Help Monster-In-Law Trouble

Updated on May 16, 2008
J.M. asks from Arcata, CA
101 answers

I am a 1st time mom of a 5mo old son. I have worked in childcare for over ten years so I feel confident in my skills. My problem is my mother-in-law. From the time my son was born she always tells me how to do everything and tells me what she thinks I am doing wrong. We co-sleep and it works out very well for our family, but she thinks we are spoiling him. She also thinks I feed him to much. Sometimes I do offer him the breast if he is fussy because it calms him down and lets him fall asleep if we are around a loud group of people or something..Yesterday she called and told me that I worry too much and that I'm too overprotective. She also said I need to get a job! She thinks it is too hard on my husband, but he wants me to stay home. We always ask people to wash their hands before holding him because he was born during flu season. We have not started his vaccinations, so I did not want him to play with his little cousin who goes to daycare when she had green snot coming out of her nose. I think I am just using good judgement. Isn't it normal to try to protect your kid? I have always bit my tounge but now I really feel like she is attacking me and the way I parent. I don't think she is doing it because she loves me either. Has anyone dealt w/a situation like this? I just want to be tactful so I don't stir anything up or hurt any feelings..

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

"And" is a magic word. You can use it to help reduce tensions and express confidence in yourself and your decisions. Check out how these feel to you:

"I appreciate your advice, Mom, BUT it feels right for me to do this my own way."
"I appreciate your advice, Mom, AND it feels right for me to do this my own way."

The first statement leaves your MIL feeling unheard, dismissed, and possibly hurt or angry. When you substitute AND, particularly if your statement of appreciation is said warmly and with a smile, she will feel that at least you listened to her and are not brushing her off like garbage.

You can even summarize the advice she offers to strengthen the respect you give her. Then, just state clearly what you intend to do, if that seems appropriate. ("I hear that you'd like me to do xyz differently. I hear that, AND I've found that this is working well for us right now. I will keep your suggestion in mind if this stops working.")

DON'T pussyfoot around, argue, sigh, giggle, growl, roll your eyes, stomp off – any little behaviors that make you look uncertain or defensive. You don't have to defend yourself when you're using your best judgement and the experience you've gained with your child. Sounds to me like you're doing great.

Respect yourself, stay calm and centered, be friendly and appreciative, and you will gradually transform this situation into one much more comfortable for you. You might even find that you can listen to your MIL's advice and occasionally find worthwhile tips.

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K.S.

answers from Seattle on

Hi J.,

I will first acknowledge that I empathize with your situation. Especially because my MIL is pretty much the same way. She always thinks she knows what is best. I have had to stop and say thank you for your advice, and I love you and respect your opinion. That does not mean I always do what she says though. Most of the time I do not. LOL However, she is wise and does have good points from time to time.

Have you tried to look at it from her angle? I had to do that, and it helped me understand. The generation of our MIL's was very different than ours. As far as being overprotective, that is in the eye of the beholder, only you know whether that is true. With a first child, that can be somewhat common in the beginning. Their generation was very controlling and somewhat overbearing. Our generation is more about choices and researching what our kids need, and what we need as well. It is VERY different. She is doing what she can to love you,her grandson, and most likely your husband in the only way she knows. That was tough for me to stomach. When that finally hit me I was kind of like, "she is?"

I began to pray that she would let go and allow me and my husband to be the parents. Then, she could just enjoy her time with our child. Eventually, in time she did back off and our relationship has improved.

My best advice is to very lovingly express how it makes you feel when she makes comments that are negative toward you. I took things very much to heart and for a long time allowed it to cause me pain. After you explain, you can let go of how it affects you and choose to ignore it. But, if you don't explain it to her, she may continue to do it without realizing how it hurts you. It obviously pushes your buttons, and she may not realize that, it may just be her personality, who she is and what she has been taught.

So, I say this we have little control over what people say, but COMPLETE control over how we react. You defintely cannot change her. You sound like a great momma and it is normal to be concerned about your child. Take comfort and know that we are all children of God and he will ALWAYS protect us; especially the babies. If you read from time to time, there are some great books about this topic. You can email me if you like and I can send you several titles. [email protected]____.com
There are also many inspirational programs on television as well. I watch Joyce Meyers every morning and she has touched on this topic many times. :)

Blessings to you and your family,

K.S.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

I have been the mother-in-law. I listened to what my daughter said much more easily than what my son-in-law said. If your husband gets along with his mother I think it would work better to have the two of you talk with her with him doing the talking. That way she can feel more comfortable because she knows her son and (respects) his ideas and feelings. Do the conversation in a non-confrontationsl way. Word things the way that others have suggested. By doing this together her son is telling his mother that both of you are in agreement about how to treat your son.

I don't know your age. I was too involved with my daughter raising her first child. She unexpectedly became pregnant at 19. She didn't want to start a family this soon. She and I had several conversations during pregnancy and after birth in which she told me about her insecurities and seemed to be asking me to be involved.

Frequently my daughter told me that "Dwayne" thought I was too involved, etc. without telling me that she agreed. Our situation had the added stress of their needing me to provide substantial financial support because neither was working at the beginning and then when my daughter returned to work needing me to take care of the baby in their home. He never did go back to work which created additional tension among us.

I hope your situation isn't as complicated as ours was. Because much of what happened happened because I resented that he wasn't working. I thought my daughter wanted information from me. I didn't intend that she feel like she had to do what I suggested. I thought I was "educating" so that she could make an informed decision. Because of our difficulty communicating I also felt unappreciated.

I suggest that you work on building good communication with your mother-in-law so that she will feel appreciated. (Even tho at this point she isn't) Focus on the positive things that she does that you may not even be noticing now. If she smiles and plays well with your son comment on how you like seeing the fun that they're having. If she brings you something, such as a casserole, a toy, or a parenging book, accept it graciously. Work on not showing that you feel that you don't need or want it. Show her the love and respect that you're not feeling for her at the moment. This has the potential of easing the tension and of building a more friendly relationship.

When she tells you how to do something just say "thank you for your thoughts and do it the way you want to do it. You don't have to defend what you're doing. If and when she says something like why are you doing this that way or why don't you do it the way I told you, just casually shrug and say this way works for us. If she looks hurt or angry remind yourself that you needn't take it personally. She has reasons that are most likely beyond your understanding for the way she is. You can't change her and you don't need to change yourself. I thought for much of my life that I was responsible for how someone else felt. I'm not! Each of us is only responsible for how we feel and how we act on those feelings.

It sounds to me that at least some of what is happening is that each of you is trying to find your place in this new relationship. Perhaps she's never had to share her son with someone and she's feeling displaced. Perhaps she feels that her role as grandmother is to offer advice and she doesn't know how to do it tactfully. When I was born, my mother's family was very involved which she expected and accepted. From the stories I've heard the only advice she resented was her mother-in-law's advice.

I think that they viewed each other as interlopers, someone that didn't belong to the family. For my grandmother it was the "old" family that my mother was moving into. For my mother it was the "new" family she was building. Neither one accepted that the new family included everyone ("warts and all). Over time they became friends. I think, in part, it was because my mother became more confident in her own abilities and as her mother-in law, my grandmother, saw my mother being less defensive and more "her own person" she slowly stopped with so much advice. At the same time my mother didn't take offense when her mother-in-law said what she thought. There became no reason to have bad feelings or to fight.

You don't have to answer to your mother-in-law. But she is family and life will be much easier if you learn to love her even when it seems that she doesn't love you. Don't let "spats" with your mother-in-law interfere with your relationship with your husband. Pushing your mother-in-law away in a defensive angry way adds a great deal of stress to your relationship with your husband. My parent's were married in their 20's and my grandparents lived into their 80's. That's 60 years of relationship. Perhaps thinking of your relationship as a long range situation will help you to try to understand her view point so that you can take her comments less personally. When you accept her she'll be more likely able to accept you.

You've begun 3 difficult journeys at the same time; therefore you have at least three times as much to deal with than you should have to face. You are building a relationship with your husband as a married couple, with his family as a part of a larger family and a relationship with your baby as a son. Don't be hard on yourself or anyone else. It's the same for them.

You don't know everything there is to know about parenting (neither does your mother-in-law). Could their be some information from your mother-in-law that you could accept as information and tell her you appreciate her telling you? Ask what she thinks with an open mind before she has a chance to tell you.

She is probably also feeling defensive which causes her comments to sound more bossy than they should be or maybe even than she intends. The two of you are at a stand off. Try to accept her as having a role with you and your baby. Talk with her about what that role could be and listen to how she wants to be involved. Then the two of you form a working arrangement.

This may feel like an impossible task. It will take time. Both of you need to gain a sense of belonging and mutual respect. Remember that both of you are doing the best that you can at the moment and show as much love as you can. Notice I didn't say show as much love as you feel. Love only grows when we make room for it.

Do you remember how anxious you felt when you first started dating your husband? Building a relationship with him wasn't easy but you wanted it to happen. Look at your relationship with your mother-in-law the same way.

Post Script that may or may not apply. I'm no longer a mother-in-law. I stopped giving them money (I ran out) and, at their request, stopped child care. I still visited and played with my granddaughter but I also worked on not giving advice or making suggestions. Within four months he left.

You are most likely in the most difficult part of your life. Be easy on yourself. Focus on your immediate family (husband, baby, and yourself), accept your mother-in-law even tho you don't like her. She isn't going to go away. Define some boundaries about how often and when she visits. Use "social graces" and say, "today isn't a good time, but we'd like to see you on such a date. Will you come for dinner?" If you feel more indepenant, what she says will feel less important. Eventually, if you work on building a cohesive family with your husband, what she says will not rile you so much.

I wish you well. Always remember that you are the mother, she is the grandmother and both of you have roles in your baby's life. The way that you become comfortable with those roles is to respect each other and work together (you, your husband, and the grandmother) to find what role a grandmother can have in your family.

And remember this will be one of the most difficult relatinships for you to accept and build upon. Be easy on everyone. Relax! It will take time, possibly years.

By the way, I agree with you and so does the American Medical Society about washing hands and staying away from others when they're ill. Overdoing it would be to not allow anyone to ever hold or play with your son. Protecting his health is your responsibility. By doing so you are being a good mother. When your mother-in-law disagrees with your decisions and makes judgements it is her problem. Don't even emotionally listen to the. You know you are doing right. Present that attitude even when you're unsure. Be willing to take the idea under advisement if their is not judgement involved. Once someone starts judging me I also get defensive. I know it's difficult to not take it to heart. What I do instead of listening to what the other says is to repeat to myself that what I'm doing is OK, keeping a bland look on my face. I try not respond in any way. I might say I've heard you but more than likely I'll just walk away after they're thru talking.

If it's on the phone, again use social graces before she gets into what she wants to say. Say, I just put something on the stove. I've got to go see to it. or The timer just rang
I've got to run. or I'm on my way out the door. I'll have to say goodbye. Make up reasons if you have to. Or just say I can't talk right now. Good bye. My daughter and I both have learned to respectfully end a conversation before we get very emotionally involve. The idea is to stop the conflict before it starts. She may become angry and try to get you involved but again you are in control of your emotions and hanging up after saying good bye is more respectful to yourself than letting the conversation continue while you get more upset. And it's more respectful to her than becoming upset and fighting or having what she probably calls "an attitude."

