or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Ask the Experts › Laura Markham › Concern about mother-in-law
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Concern about mother-in-law

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this, but I hope you can at least point me in the right direction.  I am desperate!  I am the mother of a three and a half-month old boy.  He is the first grandchild on my husband's side and my in-laws live about ten minutes from us and want to be very involved in my son's life.  A few weeks ago, while changing my son's diaper, he laughed when I was wiping off his bottom.  My mother-in-law, who works in the infant room of a daycare, said that one of the baby girls she works with always laughs when her diaper gets changed too, and then commented that the baby at work was "so horny."  This statement really bothered me. I mentioned it to my husband, who agreed that it was strange, but we didn't take the conversation beyond that. I also told my mom, who was disturbed by my mother-in-laws statement.  She ended up talking to my brother-in-law, the director of a small school, who said that her statement was inappropriate, showed that my mother-in-law has a warped view of children's sexuality, and that if any of his employees made a comment like that, the person would be fired on the spot.  They are urging me not to leave my son alone with my mother-in-law based on this statement.  To make matters worse, my brother-in-law was arrested last year on two felony charges; one of indecent exposure to a child, and one fondling charge.  He is currently in jail awaiting trial.  In my heart, I feel that my brother-in-law is guilty, and my husband and I have no plans to allow him around our son beyond the rare, supervised, family function.  I know that molestation can be a learned behavior, but until my mother-in-law made this comment, I never felt uncomfortable having her around my son.  I have not noticed anything inappropriate in the way she interacts with him or any other children.  Adding to my stress is the fact that my husband and I have been arguing recently about me going back to work.  He wants me to go back to work part-time in the fall and leave my son with his mother; I want to stay home full-time and take care of my son myself.  I don't want to leave my son with someone who might harm him; on the other hand, I don't want to cause stress for my family by telling my husband his mom can't be alone with our son based on one bizarre statement.  I guess my question is, am I making too much out of my mother-in-laws statement, or do I have genuine reason to be concerned about leaving my son in her care?  And if I do, what is the best way to approach this issue with my husband? 

 

Thanks! 

post #2 of 17

I can't offer any advice about how to deal with your husband, or your MIL, for that matter, but I, too, would be very disturbed and very reluctant to leave my child in the care ANYONE who made this kind of statement, regardless of how they are related to me or to my child. Nope, nuh-uh, not gonna happen.

post #3 of 17

i have a feelign i'm going to get flamed for this... but if there isn't *anything* else  that puts you off about your mil, I would'nt put too much stock in one off color remark.

post #4 of 17

Please don't give in and leave your child with you MIL... stick to your guns and follow mother's intuition!

post #5 of 17

Is it at all remotely possible that you misunderstood her - like maybe she said "she's so funny" about the other baby? I can't even fathom what would make an adult say something like what you heard (not saying it's not true). If you're sure, I def wouldn't let her keep your son alone.

post #6 of 17

I guess I would have asked what do you mean by that? ("you" being MIL) Being a new mom I was kinda concerned with my dd's "humping" and was very embarrassed when she did it in front of company. She was only 1 so I didn't know what was wrong with her. Now I know it was just her way of scratching her bum. She still does it at 2 but now she can really dig in there with her hand *sigh*. She always has a diaper rash and bad excema. I'm sure I embarrassed myself enough with that concern and asking people why she was doing that (fortunately I think it was all online). I never refered to it as horny though. That's kinda creepy but maybe she is meaning the same thing I was just in a worse way? I was a big noob and just had no idea how these things worked.

 

How does your MIL feel about her son's felony charges? Does she think or say anything that supports him or condemns him? That part would worry me. I mean parents aren't always to blame but you never know.

 

I personally would want time to pass to see what other incidents might pop up before trusting her with my kid. Then again I'd want to stay home with baby b/c that's just how I am.

post #7 of 17

And yes, my dd too also laughs sometimes when we change her diaper.. like she's mocking us. But pretty sure it's just cuz she's a big ole dork :P

post #8 of 17

I think there are a few questions you need to ask yourself: do you trust your MIL?  Can you talk about this with your MIL?  For all you know she's mindlessly repeating something she's heard people say before and doesn't mean anything by it... If you were fine until she made this comment then I think you need to explore this comment.  If you were uncomfortable and then this comment crystalized your fear then you shouldn't leave you child with her.

