What Are Standard Requests from a Grandparent??

Updated on May 30, 2008
S.S. asks from McKinney, TX
53 answers

I have a strained relationship with my mother-in-law and when we found out we were pregnant I did my best to put that aside and include her. I don't know what she expects but tonight I was told that it was disrectful and hurtful to ask for a quite alone hour with my husband and newborn so I could take a quick nap to recoup after she was born and than they could return (I figured they could get a bite to eat or something and didn't thank it was too much to ask, we were very polite when asking). She also has demanded to feed my daughter a bottle, (we were trying to breastfeed so when the Dr. requested that we supplement I really didn't want her to get too comfortable with the bottle and others feeding her). However, that has been thrown in my face each time after seeing her now.

So, are there rules of what a grandparent is supposed to be allowed to do by a certain time that I need to know about?

They live in a different town and we always had to go visit them, they would only came to see us once a year. So, they are not used to us not traveling to see them when they want to see us (like for holidays and birthdays, you know). And I think that is causing some of the issues we are having now, too.

I am protective and they are demanding not requesting and not being very polite. I want to be fair and am trying soo hard, but no matter what I do I'm not getting anywhere with them. Help. (Thanks)

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S.S.

answers from Wichita Falls on

Standard requests are for you to lay down and let them walk all over you, screw up the feeding, sleep, and discipline, then hand they baby back when they're tired of it and ready to go home. Then they request that you smile and say how lovely it was to see them.. blah.. blah.. blah.

Standard responses vary from - um - NO. to ok, to I hate it when the grandparents come to visit and everywhere in between.

I breastfed (past the age of 2, no less), and no one gave my baby a bottle until I changed my mind. People who had a problem with that - well, they can get glad in the same pants they got mad in.

All of my issues came from my side of the family - my husband's family is much more laid back, and learned that guilt tripping me or trying to out fight me - just doesn't work. I'm too dysfunctional to trip, and I stick to my guns longer than crazy glue.

MY family has something to say about everything from the way I discipline my children, the way that I fed /feed them, the way they're dressed, the fact that they ONLY get to see them 3 times a year (I live 800 miles away from my family), blah, blah, blah.

Here's something you might want to work on - especially effective over the phone, but I've used it in person too.

I am the mom in this family. I mean no one any disrespect, and I am sorry if you choose to be offended, but we are doing what is best for us, our child, and our family. (Nothing you have said is unreasonable, btw).

Phone: When you are no longer offended, feel free to give us a call. We love you, bye.

We're at their house: If you truly can not handle that, then maybe it would be best if we go back to our hotel.

They're at our house: We want you to have a close relationship with our child, but until respect the fact that we are raising our child as we see fit, maybe it should be confined to the telephone.

Please note the we. Get your husband on the same page, because he will likely end up having to 'watch your back' for at least a couple of months.

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M.B.

answers from Amarillo on

She needs to stay out of the feeding issues. If you want to nurse your daughter that is what you need to be doing as much as possible and supplement as needed only! Talk to your husband about the fact that his mother is being a bit pushy and because all this is new to you, you need your space. He needs to talk to her about it, let mom in law know that you are not trying to be disrepectful, just that everything is so new you, you need your space to figure it out, and in a few weeks when nursing and bottle suplementation is worked out visits to their home and vise versa will be much smoother. The only rule that Mom in Laws need to follow is that if she does not back off the "Mother Bear Syndrome" you are experiencing will only get worse! "MBS" is normal but unfortunately most Mom in Laws are unaware that they are the worst triggers for a new first time Momma to have a melt down.

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K.K.

answers from Dallas on

Well Denise,
Grandparents do think they have rights no matter what we think. The key is that you and your husband be on the same page and back each other up. I was a new mom and tired of fighting my mom and my husband made in VERY clear (in public no less) that that was my child and she was not in charge. They still get a long to this day, but you HAVE to set boundaries with grandparents. WE have nine grandparents (don't ask), so we have been getting lots of practice. Talk with your husband, discuss what is okay and what is not okay, and be polite but firm. With time, and consistency (just as with children, huh) they will get it or the visits will be fewer until they do. You may have your husband deal with his parents and you deal with yours; just be fair amongst the two. OF course, in our family, some g'parents will not have the kids unsupervised so not all is 'even' but is fair considering the situations.

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

Yes, there are rules. You and your husband set them. You tell the grandparents and accept their comments and see if there isn't a happy middle ground.

Boy did I make a scene when my granddaughter was born to my daughter! I really showed a pretty immature side of myself, but it was also a very emotional experience for me, too.

The dad's family was all around for the induced labor and set up camp in the room. They filled the waiting room. They camped out in the hospital room. My husband held the baby and ogled her. Did anyone even think once about me? Even the new mother, my daughter?

I took a big girl pill and went up to the room, but no one even offered me the baby to hold. When I tried to give motherly advice, my daughter's response was that things had changed in 25 years. Everything the other grandmother said was pearls of wisdom, but I didn't know what I was talking about.

After I told my daughter that the baby looked jaundiced and that she should open the curtains and put her in the sunlight as long as possible and she told me what to do with my advice, I left the room in tears and stormed home to tell my husband all about the injustice done to me.

They were released the next day and came to our house where they were living. The next day the baby was readmitted to the hospital because of the high bilirubin count and put under the lights for a day. It gave me some credibility on day 2 of grandparenthood.

That adorable baby ushering in new roles for my daughter and for me. She was a mom and I was a grandma. The baby is 3 1/2 now, so we've had that long to get comfortable with our roles and work together.

She's a wonderful mom. (She says it has nothing to do with me.) I'm a terrific grandmother (and I now know that I was and am a terrific mother).

One thing I've learned as a mom the last 28 years is that I have my moments of giddy excitement and immature behavior, too, and it's normal. Learning to say "I'm sorry. I'll do better next time." can heal a multitude of social gaffs. It also helps our children down the road to understand themselves better.

