Don't Want MIL to Babysit Causing Problems with Husband

Updated on May 30, 2011
L.M. asks from Oceanside, CA
41 answers

My husband and I are 12 years apart. This is our first child and there is tension growing between us over letting his elderly, alcoholic mother watch the baby. Although she is a wonderful, kind person - I just don't trust her. I don't trust her when she says she's quit drinking. I don't trust that she will respect my wishes when it comes to certain issues. She is single. She raised my husband as a single mom. And while I respect everyone's choice to parent as they wish - I just don't agree with hers. I don't want her influencing our son. I hope/wish/want her to have a great relationship with him but I don't think it has to be based on how much she babysits him or how much time she spends alone with him.

I know people say how lucky you even have a MIL who wants to babysit, but it's all relative. I'm not going to do it because in the end this is our son, not hers. What I need advice on is how to talk to my husband about it. He doesn't agree and is just angry that I even feel this way in the first place. How can I approach him and get him to understand?

** I say she was a single parent only to point out the bond my husband has with her who is also an only child. That's all. Just trying to give perspective. I don't judge her at all for being a single mom. Quite the opposite. It takes so much to raise a child and I'm impressed she did it on her own. I don't think I could.

** Alcoholism runs in their family. Four deaths from the disease to date. Which is (alcoholism) prevalent in my husband as well. Hence, the issue of influencing our child who will more than likely be predisposed to it now anyway. It's real. Not just "oh, I don't think Grandma should drink a glass of wine every night."

** Ever since he was born, we've spent almost every Sunday with her. So she gets to spend time with the baby... just not alone.

** She is in her 70's.

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

We ended up going and seeing a counselor together to talk about the issue because he just couldn't get past what I was saying. For him, it became other issues besides the safety of our child. It was nice to be able to have a non-biased voice of reason help my husband understand my feelings. Although he may not agree with them, he realizes they are valid and respects my wishes now.

As far as how to handle the MIL... I work part time and am able to take the baby to work with me. We have no need for a babysitter. I have offered/asked for her to come over any time she wants to see the baby, come over while I cook and clean and have said that she can watch him along with my husband's aunt and uncle (so she is not alone with him). But she will not take me up on these offers. The only thing I can do is control the environment in which she sees him - knowing it's safe, alcohol free and no need for her to be any kind of primary caregiver at any time.

I hope anyone that may have a similar problem may find this helpful in some way!

More Answers



answers from Boston on

I think you are totally justified in how you feel and am shocked at how many responders here are trying to make you feel bad for your stance. Obviously, if you said in your post that you didn't like her style and therefore didn't want her around the baby I could see how people would write the responses. But you've stated that she's a ALCOHOLIC for God's sake. It's not trvial, nor is it easy to overcome as the addict. ANd I imagine you reference the age difference between you & your hubby to illustrate that she's older. Now older is of course relative, some people think 60s is elderly, some think 70s and some don't think your elderly til your in your 80s. My MIL is in her late 70s and honestly it's too much for her to watch my little one for more than a few hrs, if that anymore. My Mom is in her 60s and watched her all week while I am working.

Sure your husband turned out fine, but that could have been pure luck. And why in the world does everyone believe a grandmother is entitled to alone time with the grandchild? Seriously? A grandchild is not a commodity - it's a precious human life that must be nurtured and cared for to the best of the parents' ability.

In this litigious society we live in, I wouldn't be surprised if a mother who knowingly subjected her child to unsupervised care by an alcoholic would be considered an unfit Mom and charged with a crime if anything happened.

However, your question is how to convince your husband of this. Unfortunately, no matter how "right" you are on this, I doubt you will ever be able to get him to see it the way you do, and trying too hard will cause a rift between you. If it was me, I'd probably go a little passive aggressive here and just make sure to never find time to leave your child with her, but be sure she can have lots of supervised visits.

Sorry i don't have much specific tactical advice, but I do feel very supportive of your position.

Good luck

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Wow! I know this is Mamapedia, but aren't any mothers willing to admit that sometimes a decent adult becomes so in spite of their upbringing? My husband has often credited the aunts, grandmothers, friends' mothers who provided his positive female influences that tempered that of his own mother. I think we can all agree that the ability to have sex does not automatically make someone a good mother, the fact that your child survived into adulthood and found someone to make a baby with does not ensure that you would be a good grandmother. And why is there an automatic assumption that a grandparent must be a babysitter in order to have a good relationship with their grandchild? I really, and truly don't get it!