 

And, seperately, what do you think is the best child care arrangement for you and your child?  If you want to go back to work, then you should find a way to do that-- maybe it's with your MIL and maybe it's finding an alternative.   If you want to be a full time care giver, see if you can afford to find a way to make that work.

 

Good luck.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone who replied.  I'm still not sure what I am going to do about this.  I think for the meanwhile, I am just going to say baby goes where I go until I have more time to figure this out.  I'm really not comfortable leaving him with anyone but my husband right now anyway, so that works for me.  It might annoy some people because I know the grandparents are anxious to babysit, but at this point, I am not ready to even consider leaving him with them until I have given this a lot more thought and talked it through with my husband.  I'm planning to have that conversation once I resolve the issue of whether I should work or not (and I am going to just put my foot down and say no to mother-in-law watching him - excluding this comment, I have already been seriously questioning whether she is the right caregiver for my son or not due to some differences of opinion we have about the best way to care for my baby, among other things) because I don't think my marriage can stand too much more stress right now! 

 

To answer your questions, no, unfortunately, I did not misunderstand her.  I wish I had asked her at the time to explain herself, but her comment caught me so off guard, and I am not a confrontational person by nature, that I let the moment pass.  I don't think this is something I want to bring up with her again.  My husband's family has a history of not discussing things that are unpleasant and of sweeping things under the rug that they don't want to deal with.  As far as my brother-in-law goes, my mother-in-law staunchly supports him.  On the one hand, I can see a mother being reluctant to think her child could do something like that, on the other, my brother-in-law himself has said enough in regards to his case that leaves little doubt in my mind that he did what he is accused of.  Unfortunately, as far as the courts go, it is pretty much a he said/she said thing, and it looks like he is going to get off on a plea bargain. 

 

I have a lot to think about over the next few months/years in regards to my in-laws and how much of a relationship I want my son to have with them.  I appreciate the support of everyone on this forum.  Writing out my thoughts has helped me clarify to myself how I really think and feel.  At this point, I still want my MIL to be part of my son's life, but not without me around to supervise. Maybe that is an overreaction to her comment, and maybe it's not, but when it comes to my precious baby, I'd rather be overly cautious then regret not being cautious enough.  Thanks again everyone! 

 

 

 

post #10 of 17
Just a reminder of the forum guidlines:
Quote:
The expert forums are intended to be in a direct question and answer format between the member posting the question and the expert. These forums are not for community participation so the only exchange of posting in thread will be between the member and the expert.
Feel free to PM the OP if you wish to offer other advice or to invite the OP to the appropriate forum. Thanks for your cooperation.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenOfTheMeadow View Post

Just a reminder of the forum guidlines:

Quote:
The expert forums are intended to be in a direct question and answer format between the member posting the question and the expert. These forums are not for community participation so the only exchange of posting in thread will be between the member and the expert.


Feel free to PM the OP if you wish to offer other advice or to invite the OP to the appropriate forum. Thanks for your cooperation.

 

But it appears the "expert" hasn't responded to a query that's almost a month old...I also don't think most people (myself included) realized that we were forbidden from joining in the discussion on an "expert forum"...
 

ETA: I remember now that I found this thread in a list of New Posts and I likely didn't realize it was an expert forum at the time - just read the post and responded. Is it possible to keep the "expert forum" posts out of the New Posts list? I assume this is a "mistake" a lot of people are making...

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post

i have a feelign i'm going to get flamed for this... but if there isn't *anything* else  that puts you off about your mil, I would'nt put too much stock in one off color remark.


i'm with you.

 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post



 

But it appears the "expert" hasn't responded to a query that's almost a month old...I also don't think most people (myself included) realized that we were forbidden from joining in the discussion on an "expert forum"...
 

ETA: I remember now that I found this thread in a list of New Posts and I likely didn't realize it was an expert forum at the time - just read the post and responded. Is it possible to keep the "expert forum" posts out of the New Posts list? I assume this is a "mistake" a lot of people are making...


