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Meeting grandchild while dil is estranged

(43 Posts)
Yummysushi Mon 14-May-18 01:41:37

Hi grannies ,

I’m the dil.

I don’t want to offend my mil, who has just become a granny to my son.

I want to be fair to her and take her feelings into consideration.

But I’m v hurt from many things she did and don’t think there will be reconciliation any time soon... from my side I don’t see myself trusting her ever again.. and am protective of my child because of things she did in the past when I was pregnant and miscarried.. I don’t feel respected as a mother or a wife and don’t wanna cause myself further stress.

However I want to know how I can help her have a healthy relationship with my son, without having to force myself into a relationship with her (I’m formal)... and without risking that she might have a relationship with my son that excludes me ( aka teach him to contradict me and so on..

He is a newborn still but first impressions count.

She is coming for a month and a half to stay in her own house (she is an expat) ..

I need advice because with the amount of hurt I have I struggle to have empathy .


PamelaJ1 Mon 14-May-18 06:44:28

My daughters husband left her when she was 7 months pregnant with my GS. He came back when my GS was 15months. During that time I didn’t have any contact with SIL and , to be honest, I don’t think hate is too strong a word.
Her in laws were not nice to her at all and hardly saw their GS.
Now he’s back myDD really doesn’t have much to do with them, in fact virtually nothing but her DH takes GS to visit them.
That way they have contact and a relationship with him.
It sounds as though your in laws aren’t around much so you would have to tolerate them in bursts.
You seem to understand that children need as many people to love them as possible so perhaps your DH can take the strain?
You don’t say if their house is near yours. If it’s a journey do you have to stay for a few days or is it a pop in distance?
Does your DH get on with them and does he understand your feelings? If he’s on board then it should be easier.
You just have to tell yourself that a month and a half is not a lifetime and you’ll get through it. By the time your DS is a bit older you will have evaluated her relationship with him and be able to exercise a more informed way forward.

Yummysushi Mon 14-May-18 08:31:23

Thanks PAmela.

Sad to hear about ur daughter. I hope he manages to regain ur trust sometime soon. It is not easy to trust someone that leaves a vulnerable person at their weakest moments. Perhaps he has a moment of irrationality there.

About my case... my baby is 3 months and still breastfeeding and I am a bit insecure about how mil will disrespect my parenting behind my back if I send him. Although I do feel like that would save me hassle if I didn’t have to be there..

My DH is scared to hurt his mums feelings and is slightly manipulated and is only recently starting to recognise that. But still a long way before he manages to work around it, and I don’t feel he will assert my rights and respect behind my back.

He knows how I feel but I don’t think he “understands” the impact of what has happened.

wildswan16 Mon 14-May-18 09:04:31

Children need as many people as possible in their lives who love them, so it is really good that you are willing to make the effort with your MIL.

Perhaps the way forward is always to offer rather than wait for her to ask. So, phone and say, "come round to see the baby at 10, he might be more awake then" etc. If she wants to take him out for a walk then admit to being a nervous new mum (even if you're not) and that you want to come too. Ask her what her son was like as a baby - what she did when he cried, had colic etc. You don't have to follow her example.

She has hurt you in the past - you will never forget that and you are a wonderful young woman to try and forge some kind of new relationship with her for your baby's sake. It might take some pretending on your part but also will depend on whether she is willing to accept you as the parent and primary person in the baby's life. flowers

Yummysushi Mon 14-May-18 11:51:48

Wild swan. Thanks alottt for your advice. That’s a great way to encourage me to offer things. Ur right, offering things might be the best way to keep things in perspective politely.

I’m too scared of being “too nice” because that led me to b hurt in the past. But that’s my natural predisposition and I’m losing faith in my own judgement.

But I have to stop being too scared for life to move on.. I need to believe that whatever happens I will b able to recover from.

My biggest fear is that she affects the beautiful bond that me and hubby have .. she did in the past and it broke me.

PamelaJ1 Tue 15-May-18 07:47:43

Being nice is good.
When my DD’s SIL asked for the things that she had lent my DD eg. Car seat. ( this was after myGS was born but before he needed a bigger seat) I suggested she sent a card and flowers as a thank you for lending it in the first place. Make her feel mean. Being nice wins😁
DD wouldn’t.

