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MIL giving a bath and playing dress-up - Page 5

post #81 of 167
I really feel like this whole thing was about you not having a good relationship with your MIL, rather than any specific thing she did WRT dressing/bathing/pictures. I hope that you and your dh will learn through counseling how best to deal with her when she's crossing the line in other matters, so that you won't get all stressed out over things that are NOT generally considered to be out of the realm of grandparenting. It sounds like she works and your dad is the usual caregiver, so hopefully this kind of thing just won't come up too often.

My MIL is very passive-aggressive (to everybody, not just me), and I totally shut it down 90% of the time by pretending I don't notice it. The other 10% of the time I tell her to stop being passive-aggressive. We have a great relationship, and I'm so glad she is there for my kids. I try to give her "treats" like letting her organize my drawers and closets when I'm out of town and she's petsitting - insane I know, but it makes her so happy! Sometimes it makes a world of difference to figure out what random thing would make a person feel appreciated and accepted by you, and then do it.
post #82 of 167
I haven't read all of the responses yet but I wouldn't be upset. Both my mother and my MIL love bathing my baby...when she was teeny tiny, both told me so excitedly how much they loved bathing babies!

Unless you have other ongoing issues with your MIL, I would assume she only wanted to love and enjoy your baby. She's her son's son, you know? Babies are tiny for such a short time and bring so much joy to those around them - having him there and being able to care for him probably brought back wonderful memories of your DH when he was tiny. I hope when my DD has babies of her own she'll trust me to love and care for them as though they were my own...and I can see being really excited about bathing and dressing a tiny baby again if my daughter didn't have a problem with it.

MIL always bathes my baby when she watches her and she loves changing her clothes from what I brought. She never had a daughter and loves combing her hair and dressing her in girly outfits. I feel lucky to have someone else love my daughter so much, especially when I can't be with her.

I'd talk frankly with her about how you feel or the care you'd prefer for your DS. I told my MIL non-negotiables, like no CIO, but I give her a lot of space from that. She did a great job with my DH so I'm confident in her Mom-stuff and safety precautions, even if it's different than the way I necessarily do things. DD is always happy to see her.

I'm going to have to start talking about discipline soon and I'm hoping that conversation goes as well.

Hopefully any issues you have are resolved! It doesn't sound like she meant to make you upset...good luck!
post #83 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryztuh View Post
Wow. I didn't expect so many replies. I guess I am overly sensitive. Honestly, I never envisioned anyone other than me or DH giving baths. And it has never come up since I've been back at work, and I hadn't given it a second thought. When I said "protocol", that was way too strong of a word. I just meant that my Dad would not give DS a bath without calling first (and he wouldn't want to give a baby as young as DS a bath anyway, so he would probably call me to ask if it was necessary for a specific reason, not just the joy of bathing a baby). We don't use soap very often, so I wouldn't pack it.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. DH mentioned to MIL that we aren't comfortable with baths at her OR my parents house. He agreed with me about the pics and asked her to delete any nekkid photos. The clothes thing I told him to just let it go (although it does feel like she is judging when he consistantly comes home in brand new clothes down to the socks). If I don't like the clothes, I just take them off when DS gets home and I can continue to do that.
Going back to work and dealing with DH's odd schedule has been a difficult transition, mixing in to that a strained but polite relationship with MIL over many years, including what I perceive as much interfering in our marriage. DH and I are in counseling to deal with many of these issues.

It's hard to explain nuances online, and being a mother for such a short time, it's hard to know what the right thing is to do sometimes. But I guess I should be prepared for all kinds of responses when I put myself out there online.
I just want to say that my mil loves to buy clothes for my daughters. I know that sometimes I like to pick out clothes for my girls. But let me tell you how nice it is for her to buy clothes for my daughters. My oldest is three and I have a 4 month old as well. I don't buy clothes for them. EVER. My mil does and I realize that I'm really lucky. I don't like every outfit she buys but it's not the end of the world and she enjoys doing it. It saves me lots of money. It's not a criticism of clothes that we pick out or anything. It really is as simple as my mil wanting to see my daughters in cute outfits she bought.
post #84 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryztuh View Post
Wow. I didn't expect so many replies. I guess I am overly sensitive. Honestly, I never envisioned anyone other than me or DH giving baths. And it has never come up since I've been back at work, and I hadn't given it a second thought. When I said "protocol", that was way too strong of a word. I just meant that my Dad would not give DS a bath without calling first (and he wouldn't want to give a baby as young as DS a bath anyway, so he would probably call me to ask if it was necessary for a specific reason, not just the joy of bathing a baby). We don't use soap very often, so I wouldn't pack it.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. DH mentioned to MIL that we aren't comfortable with baths at her OR my parents house. He agreed with me about the pics and asked her to delete any nekkid photos. The clothes thing I told him to just let it go (although it does feel like she is judging when he consistantly comes home in brand new clothes down to the socks). If I don't like the clothes, I just take them off when DS gets home and I can continue to do that.

