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How to handle MIL and my baby... advice from other Gran's needed

(92 Posts)
Lesim91 Wed 13-Nov-19 12:26:23


I've always had a frosty relationship with my MIL as she is very overbearing at times and sulks when she doesn't get her own way.

Since my son (he's 13 weeks) was born I've made a effort to get along with her as I want him to spend time with his family. It was fine to begin with but since we said that we wanted to spend our first Christmas at home just the three of us, she's starting to get difficult- especially as she has chosen to work much of the Christmas period.

Now she's started to take it personally when she asks to visit (without much notice) and I already have plans. I'll offer alternative days but she says she is busy and sulks. She has also started to voice her disgust that my son will be attending nursery full time when I go back to work- he'll be 8 months old. She's been telling other family members that she thinks this is wrong but hasn't actually told me what she thinks to my face. I'm returning to work because I have to, not because I want to.

Recently when we visit she disregards anything I say about my son's needs. For example, if I try and put him down for a nap she'll be really loud and keep coming into the room, then tell me he's not tired because he's not gone to sleep. She'll make comments often we feed him and doesn't listen to me when I ask her to just put him down and let him chill for a bit when he's clearly getting agitated at being passed around and played with.

She's impossible and makes everything about her. What's the best way to handle it? I don't want to cut her out but it's not a nice atmosphere to be in

Lesim91 Wed 13-Nov-19 12:29:03

Oh and I should also add that we have said that she can pop in for an hour or so Christmas morning and open presents with him, but we've declined the huge family gathering at her house which is an hour away as we think it's all a bit much for a baby, especially if he isn't allowed to nap or chill out (he's not a cuddly baby and likes his independence)

Hetty58 Wed 13-Nov-19 12:38:09

Oh dear, she sounds just like my sister (a self-declared 'expert' on babies and children). She'll think that her way is the only right way - and therefore you're doing everything wrong!

You need to be assertive (take a course if you can). Reinforce the message that you decide how to care for the baby. Remain pleasant and friendly, even when it hurts.

Regularly inform her of days you are free to meet but minimise visits to her house. She will think it's fine to rule the roost in her own home. Try to organise things so that she has little opportunity to interfere and get your husband to back you up. He can remind her that you are the mother.

MamaCaz Wed 13-Nov-19 12:57:14

It sounds like you have your work cut out there, and are already doing all you can.
You sound both more mature and more reasonable than your mil.

If you don't want to cut her out (which I think should always be a last resort anyway), my only advice is to keep doing what you are doing, being 'the bigger person', staying calm and reasonable while firmly standing your ground. I doubt she will improve, but you never know!

Once you are back at work and your son is in nursery, you should see less of her anyway - unless, God forbid, she thinks it's ok to visit you at the end of a tiring day's work!
Hopefully your husband will be around more at the weekends, and if so, it's vital that he not only backs you up, but that he takes the lead in dealing with this!

DanniRae Wed 13-Nov-19 13:01:46

No advice but Good Luck! Mine was a pain in *rse so I know what you are going through flowers

Yehbutnobut Wed 13-Nov-19 13:10:07

Lesim invite her round for a cup of tea and a cake, then sit down and tell her, nicely, how you feel. You need to at least give her the opportunity to understand how you feel and mend her ways. Also meet her half way.

It’s not all about her and it’s not all about you and baby.

A good working relationship depends on give and take.

SueDonim Wed 13-Nov-19 13:51:24

This is your husband's mother, he needs to be telling her to back off.

Don't feel you need to justify why you're going back to work, either. Whether you need to go back for financial reasons or because you don't want to be at home 24/7 with a baby or you want to push ahead with your career is really no one else's business except yours and your dh's.

Good luck!

Desdemona Wed 13-Nov-19 14:06:13

Do what you feel you need to do, and ask your husband to deal with his mother. Men are so often let off the hook in terms of peoples behavior - why are women left to deal with it and agonise over it all the time?

glammanana Wed 13-Nov-19 14:25:58

You certainly seem to have your work cut out with your MIL,you must get this sorted before you go back to work or as *MamaCaz she could appear on your doorstep when you get in from work-nightmare.
Make your OH as much as he loves his mum speak to her and tell her to back off as you want to be together to enjoy your new little family unit.

