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Conflict with decision making - Chinese inlaws - Page 2

post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Um, well, there are worse things in life than no longer being on speaking terms with your MIL :.
LOL! Yes, this! My DH got laid off soon after we were married and my mil was over-the-top with calling us at least FIVE times a day, asking if he had found another job, b/c she was sooooo worried. It was REALLY depressing for her to be constantly on our case about it, as if he was not trying to find a new job?!?! As if WE were not worried, as if WE were not stressed out???? Anyway, my DH finally got totally fed up with it and told his mom to stop calling us five times a day. Well, of course HER feelings were hurt (who cares about our feelings?), she went around telling ppl that she no longer felt comfortable calling us, b/c we told her NOT TO CALL HER! FTR, we told her not to call FIVE TIMES A DAY!!! At first I was annoyed, but then I realized the benefits of her holding a grudge against us. Since then, she no longer calls us five times a day. It was like a blessing in disguise that we pissed her off, b/c she has always given us more of a cold shoulder since that incident, which is fine by me. For a long time, she actually expected me to be her best friend, that was totally awful.

Fay, my brothers and I all regularly get into shouting matches with our parents when we have to talk to them on the phone. As my brother says, "I want to be nice to them, but they make it sooo hard." That is exactly the way I feel too. I really want to be nice to my parents, but they have this way of basically pushing us over the edge everytime they talk to us by nagging and being meddlesome and/or being extremely critical and putting us down. My parents used to expect weekly calls from us, those were the worst. Since I've had kids, I've really slacked in that dept (and they haven't bugged me, b/c they know I am busy, but I know they were still expecting these weekly calls from my brothers), but it's been good for my mental health. My mom just visited yesterday, b/c I really needed someone to watch the kids so I could attend my son's preschool parent/teacher conference and she was nice enough during the visit (rare, b/c usually she gets on my nerves at one pt or another, but I'm pregnant right now, so my parents have been nicer to me). Of course, she started to get nosy though (it's like they can't help it) and wanted to know if we had filed our taxes and what the outcome was (ie: how much did we owe or get back, what tax bracket are we in, etc.). I just kind of played stupid and said my DH took care of it and I hadn't had a chance to talk to him about it. My DH just snickered, b/c my mom will ask me all these financial questions, but she won't ask my DH about it, b/c she knows my DH will just brush her off.

My Korean mil is even worse. My DH stupidly answered her question when she asked him how much his salary is (same with bil, in fact last time both my DH and his brother changed jobs, my sil and I agreed we would not let mil find out how much our DH's salaries were) and the goes around BRAGGING to ppl about her sons' salaries!!!! Talk about unclassy and crass. Ironically, my mil thinks she is a very classy lady, she compares herself to Audrey Hepburn.
post #22 of 38
what if your DH doesn 't want/can't/is afraid to stand up to his mother ?

my DH is British, not Chinese ..... but his family is into "control games" & I can't cope with that when my children are in the middle .... I've been banging my head on the walls for 9 years, my DH won't talk about it at all so I've finally put limits for their next visit = now THEY say they are the offended part and I'm terrible etc .....

I agree with a previous answer that there are worse things than NOT to be on speaking terms with your in-laws ....

But I resent that they put the blame on me when all I did was to put limits to what I was not comfortable with regarding my children + they absolutely don't seem to get the message at all about respecting our decisions etc ... so it does feel now like a lot of time lost for me and I'm still SO angry about the situation not progressing at all ....

+ and It saddens me that my children have so few relatives they get to see ....
maybe if I could get rid of that idea that my chilren NEED to see their grand-mother... (the irony is that she' s a little strange/not natural with children and they prefer to play with her husband, who is not their grand dad .....)

maybe I could be less upset by all that situation ?

thanks for writing the OP and all the answer, it's an education for me too in my quest for balance in our family life .....
post #23 of 38
Different perspective....

A lot of the advice I see in this thread seems quite harsh: move away; distance yourself.

On the one hand, if one truly fears abuse and neglect, then it is of course, the right thing to do. But I think that to try and separate your husband and daughter from his side of the family because you are afraid that your in-laws nag a lot & *might* throw away your pumped milk, that path could be a sad one.

