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new num - advice please.

(17 Posts)
nutellafan Mon 09-May-11 13:18:03

Hello all, am hoping for some advice here from grandparents!

We have a 4 month old DD. I am learning to deal with both sets of new GP's in a different setting than before grandchildren!. My own parents are fine generally, partly because I am able to talk to them and tell what's what which they are great about.

The concern I have is my inlaws, and have a feeling I may have overstepped the mark this weekend. My inlaws are lovely and in the last 4 years I have been with DH they have been fine and very welcoming. They can however be a little touchy so both DH and myself do have to tread carefully at times. i went away this weekend on hen do which was not an easy thing to do, leaving DD. PIL came to support DH which was a great (only the third weekend they have seen DD but not the first time they have looked after her for half a day whilst we went out) and I left them to it, not leaving lists of instructions like I know friends have done (apart from some general ones like please don't walk down the narrow lanes due to fast drivers etc etc) - was pleased they were going to have time together.

I received a text from MIL on sat saying what a wonderful time she was having (pleased!), that I should not feel remotely guilty for leaving DD (which I promtly did for the rest of my time away!) and that she had taken her for a walk to the hairdressers down the road (neither of us have been there for 2 years since our wedding!) to say hello and show DD off. She said that the lady at salon offered my DD a baby massage with oils etc and MIL gladly accepted and proceded to have a wonderful time and how much DD enjoyed it.

Now this upset me. Partly as I was the one wanting to do baby massage and introduce DD to these things (selfish i accept), and partly as I think she should have asked DH or me before accepting for various reasons, parental consent, were we happy for her to do this, did DD have any problems that she should be aware of etc etc. I'm also slightly upset at the salon for doing this without any planning or parental consent. I've also been told massage on young babies should only be with neutral oils like sunflower oil etc rather than essential oils so bit pissed off.

DH knew I would be upset as soon as he found out and having talked to me (in tears) while I was away, he had a word with his parents, not exactly sure what he said to be honest only that she had upset me and that they really should ask etc. When I got back yesterday they were rather frosty to me and FIL could barely say hello - they left after lunch yesterday.

Now was I out or order in getting upset, am I expecting to much?, is this the type of thing that grandparents would expect to be able to do without asking? and how to do you about setting boundaries without upsetting GP's? (objective being for them to build a good relationship!)

Thanks for advice................

superdupergran Mon 09-May-11 14:12:04

I have done many things with my twin grandchildren without asking, but I am in a different situation to your in laws. Firstly their mum is my daughter and secondly when they were first born, due to circumstances I will not go into here, my husband and I had to be very high profile in their upbringing.
You are a new mother, perhaps your in laws are new to being grandparents
as well. If so you have something in common already to build on. Try talking to them about how you feel as a new mum, let them see some of your vunrabilities and they may share theirs with you.
As to what happened, I imagine your mum in law really enjoyed the experience of showing off her granchild and loved the fuss that was made. it will have been a real bonding experience for her and ditto your child. She may now feel guilt about the experience due to your reaction. So I suggest you take a deep breath and apologise, through a letter if necessary. In return I would expect her to have the grace to understand your feelings, concerns and worries and respect you more for owning up to them.
Good luck and be assured your feelings are utterley normal. x

hairfullofsnakes Mon 09-May-11 14:25:27

yanbu to be upset at that - they should have asked. and they should not have been funny with you. talk to them yourself about what YOU expect and don't be embarassed to say what you feel.

GrannyAsNanny Mon 09-May-11 14:55:16

As an experienced GP - I and my DH look after two of our GDs three days a week - I can sympathise with both sides in your conflict. My considered answers to your questions are:

1. "Now was I out or order in getting upset, am I expecting to much?"

You were upset and that is a fact. You're perfectly right to own your feelings. What would be helpful though is to realise that your feelings have very little to do with whether you expected too much. You analyse the situations by saying "selfish i accept" - not selfish but normal as your DD is your first and still very young. What I'm trying to say is that your feelings are authentic and justified. They just don't have anything to do with the behaviour of your in-laws! I expect there will be frequent times in the future when you feel like this and it'll help to own the feelings without blaming the in-laws (or anyone else!).

2. "is this the type of thing that grandparents would expect to be able to do without asking?"

This is a tricky one as there are no hard and fast rules as 'superdupergran' suggests. You and your in-laws will have to work things out for yourselves and there are bound to be ups and downs - some things you wish they would ask your permission for, and others where you'll be only too delighted that they didn't! When we started looking after our 2 GDs we sat down with DD and asked her about the non-negotiables, eg what they were allowed to eat, play with, etc. After that it was flying by the seat of our pants on both sides.

3. "and how to do you about setting boundaries without upsetting GP's? (objective being for them to build a good relationship!)"

I think to begin with, superdupergran's advice about writing a letter is great. It's often easier to express your feelings on paper. Assuming that this works, I think you have to discuss the whole situation of what's expected on both sides with them, I'd start by asking them what their 'boundaries' are, eg. how often, and for how long, they would like to look after DD, how to let you know when things aren't going according to plan etc. Make it all as much about them as about you.

