Post # 1
I’m due with my first baby in just a couple of weeks. Darling Husband and I live in the same city as both sets of parents. In fact, our parents live in the same neighborhood…just a few blocks away from each other. Both sets of parents already have grandchildren from siblings but this is the first baby on either side in over 10 years. Thus there’s been lots of excitement.
Im super close to my parents and Darling Husband is close to my parents too. My parents are so excited about the new baby that they’ve gone crazy buying things for him and making things for him. My mom is retired and will be watching our baby when I go back to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave. I know when I’m out on leave, my baby and I will be spending a lot of time with my mom. We’re just really close. I also know that when my son is old enough I trust my parents to watch him overnight and maybe while Darling Husband and I take a vacation. My mom is calm, sane, trustworthy and amazing with kids.
On the other hand there’s Mother-In-Law. She and I are not close in the least bit. We’ve had a rocky history and have gotten into a few tiffs over the years. She’s generally a difficult person. I’d get into more of what she’s done and said but this post would be too long. Because of our history, I NEVER see her. Like ever. Darling Husband is close with his family but I basically have cut her out of my life in the last few months. When he sees his parents, he goes without me. It may seem weird but it’s worked until now. Also, Father-In-Law has health issues and can’t deal with a lot of noise and commotion in his house. I’ve seen him yell at older grandchildren for normal kid behavior…can you imagine a baby crying??? According to Darling Husband, Mother-In-Law keeps buying toys and baby gear to keep at her house for when baby is there, but I can’t figure out when he’ll be there long enough to use them. I am not comfortable being at their house at all and right now I can’t imagine wanting to give up time with my baby while he’s very young, especially while I’m on maternity leave and I plan on breastfeeding as well.
I know Mother-In-Law is a loving grandmother and I would NEVER want to deny her a relationship with her grandchild, despite our relationship issues. Ever. I realize I will have to get over our differences a bit in order to foster a good relationship between my in laws and my child. I just haven’t figured out yet how to manage expectations. I don’t want to be jealousy and hurt feelings but I know my parents will be seeing my child more.
Have any of you dealt with this? How did you manage expectations and how did you foster a good grandchild/grandparent relationship?
Post # 2
Your Darling Husband can’t take baby over there? Ya’ll can’t spend the night even though you are in the same city?
I mean, you are going to have to put your big girl panties on and bite your tongue.
Post # 3
I don’t think it has to be completely “fair” in terms of which grandparent gets to spend more time with the baby. Given the childcare arrangements, naturally your mom is going to spend more time with the baby than his mom, and that’s completely fine.
That being said–
“I can’t figure out when he’ll be there long enough to use them. I am not comfortable being at their house at all and right now I can’t imagine wanting to give up time with my baby while he’s very young, especially while I’m on maternity leave and I plan on breastfeeding as well.“
So you are going to have to compromise on this by quite a bit, or you will easily slip into the territory of denying your Mother-In-Law a relationship with her grandchild. I mean it’s not like she can talk on the phone with your baby and I doubt being in the same city she’ll be happy with only seeing her grandchild on FaceTime or something. So like, either you’re going to have to compromise on your comfort-level of being at their house, or you’re going to have to compromise on giving up time with your baby, even while he’s very young.
Perhaps for the first few months, while you’re on maternity leave, you allow your in-laws to visit you at your house. After that, you let your husband continue going over to your in-laws’ without you, only now he can take the baby along. You and your husband should discuss how often would be good for all sides. Once a week for Sunday dinners? Every other week? Something along those lines.
Post # 4
bibber : yes I totally realize this is going to require some change on my part…I was just looking for some advice on how to handle it.
camenae : thank you for your reply! I agree that grandparent time doesn’t have to be equal but I should have stated above that Mother-In-Law is VERY worried about getting her fair share and has made comments to Darling Husband and at my baby shower she talked to my mom about it. I agree I’m going to have to compromise and having the ILs come over sounds good. I really like your ideas.
Post # 5
morganc8 : It probably seems like you’re going to want to spend every waking minute with your new baby. But I generally have found that people – even new moms- want and need a break from their newborns! I don’t have kids yet, but my sister really appreciated having someone come over and watch the baby in order to give her a chance to nap or take a shower during the day, while she was on maternity leave and her husband was at work. She was often awake most of the night with the baby, and having a family member babysit during the day for a few hours gave her a much-needed rest period.
If your Mother-In-Law would do that, you wouldn’t have to interact with Mother-In-Law much at all – just leave her comfortably with the baby and go do your own thing in another part of the house for a couple hours!
Also, she could watch the baby while you go out for a little bit – if you need to go shopping for groceries or nursing bras or whatever. Or she could babysit while you and your husband have a date night. It’s imporant for you guys to have couple time, even when the little one is very young.