Going back to work and dealing with DH's odd schedule has been a difficult transition, mixing in to that a strained but polite relationship with MIL over many years, including what I perceive as much interfering in our marriage. DH and I are in counseling to deal with many of these issues.

It's hard to explain nuances online, and being a mother for such a short time, it's hard to know what the right thing is to do sometimes. But I guess I should be prepared for all kinds of responses when I put myself out there online.
I think the underlying issues are key here. The feeling of being judged, interference, etc. I often have these troubles too. I have learned to relax as ds grows. Even though I just told the IL's they can't give him candy for Easter.

I don't think the bath is a big deal, it is a fun activity to do with a baby. I remember when ds was a newborn, I saw a poster that listed all the rules from a baby's perspective. It was very cute, and one of the rules was "when I'm cranky, put me in water". I made a mental note of that one. Perhaps she remembered how much fun babies have in water.

That said, I don't buy into the idea if you can't trust them to bathe your child you can't trust them to watch them. When ds was younger I tried to work it out so he didn't need a bath when grandma watches him. She is simply not agile or strong, and ds has slipped twice in the tub while I was watching him. She can make him food and do things like puzzles and games with him, and doesn't need to give him a bath.

I would say let it go, unless there is a reason you think she shouldn't be left in charge of a child in water. And the clothes can always go to charity.
post #85 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryztuh View Post
I'm hoping some other mamas can give me some perspective. I was really angry about this last night but have calmed down now and need to figure out what to say this evening.

Background: my dad normally watches DS (6 months) a few days a week while I'm working and DH has rotating shift work schedule. My MIL has off work this week for Easter and requested that she be able to watch DS. She has watched him once or twice before for a few hours.

I dropped DS off yesterday morning. She was kind enough to snap a photo and email to me while I'm at work. DH picked up DS and I got home a few hours after that. When I get home, DS is wearing different clothes. I asked DH why he is wearing different clothes, did he have a leaky diaper, etc.

DH responds that he didn't know why DS had different clothes on, but that he played in the water today. I was really confused, and he explained that MIL had DS in the tub today because she wanted to see how he played in the water. DH didn't care and didn't see the big deal.

I am really peeved. It just seems like she crossed a boundary. She didn't ask permission first. I don't know if she used any soaps or other bath products or lotions, and that peeves me. I don't know what safety precautions were taken. I'm sure she took tons of pictures and that seems like a violation of DS's privacy. And she treated him like a baby doll and played dress up with him. That really irks me. All while I'm stuck at the office.

So am I way out of line here? Making mountain out of a mole-hill? She is a self-proclaimed selfish granny, and I'm constantly having to bat down outstretched "give me the baby" arms every time we visit. I'm just getting tired of dealing with it. DH doesn't get it.

DH will be dropping DS off with MIL in a few hours and I'm picking DS up tonight. I made it clear to DH that if he doesn't say something to MIL, I will. The question is, what do I say? I don't want to open the floor for debate.

Thanks in advance, my stomach is churning over this. I'm really close to leaving work early to just avoid dropping DS off over there altogether (but that's not really practical and avoiding the situation probably isn't the best course of action?)

Without reading the other replies, my first reaction to your post is that I wouldn't think it's a big deal at all for grandma to let a six-month old baby play in the water while she's babysitting him. I cannot even fathom batting an eye over any of DS's grandparents giving him a bath. Sometimes it can be a great way to calm a fussy baby and I trust their judgement with safety completely. The fact that you are having such a strong negative reaction makes me think that there is something else going on, in which case you do need to listen to your gut.
post #86 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryztuh View Post
So am I way out of line here? Making mountain out of a mole-hill?
Yes. I can understand feeling uncomfortable with the safety issues of giving a 6 month old a bath by someone who has only watched him "once or twice" in the past. BUT, this is your DH's mother, and, he did make it to adult-hood.

Having said that, I'm of the mind that I don't leave my kid with people I don't trust. If I had to put conditions on things they were "allowed" and not allowed to do because I didn't trust that they wouldn't take the appropriate safety measures, then I wouldn't be leaving my kid with them. Bath time included.

