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Sleepovers (question from DIL)

(94 Posts)
Daisy79 Fri 04-Dec-20 04:16:38

Hello all-

I am trying to see things from my MIL’s point of view and reading here has been very helpful.

I am still struggling with a particular topic and was hoping some kind grans would be willing to share thoughts.

My DS is 9 months old. As a covid era baby, it’s been a difficult road. Many feelings have been hurt as we try to keep our child safe and healthy, and as we try to follow government guidelines.

One particular topic that has caused a lot of grief has been pressure from my MIL to babysit (and, in particular, to have our baby sleep over).

I expected to accept more childcare help before our baby was born, but between covid, her constant pressure, and concerns about what I’ve seen in her childcare of our niece, I’m very hesitant. The few times we have left him in her care for a few hours (at her insistence), it has been very stressful for both my husband and me. Our son has been quite cranky upon returning home and we found his sleep was disrupted for multiple days after. Her home is very loud and she has stated she doesn’t feel naps are really necessary (despite our clear explanations that our 9 month old MUST nap at certain intervals).

Her pressure to provide childcare has intensified and she is especially getting pushy about wanting to have the baby overnight. I am having a hard time understanding the insistence and running out of ways to politely say no.

I am a stay at home mom and my husband currently works from home. We don’t go out much due to covid and we take turns running errands. I want to make my MIL happy and feel included, but we don’t actually need any childcare help at this time and I am not comfortable with being away from my child overnight.

Could anyone please share their feelings on the insistence to have overnight stays (just the baby, without us there)? This seems like a common pressure and I am trying to understand it.

Thank you!

OceanMama Fri 04-Dec-20 04:36:38

Maybe your MIL needs you to be more direct? You said you've run out of ways to say no nicely. Maybe she's one of these people who doesn't get hints and needs to be told things straight?

It sounds like you have allowed your MIL to pressure you into doing something with your child that you aren't comfortable with. It causes stress. The baby will pick up on this stress in his parents. You do not owe your MIL any particular grandma experience. She has had her turn with her children. Now it is your turn to make decisions about how you will raise your child. You can say no to anything at all. If MIL gets upset or reacts badly, that is for her to deal with. It doesn't mean you have done anything wrong.

A nine month old needs his parents more than anyone. Tell MIL, "Thank you for your kind offer. We don't need childcare at this time but will let you know if we would like your help." When it comes to overnights: "Thanks for the offer but we prefer to wait until he is older before we do something like that." Or, since you've already been doing them, "We have found it difficult to have our son away from us at such a young age and have decided that we will not do it again until he is much older." Any objections, just tell her it's what you've decided as his parents. She doesn't have to agree or like it.

MIL doesn't have to have your baby overnight or for childcare to feel included. She can visit during the day and read him books, help feed him if that is something you are comfortable with, take him for walks (with or without you, depending on how you feel about that), go on outings with you both, come for lunch in the weekend. She doesn't need to have alone time with him. If she is not happy to accept what is offered, this is not your problem and you don't have to correct it.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but I see a young mother who is doing things she is uncomfortable with to please her MIL when there is no need for you to cause yourself this stress. Your baby, your way. No-one else gets to make those decisions. Anyone who doesn't like what you decide, including grandma, will just have to get over it.

What do you think is best for your baby? That should inform your decision, not what is best for MIL.

OceanMama Fri 04-Dec-20 04:38:10

As far as what is best for your baby, what does this tell you?

Our son has been quite cranky upon returning home and we found his sleep was disrupted for multiple days after.

Ironflower Fri 04-Dec-20 04:43:19

I have a 9 month old too! My in-laws have watched her twice (at our house). I have no plans to let them have overnights until she's about 2 (or even just at their house). She's too little. It's okay to have a boundary that the routine (naps) must be followed if she wants to babysit (or she won't get too). However sometimes bubbas don't want to sleep for others and that's okay too, as long as they tried. You do what's comfortable for you, don't ever feel pressured or let her pressure you. "Sorry we're not comfortable with overnights yet" is a perfectly acceptable response.

Spinnaker Fri 04-Dec-20 05:38:21

Agree with all of the above. Basically, your baby your rules.