MovingOn2018 Wed 13-Nov-19 14:46:02

You are the gatekeeper to your immediate family. Set boundaries now and apply consequcnes to any broken boundaries. Let her know her role as a grandmother. She does not get to have an opinion, influence or decision over a child thats not hers. Her parenting days are done. As a grandmother her role is to help the parents to her grandchild raise their child by abiding to their wishes. And not take over and treat you like a surrogate. What you allow will only continue.

Hithere Wed 13-Nov-19 15:04:50

What does your dh think about it?

If he is not on the same page as him, he is the problem

Start by redirecting all the MIL communications to her son.

Nansnet Thu 14-Nov-19 04:32:27

My DS and DiL had/have a similar problem, but with my son's MiL, not with me! She is overbearing and manipulative. DiL is too nice to say anything, as she doesn't want to cause any upset with her mum, and my DS just wants to keep the peace, but often complains to me about her! I once made the mistake of speaking my mind, as she had also upset me, but that caused a bit of bad feeling within the family at that time, for which I regret. Although, sometimes, things need to be said!

Whenever she visits them, she often takes over and, in the past, has disregarded routines that DiL & DS have with our GD. Last time we all visited together, I witnessed her telling them she didn't agree with the way they do things, and she disrupted our GD bedtime routine which DiL & DS had been working on. Then, when GD became unsettled, and wouldn't go down to sleep, she finally hands her back to mum/dad to deal with a very fretful baby late at night!

I do my bit by offering support and encouragement when needed/wanted, and always tell them what a great job they're doing as parents, because they are. But these days, I tend to stand back and keep my mouth shut as far as the other MiL is concerned!

It's awful when you have a bad atmosphere within a family, and I really sympathize with you. But it seems that you and your husband are on the same page as far as your MiL is concerned. It's difficult, I know, but for the sake of a harmonious family relationship, try not to let this develop into any kind of argument. Try to have a casual conversation with her, and tell her it's not easy being a new parent/grandparent, and there's lots to learn. Tell her that you know she'd like you all to join them for Christmas Day, but you and your husband would really like to spend your 1st Christmas relaxing together at home, without any stresses of unsettling the baby's routine, etc.

As someone else suggested, call and invite her round occasionally, when it suits you, but if she's not available, at least she can't say you don't invite her! When you visit her, and she takes over, I can understand how annoying that must be for you, but looking at it another way, you could let her get on with it and have a bit of a rest yourself! It's till early days, and the novelty of her new GC, could wear off over time, and she won't be quite so overbearing.

Hang in there, and make sure you and your husband stay on the same side. Hopefully things will settle down for you.

blueskies Thu 14-Nov-19 09:56:08

Your MiL sounds stressed. You both love the baby but she lives an hour away from him. She has a large family gathering for Christmas and is working for part of the holiday. Cut her some slack. You can afford to be magnanimous so why not suggest that you pay her a visit close to Christmas with presents etc--her date and time. Be nice to her it is Christmas.

jaylucy Thu 14-Nov-19 09:57:40

There is a part of me that strangely envys the fact that your mother wants to be so involved! My Mil left me very much to my own devices and only came round (rarely) if she was invited!
Like others have said, I would get your OH to be involved. As long as you are both reading off the same hymn sheet, either he needs to have a quiet word with his mother or you both need to invite her round to your house ,can someone else take your son out at the time ? Sit her down and tell her just what you want from her. Your house, your rules.
Yes, she may kick off. Yes, she may sulk but you are fully aware of that. It will be her that misses out.

sandelf Thu 14-Nov-19 10:03:06

You are married - it is his role to help you. Do not let this be between you and her.

