Post # 1
I need some advice from people who are dealing with/have successfully dealt with an overly-involved mother in law. My husband is one of 3, and both of his sisters already have several kids. My MIL babysat all of them (to differing degrees) and really loves being a grandmother. I know she’s trying to be helpful, but I think she takes it way too far. She openly admits that she wants the kids to love her more than they love their mothers, she is constantly taking babies out of their mothers’ arms and saying she knows how to do it better, and she’s always doing things that (at least in my opinion) should be left for the mom to do.
I’ve been watching this for years, and I’m now pregnant with our first (which she, of course, is already referring to as “my baby”). I work full time, and I plan to go back to work after maternity leave. I’m going to work from home two afternoons a week, but we will need child care aside from that. I DO NOT want my mother in law to have my child for the rest of the time. I’m happy to let her watch the baby on the mornings that I work from home in the afternoon, but I really want to do daycare the other 3 days. I just can’t stand the idea that she’s going to be spending that much time with my child- I know she’s going to be difficult to deal with as it is, and I think that if she both spends that much time with our kid, and can hold it over our head that she’s doing us a favor, she’s going to be a nightmare.
I admit that some of this is probably coming from a place of insecurity on my part- I’m really nervous about becoming a mom and I don’t like the idea that she’s going to try to prove that she’s better at it than me. I’ve tried explaining this all to my husband, but he’s unwilling to compromise. He says we shouldn’t be paying for daycare when she’ll do it for free, and while he totally understands and sees how his mom is with the other kids, it just doesn’t bother him at all.
Help! Am I being unreasonable? Should I just let her watch our child every day? Have any of you dealt with a similar situation? I’m 27 weeks pregnant right now and I’m finding life to be stressful enough as it is- I’d really like to have some sort of plan in place so I can stop worrying about it!
Post # 3
@DaisMay: I don’t think you’re nuts! Honestly, it’ll be easier for you to set boundaries from the get-go. Make sure your husband is on board so you can be a united front. When it comes down to– “Oh when will you need me to watch the kids?” You can just say, OH, this tuesday morning. You just need to be firm in your choice, and maybe later down the line you’ll feel more comfortable with her watching them more often. My grandmother used to come over unannounced on a DAILY basis (I was the first child and grandchild) and my mother almost lost her mind. Make it clear to her that you are the mother and will be choosing how the child is raised. Take her up on some babysitting time so she doesn’t feel left out, but do not let it seem like she is doing you a massive favor.As a never-pregnant bee, this is my opinion. I totally get where you’re coming from.
Post # 4
I don’t think you’re being unreasonable. If you can get your husband on board you can just tell MIL that you think daycare is good for socialization with other kids/babies.
Post # 5
I wouldn’t want someone like that watching my kid at all. I’d rather spend the money on someone who doesn’t want to compete with me.
Post # 6
I wouldn’t want any family member watching my child that often. It’s too much responsibility to ask of someone without paying them.
Post # 7
@DaisMay: I would definatly use daycare, not only because you don’t need to compete with her and it’s unconfortable for you, but it’s better that he socializes with other kids not his family and for imune reasons (being exposed to more frequent illness can make his imune system stronger when he/she grows up).
Post # 8
@DaisMay: have a discussion with your husband first and set ground rules for when your MIL is watching your child. make sure you and your husband are on the same page.
tell these rules to your MIL together. if she can’t follow the rules, she can’t watch your child.
Post # 9
I totally understand!! Except my MIL lives NEXT DOOR… so there’s no escaping her being around our baby A LOT. Our originaly plan for was for my husband to take the baby to work with him when I go back, and maybe let MIL watch him for a day or 2 a week. Well she had a talk with DH and they decided – without me – that she would watch the baby full time, every day… While I’m glad he’ll be watched by someone who loves him and not some 16 year old at a day care, I still worry about boundries and if she’ll follow our rules or not. And she’s totally the type to take him for his first haircut and then tell us about it… Yes, day care is expensive and yes, she’ll be watching him for free… but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. She even has a whole nursery set up for him. She bought all brand new furniture when I was around 10 weeks, decorated in black and white because she couldn’t wait for us to find out the sex at 16 weeks.. AND she did the whole nursery before even asking us what our plan was for when I go back to work, for all she knew I was going to quit and stay home so everything she bought was for nothing. I really only have 3 rules for her – no soda/candy/junk food (he’ll be a infant, but I wouldn’t put it past her – she gives her dog diet coke…), no pacifiers (unless my husband and I decide we want to use them, but we want to try and go without if we can), and put him down for naps on a schedule so he will sleep for us at night. She knows the rules and had said she’ll follow them and won’t go against our wishes on anything, so we’ll see… 37 weeks today so we’ll find out soon enough! Good luck!