That's my emotional response. Onto the logistics.... you must be very careful how you talk to your husband about this to avoid him feeling personally attacked, as others have mentioned. Is there anyone in his family you do trust with your child? Focus on the differences and try to keep the conversation logic-driven and civil. For instance, "If your sister wants to watch our baby, I know she'll respect our parenting methods and be physically able to deal with caring for a baby." Many people tend to discount how physically taxing it is to care for a baby. I recently ran into a situation where my daughters were meeting an elderly aunt for the first time and she said, "I didn't think about the arthritis in my hands and how difficult it would make holding the babies." No one would want to hear that if they had been planning on leaving the baby with that person.

One compromise you could offer would be to hire someone to "help" your mil with the physically taxing bits. You get peace of mind and perhaps a night out with your husband and mil gets some time to play grandma.

Best wishes to you.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Well I agree with you.

Your Husband comes from an Alchoholic home/upbringing.
THUS... he does not know, "normal" behavior or mothering.
So, his perceptions on it, will not be, common sense.

I would not want her to babysit, either.
NO way.

But sure, she can spend time with baby... but supervised. Not alone.
There is a difference.

AND you are the Parent. Not your MIL.
YOU determine, the path of your baby's influences and upbringing.

Your Husband, has conflicted emotions about it... because again, he was raised in an Alcoholic home and thus, his perceptions of it, is not... ideal.
He has to recognize, that his Mom IS an Alcoholic... and thus, not safe... to be around baby, by herself.
There is just plain common sense, safety aspects of it. And she is Elderly. Thus her motor-skills and reaction time and ideas of safety, will probably be compromised.

And you have your gut instinct. Too.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

L., your husband has a blind spot on this, and there's possibly nothing you can do to open his eyes unless your child gets hurt. And you are being very wise to not allow it, regardless of his unwillingness to listen to you.

Provide her with lots of time together with you in attendance. Only leave the baby with a trusted sitter, whether your husband likes it or not. Stand firm and don't get into arguments with him. Show him when you are with your MIL that you love and respect her as your MIL and want her to enjoy being with the baby. But don't leave her alone with the baby, period.

Good luck,

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Please stand your ground...your child's safety is much more important than anyone's feelings. Please allow her to see your child with you and your husband there. There is no law that says you have to allow her to watch your child.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

First of all, what do you consider elderly? 70, 80?
Second of all, what do you consider an alcoholic?
I know people who believe that anyone who EVER touches an alcoholic beverage, even a glass of wine on a holiday, is an alcoholic.
Please don't take any offense, but whether she drank or not, I don't think you'd trust her. Would you trust her more if she was married? No.
You've already decided she won't respect your wishes. You've already decided you don't want her influencing your son.
You want her to have a great relationship with your son but not based on her babysitting or spending time alone with him.
You ask the question. You alone need to find the answer in a way that your husband can understand.
That might be more difficult than it sounds.
She can't be that bad if she raised a son on her own who turned out to be a wonderful husband. If she drinks when she's not around your baby, frankly, that's not your business.
She's a grown woman. She's raised a son and she may have more wisdom to share with you than you realize.
My grandpa drank beer and on occasion cussed like a sailor. He loved me more than anything and I had a nervous breakdown when he passed away at 85. He and I had such a close bond. He put calomine lotion on me when I got poison oak, he put his Old Spice on me when I got mosquito bites. He came to live with us when my grandma passed away from cancer and he walked me to school every morning and was there to walk me home. We read the newspaper together every morning and watched the news on TV at night. He taught me a love for history and current events.
I can't imagine my parents not wanting me around him alone because of his "style". Heck, before he came to live with us, my parents put me and my sister on the Greyhound and we'd spend entire summers with him.
Yes, he liked a beer in the heat of the summer time and cussed like a sailor when he thought we weren't listening.
He was a wonderful man and I'd give anything to go back in time when we'd spend lazy summer days at the creek or picking figs from the tree in his back yard.
I personally think Granparents are so important for children.
I don't know how you can get your husband to understand that basically his mother isn't good enough to be around your kid. When you think about it, it's a pretty hurtful thing to say. If she's living in a cardboard box on the streets, that might be one thing.
I don't know if you pay attention to sports at all, but there are so many men that were raisied by single women. Good, bad or ugly, they revere their mothers. They understand the struggle.
If you are looking for understanding, you might have to be willing to see it from both sides.
You're being a protective mother and there's nothing wrong with that. It's instinctual. But, what are you really protecting your baby from? What harm can really come to him from being around someone different from you?
I think if you open your mind a little, you'll see it's not so bad.