Newmom101 Tue 15-May-18 09:44:31

Whilst your son is still breastfed could you not have your MIL come to your house and you simply disappear out of the room to take a nap/bath/relax etc and then have your DH bring baby to you whenever he needs feeding? If your DH is still in the room and you are in the house she can't do anything massively to disrespect your parenting.

You say she's going to be staying in the country for 1.5 months, is this how it will always be? If she's not living in the same country as you permanently then I would say as your son grows older there is little she can really do to contradict your parenting as she won't be around that often.

I do sympathise with you though, I've had issues with my own mother since having DD 9 months ago. I have actually found that it's somewhat easier to be around her now though, as DDs gotten older and is more interactive, its like having a sort of barrier in the room, no one wants to cause a scene in front of her.

Other than that, talk to your DH, come up with some 'ground rules' for your parenting which he knows must not be broken (by either of you) which cover your main concerns. For example they may be around keeping baby breastfed (no bottles/formula), no solids before x age, no overnights etc. Whatever you decide really, but be sure that you are both on the same page about these rules. That way there is less chance for anyone to undermine you.

DameDiscoDiva Tue 15-May-18 09:53:39

Totally agree that being nice wins. I have a stepdaughter who I have known since she was a baby. She is now 24. She lived with her mother and used to visit at weekends every other week. She was treated as a loved daughter but as she’s grown she has distanced herself. I can cope but it has had a dreadful effect on my husband. I feel very very cold towards her and find the way she treats him at times as unforgivable. But you know, every time I see her she gets the same smiles, same hugs as she always did for the sake of my husband. It’s not easy but it’s for a short time and everyone gains. Put your best smile on, grit your teeth and make it work for you, your husband and your bairn. You’ll all gain from your niceness.

Coconut Tue 15-May-18 09:55:44

Are you able to chat to her re the hurt she has caused you in the past ? And of course involve your DH. Sometimes issues have to be ironed out before you can all move forward. If you can’t talk to her, it’s important that you and DH set the ground rules for the future and stay united. Of course it’s true that children need as much love as possible in their little lives, it gives them their roots and their confidence, and they must be shielded from any ill feeling. If you feel MIL will start saying unacceptable things to your child, that’s the time to act.

Bev1409 Tue 15-May-18 10:47:59

Is this Gransnet or an invasion of Mumsnet ?

GabriellaG Tue 15-May-18 11:00:27

Gosh! There seems to be a lot of friction between GMs and their DsiL and also, on other threads, GMs and the other GPs.
Do GFs have this trouble?

starbird Tue 15-May-18 11:06:08

Six weeks will seem a long time at the moment but in the long term it is nothing. Unless she returns again soon, your baby will have forgotten MIL by the time he sees her again. He is too young to know what she is saying. However he will pick up on atmosphere so it is important that you do not get nervous or angry, either in the presence of MIL or if/when talking about her with your husband. Try to tell yourself she cannot harm you or change who you are unless you let her. If you are agitated your baby will be more restless and cry more, and your ability to breastfeed may also be affected. If this happens it can create a vicous circle. If you feel yourself getting worked up, you could try taking some deep breaths and make an effort to relax. You don’t have to agree with what she says, neither do you have to contradict her - just smile and say nothing. If you find she is getting to you, leave the room for a short while ( pretend the baby needs changing, make a cup of tea or just go out in the garden and breathe deeply) and always feed the baby on your own away from her somewhere where you can relax. This is all easier said than done, but remember, it is sad for MIL to only see her grandson for a short time, she will want some happy memories. For you, whatever happens, the time will pass and at the end of it she will be gone again. If you can just learn to trust your own judgement, smile and be friendly, you will all get through it. As has been said, you can listen to her suggestions and advice, say thankyou and ignore them - this is what most men do all the time!
You can be nice and still be your own person, remain detached from her inside, that way there will be no hurt involved.

A great idea to ask about how she parented her son.

Good luck, I hope it will all go well. I am sure you can be strong and get through this. She may be feeling as nervous about it as you are.

farmgran Tue 15-May-18 11:16:22

I think that while your little one is so young and breastfed you should be present all the time. My DD was really protective of her babies and she was always there with them and I think thats to be expected really. I was allowed to take them for pram rides to give her a break but that was all and gradually when they were a bit older we were allowed to do more and now they all come and stay!