Post # 10
I’m 30 weeks pregnant with my first and going through a very similar situation. The only difference is this is my MIL’s first grandchild. I know she’s going to be a problem though because she treats her almost 30-year-old kids like they’re still her “babies.” I swear, it’s her mission in life when we’re all together to try to show me how much she loves her son (my DH) and how he *must* love her more than he loves me. It drives me crazy.
Anywho, she volunteered to watch the baby while we both work full time. As much as this would be a HUGE break for us money-wise, I couldn’t agree to allow her to watch the baby all 5 days. So we signed the baby up for 3 days in daycare and she’ll be watching the baby 2 days/week. We told her it was really important for the baby to be socialized with other babies and we wanted our LO to get a “head start” with learning (our daycare starts teaching them things from a very young age). It is partially true, I do want those aspects for our child, but I would’ve been ok with keeping LO out of daycare for a year or so if we had another option. I just couldn’t imagine my MIL with her 5 full days/week. She already thinks this is her baby so for her to spend 40+ hours a week alone with her? no way.
If your DH really isn’t on board I would do as PP said and make sure you set some rules. And make them very clear from the start. Maybe try to explain to him the perks daycare has to offer. Even if you only sign the baby up for 2 days, then have MIL watch the baby the mornings before you get home and then one full day on her own?
Post # 11
I don’t have a baby but my DH and I did babysit our nephew for a few hours and my mother was a total nightmare. She loves to give advice and pretend that she knows best. I looked at my husband and we both had the same thought that this is what it’s going to be like when we have a kid. It will be the first grandchild for my parents, too. We’ve both decided that we never want either grandmas to babysit unless it’s an emergency. DH’s mother smokes and my mother is controlling and passive-agressive and doesn’t respect boundaries. Either set limits ahead of time and be firm (your DH and you have to agree on everything in advance so that she can’t play you two against each other) and hire a babysitter or daycare service.
Post # 12
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I will say this from the perspective of a Mother who didn’t set grandparent boundaries. I can give you a bunch of legitimate reasons, but it’s neither here nor there as to why things were the way that they were. All I can tell you is that 15 years later I wish I had set boundaries with my own Mother when it comes to my son. She thinks of my kid as her own and says so, routinely throws tantrums because I moved us an hour away and she can’t see him every day, and has taken to guilting my son for not visiting her more often. She had the balls to tell me that I needed to “share custody” of DS with her because she misses him so much. She was only half-joking when she said that. And she is trying the same type of thing with my nephew (he’s 3). Fortunately my brother and SIL are pushing back some. It’s just ridiculous.
Mr. LK and I are in the early stages of TTC talks, and I know that things will be much different this time. Boundaries…. FIRM boundaries… are my friend.
Post # 13
@DaisMay: My mother does home daycare professionally. I love her dearly and she’s good at taking care of children but I don’t want her watching my kid. She constantly undermines me behind my back because she feels she “knows better”. I know without a doubt in my mind if I say “please don’t do X with the baby” if she disagreed she’d just do it behind my back.
Post # 14
I have no problem with my ILs watching our future children, and would actually prefer it to sending our kids to daycare. BUT, there will be rules set so that we are all on the same page.
Post # 15
Never freaking happen. Both our mothers are hot messes. And we both daily wear the scars of their toxic parenting styles. My mother is…different with my nephew and I perhaps have reason to believe that she wouldn’t treat my child as poorly as she treated me, but nope. Not risking it. As for his mother, I barely know her. And what I DO know of her approach to child-rearing I don’t really respect. After our baby, one of us will stay home as long as possible. After that, licensed professional daycare. We can make supervised day-trips to Grandma’s house.
Post # 16
My mom will probably watch our kids for at least part of the week when we have them. We’re definitely going to have to have some firm guidelines when it comes to some things. I think, ultimately, that you have to relax and go with the flow on others though. Like, I can definitely have a boundary of no candy and no fast food, one treat each day, that kind of thing and I should be able to get her to stick to that. If I try to tell her she can’t take my kid with her while she shops all day, it’ll never work. In the end, I’d rather they’re out and about than watching TV so I guess it’s not so bad. Still, there are a couple of things that make me nervous when it comes to leaving them with her and I go back and forth thinking maybe part time day care needs to happen.