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J.M.

answers from Seattle on

Sometimes I think you have to be less-than-tactful and be willing to hurt some feelings in order to get something accomplished. I'd be willing to bet that your MIL isn't all stressed and worried about hurting YOUR feelings or stirring things up with you, right? Frankly, she probably thinks she's being helpful. And the fact that you haven't stepped up and made it clear how you expect to be treated has encouraged her to continue with her behavior.

When my oldest was about five months we were having Christmas with the relatives. Alek started fussing and I knew that he was hungry. As soon as I started moving, my son stopped fussing and waited patiently for me to come and get him. His grandmother (whom I really do love dearly) informed me that the baby was spoiled because if he REALLY needed attention he wouldn't have stopped crying. I calmly and clearly informed her (along with everyone else in the room) that I did not believe it was possible to spoil an infant and the reason the baby had stopped crying was because he trusted that I was going to take care of all of his needs. I never heard another word about "spoiling" my babies after that!

This didn't stop all of the butting in. (And I think it's unrealistic to expect that a grandmother won't butt in a bit!) But I didn't take it personally, but always made it clear that I was the mother by saying things like: "I appreciate your concern/advice, but . . ."

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C.S.

answers from Seattle on

Your mother in law is probably coming from an "old school" point of view. My mother in law was shocked when she found out with my first born, that I was not going to have an epesiodomy. ( talk about an awkward conversation!)

I co-slept with my boys, no I didn't smother either of them, and no they are not addicted to my bed (both my boys sleep on their own, my oldest completely and my one year old mostly)

I held off on vaccines for both my boys, talking a lot with my doctor about the best choice (he is both MD and ND) neither one of them ended up with anything dangerous.

I rarely let my babies cry and have never done the "cry it out" and I got, and still get comments about how happy my boys are.

Bottom line is, some people don't understand where others are coming from and think they way they do something or have been taught, is the only right way. I have been on a mission these last couple years trying to educate people that there is more than one way to raise children.

If you think "safety first" and act on it, that is all you really NEED to do. Your child shouldn't be a reflection of someone else's parenting......they should be a reflection of YOU and YOUR parenting. It sounds like you love your little one, take his safety seriously and trust your own mothering skills (a lot art if you ask me).

as long as you aren't leaving your child next to an open flame or telling them to go play in traffic, people don't really need to say anything about how you parent.

A word of advice; get yourself educated on the more "controversial" things so you will have a good, calm response when challenged.

check out these books if you can......REALLY helped me when I got raised eyebrows.

http://www.askdrsears.com/store/products.asp?cat=20

You might want your hubby to take your mom aside and tell her how it is too, mine did the same for me years ago. Parents are the "extended family" now, and as such need to back off a little bit.

best of luck to you :-)

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B.G.

answers from Portland on

J.,
I would absolutely go to your husband and let him deal with her until your emotions can simmer down. My mother-in-law isn't nearly as aggressive as yours, and certainly more tactful and loving in her own way. Your husband probably understands her more than you do, and I would absolutely call to his desire to protect his family. This is an attack on your family, and it is his responsibility to protect you. My words are pretty strong, but if you use them with your husband, I think he'll get the picture. As for you, I would try with all you've got to return her words with a gentle answer. As hard as it is, it will stop a heated argument before it can get out of hand. Good luck! My relationship with my mother in law is getting to a really good place, and my son is 4, and my husband and I've been married for 7 years. Give this one time as well!

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A.F.

answers from Portland on

Rest easy, you're doing great. It's terrible that your MIL has to interfere and make you question the quality of care you're providing. Frankly, she's being selfish and rude. If you're able to just ignore her - whether by saying "Thank you for your suggestion" or "I appreciate you trying to help me", then do it. That will certainly help you avoid uncomfortable situations. However, there is a chance that she won't be satisfied with that. If she gets worse or doesn't take any hints to back off, you might need to talk with her (of course, talk to your husband first so he can back you up). Kindly tell her that you appreciate her support in helping you be a good Mom (whether or not it's true), but that you're his Mom. You and your husband have made the decisions and she has to honor them or risk damanging her relationship with her son and grandson.

You'll become more confident as time goes on. Best of luck!

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J.O.

answers from Seattle on

I am guessing you get alot of feedback on this question. My ex- mother-in-law tried to acuse me of poisoning my children. Talk about conflict. What it comes down to is she is pushing to see how far she can push, Have your husband draw the line. He needs to stand up for you with out waivering. It will cause a brief problem in the family. But remember the size and length of the problem is up to her. She can accept that you are a good mother and be happy her grandchild is being raised happy and healthy or she can just not be around him. It will be harder for you for awhile but if you dont draw the line now it will never be over. Your husband really needs top be the one to draw the line here because its mostly a mother-son issue. trust me, I have been through it. I hope this helps a little. have fun with your baby,

Oh and about the staying away from other sick kids- thats a good idea because my friend brought her son over when he was 2y.o and sick. My new born baby ended up in the hospital for 4 days. Do what you feel is right. After all YOU are his mother.Dont let her steal your joy.

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K.S.

answers from Milwaukee on

First off, you must do what is best for your son and your family! It sounds like you're doing just that so keep it up! :) Some hospitals offer "grandparenting class" and we sent our moms. My mother-in-law is still telling us almost a year later how much she appreciates having gone. It also sounds like there may be an information gap. You might try getting your mil the current information about how to raise healthy babies. My mom didn't know until last week that babies can't have honey and my neice is 15 months! It's been awhile since the grands have done this so that would be my approach. If your mil is just nasty, then it's your job to teach your son the proper way to treat people (not nasty!). There's also a couple good books for you and the husband about keeping your marriage good. The two that I really liked are "And Baby Makes Three : The Six Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives" by Gottman and "Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less, and Communicate Better as Your Family Grows" by Cockrell. In these, they talk about keeping the marriage healthy and how to change from two children of parents to two parents with children. It also talks about how it's your responsibility to deal with your parents if they're a problem, and your husband's responsibility if his are being a problem. Hope that helps and good luck!!

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C.W.

answers from Seattle on

Hi J.,

You can't change her, so it might work to just be polite and say thanks for your opinion. Then make sure you surround yourself with other moms who support your close and protective parenting. I, for one, can say that you sound perfectly normal to me and I did exactly as you are doing with my babies...though I did enjoy their transition to crib around 10 months or so. But it sounds like she's saying "get the baby off the breast, out of the bed and into daycare all day". Well, this is her opinion and she's entitled to it, but yours is really the only opinion that matters here and you should keep up the good work of what you know in your heart to be right.

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R.C.

answers from Seattle on

I've been going thru this same thing with my mother-in-law ever since before my son was born. she costantly judges the way I do things and always has snotty comments. It drives me crazy! The one thing I found that has worked to at least cut back on some of her comments, was to very nicely explain to her that I have my own way of doing things, and that I've been trusted to care for other peoples children for years and never had a single complaint. If I'm capable of caring for other peopls kids I'm more then capable to care for my own. I had a very civil conversation with her, where I tried to do most of the talking and just explain to her that while I don't mind some advice when I'm seeking it, it really hurts my feeling when she judges everything I do. It was kind of hard for her to take at first but once we got more into she was a little more accepting. All I can say is try to be honest, but tactful. You are the parent and ultimately it's your choice to do things how you please. I personally agree with everything you said, I don't think you're being over protective, you're just doing whats right for your new baby. Good luck to you! :-)

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S.G.

answers from Seattle on

J.:
YOU are the mother not your mom-in-law! So you raise your child the way you want. Don't listen to what she tells you. And I think you need to confront her. Tell her you appreciate her advice but you will do what you feel works, as this is YOUR son. She had her chance raising her own kids, now it's your time. Sorry, I don't have the best relationship with my mom-in-law so I may not be the best person to ask but I don't think anyone should tell you how to raise your own child. Good luck :)

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J.K.

answers from Seattle on

Yikes, J.. I've heard of situations like this and am so grateful to have a calm and understanding mother in law... even if she doesn't always agree with what my husband and I decide to do as parents (like to not vaccinate). I had a slight rocky period with my own mother when I first had my daughter, she voiced concern over co-sleeping and extended nursing. I asked her to please do some research before criticizing me and offered to give her some resources to look at. This quieted her pretty quickly because she knew that her comments were not based on anything other than societal norms. I came up with some one liners I could use when I felt attacked, like "studies show that co-sleeping is just as safe as the conventional crib approach" and "co-sleeping produces a confident, independent child that knows his/her needs are going to be met" and "in the first three years of his life, a child's wants and needs are the same thing" and my personal favorite "Spoiling something means forgetting about it and leaving it to rot. You can't spoil a child by striving to meet his needs."

Good luck, and stand by your decisions. Don't get defensive and react harshly. Stay compassionate and stand in your power. You know your child and family best. You are a great Mother!

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

I really feel for you and understand exactly what you are going through. I have gone through this with my mother in law also. She was like that after I had our first child and I felt like it was constant...everything I did was wrong. She always had something negative to say about how I was parenting. Little comments here and there, but she she did it in a way that made it seem like she was being nice, but I knew what she was doing. My husband would always say that his mom isn't like that and she's just trying to help. So that made it worse because no one else saw what I saw. Sometimes I felt like his whole family joined in on it; his dad, sister, grandma. So finally I had my husband talk to his family and tell them that I felt like I was constantly being attacked by them, and that I didn't want them putting in their two cents anymore. It has never stopped completely , but believe me it helped. So my advice for you is to talk to your husband...It is his job to fix things when it comes to his family, you should not be the one to talk about this with his mother. He should tell his mother exactly how you are feeling, giving examples of things she has said to you and how it has made you feel. And in a nice way he should tell her to but out. You guys have your own family now. This is your child, your life, you are the parent not her. She just needs to mind her own business. Obviously you still want her in her grandsons life so let her know that, but that she needs to back off a little bit, or you will start to resent her and there may be problems in your relationship in the future if she doesn't. If she knows exactly how she is making you feel, hopefully she will listen, do as you have asked, and not hold it agianst you. I don't know the kind of person she is,but if she already doesn't like you and is just trying to get under your skin-you may have to take matters into your own hands and say something yourself. I hope this helps a little, just know you aren't the only one going through this-I am still dealing with it. It does get better, but with women like them, I don't think it ever stops completely. They like to control everything....even the way their grandchildren are raised unfortunately. It sounds to me like you are doing a great job with your son. I am still breastfeeding my son and he's over two....imagine what I'm hearing right now!! So just keep doing what your doing, and get to work on getting her off your back!