Loislovesstewie Fri 04-Dec-20 06:03:54

Say; ' Sorry that doesn't work for me' and refuse to say more . In this instance you hold all of the cards, if you are a SAHM you don't need childcare so won't be looking for her to help you go back to work. I think 9 months is far too young to leave overnight. I think you need to put your foot down firmly now, because you are going to find she will interfere more if you cave in now. As they say on Mumsnet ' No is a complete sentence'

gt66 Fri 04-Dec-20 06:08:26

I agree with everyone else up thread....if you and your baby are not happy for him to stay overnight, then you must stick to your guns and not let her bully pressure you into giving in.

What about your husband? Could he not be the one to say no to his Mum?

vegansrock Fri 04-Dec-20 06:47:02

Put your child first. He won’t enjoy a sleepover. Babies this age like routine. Just say Thanks, but no thanks., don’t engage in a discussion.

Ashcombe Fri 04-Dec-20 06:56:58

I think the advice given above is very sound and I’m sorry these special early months with your little one are being marred by your MIL. Most grandparents delight in the arrival of grandchildren but one of the joys is to enjoy their company knowing you don’t have ultimate responsibility for them.

Relationships with in laws can be fraught; it came as quite a shock to me to find that, although my late MIL treated me kindly, I was not loved by my FIL who found me too assertive.

You say you have concerns over your MIL's care of your niece which set alarm bells ringing. You sound like a very caring, sensible mother and I’m sorry your MIL is being so insistent. Encourage your DH to speak to her, as gt66 suggests. Follow your instincts above all and let us know how things develop. Good luck!

Purpledaffodil Fri 04-Dec-20 07:06:38

I would not have felt at all happy sending a baby that age to sleep overnight anywhere. Likewise would never have asked DD to do it. As others have said it’s your baby and your rules. Sounds like MiL wants to play dollies!

mumofmadboys Fri 04-Dec-20 07:17:16

You are being perfectly reasonable. I would never have let my children sleep away from us at that age, only when they were much older and understood what it was all about. As it happens ours never slept at grandparents unless we were there too as they lived too far away. You must do what is best for your baby. Good luck and stick to your decision.

Esspee Fri 04-Dec-20 07:52:51

Hopefully, if you make it really clear that overnights are simply not going to happen because neither of you can bear to be parted from your baby, she will stop asking. It is up to your husband to tell her while you are there. You both have to show a united front.

Astral Fri 04-Dec-20 08:04:48

Why does she need to spend time with him asleep? Surely awake is better. She has had much more than is even allowed/recommended (depending on where you are) during the pandemic.

Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with. Seeing her is already having a negative effect on your sonand you.

"thank you for offering but we do not plan to let him stay anywhere overnight for a while, we will let you know when we are ready."

Grandmabatty Fri 04-Dec-20 08:08:40

All of the posters have given excellent advice. Your mil is really out of order demanding a sleepover. It may be that she is excited about being a grandmother but you are in charge, this is your baby. You and your husband have to be a united front on this. I had dgs for a sleepover when he was ten months because my daughter asked if I would. I was exhausted! I've had him once overnight after lock down when he was a bit older. I never ask to have him overnight as I think at two he's still a bit wee. I know dd and dsil had problems with his dad as he was determined to have dgs regularly overnight. They were firm that it wasn't happening and keep reiterating that. You do the same. Best wishes to you.

Gingster Fri 04-Dec-20 08:22:36

Your MIL has no right to be so demanding. She needs to be told, once and for all. She’s a silly woman who needs to stand back and only be there for you, if asked.

Septimia Fri 04-Dec-20 09:12:05

I occasionally babysat my GD, in her own home, when she was little. It couldn't be frequent due to the distance between our homes.

She didn't come to stay overnight with us, on her own, until she was 7. That was quite soon enough for her and now she enjoys coming.

I don't see it is necessary for a baby to sleep over with grandparents other than in exceptional circumstances. Perhaps a compromise would be to ask you MiL to look after your baby in your home occasionally while you go out or have a night away.

Toadinthehole Fri 04-Dec-20 09:31:41

Goodness, where do I start?! Regardless of ANY of the reasons you’ve sited as to why you don’t want to do this.....there is absolutely no need, ever, for such a young baby to stay overnight with grandparents. I’m not an advocate of it ever to be honest with you, no matter how old the child is. We’ve had our time, although if you must do it, I would say 10 years old is soon enough. I respect those who think differently.
She sounds a nightmare....just like my late MIL. Forget ‘ making her happy’. It doesn’t work, we tried it. This is your precious baby, her feelings don’t count. It’s time to impolitely say NO. You won’t regret it. Your child must come first, and if you have more, you need to have set the boundaries now, otherwise it’ll just get harder.
I wish you all the best.

