My MIL and her grandbaby fever

posted 5 months ago in Relationships
Post # 31
1223 posts
Bumble bee

justmadethis :  a simple “no, we’ve already told you that we aren’t having kids for at least a few years. Why do you keep texting me about morning sickness and bringing up baby stuff?” Or in the most sincere voice “it’ll be a few years before we have kids but have you considered adopting or fostering one of your own?”

Post # 33
203 posts
Helper bee

She thinks she is a third member of your marriage, at least when it comes to children.  Her thinking her being ready for a grandchild should even matter one iota is evidence enough of that, much less her assumptions about child care etc..

Move, if you can. I wish I had before getting pregnant/having my child.. it’s a lot of work maintaining healthy boundaries with someone like that.

Post # 34
1830 posts
Buzzing bee

I read about mil’s like this all the time on DWIL nation. Google it. 

Everyone is correct. You need to take some steps now to set up boundaries. Don’t wait until your pregnant to set them up because then it will be too late. 

Talk to your husband NOW about your boundaries with family. Outline all the things you won’t allow. 

-No uninvited drop by guests.

-No inviting people over without checking with each other first. 

Talk about the kind of talk you won’t allow from your Mother-In-Law. She is not allowed to discuss or whine to anyone about how much or how little she sees the kids in comparison to your parents. She IS going to try to say that you see your parents more often etc. You have to nip that in the bud. 

Set up early on that she will not be childcare for your kids if you decide to go back to work. Don’t even let her think that is an option once you are pregnant and she starts asking.

Basically you need to find out BEFORE you have kids if your husband is going to be able and willing to take your side no matter what over his mom. When his mom is throwing a tantrum, when she shows up at the door unannounced and he has to tell her to leave and not let her inside, when mil blatantly goes against your parenting rules he has to be prepared to call it out then and there. He needs to understand that if Mother-In-Law comes to visit, he is to stay around and engage with mil during the visit, it isn’t acceptable for him to go do work in the garage, or go watch tv etc. He essentially is not to think it is your problem to entertain your Mother-In-Law with the baby alone. He needs to be there to see his mom’s behavior and participate in her visits. 

If after baby she ramps it up and is stressing you out asking for visits, block her number and let your husband know he needs to field her calls/texts for a while you need a break.

If she tries to cross boundaries with your parenting rules have phrases about that too, be prepared to leave if she pushes the issue. 

For now with Mother-In-Law you need to take some time and write out some phrases and memorize them. Next time she makes a comment you don’t like, you have some phrases you can automatically say to her to shut her down. It will make it so much easier because you won’t end up saying things in anger, it will be a very clear statement, and you will feel comfortable making it. 

– That doesn’t work for us

-I will not be discussing my uterus with you, ever. Do not ask me again.

– Our timeline is not up for discussion

– That topic is not up for discussion

-That topic is none of your business

– If you ask me about that again when I already told you it is inappropriate, I will be seeing you a whole lot less. 

– (If she asks the same question, or you answer it and she keeps discussing it) – Asked and answered

Make one of those statements to her and walk away, or get off the phone. A firm statement of your boundary followed by removing yourself is a good tool. Also you two should seriously consider moving further away from her. 

I actually agree with comments on here that you really should just try to say something to make her super uncomfortable. I think that is probably pretty darn effective, but much harder to do in the moment. If you feel you could do this i would start there. Then follow up with the other firm statements if she continues. 

Do not waste your time trying to have serious heart to heart conversations with this woman. Looks like you have tried already with no results. I can tell you now it won’t ever work with her. Treating her like a rational person is only going to hurt you in the long run. You need to see her behavior for what it is and keep information limited. 

Tell your husband he is not to volunteer information to his mom about you EVER. He isn’t to talk to her about your health, pregnancy, or otherwise. When you do decide to have kids you won’t be sharing any medical info about appointments with her, only “the baby is doing great”, Don’t tell her any information you would be upset about her freely discussing with total strangers, your family, and friends. She is not a safe space for information. You think we are being intense? Google DWIL nation and go read some of their stories. Everything you have said about your Mother-In-Law says you are in for a battle. 