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L.S.

answers from Medford on

Hi. My son is 3 now but I dealt with many of these same things with my husband's mother. I also worked in daycares for 10 years before I got pregnant and feel it gave me insight and understanding that I otherwise wouldn't have had. I could go on and on about how irritating these type of people are in our lives, whether they are in laws, grandparents or friends but there's no need for that. Instead here is my advice. First of all let me say that I am a very confrontational person by nature though I do put a lot of effort into being tactful. I try not to put the other person's view down all the while pointing out what my view is, that it works for me and basically that's it, no more discussion needed. I try not to defend the way that I do things. My mother in law was very clear about her dislike for pacifiers and once said that her son, my husband, never had one and in the same breath said, "and he even had colic and I still didn't use one." Well I wanted to say, "you might have helped his colic had you given him one," but instead I said, "oh I feel differently. After working in daycare for so long, I feel the pacifier can be very helpful." She said something else that was in disagreement and I responded with, "and that's why we all get to raise our own children." That was it. I kind of have this air about me that I am the parent, not the other person. Out of respect for my husband, I have controlled my mouth quite well to his mom, but I did share my feelings with him and expect him to respect them and deal with his mom. I have such a distaste for my husband's mom, that I have to remember not to take everything personally. Some things are just normal grandma things that help stretch us and mold us and we should try to be open to those moments. And these people actually teach our children many great things even though sometimes we are seething when they are around. I think that you have to know that the longer you hold these feelings inside, the more likely they will blow up down the road in a way that you will wish they hadn't. So feeling like you don't want to stir anything up might not be realistic. You need to make your feelings clear to your husband and ask for his support. If the problem doesn't get resolved that way then you'll probably have to be very honest with his mother and let her know that you love your son more than you could ever imagine and though you don't know everything, you feel very good about the way you are parenting. You can let her know that if you ever need any advice you think she can help you with that you'll come to her but that her advice and the way she is interjecting it is making you feel like you aren't doing a good job. Then make it clear that you are the mom and you are entitled to make mistakes just like everyother mother and some might not even end up being mistakes. Most importantly, feel confident in yourself and the things that you feel strongly about, like your son's health and breastfeeding. You can't breastfeed a baby too much. And half of the whole breastfeeding benefit is the bond that occurs. When she pops off with her opinion, politely say, "thank you for your opinion" and then go into the other room to feed your baby or whatever it is. Part of why we let it get to us so much is because we feel we have to justify why we are doing something a specific way but many times that just leaves room for more debate (and more hurtful things gettings said) and quite frankly, many of these topics aren't open for debate. You just have to get to a point where you feel confident about that. As far as the job thing goes, I too am a stay at home mom. And it has been ROUGH but only financially. It's been the biggest blessing for our son and his development. After working in childcare for so long, I'd fight tooth and nail before putting my child in one. My only advice to you is to make sure you do what you can to make your husband's paycheck provide for you. You already are in the way of breastfeeding, since formuls is so expensive. But also, if you want name brand clothes for your little guy, garage sale. God says the poor you will have with you always. For us it is more important that I stay home with my son than we have cable or brand new cars or manicures or stuff like that. As long as you feel confident in this area then let those kinds of comments bring you peace that you are honoring your husband instead of frustration. I don't know if you believe in God or not but if so, then remember that Satin will do what he can to break up the family unit. And he does a great job in making mothers feel like they have to work and leave their children with other people who won't teach them the important values that the parents are responsible for doing. Sorry for the long post. I feel very passionately about this kind of situation. Thought I'd add my personal email, if that's allowed. I don't know but it's [email protected]____.com Good luck and feel free to email me.

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R.L.

answers from Portland on

Hi J.,

Our sons are the same age! My MIL is Philipino/Catholic and we butt heads A LOT at first and I too, always bit my tongue. Then, one day, I had sent out an email to all my friends and family with pictures of the baby and she "replied all" with a nasty message about how her side of the family is left out and not treated like family. That was the last straw. I told my fiancee that I was going to call his mother and sit down with her for a chat. He was not looking forward to it because he is all about keeping the waters calm (thus all the tongue biting in the beginning), but I had had enough.

I called the intervention and Mark told his mother that she had been rude and the email was uncalled for. I let her vent out her frustrations and then calmly, but sternly explained that "he is MY SON". I told her that I would no longer tolerate her rude behavior and if she wanted to give me advice or talk to me about something she needed to do it politely and just address Mark or I.

It was really hard (not for me, I felt great), but our relationship has done a 180! I now don't dread going over to her house or answering the phone when she calls. If she says something rude I just ask her "what she meant by that" right then and there and I have only had to do that once!

My advice is to get the support of your husband and sit down with your MIL. Plan what you're going to say and be very clear that she will not have a good relationship with her grandchild if you are tense every time she is around. I hope that helps and things get better!

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A.R.

answers from Portland on

Hi J.,
Luckily I have never had this problem. But it sounds to me like your husband needs to step up and have a lengthy conversation with his mother. It is his responsibility and not yours, since it is his mother and he needs to help keep the peace. He needs to make her realize that there are certain boundaries that need to exist. If you need advice, it will be asked for.
Alot of mothers in that generation have these views about how much children should eat, how often you should hold them, how you shouldn't co-sleep etc. And it is just old fashioned nonsense. It has been proven that feeding your baby on demand, comforting with the breast, and co-sleeping is beneficial {as long as that arrangement works for your family}. Baby's can NOT be spoiled. You are doing a wonderful job in looking out for your baby. You have every right to insist ppl wash their hands, and to keep sick children away. It would be stupid to intentionally subject your child to that.
All I can say is, make sure your hubby knows how you feel and if he is on your side, ask him to talk to his mom about it. Now, if he's not on your side... that's a whole new kettle of fish!! Best of luck to you :)

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T.D.

answers from Spokane on

Your mother-in-law sounds just like mine! I put up with it thinking that over time it would change, then we had our 1st child. I lost it during that visit and started going to my husband telling him how she has been treating me. Boy was I in for a shock! He confronted her and got a different story and told me that I misread the situation. The problem was, though, she only treated me horribly when he wasn't around. So he never saw it.

My daughter turned 6 this past summer and they came to visit. Two days into the visit and my husband had had it with me not getting along with his mother. I didn't know what to do as I had always been patient with him, but I was tired of the fights we had over it. You see, it was decided that when we got married if I had a problem with his parents I would go to him and he would talk to them and visa versa with me and my parents. Anyways, I told him I was done, I had had it with his mother and the very next night he had us all sit down for a chat.

I was attacked by his mother and he caught her in lie after lie. For the 1st time in 9 years of marriage, he saw how his mother really acted toward me and talked to me when he wasn't around. It was a wake-up call to him and it put him in a very hard situation.

He didn't handle it well, it is his mother. Anyways, the icing on the cake came this past Christmas when she didn't send me any presents. I was fine with it, upset at first though. When my husband finally confronted her, she had the adacity to tell him that I didn't even know their real names.

I'm telling you this so that you don't feel alone, but also to get your husband involved. He didn't choose his mother, but he got to choose you. I actually saw on the Today show a couple of weeks ago, on how to handle situations like monster-in-laws. Even the experts say the the spouse is to deal with thier own parents on behalf of thier wife/husband.

Sit down and have a heart to heart with your husband about it. It will be hard, but I've been told that I have a lot of patients to deal with what I have been for as long as I have been. I've told my husband that I'm done, I'm done trying to make her like me and after this last summer, he fully understands.

I don't know if this has helped or not, but I hope so. We will be celebrating our 10th anniversary this May and my husband is choosing me and our kids over his mother.

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P.B.

answers from Anchorage on

Oh, I have to weigh in on this as I also have a monster-in-law!! My situation is very similar, but I've been married to my husband for 4 years now and we only have one daughter (13 months) that co-sleeps. My mother-in-law had already told me that she didn't like me prior to me marrying her son, so I knew what I was in for. Also, my mother-in-law is trying to make up for all of her parenting mistakes by "spoiling" my daughter. And when she is around both of us she tries to say little things about the way it was done "back in the day" and so on, but I always take the time to remind her that she's my daughter and times have changed since she raised her children. And that has been the perfect time for me to emphasise my thoughts and believes that are pertanent to that situation. At times we do visit only for my daughters benifit, however, I'm not going to allow someone else (even if it is my husbands family) opions of me and how I'm raising her going to change the way I'm raising my child. Sure I'm always up for suggestions, but not critizism.
Also, if you and your husband have agreed that it would be better that your a SAHM (stay at home mom), than that is all that matters. It is hard to stay your own course especially when so many other influences and opions are dumped on you, but remember that you and your husband are a team and this is the course you have set for yourselves, not your mother-in-laws. And another important thing for you to remember is being a SAHM really IS a full time job that doesn't come with a quitting time.
A different approach could be to invite her out for lunch and have a heart to heart talk about what your feeling. She may just be a pushy/loud person by nature and doesn't even know what she is doing, or just can't see it. I know if I had that option I would have tried it first instead of the route that I had to take.
You also might want to enlist the help of your husband on this if you can foresee the lunch approach won't work. Also, if you haven't already spoken to your husband about this, you really should, remember your a team. A marriage is about helping the other, and he should have your back on this one.
The most important thing that you have to remember is that this little boy is your little boy. I'm sure she did a wonderful job raising her children as you have just married one of them, but it's time she's the grandma not the momma. Although you are trying to be tactful, you also have to stand up and ensure that she knows how you feel about any situations that she is trying to help with. Good luck to you on whichever approach that you take. :) P.

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S.B.

answers from Portland on

Hi J.
There are several things you can do.
Talk it over with your husband and see if you can work out a plan for HIM to have a chat with HIS MOM.
If that does not work than you are up to chat.
If talking wont work, than set up YOUR LIMITS AND BOUNDERIES.
If that does not work, forget about the hurt feelings and PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN. IT IS YOUR HOME AND CHILD. The Mother-In law is way out of line it looks like to me. If hubby wont back you up than there are problems bigger than what was stated.

Good luck

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D.C.

answers from Anchorage on

As so many other women do, I also have a monster-in-law. My husband and I have been married for 10 years, and we have worked out a pretty good system. If I have an issue with her I talk to my husband about it, and then he will talk to his mother to let her know that WE need her to back off a bit. If she doesn't back off then we just put a little space between her and us for a while.
I think it is hard for some mothers to accept that their children (especially their little boys) have grown up and started a family of their own, and when they still think of their son as a child - and probably you as well - (at least in the case of my mother-in-law) it is even harder for them to recognize the boundary between motherhood and grand-motherhood. We just have to keep reminding her where that boundary is by letting her know when she oversteps it.
Just remember that they are your children, not hers, and you can raise them in whatever way you feel is appropriate for your family.

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D.B.

answers from Anchorage on

YES!!!! It IS totally your job to protect your child!! Great job trying to keep him healthy!!! I have been with my husband for over 25 years (only married for 15 years) We have two wonderful boys ages 10 and 15. My mother-in-law has been the true monster-in-law. I wouldn't even know where to start. What I can say is, DON'T keep these things from your husband. Be honest with him, but sensitive. Explain that it really bothers you that she won't let you guys raise your baby the way you both have planned. Maybe even ask him to talk with her about it.

Good luck and keep protecting your baby even if she makes you feel foolish doing it. That is your #1 job as a parent.

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M.J.

answers from Portland on

Mom is actually just trying to help. Don't take it personally. Maybe get her a book about attachement parenting? That's kind of what you are doing, it works well. I did the same with my colic baby. It helps to give them that comfort and reassurance, and later leads to confidence. Keep up the good work mom, you already have good instincts, now you just need to trust them!

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T.H.

answers from Portland on

First of all this is your family not your mother in laws and there is nothing wrong with standing up for what you feel and believe in. Everyone has advise but you never have to listen. I would let your husband know your concerns and give him a chance to deal with his mother. If he does not, stand yor ground and tell her to BUTT out!!! Everything in your e-mail is valid... NO do not let your child play with another child that is sick, green snot states infection. Throw yor boob in his mouth if he gets fussy your not asking everyone to stop what they are doing... you are adapting to the situation. and hell..stay home if that is what works. I have three children and you sound like you are doing nothing wrong but letting her get away with this behavior and remember opinions are like assholes everyone has them. Tell her that!!!

