Post # 1
Those who knew me during my wedding planning days know that my Mother-In-Law and I have a TENSE relationship. She is very intrusive and generally irritating, like MIL’s are, but she also sees nothing wrong with talking trash about me to my husband. She is forever sending him emails that say things like, “in our family, we don’t do (x thing I did that she didn’t like).” I think inserting herself into our relationship like that is a BIG step over the line, but she refuses to acknowledge that it’s not ok, and she hasn’t stopped in spite of multiple talks about boundaries from my husband and myself.
The problem is that now that the baby is here, she of course wants to spend time with her. I HATE seeing her holding my baby. I hate the way she holds her, I hate the way she talks to her, I just generally want to vomit the whole time until I take her back. I just have this horrible feeling that she’ll try to turn my daughter against me the way she’s trying to turn my husband against me. (Contributing factor: my own grandmother constantly trash talked my mom to me and I resent her for it now)
Obviously Norah is far too young to be turned against me, but those protective mommy instincts flare up like crazy whenever Mother-In-Law is in the room. Plus, now she wants to feed her and lays the guilt on thick whenever I say no. Even though we bottle feed, I think it is my job to feed her, so only Darling Husband and I have fed her so far. So now every time I feed her in front of Mother-In-Law I get some story about how she was the only person able to feed her son because she was breastfeeding (and believe me I get a lot of guilt about not BFing) and I should really let others feed Norah because that’s the benefit of bottle feeding.
So, all of that is leading up to me saying that I hate that I have no relationship with my grandmother and I don’t want that for my daughter. I know I have to relax and let Mother-In-Law spend time with her, but I have no idea how to turn off the “get your baby out of this situation NOW” reflex that happens the minute she touches her. Help?
Post # 3
I’m so sorry that your relationship with your Mother-In-Law is not a great one. I think your husband should speak with her honestly and let her know that xyz is hurting her relationship with you and will hurt her relationship with her beautiful granddaughter in the future. I feel very fortunate to have an awesome relationship with my future Mother-In-Law and I’m sorry I don’t know first hand what you’re going through, but I always think honesty is the best policy. What’s the worst she can say? They’re your feelings (and it sounds like your husband feels this way as well) and those can never be wrong. I’m sorry I’m not familiar with your situation so I’m not sure if you’ve tried this already. If that is the case and she’s still hurting you, then maybe it’s time your family takes a step back until she can learn some boundaries. I’m not suggesting you disappear and leave your Mother-In-Law in the dust, but by taking a step back she’ll realize that you are serious and she needs to control her words and actions. Best of luck..
Post # 4
I have no real advice for you because I don’t have children yet but I wanted to chime in and say that my Grandma did the same thing to me when I was a girl and never did anything she say anything that could turn me against my mother. She would constantly try to convince me that my mother was a horrible person and the reason that my dad never finished college. (“He wanted to marry her and take care of you.”) Now that I’m older I realize that my grandmother was and is just a negative person that can’t get over past events. I hope someone can give you some advice and help you at least tone down the protective reflex, but just know that it is very unlikely that your Mother-In-Law will turn your daughter against you.
Post # 5
Oh, I totally hear you – my ex-MIL was VERY similar. I honestly wish I had some good advice for you because I had those exact same feelings about my ex-MIL. Everything she would do with my daughter would grate on my last nerve. She actually was a huge contributing factor to my divorce. What’s ironic is that my ex is now dating (living with) a woman who was my best friend (and my daughter’s babysitter), and she has confided in me that she feels the exact same way about my ex-MIL. Ahhh, karma.
Anywho… you can try to “ignore” it, but it won’t go away. I think that the best thing to do would be to try to explain your feelings to your husband and see if he can intervene – which is something my ex refused to do, even when my ex-MIL was doing things that I believed physically harmed my daughter (like putting ammonia on bug bites). Hopefully you and your husband will have the kind of relationship that will allow you two to openly talk about the issue – because it won’t go away on its own.
