A vent about "Granny Nanny" and advice requested - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 11-01-2010, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm about to lose my mind, and any advice or suggestions will be very much appreciated.

I had twin girls in September. Unfortunately, I had to come back to work full time 4 weeks after they were born. My Mom lives with us, so luckily for her, she gets to be a full time granny nanny while the girls' father and I work.

A little background...my mom was an OB nurse for many years, and stopped working in a hospital setting after I was born 27 years ago. For the past 16 years, she babysat children in her home for teachers that worked at the schools down the street from her. My father passed away last November, and my Mom decided to move down to Florida to live near me, and when I got pregnant, we decided it would be best financially and logistically for all of us if she moved in with my boyfriend and me since she would be watching the kids when I came back to work.

Now, it's hard enough for me to get up every day to come to work and leave my kids, but it's been even harder on me lately because my Mom argues EVERYTHING I say about the way I want to raise the girls.

Examples:
-She wanted to feed them rice cereal mixed with their formula to help them sleep better, and when I told her about all the research saying that it's bad for the children, she responded "I've been raising children my whole life, I know what I'm doing." When I told her the Doctor said absolutely not to give them rice cereal at this age, she got huffy and rolled her eyes at me.
-She wants me to fully vaccinate, when I want to selectively vaccinate. She even said I have to vaccinate for CPox b/c of how dangerous it is, even though *I* was never vaccinated and had the CPox in first grade and (surprisingly!) lived through it.
-She thinks letting the babies cry it out is perfectly acceptable, and I'm afraid she's doing this to them while I'm at work.
-She wants to use fragranced/dyed lotions on the girls, and I want to use cetaphil. I made a comment that I was going to throw out the bottle of pink lotion and she replied that if I do, she'll just go buy another bottle and continue to use it.
-When we talk about foods and nutrition for the future, she insists that organic isn't necessary and that I have to let my girls indulge in sweets and stuff because that's what kids do.
-When we talk about television, I tell her I used to have nightmares from watching crime shows with her at a young age and I won't do that to with children and she tells me I'm crazy.
-When we talk about toys, I tell her I don't want the kids to have loads and loads of stuff, and she tells me I can't deprive them of things like that. (I didn't say they can't have ANY toys, just that they don't need a bazillion things)

Anyway, I could go on and on and on about the stuff we argue over. I'm so stressed out because I can't find a way to express to her that I appreciate her help, but I will make the decisions in regards to their upbringing and she must abide by those rules. She takes everything so personally, and whenever I bring up something I don't like, she freaks out. I also get the "You can't raise a child by going by things you read on the internet and you should just do what comes naturally to you."

I'm at my wits' end. I don't want to to fight with her about everything in regards to parenting for the rest of my life, but I can't get her to see things my way at all!

Has anyone else dealt with this?? What did you do?? Were you ever able to get any sanity back in your life??

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#2 of 43 Old 11-01-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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That sounds really hard and exausting.
I would take a look at everything that really matters and then I would break it into categories: what can you let go of, what is absolutly non negotiable and what can you drop as an issue because she has no control over it.
For Example:
There is no point in fretting now over the twins eating candy but they can't eat rice cereal period. Or choose a lotion that she likes but meets your natural product requirements. Her opinions about vaccines are a non issue you control that.

I know it is hard because you rely on her but you need to remember that they are your children and you control what happens to them. She probably feels insulted by you making different choices than the ones she has made but perhaps if you discuss it in a colabritive "we both want what's best for the twins" way it would help.

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#3 of 43 Old 11-01-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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Heres what I would do, so keep in mind that I'm a different person than you, and you may want to do things differently.

I would NOT:
Allow CIO at ALL - but make sure she knows that you understand there will be times that she cannot meet both twin's needs at the same time. There is a difference between CIO, and a baby crying.
Allow cereal in a bottle. It's a choking hazard, and non-negotiable.

I WOULD allow:
Fragranced lotion. It's not on my list of bad things. Maybe see if she likes the scent of Earth Mama Angel Baby? It smells amazing, but is natural.
Toys. If she wants to buy them toys, let her.
As for the TV - they're itty bitty right? Drop it fr now. Learn to say, "Thats interesting, pass the bean dip"

I would tell her the girls vax's have been taken care of, and leave that be too - its not like she'll be taking them to the dr to get them vaxed.