Best wishes.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Apparently you fell in love with husband, raised by the 'alcoholic' mother in law and she seems to have raised a man you love very much. If she wants to watch your child it might be quite possible that she is not the alcoholic you thought she was. Is she in programs or AA or do you just see her sipping a few? Many a woman has raised wonderful and brilliant children while enjoying a wine at night. Not ever having the privelege to have my mother babysit, who actually raised six children and drank a number of beers if I recall correctly, I am somewhat jealous that you have this opportunity and do not want her to participate. And sorry, but does 12 years apart have to do with this?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

When you criticize or refuse his mother, it feels like .. you are telling him there is something wrong with him, for trusting and loving his mother.

She will always be his mother and he will always love her and stick up for her.

I think you need to give her a chance. Let her watch your son at your home for a few hours one night so you all can go out.

And it may be that she will not do every thing you ask or she may do things a little different.. This will be ok. Your child will be fine.

The way you talk with him about it is by saying.. "Here are my concerns."
Then let him tell you how he feels he can speak with his mother about this.

But you will have a really hard time totally disallowing her from watching your child. That is just not going to happen.

If you 2 cannot get this settled, you need to go to marriage counseling and get an outside person to help the 2 of you learn to handle this. Marriage is for a lifetime and your child will also also love his grandmother. Your feelings will seep into their relationships. It will not end up well if you take sides.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

She raised your husband
You married him
She must have done something right :)
Of course he is angry, and probably hurt, after all she raised him.

What if you compromised - let her come over and help with the baby while you are home. She could observe your ways, you could observe how she is with your son.

She may surprise you.

I was 30 and single when I had my son (I have always been a single parent). My Grandmother was in her 80s and lived with me. While I did not leave the baby alone with her, she would watch him while I was in the shower or taking a quick nap. Sometimes, actually, I would run down to the market and leave him with her, usually when he was sleeping. While she could not carry him around, she could give him a bottle, rock the bassinet, or watch him while he played in his bouncer. She helped me in what ways she could I valued that the time she got to spend one-on-one with him.

What I infer from your post, is that you do not approve of your mother-in-laws lifestyle choices and are worried that she will have an undue influence on your son. If he is still a baby, she can't influence him that way. Again, this is what I infer, not how you feel, so please don't take offense.

Everyone makes mistakes in life, many people grow to correct those mistakes and become better people. Overlooking others' past mistakes is a measure of our compassion.

God Bless

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Daytona Beach on

i can totally understand your point of view. however, that's his mother, the one who raised him all by herself. she is probaby near perfection to him, despite her problems. i don't have the problem you do, as my MIL won't watch mine, however, i have made it specifically clear that his parents were not to get the kids if something were to happen to us. I just put it down to their health problems, which are many. maybe you can just tell him that while you love his mother, and respect her decisions while she raised your husband and how much you appreciate what she did for him, you would rather not have your son around someone who might be drinking and not be able to care for him as needed.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I have a similar MIL situation. She's always begging to watch the kids ALONE. It's really weird. I've been able to avoid it because she lives far away (though she always wants me to "send the kids") -Never gonna happen.
The bottom line is if your child doesn't need babysitting, then problem solved. If you don't need her services, then that's that. If you need child care while you work or something then you'll just have to say no to them both. In the end, your husband should learn not to be angry at you for it, you are his wife. Good luck. It has been a huge issue in our house but I've held my ground.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I completely agree with Jackie (and you for that matter). As for a practical answer to your question, whenever my husband and I don't see eye-to-eye on something, it sometimes helps if I write him a letter, either email or a traditional letter. I try to state the way I feel about the issue without trying to put words in his mouth or insinuate the way I think he feels. I simply state the facts as I see them. Then I give him the letter and have him read it when I am NOT around. That way he has a chance to read it and think it over without discussion first. It takes the initial emotional response away. Then later we can discuss the issue rationally. That may help you and your husband with this. Maybe if you write out your concerns he will see that you aren't attacking his mom, but are simply protecting your son. There is a difference. I'm sorry you are in this position, but I don't blame you at all for choosing to fight this battle. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

