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Scenario (loosely based -- ha ha -- on my OWN life): you have a mother-in-law who is generally helpful and giving. Since becoming a grandma and when visiting your home, she takes a very active role in caring for your child. She becomes so involved that she plays with him during your designated nap time, ignores your own gesture to hold him, and advises you that no more stories need to be read because she has already read to him. You are even told that there is no need to check on him when he sleeps b/c she has already done so. What is your response? Does it matter that she is from another country and that there may be cultural differences, nd that she didn"t have an opportunity to raise her own son?”

5 replies so far...

  • Mandy,

    I think you are definitely right that my MIL means well. I think that she IS excited to have a grandSON (big deal in asian culture) and that she thinks that she is helping me. And, honestly, she is helping me so I am hesitant to tell her to back off a bit. For the past week, I've politely smiled and then gone and read my own story and checked on him before work (... which, really, is more for me to see him one last time before I leave). I'm not sure what would happen if I stood up to her ... never tried it ... but my hubby does all the time and seems to get away with it. I think part of the problem is that I enjoy a great relationship with my own parents where everyone gets along ("too polite, my hubby claims) and so I'm not use to having to dig in with my relatives.

    I was a bit bitter when my hubby and I were talking about Baby and he said, "well, my mom would like a second baby." I started laughing and said (perhaps more bluntly than I intended) that it's all well and good for his mom to want a second grandchild, but it's ME who has to carry and deliver the baby, so it will be US who decides that.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KC on 7th January 2008

  • OK, I'll admit that my gut reaction was to say suck it up and take all of the help you can get!!!!! I'd have added a few more exclamation points, too. BUT, then, I'm having one of those weeks when I just wish the mommy fairies would swoop in and change diapers, pat backs, wipe tears and noses, cook dinner, etc, etc. AND I remembered what it was like to have my first baby. Ahhh, those trust-your-gut moments when it felt right and outsider's opinions made you want to slap someone. Mostly the outsider.

    It's easy for me to say your MIL means well. But we both know that you're in charge here. This is your baby, your house, your life. So take it back in an easy way by, oh, bribing slightly while slapping, I mean pushing her, in the right direction. Give her a little gift (movie tickets, perfume, PHOTO ALBUM of baby, blown up photo of her and baby) and let her know how much you appreciate all of her help blah, blah, blah. Then voice your opinion.
    ~You checked on the the baby? Great, I'm going to, too, b/c I just can't help it.
    ~Oh, my turn to snuggle my little bug (sicky sweet voice intended here).
    ~Oh, thanks for reading so much! I'm just going to read this one, though, b/c it's one of my favorites and it helps to relax me.
    ~You fed him coffee cake? With lobster? And he loved it? Wow, that's really great (wide eyes and smiles). I can't wait until he can really have all of that stuff but his doctor is really concearned about a few things so we can't give him real milk/eggs/etc, etc until he turns 21...

    You get the point. Be nice. There is a cultural difference and a generational difference. You are not a bad person to stand firm but it sounds like it would be more in your style to do it with a bit of finesse. Lots of compliments to MIL then throw in the way you are going to, not want to but are going to, do it. It's not easy at first but then you get used to it. And if you talked to your pediatrician they would more than likely say lay the blame for some of it on them (like foods or naps).

    I'm all about laying it out there (it's taken MANY years to get to this point) so in the end I know that if my slight cajoling didn't work then I would just have a good 'ole sit down and chat. You both want what's right for baby but in the end baby is your baby and she has to realize that.

    Devils advocate says she's just excited about this little guy, too, and since she's been-there-done-that even if she wasn't always there, then she has lots to say. I'm going on and on but I'm curious to know how often she's around, how well you know her and how she would react if you stood your ground.

    Let us know what happens!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mandy Nelson - Dandysound on 7th January 2008

  • Don't do what I did -- I have to admit that in the throes of post-birth hormonal craziness, I just lost my temper and politeness went out the window. This is with both my MIL and my own parents. We've smoothed things over since then, but they have certainly learned their limits. Your husband should be having a private conversation with your MIL once you've agreed on what stance to take.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by designmom on 5th January 2008

  • Kim, I think that your right ... i need to talk to my husband who can then pass the message on to my MIL. Tonight, I got the first indication that he "got it": my son was putting his hand in his mough (his own way of saying "I'm hungry") . I went to feed him and my MIL said "He isn't hungry." My husband chirped in, "Don't listen. Feed him." And, she went to take him from me and hubby interjected and said "Leave him. He wants to be held by mommy." I will follow this up with a conversation which he can then pass on to her. I didn't want to "make waves," but it suddenty occured to me that she would be involved in my son's life for a long time and I don't want this drama for that duration.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KC on 5th January 2008

  • Ok, My monster in law arrived after the birth of our son. She stayed a month. Amonth to long. Look at some point you will have to look at her thank her for her help. Talk to your husband thank him for her help but! Nicely have her son remind her that it is your alls baby, and her help is a blessing but, it is your first child, and thank you so much for your input but back off let us enjoy our learing expierence. Set grandma times to give you abreak. Trust me I could have stuck my monster in law on a plane the next day! She got the hint, feelings hurt she'll get over it! Look my mother in law wasn't there as my husband was growing up. But that was then and this is now.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kim Begnaud on 4th January 2008