If you don't know what she expects, why not ask her? Clear the air now. Share a few tears together of joy and fear and doubt about this new baby. I had a total flood of wonderful memories of my daughters' births, and I wanted to be able to relive and share those memories with my daughter.

Everyone else was horning in on my time, and I was too proud to stoop to their level and just hog all the time and attention. So nature took its course, and I found my own albeit immature way of getting my time and attention.

Not one of my best or most mature moments, but a very human moment.

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L.A.

answers from Dallas on

First thing to remember is: You are the mommy. You and your husband are the parents. Grandparents can be a bit grabby at times and tend to overstep when they forget about boundaries. Hopefully your husband is in agreement with you, his wife, and it is up to him to take his parents aside and explain that if they continue to push, their limited time could shrink to nothing. It is essential that he do it and not paint you to be the one behind this confrontation. He needs to show them that he is protecting his family. They will eventually respect him for it. (hopefully... some people are just too selfish to get the point)

It might sound harsh, but it worked for us. I love my In Laws, but MIL started flagrantly overstepping and my husband finally had to step in and explain things.

You feel that breast feeding is essential, and it is, so your MIL demanding that you put your child on a bottle to she can feed your daughter is ridiculous.

Hope things work out for y'all!

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P.T.

answers from Dallas on

i would say definitely do what you want to do regarding your baby - i do not think wanting quiet alone time with your baby and husband to bond with each other is asking to much or disrespectful - i didn't ask for it with my children and now i regret it because i think it is a very special time between the 3 of you - you have to stand up for yourself and do what YOU think is in the best interest of your baby - i can understand also about the bottle feeding by other people when you are trying to breastfeed - having said all of that - maybe she doesn't realize the demanding way she is coming across to you - i would discuss these things with your husband and make a decision together about what is in the best interest of your baby and your family and then try to relay that to her in a sympathetic manner - like "we are so glad that we have grandparents that want to be involved in our babies life - we appreciate the fact that you want to spend time with the baby and feed her and bond with her - we have made a decision because we feel like it is the best interest of our baby to limit bottle feedings to very few and only from the mother to keep the feeding associated with the mother to assist with the breastfeeding process - maybe see if your husband will handle telling her things like that so that it won't be taken offensively coming from you - i am sure she means well but maybe just doesn't understand why you guys are doing the things you do - things were done alot differently 20+ years ago - i had a strained relationship with my mother-in-law at first - we have had a few intense discussions - we are two very different people but i have come to respect her positives in grandparenting and try to overlook the negatives and i think she has done the same for me - two things to remember - always try to approach her out of love and treat her the way you would want to be treated as a mother-in-law - and PRAY FOR HER and pray for healing in your relationship with her and pray for god to help her take your request with an open mind - god can soften any heart - pray for god to change your heart to understand her and where she is coming from :-) - i'll pray for you both!!

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

As a mother, this is what I would tell you!

Your parents have no RIGHTS to see the baby. It is a privalege (sp?), esp. right after the birth when things are buzzing all around you and you and your new family need time to adjust! I say this and I have the absolute best relationship with both my parents and my in-laws but they never even came to the hospital on any of our births until invited to do so!

Also, your mother-in-law will not be feeding your baby most of the time. So don't let her tell you how it should or should not be done! As a nursing mom myself, I know how important the first few days are at getting the techinique down with the aid of the hospital staff! Don't listen to ANYONE'S OPINION except that of your healthcare workers, your own personal opinion and your hubby (maybe-LOL)!

And as for traveling to see them, well I understand that pre-baby but you should not be expected to make the trip every time now that a baby is in the picture. It is really hard to travel with a baby. You will find that out! If they give you a hard time about it, suggest a meeting in the middle or have your In-Laws come stay a couple of days with you and hubby and then car-pool back with them in the same car as the baby and they will get the picture really quickly how difficult it can be!

Basicly-what I am saying is this: YOUR LIFE HAS COMPLETELY CHANGED TO ACCOMODATE THE BABY and not them! Make them aware of that change as tactfully as you can but stern!!!!

Best of luck!

T.

PS-IGNORE rude or snappy comments! Esp. about feeding! Go with your gut not M-I-L's "well this is what I would do", or "how about doing this", or "try this"! Your child = your parenting style and not your In-Laws or parents' style!

CONGRATS!

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B.P.

answers from Dallas on

Dear Denise,
Sounds like a one-on-one with your mother-in-law is in order. I know that is a tall order for you and you will probably have to be the brave one here. You have taught your family to treat you in a certain way and now that the baby and you and your husband need to come first you will have to reteach them. If this feels like something that you could never do then I recommend a prgram that I went to called Pathways Core Training, I found tools that not only helped me to be powerfully in charge of my life but it also saved my marriage, reconntected me with my God, and helped me to really become the mom I wanted to be but didn't know how to be. www.gopathways.org or www.creatagreatlife.org
I volunteer for this program every month because of how it helped me. I would love to talk with you about it. I hope to hear from you [email protected]____.com

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R.A.

answers from Dallas on

Denise, I know this type of situation can be really troubling. I am a 57 yr old grandmother of 13 and a mother of 4 grown children. But still I can remember such a time as this in my life with a mother in law that lived across the street. (Now that's hard!) One thing to remember is this, "THIS IS YOU AND YOUR HUSBANDS BABY", not grandmothers. I did find that I had to start a lot of sentences with "I love you, but". You will never make everyone happy with your child rearing, no matter how well you do! So my advice would be to relax, it's your time to be "mother". Be loving as possible but firm when ya have to be. Try reminding her that you think she was a very good mother but she needs to let you and your husband figure things out. It really helps if your husband will back you on this. You sound like a wonderful mother to me.
God bless you sweetie. Enjoy your precious baby. You cant change everyone, or anyone really. There's only one heart changer I know and he's a lot better at it than us.
R. Atkins/Mimi