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C.G.

answers from Portland on

Hi J.,

Congrats on the addition to your family. We had our first (a boy!) in mid-October of last year. It sounds like we've had similar experiences with folks criticizing our methods. I found that explaining what I was trying was helpful. For example, if we heard a negative comment about co-sleeping, we'd reply with something like "Yeah, I'm surprised it is working so well for us. We plan on transitioning him to the crib around <insert date>." Providing an end date seems to reassure them that we aren't going to have our kid in bed with us indefinitely. As for the spoiling, an "I think the baby's a bit young to be spoiled. Besides, until I can read his cues better, I like having him close." Both can be effective ways to let her know where you stand without making it seem as if her advice is BAD. On a side note, you may be reading your baby's cues just fine but this admission will allow her to see you are only doing what you think is best for your baby. If you are following a particular philosophy that you've read about in books, you might also share the book with her. I, too, am staying at home as a choice my husband and I made together. If you're comfortable doing it, I would speak plainly that it was a joint decision. If you do plan on returning to work at some point or home-schooling, etc. perhaps letting her in on the game plan would be helpful.

It is totally normal to try to protect your baby. While your baby will eventually be exposed to these things, you are well within your right to keep him away from anything that might result in sickness as long as you can.

Your MIL probably doesn't realize how her "advice" is sounding to you. It is possible she feels somewhat judged as a bad parent because you are choosing to use different methods than she did. Try to take what she says with a grain of salt and continue doing what you believe is best for your baby.

Best of luck!

C.

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K.T.

answers from Portland on

Good for you J.! It sounds like your mama instincts are so strong and you are following them so great! As for your MIL, sometimes it helps me to think that my criticizers may be feeling a lot of other feelings besides just judgement. Like, maybe your MIL is actually seeing how beautifully you are parenting and is worried about if she did the right things with your husband when he was a kid. Or maybe she feels regret over something from her early mothering days. Or jealousy, or other things that could be the root of her monsterness. I think the best thing is to be open, honest, and firm. You can remind her she did a great job with your husband, you love him very much, and now it is up to him and you to figure out the best way to raise this new baby, and you are very happy with the choices you are making together. I had this more with my own mom than MIL, but once my mom felt more secure, she was much more relaxed about the choices I made (no vax, co-sleep, stay home with kids, etc.) Very different that what she did, but we agree now that there are right choices for every family, and just b/c I'm doing it different than her doesn't mean that either of us did it "wrong". Good luck!

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K.B.

answers from Portland on

Hello J.,

I feel your frustration and hurt feelings. I would like to offer you a little help and maybe a little insight. 1st: Your husband should be the one to talk to his mother. If he stands up and stands strong (not fight) you will see your mother in-law back off. 2nd: You married the man she raised so she must have done some things right. Of course I don't know but hope I'm correct. If you seek her advice an a few things that are in relationship to you precious boy she may begin to feel valued and included. Try it. I honestly don't think she is an evil woman but boundaries must be draw. When baby naps read "Boundaries by Dr Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend".

This is your family and it sounds like you are a wonderful mother. Being a stay at home mom is the greatest gift to your son, your husband and you. I wish you every joy with you new little one. I hope I've helped a little.

Katherine

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C.K.

answers from Portland on

Sounds so familiar to me! You are not the only Mom who has to deal with in-laws or any relatives for that matter! There is a great article in Mothering magazine this month that addresses this very issue. Check it out. You'll probably like the magazine in general; it deals with cloth diapering, co-sleeping, vaccinations.

Hang in there!

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C.A.

answers from Seattle on

Dear J.,
Consider telling her "I know that you are trying to be helpful and that means a lot to me. I want you to understand that you might not agree with my choices and that is ok but they are my choices and I feel comfortable with them."
If she continues to offer advice you can either smile, nod and ignore her or you can gently remind her that you know that you might not see eye to eye on everything and that you will certainly be asking her if you do need anything.
Light and Love,
C.
P.S. Before you get any immunizations please do some research on the connections between immunizations and Autism. Jenny McCarthy has been very outspoken on the issue and was on Larry King this week.
Her website is:
http://www.talkaboutcuringautism.org/index.htm

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M.Q.

answers from Portland on

Well, you are not going to change your mother-in-law. So work on what you can change: The way you react to her advice/interference. Smile graciously, weight her input (there might be something useful in all) and, follow your instincts. It's you and your husband who are raising this child, not her.

She might not care so much about you but surely she cares about her grandchild so you might want take her advice about something that is not too crucial to content her a bit but for the most part follow your heart.

I'm overprotective too, I try that it does not go out of control. Consider this: You can't protect your child from everything forever. He is going to get sick and by fighting the infections he's getting stronger, plus if you're breastfeeding you know he's getting your antibodies. I'm not saying to throw your child in the way of every infection that comes along, but if his little cousin happens to visit and has a runny nose, well, take a deep breath, and let them play together. If and when he gets sick, you'll be there for him and it'll surprise you how quickly he bounces back.

Hope this helps,
M..

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A.O.

answers from Seattle on

Hi, that's really horrible that you have to deal with all that. I think that when she says things like you are spoiling him too much or feeding him too much you should say something like, "really you do? I hadn't thought about it I'll give it some thought" and then just go ahead with whatever you were originally doing. That way peace is kept, she feels like you are letting her help or taking her advice and you still get your way. No sense getting upset every time. She's not going anywhere.

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J.W.

answers from Seattle on

First of all, your husband needs to stick up for you. When he married you, he crossed the threshold from boy to man, and his loyalty needs to shift away from his mother, and toward his wife. He needs to man up and tell his mother to back off.

Second, you have to assert yourself as the alpha female in your family. You have to put her in her place. You are Mom. She is Grandma.

I went through this myself, and pussy-footing around the situation didn't make anything change. Only outright confrontation did. I stopped defending my actions to her, as she saw that as a sign of weakness. Instead I defended my position in my family. I backed her down, and she respected me for it. In fact, years later, she told me she couldn't hope for a stronger mother for her granddaughter, nor a stronger wife for her son. She wanted to know that her family was in good hands, and I proved it to her by being assertive.

Don't ignore the primitive side of yourself, nor of your husband and his mother. It's a good idea to act on your instincts in this situation. You have countless generations of motherhood ingrained in your DNA, and you know what you're doing. If your instinct tells you it's time for you to take the position as head of your family, and to put her in the position of elder matriarch, then do so.

There'll be a time when tact will not be enough. She likely won't respond to hints. She'll only respond to strength. Right now, she views you as a child. You have to prove your womanhood to her, and the only way to do that is to assert it. Tell her you'll always listen to her advice, but you'll employ it as you see fit. Give her the respect she deserves IF she earns it, and demand the same from her.

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S.C.

answers from Portland on

Dear J.,
I am so sorry that you are going through this! First of all, let me say that co-sleeping, and breastfeeding for comfort purposes are normal, and completely acceptable (at least in my book, and both have worked for my 2 little girls).
Second, if you are comfortable and confident in the way that you are parenting your son, it is no one elses business to tell you other wise unless you are harming your child according to state law. There is a fine line between helpful advice and harmful criticism, and it sounds like she has crossed that line. If you don't feel like ruffling any feathers, maybe you can say "you know, I really appreciate the loving advice you are giving me, it will give me something to think about, however, what we are doing really works for us, and I have no reason to believe I am hurting my son". If she wants to argue, maybe you can do some research, and find some evidence supporting your choices (there is plenty by the way). OR, you can simply do what I'd do, and tell her to mind her business, and you will mind yours, and if she keeps harassing you, have your hubby deal with her!
Either way, it sounds like you are doing a great job! Happy mommyhood!
S. C.

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S.B.

answers from Seattle on

It sounds like you are a great mother. Do what is comfortable for you and your family. You will never be able to make everyone happy so stay true to what your maternal instincts are telling you. Your MNL will be giving you advice for the rest of your life. Over the years, she will come to trust you and your decisions when she sees how healthy (emotionall/physically) your family is......

Now go kiss that sweet baby!

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J.W.

answers from Seattle on

Been there, done this.... In-laws aren't parenting you as much as they are their son. They don't believe their son is capable of taking care of his new baby. 1st... Don't offer any information when it comes to your routine. You only open yourself up to criticism. If you ask for advise or help you have opened the door wide open for all comments. Be prepared for this. This also will happen with your own parents, but sometimes it's easier to take because you've learned through the years how to tune out unwanted advice or comments. If she offers commentary on the things you, your husband or the baby do in her presence, listen politely, thank her and then go forward. There will come a time when your husband will have to speak up and tell his Mom that this is your time, your child, she had her opportunities. And if it persists ask her how her relationship was with her mother-in-law. My father-in-law was more of a problem than my mother-in-law. He felt it was his right to tell us what to do, how to do it and when, even to the point of how I should breastfeed, even though their two sons never saw a woman's breast until they got a peek at his stash of Playboy magazines. Again, your husband needs to be extremely supportive and verbal with his parents. There is discomfort, there are hurt feelings and they belong to you.

It's your business when it comes to vaccinations. Be sure you're working with your pediatrician and understand the consequences of not getting them as recommended. Many illnesses that we thought we had eliminated in our daily lives have re-appeared as more folks immigrate to our country because they don't have access to those vaccines. Having people wash their hands before handling your baby is common sense. Keeping him away from people who have active infections is the right thing to do. Your sleeping arrangements are private matters, again, what happens behind the bedroom door stays behind the bedroom door. Be aware of possible long term consequences, but do what works best for you and your family. Talk with your pediatrician when in doubt.
I wish you well with your in-laws. You can pick your husband, but you have no control over his parents. It's important that your child(ren) has grandparents in his life that love and support him, and the best way for the grandparents to do that is to respect his parents, both of them. If they've done their job well, this baby will grow up to be a fine man.

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E.W.

answers from Portland on

I totally understand!!! My advise is to nip it in the bud. I started out biting my tongue as you are. Things only got worse. When my 1st born was 18 months old, he had an unusual rash. I had already taken him to the pediatrician a couple of times to try to figure out what it was. My mother-in-law took it upon herself to make a doctor's appointment for my son without even consulting me! I was furious to say the least. This incident caused friction between us for years. Then several years later while my boys were visiting her, she decided their hair was too long and took them to get it cut. Again, without my permission. Make sure she understands now that YOU are the parent and YOU will make the decisions about your children. And if you want her advise you will ask her for it. If she backs off, then find something you can ask her advise about so she feels involved in her grandchildren's lives.

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S.A.

answers from Portland on

Well J. it looks like you and your mother-in-law are off to a bad start. From your history it looks like you and your husband have only been married 5 months. I want you to look at the situation through her eyes and maybe you will see why she is acting this way towards you. Now that you have a son, you can hopefully see it a bit more clearly. I have a mother-in-law that also drives me crazy, but I suck it up and let her know a lot has changed since she raised children and mine will be raised by me. Also, if you and your husband haven't been married that long , be careful what you say around him. If you can imagine your son in 20 years and his new wife had nothing but bad stuff to say about you, you would hope and pray that your son will stick up for his mother. Just look at it though your eyes 20years from now and how you will want your son and his girlfriend/wife handling this situation.