But then again, throwing my kid in the bath with an inch or so of water after almost every meal was a normal thing at 6 months old, and a warm bath helped her to sleep before nap times anyway. So for whoever was watching her, bathing was normal, hence the reason I had to trust them to not let my kid drown lest they not be trusted to watch her at all. You know?

Long story short, for me, based on my experiences, you are way over reacting. Especially in regards in "treating him like a baby doll and playing dress up". Good heavens, he's a grandbaby! Isn't that a requisite of grandmothers? To buy way too many clothes and then take pleasure in seeing their grandbaby wearing them? Smile, say thanks, and donate the stuff he doesn't wear.

As a mother who lives 3000 miles away from her kid's maternal nanna, be thankful you have someone in your life willing to fawn over your son. My kid has to do it through a web cam.
post #87 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
I'd take a step back and imagine yourself in her shoes. Its her grandson.
I agree. He's your son, but he's her grandson.
post #88 of 167
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the gentle responses. While I'm sure I did over-react at first about the bath, again it just really threw me for a loop because it has never come up before and was completely unexpected.

DS is now asleep snuggled up next to me--I got to see him awake for about an hour and a half total today, so I try to make every one of those minutes count. I think I really felt like some part of my quality time was taken from me and it was just a knee-jerk reaction. I know it doesn't have to be either/or with grandparents or mama activities, but it still stings on days like this when 90 minutes of awake time just isn't enough.

She does see him at least once a week already and I do want DS and MIL to develop a good, healthy relationship and will have to explore that a bit more. I don't necessarily think DH's relationship with his mom is all that healthy, but that's another issue entirely.

I am grateful to have loving family care for DS and hope I don't seem ungrateful. There can be a steep learning curve trying to figure it all out.

Thanks for giving me some things to think about (gently)!
post #89 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryztuh View Post
If he had a blow out or something, I know my parents would call me asking about bath protocol.
Perhaps your feelings are just due to family dynamics, because this is just weird to me. If my kid had a blow out and was covered in poop, never in a million years would I expect a phone call asking about bath protocol. Just clean the kid up, how hard can it be?
post #90 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by shelleyd View Post
I just want to say that my mil loves to buy clothes for my daughters. I know that sometimes I like to pick out clothes for my girls. But let me tell you how nice it is for her to buy clothes for my daughters. My oldest is three and I have a 4 month old as well. I don't buy clothes for them. EVER. My mil does and I realize that I'm really lucky. I don't like every outfit she buys but it's not the end of the world and she enjoys doing it. It saves me lots of money. It's not a criticism of clothes that we pick out or anything. It really is as simple as my mil wanting to see my daughters in cute outfits she bought.
This is so true. I have really never had to buy much for my DD, I have because I wanted to, but out of necessity no. I feel very blessed that my family(mine and ILs) do buy the majority of DD's clothes and I am sure we won't be buying too much for our baby on the way. I honestly think that she is not trying to undermine you. It's clothes she bought for her grandson, she wants to see him in them....it's just clothes. I really don't feel she's trying to make some evil ploy that he wasn't dressed correctly or something. Plus I have to say when my DD was 6 months I seriously changed her clothes 4-6x's a day, so for her to be in different clothes from the time I dropped her off to the time I picked her up would have not meant a thing. Gosh she still is always wearing something different after she goes to G-pa and G-ma's they just enjoying buying her things.

I think that it definitely is more about you and your MIL-than just her giving you son a bath and putting him in new clothes. I think you need to evaluate what is really going on.
post #91 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryztuh View Post
DS is now asleep snuggled up next to me--I got to see him awake for about an hour and a half total today, so I try to make every one of those minutes count. I think I really felt like some part of my quality time was taken from me and it was just a knee-jerk reaction.
I think this is the crux of your issue, and you needn't feel ashamed for this. Being a working mom must be hard in this regard, and I wouldn't fault anyone for wanting to take advantage of every waking moment. IF you still feel the need to say something, I think you should say exactly that. If you're willing to leave your son with her for a whole day, you obviously trust her. It's totally normal to feel a bit envious that someone got to do something fun with your baby that you enjoy while you're stuck at the office. Tell her that! She's a mom, I bet she'd understand.
post #92 of 167
It is hard to be a new mama, and figure out the roles different people play. I am sorry you were feeling stressed and upset by it all. I think what your MIL did was totally normal, though.

