T.H. asks from Belton, MO on August 29, 2006
Hi. I have a mother in law that smokes in her house. I am allergic to cigarette smoke and I have a 19 month old and a 6 week old son. I do not allow them to go over there unless it is a special occasion. My mother in law does not agree with this and tells me to get over it. I don't feel I have to get over it and wanted to know if anybody else has this same problem and how they deal with it. She refuses to come to my house now because I won't go to hers. She has only seen my new son 2 times since he has been born.
Thanks to all of you who have responded. I wanted to add...My MIL doesn't think that smoking is bad. I have explained all the problems with her but since she smoked through all of her pregnancies, which were 6 of them, and nothing seems to be wrong with her kids...she doesn't think there are problems. She is only 50 yrs old and has to have a breathing machine at night because she can't breath very well. Her youngest daughter also smokes and smoked 2 packs a day with both of her boys. She has a 2 1/2 yr old and a 4 month old. They both have lots and lots of issues. The older one gets rsv 2 times a year and is always in the hospital. He has asthma and all sorts of problems. They still do not think that this is related to smoking. My kids have never been sick. My oldest has had one cold in his life and never had an ear infection or anything. Her 4 month old has had 4 ear infections already. My husband agrees that they should not go to his mom's house. He does take my older son with him every now and then since he is older now but they do not stay very long. I will just leave it how I have it now and if she wants to see them she can decide to come over.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for your advice. I have decided I just won't go over. Even if she doesn't smoke while I am there I still get sick because smoke is in everything and it lingers. If she wants to see them she can come to my house. I am only a mile away but if not it is her loss.
A.N. answers from Tulsa on August 31, 2006
My mother smokes and I don't take my son to her house! I don't like her to hold him after smoking, it makes him stink, and 2nd hand smoke causes ear infections in babies! I wouldn't take them over I would make lunch dates or something..and if she really wants to see them that bad she will come to you in a somke free place!
J. answers from Kansas City on August 29, 2006
My MIL smokes, but has always gone outside at my house without me asking. I've just had to make it an issue for the grand-daughters not to follow her out as a way to spend more time with her! But at her house, it's her rules so she can smoke inside if she wants - which just means we don't visit.
D. answers from Oklahoma City on August 29, 2006
T. my mother in law smokes also. I had twin boys 8 months ago. I told my MIL that I would not come to the house if she smoked inside. The first few weeks I wouldn't go out there at all then she started going outside to smoke. her house nolonger smells like smoke and she doesn't smoke in house. She washes her hands before handling the babies. She will make any sacrafice for her grandchildren. maybe you could ask her if she could go outside to smoke. I wish you all the luck in the world
L.S. answers from Kansas City on August 30, 2006
My ex and his parents were the same way. I just flat out told them that if my baby came home smelling like smoke, or if I caught them smoking around my infant, they would NOT be allowed to see him without supervision from myself. They would smoke around him, and he would get a sinus/ear infection every single time. Make your point that smoking IS VERY BAD, especially around a baby. You can call the local hospital and give them her address and they will send a pamphlet for free about the effects of second-hand smoke and children.
D.H. answers from St. Louis on August 30, 2006
Its as plain as the nose on your face...your MIL cares more about her cigarettes then her own grandchildren. She has made her choices so let her live them....sadly, those choices effect your kids by not having a grandma around on a regular basis. Ultimitly, they are the ones who will suffer for it and she will have to live with the consequences...
P.S. answers from Kansas City on August 30, 2006
Hi: I just wanted to tell you dont let in on your rules about smoking around your kids or in your home. You are going to have to get on the internet and find reserach that supports your arugurment about second hand smoke. That is a prime example about the child who gets rsv, being around smoke. My home has been smoke free for many years. Its a rule when anybody comes to visit there is no smoking in my home. I have grand children, and I have to protect them when I can. There parents dont smoke so it makes it a litter easier. Also, talk to your doctor and tell him/her you need help convincing your mother-in-law about the danger of second hand smoke around your children. Hopefuly, If your mother in law loves her grand children like I love mines, she would make compromise while the children are around. When people come to my house they smoke outside. I hope this advise helps.
J.N. answers from Kansas City on August 29, 2006
You are not alone with this problem. I'm also violently allergic to smoke and my husband has asthma. Smoke causes breathing problems for both of us on top of those problems I get debilitating migranes cominded with nausea if I'm exposded for longer than thirty minutes. Being in a home that is permiated with smoke is torture for both of us. Life long smokers have problems understanding and accepting that a habit they have can cause pain to another person.
