(Closed) I feel like MIL thinks of me as an incubator–how to set boundaries early

posted 4 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
1919 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

lalanono:  I think this should come from your husband. And yes, these rules need to be stated. She sounds like the Mother-In-Law that will be IN YOUR DELIVERY ROOM!!! AND telling you what she feels you are doing WRONG as a mother. Noooo!! Darling Husband needs to set these rules for his mother to respect his wife.

Hugs bee… I feel if Darling Husband doesn’t talk to his mother now… momma bear will later.


Post # 3
3541 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

I agree with BrideK2Wings, it needs to come from your husband. 

That sucks, if we have children I’m actually looking forward to how involved his mother wants to be. But she is also super aware of boundaries and is always worried she’s intruding (when she stays for a night or two, once a year). 

And why would she be wanting to spend the night when she is within driving distance???  It would be nice to have her there to take care of the baby so you could get a full nights rest once and a while, but that boundary just struck me as an odd one for having to be stated… Although maybe not surprising considering the stuff she’s been doing. 

Post # 4
3062 posts
Sugar bee

Take control now, please don’t wait until your daughter is born!  Continue your lists of boundaries, including how/when/how many visits, handling of the baby, feedings, etc., etc.  Do make sure your husband is on board, and before your baby arrives, have him tell those boundaries to your Mother-In-Law. Emphasis on tell, as they should not be open to discussion. It doesn’t seem like your mother would be a problem, but let your Mother-In-Law those boundaries apply to everyone!

Good luck!


Post # 5
1581 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

lalanono:   I agree with previous PPs. You need to make sure your husband is on board. Tell him how you’re feeling and that it’s bothering you. And yes, continue to make a boundaries list and then have him speak with his mother and father about it in the same room. If he just talks with her, then it can be misconstrued. So make sure your Father-In-Law is there as well. If they don’t respect your boundaries that you’ve clearly laid out, then you can say something directly when the offence happens. ‘Excuse me Mother-In-Law,  but I asked that you not grab my daughter out of my hands. Please hand her back to me’.

Post # 6
3449 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

lalanono:  why is it that you’d rather not involve your husband? He is the exact person who needs to take the lead in this.

Post # 7
4057 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I am going to go against the grain and say this: as a fellow April mama, we don’t *really* know what we’re in for. There are probably going to be days when you will be glad to have the freaking mailman take her for a while if it means she will JUST.STOP. CRYING.  For this reason, I would be very careful about setting absolute rules too early on, especially before she’s even here and people have had a chance to react. There may come a point where you will very much WANT her to spend the night, or to take the baby even when she is crying. 

I am not disagreeing that she’s being overbearing. But she’s also not doing anything that’s questioning or going against your parenting, or harming your child. She’s excited, and my honest opinion is there might be some pre-existing tension going on here that’s colouring your opinion. Other than the stocking thing, yes it’s overboard, but she hasn’t done anything awful.

Post # 8
2340 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I really recommend you buy her one of the great books about becoming a grandma. Many are excellent about respecting boundaries and this fact that best practice and medical opinion have changed since they were young. You can wrap it up prettily and give it to her as a gift with good grace. Hopefully she will read it and absorb. 

Post # 9
8863 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

lalanono:  Meh. These are all normal grandma excitement things. I think you’re making it a bigger deal than it has to be.

Post # 10
589 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

My Mother-In-Law is very excited about her first grandchild as well and I do feel there is the potential for boundary issues after my little girl is born (I’m 36 weeks). I’ve just sat down with Darling Husband and told him my expectations and the boundaries I’d like to set once our daughter comes home – I’ve made it clear to him I don’t want Mother-In-Law in the delivery room at all, no visitors for at least 1hr after birth so we can bond, limited visits the first week when Darling Husband is off work and bonding with our child and that, while I don’t have a problem with her visiting, it can’t be all the time and she needs to give us a heads up she’s planning on stopping over. Darling Husband understands my rules/boundaries and has agreed that IF any of those issues arise he will address them with her since she is his mother. I found having that convo with Darling Husband really put my mind at ease because we are now on the same page about what we want as first time parents and I know that he will manage the situation if there is ever an issue. 

I do think its premature to set boundaries with her right off the bat, unless a specific issue comes up (like she mentions being in the delivery room or something). As a PP mentioned, while she is over the top you don’t necessarily know for certain that there will be major issues and what those issues will be until you face them. Take it on a case by case basis, make sure you and hubby are on the same page and he is willing to step in and talk to her if/when she becomes overbearing and overinvolved. 

I think if you attempt to establish strict boundaries before baby is born, bringing up a bunch of hypothetical situations, she is going to be offended that you are making the assumption right off the bat that she is going to be unreasonable and I think that taking the lead yourself and not involving your husband could backfire because it will be much easier for her to get mad/fly off the handle with you compared to her own son. 

Post # 11
288 posts
Helper bee

The behavior sounded mild but questionable until her repeated requests to name the child after her…what nerve! 

Your Darling Husband needs to talk with his mother and set boundaries. Yikes!! Good luck

Post # 12
3064 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

lalanono:  Yeah I think she is just being super super annoying because she is excited. I know it bugs you but I think it is harmless. Just be firm from the get go with who handles/watches/babysits the baby and when and you should be just fine

The stocking thing however, is completely and horribly RUDE! How could she just totally exclude you!!!!! What an ass!

Post # 14
9816 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think her behavior is annoying but I don’t see a need to set boundaries yet until they actually come up.  My Mother-In-Law has some similar annoying habits (calling my Dear Daughter “her baby” but at least she usually uses “grandma’s baby”) and sometimes sort of snatches her right away (as soon as she arrives she wants the my Dear Daughter all the time).  Also badgers us to go on vacations/weekend trips with her which I go if feasable but otherwise decline (are you paying lady??).  As annoying as it is, it is pretty mild in the grand scheme of things.  Eventually you will be happy for someone to entertain your child while you can sit and watch and relax.  I am still annoyed by stuff my Mother-In-Law says/does sometimes but she is still a good person and isn’t purposefully trying to interfere, she’s just excited.  So I just let go of the annoying crap because it’s not worth it.

When a specific scenario or situation comes up, I would address it then.  If something happens you don’t like, you definitely need to address it right away but there is no use borrowing trouble when you’re still pregnant and nothing has actually happened.

Post # 15
328 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

saratiara2:  I agree with you on just waiting to see.

OP, I would enlist DH’s help in maybe letting your in laws know what kind of visits you would like directly after the baby is born, but I wouldn’t worry too much about anything until the time comes, and I would also keep in mind that you might change your mind (I did!), and that’s okay.

I don’t blame you for being annoyed, but it does sound like she’s just excited. Definitely don’t name the baby after her though; I agree that it’s weird to demand that! 

Oh, and your Father-In-Law sounds very sweet, getting a makeshift stocking together for you. 

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