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this drama right now. And that is what it is, drama. My MIL is very similar. They were against my DH and I getting married and we did not have a relationship until my first was born. Honestly, I have no desire for them to be involved with my kids but it would break my DH heart. Thank goodness they live 1800 miles away. My MIL is very controlling and wants every situation to be about her. She has a tendency to try and take over my home when she does visit ie..take over the kitchen, discipling etc...I do not trust my MIL. She is also dependent on pain medications and is mentally unstable. She has a tendency to make poor choices in regards to what is age appropriate for my kids. All of that being said it was a very long road to get to where she just backed off. I put alot of it onto my husband. Basically told him that he needed to talk to his mom and tell her that this was our home and these were our expectations while they were visiting. If they didn't feel that they could honor those expectations then they didn't have to visit. You have a new baby. You are trying to get used to being a mom, recover from childbirth and your hormones are out of whack. It is your house and if you want to be alone as a family then they need to pack it up and come back later. I know that you probably don't want to come across as a witch but sometimes you just have to put your foot down. Next time they want to come over just set the boundaries up front. Say "we would love for you to visit for a few hours. We usually spend the afternoon as a family but we would love to have you come for a few hours in the morning and stay for lunch." as for wanting to breastfeed and then supplement with the bottle use your doctor as an excuse. "the doctor said to always nurse the baby first and then offer her a bottle". Grandparents usually respect the word of the doctor over the mom (I think its the generation).I hope some of this helps. please PM. I think I can definitely relate with overbearing MIL lol. Good luck and remember It's your house and your family!!

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L.H.

answers from Abilene on

She sounds like a peach! :) You and your husband need to talk about what you guys want to do. It will NOT work if you are not on the same page. I had a very rude/demanding mother-in law who had no boundaries. Any changes in routine need to be explained to her by him if possible (e.g. We won't be able to come this weekend, but maybe we can next weekend)so you don't have more retaliation.

She is completely out of line. I breast fed both my children. It is difficult up until 3 months (for my son it was never difficult, my daughter was because she had to learn to suck). Don't give up, it becomes very natural and easy. I think you're on the right track by not bottle feeding very often.

It was not out of line for you to ask to have time alone with your newborn and husband. It was out of line for your mother in law to not respect a request that was made it a kind manner.

If you haven't read the book "Boundaries" I would highly recommend it. It won't change her, but it will help give you creative ideas on how to handle her.

Good luck and God bless you and your family.

L.

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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

I've perused a few responses you've received so far and you've gotten some sound advice. I have one word for you - BOUNDARIES. There are great books written by Drs Cloud and Townsend that address this very issue. Many of us were not raised with clear and appropriate boundaries as children and don't even realize we lack them as adults. (I was in my 30's before I got this concept - gulp!)

I do not know your faith background, but mine is Christian and the Bible is quite clear on what our priorities should be. You and your husband are now a family and each other come first - before anyone's parents. Your minor children come next. Work, in-laws, grandparents, friends, etc all follow these primary responsibilities.

We all teach others how to treat us - keep patiently and diligently imposing appropriate boundaries on your husband's parents and be sure he is in accord with you on this!

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K.B.

answers from Dallas on

Denise,
First of all....congratualtions on your precious little one ! I just want to let you know that I agree with pretty much everyone that has responded to your posting. You and your husband are the parents in this situation and you two, no one else, has the right to make the rules regarding your family. 'They' may not agree with they way you are doing things but chances are that not everyone agreed with their way when their children were young either. I say, just ask God to give you peace in the situation and a boldness, that is required as new parents, to stand up and stick by the decisions you and your husband have set forth for your new family. There will be many situations in the future where you will need to 'come to the chopping block' when it comes to your child. As a parent, the most important thing is not that others agree with your decision, but that you, in your heart, feel like you are doing the best you can for your child/family. Ask God to help you be strong and He will. I don't believe that you have to be rude or mean about it, just bold and say what you mean and mean what you say.

Blessings to you and yours.

K. B

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A.S.

answers from Dallas on

I have a similar strained relationship with my MIL. Somebody once told me that it's that way b/c two women love the same man, my husband, her son. It was strained before we had our first baby, and it's still the same. My feelings use to get hurt all the time b'c I made a conscious effort to be kind and loving toward her, but everytime I thought things were going well, she'd hurt my feelings again. So, I just decided to not get so close to her, and it's a shame it has to be that way, but it's better for me this way. My husband has talked to her about it also, but it didn't make any difference to her. So I love her b'c she's my MIL, but I don't have a close bond or even a close friendship with her.

As far as being a mom, you're the mom. This is your baby and you're the one calling the shots. Who cares what they did 30-40 years ago? This was a big issue b'c I still breastfeed, and anytime we're around them, MIL is always wanting to give a bottle. I would explain over and over again that breastfeeding is the Dr preferred option for feeding; she never got it though, so I gave up trying to explain it to her. I ignored her requests to give a bottle many times.

A SIDE NOTE: Whenever they come for a visit, I buy a few pineapples to have on hand. It's very gratifying to take a big chopping knife and wack the pineapple plus they're delicious too. If I'm feeling tense, I can get out a pineapple and take a wack at it. It helps me vent and nobody's feelings get hurt.

TRAVEL: now that we have the baby, we stay home more often, and ask them to visit us; if I'm tired, I would politely excuse myself and go lay down and shut the door. I did not change my routine at all due to their visit, and I certainly did not change my baby's routine for their visit. Whenever solids were introduced, I asked MIL to feed the solids, and she loved doing that. And she loved changing diapers too which I was certainly fine with. But, when she asked to rock baby to sleep, No was my answer b'c we put out baby in bed while still awake and let him fall asleep on his own. I didn't want her to create a new habit I would have to keep up after they left. However you do things, be firm in your decisions and don't let her upset you. YOU are the baby's mom, and you will do the best thing for your child whatever your decisions may be. She will just have to get over it or leave.

Of course, you want your daughter to have a relationship with hubby's parents; grandparents offer children a different kind of love than parents do and it's a wonderful gift to a child. Our baby adores my MIL and she's really sweet with him. My mom had the same tough relationship with her MIL, my mema, and I hear about this problem all the time.

