand back, be patient, and do as they ask, they'll let you do more. Push too hard now and the chances are that you'll get very little. Look at the long term Deborahrose, not the immediacy.

Madgran77 Tue 29-Sep-20 19:34:02

Look at the long term Deborahrose, not the immediacy

Good advice from Chewbacca

Starblaze Tue 29-Sep-20 19:38:30

How did you get onto that topic?

The little newborn has been here 3 weeks, why is everyone discussing playing pass the baby?

I think the parents felt on the spot, aren't ready to even think about childcare and have gotten understandably flustered and defensive.

What happened with middle DIL that may have raised concerns?

Their baby, their rules. Wait until you are asked for help, only give advice when asked for and let them raise their tiny baby their way and you may find things improve

Redkettle Tue 29-Sep-20 19:40:51

May I ask a question? I hope I don't come off rude...

I notice that in your title you've mentioned this is a daughter-in-law issue. Is this not also a "son issue" if he feels the same?

I'm glad you were able to get a visit in these most uncertain times! That's lucky.

Grannyben Tue 29-Sep-20 19:42:45

I can only say that I agree wholeheartedly with the previous posters. Smile nicely and say nothing. If her mother wishes to make comment, stay out of it. She is unlikely to fall out with her own mother for long but, you are a different matter.
You have a good relationship with this young couple and you now have a wonderful new grandchild to love. Don't rock the boat and I'm sure everything will work out just fine

Chewbacca Tue 29-Sep-20 19:53:51

How did you get onto that topic?

In the OP Deborahrose says Her mother and I are over for a visit and we get onto the topic of what her childcare plans are when she decides to return back to work.

Chewbacca Tue 29-Sep-20 19:55:11

Good point Redkettle, it concerns OP's son as much as DIL.

Hithere Tue 29-Sep-20 19:56:52


The statement you copied and pasted is very vague

It is very unclear who initiated the conversation, how it came up, etc.

Deborahrose Tue 29-Sep-20 19:58:48

To everyone asking what happened between me and middle dil

-she wanted me to change the dates on which we celebrate holidays so her and my son could visit her family on the actual holiday and then we celebrate with our paternal family on a different day

Lied to my son and told her I was enjoying the baby shower and when middle daughter in law never gave me a date or time so I couldn’t be there

She had stated clearly that she didn’t want anyone in the delivery room or waiting room or home for 2 weeks. Nobody was allowed to take pictures. I see on Facebook her mother and sister along with my son were there and her entire family visited in the waiting room and friends were visiting at her home.

Got upset when she had been eyeing a holiday outfit for my grandson and bought it for her as a surprise and had the gift receipt just in case she didn’t like it. Went off on me and told her that I’m trying to steal her firsts and that I wasn’t allowed to buy gifts for him.

I have three other grandchildren oldest daughter in law doesn’t care if her two get kisses. Accidentally kissed grandson out of habit and apologized immediately. So now I’m not allowed access to him

Iam64 Tue 29-Sep-20 20:00:22

It’s curious you posted in AIBU and headed it daughter in law issues.
This baby is three weeks old. Most grandparents are so besotted they ooo and aaa over the baby and arrive with casserole, easy to eat foods, and other useful goodies. The idea of separating the baby from her mum at this early stage is not on the agenda.. washing up, taking a pile of washing home to be safely delivered back clean and dry at a convenient time etc.
It sounds as tho this young couple have a little anxiety about relationships. Don’t add to that

Deborahrose Tue 29-Sep-20 20:03:01

@ Hithere and @ Chewbacca

Son and daughter brought it up when son got an email about one of the daycares that had already pre-registered for for a virtual interview.

BlueSky Tue 29-Sep-20 20:03:07

Was it just me that was very protective of my kids and didn’t want anybody else ‘interfering’? I would have never been happy in letting them go for sleepovers when they were tiny, not until school age and even then I missed them and couldn’t wait to get them back! So yes it’s their prerogative.

Babyshark Tue 29-Sep-20 20:07:59

I don’t think what your middle dil did was that bad at all.

You need to adjust your expectations and let your children and their partners make decisions about their own children. It’s really none of your business and your job is to support them with whatever decisions they make.

Hithere Tue 29-Sep-20 20:11:52

The first example - I think it is ok to want to change dates with one party to be able to make it and share the celebration with both parties.
Is it that she wanted to spend the exact date with her family and not yours?
Need more info.

So in the second example, she was keeping you at arm's lenght.
Giving birth is not an spectator's show and I am afraid she didn't want you there.
Just because her family was there, it doesn't mean you had the right to be there too

The third one- yes, i agree with your dil.

I think in the case, boundaries were broken so many times that your son and middle dil had enough. It is about the kiss but not about the kiss.

I wouldn't compare what a dil (and her husband- your sons) allows you to do with their kids vs the other couples.
There are different individuals, different personalities and it is not one size fits all.

What worries me is that your youngest dil and son are taking into consideration middle dil's comments about gpr.

Many couples get along with relatives till they have a baby and the bomb goes off

Oh! Your sons are ALSO active participants of the family decisions.
So your son and dil wanted to have the date changed in your first example.

Hithere Tue 29-Sep-20 20:18:24

Oh grammar!

Chewbacca Tue 29-Sep-20 20:20:15

100% agree with Iam64 on this. Sound advice.