Post # 1
I am looking for advice/tips and to hear your experiences with conversations with grandparents to set expectations prior to the arrival of the first grandchild. I know some folks feel that new mothers/fathers should be greatful for any help no matter what or that a weekend here and there isn’t going to “break” the baby. I get that, but there are still some things that I have a hard time with. Maybe you all can tell me I am being crazy. So here goes…
I am concerned with in IL’s drinking and driving. I worry that in their mind they’ve only had “a little” to drink so it would be fine for them to drive with the baby in the car. I also worry about them keeping the baby overnight and being too drunk to wake up if the baby needs something. How have you addressed drinking with IL’s?
I am concerned with boundries. The IL’s have already openly talked about the baby getting anything and everything the child wants. I worry about over-indulgence especially as the child grows up. How have you managed things such as gifts? I realize that grandparents will naturally spoil grandchildren, but what they do goes beyond that. My SIL is in her 30’s, doesn’t work and IL’s fully support her even though she is rude and disrespectful to them.
I do not want the child to ride around in their cars since they smoke in them. The cars are covered in ash and are absolutely disgusting. I don’t even want to get in the car. I can just see the child touching door and then naturally putting hands in their mouth.
What’s been your experience with addressing these types of concerns? How do you manage when grandparents “break the rules”?
I will add that my DH has the same concerns and we are going to have a conversation with his parents together.
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Sit them down and explain no smoking or drinking around the baby and definitely no drinking when taking care of the baby. One infraction means they will not be allowed to watch the baby again for a LONG time.
It’s about the baby’s health and they should understand that. Smoking around a baby can cause asthma and the drinking thing is beyond terrifying for a parent (are they alcoholics? if so I would not leave my baby with them overnight ever and I certainly wouldn’t leave my baby alone with them while they were drinking or drunk.) I don’t see anything wrong with baby not spending the night with the grandparents based on your concerns. Maybe now is a good time for them to decide whether they want their vices or to spend time with their grandchild.
Post # 4
My mother has offered to watch our baby when (s)he is born, but I said HELL to the NO! She smokes in the house, and I said it would be fine with me to bring the baby over for short visits but there is absolutely NO WAY I’m going to leave it there all day to breathe in that crap.
Mother-In-Law also smokes, and it will be the same thing- visits are ok, overnights or all days are not ok.
Lukcily DH backs me up on this and we’re on the same page, so if we get any resistance from either set of parents we will have each other’s back.
Post # 5
Great post. I need help with this too. Very interested to read responses.
Post # 6
@peanuthead: My parents are the same way. They both smoke and drink. My older sister was worried because she didn’t want them to drink around her DD (they never smoke around babies to begin with). My sister was a nervous nelly when her DD was born, she has since lightened up, but I can sympathize. My mother was the same way with us too. However, my parents drink more than they should.
My sister was worried that they would get drunk (esp at family parties) and do something to harm the baby (not on purpose, of course). My sister had been dropped when she was younger by my uncle who was drunk and was horsing around with her-I think that had something to do with it too. So she was trying to find a way to tell them to curb their drinking as nicely as possible.
What ended up happening was before she came to visit (she lives 5 hours away) she sent ALL of us an email. She did this so my parents didn’t feel targeted (even tho she meant it for them). She warned the rest of us about it. In the email she stated that she and her DH decided on some new rules that she would like all of us to follow. The first rule was that if we drink AT ALL, we do not take their DD in the car for any reason. The other rule was that if we had two drinks (mostly at family functions-like christmas) then we would not hold DD that day. She said that the rules go for her and her DH as well. We all agreed to adhere to these ‘rules’ (we all did anyway, we dont drink as much or as often as our parents).
My mom was a little thrown off about it at first, but my sisters and I explained how we agree with my sister (mostly because we feel the same way about our children or future children.) We all followed it though, and this was three years ago. They still to this day follow this rule when we around any baby. I’m happy because I had worried about this with my own children, so I’m glad she initiated it. Good luck!
Post # 7
@peanuthead: Im going to try to find the email for you. I’ll post if I do. She wrote it very nicely and with wit and charm. Kind of like it was a joke-but serious at the same time.
Post # 8
Your sister is a smart mommy! Set those boundaries and make them clear. If they are ignored then their alone time with baby is over. This is YOUR child- you will want to do everything possible to make sure s/he is safe and you will instinctually know that safety trumps everything, even hurt feelings.
As for spoiling, well, that’s tougher. there are things you can do on your end. Buy less things yourself (hey- if gram wants to buy a whole new wardrobe then BY ALL MEANS). Teach the kid as it gets older about charity. For every toy that comes in, one goes out. That sort of stuff.
Post # 9
I found it! Here is the email:
DH, DD and I are super excited to come home to see everyone again. (My oldest sister) has been working really hard on (my brother in-law’s) party and I think it’s going to be fun. We are going to stick around until early Monday morning – and then head to (her best friend’s) beach house. After that we have a couple of days at the beach thanks to our Radisson points Soooo it looks like we may actually have a really vacation! We are excited.