If she makes any particular medical suggestions, you can always say, "oh that's a good idea, BUT let me check with my baby's Dr." She should respect that your Dr. will know more than she does. Hang in there!

D.D.

answers from Dallas on

In my opinion THEY are the ones being rude and disrespectfule. Having alone time after the birth is not out of the ordinary. I have know women that requested "no visitors" at the hospital. I have also know women that requested "no viistors" for up to two weeks after coming home.

I would simply say "Please do not thake this the wrong way, but I have been reading and I would like to do things My way with My child." " I am sure your ways worked for you when you were a first time parent, but things have changed." "Please respect my choices."

If they cannot then I would politely distance myself from the in-laws except for holidays and other family gatherings.

Is YOU mother still in the picture? Do you have a close girlfriend? Perhaps they could help you out with this by stepping in on your behalf and running interference during these first few weeks or months.

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K.K.

answers from Dallas on

The person that has most been in appropriate is your husband. You need to work and compromise as a team then he needs to be the one to set limits wiht his parents. If you do it you wil always be the bad guy. Tell hubby yoour expectations. If he can not abide by it when visit happen you shoudl go to a hotel on Hubbies tab.

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J.H.

answers from Amarillo on

Grandparents job is to be a support, and love the grandkids, not control things. It needs explained that Dr.'s suggest you don't give a bottle the first week or two, so they will nurse, so you were following directions, not trying to leave her out, communicate with her this, and also that with a new baby, and the things you have to lug, it is easier for them to come visit, an harder for you all to, not that you don't still intend to, just that is isn't as easy as it used to be, so you hope they will understand, and be supportative. I am a grandmother, and thank goodness my mother-in-law was a jewel and never tried to control my household. I feel yours is a little out of line.

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J.E.

answers from Dallas on

Hey Denise s.,

Congratulations on your new born!!!!

I can remember those mother-in-law days. Mine is now deceased but, was very controlling. Thankfully, we were in a different state completely when our first was born and he is now 20. We were local with family when our 7 year old was born so, that made the birth a whole new experience again. Anyway, the main thing is that your husband will have to stand up to his parents if this continues. He will have to tell them what your desires are as new parents. You two must stick together no matter once. Please believe me, I speak from experience and many times of my Mother-In-Law going for months without having any communication with us because, it could not be her way. This is the controlling part of their lives. We survived by being strong and standing our ground and so will you. Your request are not inappropriate and are very much expected. If this is a first grandchild it is possible that they in-laws are just so excited that they have forgotten what it is like to be new parents. Anyway, the main thing that you have to be concerned about is you and your new baby and husband. Please try not to let others ruin this time in your life. If they get their feelings hurt, I promise they will eventually come around again. I had to learn to tolerate my MIL and that is what I did for over 20 years before she passed away.

Again, Congrats and enjoy your new baby.

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T.M.

answers from Dallas on

I'm pretty sure that every answer you receive will be the same: your request is not at all unreasonable and your in-laws seem very controling. You and your husband are the parents, not them. If I were you, I would stand my ground right now so that they get the drift. If they truly want to be involved, they will respect the ground rules that you put in place. Good luck!!

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F.F.

answers from Dallas on

Hi Denise, first of all you and your husband need to be on the same page about what rules you will have for your child. Next, you have to set boundaries with your and his family about your child that both you and your hubby agree upon. Third, don't be afraid to enforce those boundaries. When it comes to kids, grandparents always like to tell you what they think is best b/c they feel they raised their kids and they probably have turned out ok. And as true as it may be, your kids are not their kids. You have to make your own mistakes and successes with your kids. Grandparents can overstep their boundaries. But so that you are not walking on eggshells and miserable you have to stand up for yourself...and your husband has to have your back!!! Set the rules up now so that you are not having problems with your husband later b/c there has been no communication on what you both expect. Many people will feel that it's rude for you to tell them what to do, but they will either quickly fall in line or sit out in the cold. I know it seems harsh, but everybody has to realize this is your baby. Make sure the rules apply for everyone...not just mom-in-law. Good Luck and enjoy your baby. These are precious moments that you want to treasure. God Bless!

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

Ask your husband to talk to them, as he knows them well enough after being raised by them...

The hour alone is a fine and reasonable request! She obviously doesn't remember what it was like when she just gave birth...or she might have a totally different personality!

I would ask whomever told you what the in-laws said to not repeat stuff like that in the future, but instead support you in front of the M.i.L.

I don't think that the in-laws feeding the bottle is an unreasonable request, as long as they follow the feeding schedule, and as long as you feel that you have had enough one on one time with the baby. In fact, you might end up liking the fact that the baby will take a bottle from others, giving you a break.

Stay strong! It sounds like you cope fairly well. Keep up the good job!

Take Care~

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E.M.

answers from Dallas on

I am a mother in law so I wanted to answer your concerns in that vein. I have also been a daughter in law with a strained relationship with a mother in law, so I wanted to answer your concerns in that vein also.... Here are my thoughts; your husband's parents drove to see you from out of town and you asked them to leave for an hour and return? You made clear that you really don't want anyone feeding your child while you introduce breast feeding?
WOW. I bet your mother in law was offended!
I breast fed my youngest child and was quite lucky, I had no issues. I just made lots of milk and she just ate constantly! Every two hours. I was a sooo tired, but she gained weight right off. I have no idea how we managed
getting that right. Dunmb luck I guess. When one person, any one- had offered me a chance to sleep for an extra hour I was right on top of that offer. So, really, what is the issue here? Is your mother in law trying to run your household? Is she unhealthy in her attitude toward her son? Is she a problem for your marriage? Does she do her dead level best to create say, co dependency issues with the children in the family? If she is, I get you. If you just don't like her please be careful here. Is it possible that your are using your child as a punishment? Sort of a look at me- I am the woman of the hour and I am in control? I ask because children are not pawns and that is a very dangerous mind set. Is it possible that you are a first time Mom and just over protective, and maybe a touch proud, and a little resentful of the the "advice" you think is foolish? If so, I have been there and done that.
Breathe, sleep when you can, and remember that your mother in law was you once.... we all were. Practically speaking, do set some guideline with your spouse and let him be the one to talk to his parents. It is easier to control the visits if you all do the visiting, I assure you. This was always my solution... As your child grows I think you will appreciate your mother in law a bit. My oldest was two when he convinced me I was not wonder woman, just a woman doing her best.
Good luck.

