Post # 1
Another post I saw sparked this question. it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a very long time now.
As a little background, I’m an only child (loved it and never wished for anything different tbh. Everyone is different). My DH has a brother. He does not want to have kids and neither do I at least right now. We’re in our early 20s and feel like maybe we’ll change our minds but if we don’t, we’re ok.
My MIL usually makes little jabby comments and I don’t know her motives behind them. She’s told me several times and I’ve heard her tell others that it’s mean to your child if you only have one. How it would be sad for them to grow up without any siblings. I find this frustrating as I’m an only child and its hurtful to me that she thinks I had a bad childhood. In my opinion, only children have no place to judge those with siblings just as much as those with siblings have no right to judge the life of only children.
Also, I’ve heard from her that not having kids would be selfish because you’d be robbing your parents of the chance to be grandchildren. And while her other child will have having a baby soon, it would be best for every child to give them grandchildren. SELFISH?! I probably should not have said anything but I said something to the affect that I think it is selfish to push such big life decisions on people for their own benefit when those people (the new parents) are the ones that have to deal with a possible outcome they did not want.
So I guess aside from a ventfest, I’m wondering if I should say anything in the future. This comes up fairly frequently especially since her other child’s baby is on the way soon. It just makes me upset and all the while I’m thinking “well what if we never have kids? How long will we have to listen to this bologna!?” Please help me. She’s convinced herself we’re going to change our minds when we get older.
Post # 3
I once had a pushy MIL, one who didn’t mind her own business, one who had to try to over-parent my kids when I was in the same room – I had to put her in her own place a few times to get her to stop. It eventually got threw to her. It’s going to piss her off a few times, but it will eventually click, she’ll back off sooner or later, just don’t give in.
Post # 4
The whole notion of “giving grandchildren” makes my skin crawl…or maybe it’s just the phrase. At any rate, I totally agree that it’s a life decision left up to the couple, and not for the benefit or enjoyment of anyone else.
I don’t think you need to orchestrate or rehearse any type of confrontation because it’s not likely that she’ll change her tune, but you know that you and your DH are confident in your decisions and that you’re happy with your life choices. Her views are very ignorant, and it’s not going to get you far to get into an argument with an ignorant person about a personal issue. If she gets really aggressive or confrontational moving forward, then it’s a conversation that you and DH need to have with her.
Post # 5
There is another choice. You can choose to NOT let her push your buttons.
She certainly is no the only mother or MIL who wants grandchildren or is opinionated.
It can be hard to listen to her remarks, but you do have control over how you let her affect you.
Post # 6
Thank you! She’s not confrontational about it yet anyway and she’s not agressive about it. I’m just sensitive towards the situation. I try not to bring it up with my mom because both my parents did want to have more kids and could not because of medical problems after my birth.
When someone is dead serious and says that only children are lonely, can’t make friends, and have social problems (to an only child)…. it’s hurtful. I know it’s not true but it hurts and I’d think she’d know me better than that.
Post # 7
@julies1949: I like that option! Thank you. It sounds easy but I’m sure it won’t be. I’m going to have to give this a try. I know there is no changing her mind but I don’t want her to be disappointed later in life.
Post # 8
I told my husband that if his parents brought it up more I’d tell them that we’ve been trying since the wedding, we haven’t been able to get pregant andit’sreallyhardIdon’twanttotalkaboutit *SOBSOBSOB*. 🙂 Then that we’re trying to save up for adoption, but that’s really expensive, so we’d appreciate any help, since they seem to want us to have kids as much as we do. Then take their money and buy a new house THE FUCK AWAY FROM THEM.
I wouldn’t go that far, but he got the point. 🙂
Post # 9
@almostmrsj: +1000 – This is brilliant.
@julies1949: I tend to agree with you here. The OP needs to turn her ears off and just ignore her MIL. Remember that you cannot reason with the unreasonable. There’s no sense in getting all worked up over what she’s saying since any decisions related to children are between the OP and her DH.
Post # 10
If it really bothers you it might be better in the long run to say something. It doesn’t have to be confrontational at all, something along the lines of “I was an only child and had a really great childhood. My parents provided me with everything I could have needed.”
As far as your plans to not have children, I wouldn’t engage her with a conversation about htis. It will just lead her to believe her opinion matters when it comes to decision time, and it doesn’t:)
Post # 11
Thanks for all your input! I’ve got to be more tough. Perhaps this would be something I’d be better with if I wasn’t an only child 😉 j/k
@almostmrsj: bahahahaha, awesome
Post # 12
We are 100% childfree and my mother in law used to push the pro-child agenda. My husband was the one to tell her that she could have these opinions all she wanted but that it was disrespectful to share them with us. I believe your husband has to be the one to stand up to her or else you become the enemy who is withholding grandchildren. The next time she says something hurtful, he should say something like, “Mom, we feel like you are not respecting our decisions. You are entitled to your opinions on only children and grandchildren but please keep them to yourself.”
It took a while but she has now stopped talking about us having kids.
Post # 13
@Mrs. Mustang: I am an only child (half sisters, but they’re 30 years older… their kids are older than me… so they don’t count), and I LOVED it. I never for one second wished for a brother or sister. I was extremely close to both my parents in a way you just can’t be if there’s more than one of you. My dad died when I was young, and that made me even closer to my mom. I wouldn’t change my sibling situation for anything.
Because of my experience, I plan on one child and one child only. I hope we can have what I had with my parents.
I have also been told that having just one child is selfish. My mother’s retort (which she only half means) is that having more than one child is selfish, because the world is already overpopulated and we no longer need to procreate for the survival of the species. Ha! It offends me when people are judgemental about the choices my family made, especially given how much I love them, and how I know that things would have been very different with more children.
Anyway… in your early 20s you don’t need to decide about kids. And what you do with your reproductive organs is really no one’s business, even if they are related to you. Your body, your bank account, your life, your choice. Choosing NOT to have kids isn’t selfish. Having kids are you aren’t ready for or don’t want IS. The kids will be the ones to suffer. If you decide you want zero, or one, or twelve… that’s on you and your partner. Everyone else can SHOVE IT.
Post # 14
@lanalnoco: Thank you so much. I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I feel so so close to my parents as well as my grandparents. While I can’t say this for certain, I think things would have been quite different otherwise. I got everything I ever needed and then some. This is what I want for our child if we do decide to have one. I’m sure there are plenty of only children that hated it but for me it was perfect.
Post # 15
@Mrs. Mustang: Sorry you’re going through this. I’m an only child as well and I have no complaints from my childhood. People ask me a lot – did you miss not having siblings? How can I answer that – having siblings wasn’t part of my experience so how can I miss something I didn’t experience? Frankly that question annoys me, b/c I never hear anyone asking a child with siblings if they missed out on being an only child! We’re due with our first baby in 2 weeks and my theory is – let’s see how we do with this one before we decide on having another. Hang in there!
Post # 16
I’m an only. I loved it. When I brought this up in front of FMIL about having kids and only wanting one, she said the same thing your MIL did. She thinks having one child is “awful” and “sad,” and that you HAVE to have at least two so that they’re not lonely. Uh, I was never lonely? I usually just ignore it or respond with, “I love being and only child, and I had a great childhood, but we’ll see when the time comes.”
Unfortunately, people like her will never understand, and usually see the sibling thing through rose-colored glasses (ironically).