He wont understand. That is his mother, and you are saying she is a bad one. You are saying she is such a bad mother you would not even let her watch you child for 2 hours, and yet this woman single handedly raised your husband and helped him to become the man he is. When you say you do not want her to influence your son, you are saying basically you do not want your son to turn out like his father. How on earth is he supposed to "understand" that. How would you feel if he told you he did not like your mother, thought she made you turn out lousy and he did not want her influencing his son?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

How to make your husband realize his own mother is "unfit" to watch his child?
If he doesnt SEE it, I'm not sure what you can do except for quietly tell him your fears and try to convince him to understand how you feel.
"I love your mom Honey but think about this....." and convince him that she is unfit to watch your child. If you can't convince him, if you are only full of "what if's?"... I'm not sure what you can do.
Old, alcoholic grandmothers can be very good babysitters. My kid's G. was... she smoked and drank, but she didnt influence her grandsons in any form or fashion. Both of my sons are non drinker/non smokers despite the fact that they were raised in an opposite environment for the most part. Sometimes when we are raising children we teach them what NOT to do by them observing what we DO do.
Family is very crazy, there are all sorts of different people in the family, kids need that "different" environment, it teaches them the skills to get along in the world later.
If you really honestly think your child would be harmed or killed while his grandmother watches him then don't let her watch him. Convince your hubby in a way that is not harsh tho, you have to use good psychology for this because you are talking about the woman that raised him, if he thinks she's okay -you will have a very hard time changing his mind. He loves your baby too right?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

understand the drinking issue, but it also sounds that you are also judging her because she was a single parent. how can you say you respect everyone's parenting choices but don't agree with hers? you don't know what she went through when she raising her son that made her feel that being a single parent was best for her. I know i;m not about to fake it to make with a man just because someone else is doing it! If a man is not doing what his he is supposed to do as man for his family,wife,children then out the door he goes. I can do bad by myself. that fact that you even brought her choice for being a single parent into the equation might be why your husband is not trying to hear what you are saying. he probably knows his mother;s faults, but for you to insult his mother like that, he;s not going to hear you or try to understand where you are coming from. you need to stop judging her for being a single parent and focus on the issue at hand, which is the drinking. because as a single mother things like that bother me when the "happily married" folks judge us single mothers just for being single.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

that's a tough situation. on the one hand i can think of lots of wonderful, kind, elderly women who drink and are great with kids. is it important to you that she 'quit drinking', or that she not drink when she is alone with your child? there's quite a bit of difference.
on the other hand, it's a bit too much to ask that you over-ride your instincts when it comes to your child. if you feel this strongly about it, it's certainly worth paying attention to.
and yet your husband's feelings can't be discounted. not only is she his mom but it's also his child. he could just as easily be posting here saying 'how can i get her to understand? she is so adamant and won't even listen to me!'
the obvious middle ground is to have her play 'mother's helper' and spend time with the baby always and only when you're there. it's very possible that once she's familiar with your routine and parenting philosophy, and you've had a chance to get comfortable with her relationship with baby, that you'll feel okay with leaving her for short times.
or not. but at least then you'll have tried, and your husband may be more accepting if you can meet him somewhere in the middle.
good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

L., one response stuck out to me, probably because it was so judgemental "You do know what you are saying is that you don't like your husband". Seriously? What a joke!

There is a reason that we are equipped with mommy intuition. Listen to it! Why should you leave your baby with someone that you don't trust, just because they are family? Would you leave your child with a sitter that you don't trust?
Please don't feel guilty. She can spend great quality time with your son with you and your husbands supervision. Someday she may earn your trust and you can re-evaluate.
Don't let anyone manipulate or guilt trip you into doing something that you are not comfortable with, and that includes the posts here.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

*I know people say how lucky you even have a MIL who wants to babysit, but it's all relative.*

The above is said too often without given thought to the circumstances and the fact as you've said, "he is our son and not hers." That's all there is to it. You are right in mind to know that your issue is trying to explain to your husband that it's not in your son's best interest to be alone with his mother because...

just think what if she is drinking, what could happen?
Remind him of incidents that he can't deny.
Be gentle but you have to let him know and stand your ground.