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L.L.

answers from Spokane on

Dear J.,

I really feel for you! Your mother-in-law has no business telling you how to do anything! I am actually the proud Grandmother of a 3 year old and 1 month old. My relationship with my 3 year old Grandson is a joy and I can't imagine not having him in my life,however I am not the parent and I never tell my kids how to do anything. If I did they would resent it and I might not be so welcome in their family. Sometimes I might say something like I have a suggestion or from my experience this is what happened and then I drop it. I respect my children's need to raise their children the way they feel is right just as I did with my own. They need to learn some things through trail and error just as I did. My Grandchildren are not MY children! If my kids need advice from me they are capable of asking me for it. I also try to be careful not to be contradictory in my interactions with my Grandson as far any rules that need to be followed and setting limits where necessary. My children want Grandparents in their childrens lives and realize the Grandparent relationship is special and a certain amount of spoiling goes along with the territory. They are doing a fantastic job of raising their kids and I don't need them to do everything as I did it.

I can tell you are a wonderful Mother and you do not need to defend yourself to your Mother-in-law. My advice would be to tell her that you would like her as a Grandparent in your child's life but the constant advice and criticism has got to stop. Simply tell her if I need help or advice I will ask for it. You may have to tell her I am not raising my child to please you and your ideas of what should be happening. This may hurt her feelings but I think she needs to hear it because she has so clearly overstepped her boundries as a Grandparent. You could again maybe remind her of how special you think it is for your child to have a Grandparent in his life and what that role means to you. If she doesn't listen then you may have to limit you contact with her until she does. I would love to hear how things go. Good Luck.

L.

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A.F.

answers from Portland on

OHHHH the know it all grandma...! Well I think the longer it goes on the more frustrated you are gonna become. I would buy her a "Thank You" card and thank her for all her advice thus far, but explain you are a 1st time mom and want to figure things out on your own. Let her know you are VERY confident in every decision you make for YOUR baby. Let her know you will protect him at ANY cost and that will never change. You are a mother "use your motherly instinct" and don't let people persuade you otherwise, you know what is best for your little guy... But get it off your chest because you don't want to blow up one day, say what you want on your time and in your words. Take Care, A.

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J.A.

answers from Portland on

I think you should tell her, "I thank you for your help and sometimes your opinion is okay but just as every other parent you learn by making mistakes-so please let me make mine". If she doesn't back off then tell her exactly how you feel whether she likes it or not. It may cause a problem and she may get mad and not see you for a week, but dont feel bad-enjoy her not being there and dont back down on how you feel. Also get your husband to talk to her if she wont listen to you, maybe she will chill out on his request. Another note, don't feel bad about being over-protected every new mom is-look at your mother-in-law, your husband is grown and she is still looking out for his best interest by trying to talk you into going back to work. Stay at home as long as you and your husband aggree-its the best thing and I love it. I have been a stay SAHM for 4 years and I LOVE it. I don't want to see anyone else raise my children. Good luck and keep us informed on how it all pans out.

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S.H.

answers from Portland on

First and for most you have to protect your son! Trust me my little guy got RSV and was so sick and now has asthma so I wish I would have been a little more protective. he was my third so I was a little more layed back. I have co sleep with my little guys since birth and he is 2 and a half now. I think it is wonderful and he is so happy. I would recomend trying to transition him before 2 if you can because it is a lot harder after that but really as long as you are happy with the sittuation and the baby is doing well go for it and please do not let anyone tell you you are spoiling him! My parents have a lot of opinions about how I reaise my kdis and it pretty much goes in one ear and out the other. I do not defend myself but I will liten to them. If I do not agree I will thank them for the suggestion and do what I want anyways. As far as the job!!! That is crazy and I think I would tell her that. There is no way you should think about going back to work tell he is 5 and in school. This time goes by to fast and to many kdis are being raised in day care!
Just try and be nice and blow it off if you can. Also limit the time you are around her if it bothers you.
You have a enough to deal with right now!
Hold your little guy as much as you want!
ENjoy him and egnore your ml.
Lisa

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C.C.

answers from Richland on

J.

Yes I lived with the same trouble you have now and more. Tho, I did later divorce her beloved son, and no longer have to deal with her, my children and Grandchildren must listen to her when they visit. She hasn't changed after all these years.

My question is, does she say these things to her son or just to you? Does she talk like this if he's within ear shot? If these are directed to only you then you need to know that when we marry we are to become as 1 flesh (body) with our spouse. It is his responsiblity to let his mother know that he is in control of his house, wife, and child. You need to use caller ID and not answer the phone unless he's there, and when he's there hand the phone to him it's his mom.

You are protecting yourself and you child from being attacked by a woman that won't let go of control. Dis=arm her by not being available. Let your husband know this is what you plan and that he must stand in the gap for you where ever you are.

If you are caught where there's no way to escape her, then you need to pray and become brave thru prayer, to tell her you are doing as your husband has decided and that you are following your husband wishes. Then bite your tongue and pray harder because she will be angry that you have finally stood up for yourself and for him. Do not say I, say my husband says. She may still argue but you have put the word on her that you and your husband a unified. Which when it sinks in might change her words to you. Prayer will change the way you receive her words also. She's really afraid of losing control of her sons life because you tooks him away from her as she sees it. My husband now would just remove us from her presense until the situation change. I was blessed by God that my second Mother-in-Love was a Saintly woman.

God Bless you and yours
C.

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M.C.

answers from Spokane on

You Mother-in-law really does have someone's best interest in mind. Your child's. She of course will find everything wrong with the way you parent, because its different than they way she parented. The only solution to your problem is for your husband to stand up and defend his wife. He needs to do it now before a lifelong pattern is set in stone and you and your mother in law are doomed forever to a life of competition and hard feelings. Your Husband needs to grow a back bone and say "Mom I know you mean well, but this is my wife and I if you wish to continue to be a part of my life you will welcome her as well." He needs to make her understand that the child is a creation he shares with you and if she wishes to be a part of the child's life she needs to be respectful of both his and your feelings and parental rights. I know it sounds hard, but its worth it. He gets to become his own man, and his mother gets to be proud of the man she has raised.

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T.J.

answers from Seattle on

My mother-in-law and I actually get along fine, but there have been times where she tries to do something I don't agree with or questions something I do (or don't do), and I simply tell her that she has her way, I have mine. Sometimes it's easier to have your husband talk to her, since she's his mom. Good thing you don't live with her at least, there was one mom who wrote in last week that did live with hers, and that can be much more intrusive!

I also wanted to add that they did EVERYTHING different in their day (smoking, no carseats or seatbelts, etc..)So it should be clear to her that things have changed when it comes to raising children! And it might help her to feel useful if once in a while you asked her for advice, even if you don't need or use it, then she will realize that you do value her opinions and experience. She may just be trying to feel included and important to her son in some indirect way, since he's no longer her baby.

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R.S.

answers from Seattle on

I think you are doing a good job. My family says I am too protective of my son but thats my job, right? Anyway, If it were me I would stand my ground and say something like, "This is how we have chosen to do things, thank you for your input, but we would rather do it this way." I think having your husband there to tell her too might help. That way it's a united front and your not alone. Good luck!

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

J.,

Like TJ I actually get along with my in-laws, but I have had that problem with my own mother. It's a tough situation, and does need to be handled tactfully, no matter how much you want to scream and yell, "It's MY child woman, you raised yours already, butt out!!!" or something similar.

My advice? Tell your hubby how much she is bothering you and enlist his aid in getting her to refrain from voicing her opinion unless asked for it. You could also tell her "thank you for the advice, I will consider it" or "thank you for your opinion, but what we are doing is working for us". Or something along those lines that lets her know that she is being intrusive. The confrontational bit in me says tell her to butt out, but that may make things even more rocky and strained later on.

Hope this helps,
Supportively,
Melissa

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E.K.

answers from Flagstaff on

Well you are definately NOT spoiling your baby by giving him what he needs and doing what's best for him right now! BRAVO on your style of parenting. Co-sleeping, nursing, holding off on vaccinations - all things that are in the best interest of your child. You cannot "spoil" a baby with too much love. You are doing everything right and using great judgment. If she can't see that (which obviously she can't), I would say she is blind. But she is not, she is just stuck in the old fashioned mind-set of when babies were formula fed and slept in a crib on the other side of the house to 'cry it out'. With the amount of knowledge that we have to day, and all the recent studies that prove that these are not the best way to raise a child, you have a lot of ammo at your hands.

You can bone up on studies and information to tell her when she starts attacking your child rearing - askdrsears.com is a good resource for the latest vaccination studies, as well as benefits of breastfeeding and co-sleeping.
If that doesn't work, or you don't want to spend all the time doing that, then you can tell her that: You value your relationship and her opinions, however, you feel that lately her opinions have felt more like an attack on you. And to preserve your good relationship, which is important to you, you ask that she keep her opinions to herself unless you ask for them. If you stress that you do respect that she has raised kids before and that you want to keep a good relationship, then she shouldn't feel that you are attacking her, which won't bring anything good. But you can make it clear that your relationship is at risk, and that it is very important to you that she respect your right to raise your children the way that you see fit.
Good luck!

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

Just keep doing what you're doing! You're doing a great job as a mamma. I've got the same issues with my mother in law, but in the long run when you listen to just your instincts on how to mother, you can't go wrong. I do the same with my girls (co-sleep, nurse a lot, wait/avoid vaccinations, and stay at home mostly (when I'm not working part time as an ND and Midwife). Ignore the comments and focus on your child. I spend

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L.C.

answers from Seattle on

I know it's hard, but you need to just say, "Thanks for the advice" and ignore it. Only you can parent your child.

A couple of things though...
If you are co-sleeping be aware that you may have a problem transitioning your child to her own bed. I co-slept for the first 6-7 months with all 3 of my kids because it was just easier to nurse in the middle of the night-so we ALL got more sleep. However, they really don't need as many middle of the night feedings when they start solid foods so it's a great time to transition to a crib. Trust me, if you wait past 6-7 months your child will enter the separation anxiety months and you'll have a hard time. I've seen this happen with many of my friends and they can't get their children out of their bed. Unless of course, you plan to co-sleep for a very very long time. I just thought I'd offer that advice. All three of my kids have very different personalities but they all transitioned pretty smoothly. I just decided it was time and put them to sleep in their crib. They cried but not for long on the first night and then we were ALL back to sleeping better. Good luck!

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D.S.

answers from Seattle on

Always follow what is in your heart and remember You are married to your husband not his mother.....Do not feel you need to bite your tongue stand your ground. I have dealt with a narcissistic mother in law and sister in law for twenty plus years. Once my husband and myself realized that they thrived on making us miserable we saw less and less of them. Eventually their behavior alienated the whole family. Behavior is a choice there is no need for your mother in law to hurt your feelings with harsh words. Honey... in today's world there's no such thing as a germ freak! Especially with a new baby.....washing your hands as an adult was a good habit learned young and passed now on. Blessed Be!

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J.T.

answers from Portland on

J., you are not alone. My mother-in-law has had much to say about my parenting skills. The difference is that she goes behind my back to my husband. (She's never liked me.) It seems to me that you are doing a wonderful job with your baby, and you should feel so good about the choices you are making. You have your priorities straight. Please be strong in the knowledge that the way you're parenting your child is better than the parenting method your mother-in-law would have you use. I would suggest you simply acknowledge her comments with a nod or smile and then change the subject. I would hope that your husband would have the courage to stand up for you and be the one to tell his mother what she needs to hear. I wish you luck and I hope you continue to be the wonderful mother that you seem to be.

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R.S.

answers from Portland on

It sounds like you are doing just fine with your little guy.. You cant spoil them to much at that age . It is your job to take care of him and protect him. You need to talk to your husband and let him know what she is doing. Its hard dealing with mother in laws. So you need to nip her in the bud before she thinks she can run your life. Take control now..