Yes, I completely understand that. Just like all of the other forums, the forum guidelines are stickied on the top of the forum, but with new posts, it's really easy not to see what forum you're posting on. That's why I posted the reminder. You can ask in the Q&S about whether the forum can be moved from new posts. I have no idea, but I assume the admins would.
post #14 of 17

I believe that is a new rule that did not exist at the beginning of the expert forums.  The rule was recently enacted due to some issues with an expert that is no longer participating.

post #15 of 17

I apologize for not answering this question before now.  I kept posting answers to questions and receiving a message that they needed to be moderated, and they never appeared! But it looks like those technical issues are now behind us, and I look forward to engaging in this forum.  I want to say for the record that I don't have a problem with community participation in this forum.  I think the poster has gotten some very good advice, and I always learn from other parents.

 

Jellybeans-

You wrote to this forum looking for an expert opinion on whether you were over-reacting to your MIL's comment.  You are not over-reacting.  It is VERY strange to hear an adult describe a baby as "horny."  I agree with your brother-in-law who directs the school who said that this shows a warped view of children's sexuality and that any employee of his who made such a comment would be fired.  I want to add that in sex abuse cases it is VERY common for the perpetrator to make excuses about how the child was seductive or horny. So the only time I have heard such a comment is from abusers. 

 

I am not saying that your MIL is an abuser, obviously.  But would I leave my child with her?  Never. 

 

The fact that your MIL's son was arrested for fondling a child and for exposing himself to a child makes this picture darker.  It does not prove that he was molested as a child himself, of course, but it certainly suggests that possibility.  If I were you, this is a discussion I would be having with my husband.  What does he think about his brother?  About his mom?  About the way sexuality was dealt with in his family?  I assume your husband wants his son with his mom because that is free.  Obviously, though, he would not let a child molester take care of his child.  I realize that you don't feel like you can talk with your MIL about this issue.  But I encourage you to think about how to approach it with your husband. You might want to start by asking lots of questions about his childhood.

 

Sounds like you and your husband need some quality time and conversation to connect, think through finances, etc. But there's another important conversation you need to have -- your son's longterm emotional health.  That influences the way you are parenting, and any childcare situation you choose.  

 

Because we can't bear the thought that such things happen, we try, as a society, to pretend it doesn't.  But children really are sexually abused on a regular basis, and most of the time it is by family members.  If you really feel that you cannot bring this issue up with your MIL, then you are not giving her a chance to elaborate on why she would have made such a comment, so she can't defend herself from your suspicions.  But you don't really owe her a chance to make that defense; you're allowed to sidestep it.  However, what you can't sidestep is your obligation to protect your son.  Would you leave him with a potential babysitter or anyone else who made a comment like that?  I wouldn't.  The stakes are just too high.

 

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much Dr. Markham, and everyone else who replied.  Since I posted, my husband and I have made the decision that I will become a stay at home mom (yay!) so the issue of having my MIL watch my soon isn't quite the concern it was.  I really appreciate your response, and your validation of the concerns I had about her comment.  I know as a mom, it is so important that I trust my intuition, even if it makes other people unhappy (which I admit can be hard for me at times, since I'm a people pleaser by nature and hate for anyone to be upset with me - though obviously my son's welfare trumps all of that!).  I showed my husband your response, and he supports my decision to not have his mom babysit our son, ever, even though he doesn't think his mom is a threat. I know he was not abused as a child (which is why I think he is willing to dismiss his  mother' s comment as just "odd"), but I also know that just because one child in a family wasn't abused, doesn't mean another wasn't. He has the same opinion as I do regarding his brother (guilty), and we are usually on the same page regarding most other issues, and able to compromise or find common ground on those we aren't.  I was nervous to approach this with him since it's such a sensitive subject, but he listened to my concerns and is not upset with my decision to exclude his mom as a sitter.  Thanks again - having an unbiased party validate my concerns truly helped! 

post #17 of 17

I am so happy for you that you'll be able to stay home with your son.  And I am so pleased for you and your husband that the two of you were able to have such a productive conversation about a very touchy subject.  That is a wonderfully positive reflection on your relationship and bodes well for your family's future.  Enjoy your time at home with your son, and blessings to you and your husband.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Laura Markham
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Ask the Experts › Laura Markham › Concern about mother-in-law