In our family, we have often done what Pokeyrin mentions:
Quote:
B. Just nod your head and act like you are listening to their unsolicited advice but don't comment and then do what you want.
This can work wonders. My DH explained this to me even before our eldest was born.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blithespirit View Post
My inlaws are constantly asking my husband why we are not getting a new house, why we don't have more money in savings... all to drive home their desire for me to return to work. They want to take care of my baby and they want me at work. I resent it very much.
Smile, nod. "That's an interesting idea..." and then continue to ignore them. Or "In this economic environment, it's better to save and be conservative".

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My inlaws also insist that I need to ween my baby from breast-feeding when she is one year old. We plan on breast feeding for two years.
Smile, nod. Ignore.

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They also are blaming me for our baby's infrequent bowel movements...saying that my milk is not good for her, that she needs solids and water.... She doesn't want anything to do with it.
How do they know how often your daughter poops? Make an agreement w/ your DH that if they ask, say something along the lines of "Oh, she's pooping normally".

Quote:
My inlaws want us to do cry it out, take our baby away when she's crying -- as if I'm causing her to cry -- and I think are just disrespectful to me.
It might be that, or they might SINCERELY want to help you (maybe they worried you're too tired?) and they hope that they can help calm the BB when she cries. Sometimes when my friends' babies cry, I take them for a while. Sometimes a change of arms helps. Other times they keep crying w/ me, but when I hand them back, they stop because after they've been crying in my arms, they are so happy to be back w/ Mama.

Quote:
I feel like they want to raise my daughter and that they want me out of the picture!
From my experience w/ my own mom and step-dad (who are Euro-American) it's a common phenomenon among grandparents to want to give (unsolicited) advice, and maybe butt in because they've already successfully raised children (often several) and they want to help THEIR babies (us) look after these new babies.

I also remember that when I was still recovering from the birth of our second child, my mom and step-dad took my eldest out for the day and fed her McDonald's (fries, coke(!!), Mcnuggets). She was only 22 months old! Yeah, I was a bit annoyed. But, I decided that overall, it was not a huge deal. They didn't make a habit of it.

Quote:
I am also worried a about them taking care of my daughter while I am at work! I'm afraid that they will make her feel dirty for breastfeeding and that they might throw my milk away instead of giving it to her!
"Make her feel dirty for breastfeeding"? - I have a hard time imagining how anyone could do that w/ a baby.

Maybe you could say that a condition of their looking after your DD would be that they MUST feed her the breastmilk? Show them LaLeche League materials in Chinese as well, or show them that it's "Doctor's orders"?

And if they did throw away the breast-milk....?

She would not be poisoned. You would also still be able to feed her in the evenings and all day on the weekends. You could still maintain a nursing relationship with her.

Warning: I am writing from the perspective of a mother who went back to work when her babies were about 3 months old and who weaned them to formula when they were about 5 months old. My kids are now 11 and 13 (almost) and they are healthy and lovely kids. I know exclusive breast-feeding is medically the best thing, but sometimes economic and cultural situations mean that perfection can be forgone.

I just want to give you some support, but also [gently] suggest that these issues may not be worth breaking up your family over, and that compromise may be possible.
post #24 of 38
SKreader, I hear all of what you say .....
but then I don't see that you seem to envisage the aspect of "respect" of the parent as a parent ....

I mean that the grand parent had a turn at using their own ideas with their own children (... or maybe not if they were forced to do things they didn't like by their own previous generations ....) .... it might be difficult for them to accept that they are no longer parents of young children but that they are one rung later on the ladder .... and wishing to do well is no excuse for forcing other people to do what they don't feel like doing of feel uncomfortable doing .....

so I wonder how you can justify the idea that adult children cannot have a go themselves at using their own ideas with their own children ....AND be respected in their role of parent who is standing on their own two feet making decisions for themsleves, their own life and their own children ... according to their own beliefs .... and who says that every adult child is obliged to believe precisely the same things as their parents on every subject ????

when I read all the answers to the OP, what stikes me is that it often feels that it is a question of control struggles from the grand parents and of limits to what is acceptable (and that changes with every person, & and why shouldn't it be so ?) that are not respected....

.... I can see a pattern that I've had in the past few years ....
well, I did breasfeed a bit longer than you did, I choose to do that because that was what seemed best to me for my child and myself at the time .... and after all when people live in a democracy, they are entitled to make their own choices about their personal lives ....