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M.W.

answers from Seattle on

Go to your husband first. It is his mother. Tell him your concerns and ask him to help. You need to show a united front. She is trying to prove that she is a better mother (in her own way, prove that she is still just as important in her son's life before you came along). She's probably trying to find out where she fits in your family's life. Your husband has to stand by you and your decisions. He also needs to stand up for you, not always easy for him, but coming from you it won't mean as much. If he is uncomfortable talking to her face-to-face than write her a thank you note. Tell her how much he appreciates what she did for him growing up, etc. but now it is time to let you guys learn and grow as a family. Just remember whatever you do, do it out of love (even if the sentiment is not returned). It will go along way especially since this woman will have a relationship with your children.

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S.H.

answers from Medford on

I have empathy for this situation! You definitely have a right to complain. First, you need to sit down with your hubby and tell him all you've said here, and ask for his support in having a little talk with his mom.

Do you live with her? Or is she constantly coming over? I would work on whatever which one of these situations is contributing to her knowing too much about your decision-making and/or business. This time in your life should be special and precious, and it sounds as if she is putting a damper on it all. Millions of babies have survived diverse approaches to care and attention. The golden rule is consistancy, staying with your plan or approach in all things, so the child is well adjusted and has security in expectations...etc. Outside of that, the rules are pretty simple... to each his own, they say. Care for your baby the way you feel is best. YOU are his mommy, and, a grown adult last time you checked, right?
You have every right to voice your feelings and ask for support and respect. If you cannot get it, perhaps some distancing is appropriate, along with a few good articles given to this lady about family roles. She should be grandma, not your life coach.

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J.B.

answers from Portland on

She sounds incredibly annoying. My mother-in-law knows better than to say such things to me- I would rip her a new one if she did.

You can take care of your son the best way you see fit. You should tell her that- repeatedly if needed. She had her turn and now it is your turn to raise a son.

I also have an almost 5 month old son- born Nov 9. So I know exactly what you mean about cosleeping and such- we do it too and I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm also protective about sick people around him. You are a GOOD mom. Don't forget it.

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B.L.

answers from Jacksonville on

She isn't worried about hurting your feelings, so I wouldn't be overly concerned about hers. If her feelings did get hurt, maybe she would back off. Did she not raise your husband to be a man who could support his wife and children? You don't need someone in your life who thinks you should dump your baby in daycare.

It's ok to screen out her calls, and advise her when she is welcome to come around (and not welcome). It's polite enough to say "I'll take your suggestion into consideration", and then forget about it if it isn't useful for you. Don't waste your breath arguing.

It is absolutely your responsibility to protect your child from anyone with obvious contagious illnesses, and so what if they are offended. They should have been taught better. It is not worth risking your baby's wellbeing.

It would be ideal if your hubby could set her straight, but don't be afraid to draw the line yourself. You are mother bear now. She doesn't get to conrol you or put the baby at risk. I'm not sure I would trust her judgment. People like her will walk all over anyone who will let them. I'm sure the rest of the family knows what she is like, and they are probably afraid of her, and might just admire you for standing up to her.

Best of luck, and whatever you do, don't let her get to you! You have your hands full, and she is not worth stressing about. Consider it a blessing if she gets offended and stays away. You don't need toxic people in your life.

By the way, we co-slept with our first baby and it was wonderful, and we had very little trouble getting him out of our bed at 11 months (when he just wanted to play instead of going to sleep). I sure didn't care what the naysayers thought about it. I definitely got more sleep that way, and he was a joy to sleep with.

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K.L.

answers from Yakima on

Hi J.,

There are two things I see going on. But first, know that it wasn't my mother-in-law that was the problem, it was my own Mom! She definitely has had the empty nest syndrome. Feeling like she is unneeded and there for unwanted.I think we learn so much as Moms that we are often just dieing to tell somebody else what we have figured out. Unfortunately, so much of parenting is dependent on the parent's involved and the culture at the time. Any advice from our Mothers is well intentioned but dated and dimmed by the passage of time. I co-sleep and am doing extended breast feeding. My youngest is 20 months now. My parent's have given up asking how long we are going to nurse. It just took gentle persistence on my part and once in a while throwing out there some research supporting my decision. Do what you need to to build support of your decisions but don't try and sway her. She'll come around in time.

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K.E.

answers from Seattle on

Nip this in the bud! You have a right to parent however you choose. Let her know the topic of your parenting is off limits. See if you can use humor. My favorite line is: "You already had your chance to screw up your kids. Now its my turn to screw it up." Good luck.

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N.B.

answers from Portland on

Have you talked to your husband about this? Has he been around when this is happening? It Sounds like he needs to step in and have a talk with his mother! If he makes it casual and not too confrontational it won't be a big deal, but should make a big impression. Another thing that might help is for him to stick up for you and be supportive of you during these "attacks" so your mom in law sees that you guys are united. Also, I know it's hard but try and not take it personal. Sometimes moms think they know best (or know it all)! Try and use the old "That's an interesting suggestion, I'll have to think about that" strategy to humor her. Good luck!

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L.L.

answers from Seattle on

I would thank her for her concern and tell her that you are doing what works best for you and what you feel is right, but will keep her suggestions in mind. I will be important to not make her feel like you are ignoring her...that could make the situation worse and your son is her grandson. She just wants what is best for him also. I have a hard time with this one at times still and my son is 3 1/2! It is important to acknowledge what she is saying and not completely shut her down. It may help to try to imagine if you were in her shoes and she was raising your grandson in all the ways that she is suggesting that you don't like...what would you do/say to her, etc. and how would you feel if you reacted to her the way you have been towards her (however that is, good or bad). By thanking her for her advice, you are saying "what you have to say is very important to me and I will remember what you are telling me, but I am choosing to do something that works better for me at the moment." Hope this helps. Also, remember, your child is only very young once and you cannot spoil an infant...spending as much time as you can with him is good for him. Don't feel guilty about staying home or co-sleeping.

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K.W.

answers from Biloxi on

I have been trying to be tactful for almost two years and it is not working. My mother-in-law just seems to be getting meaner and meaner. She says hateful things and gives my son food that I don't think he should have, I think, just because I don't want him to have it. At 1 year old, she would give him things like carrots that I was afraid he would choke on. It has come to the point that I will never let her babysit because I am afraid that she will allow him to do something dangerous just to spite me. So, my advice is that maybe being diplomatic is not the best way. Perhaps, if I had just been nasty a year and a half ago, this would not be such a big deal. Of course, that's easy for me to say when I have not yet done it. Good luck!

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K.T.

answers from Portland on

You are both adults and she needs to back off just a bit. How you get her to do that is a different story. Make sure that you talk to your husband and let him know, maybe he thinks that you two get along. Don't be afraid to put your foot down as far as your child is concerned. Stand up to what you beleive is right and she will have no choice but to back down. This can also be done in a loving or freindly manner, as to not hurt anyones feelings. Like I said, you are both adults and maybe you just need to tell her, she might think that becuase you don't say anything that you are going to take her advice. -Washington

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P.J.

answers from Portland on

Many have responded simply to the in-law relationship issue you have. Very seldom is there harmony in that respect. Every family passes down morals and standards, which are almost always different. Being open and listening will help. Also thank them for their advice, but you don't have to follow it. It makes them feel like they are doing their part (they've been there, as I'm sure you've heard) My concern is about the severity of your need to protect your child. I don't understand why you would not vaccinate your child, to me that puts them in danger. Cold viruses help build immunity. Exposure to things will make them stronger in the long run. If you keep them in a bubble, remember, that when that when you let them out, WOW, will your house be full of snot, vomit and other unmentionables. I would guess you own one of those shopping cart covers. Do you wash it after each use? I would also guess that you don't sanitize your hands before loading your child into the car after shopping. Do you wear outside shoes in your home, after walking on a restaurant bathroom? Hmmmm....a few things to consider. It may sound like I'm attacking you, and I'm sorry, you asked for advice. This topic always gets to me. Oh, and when your kid is 2, don't let him eat ketchup. It's full of bugs and rotten tomatoes. My kids love it! They get snotty noses too!But I still love them with all my heart, even when they vomit on me. I don't let them play in the street, they hold hands to cross it. We always wear our bike helmets, but only with a smile. My point is, there are many more dangers out there. Your son is only 5 months old, it's too early to worry so much. Wait until he wants to drive a car! My kids are 5 Girl, 3 Boy and almost 5mo Girl.

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C.G.

answers from Eugene on

I personally haven't had the issues you have dealt with but have read in the parenting mags about it...

I'm very much in line with your parenting styles, and to share the SCIENTIFIC information to backup your choices some great resources are: Drsears.com (from the Dr. Sears family) and Mothering Magazine....

Sometimes this "overconcern" is out of fear and shame of their own choices as your mil already was a mother....another idea is to limit your contact with her and drum up some supportive, like minded parent friends...

Good luck!

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T.B.

answers from Seattle on

You are the mother, it is your job to protect your child. Can a person be overprotective with an infant? I don't think so! It is really your husband's place to put his mother in check but if he can't do it, you can.

The short answer is that if mother-in-law wants to have contact with your child, she needs to climb down and show you some respect. The worse she treats you the less contact she should have. Someone needs to tell her that and then both your husband and you stand by your rule. This is a respect issue that is larger than your relationship with her. It will filter down to your child and how he sees the world and how he sees his mother allow herself to be treated. It is clear that the woman has baggage but she can't be allowed to poison the well where you drink. Best of luck to you.

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S.B.

answers from Richland on

This is your DH's responsibility. I too have a freak for a MIL but her brand of craziness has more to do with religion and emotional baggage than leaving your kids to the wolves.

He is the one that needs to talk to the MIL. If he won't (or not in an effectual way) than unfortunately you will have to take your stand. Understand that this will piss everyone in your family off. Therefore you will have to decide which intolerable situation is best for you.
When dealing with an emotionally abusive person like, feelings are going to get hurt, there is no way around this. It will be yours and your children's if you say nothing, the MIL and her family if you fail to bow to her bullying.

When she spews her venom, calmly tell her that you don't agree and that you will do what's best for your child. If she persists, you can then tell her that you don't intend to have your child raised by the lowest bidder and that you are offended that she would want her grandchild to be abandoned for a paycheck.
-S.

P.S. Congrats on delaying the vaccinations, I have some health care providers, friends etc, that try to give me a hard time when I tell them that my kids are not vcc'd. They shut up when I say, "My kids have enough to deal with, they don't need autism too." "The debate is not over on the safety and I'm not going to play craps with my kids lives."

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M.F.

answers from Portland on

I'd say this is a place where your husband needs to step in to help. It's his mother that's causing the stress and he needs to ask her to back off and allow you to be your son's mother. She needs to be reminded that she raised HIM the way she felt was right and probably wouldn't have appreciated someone directing her life. Hopefully your husband has the strength and backbone to stand up to his mom. If not, it's very doubtful she'll listen to you.

If he just plain won't back you up, or doesn't feel able to do so, then it's in your hands. You'll need to decide if you want to continue to deal with the ongoing stress, or say something to her yourself...kind and loving, but firm. Thank her for caring and for her input, but let her know how it's making you feel and ask her to please quit. Hopefully, it won't come to that. Blessings, M.

