September 25, 2006,
J.G. asks from Bridgton, ME on September 24, 2006
What to Do About Annoying Grandparents?
My mom is very excited about her first grandchild, as any grandmother would be, but she really gets on my nerves when she comes to visit. She doesnt like to let my baby sleep, even when I tell her she needs a nap, which only makes my job harder at the end of the day with a cranky baby that needed a nap earlier in the day, or she wants to just hold her while she sleeps, which just makes her ALWAYS want to be held while she naps, a habit I dont want her to have. Also I feel like my mom is just waiting to snatch her away from me, like I am doing something wrong. Today my little one had had enough and was all out screaming for sleep and my parents just thought it was funny, said their job was done and left for home, I failed to see the humor. I dont want to be on edge when my parents come to visit, I want to enjoy the time they have with their granddaughter, and I know my aggrivation is felt by my baby. How do I change this situation without hurting anyones feelings, but getting my point across that I am the mom and what I say goes, even if it means my parents have to deal with a napping baby during a visit?
So What Happened?™
Thanks to everyone for your great advice! I did tell my mom how I felt and that she and my father need to put my baby's needs first. She is on a pretty regular daily pattern with naps and feedings, but unfortunately, my parents live a couple of hours away, and even though they do call first, they still manage to show up right when it's time for a nap. I had previously tried the nicer route of gently reminding my mom ,ok, it's time for her to sleep, but I guess it really just came down to me getting frustrated at her and dealing with it while those emotions were fresh. She said she felt bad, and so did my father, so we'll see wat happens next time....thanks again everyone!
K.J. answers from Rochester on September 25, 2006
i have a mother like that myself. Constantly waking my son when i go to visit her.
My suggestion is if they are coming over to your place to visit - if you daughter has a set nap routine, place visit for when you know she'll have just gotten up and end the visit before her next nap. Or perhaps even have grandma or grandpa help with whatever routine you use for her naps (bottle, diaper change, etc) before they go.
They need to respect that this is YOUR child.. and where as it maybe a grandparent's "right" to spoil a grandchild - it shouldn't be at the expense of their well being
A.L. answers from Boston on September 25, 2006
Well, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "I am the mom and what I say goes." YES, you need to say exactly that. As long as it comes from a loving place, you are being honest and more importantly, you are putting your childs needs ahead of your need to not hurt your parents. You need to be firm with your parents and explain to them how important it is that she sleeps at nap time. Do you have a regular schedule for her? If so, try to have them before or after her nap time, and if they are all day visitors, then they need to go out for lunch or help you around the house while your daughter naps. You are her mom, and no one knows her like you do. I know how important schedules are to little ones, and your mom should too. Tell them how thrilled you are that they want to be such a huge part of your daughters life, and that you love the bond they are creating. But, they need to respect your parenting style, and support you. I am the only one out of 3 girls in my family to have children, and my mom was ecstatic about my daugter when she was born. She still is after 9 years!!! My mom was with us almost every day to just adorn her with love. The bond they have is such a special gift and I love how close they are. Nurture that, Grandparents can offer so much to our children, but they must respect the way you do things at all times. We all have different ideas on parenting, but this is your baby and you have the right to raise her however you seem fit. I whole heartedly agree with you about not holding her while she sleeps, its one tough habit to break. Tough on you and your daughter.
I believe that honesty is the best way to handle this. Tell your mom how you feel, she may not realize just how important this is to you.