As for non-negotiables, if she's totally unwilling to abide, you're going to have to find a way to fire her as granny nanny if she won't do things your way (CIO, cereal in the bottle, others that you may not have listed). It's a tough reality, but if you're desperate enough that you can't fire her at all, you're going to have to live with her choices.

Oh, and as for the "follow your instincts thing" - STOP telling her about what you read online, and tell her you ARE following your instincts. Have your instincts told you to let the girls CIO? NO - you didn't just read about that online.
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#4 of 43 Old 11-01-2010, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You two are right, I really do get worked up about future stresses when I should just cross that bridge when we get to it. I just remember being a fat, unhealthy child and I do NOT want that for my kids, so it is something that is constantly on my mind.

In regards to the vaccines, she DOES come to the Doctor with me because I need the extra help with them right now. I have told her it's non-negotiable and she can't change that, but it doesn't mean I get a pass on listening to her judgements about it.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE and APPRECIATE my mother and everything she does for us, but she can drive me crazy at the same time.

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#5 of 43 Old 11-01-2010, 06:20 PM
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mama. Mothers can be so powerful.

Here is the key issue: You don't need her to agree with you; you just need her to respect your authority as the parent here.

Stop arguing with her over things that have nothing whatsoever to do with caring for your infants right now. Learn to repeat the phrase, calmly and without emotion, "Mom, I am the twins' mother. What DB and I say goes. This is not up for discussion." Refuse to engage. Try phrases like (very bored, distracted voice), "Uh-huh. Yeah, Mom, we've already talked about that. No need to rehash it. Bottom line: I am the twins' mother. What DB and I say goes. This is not up for discussion."

Would it be financially viable for you to look for other child care? If yes, consider telling her, e.g., "Mom, it's hard enough for me to leave them every day as it is. If I can't trust you to care for them according to my standards, I'm going to have to start investigating other options."

Again, . That sounds very difficult.

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#6 of 43 Old 11-01-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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Get another nanny ASAP and let her be Grandma, not caretaker. If you had a nanny that argued with you, rolled her eyes and openly fought you on your decisions like this, you'd fire her! No amount of money saved on a sitter is worth leaving your kids with someone you can't trust to follow your rules.

If she's willing to go as far as to replace something you threw away because you didn't want it used on your kids, I am willing to bet that her next steps are rice cereal and CIO, if she's not doing one or both of those behind your back already! Hire another sitter who will follow your rules and tell your mom you've decided it would be best for her to just relax and be Grandma and let someone else handle the child care.

As far as the stuff that's not directly related to child care goes, I'd just stop discussing it with her and take the bean dip approach.


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I'm so stressed out because I can't find a way to express to her that I appreciate her help, but I will make the decisions in regards to their upbringing and she must abide by those rules.
Have you tried saying exactly those words to her and refusing to argue about it?
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#7 of 43 Old 11-01-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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s

I think thyra said it well.

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Originally Posted by thyra View Post
Heres what I would do, so keep in mind that I'm a different person than you, and you may want to do things differently.

I would NOT:
Allow CIO at ALL - but make sure she knows that you understand there will be times that she cannot meet both twin's needs at the same time. There is a difference between CIO, and a baby crying.
Allow cereal in a bottle. It's a choking hazard, and non-negotiable.

I WOULD allow:
Fragranced lotion. It's not on my list of bad things. Maybe see if she likes the scent of Earth Mama Angel Baby? It smells amazing, but is natural.
Toys. If she wants to buy them toys, let her.
As for the TV - they're itty bitty right? Drop it fr now. Learn to say, "Thats interesting, pass the bean dip"

I would tell her the girls vax's have been taken care of, and leave that be too - its not like she'll be taking them to the dr to get them vaxed.

As for non-negotiables, if she's totally unwilling to abide, you're going to have to find a way to fire her as granny nanny if she won't do things your way (CIO, cereal in the bottle, others that you may not have listed). It's a tough reality, but if you're desperate enough that you can't fire her at all, you're going to have to live with her choices.

Oh, and as for the "follow your instincts thing" - STOP telling her about what you read online, and tell her you ARE following your instincts. Have your instincts told you to let the girls CIO? NO - you didn't just read about that online.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#8 of 43 Old 11-01-2010, 08:26 PM
 
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I don't know if this helps but I hope so. I had a frank discussion with my mother at one point and I said "If I make mistakes, then I make them but the parenting mistakes have to be mine." She got it then.