& the only trouble I had about breasfteeding were with people who had decided that they knew better than me what I should do or FEEL even ....(yes, my MIL told me once that I shouldn't feel what I felt because it was not what she meant ..... I was just SO SO SO surprised by such an idea !!!! how can someone her age still imagine that they can control what other people FEEL ..... ) ..... or which social model I should follow, or even what psychological problems I had when I didn't conform to what they thought an ideal mother should be etc ....(that was at the day care center ... they had to back down on eviction for cause of breasfeeding when confronted with basic facts of life ....& the discriminative implications of their own behaviors ....)

I believe that type of interference is abusive ....
I don't belive it's normal at all

It might not be physical abuse but it is psychological abuse
.... and having to stand people telling you over and over what seems totally alien to you ... and pretend that it's not jugemental and that the insistance doesn't end up bothering you ....
it doesn't seem natural .....

I realise that for some mother who wish to return to work, it works well for them if the grand parent is very active in their help with the grand children .... but I don't belive that every grand parents should expect to be able to take over the upbringing of their grand children and impose their own beliefs and ways of doing things on their adult children .... especially when the spouse is from a different culture .... (AND might not actually think that the grand parents did such a wonderful job raising their own children since the arrival of children in a couple may awaken some deepseated conflicts from their own childhood, that were not apparent during courtship and only re-surfaced when the spouse became a parent themselves ......)

what worries me in such situation is
-how am I going to teach my own children to stand up to bullying if I have to put up and nod to people who insist I should do what they want me to which is totally alien to my own beliefs and feelings , even though it might be with the best intentions, that is not the point, the point is that it is disrespectful to insist and insist when someone already said no ..... isn't it like emotional rape?

I hope what I wrote didn' offend you, I 'm open to further discussion on that subject that is a great preoccupation of mine these days ....just my little one just woke up ......so I must stop now ....
post #25 of 38
Skreader, the thing is some of us have spent our ENTIRE lives having to politely nod our head and, "respect" elders when their opinions often are totally out of sync with our own or just downright rude and inappropriate. Basically, many of are were telling the OP, that SHE is the mom, SHE should parent her child. She should not be bullied around by family, even if her in laws mean well (by their own definition). Her in laws got to be parents, now it's the OP's turn to be the parent and she should be able to parent the way she wants to w/o being made to feel small about her choices being different from those of her in laws. When you nod your head all the time and politely listen and then have to try to ignore ALL.OF.THE.TIME it really eats away at you. FTR, my brothers and I have spent our entire lives doing this, nodding our heads and pretending to listen to our parents. We are all in our 30's now and just no longer have anymore tolerance for this kind of BS. Due to us having been so passive in the past to, "respect" our parents, now they basically feel entitled to push us around and if we don't follow their advice, they amp up their pushiness to the point where it IS abusive. The constant guilt tripping, the manipulation, a lot of us are just sick and tired of it and are sick of being made to feel like we are 3 yr olds and not intelligent adults. At some point you have to stand up for yourself, not only for your own self worth, BUT to be a good example for your children. I don't want my children to think I am a doormat.
post #26 of 38
My husband is the expert at nodding his head and ignoring his parents, and that's what he wants me to do, too... but it's hard, especially when I was raised in a family where respect is a 2-way street.

My parents never questioned my parenting, even though I did things alot different than them. (Breastfeeding, no circing, etc.)

It is def a cultural clash. Here's the rub- when I'm honest with his parents (my MIL, really) about something that is bothering me, or I don't agree with, she nods and ignores me, too... then tells my dh how disrespectful I am. So, apparently, any issues I have, I'm supposed to tell my dh and then he'll tell his parents. Except he really won't do that, and I can speak for myself. Usually, now, I just try not to say anything. But, then it builds, and something comes bubbling out.

I actually really like my in-laws in general. The "meddling" is impossible to deal with. I do try very hard to be respectful of their culture, but here's the issue- I have a cultural background, too. And they don't show any respect for that- it's their way, or it's WRONG. I don't believe any one culture is better than another... but, his parents moved to our culture, had their children here, raised them rather mainstream American, and then both their sons married American women. Frankly, I'm not sure why my MIL is shocked that I don't act like an Asian DIL.