Post # 35
1830 posts
Buzzing bee

justmadethis :  “She said she’ll retire as soon as we have kids to watch them. “

Dude yeah you need to shut that idea down now. She is setting herself up to link her happiness and sense of worth to your children. Do you see that? She thinks your children exist to entertain her in her retirement. You two need to shut down her idea about this down now. The only person making life decisions about their career and retirement when it comes to your children is you and your husband. If she retires thinking she will be the primary care giver to your child do you think she will EVER leave you alone? NOPE! Her life, is her life, separate from you and your children. Start telling her, and saying in front of family members NOW that you will be going back to work after a baby anyways and are using childcare. Your child is not a retirement prop. 

Post # 36
5745 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

“I am not a baby incubator for you. Do not ask me about my womb or its contents anymore. If and when we are having a baby, WE will let you know. If you haven’t heard anything, assume there’s no news and your messages and inquiries add nothing postive or helpful to the situation. In the meantime, if you need more beings to nurture to fill your time, I suggest you look into pets, or fostering or volunteering.”

She might be a great and loving grandmother and support once this hypothetical, not yet made baby comes, but that requires you getting your boundaries in place right now. I like to get things out in the open so all parties can discuss and find a workable solution, so I’d probably tell her, “I know you’re expecting to be a large part of our childcare once a baby comes along, but I have to tell you, I’ve watched you dismiss and disrespect parents and their childcare preferences frequently enough that I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable relying on you as much as you seem to be hoping for. You might want to think through some of that while we’re working on our timeline!” That way, if/when she does something disrespectful down the line, she isn’t surprised when consequences start being enforced.

Bitch needs some business and hobbies.

Post # 37
7084 posts
Busy Beekeeper

justmadethis :  she’s so unreasonable that they only way to shut it down is to shut her down. Tell her the next time she brings up grandchildren that you’re going to go no contact for a month….and do it. If your husband isn’t on board then that’s fine, but YOU don’t have to deal with her. 

You don’t owe her an explanation. You don’t owe her grandchildren. She needs to respect you and your life choices or she doesn’t get to be a part of your life. 

Post # 38
2565 posts
Sugar bee

You are being WAY too nice and understanding here. She’s not a normal person. This is not what normal grandbaby excitement looks like.

This woman is narcissistic, controlling, and manipulative. HER impact on others doesn’t matter, only others’ impact on HER.

Therefore, she does not give any shits about YOU, about your HUSBAND, or about your boudaries, outside of how they impact her. 

She wants a baby and you are currently standing in her way of that, so you are the enemy and she’s going to entirely disregard your boundaries and desires and try to wear you down.

She wants access to your pregnancy information and the baby once it’s here, so she’s testing boundaries NOW, disrespecting your wishes NOW, and manipulating the situation NOW to establish a pattern of her dominating and you giving way. She’s doing this in hopes that if she establishes this dynamic now, she will be able to bend you to her will once the baby’s here.

If you become more stubborn and outspoken in your boundaries (as you 100% SHOULD), she will immediately become the Victim and go whining to your husband about how mean you are and why don’t you like her, she’s never done anything to you.

Google Covert Narcissist. Read Rethinking Narcissism.

Educate yourself and educate your husband so that you two can get on the same page regarding his boundary-stomping mother. He will likely need time and work to come out of the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) that she’s instilled in him. 

She’s not just excited. She’s insensitive, disrespectful, jealous, and entitled. Babies do NOT need their grandparents. They need their parents. They need their parents together, on the same page, focused on them, not distracted by, or fighting about, the harpy grandmother. Your husband needs to understand this, and you need to be SURE he understands this before TTC. 

100% do NOT have a come to jesus talk with this woman. She will not hear your words. She didn’t hear the words your husband spoke to her before. Just improved her behavior for a short period of time until it was “safe” to be her true self again. She is NOT going to change. And if you write her any long emails or letters, or sit her down for a long talk, she will absolutely DARVO (Defend her actions, Attack you (verbally), and Reverse who is/was the Victim and Offender.) She will also take everything you say out of context and paint you as an overly sensitive meany-pants to all friends and family.

Do not JADE with her (Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain.) State your boundaries simply and clearly, state repercussions if your boundaries are disrespected, then change the subject.

“MIL, this is the last time you are to ask about or mention the possiblity of my being pregnant or of us having children. If you do it again, we will be taking a break from any communication with you until we feel ready to be around you again. Would you please pass the salt?”