To offer a different perspective, physical baby care/grooming like bathing, diapering, taking a baby to the potty, dressing them, would all be seen as signs of love and caring in my family and extended family. Taking care of their physical needs is one way of showing how much you love them. My mom used to always bath my son, then put lotion on him, give him a massage, put him pajamas on him - make him feel comfy and connected. I think a lot of trust is built between child and care taker when that happens. That kind of care taking is building the relationship between them - and even if you and your MIL don't have the greatest relationship, I would presume you want your child to have a solid relationship with their grandma.


I can see being concerned over the types of soap and lotions used if she was bathing him every day. On the other hand, if your child doesn't have issues that make using a specific type really important, I would let it go. Your baby will be fine if they get some other kind of soap or lotion from time to time. In the grand scheme of life, it isn't that big of a deal. I remember when my son was a baby, and we would visit my dad, I would make him drive a half hour each way to get the organic baby food. I can laugh at that now (and luckily, so can my dad, although he dutifully did drive an hour round trip for the food) because I know DS would have been fine if he had eaten a few non-organic meals. I think it is the same thing about the soap and lotion.

It is hard to give up some of the control and realize different people are going to care for our children differently than we would have. As long as none of it is damaging - leaving him alone in the bath in this case - I think it is really valuable for children to feel they have different adults in their life that will step in and care for them. I know the learning curve is steep, especially when they are so little. Sorry for that.
post #93 of 167
It sounds like you are missing your baby a lot during the day.
When I am a grandma I hope I will be allowed to bathe my grandchildren. I want to be able to do everything for them, bathe them, change their diaper, wipe their bum, wipe their nose, etc. I want to do all the dirty work again Dressing them up is so much fun, too!

I say give her a chance. It doesn't sound like she's done anything really awful.
post #94 of 167
Honey, I have a ten month old, I totally get the mamabear feelings...I understand why it bugged you...but I think you need to remember something about grandmas:

They are women, mothers, just like you. She held her baby, rocked him and hummed softly. She felt that same mama bear instinct that made her worry endlessly about your DH when he was tiny. All those special moments you love and the things about your new life as a mother that you would never trade...even on the hardest day of mothering...she had that, she has come alllll the way through that, to the other side. To watching her baby, with a baby. Think about how happy it makes you to bath your DS. Think about the fact that soon all his beautiful fat will melt away. His body will become the wiry, hard body of a little boy child and he will still be beautiful to you always...but he;ll never be a baby again...you'll never get to squish his slippery fat body in a tub again. That's sad to think about, isn't it?

Now....imagine your DS is allll grown up. The years and years have passed and he's grown into such a fine man and has a new best girl in his life...and then he marries her and they have a BABY BOY!!! "WHAT LUCK!" you would say to yourself "My baby grandson...squishy, fatty little baby, I remember how this felt...oh, this feels good!" - can you imagine. Rediscovering the joy in that experience, after losing it for so many decades? You would be in your bliss!

It's hard to remember how it feels not being around a baby, after you have your baby. But, in a whirl of years it all passes. And we look back and say "Where did it go?" - you are in your prime. This is your new budding family at it's finest...having a baby in the house is the luckiest, lovingest, cutest, most positive time in a famiy's life. Let her enjoy this time with you....I know, she sucks. She dresses him in new clothes and all of that. Just let her live this again, touching that squishy baby. And as for you....I know how absolutely awful it is to have to sit at work and miss him. But he's being loved...and it's about him. If you are at work and unavailable to enjoy yourself with him...she may as well be, right?

Let her do her thing, one day you will look at your grandkids and you will begin to relive with them those precious years from far past and you'll be so glad for your DIL, when she is kind to you and humors an old woman with a crush on her baby.
post #95 of 167
I haven't read the replies but in my opinion, you are overreacting. I understand how you feel and that it is hard not to feel that way, but from experience I can tell you that if you try to look at you MIL's actions and stop assuming that she is trying to overstep you or one up you and just really think about it, the things that she is doing may not seem like such an issue anymore. Like think about it someone else did what she did. Someone that you really like. Would you still be as upset abou it? Does that make sense?
Hope that helps a little. I know that when I stopped assuming that my MIL was always trying to intimidate me or not respect my parenting or whatever, I realized that the way she was acting was really like a loving, caring grandmother.
post #96 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
Wow, they would have to call you about "bath protocol"?! What would happen if they couldn't get hold of you? Your DS would have to sit around filthy till they got the OK to bathe him?
I wondered this, too. Honestly DD spilled her drink all over her once, and our nanny had to bathe her. She told me as a sort of funny "what happened today" story (and to let me know she rinsed the clothes). It never even occurred to me to be upset with her. Our bathroom's very organized, so DD's bath stuff is all in her bathroom basket. I would never entrust someone with my children if I thought she didn't have the forethought to watch the kids in the bath (or anywhere really since that's why we're paying her).
post #97 of 167
I don't see the problem. In fact, I was hoping my mother would bathe DD today while she was watching her