We are also running around like crazy – which explains this email instead of five different phone calls.
I just wanted to mention that I have been dealing with quite a bit of anxiety since DD has been born. It’s something that I am constantly working on. I am very nervous about her getting hurt, and find myself dreaming up new and horrible ways that she could be hurt. These feelings have kind of blindsided me. DH and I are trying our best to get through them. I am working on ONLY checking her five times during the night to make sure she is still breathing, etc. etc.
Part of this anxiety skyrockets when we are at parties – everyone is having a good time, everyone is drinking a bit and everyone wants to hold the baby. I am hoping that you all can help and support me when I ask everyone to limit holding DD if they have had more than two drinks. This means everyone- including DH and myself – we have implemented this “two drink maximum” since the day she came home. This by NO means indicates that people should not drink and have a good time. It just means that if they choose to get their party on – they save their DD time for the next day.
I don’t want to have to be the “fun police” so if you all can just keep an eye out – that would be great. I really don’t want to make it a big deal and have it seem like “(my sister) is just being ridiculous” Maybe I am— but I am a ridiculous Mommy now and that “Mommy” title trumps all others.
I am getting better – I’ve started driving a bit more with her in the car, and I’ve started to wear flip flops again (I had a huge fear of tripping with her when wearing them). But, I think this two drink maximum policy may stick around for awhile.
Thanks for you help and understanding. Feel free to call me if you have any questions or concerns – but if you want to make fun of me — call (my oldest sister) for a chuckle:)
…I thought it was well done! Everyone listened. Hope this helps!
Post # 11
Before my older brother was born, my father told my grandparents (his parents) that if they wanted to hold the baby, they’d have to quit smoking. It scared the bleep out of them and they did. I know that wouldn’t work with all families and it wouldn’t have worked coming from my mom but since it was their son and he was dead serious, they quit and never looked back. They are so grateful that he made them quit. 🙂 I tell this story not to say that this is how you should handle it necessarily, but to say that it is your right as a parent to set boundries and you hold an awful lot of power being the gatekeeper to the grandchild. So don’t be afraid to set and enforce those reasonable expectations.
Love this. Nicely done by your sister. It makes no one defensive and is self-depricating so that it is actually harder for them to be like, she’s crazy. 🙂
Post # 12
That is a fantastic email. I think we’ll probably sit them down in the next month so we can begin socializing these ideas to them several months ahead of the baby’s arrival. I’ll use your email as a guide to steer the conversation and really make an effort to keep it light hearted. DH and I will need to practice with each other.
Father-In-Law has promised he would quit smoking over and over again. He’s still smoking like a chimney. Maybe we can just say that baby cannot ride in his car, end of story. When he says he’ll get it detailed and he promises he won’t smoke in it anymore, we’ll tell him sorry but we don’t trust his follow through at this point.
I’m glad I’m not the only one dealing with this and hope I am not being a complete nut-bag. I am also very lucky that my DH is supportive and shares the same concerns with his parents.
I am generally a very direct person and don’t have trouble speaking my mind. It’s tough trying to balance my new crazy mom feelings with what is and isn’t a big deal.
Post # 13
@peanuthead: Wow, I would not be comfortable with those things either. I think you are on the right track about planning to sit down with your SO and have a conversation with the ILs. Personally, I would be very straight-forward.
“There is absolutely no drinking around the baby.” If they don’t like that (if I was in your shoes) then they won’t see the baby. PERIOD! Since becoming pregnant I have become much more of a … straight-forward person (passive language for “a little bit more of a bitch”). I think it is a good thing, we have to protect our little ones.
I have learned that even if it makes other people uncomfortable or upset, when it comes to protecting my own new family and our needs, they need to deal with it. It is worth it to risk making someone uncomfortable, (who should be able to act like an adult) if it means health and safety- so I am not afraid to outline my needs/ rules/ desires.
I do have a concern with my Dad as a soon to be Grampa because he yells. I really discourage yelling and promote patience. The other day we were watching this commerical about patience for kids and he was like, “You don’t want to know what I think about this commerical!” It worries me. I have no idea if I should bring it up again, but if I ever see him yell and lose patience his “rights” to our child will get limited or revoked.
Post # 14
See if there is a Grandparents class in your area. Many things that they did to raise us is just wrong now. And hearing it from an expert may be beneficial.
Post # 15
I think one of the most important things is to make sure that your DH is on board with the boundaries, and helps you in communicating them. I have some anxiety about my Mother-In-Law having overnights with our LO because she is very emotionally unstable and drinks a lot of wine at night. I am working with DH to determine what we are uncomfortable with (emotional outbursts) versus what is actually dangerous to the baby (caregiving when drunk) so we can communicate those clearly to her!
Post # 16
Commenting to save this thread for when the time comes.
my mom is the same way. She claims to love kids but has zero patience and tends to ascribe to the ” do it because I told you so” camp which I don’t believe in at all and I don’t think it works. I generally don’t think it’s ok the way she loses her temper on my little siblings. My kids will have supervised visits but I basically don’t plan to Really ever let her kee them overnight or extended visits where do and I aren’t there.