T.S. answers from Utica on September 24, 2006
I am sorry to tell you that Grandma is going to think you can NEVER do anything right where her grandchild is concerned, worse yet it's the 1st one, but take it one step at a time. Tell your mom that you want nothing more than to have her a very big part in your childs life. Maybe you could set up some "special grandma" time during the week where your mom can come over and spend 100% time with an awake happy baby.If you make it sound like it would be better for her, then she won't feel "hurt". Have her call first before she comes over to make sure the baby is awake.( just a suggestion) You need to know, from eperience ( but more with a great grandmother ) that if you don't start telling your mom how you feel about this now, it will SO only get worse. I didn't want to hurt my Grandmother ( my kids greatgrandma), but I had enough, when I did tell her I thought long and hard about what to say, and how to say it (write it down if it will help), I felt horrible when I told her, she left, but she came back the next day and she realized that I had a point and she wasn't hurt, actually she was sorry. Just sit down with her and tell her that you have a schedule that you really need to keep where the baby is concerned, that you still want her in the baby's life and you would really like it if she would be willing to give you suggestions if you have any questions or concerns, but you are MOM now and she needs to respect that.( hey I am sure your mom would be the first to complain about her mom doing the same thing when you were born) good luck and keep me posted!!
A.A. answers from Utica on September 25, 2006
there is no way to fix this without hurting someones feelings, but for your sanity, you have to say something. I had a mother-in-law that felt the need to interfere here and there, and my husband "sorta" said stuff to her, but didn't know how, and he is not the "tiptoe " around things type. So finally she said something to me that i was not happy with and i finally said, "you had your chance at being a mom and raising your 8 children, give me the chance to be a parent and make my "mistakes". SOmetimes you just have to tell it like it is. Good luck!!!
T.E. answers from Boston on September 25, 2006
How far away do your parents live and how often do they visit? I have a 4 year old and my mother did and still continues to do the same thing to my daughter. I have a 2 month old son now and she is not as bad with him. My daughter now understands that that is what happens when Nana is here and it is a special occasion. She is old enough to understand that now but when she was younger it was hard. But I think it just took some understanding on my side. I live 2 hours away and my mother just wants to make the most out of the little time she gets with them. If you look at it that way it is easier. They are lucky to have grandparents who care so much about them.
T.C. answers from Burlington on September 25, 2006
It wasn't my mother that was so bad, but my mother-in-law which I found to be worse. If you can't get your mom to let your baby sleep then you could try asking her to come over at a different time, like before or after nap time. That's what we had to do. For awhile my mother-in-law wasn't happy that she had to "schedule" visits but eventually she realized that what's best for the baby is the most important. Your mom will understand if you explain it to her calmly, before you get frustrated with her!
T.P. answers from Providence on September 25, 2006
Sometimes this can be a hard decision to make. For once you have to be the sensible, responsible one. Yet you do not want to hurt the grandparents light in their new responsibility.
Try letting them know that the 'doctor' said this is how things should go when the baby is sleeping. Also, I just watched 'Meet the Fockers' and what needs to be done is share what you plan on doing in the child rearing. If it is nap time, let it be nap time. See how old you are? They have not had a baby around in some time.
Next, the meanest thing is to not let anyone visit during nap time. Even if you catch some winks for yourself. Try it.
L.M. answers from New York on September 25, 2006
I HAVE DONE THIS WHEN MY KIDS WERE AT THAT AGE. TRY NOT ANSWERING THE DOOR( PRETEND YOUR SLEEPING) THATS IF THEY STOP AND NOT CALL FIRST. OR COME UP WITH A LIE AND SAY SHE WAS UP 1/2 THE NIGHT BEING SICK SO SHE NEEDS HER SLEEP. OR YOU CAN JUST BE RUDE AND JUST LET THEM KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SITUATION. MOM MIGHT GET MAD, BUT SHE WILL GET OVER IT.
C. answers from Hartford on September 24, 2006
If your mom is close enough, ask her if you can give her a call when the baby wakes up from her nap to let her know it is a good time to come over. That way you know the baby gets her nap. If your mom is only over once a week or so, let the baby sleep in her arms. If it is not that frequent, she won't be spoiled by it. If it is more than 2-3 naps in a row or everyday, don't let it happen.
I found that one outburst at my in-laws in a cranky moment made them realize that even though they successfully raised their own kids, this one was mine and I needed to raise it my way. It is not the nicest way to deal with the problem but it does work.