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E.H.

answers from Tyler on

Bottom line grandma is not the #1 woman in her son life anymore. I guessed she's finally faced that reality, that's a toughy for any mom... All you have to do (morally) is to be polite and patient. You are in your way to be a great wife and mom, but please do not make the situation worst by being resentful. In-Laws come in all shapes and sizes, and you'd never know what you're gonna get!
For sure any parent of the groom (or bride) wants to know that their son(daughter) is well taking care of, that's all. Love and respect your husband, be a good attentive mommy and be a polite daughter in law. Focus on you and your manners, and let the In-Laws deal with their own.
Denise S. You are the queen of your castle, be open to "suggestions" and be appreciative, but you have the last word, queen!

Long live the Queen! Kuddos to you, you'll survive

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H.D.

answers from Dallas on

Personally, I think a grandparent should only be allowed to do things you are comfortable with. Remember, she raised her kids her way and these are yours so you should raise them your way. She should be respectful of this.

My mom has a lot more freedom with my son than my MIL just because I kind of learned my parenting from my mom. My MIL's parenting style is so different than mine. We hardly ever agree on parenting things (but we are great friends) and she has learned to keep her mouth shut.

You do have to be a little accomadating though and all I mean by this is allowing your child to spend time with her grandmother. That's it. If you don't want her to have a bottle that's your choice and she should understand. I know things are easier said than done so GOOD LUCK!

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

What does your husband say or do? I don't think she has any demands at all if she is going to act like that. I would get my husband to intercede and if he didn't then he could visit them alone. But I wouldn't under any circumstances let her do somehing with my baby that I didn't approve of. like bottle feeding if I was breast feeding. I would also ask her what her problem was, since I didn't have one. Obviously she doesn't like you, has no intentions of making you feel welcome, has no intentions to work out your differences. I just don't have that kind of energy to spare. If I wouldn't let the wal-mart people talk to me that way then I by-God wouldn't let her talk to me that way. Because she is supposed to care about me way more than the wal-mart people. So I would just cut your losses, leave it up to your husband and move on. As long as you know in your heart that you tried and aren't being mean then that will have to be enough. Because no matter what you do she will not change, meet you halfway, or consider your feelings or situation and will continue to put you down and bully you. She will be the one losing out. The old saying....you can lead a hose to water but you can't make them drink. And I would be really PISSED that my husband didn't stick up for me or protect me from the situation. And if he didn't then I would for myself. And I wouldn't go over there anymore either. Why torture yourself when you are not welcome. As you can see, I feel strongly about this topic. I have had this arguement and situation in some way, shape or form with my own mother and my husbands aunt. I won't be bullied or open my self up for people to hurt me. Especially from people that are supposed to "love" me. I do what I can, cut my losses and move on. And the only rules there are, are the ones you and your husband decide on. And if they are that rude and uncaring I wouldn't want them around my children anyway. Especially once they get older and put you down in front of them or behind your back. This is the best it will be. And I dang sure wouldn't be bending over backwards over holidays or anyting else. If you stood up for yourself it also might stop. Did they always act this way when your hubby was growing up? Just because they are family is no reason for you to be bullied. I thought S. S. had some pretty good neutral comebacks. I wished I'd had them during my rought times. Good Luck!!!

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T.B.

answers from Dallas on

Some people are control freaks and are use to getting what ever they want. I would try to stay as polite as possible when you explain that you need to nurse the baby or other demands are not congruent with yours and otherwise ignore her being so abrupt. I have been in similar situations...they get over it and hopefully your mother in law will realize that if you honestly didn't want to include her then she would know it. Also, if you can try to include her more in other ways, then that might help.

It is your house, it is your rules and if someone doesn't abide by them with politeness then they are rude. Know though that if you leave the baby alone with her in her house then there is a good chance that she will throw out your rules (the nature of a control freak). So if you feel that she won't respect your rules for your children ever, then you need to reconsider if you are comfortable having her watch your children.

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P.M.

answers from Dallas on

I don't have children, but I have a difficult Mother-in-law. She is deaf and expects everything her way. I put up with that for about 1 year and then I put my foot down. My hubby was upset with her actions too, so we were able to put up a united front in setting the boundaries.
You and your husband need to decide what the rules are and what you are going to do. Then in a united front explain to them what the rules are. There will probably be agitation on their part, but that is OK... don't allow a temper tantrum on their part to make you change. Stick to WHATEVER plan you make. They will come around - eventually. Obviously, speak in a respectful tone and softly. I will pray that the Holy Spirit will go before you and deal with them.
Congratulations!
Take Care and God Bless!

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R.Y.

answers from Dallas on

Your husband needs to stand up to his parents and not allow them to treat you that way. Grandparents don't have the right to demand anything. If you are breastfeeding, then they need to understand that and be supportive. It's hard enough having a new baby and trying to breastfeed and having in-laws who are critical of everything.

Good luck.

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E.B.

answers from Dallas on

i have an overbearing mom so i had and have to remind of rules all the time. first of all you were not rude to ask for time. while the whole family is excited to see the newborn it is your time and however you want to spend it is up to you, they just have to deal maybe they should be told it is rude to be selfish! remember this YOU make the rules its your baby she had her shot. you do what you feel is best. just politely remind her your baby your rules if she cant follow them then she can step aside. your the mom not her!

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

Is this a first grandchild for them? We've all been though it... for sure. Stand your ground with the breastfeeding thing. I've got 2 kiddos (one from previous marriage) and both M.I.L's were against me breastfeeding... simply because THEY couldn't help and THEY didn't do it with their kids. THEY need to do the research to see how much healthier it is for babies.

