Post # 1
I’m not pregnant yet and don’t plan to be for a while…but every time we visit my husband’s family I am confronted with expectations for how we will raise our children. I understand they’re excited for us, but it’s hard to take sometimes, particularly the way a lot of it is phrased – with the insinuation that of course we’ll be doing x or y because that’s what would be best for the children.
From being “pregnancy-ready” at all times to breastfeeding to even what schooling they’ll receive (and every topic in between), they’ve got our parenting style completely mapped out for us, and I’m not even pregnant yet! The idea of raising children in that atmosphere is worrying me. I feel like I’ll constantly be judged a “bad mom” when I do something that doesn’t fall in line with their expectations.
I see a red flag here, and I want to resolve this before we get pregnant. I don’t want to damage my relationship with his family later when I’m pregnant and things get to be too much, when I could potentially diffuse the situation painlessly now. I feel like some boundaries need to be set but I don’t know how to set them or if I’m just overreacting.
I’ve talked to my husband about it. He agrees their behaviour is over the top, but tells me they just “care a lot about us” and to laugh it off or ignore it. That’s easy enough now, but when I’m pregnant and have children I’ll already be feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. The last thing I’ll need is a gaggle of geese squaking at me that everything I’m doing is wrong, and browbeating me into doing things their way to keep the peace. 🙁
Post # 3
Oh gosh! Well, it does sound like they’re just being supportive in addition to a little overbearing. Definitely partner close with your Husband and agree on a plan ahead of time, that they can’t go to either of you individually and get you to change the way you’re donig something – all decisions have to be approved by the two of you together. They can ‘suggest’ all they want, but it’s going to be your child and they have to respect you as decision making adults.
Post # 4
That’s so stressful! I’m sure we’ve got it coming our way once we have our own… for now, the parenting judgment is all focused on SIL and BIL!
Clearly laughing it off or ignoring it is not working for you, so let Fiance know that it’s not, and that you’re worried about it! I’d work on a few polite-but-distant replies like, “When it’s time for us to make that decision, we’ll consider that. Thanks!” Ideally, your husband would be the one to say something like that, but if he won’t, you should – your life will be easier later if you plant the idea now that your in-laws don’t get to parent your children!
Post # 5
I’m sorry your in-laws are being so overbearing on this topic. While i think they probably have good intentions, I totally understand why their constant “advice” is wearing on you.
Honestly, though, I think your husband has the best advice. All the way through pregnancy, birth, and parenting, you’re going to have a constant barrage of “helpful” people giving you “advice.” Your in-laws are starting pretty early, and they’re a lot closer to you than the random supermarket lady who gives you a lecture about fetal acohol syndrome because you’re buying beer while obviously pregnant (it’s for my husband lady!!!!), so it’s going to feel more like an attack on your personal choices. But really, from the moment you find out you’re pregnant, you’re going to start getting comments and opinions on how you should raise your children.
Sorry, I can’t be more helpful. Really I think the best thing to do is learn some coping skills now (ending the conversation, changing the subject, etc…) so it’s easier to ingore when the real onslaught starts. Because it’s probably only going to get worse when you actually announce your pregnancy. 🙁
Post # 6
Wow! I agree with moderndaisy. You should talk with your husband and decide how YOU will parent YOUR kids, not his parents.
Post # 7
Future Mother-In-Law is kinda like this. Well before we were even engaged she asked me, “why I was bothering with a career bc soon I would be having babies.” Ummm, I have zero plans of being a Stay-At-Home Mom. Then berated me for planning to “leave my children with strangers” i.e. daycare. And on and on. Not to mention EVERY TIME I see her, she asks me when I’m going to give her a grandchild. It never ends.
I just ignore her. Personally, I don’t think my Future In-Laws were candidates for parents of the year, and both Fiance and I agree that we would NEVER raise our children the way he was raised. Everyone’s got something to say.
Post # 8
Thanks for the responses…I think I’m just feeling down because we’ll be seeing his family this weekend and I’m cringing thinking about what comments will be made. That’s not the way I want to feel when we’re going to see them!
It would be nice if there was a magic phrase to use or wand to wave to make it go away, but I know there isn’t, and expecting it to get better is being naive. I’ve got to get a thicker skin (or develop a hearing problem, lol!) – it will be good preparation for when I actually am pregnant.
Post # 9
I am lucky on the in-laws side, I think they are relatively open minded. The only thing I’ve gotten is a – “So do you plan on staying home once you have children?” from my Mother-In-Law, and I told her straight-up, no way! She stayed home until all four were in high school before going to school and having a career. Not my plan. My husband’s two older brothers have two children each, and their wives are very different in child raising, one stays home and one works, so I think whatever I choose will be okay.
I’m more worried about my mom. She has some definite opinions, and I’m not sure I agree with them. Not pregnant yet though, so I have plenty of time to work that out!
Post # 10
Does your husband have a brother or sister who is married? I feel like talking to his brother’s wives helps a LOT. Not to change the behavior of MIL/FIL but to at least have someone who understands – because while my husband might get it, he is conflicted by them being his parents….
I don’t think you need to just sit there and laugh though – it will be overbearing and make you miserable. maybe take his mom ? aside and have a talk with her? or ask your husband to? In a “we know you love us, and mean the best, but we need….”
Post # 11
Oh gosh, my mom is all “EJS of COURSE you will breastfeed” and “EJS of COURSE i will move in for 2 weeks when you have the baby” blah blah blah.
I can learn how to take care of a baby without my mom telling me how. My mom was a Stay-At-Home Mom with a nanny…it was different for her than it will be for me!!!
Post # 12
Eek! I don’t have much advice to give, but I do want to say good luck. This would DEFINITELY stress me out too. Especially since you’re not even expecting a child yet, and you’re already faced with these sort of comments. If this gets worse once you have kids, then it seems like you might want to get your husband to say something to them… although you also don’t want to put him in the middle of any disagreements between yourself and his parents. This is a tough one.
Post # 13
Ugh, if you figure out what that magic phrase is, please let me know! For a humorous example of how much worse it will get, here’s the “advice” I was told by random co-workers in the two minutes it took me to fill up my Nalgene in the lunchroom:
- I should be wearing maternity pants because the regular low-rise jeans I’m wearing today don’t “fit right anymore.”
- I’m still not showing enough to wear maternity clothes yet.
- I don’t do laundry often enough.
- I should do at least one load of laundry a night because I need to get used it before the baby comes.
- Babies don’t even need clothes until they’re six months old. It much easier (i.e. cuts down on laundry) to dress the baby in nothing more than a diaper.
- Someone saw me having a cup of coffee this morning and just wanted to remind me we don’t have decaf at the office. In case I didn’t realize it, I was drinking fully caffinated coffee.
- We should probably just go ahead and find out the sex of the baby next week so people around the office can plan our baby shower and start buying gifts. Also, this person hinted that we’re being inconsiderate of our co-workers’ generosity by not announcing the baby’s sex until after it’s born.
Post # 14
OMG Mrs. Spring that list is crazy!! I can’t believe that people said you were being inconsiderate by keeping the sex a secret. REALLY?!?
Post # 15
Yeah, people say stupid stuff. 🙂 Honestly, it might just be my co-workers. We got quite a few crazy comments when we were getting married, too!
Post # 16
Geesh, that’s crazy!
I know that as soon as family catches on to our decision not to baptize our kids, the sh*t is going to hit the fan.