J.L. asks from Cottonwood, AZ on February 15, 2009
Monster in Law - Cottonwood,AZ
My mother is a total monster in law. She thinks I can't do anything right regarding my children.... I need some advise. She also has turned the whole family against me. She feels that I am not raising her grandchildren the way she wants them raised... Please help
A.P. answers from Flagstaff on February 16, 2009
I am really sorry you have to deal with this, I can understand how you feel. I think the most important thing is that you and your husband agree on how you raise your family up. Also to have your husband stand by you on whatever you agree upon between yourselves. It is usually easier and less awkward to have each of you deal with your own parents directly, or to at least bring things up to them.
You are not living your life to please all these people and if they dont agree with what you do, as long as you are not harming your family, they just need to deal with it. They got to raise their own familys and im sure they hated other people went poking their nose into their business telling them what to do and what not to do.
If you get it out on the open and make it very know how things are going to be it will be much easier than beating around the bush for years to come, plus a huge stress reliever for you.
If your husband agrees with how you feel the easiest way to handle things would be when something comes up to try to make your point obvious as nicely as possible. If there is no nice way about it and you just have to sit down with them and tell them how you feel then go for it. You are all his first priorities now and should not have to deal with anything from his family.
C.P. answers from Albuquerque on February 16, 2009
you didn't give many details, so I have to assume your relationship with 'the monster' is not the best. You are married to her son, so there is no escaping the relationship. You need to focus on your family and not let her be the driving force in it. If your husband is supportive of you, ignore her interference and make him be assertive in her leaving you alone. If he is not supportive, watch out - you are in for a miserable time. He needs to be on the same page with you and the children (or, conversely, you need to be on the same page with him) for this to work out. Have a frank discussion with him and explain your need for his support. Good luck.
E.M. answers from Phoenix on February 16, 2009
You definitely have to have your husband on your side, if no other family members. You made these kids together after all. Hopefully you had a plan about what raising them would be like before they were born...or soon after. This plan should not include your mother's desires.
Our society has decided the nuclear family should the most potent force in child rearing. To shift power to a grandparent while the parents are still alive is going to make for a confusing situation. "Who is the parent?"
If your mom was so worried about how her grandkids would turn out, she should have kept a much tighter rein on you so that you would come out "perfect" and made sure that the "lucky" couple knew who would be in charge...HER! She dropped the ball a long time ago.
I wonder if she feels like this is a second chance at parenting? Does she feel like she could have done some things much better than she did? (And hopes you do them instead?) Or does she come off arrogant, like she feels she did everything "right". I hope your mom can overcome such demons, if one is bothering her. Try not to take it too personally...her harsh attitude.
C.W. answers from Phoenix on February 16, 2009
I'm not real sure, but I think you're talking about your own mother. If that's the case then you simply have to stand up to her and hold your ground. I know that is easier said than done. As far as the rest of the family, it really depends on how involved they are in your life. You can take the time to explain your point of view to them, and leave it at this. This is your life and your children. She had her chance, not it's your turn. I do know where you're coming from because my mother is the exact same way. Firmly but politely let her know that this is not OK. And therapy for you (and her if she'll join you). Hope that helps.
G.D. answers from Flagstaff on February 17, 2009
Well, first I'd suggest trying your best to act as an adult. Just by using the name monster in law states that there is a lot of tension from both of you in the relationship. I also don't believe someone can turn people against another person, and if you feel like that's really happening- then you'll have to use appropriate behavior to make peace.
I see that most people do not handle confrontation well. Who wants to tell someone that they're not doing a good job or that they are rubbing you the wrong way and how do you do it among those people who will be involved in your life?
I feel respect for someone who can confront me about something I said or did to make them feel ill feelings towards myself. I can have a conversation about it and learn from it.
Potentially inviting your mother in law over for some tea or lunch while kids are napping or outside playing could make her feel good and in turn can give you an opportunity to let her know kindly that you'd like to clean the air.
Obviously the kids are your (and your husbands) ultimate responsibility, so when she gives you advise you don't care for, you can kindly thank her for the advise and let her know that as the parent you'll think about it, talk to your husband about it and make a decision about it. If that's too much conversation, you can always just thank her for the advise and change subjects fast, keeping in mind that at some point in the future, you'll need to have the direct conversation to clean up the relationship.