Now, if they had all lived in China their whole lives and I moved over there and we married, then I could understand their surprise if I didn't fit the mold. But, after 30 some odd years here and having their children here... I don't think it should be that shocking that when their ds married an American... she acts like an American.
post #27 of 38
Well, as I said, I was offering a different perspective.

The OP also wrote that she feared a rift was growing between her and her in-laws and her husband.

I just wanted to suggest that compromise, tolerance, or tuning people out can help to preserve peace in the house, and thus the connection between the generations. Not that it should be preserved at all costs, but it is something precious.

Maybe I'm just lucky that my DH and I are as bossy & loud as our mothers and that both our mothers breastfed, so that was not an issue.
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon, RN View Post

It is def a cultural clash. Here's the rub- when I'm honest with his parents (my MIL, really) about something that is bothering me, or I don't agree with, she nods and ignores me, too... then tells my dh how disrespectful I am. So, apparently, any issues I have, I'm supposed to tell my dh and then he'll tell his parents. Except he really won't do that, and I can speak for myself. Usually, now, I just try not to say anything. But, then it builds, and something comes bubbling out.
Lol, Sharon, I had to laugh at this, b/c this is how it is with both my parents (Taiwanese) and my mil (Korean). If they aren't happy with what you have to say, they pretend not to hear it. My mil does this a LOT. Where I will do/say something that she is not happy with, instead of just saying something to me, I end up hearing about it from my DH, which of course pisses me off royally since she is basically bitching about me to my DH behind my back. My parents will often complain to my siblings about something I did or said and then of course I find out from my siblings (they are not trying to cause trouble, but we are pretty open with letting one another know when the parental units are not happy).

Oh and I totally get you about the crazy, unrealistic expectations. Even my parents, who moved from Taiwan, to the US, THEN had my brothers and I get upset when we are, "too American." We ask them, "Why did you move to America if you didn't want us to be American" and they end up giving us some song and dance about their sacrifices and how we're so disappointing. FTR, my parents did not leave Taiwan under any kind of bad circumstances, they actually would have been better off STAYING in Taiwan, both socially and financially. My dad actually said something about how he thought we'd be too stupid to survive the academic rigor in Taiwan, so that's why he came to the US. Thanks dad for having such low confidence in your children, who at that time did not even yet exist...

Oh and my mil, she was (and still is) very upset that my DH did not marry a Korean girl. She actually told my DH after we had been dating for a yr, that he HAD to marry a Korean girl so that SHE could have someone to talk to when she was old. Nevermind, whether or not my DH would have been happy with a Korean girl hand plucked by his mother, who cares about him being happy, it's all about HER happieness. Ironically, bil actually married a Korean girl, to appease his mother (although my DH thinks that the only reason he got away marrying me was b/c his brother was the oldest son, so his brother definitely HAD to marry Korean) and my mil and sil get along like cats and dogs. I believe that part of it, is that b/c there are some communication issues (my in laws, although they have lived in the US for over 30 yrs, have really horrible English and they do not even live in a city with a high Korean population, they just never tried to assimilate at all to America), I tend to give my mil the benefit of the doubt. My sil, who did not come to the US until she was in her late 20's, is of course fluent in Korean and understands what my mil says loud and clear, nothing lost in translation. My sil actually told me, "M, please don't judge all Korean mils from our experience with our mil, she is one of the worst Korean mils ever, I do not know anyone else with a mil like ours." So, weirdly enough, even though I do not like my mil, I think that she gets along better with ME than with the coveted Korean dil that she so desperately wanted.

My brother married a Taiwanese American and she is always, "failing" in the dept of my parents' expectations as well, they expect her to act like a traditional Taiwanese dil, but she's not, she's Taiwanese American, born and raised, JUST like my brother, YET they still expect her to be traditionally Taiwanese. My brother though is pretty good about just telling my parents to stop it, but I still feel bad for my sil, I know my parents put a lot of pressure on her to fulfill some sort of weird expectations. My other brother married a Cantonese American and my parents like her a LOT, b/c she is very passive and will nod and act like she is interested in their unsolicited advice, and b/c she is not of Taiwanese heritage, they don't quite have the same expectations of her as they do of my other sil. My other sil doens't really take the garbage that my parents put her through and they see it as a sign of disrespect, which is really irritating. Of course, my brother also deals with issues with his wife's parents as well, although they do favor my brother, b/c he's their only Taiwanese son in law out of all of their daughters.