I'm fortunate in that none of the immediate family smokes and the extended family members that do smoke keep the habit outside at family gatherings. You do not need to "get over it" as you mother-in-law has told you. I'm betting that she is being difficult becuase she is feeling guilty that her habits are driving her children and grandchildren away. My grandmother reacted the same way when I was growing up. My father would not take us to her home and she was only alowed to smoke outside when she visited.
The good news for you is that you have science and the pediatricians on your side. Explain what happens to you physically when you are around smoke. Ask your doctor for information to back up your position. Take her with you to your next visit to the pediatrician and have the childrens doctor explain the health issues the exposure to smoke causes for small children. Children in smoke filled envirionments have more upper respiratory infections, highter risk for contracting RSV, typically have more ear infections, the list just goes on and on. This is not just a personal preference issue for you and your family it is a health issue. She needs to understand you are not being difficult about her smoking just to hurt her. While you are at it explain that she is also at risk and that you and your husband are also concerned about her health. Ask her when she last had a complete physical.
The grandmother I mentioned earlier was a three pack a day smoker until a black spot appeared in an x-ray of her lungs just after she turned 72. She was so frightened she quit cold turkey and never touched a cigarrette again. She celebrated her 92 birthday in May this year. However, her smoking has cost her dearly. Smoking excellerated her macular degeneration (a degenerative retinal condition) and she lost her eye sight 5 years ago. She suffers from cronic broncitus and has been hospitalized with near fatal puemonia 5 times. Her circulation is poor and in the winter she is constantly cold. To this day she wishes someone had been able to convince her to quit sooner.
Keep in mind that you are asking you mother-in-law to stop or at least curb an adictive habit when she is around you. Try to be supportive and encourage her to stop for her own heath.
B.E. answers from Tulsa on August 29, 2006
HI T., I have never been a smoker, but have been around smokers most of my life. After my grandson was born, we all agreed if someone wants to come see him, they will have to smoke outside. This included my daughter( the mother of the child). To this day, no one smokes around the grandchildren.There are a lot of smoking related illness, people that can't accept that are in complete denial!Thank God you and your husband are in agreement with this issue. You are doing what's best for your children. Congratulations.
T.D. answers from St. Louis on November 14, 2008
If your Mother-n-Law has any respect for you and you children she will not smoke in the presence of your family,and would make her environment acceptable for you since you are allergic. I am a smoker however,I never smoke in my house, nor do I smoke around people who don't. I have two girls in their 20's and just found out I am going to be a grandma for the first time. I will never expose my grandchildren to smoke, hopefully I will quite by then. She is being very selfish and should think of her family first. Or she could be a very lonely person. If that means coming to your house all the time so be it, I know I would. Best of luck.
S.H. answers from Kansas City on August 29, 2006
I sure wish your MIL could see my father now. He has been a heavy smoker since high school and was also exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. When my daughter was born, almost 11 years ago, he was realizing how much he missed just by having to leave the house when he wanted to smoke (which was often). He vowed that he would quit my daughter's 1st b-day. Well, her b-day is Jan. 1st and they arrived from their home in KY on Christmas Eve for her 1st Christmas. My dad had terrible broncitis. He almost died, and had to stay in the hospital here in MO for 5 days. He missed my daughter's first b-day party. His last cigarrette was on Christmas eve. He was only 51 at the the time; he is now 62 and has full-blown emphysema. His life is pretty much over. His lungs are the consistancy of "dryer lint" (direct quote from his Pulmonary Specialist). He needs a transplant, but his lungs can't handle it. My mom died last year (at age 58) of breast cancer, so he now lives with us. I love having him here, but I see the regret in his eyes every day.
You MIL has a very tough addicition. I've heard that it is easier to quit herion than nicotine. But, maybe someday she'll hit rock bottom and have to either quit or die. Until then, keep doing what you're doing. Maybe that will cause her "rock bottom"...because nothing is more important in life than people...esp. family.
Hang in there...knowing YOU are doing the RIGHT thing!!! God Bless....
J. answers from Champaign on August 30, 2006
Dear T. -
I can tell you that smoking around children IS harmful and irresponsible....especially if they are actually diagnosed with a respiratory problem, such as asthma and allergies.
I do some volunteer work for the juvenile court system and was present when a judge actually informed a mother who's children are diagnosed with respiratory problems is NOT to knowingly allow smoke or other air pollutants around her children.
It's time Grandma puts her cigarettes away and her grandchildren's well-being should come first.
I've smoked in the past, and I'm a grandmother and I would never subject any child to second-hand smoke or set the bad example that smoking is an 'ok' thing to do.
Stand your ground and good luck.