Post # 6
Oh, this sounds so tough for you. I just wanted to point this out:
“I just have this horrible feeling that she’ll try to turn my daughter against me the way she’s trying to turn my husband against me. (Contributing factor: my own grandmother constantly trash talked my mom to me and I resent her for it now)”
You are living proof that trashtalking about other people only hurts the trashtalker. Your grandmother said mean things about your mom to you while you were growing up and who do you resent? Your grandmother, not your mother. She talks down about your husband and who do you side with? Your husband. The primary caregivers (or people you spend time with, in the case of your husband) always have the most formative influences and likewise engender the strongest allegiances. Trust that.
As for dealing with the Future Mother-In-Law: It is hard not to let the irritation you feel toward someone color your perception of everything that they do. Are the things that she is doing actually harmful to the baby, or are you just so annoyed by her in general that everything she does drives you nuts? If they are real concerns, I would ask your fiance to talk to her. But if it’s just her personality, you’ve got to find a way to deal in addition to any talks you might have.
Here’s an idea of how you might re-frame this: No one’s behavior is black and white, and if you want your daughter to have a relationship with her grandmother, certainly there must be something there worth having a relationship with. Maybe you can think of working on your patience with the crazy Future Mother-In-Law as a personal project for Norah. Someday when she is old enough to understand, she will set large store by your example. If you can give her an example of appreciating someone for what good qualities you can find in them, even when they drive you crazy, then you will have given her a real gift. Getting rid of the Future Mother-In-Law won’t prevent Norah from having to deal with less-than-ideal people in her life. At least you will be there in this instance to show her how it’s done.
Post # 7
I just wanted to add a little bit of a positive anecdote here. My mom’s parents were very very dysfunctional. My grandfather was physically abusive towards my grandma, and my grandma did ALL KINDS of CRAZY stuff to my mom and my dad. She just acted like a nut, always in their business, very disapproving, etc. Where’s the positive spin on this you ask? Well, my mom has always said that my grandma knew on some level what a crappy mom she had been, so she took her responsibility as a grandmother VERY seriously. She was Super Grandma.
Truly, she was like a second mother to me. She loved me so so so much, took incredible care of me, kept me every day after school and EVERY SINGLE DAY during the summer while my parents worked. She passed on her jewelry to me (skipping my mom, ahem, but that;s beside the point), gave me a huge antique canopy bedroom in her house, bought me anything and everything I could have ever wanted. I cannot even explain to you how amazing and incredible my MeeMaw was to me. I miss her so much (she died when I was 13). I am so grateful that my mom was able to look past her own issues with my MeeMaw and give her a second chance to redeem herself with me. I am a better person because of it.
Post # 8
I’m so sorry hun. I am a mom so I know how you feel. Our first instinct as moms are to protect our children from those who believe aren’t good for them. You’re not crazy….it’s natural and you wouldn’t be an awesome mom if you didn’t have these feelings.
Give it and her time. Have you talked to your husband at all?
Post # 9
I can sympathize, and it is soooo hard to see past her hurtfaul behaviour, but it’s true that Norah will have her own relationship with her grandmother that is very different than the one you have with her. Unless she is actually hurting Norah it’s best to step aside (just a bit) and let them form their own bond. If it is too painful for you to watch her feed and hold Norah (both of which are reasonable requests from a grandmother) then maybe you can take a break and do something away from them during those times. Maybe go in your bedroom and give yourself a mini-pedicure, or cook some real hot cocoa on the stove. If you have a little treat to look forward to then maybe eventually you will come to associate Norah and grandmother together as a nice time.
Post # 10
If a close friend asked to bottle feed your baby, would you say no? If that is just your general policy, I would state it as such, that it’s not just her…then let it go. Otherwise, do you at least trust her for a few minutes with the baby? Maybe instead of watching her with the baby, you could take the opportunity for laundry or showering or whatever few spare minutes can afford you.