I basically think that it boils down to Asian parents are just so difficult that no matter what you do, they will never be happy. At least that is how I feel regarding both my parents and my DH's parents and my friends who are Asian feel the same way as well. In many ways, I've given up trying to please my parents and mil for my own mental well being.
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaFrench View Post

so I wonder how you can justify the idea that adult children cannot have a go themselves at using their own ideas with their own children ....AND be respected in their role of parent who is standing on their own two feet making decisions for themsleves, their own life and their own children ... according to their own beliefs .... and who says that every adult child is obliged to believe precisely the same things as their parents on every subject ????
Hi IsaFrench,

I didn't think that I was implying that people should not follow their own beliefs on what they think is right and proper in raising their own children.

I thought I was advocating listening to what the over-bearing in-law was saying, and then either:

A) ignore it, or

B) Briefly state one's own position, like when I suggested the reply about buying a bigger house etc. that they want to be more conservative (fiscally) in this economic climate.

Quote:
It might not be physical abuse but it is psychological abuse
.... and having to stand people telling you over and over what seems totally alien to you ... and pretend that it's not jugemental and that the insistance doesn't end up bothering you ....it doesn't seem natural .....
I agree, that sounds very abusive and is something that I've never encountered in my life.

Quote:
but I don't belive that every grand parents should expect to be able to take over the upbringing of their grand children and impose their own beliefs and ways of doing things on their adult children .... especially when the spouse is from a different culture .... (AND might not actually think that the grand parents did such a wonderful job raising their own children since the arrival of children in a couple may awaken some deepseated conflicts from their own childhood, that were not apparent during courtship and only re-surfaced when the spouse became a parent themselves ......)
I agree completely that no one has the right to control the upbringing of their grandchildren and impose their beliefs on them. However, we cannot say that they are completely disinterested parties either. Unless we want to completely break with our families of origin, we will sometimes have to deal with our parents and parents-in-laws ideas that are quite different from ours. Then, it becomes a question of choosing our battles.

My m-i-l thought it was very important that our babies tummies be wrapped up in their first few days. Also she and my DH were convinced that the babies' stomachs should never be exposed to air when sleeping (always wear at least an undershirt) when they were infants. To me, that was not something I would have done myself. But, it seemed like a pretty small issue, so I was "whatever" & followed this practice.

Other things, that have major impact on the health and well-being of the child, then of course you have to do what you think is right, in the face of opposition. But when I read the OP (and I may have mis-read it) it seemed that so far the major issues seemed to be:

* In laws hinting broadly that she go back to work
* Husband not calling them on the broad hints
* Mother-in-law saying she should wean at one year
* Fears that IF she did go back to work & IF they looked after the baby, they MIGHT not feed the baby expressed milk,

So, I thought if the main thing she is dealing with is hints and fears of "what if", she might be able to deal with it in a way that was a half-way point between:

A) "Yes, mother-in-law, whatever you say",
and

B) "I will not listen to your wrong-headed ideas. She is MY baby and if you keep talking this way, you won't see much of her in the future."

I also did suggest that she make it a condition of their looking after the baby that they feed the baby the expressed milk & also suggested providing La Leche info in Chinese [http://www.llli.org/docs/chinese/ChinesePrevent.pdf] or to say that 's doctor's orders.

Quote:
what worries me in such situation is
-how am I going to teach my own children to stand up to bullying if I have to put up and nod to people who insist I should do what they want me to which is totally alien to my own beliefs and feelings , even though it might be with the best intentions, that is not the point, the point is that it is disrespectful to insist and insist when someone already said no ..... isn't it like emotional rape?
I meant nod as in "I'm hearing you", but not as in "Yes, I agree with you, and do as you say."

As for listening to people "insist and insist" = emotional rape. Sometimes I'm sure it must be and then the only recourse is to leave.

Other times it may be a sort of background noise ("Oh yeah, that's her, nagging again...ho..hum... she'll finish in about 2 minutes and then we can move onto that interesting recipe I was hoping she'd share...") that someone can easily ignore - so dependent on situation and personality and power dynamics. Situations alter cases.