T.W. answers from New York on September 25, 2006
I had a similar problem with my in-laws who felt that everything including the kids belonged to "their son" and that my own mother was not allowed near them. I had a rocky relationship all my life with my mother, but did turn to her when the going got rough. What I finally had to do was lay the law down to my in-laws and you should to with your parents. Tell them what they probably told you, "this is my house, my child, my rules, if you don't like it stay away." I know this sounds harsh, but trust me it works. In my case my mother-in-law resented the fact that I am a)much younger than my husband, b)a better cook, and c)better housewife than she ever could be. We did finally stop speaking, but only after my older 3 were much older and she verbally attacked my daughter, trying to come between the 2 of us; my husband was the one who told his mother enough is enough once and for all and that unless she apologized she was not going to see the kids. The bottom line is the ball will be in your parents court. Do you want a child who sees you and your parents arguing all the time and her being on edge due to the tension or do you want a happy child who enjoys just about everything life has to offer? Remember one thing, we are raised to respect our parents, but sometimes we have to stand up to them and gain their respect adult to adult. In life you have our parents raising us, us raising our children, then us raising our parents and that is the hard one. So stand up to your parents, let them know your daughter is your daughter, then at least the ball is in their court.
K.C. answers from Boston on September 25, 2006
You have every right to be frustrated. You need to sit your parents down and tell them they're in YOU'RE house with YOU'RE child and they need to respect the rules of the house. They raised their kids already, and now it's your turn. You're an adult, and they need to recognize that. I would be stern, but not malicious in telling them. If they care about you, they won't have their feeling hurt and the will understand where you're coming from. I would even collect some info on babies need for lots of sleep and routine, that way you have ammo. Good Luck.
M.B. answers from Providence on September 25, 2006
listen just tell your mom that she has to stop waking her when shes sleeping or she has to stop coming over.Tell her you love her and love her beening a part of your daughters life but shes making hard on you when she dont get to nap.
L.C. answers from New York on September 24, 2006
it sounds like they're just excited about the new baby. it'll wear off soon enuff (trust me, lol), but in the mean time you should have a serious heart to heart with the folks. i had to do the same thing. it got to the point where i really had to INSIST that my son get his sleep. i think they were a little insulted for a bit, but it wore off. if you tell them how your honestly feeling, and stand firm to it, they'll have no choice but to understand. just make it clear that its more important to you right now that your baby get the sleep she needs than to visit with grandma and grandpa. if it would make them feel better, make it clear that they should call first and make their visits around times that she'll be awake. you just need to find a common ground. but remember that she's YOUR daughter...what you say goes. good luck!
C.R. answers from Buffalo on September 25, 2006
Dear J., In as nice a way as you can, you have to get the point across to your parents that what they are doing is wrong and that you have a schedule for the baby and you need to stick to that. You have to be stern, but not nasty, especially about the part of holding the baby while she naps because it's not doing you or the baby any good, because after the damage is done, they leave and you are stuck with a cranky baby. Tell them that you realize that they want to spend every moment they can with the baby, but they have to abide by your schedule, it may hurt and they may get mad, but oh well, they'll get over it. Let your mom especially know that you willingly except any advise she may have to offer, but do not allow her to make you feel that you don't know what you're doing. There will be times when you won't know what to do because unfortunately, babies do not come with a learning manual, and you will seek her advise. As a new mom, you need to be happy and calm because it's hard being a new mom and you really don't need any added stress. I'm sure they'll understand and respect you for it.
C.S. answers from Rochester on September 24, 2006
How old is your newborn? If she is on any sort of schedule, which I know can change from day to day, tell your mom before she visits. Ask her to call before hand, that way, when she wants to come over, tell her what time would work best for you and your daughter, and tell her if that time doesnt work for her, then she can try to come the next day. Getting a baby on a schedule is a greuling task, and I think every mom here understands your frustration! Good luck!