I have talked with my husband and other family members about this, done a ton of googling, tried to find similar situations posted by other people on online forums, but my mom still has my head spinning with confusion.
Okay, here is the back story, as succinctly as I can make it . My mom lives in a different country from me. I'm pregnant and due in Feb with my second child and my mom wants to come and stay a few weeks to help out. The problem is that although she keeps telling me that I will definitely need her there, she has expressed in multiple ways that she does not enjoy visiting and staying with me.
My mom claims that she is very stressed when she visits me because I have "so many rules." I have exactly two, and both involve DD: sugary treats and screen time are saved for the weekend. But the last time my mom came to stay, every single weekday, she would pepper me with questions like: "Can she have this pudding (for breakfast)?" "Can she have cake (half an hour before dinner time)?" Every single day. And I'd try to repeat as patiently as possible, "Let's save it for the weekend." Then one day, my mom and DD went out alone together and apparently had ice cream (DD let the cat out of the bag ). If it had been a one-time incident, I honestly wouldn't have cared. But my mom had been driving me nuts with all her sugar-pushing, day after day, and this incident bothered me on several levels. I didn't get mad or make any comments at the time. But much later, I did write to her that it upset me that she couldn't respect my rules about my child and I felt like she was showing DD it was okay to go against my wishes, if she did it sneakily, behind my back.
Since I wrote that email, this ice-cream incident gets brought up every week--by my mom. She says she feels like she can't relax when I'm around, that I made her feel so bad for taking her granddaughter out for ice cream, and that that one time she DID have ice cream with DD was the only moment she enjoyed of her entire trip visiting us. I honestly only brought up that ice-cream incident once. But now she can't forget it and makes me feel like I am persecuting her for it. I also ask her repeatedly why she feels she cannot enjoy her grandchild unless she is pumping her with sugar. What's wrong with reading together, going to the park, playing a game?
My mom has since written me a ton of emails, explaining how hard it was for her to visit us in our foreign country. She tells me with a self-pitying laugh that she had nothing to read but DD's storybooks--because, yes, I live in a country where English is not the first language and you will not find English books at the local shops around my neighborhood. She's compared my life to that of living in "a tent in the mountains" because, surprise, we don't have English programs on TV either, so she had no form of entertainment in the evenings. But for some reason, the way she puts it, it's like I purposefully kept any form of English media away from her. Honestly, I don't even know what she thinks my motive for doing that would be.
My mom has since accused me of being a controlling tyrant that she dislikes being around and that the place where I live is backward (because they don't speak English) and intolerable. But she is the one insisting on coming to stay to help me when the next baby comes.
Can anyone understand why, as gently as I know how, I told my mom, "I truly appreciate the offer, but it doesn't sound like you really *want* to come. And maybe it would be better if we visited you, a few months after the baby is born." Now she is acting extremely hurt, as if I am keeping her from her grandchildren, and she thinks I don't appreciate her.
I don't know what to think. I'm trying my best not to hurt my mom's feelings, but she keeps calling and insisting that she just wants to be helpful (i.e., "Let me come and stay"), while adding that it's not going to be any fun for her, she's only doing it for me. But the thought of her being here is starting to stress me out. I feel like it would be better for our relationship if she weren't here during what--if the first time round was any indication--can be a pretty emotional time for me (post-partum).
My husband and brothers all think I'm being mean and that telling my mom outright not to come is overly harsh. I feel like she is insisting on coming out of some misguided sense of obligation--or perhaps not wanting to look bad in front of her friends, since her concern about what others think is extremely strong.
Please help me figure this all out! My mom just called me again and says she refuses to cancel her plane ticket because I might end up needing her in an emergency. My mother-in-law lives about half an hour away and I think it's more likely I'll turn to her, if I suddenly need help . But I get the sinking feeling my mom's going to somehow end up at my doorstep in February, whether I want her here or not.