Quote:
I hope what I wrote didn' offend you, I 'm open to further discussion on that subject that is a great preoccupation of mine these days ....just my little one just woke up ......so I must stop now ....
It's a fine thing to discuss, and I'm not offended. I think that these discussions can lead into all sorts of interesting realms:

* questions of kinship & responsibility

* questions of authority - what is legitimate authority & who possesses and when?

* questions of culture & psychology - when is listening and ignoring a valid strategy, and when does it devolve into pathological passive-aggressive weirdness?
post #30 of 38
SKreader,

Like mags, I've spent 30+ yrs nodding politely and doing something else. And my Chinese parents nod politely and proceed to trash me behind my back when I do *something else*. It gnaws on you after awhile.

I'm not trying to say that any one culture's approach is superior or better than another, but oh boy I wish the drama would stop. And some pp mentioned that it's important to be authentic, if only so our children can learn from us by example.

Yes, there are worse things than in-laws not being on speaking terms. My late mom and my paternal grandma had some classic MIL-DIL tensions that sparked a 25 yr cold war whereby my dad was basically forbidden from having normal contact with his family of origin. I don't think all the nodding politely and doing your own thing on either side can ever give US KIDS back those 25 yrs that we didn't have contact with our grandparents.

Perhaps if my dad had taken the extraordinary diplomatic step to make my mom feel like he was sticking up for her, things might have been different...

Like the other pps, I would often ask my parents while ripping out their hair and spewing disparaging remarks about what failures we were, WHY THE HECK DID YOU MIGRATE HERE?!? And their hopes and dreams of us taking the best of both Western & Eastern cultures were dashed because apparently they never told us ahead of time which elements of Western culture they did NOT want us to emulate.

On a recent visit to HK, I spoke with a friend of mine, an older lady in her 50s married to a Chinese man who is the eldest son. We both agreed that sometimes "saving face" is highly overrated. Yes, sometimes it's nice to say you are being gentle on the other party involved, but it can be a convenient escape clause so you don't have to admit or say you're sorry... so much for authenticity and taking responsibility for one's actions...
post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post

Oh and I totally get you about the crazy, unrealistic expectations. Even my parents, who moved from Taiwan, to the US, THEN had my brothers and I get upset when we are, "too American." We ask them, "Why did you move to America if you didn't want us to be American" and they end up giving us some song and dance about their sacrifices and how we're so disappointing.

Oh and my mil, she was (and still is) very upset that my DH did not marry a Korean girl.
Mags.... kudos to you. You sound like you have it hard. Pleasing 2 sets of parents must be very hard.

Yes, my dh's parents will often give him grief for being "too American." He, of course, was born in South Carolina and mostly grew up in Virginia. We often joke that he's a redneck. LOL And they often tell him how disappointed they are in him... took him to long to find a career... get married... get his sh*t together, basically. At his ripe old age of 30, he should have all these things already... several houses, 6 figure income, several children, etc.

I think my MIL isn't very happy that neither of her ds married Chinese women, but my DH is the 1st born, so I think that's really hard on her. Oh, and his father told him he could find someone prettier and thinner than me, and at my age (I'm 4 years older than dh, 33 when we married, just turned 34) I'm probably infertile. You know, menopausal. Of course, we got pregnant without really trying, so I guess that theory didn't pan out for his dad so much... although, I guess dh could have found someone prettier and thinner. I don't know what's worse- the fact that his parents say this stuff or that dh tells me! Ohhh! I'm going crazy!

Mags, we should get together sometime over virtual coffee. I think it would be very therapeutic for us.

Anyway, I've gone WAY OT. To the OP- I think you and your dh need to find a way, w/ a joint front, to set boundaries for his parents. This may be hard for him, but it's the only way it will work. Your MIL probably won't be happy, and she may not let your dh hear the end of it for a while, but you need to do what's best for your child. I bet it will be easier to stand up for yourself to your in-laws after you do it the first time.
post #32 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
LOL! Yes, this! My DH got laid off soon after we were married and my mil was over-the-top with calling us at least FIVE times a day, asking if he had found another job, b/c she was sooooo worried. It was REALLY depressing for her to be constantly on our case about it, as if he was not trying to find a new job?!?! As if WE were not worried, as if WE were not stressed out???? Anyway, my DH finally got totally fed up with it and told his mom to stop calling us five times a day. Well, of course HER feelings were hurt (who cares about our feelings?), she went around telling ppl that she no longer felt comfortable calling us, b/c we told her NOT TO CALL HER! FTR, we told her not to call FIVE TIMES A DAY!!! At first I was annoyed, but then I realized the benefits of her holding a grudge against us. Since then, she no longer calls us five times a day. It was like a blessing in disguise that we pissed her off, b/c she has always given us more of a cold shoulder since that incident, which is fine by me. For a long time, she actually expected me to be her best friend, that was totally awful.