I never ever bought into the idea of just because MIL/FIL and even my own parents are alive that I should be grateful for them simple because of the child. It's not that simple. You always have to do what's best for your family and hopefully your spouse will be on the same page.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

"she is a wonderful, kind person "...she either is or she isn't-no grey area here-you're dealing with a baby. Can you trust her? Alcoholism is a disease-okay-that said-it takes a long time to regain trust-maybe a lifetime. Someday-my wish is that your husband will say to your child, "and Grandmother never drank again-and it was unbelievable". God bless all of you-xo!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Your husband's loyalty is in the wrong place. He may feel guilty because his mom raised him alone, but risking his son's safety to please her is totally wrong, and you have to stand up to him about it. I wouldn't even discuss it with him. The answer is no, especially if you see her every single Sunday anyway. He seems to feel very tied to his mom, and never changed his loyalties to putting his wife and child first like every man is supposed to when he gets married.

My son was raised by a single mom too who constantly guilts him about this "I was your mother AND your father!" which is total nonsense since she wanted to be a single mom and made her choices. He tells her that I come first, and it annoys the heck out of her. She says that a man can have more than one wife, but only gets one mom.

As a result, my opinion is that some single moms are too tied to their children and aren't able to ever let go, even guilting their child into inappropriate loyalties.

If your husband won't put you guys first, then you still should. Your child's safety comes first, and her wanting to babysit your baby to have something to do is not your problem. It's not your job to supply your baby to people looking for something to do. It's your job to protect your child and raise him safely.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

You do know what you are saying is you don't like your husband. I mean she raised him, he is still alive and he is the person you loved enough to marry. What exactly did she do so wrong with him that you don't trust her to even babysit your son?

My mother was no fuzzy bunny, what letting her and my father watch my kids is it opened up dialogs between the kids and I. Grandma says this but you say that, why? Things like that. My exes mom was no fuzzy bunny either, same thing. Having less than perfect grandparents are not the worst thing that can happen to a child.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Keep in mind that you are the mom and no matter who babysits, you and your husband are the most influential people in your child's life.

Are you talking about baysitting once a month, twice a week, every day while you work? Just something to consider.

Rather than trying to change your husband's mind, try to think of ways you can both be ok with the situation. I'm sure you do want your son to have a relationship with his grandmother, so see if you can find a way to make that happen.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Trust your instincts here. If you don't feel like you MIL is a safe caregiver, don't allow her to babysit. Your husband may have become a wonderful person in spite of MIL, rather than because of MIL. Or she may have been a better caregiver 30 years ago than she is now. She sees the baby weekly when you all visit, so she certainly gets plenty of time to see him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Clarksville on

Your feelings are justified. Listen to your mommy instinct and stand your ground. My MIL passed away 8 years ago. She was an alcoholic, had major health issues and a chain smoker. Our oldest child will be 12 in July and when MIL was alive, she never had unsupervised visits with him. We even went as far as to not visit in her home. The 2nd hand smoke irritated our eyes & lungs and we hated how our entire body smelled when we left her place. We didn't want to expose our child to that so we would me at a smoke-free neutral location or outdoors. Unlike you, my husband and I both agreed on the decision though.

If I were in your position, I would continue to make it a point for your MIL to see your child as much as possible while you and your husband are around. I wouldn't want her drinking while watching my child either and surely would be worried especially if she has access to a vehicle. Your job is to protect your little man but I'm not sure how to suggest you go about sharing your concerns with your husband or finding a common ground with this subject.

Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with the other posts that you need to stand your ground and trust your gut and not leave him alone with her. Sounds like she does get to see him a lot and that's one way to help rhe problems with your husband; make sure his mother spending time with your son is a priority.
While I think him realizing the reality about his mother, that might not happen. Maybe he'll accept that this is you being a protective new mother and ask him to respect your decisions about who babysits your child even if he doesn't agree. That might be as much as you can get, an agree to disagree but respect the decision vs him understanding why his mother is not an appropriate caregiver. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

friend of mine has a mom that's an alcoholic/prx abuser. thought she was better and left her kids w/her while she went out of town. daughter called her and mom had driven her kids to school drunk. she had to catch the next flight home. go with your gut on this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

"Honey this is a big issue for me & this is one thing I need you to support me on. I am a mother now & I feel strongly about this. I will pick my battles in the future but this is not one of them." Is your husband in 'denial' about his mothers drinking? Do you think it's because he just doesn't want to hurt her feelings? otherwise your only other response is " I want her to enjoy being a Grandma not the babysitter".

Please go with your gut. I trusted my mother cause she promised me, then came home to her blacked out while watching my 2 yr old, very scary. My mother died at 44 from alcoholism.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Uh, hell no. Being in her 70's would make it enough for me to say no way. My mom is 65 and my kids are older so they can talk and tell me what goes on over there. There is no way I would leave my baby with someone that age and especially with those issues. I kind of feel like there really isn't anything for you and hubby to talk about. I would just hold my ground and say you do not feel comfortable, you can afford daycare/babysitter, whatever and you are just not going to risk it. It really is that simple. Very tough spot for you tho...I wish you the best!



answers from Los Angeles on

Are you worried about what is safe or what is a bad influence?
If you need a sitter and feel it is safe, it would be ok with me. You can
influence, as much as one can, you child in your ways.
If it isn't safe to leave a child alone with her then don't.
That would be my idea.

PS a glass or two of wine with dinner is said to make one live longer, but
drinking with kids in the am is not.



answers from Los Angeles on

No question - I would say NO. I have 4 kids and my 86 year old grandmother IS capable of watching the kids, but the oldest is 8 (and very helpful) and she does not watch the newborn. She also is VERY aware of her capabilities. Sometimes, she'll tell us that she physically can't do it and I appreciate that she knows her limitations.

On the other hand, my alcoholic 85 year old grandmother begs us to let her watch our kids. Um, no. She thinks her faculties are still all intact. She doesn't have any her head. I love her, but there is NO chance in hell that she'll ever watch our kids. I do let her hold the baby on a soft couch, in MY house and the time is limited. I do love her, but loving someone and trusting someone are two totally different things.

Listen to your intuition. It would be a shame, to not listen and then something happens. You'll never forgive yourself OR your husband.

My in-laws are 71 and 78 and they only have them for short trips to the store or so my husband and I can have a dinner out - every 4-6 months. My parents are 64 and 63 - they watch my kids for 4 hours once per week and even then, they let them watch TV (which we ask them not to).

So sorry if her feelings are hurt....but trust your intuition and never question that!



answers from Dallas on

Its your baby. And its your first baby - thats a pass to be as neurotic - whether called for or uncalled for, as you want. There are all kinds of crazy things new moms say or want. I thought people were holding my first baby too much and always wanted them to put him down in his basinett.

Tell your husband you dont want his mom to watch the baby alone because she is in her 70s. Leave the drinking out of it. To keep it fair, dont let anyone else in their 70s watch the baby alone either.



answers from Dallas on

Sounds like your husband is in denial about his alcoholic mother. How sad! How can he not know that his own mother is an alcoholic and you do?? That is very scary. Thankfully your son has you to protect him!! Definately do not let your MIL babysit him under any circumstances, even if that means more problems with you and your husband. Take your husband to therapy so the therapist can wake him up and open his eyes about his mother. Does your husband have siblings with a better head on their shoulders? Maybe they can inform him that their mother is an alcoholic! Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Trust your instincts as a mother. God forbid you should give in to your hubby or MIL's demands and something happens to your precious child! Obviously, given the tight bond between your hubby & his mom, any attempt to make him see her as you do, is unlikely to do anything other than cause the two of you to fight! The "trick" is to make him think that your idea is actually HIS idea. In other words (as wisely uttered in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding") "the man might be the head of the house but the woman is the neck". You need to say something along the lines of .... "I don't know what to do. Our child is such a handful. What can we do to make it easier for your mom to spend time with him?" How ever you phrase it, it must not appear to him as if you are in any way "dissing" his Mom. You need to come across as caring and concerned for HER welfare. I don't know who usually babysits for you, but a possible compromise is to have the regular babysitter and your MIL babysit together. Good luck!



