Post # 1
Hello Bees. I created a new account to ask some questions that I didn’t want tied to my username for privacy reasons. (Hope I posted this in the right place, BTW.)
Background: FI’s conservative MIL made some racist comments a long time ago, when she first found out her son was dating a hispanic; he is white. She said if we had kids the kids would have darker skin and had an issue with that. (We had only been dating for 3 or 4 months so I don’t get why kids were her first issue but okay.) To make a long story short, he squashed it and supported me and told her to get over it or there was going to be a problem. I met MIL later (can’t tell you how horrified I was, but I did it) and surprise, she is very nice to me. (I personally think this was because she found out I was not as dark in color as she thought but have no proof.) As far as FI and I know, she’s never made another racist comment about us or our relationship… We got along pretty well, to tell the truth.
The question: Now that FI and I are about to get married in a few months and are talking kids, I worry about having MIL around my future child. (This would be the only mixed race/different race child in their family.) MIL has always been by her kids sides when they give birth or the spouse does and usually even sticks around to help. I would not want this and I would not want to leave the child alone with her. (Heck I don’t really want her touching it, but I’m trying to be open here.) I don’t think she would hurt the child but I don’t think she would be as caring to the child as a normal person would be if I wasn’t around, either. Her other kids regularly give her the grandkids for weekends and whatnot but this makes me uncomfortable. Another fear I have is what she may say around the child when I am not there. For the record, FI said if anybody said one mean or racist thing about our kid fists will be thrown and he will be done with them. However, he doesn’t know that I don’t want MIL alone with the kid at all.
Have any of you bees ever been in this situation or a similar one? Am I being irrational? This has really been upsetting me lately.
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
No, you’re not. And I can completely understand where you’re coming from. Sadly, I have a similar situation, except that it’s my sister that I don’t want around my kids. She is extremely judgemental and racist and I don’t want that poison around my children. I feel bad enough that my nephew has to grow up in a house like that.
She makes no effort to hide her blatant racism, homophobia, and just general jugmentalness and I don’t want her sharing those beliefs with my kids. She is the only one of my siblings who has any kids, so I know this will be an issue when I have them too (we also live about 6 blocks from eachother). But the fact of the matter is, she will NEVER be alone with my kids, and even under supervision her exposure to them will be closely monitored and if she ever steps over that line she will know about it and she wont be spending time with them again.
It sucks, because she is my sister and I love her– but I don’t think it’s fair to expose a child to that kind of hatred.
Post # 4
I’m sorry you are dealing with this and no I do not think you are being unreasonable. There is no reason the kids would need to stay over night with her. You can go there as long as she is cordial and is kind to your baby for short visit and holidays.
DH is the black sheep of his family. They do not treat him the same as his other siblings and it is very clear. We have tried over the years to form a cordial relationship and have been successful but I know my daughter will not be as loved and cared for by my inlaws as the other grandchildren will be. As long as they are nice to my family then we will see them on special occasions. However she will not stay there over night of for days at a time. I never want her to feel as if she isn’t wanted of loved and as a mother I could never imagine putting her in that type of situation.
These will be your children and you do not need to explain to anyone. You need to do what you feel to protect your family no matter what anyone may say about it/
Post # 5
ok, i think you are putting the cart way before the horse…
i had this exact same issue (i am mixed, ex-FI was white) and his mom was concerned about how my race would affect his career and also “what about the children???” i never, ever forgave her and we had a terrible relationship.
the difference is that your FMIL has never made another comment (i’m assuming this was a couple of years ago) or given any other indication that she would treat your child differently. i can attest to the fact that people LOVE BABIES. she is not some KKK member out to harm you. i think it sounds as though she has accepted you and for your peace of mind now, today, you need to accept this as truth.
having a grandparent relationship is so special and i think you would be doing unwarranted damage by keeping her from your child.
Post # 6
I think you are overreacting a little bit in not even wanting her to touch the baby…the baby is not going to absorb racism through osmosis. In fact, if/when you have children, it’s not like they are born understanding langauge. You’ll have some time to judge her reaction before you need to decide how much to limit her contact with and child/children you have.
You are absolutely right in not wanting your child exposed to racist attitudes/beliefs. But first, give the woman a chance. If she can’t/won’t change her attitude, then she gets no unsupervised contact with your kids. If she treats your child differently because of its mixed heritage, then she gets NO contact.
Post # 7
@Miss Apricot: I agree with what you said. If she has been nice to you, without making any derogatory remarks ( that you know of) then you really never know, she could have had a change of heart and be an awesome grandmother!
Post # 8
@mamadingdong: I agree. The MIL made one single comment before ever having met you and you’ve not heard another racist thing from her since. I definitely thing you are over-reacting and I think you’d be doing your future children a dis-service by keeping them from their grandmother.
Post # 9
Thank you all for giving me a more rounded view of the situation. For the most part I agree with everyone for different reasons. I do think having a child and grandparent relationship is important. (The racism by osmosis bit made me laugh.)
Thanks again everyone, I needed the perspective.
Post # 10
Since she met you ALONG TIME AGO and has never said a racist thing since… I think when your FI set his mother straight the situation was handled. If she knows you are getting married, children will be soon to follow …. I believe she will take in and accept your babies as her little grandchildren just as she has accepted you.
It is a touchy subject, I would talk with FI and make sure there will be no problems… you don’t want her crossing the line. As long as you stand your ground (in a nice way) she will know her place as the grandmother with YOUR CHILDREN….
Post # 11
I agree that you are jumping the gun. She has been polite to you, and for some people once they have a grandchild of another race it be amazing how much they change their mind, or it could have been that she met you and got to know as a person and let go some of ignorant thoughts.
My mom is half irish. Most of her realtives are white. I too had issues with uncles making comments, and it took us almostn ot talking to them for it to stop. Having said that my Fi is half cuban, the rest of my family are black and from the islands and all people from those sides have said or done something racist in my presense.
I’m sure there are people on your side of the family who are racist, and i know a lot of hispanics with a color complex, same thing with black people. Are you going to ban them all from touching or interacting with future children of yours?
I say given that fmil has seemingly been on her best behavior, and your Fi is so clear about boundaries don’t make choices or hold grudges until she actually does something.
Being a black girl with white family has been interesting at times, and sometimes I don’t agree with their views. However I see the good and bad parts to them and I remind myself while we are different races that blood is thicker then water and I can’t just disown all of them for some of the ignorant things they say.
Post # 12
It sounds like you are willing to give her a chance, kudos to you. I think that taking the high road by forgiving her and moving forward is best for everyone and sets a good example for the family both young and old. If she gives you a reason to change your attitude, listen to your instincts, but I hope that you and your child having a good relationship with her going forward will change her possibly racist ways because she will have the chance to love and appriciate you both.
My parents grew up in the deep south, and while I have no reason to believe they were racist, they certainly saw that behavior exhibited their whole childhood when segrigation was sanctioned by law. It may have been wrong, but even the estabilishment approved of it for many years–that can deeply/subconciously alter a person’s attitude even when they don’t mean to be offensive.