I'd suggest that you engage your HUSBAND to stand up for you. Its important for you two to stand your ground NOW and set some boundaries. My oldest daughters father didn't do that. His mother was one very big contributing factor to the demise of the marriage.

I know its hard... my new husband can't stand his own mother, so he was no help to me when dealing with her. In fact, he's harder on her than I am. But this is YOUR family, and you need that time to bond and rest. You can't make milk if you're not resting. And your marriage needs that special time of just the 3 of you.

Talk with your husband, there are some great books about setting boundaries. It will get better. They are just excited too and have probably anticipated this baby almost as much as you have. But take comfort that probably ALL new mothers go through this. STAND YOUR GROUND, girl!

(one last note) with my first MIL, I would intentionally lay out articles about the benefits of breastfeeding or pregnancy info. She was a beast, but it was my little way of saying "I told you so :)

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C.U.

answers from Dallas on

Hi Denise:

I am a grandparent and I don't know of any rights that we have.
Grandparents are suppose to be there for love and support.
You and your husband and daughter are a family now. Your parents and in-laws are secondary family. You trump your mom and your mother-in-law in all decisions about your baby.
I have two grandchildren (I am 56) and two children of my own. My daughter is 32 and has a 2.5 yr. old and a 7 month old. My son is a junior at college.
Parents need to learn to let go of their children and let them live their lives. I'm not saying that it is easy to do and I have a hard time not trying to guilt my kids into coming to see us, but I know deep down that they are doing what is best for them and their family.
My daughter and her family live about 5 1/2 hours away and we try and go down more often than them coming up here.
They even stayed at their home for Christmas and we went down and left Christmas eve. It worked out.
Flexible is the key word and "the way things use to be" is a thing of the past.
We all need to focus on the now and be thankful for our families and the time that we have together.

Keep taking up for yourself and talk to your husband as you both need to be on the same page.

Remember, Mom trumps Grandmoms!!!!

Good luck and God bless you and your family,

C.

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K.B.

answers from Tyler on

You have received great responses from others about how to handle this situation. I had the same problem with our first born - although my relationship was good with my MIL, this "baby thing" was an issue. My husbands sister had two children - one when she was 17 and one when she was 19. Sister and her husband lived with MIL for a while and then got their own place. When our daughter was born all I heard was "When "Sally Sue" was 4 weeks old she was already spending the night at Mimis" or "When Bobby Joe was 6 weeks old we were putting cereal in his bottle." My husband did try to offset her comments, but in the end I had to stand up to her and explain. My conversation went something like this - "MIL, I am so glad you were able to help out "Mary" when her children were little - I'm sure she appreciate your help. Hubby and I have decided to breastfeed the baby exclusively so those types of moments won't be able to happen right now. Perhaps you could take the baby after I feed her and rock her to sleep or come over and play with her while I get some chores done.....etc." She wasn't ecstatic about this, however, she realizes now - twelve years and three grandchildren from us later - that our kids love her every bit as much as the ones she "spent the night" with at four weeks old.

Chin up - be strong and do what's best for your baby. You might also invite your MIL to one of the baby's doctor appointments. I had to do this with my mom because she smoked. I called the doctor ahead of time and let him know my concerns and when mom came with me to the doctor appointment, he brought it up very casually and "educated" my mom on not smoking around the baby, etc. She took it from the doctor really well and NEVER smoked around my kids again (SHE QUIT THREE YEARS AGO!!!! WOO HOO!!!) I didn't have to be "the bad guy".

Good luck!!

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S.H.

answers from Dallas on

I would say that you need to set your limits with your family and use the mother inlaw rule with her. Just say "okay" and do what you think is right for your baby. Make sure your husband is on the same page. At least they live far away and you dont have to deal with them daily. As far as traveling goes....its much easier for them to come see yall while your baby is young.

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G.W.

answers from Dallas on

Denise, I'm sorry that your MIL has caused you discomfort at a time that should be very joyful. I'm a grandmother and a MIL and I feel you should never had to ask her to give you that hour to rest and bond with your newborn. And to demand to feed your baby with a bottle when she is a breast baby, is being very rude. No bottle can give your baby what your milk can. That milk is made just for your baby. Keep in mind your baby is yours. I had a doctor tell me when I was young having babies, "God gives you the instinct to do what is best for that baby he gave you." Nobody can tell you what is best for your baby. I breast fed all five of my babies. Just me for the first few months. No bottles. That is your right as a mother. Your MIL has had her day as a new mother, and I don't think she should take this from you. More important, don't let her. I would never dare suggest, neither lone, demand that I feed one of my grand babies with a bottle when your breast milk is so much better for her. I feel like your MIL is being selfish thinking more of what she wants instead of what is best for her new grand baby. You have every right to protect and put up boundaries of your newborn. Good luck.

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D.M.

answers from Dallas on

You are the boss of that baby, Sister. Your husband should stand up to his parents. I am a minister, so please do not read a hateful tone into my email...that is not my meaning, but please understand that your requests are absolutely not unreasonable, and you had better have your husband take control of the situation with his parents.
On the breastfeeding thing: I breastfed both of my babies, but they each were too small to latch on at the very first. I pumped using the AVENT system, and gave them my milk in a bottle. They did NOT get nipple confusion. My first I fed for 19 months, my second for 9 months. My youngest I was more flexible with, and started giving her formula at night around a one-month of age to help her sleep during the night. Every baby is different, but this one is YOURS and you will know instinctively what to do.
If it is time for your baby to have a bottle, then I don't think that letting your m-i-l give him/her one would cause any problem, but if it's not time for the bottle, just say, "No."
Speak privately with your husband, and empower him to take charge -- explain that you need his support regarding this situation...men love being the "protectors." Men need us to be open and frank; they do not take hints, so don't beat around the bush. My husband himself explained this to me, so don't ever hint around, just be clear.
If you have breastfeeding questions from someone who's been there, please email me at [email protected]____.com Blessings!!