Post # 6
morganc8 : can I ask.. Does Mother-In-Law know what she did to be cut off from you? Does she regret it? I assume it must be bad, since she is close with Darling Husband.. My Darling Husband is close with his mom and I put up with a decent amount of disrespect and boundary crossing behavior for his sake, and you sound like a sweet and level headed person so I assume you would do the same. That leads me to believe she must have done or said some rather nasty things to make you avoid her so completely.
I’d try visiting with the baby and Darling Husband, if what she said/did in the past can be forgiven for the sake of your baby. If she does/says that thing again, leave–make sure Darling Husband knows the game plan too. You don’t need to put up with abuse, and will not be setting a good example for your child if you do. Wait till she apologizes, wait till you cool off, try again. Each time, you may need to take a little longer to cool off.
Either Mother-In-Law will start behaving appropriately or she’ll be the cause of her own lack of time with her grandson in a very direct way.
FYI Without the context of what she did, you’ll get most suggestions that simply tell you to “suck it up”, I think. Mine are based on some strong assumptions, and if I assumed wrong then of course ignore my advice. I had to make those assumptions to say something other than “suck it up”.
ETA: letting Darling Husband take the baby for a couple hours to her place so you can shower and sleep wouldn’t be terrible, either.
Post # 7
Use Mother-In-Law for date nights. Quickly drop off your baby, go out and enjoy time with your husband for a few hours and then go collect the baby. You’d only have to see her a few minutes.
Post # 8
morganc8 : Having your Darling Husband take the baby over to their house sounds like a brilliant idea to me as well. There were times I literally begged my husband to take my son somewhere(anywhere!) so I could just take a nap. You really do listen for the baby all the time and it was so much easier to truly relax and rest if I knew he wasn’t even in the house. I exclusively breastfed as well but a nice two-hour break when the baby has just been fed is perfectly doable. My Mother-In-Law gets a little competitive over who gets to see my son the most (both grandmas live out of state) and when she starts making comparisons we just gently shut her down be reminding her how much our son loves BOTH his grandmas. Or my husband straight-up tells her to cut it out sometimes haha. Good luck!
Post # 9
I’d like to know what she did to basically stop speaking to you. IMO if you don’t see me, you don’t see my kid. Package deal.
We have Mother-In-Law over for one hour a week to see the baby. My mom usually comes over for a visit on the weekend and/or we go out to lunch. It doesn’t have to be “fair.” A baby is not a toy that has to be shared.
My MIL’s bff brought her a shitload of baby stuff from when she watched her grandchildren. I guess Mother-In-Law seriously thought she was going to be childcare when I went back to work? Yeah no. Dd has never been to her apartment ever.
Post # 10
I don’t have a child yet but I do have a Mother-In-Law who I don’t love so I understand your situation. You’re quite fortunate that you’ve been able to avoid her so far haha and that your Darling Husband doesn’t expect you to visit them at all. Since your ILs live in the same neighbourhood dropping off your baby (when older) for a few hours on date nights or when you want some time to yourself sounds like a great idea and maybe very occasionally invite them over to yours for a few hours as that’ll be on your terms.
Post # 11
I have a difficult Mother-In-Law as well. After something she pulled back in Februaruy I spoke with hubby and we decided I would see her no more than once a month. I can put a fake face and have a “good” visit with her for 1 hour or so a month. My husband sees her every other week so twice a month. She gets to see my daughter each time so she seems her twice a month, once without me. I know she’d like to see her more but that’s what works for us as we have lives and don’t want to see her every weekend. We both work full time and don’t have any time during the week for visits with people. My parents are a 8 hour drive away so being fair with the time spent with my daughter doesn’t factor in. My Mother-In-Law is 20 minutes away.
And I don’t trust my Mother-In-Law to watch our daughter so letting her babysit for us is not an option at this time. I want her supervised. I don’t trust her.
Post # 12
This is something that I worry about regularly!! My in laws are terrible people. Passive aggressive, rude, and entitled. They currently live in the same city as us, but we only see them on birthdays and holidays. But that comes out to once a month since there are 5 bdays. I can’t handle seeing them more than we already do. Now that Darling Husband and I are TTC, I really don’t know what I’m going to do when they start pushing themselves on us. My Mother-In-Law is similar to yours inn that she is constantly comparing herself to my mother. “We spend more time with my mom” ” we talk to my mom more”. DHs birthday is Friday. She asked to take him out Friday night and Darling Husband asked if she could do Saturday night instead because he already had plans. She kept asking if he was choosing to be with my mom on his bday instead of her. Who does that?! It’s going to be so much worse when we tell her that my mom will be watching the baby after maternity leave.
I really dont have much advice since I’m not pregnant yet. But just know that you aren’t the only person going through this!!