Day6 Tue 15-May-18 11:22:15

Is the internet giving us the space to overthink things?{hmm]

We are talking about your husband's mother, not the enemy, not an invading army. It sounds as though your child is in imminent danger.

Not only that, your MIL is going to be presented with a set of 'rules' so she doesn't tread on your toes and your husband must not budge an inch in her favour. She is being portrayed as a dragon out to do her own thing with the baby. I imagine the baby will get an outpouring of love from a doting Granny.

You sound threatened.

I am a fairly simple soul, I like things to be peaceful and to go with the flow as much as possible. Relationships evolve and yes, your wishes SHOULD be protected and uppermost, but you are planning the baby being with grandmother (MIL) like a military operation.

She also has a son whom she loves. Don't make this a contest.

Do you really want your relationship to be forever strained? Give her some leeway. She could become an ally, a friend, and a caregiver of love to your baby.

muffinthemoo Tue 15-May-18 11:34:09

It’s not an invasion but being constantly told on MN to cut off your MIL completely because she chaps your backside is tiresome and not very practical tbh sad

I mean you have to try to get along, don’t you?

Newmom101 Tue 15-May-18 11:34:27

Bev1409, some of us come here specifically for a grandparents perspective and advice, or at least I did. If the OP asked the same question on mumsnet she would be met with a hundred answers questioning why she would ever let her child around her MIL, who's obviously a narcissist and out to steal her child, and recommendations to tell her DH to go no contact with his mom or leave him. It's all quite over the top and sometimes you just need a bit more sensible advice.

Newmom101 Tue 15-May-18 11:42:15

Day6, I wasn't suggesting the OP gave her DH and MIL a list of rules to follow. Just that her and her DH agreed on a couple of things that she felt particularly anxious about, which would not be broken. If the OP feels she has her DHs support over the important things she's less likely to be anxious around the little things.

For instance, my in-laws smoke in their house, I told DP I did not want DD to be taken to there until she's past one or have anyone holding DD whilst smoking, to reduce the SIDS risk. He agreed with me and then it stopped me worrying about 'what ifs'.

Day6 Tue 15-May-18 11:50:36

This isn't just about no smoking in the house though, is it?

It's about forging a relationship with someone regarded as the enemy from day one and a need to ensure she does as she is told, husband toes the line etc, etc, etc.

It's about control. Is jealousy also a motive for ensuring MIL follows the 'rules'>

Yes, establish what is best for baby and then move on ffs!

This all seems very complicated. Whatever happened to Granny meeting new arrival, her grandchild, her child's child, feeling an outpouring of love, having a cuddle, adoring the little one and then watching the baby grow and develop - with enormous pride?

Oh I know all relationships aren't the best but why can't this opportunity be used to build bridges, instead of walls?

luluaugust Tue 15-May-18 11:57:17

Some people can be very insensitive around miscarriage, if they haven't had one themselves they don't know what to say and do and get it all hopelessly wrong. Fifty years ago when I had a couple of miscarriages the older women around me expected me to pick myself up and get on with it leave a suitable gap and try again. Obviously I can't imagine what MIL did or said but was it actually meant in a really horrible way or was it just complete thoughtlessness. Chat her arrival over with your husband not having a go about his mother too much and agree how you will play things. I agree with the smiling and asking about your husband's babyhood, you may find a clue there to why she has certain attitudes now. If she wants to hold baby sit with her and take big breaths.

nanasam Tue 15-May-18 12:04:09

My MiL told me straight that no girl would ever be good enough for her son and she was quite bossy when DC were young. However, I was polite and friendly to her, even when I could quite happily have strangled her and we ended up having a very close and loving relationship. I think at the start she was worried that nobody could look after her son as well as her, but he was on my side and we had a good moan after she'd gone home!