Fay, my brothers and I all regularly get into shouting matches with our parents when we have to talk to them on the phone. As my brother says, "I want to be nice to them, but they make it sooo hard." That is exactly the way I feel too. I really want to be nice to my parents, but they have this way of basically pushing us over the edge everytime they talk to us by nagging and being meddlesome and/or being extremely critical and putting us down. My parents used to expect weekly calls from us, those were the worst. Since I've had kids, I've really slacked in that dept (and they haven't bugged me, b/c they know I am busy, but I know they were still expecting these weekly calls from my brothers), but it's been good for my mental health. My mom just visited yesterday, b/c I really needed someone to watch the kids so I could attend my son's preschool parent/teacher conference and she was nice enough during the visit (rare, b/c usually she gets on my nerves at one pt or another, but I'm pregnant right now, so my parents have been nicer to me). Of course, she started to get nosy though (it's like they can't help it) and wanted to know if we had filed our taxes and what the outcome was (ie: how much did we owe or get back, what tax bracket are we in, etc.). I just kind of played stupid and said my DH took care of it and I hadn't had a chance to talk to him about it. My DH just snickered, b/c my mom will ask me all these financial questions, but she won't ask my DH about it, b/c she knows my DH will just brush her off.

My Korean mil is even worse. My DH stupidly answered her question when she asked him how much his salary is (same with bil, in fact last time both my DH and his brother changed jobs, my sil and I agreed we would not let mil find out how much our DH's salaries were) and the goes around BRAGGING to ppl about her sons' salaries!!!! Talk about unclassy and crass. Ironically, my mil thinks she is a very classy lady, she compares herself to Audrey Hepburn.
Oh my DH learned the hard way about volunteering too much information to my family. He also finally understood why I hate it when he tells his own famiy too much, especially in regards to our financial situation. That is a very hot button topic.
post #33 of 38
OP:

However you choose to handle your in-laws you have to get your DH on board with you and both of you always have to show a united front with them. You shouldn't do anything or let your DH be pressured into doing something you aren't comfortable with regardless of what anyone says period.

The both of you are the family unit now and you do what is best for your family. In my earlier post I said have him deal with parents because a parent can forgive their own child, but someone else's child not so easily. And even if he deals with them, they may still blame you anyways. I also said just nod and ignore what they say and do your own thing, but with some parents that can only work so much or so long. I like to pick and choose my battles there.

While my DH's family (they are caucasian) is not quite as meddlesome as mine, they are excellent guilt trippers when we don't do the things they want us to do. We had a huge issue with not baptizing our DD (his family is Catholic, I am agnostic and so is DH though to this day he can't bring himself to tell his family). Even though DH dealt with his family on this issue I know for a fact they blame me, because in their mind they raised him to be a certain way and I'm the outside influence. We still each handle our own family and we've found that this works best for us. But we're also on the same page and in agreement about how to handle situations and we don't allow ourselves to be pressured by anyone.

We had to draw very firm boundary lines with both our families and there was a time we didn't talk or see either of our famlies because they pushed us to that point. There was a lot of bruised feelings, attempts at involving other family members and I'm sure a lot of crap was said behind our backs. But everytime we had to deal with them we did it respectfully and we stood our ground and refused to be engaged in a subject we felt we weren't being respected.

Sure it took us both 30 years to stand up to our family, but in the end it's worth it because they now know that we just won't deal with their crap and they can't push us around. They also know that if they keep meddling or pulling guilt trips we will just avoid them. Is it harsh? Sure, but it's the only way sometimes to maintain our own sanity and to salvage any chance of having a relationship with them by drawing that boundary line (that they are overstepping to begin with) or else we just end up resenting them.

Another poster here mentioned it's about control and that is dead on, it often really is about control. The control a parent has over their own child and how much weight their words carry with them. In some families unfortunately it's about competition, who the person will listen to more their parent or their spouse.