DiscoDancer1975 Fri 04-Dec-20 09:38:05

Yes, only in an absolute emergency, would I ever have thought about letting my children stay overnight with grandparents. Luckily...we never had an emergency!

GagaJo Fri 04-Dec-20 09:47:14

I've had sleepovers with my GS since he was about a year old. But I totally accept following his mum's routine while he's with me. Why wouldn't I? He's easier to cope with if I do.

I think you're reasonable to say, 'not yet'. But I think you also have to be very clear with her. IF in the future she has him overnight, you expect his routine to be followed. If not, the visits won't happen again. You need to tell her it's about trust.

Smileless2012 Fri 04-Dec-20 09:51:09

It is difficult with a new baby to have a pushy GM whether it's your own mum or m.i.l.

My m.i.l. was exactly the same and looking back, especially with our first born, she did baby sit during the day and evenings when we didn't really need her too; no over night stays though until the boys were much older.

There were times when I felt pressured and that I 'gave in'; ours wasn't the easiest of relationships. She has said to me over the years, more times then I can count, how grateful she was and always will be for the amount of time they got to spend with our boys. Far more than any of their other GC including those of their two daughters.

Do what you feel is best for you and your baby Daisy and get your H on board so his mum knows these are joint decisions. Although as I've said there were times when I did feel under pressure, I never 'gave in' to anything that made me uncomfortable or I felt wasn't in the best interests of our children.

Knowing now how grateful my m.i.l. was and remains, for the opportunity they had to have our boys 'all to themselves' makes the times when I felt frustrated and under pressure worth while.

NotSpaghetti Fri 04-Dec-20 09:55:47

This is ridiculous. If you aren't happy with it then it's no use.

Tell her you "feel that now isn't the right time - but you will be the first to know when we're ready" and thank her for the offer.
Do NOT get into a discussion. This is what you feel. Do not try to supply evidence or reason. She has nowhere to challenge if it's your feeling.
If you give a reason she'll have a solution.

Good luck!

Tanjamaltija Fri 04-Dec-20 09:59:30

You do not have to give excuses, or reasons, to this person. "No, thank you. The baby sleeps where we sleep, unless it's an emergency" ought to be enough.

25Avalon Fri 04-Dec-20 10:02:10

Don’t do it. Also I would have concerns about where this could lead to in the future. You need to establish boundaries now so that mil knows it is your child and your rules. Did her own mil treat her in this way? I very much doubt it. Try to do it kindly though in an assertive fashion. It is a difficult time with Covid and maybe this has affected her mental state. You and your dh need to stand firm together. As for making her happy you can’t do this at the expense of your own happiness, and she is the bullying one making you unhappy.

Grannynannywanny Fri 04-Dec-20 10:04:01

there is absolutely no need, ever, for such a young baby to stay overnight with grandparents

I disagree with you there Toadinthehole. When my now 12 year old GD was 9 months my daughter returned 2 days a week to her job as an ICU nurse we did just that. My SIL is a firefighter and on average one day a week their shifts clashed. As they had to both leave home at 5.45am I had my baby GD from the previous evening till they returned from work. I’d have her back in her own house by evening ready to welcome them home from work and I’d have a meal ready to serve up to them while they had a cuddle with baby.

It was an absolute pleasure for me to do it. She was a very contented baby and slept all night and woke with a smile on her face.

I’m sure they aren’t the only couple who need that back up to allow them to work.

The OP’s scenario is different. Her MIL is putting her under pressure to leave baby overnight with her and that is out of order. She is in the fortunate position of being a stay at home mum and her MIL needs to back off.

Coconut Fri 04-Dec-20 10:11:00

Don’t allow this pushy MIL to spoil your time with your baby. You have enough to deal with, without her. Your DH should tell her kindly but firmly to stop, as she is at risk of pushing you all away. It’s all about what you want as parents, not MIL, and she should be sensitive enough to listen to your wishes. Some people just do not respond to subtle, as they’re too focussed on what they want.... so stand your ground and literally say that you do not wish to discuss it further, and don’t .....