If she tries to argue: “MIL, as I just said, this topic is not up for discussion. If you persist in this line of questioning, we will leave and block you from all communication until we feel ready to recommence our relationship.” 

If she continues: Stand up, gather your things, leave. Block her on text and SM. Black hole any attempt to communicate. Until you feel ready to reach out to her. 

I know this sounds extreme. But this is literally the ONLY option that puts you back in the power seat and shows her you will not be disrespected or controlled. And it is likely the ONLY option that can salvage a long-term relationship with this woman. Anything less means you’re allowing yourself to be disrespected and disregarded, and you WILL begin to resent and hate her. If your husband doesn’t get firmly on your side, you WILL begin to resent him as well. You don’t want to bring a baby into that sort of mess.

If you enact firm boundaries early and often, and enact consequences, there’s a chance her behavior could improve, and you could salvage a low-contact relationship in the long term.

Go to DWIL nation to read all the stories of the women who did NOT take a firm stand early on and who are now in super rocky marriages or divorced. Or who are happy in their marriages, but are now entirely cut off from their in laws. 

Post # 39
8643 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

justmadethis :  She refuses to take no for an answer on something that is none of her business and that she has no control over. This is the perfect use case for the Broken Record technique. You and your husband come up with a generic response for whenever she brings up anything baby-related, and you just repeat that same phrase in the same tone as many times as required for her to stfu. 


  • Her: OMG, you’re not drinking — you’re pregnant, aren’t you???
  • You: We have no plans for babies in the near future.
  • Her: Well why not, what are you guys waiting for?
  • You: We have no plans for babies in the near future.
  • Her: You’re married, all settled in, good housing situation — and built in child care right here!
  • You: We have no plans for babies in the near future.
  • Her: What about us, we’re ready for grandchildren!
  • You: We have no plans for babies in the near future.
  • Her: Is that all you’re going to say? When WILL you start thinking about babies?
  • You: We have no plans for babies in the near future.
  • Her: I’m shocked at how selfish and obstinate you’re being. Junior, is this how you let your wife treat your mother when she’s asking a perfectly reasonable question?
  • Him: We have no plans for babies in the near future. 
  • Her: Well fine then. I guess this conversation is over.
  • You & Him: [high five]

No matter what she says, even if your phrase isn’t exactly a “correct” or logical response, just give it anyway. The power is in refusing to let her sidetrack you into saying anything else. It forces her to see that while you can not make her stop asking, you can stop answering, and her continuing to pester you will not be rewarded. 

Post # 41
2545 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

She said she’ll retire as soon as we have kids to watch them.

This is a huge problem OP! I would set the expectation now that you will not be utilizing her for child care. If she watches your child full time this will make the problem 1,000x worse. She will constantly disrespect your wishes (which she’s doing to you now) and raise your child how SHE wants. 

Post # 42
1005 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

What is so wrong in this woman’s life that she feels the need to occupy herself with your uterus? Is she married? Is she bored?

She is so disrespectful to you. She’s treating you like a machine to make HER grandchildren, not the woman that her son wants to spend the rest of his life with. Sounds like you could have just been any vagina to her, so long as you’re busy.

What is with her priorities?!

Post # 43
421 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

I agree that it is imperative to shut this down now, even if you have to be rude about it. Because if she’s this aggressive now, just imagine what it’ll be like when you do have a child. She’s going to be all over that poor kid and making your lives miserable. 

Post # 44
805 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

Stating boundaries is useless unless violating those boundaries results in negatuve consequences. Tell her not to mention the baby subject again. When she mentions babies, hang up/block her/leave/hand her her coat and escort her out. Consequences. And with each infraction they get more negative–usually, a longer time-out. (Additional advantage: This will mean seeing a lot less of an insane person you are presently spending far too much time with.)

As PP have said, go to DWIL.

They will help you deal with her awfulness now and prepare for the war forthcoming if you ever have a child. (She seems determined to end up cut-off or you will end up divorced, and DWIL can help you prevent those endings–though, from your description of her, a cut-off sounds preferable to seeing her.)

Saying things to her has proved useless. Say “Stop or I’m leaving.” And follow through. You have no need to be nice to a person who treats you like an incubator and is totally selfish.

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