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J.C.

answers from Dallas on

I think grandparents often treat us the way their parents treated them. That was how they did it in the old days. But the most important thing is for you and your hubby to decide the rules and STICK WITH THEM! You have every right to be alone with your hubby and baby. Kindly tell them that you and your hubby are adults and have a family of your own, and that the two of you will make the decisions of what will happen in your family. You are doing what you believe is best for your family and that precious baby.

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A.Z.

answers from Dallas on

As long as you are polite in your requests and continue to express them so that you are understood, regardless of her feelings, than that is all you can do. Eventually she will come around and may even respect you for sticking to your beliefs. It's difficult to go through, but you have to be true to yourself and spouse no matter what other people think/believe. Although she is your MIL, the scenario should be viewed similarly to those individuals who criticize a parent for piercing their daughter's ears or for spanking them in public (my 9 month old refused to sit in a high chair while we were dining out and after instructing her several times, I popped her behind - with a diaper on - and a lady criticized me for doing it... I'd rather pop her several times on the behind than rush her to the hospital for stitches!!!). Stick to your guns, even though it's rough.

Good luck!

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D.C.

answers from Dallas on

The most important thing to do is have your husband to back you up. That is not always an easy thing to do because they want to do what Mama wants. Let your mother-in-law know that you want her to be involved with the baby, but that you have chosen to try to exclusively breast feed. Ask if maybe she could help burp afterwards, change diapers, organize some private time with your husband.

Its not always an easy thing to respect someone who is demanding, however patience prevails. Tell you would appreciate her advice when you run into trouble because she did such a good job with her son. Even if you don't always believe what you say - if you compliment them they will usually warm up to you. Good Luck.

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A.K.

answers from Dallas on

When we had our first child the hospital was like a zoo...the house when we got home was like a zoo...and EVERYONE wanted to spend time with the baby. I was also breastfeeding and he is the simple answer to the bottle feeding question - No, we have decided to breast feed. End of story - this is your baby, not your MIL's. She had her opportunity to raise her children - now it is your and your husband's turn! The problem with to many people early on is simply - I NEVER GOT TO HOLD THE BABY EXCEPT WHEN I WAS NURSING! I finally just told my husband - I want to bond with the baby! He understood. You also need time to rest and recooperate. The baby needs quiet time to rest and adjust and your husband needs some alone time with you both also. With the second child - we limited visits, at the hospital and at the house. We learned from the first child. You deserve time with your new family - if people can't respect that then so be it. I likewise have a VERY strained relationship with my in-laws and I hate to say it, but the issues will now be over the baby - GUARANTEED. My MIL felt the need to not only give ENDLESS ADVICE, but also she would do things that we told her that we did not want done...ie, feeding the baby after he had already just nursed, putting the baby on his tummy (because she raised two children sleeping on their tummy's and they didn't die from SIDS) etc. The list goes on and on. Just stand your ground - if you give an inch, she will take a mile. This is not her child and she doesn't have "rights" to tell you what to do. Just be THANKFUL that they live out of town. Limit your visits to see them. You are being fair. Make sure that you and your husband are a UNITED front where things are concerned!

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D.A.

answers from Dallas on

In my opinion, you and your husband are the parents...Grandparents have raised their children. Now it is your turn to raise your children. They should respect your wishes, especially when you are wanting some quiet time with your new baby and husband. That's not too much to ask.

I think that both parties traveling to the other place might take care of the who goes where. One should not always have to go to the other's place. You could even try to work out a plan a head of time. My parents live in Oklahoma and my husbands parents live in TX. We go to Oklahoma and my parents come here. It doesn't have to be an issue and should not be, but sometimes it takes sitting down and calmly discussing.

The bottle...I understand you having to supplement using a bottle (I did too)...but it's not a bad idea for your child to take a bottle from others beside yourself and your husband. It can make it easier if your child ever needs to stay with someone else (family or friend). I know of parents who would be the only ones to feed their baby. The problem came when they needed to leave the baby with someone for a few hours and the baby wouldn't eat because is wasn't mommy or daddy feeding him/her.

I completely understand you wanting the full mommy experience just be careful not to go overboard. Our parents look forward to being Grandparents and want to help and be a part of the experience. BUT them making demands isn't right. In the end, you are your child's parent.

Good luck! I hope this helps.
D. :)

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J.S.

answers from Houston on

What is it about MIL's? Mine's the same way.

I just tell my husband that it's my turn to be the mommy. Grandparents are there to spoil & babysit. I got along with my MIL until my son came along. She's very loosey-goosey with schedules where I'm a very scheduled, detail-oriented person...complete opposites, & it came out when I had my son.

Good luck!

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J.A.

answers from Dallas on

As hard as it may be for you to get along with her; two things to remember, she's raised the man you love very much and she is the grandmother of your precious new baby.
I don't at all think it was rude and dwelling on it won't make the situation any better. If brought up again, I would simply say "It was not meant to be rude and I did not intentionally do it to hurt you" If brought up more, don't acknowledge and move on with the next subject.
As for how and what you choose to feed your baby with is YOUR business. Any comment made, simply say "My Dr and I agree that the best care I can give is....."
Now, here's the part I'd like to stress. You have two options: visit them when you want to see them and you can leave whenever you choose or invite them to your home where they won't leave probably when you want them to.
Do not try and make this a battle between you or your mother-n-law with your husband. He loves you because he married you, living with you and you are the mother of his child.
As for Holidays, we always went home to my parents and looking back now I am so sorry I didn't always have Christmas at my own home. My parents were very social and couldn't come to us for the holidays because they would miss all there friends and parties. I never started my own traditions and my children didn't wake up to their own tree.
You may choose to invite them and even say "We would love for you to come for the weekend" (putting a time limit on there visit)

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L.A.

answers from Dallas on

You are the mom, you make the rules! She should understand that you need time alone with your husband and baby. You could try talking to her and telling her that she's being disrespectful and rude. Your a brand new mommy and you have to learn what's best for your daughter and that if you want advise you'll ask for it. It's good they live away from you. I'd start making them come to you more often. It's a pain to take a baby on a road trip especially a newborn, when your trying to establish a routine. Good luck!!