Perhaps your MiL is thinking the same? Be kind and patient, I'm sure it will pay off. flowers

Newmom101 Tue 15-May-18 12:04:45

I know for some people that may be the case, but for myself it was certainly not about control or seeing my MIL as an enemy. Like any two people thrown into becoming a part of each other's family there were of course little niggles which we've got past, but it never became an arguement, just a conversation. My mom had an appalling relationship with her MIL and I was keen to avoid that, I invited my MIL to the hospital to meet DD when I didn't invite my own mom. I've invited her round for Mother's Day and it's me who reminds DP to invite his mom round when she hasn't seen DD in a couple of weeks. I find things to busy myself with when she visits so she doesn't feel like I'm watching her and DD like a hawk. Not all DILs are monsters who want to cause trouble. The OP doesn't seem like she does either, more that she wants practical advice to enable her MIL and DS to have a good relationship regardless of what has previously happened.

The problem is that on sites like mumsnet, if you scan the AIBU page now you will see so many posts about MILs and so many posters egging each other on to go no contact. The site seems to be lacking in people who understand that regardless of whether you like your MIL, your child has the right to get to know their family. Also it's shocking how many of the threads complaining about their own moms get responses of 'just forgive her, she's your mom'. I hate the double standards.

Day6 Tue 15-May-18 12:21:43

All relationships are different.

In a perfect world we'd all get along and everyone would care for everyone else. No one is perfect.

The internet and forums such as this allow us to put relationships under the microscope and for new Mums it's often a case of asking others what they think of their relationship with their MIL.

We are of a generation that didn't use the internet to air our grievances. We just had to suck up what life threw at us, including family members who made our lives difficult. We had to resolve issues ourselves and yes, some people choose to put distance between themselves and their relatives. Sometimes it's the only way for a peaceful life.

Now, every infant entering the world is thrust straight into their own episode of Jeremy Kyle and dysfunctional relationships, it would seem. grin

LiveandLearn Tue 15-May-18 12:28:00

Hi there Yummysushi. Congratulations on your new baby, you sound like you are a very sensible woman and it's to your credit that you are seeking advice from grannies. My advice in your situation would be to be present when your MIL is around your baby, if for no other reason than you will see and hear exactly what is being said and done. I have a friend, and also know another younger mum who is a neighbour, who both have major issues with their respective MILs and are pretty much no contact. I've lost count of the conversations I've had with them about it and to be honest it gets tedious. The neighbour gets so wound up for the week before her DH takes their child to the GPs house, and then spends a week forensically interrogating DH about what 'she' said and did. It has put a real strain on their marriage. My friend is similar, says she's fine with DH taking the children to grannies, but in reality DH has to go through seven stages of hell to make it all work. Just be there as a family unit and make it work for your husband and your child's sake as well as your own.

I've never really liked my MIL, for many reasons (insulting, passive aggressive, controlling of her only child), but we both make the effort to rub along for the sake of the family. When they visit, and the doorbell goes, I quietly say to myself "showtime!", I put a smile on and welcome them with open arms. I've encouraged my friends to adopt this approach (surely anyone can fake it for a couple of hours or so) but they stubbornly refuse. It really is cutting off their nose to spite their face as the tension this causes in their families is very damaging. Your in-laws love and want the best for your DH and your new baby, and that can only be a good thing. My children, who are adults now, have a lovely relationship with both sets of GPs. After 32 years, MIL and I understand each other pretty well. We're never going to be bosom buddies, but we've mellowed into our relationship and I hope she respects me as I respect (if not exactly like) her. She did say to me last year at DD's wedding, "you've brought them up beautifully", and I nearly fell off my chair - it's the first nice thing she has said to me in 32 years.

Good luck, and I think a PP idea of being pro-active and inviting your MIL before she starts asking is a really good idea.

gigi1958 Tue 15-May-18 13:33:31

Yummysushi, for some of us when we have our first child suddenly the world looks terrible!
We want everything perfect for them, however that is a fairy tale. My late MIL and even my own mother were far from perfect but at the end of the day my kids grew up knowing them and loving them. Which by the way is a perfect world smile
And remember when the going gets tough do what ALWAYS kind and your best and your son will emulate you.

newnanny Tue 15-May-18 16:19:56

It takes a lot of courage to put the past behind you and move forward but you can do it because you both love your husband and the new baby and want what is best for them. That will unite you over time. Be nice to your MiL, smile and be polite and remember one day you to may be a MiL. If you are breast feeding make sure MiL does not take baby off when he will be needing his feeds. I would think the only way she could undermine you at his age is to offer baby a bottle. Make it clear he is exclusively breast fed and you do not want baby to be offered bottle. Get support from your dh.