IMHO with meddlesome parents is that while somewhere deep inside they probably have our best interests in mind, what it really often boils down to is their parental ego. When we don't want take their advice their feelings get hurt and then it's somehow it's all about them. And this is all because you might have a different idea of what is best for youself. The parent with the bruised ego is the one who turns a complete deaf ear to anything you might have to say.
post #34 of 38
Hi all,

I guess my experience w/ ILs (and parents) is extraordinarily mild. She rarely advises us on stuff now that the kids are big. DH sometimes nags her a little to watch her salt intake. He calls her a couple times a week when she's in Canada, and daily here - it's usually a "Hey, what's up, how're you doing" type of conversation. I call my own mom and dad about once a week to see what's going on with them.

When the kids were babies my m-i-l would say things like "It's cold, the baby needs another sweater" or "Drink this soup, it's good for a cough" and that was about it as far as pushiness went. My own mom LOVES to give the kids candy & cookies, feels like that her role a grandma.

So, since I realize now my experience of "pushiness" might not even qualify as a mild nag by the standards of most people on this thread, I will bow out now.

I hope things get better for those of you who have these difficult family situations.
post #35 of 38
Frankly, whether or not they would give your child the pumped milk is a minor issue here...

I would NEVER let anyone take care of my child if they had already tried to take my crying child away from me, talked about CYO, etc.

If you really must go to work, I would have your mother take care of your child. I would not even consider the in-laws after what you said about them.
post #36 of 38
Wow!!! i almost cry upon reading the original thread.What you are experiencing now did also happened to me. i'm into multiculti marriage, my husband is european and i'm Asian. Believed me its not just about Asian culture but MIL all over the world are mostly the same.
My MIL was actually wonderful too, not after i discovered her wickedness. It did began when our First DD was born...she wants to rule and even gaved up her good job to concentrate on a new found hobby PESTERING!
She was annoyed that i BF my DD. In her time she never do that. Who cares what she do during her parenting days?? Even asks me to makes hole and insert honey on the pacifier that DD sucks it( not even considerate DD dont like pacifier)
MIL dont like to listen to my concern and DH cant do nothing about it so my last option was to give MIL a cold shoulder whenver she mess up. Well its not easy, it takes years before she finally makes her distance.
I'm sure you will pass this dilemma over the time, pray to GOD for guidance.

Gudluck
post #37 of 38
Blithe -- I'm white, my husband is Korean. We've been married ten years. My ILs are first generation immigrants, as is my husband. My ILs would have tried what yours are pulling, but we live three hours from them. They still tried to go on about the negatives of breastfeeding over one year, co-sleeping, AP type parenting, trying to get us to use CIO, (sigh.......). My hubby tries to stand up to them, and does, in his way. But I had to learn to start standing up to them myself.

Blithe, if you don't want to go back to work, don't. I mean, your baby is young. If you feel your hubby is "making" you go back because his parents are blabbing on and on about it, then don't do it! I mean, it's a free country. : ) Right? If there's no emergency financial reason to go back to work, just stay home with the baby, and you won't have to worry about ANYONE not carrying out your wishes.

I would discuss this with your hubby. Tell him, i'm not going back to work so that we can give your parents more money. There will be time when the children are in kindergarten, that i could go back part time while they are in school. In the meantime, i will be a SAHM. Period.

When my MIL used to go on about BF'ing, I used to say, "No, Omani, breastfeeding is the best choice for the baby." Period. And if they try to take the baby away, and play games with that, and not give the baby back when you say to hand the baby back, then you can say something. Otherwise, they will walk all over you. You can say, "I know the baby is crying, I'm going to hold him now, Omani, thank you." and walk away from her.
post #38 of 38
And as far as the suspicion that your MIL will throw away your pumped milk, to me that is very, very insulting and goes to the core of disrespecting you as a mother. I mean, throwing away your BREAST MILK? Your MIL is not ready to watch your child. When your child is much older, it might be okay, and your child can tell you what went on with his grandmother. For now, as I said, I would not even go back to work if I were you. I think you need to send a CLEAR MESSAGE. You're not going to be pushed around. And you can do this in a loving way -- it sounds like you love your ILs. But, you don't have to give up your time with your BABY because they want you to. That's just ridiculous.
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