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C.G.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds like you've learned something about this one for next time. I would recommend befriending the nurses next time you're in the hospital. Come up with a secret code for "Get this woman OUT OF HERE!" I had to do it with my own mother for babies 2 and 3, and I came home completely exhausted after baby 1 because they parked it in my hospital room for 4 days.

It's disrespectful to demand to bottle feed when you're trying to nurse. It's disrespectful to stay too long in anyone's hospital room. They're in the hospital for a reason - rest and recovery. As far as I'm concerned, new baby etiquette is a quick visit, kiss on the cheek, a few pictures with baby, a "Need anything?" and back out the door so Mom can rest and parents can get to know the baby.

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M.M.

answers from Abilene on

You poor thing.
They are being entirly to demanding. You shouldn't have to travel with your baby until you are ready and most importantly until the baby is. It sounds to me like your MIL is a spoiled brat. You do what you feel good about and just don't answer the phone. What does your hubby have to say about all this?

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C.P.

answers from Dallas on

Mommy, the only one you need to be concerned about right now is that precious little gift from God. You are the Mommy so YOU make the rules. If others don't like it and get mad, they can just get glad in the same pants they got mad in! Your husband needs to man up and handle his parents, too. Bottom line, motherhood is the single most joyful and scary experience ever, and when others (especially family) cause drama in an already emotional time, it is never a positive situation. You can't worry over what anyone else thinks about you, or their opinions about what you do. Don't give any of it a second thought--you are going to be a terrific Mommy! When they demand, don't give excuses or try to placate. Just say, "No." Period. Then let the silence speak volumes. Yes, they will be very angry. Oh, well, they're grown-ups.

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

What a tough situation. I know several people who have divorced or come near to it due to mother in laws (and oddly they have all been the husband's mom that has been the problem, guess they can't let go of their little boys. It really should be your husbands job to take care of his mom. My husband handles his parents and I handle mine (though I am lucky enough to have really great in laws. If you do it then it is more likely to fuel anger, but if your husband does it and makes it CLEAR that these are HIS wishes then she will be hurt and get over it. He absolutly will have to take all the blame though.

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

My situation wasn't as bad as your's sounds, but I got my Dr. involved. He told me what I should do and if anyone had a problem (husband or in-law) I referred to the Dr's advise. Your husband and you need your hour alone, it helps him bond with the baby. Remember that this is your family and you and your husband make the rules as to what is allowed by grandparents. Document what is going on until more parent friendly legislation in TX passes.

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M.T.

answers from Dallas on

Hello Denise,

You've gotten a lot of good advice from everyone. I also have "issues" with family like this. I just wanted to remind everyone that we learn a valuable lesson from all this. I am learning how NOT to be when I become a grandparent : )
Take care and best wishes on you and your new little family.

M.

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A.S.

answers from Lubbock on

Hey girl dont sweat it.THe rules are you are the mom and you make the rules.You decide what happens and what doesnt.I definitly know this can be hard but stick with it you are the mom.i also am a very protective mom and feel your pain on the push mother in law thing.I cant stand mine but I try to deal so she can see our son.I tell her no about stuff and she does it any way.She stuck a piece of ice in my sons mouth when he was about 6 month and I told her not to she said oh I got it in my hand.Well it slipped and he almost choked.I decided right there and then from now own she would listen to me or just not hold my son.People can be very pushy just remember that is your baby and dont let anyone tell you what to do.I feel your pain.I know it is hard but you got to stand up for what you belive in and protect you baby the best way you can if you offend a few on the way they will have to get over it.Good luck

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C.F.

answers from Dallas on

My MIL is also a control freak. I had a heated argument with her, she stopped being annoying for like 1 week and then went back to being her mean self again. My point is, this control freaks do not learn with words, they learn with actions. Let her say whatever she wants, but you do things your way. That's what I have done since then and I don't have problems with her anymore. Good Luck! :)

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L.C.

answers from Dallas on

You have to do what is best for you, your child and your husband. DON'T let your mother in law come between you and your husband. I don't think it is too much to ask for a little alone time. I gather from your message that they are staying with you right now? I wasn't clear on that. I think it is VERY disrespectful of house guest to ALWAYS be there. Hopefully your husband is in agreement with you, and will take a stand with his mother. That can actually make a HUGE difference, as she can't lay all the blame on you. All of my family is out of state, only my (now ex)inlaws lived locally. Visiting rituals DO change after children. Things have to be done around the schedule that you create for your child. If they cannot respect that...then ask them not to come back for awhile,(NOT easily done). They'll have to wait for you to visit them at their home. If even that gets strained, visit but stay in hotel, so you at least have a retreat when needed.
When all else fails remember, count to ten and repeat to yourself, Lord please help me to smile and be polite to those causing me stress, instead of coking the living daylights out of them as I would really like to do! Best of Luck to you.

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C.G.

answers from Jacksonville on

I'm so SO sorry you are going through this. It seems to me that the "Grandparents" are very dramatic people and they are trying to seem more important in your child's life that they should be. You and your hubby need to "statigize" on how to deal with them. It is not normal for relatives to not understand that you are a new family and need alone time. It seem like they had interference in their lives and that no one else deserves to be happy. Ok, on a more sensitive note. Remember they will not be alive forever, and that it IS important to try to compromise. Key word is try, not must. If you're tired, then you're tired !. Maybe send them flowers or a present to express that you're sorry you can't go to their house and that they matter, and that they are not forgotten, or being excluded. Pictures are great especially if they are in a great frame. I'm sorry that you are going to be going through this for a long time. Keep your cool about you, and don't let them get to you. Breathe and take each moment one minute at a time. You'll get through it.

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