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E.A.

answers from Portland on

Just do your best. Thats all your baby is asking for. It sounds as if you're trying to give your baby the best life possible, and who cares about others judgments. You're mother in law will get over it over time, or you can "put her in her place", so to speak...which ever...the most important thing is that you think about your baby. Now, if your husband thinks you're going a bit too far, get some advice from a professional. Who comes with a hand book? No one. Its alright to seek some outside help. ;o)

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L.H.

answers from Seattle on

J.,

Your husband needs to handle this situation with his mother and back you up. It's his place to tell her to keep her opinions to herself and and let you two parent as you know best. He should also tell her unless she is asked for advice, not to give it...period.

Hope this helps,
Mother of three and grandmother of 4

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P.S.

answers from Portland on

Don't change your parenting style for anyone who sound soooo judgemental. If it were me, I'd tell her you appreciate her thoughts and opinions, but you are doing what you think is best and that is just how it's going to be for now. Then I might go on to say that she is beginning to hurt your feelings and it is damaging the relationship.
I personally held in my feelings and upset thoughts towards my MIL and ended up blowing up on her. It was very bad and I hate how it turned out...I now try to nip it in the bud, so I don't make such a scene again.
Best of luck...you sound like a very good and sensible mother.

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

I think you are using great judgement. It seems obvious that she doesn't worry about your feelings. I don't think you need to worry about too much about hers. She actually MIGHT be one of those that will respect you more if you stand up and say something.

My response would be, "I don't mean to be disrespectful, but you need to back off and respect the fact that I am this baby's parent and I will do what I need to assure his health, safety and security.

I have also have a mother-in-law that has given me a ton of advice. I usually just nod my head and agree while she is in my house and then I follow my heart and do what I think is right. Once she tried to say that she wasn't going to give me a new matress set unless I stopped co-sleeping with my baby. It didn't stop me. I co-slept with the next one too.

I just wanted to say that you are not alone and that balancing between not offending and standing your ground can be difficult, but worth it.

J.- Mom to seven with one on the way

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

I went through this same thing with my first child only it was my mother not my mother in law. I basically just kept my mouth shut and did what I wanted. My husband used to say to listen to everything, do what you want but keep the rest in the back of your mind in case you need it someday. That has been good advice. Be careful keeping him away from all germs. He needs to build up his immunities. That doesn't mean put him in the arms of someone with the flu but just don't keep him in a sanitary area all the times. My best friend shielded her baby from any and all germs. The child is now 20 and gets every thing that comes along. She spent more time home than in school because she had built up no immunities. Your breast milk should also help keep him healthy. As for your mother in law. Basically ignore her, she might mean well, but it sounds like she needs something to keep her busy so she doesn't spend all her time worring about you and her grandson.

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M.W.

answers from Seattle on

J.,

Hello. I think you should tell mom in law "thank you, but I feel pretty confident in my parenting skills." That seems like a kind way of telling her to back off. If she doesn't get it, then be bold with her. She needs to know to leave you alone. She's only pushing you away. Let her know that she's pushing you away. If she continues, then maybe she should call before coming to your home. Appointment to see the child may say a lot.

Maybe it's time to stop biting your tongue...this is your life, not her life and marriage. She is ONLY the mother in law. Plain and simple. She is not your mother and you are married AND out of your mother's house. That's how I was raised.

As far as protecting your child....it is a great thing that you are doing. I've done the same thing. When I went walking outside, my daughter was covered up in her stroller, protected from the cold and pullution...even if we were walking in the Green Lake location. I always protected her.

Vaccinations? You need to get your child into the clinic for his vaccinations. That's one thing you shouldn't wait on. Your child needs to be seen by a doctor. I can't emphasize vaccines enough. I've had all of my kids vaccinated, made sure each one was done. They have to have ALL shots for the school records.

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J.S.

answers from Portland on

Dear J.,
It is time to tell Mom-in-law that she had her turn, now it is your turn to be the parent. Thank her for her opinions and advise, but tell her that you are feeling very comfortable with your choices and she would be better off simply enjoying her grandson.
I did have this situation long ago. It was a burden and I finally had to gently tell my mother-in-law to back off. She was put out and offended. However, she eventually got the hint. You have plenty to do without unsolicited advise. From your presentation of the situation you are doing nothing to harm your child.
Best wishs,
J. S

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C.C.

answers from Eugene on

Hi, My response is that your mother in law probably wants you to need her help, and since you are so capable she feels left out and un-needed, and is responding by being critical. So, maybe you can ask for help from her on your terms- give her important and helpful jobs to do and lots and lots of praise!!

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E.C.

answers from Seattle on

I know exactly what you are going through and it can be a total nightmare! Because she is your husband's mother, it is his responsiblity to talk to her about stepping back. He also needs to approach it as a decision the two of you stand together on, not just throw you under the bus and say it's just you who is upset. She may be mad at first, but she needs to understand that she is not the mother here. There is a really great book about how to be a grandparent, but of course I can't think of the name of it! It is written by a grandmother and has a light, humorous tone to it, but it basically says that alot of things have changed since she was a mother and teaches her how to be supportive, not critical. I will try to find the name of it for you, but until then, your husband needs to handle this situation for his you. He is the head of the household and needs to act as such to support his new family. Good luck!

After re-reading this post I act as if I know your husband and think he has no backbone! I of course don't know him, and he probably is not spineless, so I am sorry about that! :)

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C.J.

answers from Richland on

My brother and sister-in-law went through this with my mother!!!! They sat down with my mom and let her know they were making their own parenting decisions as adults and as a family and they would really appreciate her refraining from giving advice. If they wanted advice, they would ask for it. They both did it together so it was not coming just from the daughter-in-law and they worked out a "script" together beforehand so they could do it without using negative language or getting over emotional and yelling. It worked wonders! I know mom was a little hurt as she thought that her advice from experience wasn't good enough but she respected their request and kept her opinions to herself!

I would think that your mother-in-law, especially if you approach this gently, with your husband, will understand that you are adults who are raising your own child and she needs to let you be the parents for him! She had her chance with your husband and obviously did a great job because he found you!!!

Approach it gently and soon (so you don't have so much pent up frustration that it gets out of control) and hopefully she will be enough of an adult to respect you and your husband's choices and let you do your job!

If that doesn't work, get caller id and avoid answering her calls. Distance yourself and do whatever you need to (meditate, visit with girlfriends, workout, etc) to help yourself to let her comments roll right off your back! She is the grandma and deserves her grandma time but, you don't have to listen to her being rude! And, more importantly, you and your husband need to make choices that work for you and your life, not hers.

Hold your ground! Good luck!

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S.L.

answers from Portland on

Try to tune her out and just listen to your own intuition. If she is too insistent with you then your husband needs to have a talk with her about boundaries. It's your child with him and you and he are "the deciders." About the germs--I'm lax about them--I feel like they will have to build their immune systems somehow. And when you're breastfeeding you are offering him some of your own antibodies to help stay well.

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K.M.

answers from Portland on

Let mom-in-law know she raised her children now please let her son and you raise yours. If she was such a great parent your hubby should be able to be one too, and he wouldnt be with someone who wasnt good for his children and her grandchildren. You sound like a very inteligent mom and your doing great.Tell mom-in-law her advice is nice but you want to do things with the times and with all the things they are finding that can help childrens developement you and hubby want to raise baby your way, just like she wanted to raise hers her way.

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R.O.

answers from Eugene on

Hi J.! Boy, can I relate! My girls are grown now, but I had the queen of 'monster'in laws! I was 27 when my first was born, and this woman never let up! In her mind in-laws were out-laws, and she made sure I knew I was not in the will!!Like I cared!! I tend to have a big mouth, and I put up with it for a few months, and then I had enough! I explained to her as calmly as I could that this was MY child, and my choices. I told her that I appreciated her input but she needed to understand, if she wanted to raise another child she should have one of her own!!! Yes it pissed her off, but as you know, you can only take so much criticizing from anyone! There is no such thing as the perfect parent, and if you don't make your own mistakes along the way, you don't grow as a parent, and your child starts asking "Grandma" if its OK!! The co-sleeping thing is a personal choice, I can tell you that at some point it will become very hard for him to be moved into his own bed, but at 5 months your not hurting anybody!!! They spoil fast, and they learn even faster how to manipulate a situation, all the more reason you need a clear understanding of who makes the rules! Being an over-protective parent isn't the worst choice you could make in the world we live in today, and as long as you and your husband are on the same page, she needs to butt-out!! Good Luck and God Speed! R.

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L.M.

answers from Portland on

J.-
UUUGG is all I can think of. Im so sorry you are not getting the support that you should be from her. To top it off you guys are newlyweds!UUGG again. I think you need to be nice but upfront tell her I appriciate your advice but what I need you to do is be supportive of the way I provide and care for (son's name). If I feel I need help I will ask your opinion then. Memorize it and repeat it to her everytime she opens her opinionated, judgemental, and outdated mouth.
Otherwise it will never end..... ever!
Stop her now or she will be calling your son's wife in 25 years doing the same thing.
You have the power J. it is in you.
L.

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G.S.

answers from Anchorage on

I feel bad for you. This is supposed to be a joyous time.She is "his" mom so there isn't a whole lot you can do.But there is something you can say.... if it makes you feel any better she would probably do this to anyone he married:)... its hard no to take it personal....When she criticizes you make a point to tactfully let her know that this is what works for your family.
Also, try not to project it onto your husband, he can't control her and it is quite embarrassing, he may think you are making more of this than it is....another saying that I like to use is "are you trying to hurt my feelings or give me information?"
Her response will let you know her intentions! I don't know how close you live but avoiding her or her calls may be what you need right now. You don't want to say something you'll regret, your husband will suffer for it!
As far as co-sleeping there are all kinds of opinions.Those discussions I save for my friends.Very few breast fed or co slept and thats ok..... I do what is right for my family and it really isn't anyone else business. Good Luck!

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

J.,
Congratulations on your new baby! The mom in law thing can be really hard. You are transitioning to a new family dynamic with a new relationship with your husband and the newness of being a mom. Hang in there!
You will need your mom in laws support; unfortunately, you will ALWAYS get "suggestions" about everything that you are doing from everyone who thinks you are doing it wrong. DO NOT take this personally. (This is easy to do with all the hormones going crazy) Stick to your guns about your parenting abilities. Know that you "know" what you are doing and continue to be confidant. I actually had to say to my mom in law AND my own mom that although I appreciate all the suggestions they offered that I am the mother of my baby and just as they did for their own children, I have to do what I feel is best for mine. Each relationship is different and they need to think back and remember when they were a new mom how hard it was to be told all the time how things should be done when all they really wanted was the support not ridicule. In response to the "get a job" Your finances are of no concern to his mom or anyone else. Your huband needs to verbalize this to his mom. The decision for you to stay home was made by both you and your husband. Hope this helps.

PS. I don’t think you can ever breast feed your baby too much and snotty kids shouldn’t play with your baby. Your kid will be sick enough later in life, from situations you cant control. :)Keep up the good work

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M.L.

answers from Corvallis on

Tell her you are doing your best just like she did with your husband when he was a baby. Thank her for her advice and then do what you d###m well please.

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M.W.

answers from Spokane on

You dear! My mother-in-law started in on me when I was pregnant. The best way to handle this is just to say, "thanks, mom, my pediatrician says to do it this way, I appreciate your loving concern". Then smile and change the subject or end your phone conversation with a "Oops, gotta a stinky one, gotta go!"

You are doing fine, trust your instincts! M.