answers from Richmond on

look your mother in law in the face and tell her that the baby came out of your body and if you say you dont want someone watching your baby, YOU MEAN IT.
if your husband is living in denial that his mother has a drinking problem , then he is part of the problem
never let anyone who has been drinking watch your child, it impares judgement and reaction time, plus of course, if your child is injured while your mil is (drunk) and supposedly watching the child, she can say, why officer, its not my fault, my dil KNEW i didnt feel well when she dropped her kid off, i must have had a little too much cough syrup, thats all
K. h.



answers from Los Angeles on

You need to trust your instincts as a mother. I don't worry much about my baby, but I believe to follow my instincts when I have a bad feeling about something.


answers from Los Angeles on

Karin nailed it on the head- If your husband does not see her alcohol addiction as being a problem, he is only adding to the problem. Have you had a sit-down conversation with him? Try it. Tell him how you sincerely feel and that you simply don't trust her. Have you sat down and talked to her about it? If she really has a problem, this should be understandable to your husband at least. He is your husband and YOU are the mother of the baby, so I think he should respect your feelings over his mother's, no offense to her. I would definitely not trust someone with alcohol issues to watch my baby- end of story! Mom's instincts are always right, and if you don't feel right leaving baby with grandma, that should be enough for everyone.


answers from Hartford on

So obviously your husband wants his mother to babysit but is your MIL insisting on it too? Is she begging for a chance to babysit? Or is she just begging for more opportunities to visit with the baby? And maybe your husband thinks the solution is to have her babysit rather than add in a visit here and there in addition to seeing her every Sunday?

My MIL is in her 70's and she wants to see my kids more too but she knows she couldn't handle my girls on her own to babysit them. Instead she requests that we visit more or creates events for us to have a "party" or for my kids and their cousins to all "come play in her backyard" for a while.



answers from Kansas City on

I do agree that there are quite a few moms who seem to be so defensive about your stance, and I feel for you. I have issues with my MIL watching our children, but for different reasons, so I really had to think about my answer before answering.

I think this...and it somewhat contradicts what I just said, but here it most cases I know of people who had a crappy childhood, or a parent that's an alcoholic, etc., those people agree with their spouse about their mother not watching their child b/c they see the big picture and realize that their mother is incapable of caring for their child alone. So, the fact that your husband doesn't see this makes me wonder if perhaps you are being a little bit hard on her.

Would it be possible to have her come to your house and watch your child for just short amounts of time? I did kind of like the idea of the nanny cam even though it feels slightly deceptive to husband and MIL, but if you're having serious concerns, it's a possibility.

Lastly though, the word 'alcoholic' is sticking in my mind. If she truly is an alcholic, then you are absolutely correct and there is no way she should watch your child alone. You are in a really difficult position and I think that you just need to talk to your husband and figure out what his expectations are. Ask him some questions, point out her drinking, find out what he wants and what he'd be okay to compromise about. But, in the end if she is unfit and he won't see it, then maybe you do need a impartial third party.



answers from Los Angeles on

That is a tough situation, because you have to stand your ground here. Letting her come over and visit as often as she wants is one thing, but leaving him alone with her? I wouldn't do it either. It's a real shame that your husband doesn't get this.



answers from Minneapolis on

You need to sit him down and tell him the things that could go wrong if your child is left in her watch and she starts to drink again. I have been dealing with this for over a year (with my mom, not his) and I guess I am lucky, my husband does whatever I say to do, he trusts me fully and knows what I am doing.

If I were you the only way that I would let my child in that situation is if she goes to rehab, completes rehab, goes to a sober house, goes to AA meetings and this is my big thing is to do surprise visits with her and see how she is doing. Good luck!



answers from San Diego on

This is a tough one, our notherly instincts are usually right, what would be the reason for her to babysit? is it all day while you work or for a date night? You mentioned how old she is but not how old your baby is. Think about this if she is babysitting and she becomes in trouble, (Health, drinking) what ever, then your baby is in trouble as well, I think that is a little old to be baby sitting a baby. Just my opinion. In talking to your husband I would not use the word don't trust her, I would find another appraoch, I think your wording may have caused him to get angry. J.

Next question: My Mother in Law !