It sounds like you miss your child and resent the fact that grandma was doing those things with him instead of you. I hope this does not upset you, it is just my first thought after reading your post.
post #98 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post
That's sweet. It's kind of like my dad, who never really understood the whole cosleeping thing. Until ds spent the night with him and insisted on sleeping in his bed. Now he's 8 and no longer sleeps with us, but always sleeps with Papa when he visits

To the OP, I admire you for trying to get to the bottom of why it bothers you.
I remember begging my mom to sleep with her when I was little and the answer was always NO. (My nana, her mother, on the other hand would kick Pappy to the guest room when ever I stayed over so I could share her bed.)

Fast forward to now and when DS spends the night at Nana and Pappy's house, guess where he sleeps? Right between Nana and Pappy

She fully admits she has a totally different (and better, more comfortable) attitude towards her grandchild. This is bitter sweet for her because it pains her to think about what she could have done better (her words) when I was a child. I am just glad we all can enjoy and cherish DS.

OP, being that you and DH are in couples therapy now, it will be a great chance to confront this issue. Best of luck and I hope for a happy outcome!
post #99 of 167
Just tell your MIL what you expect - in a nice way, like "I forgot to tell you but...". I would tell anyone watching my daughter that I'd prefer if they didn't give her a bath - and if it is absolutely necessary to never leave her there (I love my MIL, but she has quite a let-go mentality with children, I don't think she would think twice about answering the phone or do some cooking leaving DD in the bath). I would let her know that getting ready for bed won't be a help (I used to work as a nanny, some parents request that you get their children ready for bed, in my last job I started out doing it, just because I had in the earlier job, and they just told me nicely that it was to early for his bedtime, and a bath was un-necessary. No big deal). And send along her bath potions or ask that none are used.The dress-up thing I would drop, as long as she uses the clothes I had sent along.
post #100 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by AverysMomma View Post
Honey, I have a ten month old, I totally get the mamabear feelings...I understand why it bugged you...but I think you need to remember something about grandmas:

They are women, mothers, just like you. She held her baby, rocked him and hummed softly. She felt that same mama bear instinct that made her worry endlessly about your DH when he was tiny. All those special moments you love and the things about your new life as a mother that you would never trade...even on the hardest day of mothering...she had that, she has come alllll the way through that, to the other side. To watching her baby, with a baby. Think about how happy it makes you to bath your DS. Think about the fact that soon all his beautiful fat will melt away. His body will become the wiry, hard body of a little boy child and he will still be beautiful to you always...but he;ll never be a baby again...you'll never get to squish his slippery fat body in a tub again. That's sad to think about, isn't it?

Now....imagine your DS is allll grown up. The years and years have passed and he's grown into such a fine man and has a new best girl in his life...and then he marries her and they have a BABY BOY!!! "WHAT LUCK!" you would say to yourself "My baby grandson...squishy, fatty little baby, I remember how this felt...oh, this feels good!" - can you imagine. Rediscovering the joy in that experience, after losing it for so many decades? You would be in your bliss!

It's hard to remember how it feels not being around a baby, after you have your baby. But, in a whirl of years it all passes. And we look back and say "Where did it go?" - you are in your prime. This is your new budding family at it's finest...having a baby in the house is the luckiest, lovingest, cutest, most positive time in a famiy's life. Let her enjoy this time with you....I know, she sucks. She dresses him in new clothes and all of that. Just let her live this again, touching that squishy baby. And as for you....I know how absolutely awful it is to have to sit at work and miss him. But he's being loved...and it's about him. If you are at work and unavailable to enjoy yourself with him...she may as well be, right?

Let her do her thing, one day you will look at your grandkids and you will begin to relive with them those precious years from far past and you'll be so glad for your DIL, when she is kind to you and humors an old woman with a crush on her baby.

This post made me cry. Because my fear is one day, my boys will have babies I never get to see because mothers are naturally so much closer to their own mothers rather than a mother in law.

To the OP - Just let her know what you do and do not want her to do when watching the babe. Don't tell your DH to tell her, tell her yourself, that way you know it's done.
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