Post # 11
Communication is so key, with your Husband and with your daughter too. My Dad’s mother often tried to turn me against my mom (and sometimes my dad), sometimes lying to me to make me feel afraid of my parents. My time with her was limited, and eventually she was not able to spend time with me alone due to an episode of borderline-abuse. My parents were very good about helping me process what my grandmother was saying to me and always talked to me after a visit with her. They did not want to keep me away from entirly, because they wanted me to know my grandmother, but they did not trust her. I still have a very complicated relationship with my grandmother but my parent’s openness and communication really helped me deal with my time with her.
How does your husband feel about his mom? What is his relationship with her? Does he feel like she would undermine him, or do they have respected boundries? Since your daughter is still an infant she may not be able to process your relationships, but I’m sure she feels the tension, so it’s good that you are dealing with this now.
Post # 12
I understand you wanting to primarily feed your baby. That is your bonding time and is reasonably important to you. Maybe if you set a time limit on it, as in “until my baby is xmoz old I want only myself and dh to feed dd. This way we are able to establish a strong bond with our baby”. You can even throw in some line about how this is really important to you since you arent breastfeeding and are worried about making sure your bond with dd is strong enough. Giving her a reason along with a time limit might help her better understand and give her something to look fwd to instead of feeling left out.
As far as your dd’s relationship with mil suffering… well that one is kind of up to mil. My grandma was the same way as yours and your mil. She always talked bad on our mom to us and tried to go behind her back. She even cut my baby bros hair for the first time while babysitting him because she didnt like his hair. Then she threw his hair in the trash… it was horrible! My dad had to dig “baby’s 1st curl” out of the garbage. My mom was patient and just kept giving her chances. In the end she managed to ruin her relationships with all 4 of us kids. Hopefully your mil will come around.
Since your mom went through this has she been able to give you any sage advice?
Post # 13
As long as she can be trusted with the baby I would take advantage of the free babysitting and go do something else while she holds her etc. so that it isn’t constant stress on your nerves.
I never understand how these MILs don’t understand the self evidence truth that if they want their grandchildren to love them unreservedly and have a good relationship they have to be nice to mother. This plays out again and again, most children do not forget hurts done to their mother.
Post # 14
I know how you feel. My Father-In-Law will never be anywhere NEAR my kids, I’m so sorry about your situation, but I agree with the free baby sitting, as long as you can trust her not to hurt your children she definitely can’t do any emotional damage or spread propoganda to your baby.
Latest ridiculous lie Father-In-Law told to make me look bad was that the toilet paper (cottonelle) I bought at the store would clog up the septic system because it was made out of cotton. Neither of those statements are true!!!
Post # 15
First of all, congratulations on your baby! I remember you were a regular poster when I first joined. Second, my Grandmom HATES my Mom and has always tried to interfere with the parental decisions so I can relate. It’s easier for my Grandmom though b/c my Dad has 2 kids from his 1st marriage who she is closer with and can turn against my Mom as well.
When I was little my Gmom would say awful things to me about my Mom and implant false ideas that she was being a bad parent, etc. I didnt’ realize until I was about 18 that what she was saying was totally bogus and in fact GMom was doing bad things to me like leaving me out of shopping trips she would take my cousins on, etc.
Anyway, seeing how much pain my Mom is still going through over this infuriates me. I would recommend making your Mother-In-Law less welcome into your household and distancing her from your daughter. Good job standing your ground about the feeding thing, I can’t even imagine how annoying it must be to have anyone even comment on the fact that you aren’t Bfeeding.
Post # 16
@Thiscantbehappening — That’s kind of where I’d like to get. I just suck at letting it roll off my back- it seeps in and I just can’t.let.go and eventually I’m so so so angry. But I’m *trying*…
@rnc620 — I guess I just don’t think she has a right to feel left out… or to make me guilty that she feels left out. I mean… what she’s feeling left out of is my marriage and my relationship with my daughter… which I think she should be left out of…