Wishing you all the best for the future.

superdupergran Mon 09-May-11 17:31:27

Grannyasnanny, you have some good advice. I was not intimating at any 'hard and fast rules' only a framework from which to work from.
On a general note, could I please ask you and others reading this to spell out words in the first instance rather than putting initials, I read your comments thinking you were a General Practitioner (please tell me I was not the only one). With that in mind and with no sarcasm intended, what is a DD and a DH please?

outnumbered Mon 09-May-11 17:59:03

hiya abbreviations are comman place and will be as its faster to type a few translations: there should be a list of translations on here
dh darling husband
dd daughter
ds son
pil parents in law
dil daughter in law
sil son in law
gp grandparents

superdupper totaly agree with you about it being different being the maternal grandmother,

GrannyAsNanny Mon 09-May-11 18:17:37

Sorry, Superdupergran. I assumed that as the original message had used these abbreviations and you had replied to it that you were ok with them. I agree with outnumbered that there should be a list at the side so that they can be easily referred to.

GrannyAsNanny Mon 09-May-11 18:21:36

Another sorry to superdupergran - when I said "there are no hard and fast rules as 'superdupergran' suggests", I meant I agreed with your statement that there could be no hard and fast rules!! Language is so misleading sometimes... smile

superdupergran Mon 09-May-11 18:34:50

Thanks for the explanations all. smile

gingerbread Mon 09-May-11 19:01:51

nutellafan - I totally agree that the salon shouldn't have done a massage on such a young baby without your consent. It could be that your in-laws feel embarrassed and upset that they caused you concern during your first weekend away, and may be worried that they won't be asked again to care for your daughter. Sometimes these emotions manifest themselves as "frostiness" - they probably need time to come to terms with things.

Personally I think that a letter is too formal and could cause further distance between you. I should have thought that a frank discussion based on your common love for your daughter and your common wish to do what's best for her should hopefully clear the air and set the boundaries for the future.

jangly Mon 09-May-11 19:18:24

I thought Grannyasnanny was a doctor sort of GP and I've been on mumsnet for years! grin grin

I think you are quite right to be upset. Your baby and they should have asked first. Don't take much notice of the frostiness. It will probably pass. But if it doesn't you could have a gentle little talk.

GrannyAsNanny Mon 09-May-11 19:19:03

You may be right, gingerbread. A letter may be too formal but it's an option and only nutellafan can decide whether a letter or a frank discussion is best in her situation.

jangly Mon 09-May-11 19:19:48

Why didn't those grins come out right! Try again grin grin

babyjack Mon 09-May-11 23:11:18

It sounds like your MIL got a bit caught up in the moment, yes she should have asked you. I expect she is now worried sick that you will never trust her with your DD again!!! Also being away from your baby for the first time can be very emotional.
A letter would be a bit formal for me to, why not text and invite you MIL for a coffee with you DD, then just explain that if she wants to do anything a bit different to let you know first, easy enough as she can text you.
She is probably totally unaware of the problems different oils can cause baby's , back in the day Johnson's baby oil was all that was going!!
I am sure you will work it out,
Good Luck.

KittyVentura Wed 11-May-11 00:02:16

Yes, really she should have asked. However without being a new mum and doing all the research on things that we do nowadays (to know things like only using natural oils) she might not have realised how big a deal it was to go ahead and accept the massage. She might have thought, from you gong away for a weekend, that you were more relaxed about things like that (I do not say that as a criticism - I stayed away when DS was 6 weeks overnight - Just that that is more relaxed than some new mums who can't even bear an afternoon away from LO at 4 months old).

What I would do is to invite them around when you feel a bit better about the situation. Apologise (it's easier this way) for reacting the way you did, explain why you we unhappy about what happened (but be careful not to make this into an arguement or criticism) and then kindly explain how, you appreciate all the help they give but, you would like to experience all of your childs "firsts" yourself. This seems to be an effective way of setting that boundary. Say that once you have done something with your child you will then let them know and they can enjoy doing this too (Swimming was my example as I know my own MIL was keen to take LO swimming).

I also would write a very precise note each time my own DS went to stay with his GPs detailing exacly what he ate and when, when he napped, what HAD to be done and what definitely couldn't be done. My MIL loved this as it made her more confident when looking after him and she knew she was never overstepping the mark or risking doing anything that could upset me.

Hope that helps. I'm not a Gran myself but couldn't resist posting xx

Supernan Wed 11-May-11 08:52:23

You are right to be upset. Your position as mother has to be respected. But I am very concerned that a hairdressers would massage a baby with oils. Who was the lady & was she qualified. When I have had a massage there are questionaires to be completed - allergies, health issues etc. I also find it curious that MIL should just go in to a hairdressers that you do not use.
How you solve the situation is not so easy. I think maybe DH should start the dialogue as soon as poss. Don't deter the inlaws because you will appreciate their help as time goes by.

Lin Sun 05-Jun-11 18:42:01

I am sure your in-laws thought this would be a lovely treat for the baby and it did not even occur to them that you would object. Suggest you phone and tell them how you felt and are sorry to have been upset by doing something without asking.

When they are babysitting they will sometimes have to do things without asking you, try to see their point of view as well.

My daughter in law is great in that when I am giving my grandson a bottle and he cried (he had a cold and couldn't breathe through his nose) she didn't run down to see what I was doing and left me to it. We got on OK when he settled down but I admire her, not sure I could have been as restrained!

It's going to be a balancing act but it gives you a fantastic opportunity to get closer to your in-laws, hope it works out for you all.