ReadyMeals Thu 14-Nov-19 10:17:01

Get a video doorbell - Nest Hello works well. You can see who is at the door and not answer it when you can't face her. She might learn to make advance arrangement with you then. If she guesses you were in when you didn't answer the door you can tell her honestly "sorry I wasn't expecting anyone so I ignored it" smile

pollyanna1962 Thu 14-Nov-19 10:17:22

I'm a gran and can see her side, yes you can do exactly what you like with your child day to day. But she will have all her years of experience bubbling up too in the presence of a bay.
The thing that would destroy me is you Christmas plans, I find them cruel, saying she may pop in for an hour to open presents, what a slap in the face for a new gran, I would be mortified and very very hurt. Your baby is so young its the best time to travel and be at family do as they have no clue.
I lost my mum in my 30's, think on.

Lancslass1 Thu 14-Nov-19 10:18:03

Re your baby going to a nursery,Lesim91.
I was in the same position as you.
My son went to a nursery when he was tiny and stayed until he went to school
He loved it.
In those days they were allowed to play in the snow with buckets and spades.
On his first day at school he ran in when he saw all the toys on display without a backward glance to me.
Other children were clinging to their mothers.
I was told by a doctor that it is better for both mother and child to have a Break from one another.
My son has told me more than once that he had a very happy childhood..

NanaandGrampy Thu 14-Nov-19 10:19:59

Crikey Moving On ! I have to say I read your post with mounting horror!

I don’t have DiL only SiL and they welcome my input and opinion and take on board anything I have to offer. They , rightly, decide what if any advice to take but I definitely feel part of the family not some unwelcome bystander fenced in by rules !

As for the OP , I’m sure there will be plenty of advice from the board - some of it so far from my realm of experience that I’m glad my family aren’t like this.

NanaandGrampy Thu 14-Nov-19 10:21:10

Great post Pollyana 😁

Maremia Thu 14-Nov-19 10:29:35

Good luck with all of this. Can I ask, cos it will happen, who will look after the baby on days when your little son is too unwell to go into nursery, for example has been actively sick? I know there are exclusion rules and timings for this. If you are going to have to ask MiL to babysit at those times, that could change the dynamics. Hope you have a lovely Christmas, the way you want it.

ReadyMeals Thu 14-Nov-19 10:30:24

Pollyanna1962 at least this poster and her partner have not NC'd the grandparents. Us oldies are being NC'd for the flimsiest of excuses these days sad

absthame Thu 14-Nov-19 10:36:36

I don't understand why people with this issue, after trying for a period, don't pass it over to their husband to sort. As a husband I would be upset to feel that my wife was struggling with my mother, because of my mother's behaviour and feeling that she has to sort it alone.

Yes get your husband to sort it.

Rocknroll5me Thu 14-Nov-19 10:37:50

I’m with blueskies and Pollyanna. Don’t abuse your power. You have her son and her grandson, be gentle be considerate be empathetic. One day it might be you who is excluded.

Kathy1959 Thu 14-Nov-19 10:45:48

I don’t agree with Pollyanna at all. I was at both ends as well. I could write for decades about the trials and tribulations of my late MIL. All I can say is, your children and their welfare MUST come first. Anybody else’s feelings are not relevant. We put up with her for 25 years, with lots of spaces in between. Your children WILL notice when things aren’t right. We eventually shut our doors when we were 40, 20 years ago, and it was the most peaceful and restful time ever. My granny warned me, before we even had the children,( as my husband and I met when we were 16 ), after she met my MIL, “ be very careful of her, she’ll never change, be strong and take charge, particularly when you have babies “. Sadly my dear granny passed before my children were born, but I always trusted her wisdom. She was right, no matter how much we tried, the best we ever got was denial that there was a problem!! The one thing I learnt from this woman, was how NOT to behave with your adult children. Being a grandparent is a privilege, not a right, and if our grandchildren’s parents said we couldn’t see them for any reason, then that would be fine. Christmas Day I really wouldn’t expect to, but we all get along well, so they want us there. Your MIL sounds like she’s wavered all her ‘ rights’. Remember, you’re investing in your children, not upwards to parents and in laws. They’ve had their turn. All the best.