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P.K.

answers from Seattle on

You have so much advice already, but I can't shut up because my MIl is the same way and was when I had my son. She has been a jerk since right after my hub and I got married and I turned up pregnant a month later. Like you, I don't think she means well.

I took matters into my own hands and I've had nothing but hurt feeling all around. I've had to appologize (not sincerely I might add) because I got so frustrated with her and I told her how I felt at a visit to her house. She ran around like a 12-year old and told everyone else in the family, my husband was mad, etc..so I caved and said I was sorry. I'm still bitter about it now.

Anyway, since then my husband's brother got married and she's the same way to his wife. My husband has just recently began to see her ways. He has told her that I'm his wife and that if she has nothing nice to say then she shouldn't say anything.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that your husband has to back you up; he has to see how she is. Maybe next time she starts up you can tell her to talk to her son about it. I find that when I don't get mad and just patronize her (for lack of a better term) she responds better. Even if later on she comes over and sees that her advice has gone by the wayside.

I wish you luck; and get your husband's eyes open as soon as possible.

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A.D.

answers from Corvallis on

J.,
This is a job for your husband...not you. She will forgive him; she does not have to forgive you. As your husband he is your protector and that means especially from his own family. You and your family are the priority now and his alleagence is to you first and not them.
Now having said this you should not tattle to your hubby about his mother but wait till he witnesses it and then talk to him about the situation later in private so you are both working from the same instance when she stepped over the line. From this point you have a reference point which you have both witnessed and can work on solutions. Ultimately if someone has to approach her it should be him. She will be able to find his behavior upright, and honorable where as you would only seem stubborn and ungreatful for not taking her glorious wisdom.
The reverse is true as well... If your Mom started nagging or speaking poorly of your husband it is your place to tell her to knock it off. Don't let anyone separate you and your husband.
I am tempted to address the co-sleeping issue myself as I have only heard horror stories from family and friends when they had to try to break the habit but... alas, you did not ask for advise on this. :-)
Break a leg!

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M.B.

answers from Portland on

what does your husband say? I would talk to him and have him talk to her then if that does not work you should talk to your yourself and tell her how you feel

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K.M.

answers from Seattle on

oh man do i know what your going through. i am fortunate to have a husband who always takes my side over his parents (because i drives him insane at how interferring they can be). we had been married about 2years before my daughter was conceived. then he deployed. i did the pregnancy and delivery with out him and the first six months of her life. when my daughter was about 2mths old, i was so stressed out with her always giving me "advice". i shouldnt breastfeed she says. the baby is not getting enough milk, the baby is too fussy, she has colic, you should feed her cereal she says, let me do the bath for her, maybe you should try....etc. well, i have a heart problem and one night the anxiety was so bad i thought i was having a heart attack and she was the only one able to take me to the er. Great i thought. well when the doctor told me in front of her that i was too stressed and that i needed to eliminate the causes and take it easy, she asked me what i had to be stressed over other than having a small child, so i told her how i felt. everything. she said please tell me when i am doing this so i can stop. and i do and/or just ignore her and we get on a lot better now.---sorry so long but i hope this helps

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B.M.

answers from Richland on

Sounds like you are dong a wonderful job, J.! As a MIL myself I suggest you say something like: "Well, thank you so much for your suggetion (advice, etc. ). I'm going to think about that." Very non-commital. When I was a new mother, one of my friend's older sisters told me I would get lots of advice, and whether I took it or not was up to me.

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A.V.

answers from Portland on

My approach would be a little different, with the same intent. First of all it's HIS mother. He is the husband & he should be the protector of the house, especially in regard to his own mom.

You need to have a good long talk with him about her behavior & advise, and your feelings. Decide in writing (for her sake) your parenting plan & intentions. Now you have a united front. He needs to step in & tell her what his feeling and plans are & that he pick you to be the mother of his children because of your skills & caring nature. He can give her a copy of the plan, & let her know that if she sees any diviatation that concerns her that she should bring it to his attention, but that she is NOT TO correct, advise, re-direct you (the mom) in any way, but that HE will take care of his own family.

In an age where women are strong, & we fight our own battles, this seems a bit counter culture, but it here that you are concerned about the rift arising. It is ultimately not your battle to fight, even though she is picking it with you. You are an extension of him in her mind. If He addresses the problem, then the dissension is in his family, & not from you. Ultimately I see her goal is to drive a wedge between you & your hubby, because she doesn't want to loose first place in his world. She obviously still wants to be in control of every thing, and doesn't want him to be separate from her.

He needs to say to her, "I am a grown man, & I am in charge of my house now. I want you to have a relationship with your grandkids, but you are not the mom, she is, & you need to let her parent as we see fit." If she slips up, just say, "how bout you talk to your son about that, I'm going to stick with what he & I have decided." Then, your not the bad guy. And you know... she may NOT want to talk to either of you for a while, & I think you'd probably be OK with that.

I didn't have any trouble with my in-laws however, neither of us (husband or I) were raised in a way that I wanted to duplicate. So, my words to my own mom when she told me to do something that I disagreed with was. I have looked at the way I was raised, & have chosen the good things to keep. However, there are somethings I choose not to do, & have replaced those with parenting skills that seem more productive. She nodded, & that was that.

You sound like a wonderful mom, be at peace and be confidant in that, & don't let her nagging, shame effect your heart. Let it run off your back.

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G.B.

answers from Portland on

J.,

Congrats on your little boy. It sounds like you are very confident on who you are and your son's well being. I would be sure to tell your mother in law this. Sometimes if we, as moms, start to talk about issues or how we are feeling other moms either give us advice or tell us what they think we should do. It's important to tell others that we enjoy figuring out how to do things ourselves and ask advice when we feel we need it. Also, I would recommend you join a group, and this one is fine (mamasource) or a neighborhood playgroup once a week or month and let her know you are getting advice when you need it from a group of moms so she knows you have help when you need it.

I realize that grandmothers like to feel a part in the raising of their grandchild and I think in most cases this is great, but it should not replace your parenting. You are her mother and your mother in law can support you or not. If you don't want her advice then at least you know how she wants to be grandmother with your son.

Trust yourself, and even though you say how you want to do things, just remember to allow yourself to change your mind if you want to. Parenting your child is not a one time answer to his needs. His needs change as he does as well as your understanding of him. Your husband should be a good support to you and you can make choices on what to do together. Of course the questions of how to go about raising your son should not consider your mother in law, it should be how YOU and YOUR HUSBAND are choosing to parent.

Warm wishing to you and your family and the years to come.

G.

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S.M.

answers from Seattle on

O I have I been there done that. . .How does your husband feel? My husband totally supported me and my feelings and I let my mother in law know how I really felt. If you don't have his full support you may cauae a rift with you and him. I am not one to bite my tongue and when she finally realized I was just as tough as her she backed way off. Now instead of being her doormat she actually respects me. Don't get me wrong, it took her 8 YEARS to talk to me again! And I didn't even yell @ her, Just told her how she made me and my husband feel and what she was doing to the relationship. NOBODY had ever told her she was wrong. So I don't think I have so much as advice, but can let you know it can work out. By the way, my sister in law is the new doormat going on 12 YEARS! The difference is they need her for her money, we don't. Money is power and she's go both where they're concerned and they don't dare rock that boat. . .Good Luck
S.

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J.S.

answers from Seattle on

there is nothing wrong with you as far as I'm concerned. She has different values and thinks she is being helpful. I was lucky that my mom-in-law has similar values and is good about not giving advice unless I ask. She brings me books and I tell friends that are like your mother-in-law that we are doing is fine in the books and with what our doctor says. It is very hard to be tactful, maybe just tell her that there is so much advice coming from so many people and that you are doing what your heart tells you is right and what your years of child care education has taught you. but even if you don't feel love from her end, make sure you say it with love from yours. (you might not love her but you do love your baby and your husband and it is them that need the two of you to not be at odds)
GOOD LUCK! May God bless your tognue.

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D.S.

answers from Bellingham on

Kindly look into her face and say "Thank You I will take that into consideration" She just wants to be heard and validated that she is a grandmother that cares. The trick is the right tone of voice. And smile alot.

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D.C.

answers from Seattle on

basically here is how it boils down she had her children and raised them as she saw fit. Now her kids are grown and if she wants to raise more she needs to have them, adopt, or foster, becasue this child (said in the most endearing way) is your child and you had YOUR child because YOU wanted to parent not be the middle man. I would put it to her like that. Tell her you appriciate the advice but it is starting to sound like she wants to take over and if she continues to act this way you might have to stop talking to her until she can understand that YOU are the parent and her job is to observe and to be a grandparent.Heck she had here turn darn it it is your turn, right. You are going to have draw her a line in the sand and make sure to guard the border. She may not realise that it has gone this far, and this new line might help.(then again it might go the other way too and she might just be trying to get toyou, so don't let her) Just be firm without showing emotion (i heard inlaws can smell it when you get uspet, grin, just kidding) Explain to her that her advice is welcome when it is being asked for. And if she just has so much advice she just can't keep it in until someone wants to know what she does, then she should start a blog. I hope this helps.

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K.S.

answers from Portland on

How important it becomes for us to set and stick with our boundaries! Mom in law did her parenting, her turn is done... this is Your baby, You are the mama, Your instincts are exactly as they should be! Rock on, new mommy, you know what you're doing, and mom in laws have to be taught boundaries repeatedly.... we are still 'training' our moms after 11 years together!

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H.B.

answers from Eugene on

Tell her you appreciate her advice - that will make her feel useful. However, you need to put her in her place by also telling her that he is your son & you have the final say!

As far as her telling you to get a job - let her know that is a personal decision between you & your husband. If she pouts & refuses to watch the baby - so be it - her loss!

It is normal to protect your child - especially when they are too young to take medications for a cold. However - in time you will need to let go - the more he is exposed to - the stronger his immune system will be.

Good luck

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

I went to a Mom's group that talked about this. Your mother in law is just pulling from her experience as to the way parenting was done when she had her children many years ago. Things have changed, the medical community has learned new things, and parenting follows trends, all of which are different for you with your son today. She is having trouble adapting to the fact that things have changed, and she's just trying to show love for her grandchild by doing it the way she knows how to. But you are his mother, and it's not up to her to decide how you take care of him.
The best rule of thumb is to follow your own instincts, and while you can thank your mother in law for her input, you don't have to let it direct or bother you. Focus on how lucky you are that your son has a mother-in-law who loves him enough to make suggestions(unfortunately she's just controlling).

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R.S.

answers from Portland on

My advice is to get your husband on board with drawing some boundaries! Your mother-in-law needs to have it spelled out to her that you are the child's mother, not her, and her son should be the one standing up to his mom to spell that out. That's my two cents!

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A.E.

answers from Seattle on

Hi, I have 2 cents! (Don't we all?) Please discuss the in-law issue with your husband! Let him know how your conversations with his mom make you feel. If you try to keep the emotion out of it when you are discussing it with your hubby, he is more likely to help.
Try not to let her get to you. If she calls with her 2 cents, and you already have them, just say, "you know, the last time we spoke you said the same thing...you must feel very strongly about that." Try to avoid letting her get a rise out of you. Is it possible that she means well? If not, just don't speak to her often. If it's even SLIGHTLY possible, just try to not speak to her often. I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense, but I really see no reason to let one person ruin your day. No matter whose mama she is.
I hope you are able to find a way to see this situation as funny...humor makes everything better.
Good luck!
A.

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