I wouldn't get too much into the research etc. - I would just say it's what I want and that's it.

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#9 of 43 Old 11-02-2010, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if this helps but I hope so. I had a frank discussion with my mother at one point and I said "If I make mistakes, then I make them but the parenting mistakes have to be mine." She got it then.

I wouldn't get too much into the research etc. - I would just say it's what I want and that's it.
This is probably the best idea for me.

I want her to watch my children, I just don't want it to be an argument all the time. I'm not going to fire her and hire someone else.

It takes 2 to argue, and I just need to stop arguing, be more firm, and not discuss things that don't need discussing.

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#10 of 43 Old 11-02-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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to be honest, we haired an nanny even though MIL lived with us. (I had a terrible relationship with her). With my parents, I simply don't trust them to follow instructions regarding food etc. It's sad, because we are close, but they just don't listen!

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#11 of 43 Old 11-02-2010, 12:18 PM
 
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Totally not taking her side, but maybe in the interest of keeping the peace, you could find some things to ask her opinion on. How to swaddle them the best way, burping techniques, whatever (I know you probably know all of that already). Just to let her know that you DO value her and her opinions. Or ask her to tell you stories about your babyhood.

And totally practice the lines that firmly tell her you've got this .
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#12 of 43 Old 11-02-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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In regards to the vaccines, she DOES come to the Doctor with me because I need the extra help with them right now. I have told her it's non-negotiable and she can't change that, but it doesn't mean I get a pass on listening to her judgements about it.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE and APPRECIATE my mother and everything she does for us, but she can drive me crazy at the same time.
Even if she goes to the Dr., you ARE taking care of the vaccines - just not the way she wants you to. So say, "Mom, I'm taking care of the vaxes the way I've decided is best for my dd's. Pass the bean dip."

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I want her to watch my children, I just don't want it to be an argument all the time. I'm not going to fire her and hire someone else.
If you aren't going to fire her, then you are stuck with the way she does things. You just are. You can't change someone when they refuse to change.

You can have frank discussions with her, but if she wants the girls to CIO when you're not home, then thats what they'll do.
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#13 of 43 Old 11-02-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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Even if she goes to the Dr., you ARE taking care of the vaccines - just not the way she wants you to. So say, "Mom, I'm taking care of the vaxes the way I've decided is best for my dd's. Pass the bean dip."

If you aren't going to fire her, then you are stuck with the way she does things. You just are. You can't change someone when they refuse to change.

You can have frank discussions with her, but if she wants the girls to CIO when you're not home, then thats what they'll do.
I have to agree with this. It's really one of the trade-offs in having an "arms length" professional care provider, vs. loving trusted family member. Again, you won't change her mind and your goal isn't to get her to agree with you or think you are right. You just need her to respect your decisions. Much harder when it's your own mother - who really wants the best for you.

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#14 of 43 Old 11-02-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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I agree 100% with what Thyra said, but in addition I think you need to have frank conversations about your parenting style and expectations in raising these children.
This is how I would approach the conversation:

You are their mother, not her and yes you survived/thrived in childhood and appreciate the choices she made, its your turn now to take all the wonderful advice and experience she gave you and put it into action in raising your children in your own way.

You will have consider consequences if she chooses not to respect your parenting decisions and let her know of those consequences.

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#15 of 43 Old 11-02-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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You can have frank discussions with her, but if she wants the girls to CIO when you're not home, then thats what they'll do.
Yep.

You need to realize this.

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#16 of 43 Old 11-03-2010, 02:40 AM
 
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My Mom lives with us, so luckily for her, she gets to be a full time granny nanny while the girls' father and I work.
Shouldn't this say luckily for you because you are the one receiving free childcare from someone who loves your children very much? Honestly, is it possible that your mom senses your frustration which is making her feel unappreciated. She really is doing a huge favor for you, even if you aren't happy with the way she does things. I guess you just need to decide if your differences are deal breakers or not and move on from there.
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#17 of 43 Old 11-03-2010, 03:17 AM
 
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Shouldn't this say luckily for you because you are the one receiving free childcare from someone who loves your children very much? Honestly, is it possible that your mom senses your frustration which is making her feel unappreciated. She really is doing a huge favor for you, even if you aren't happy with the way she does things. I guess you just need to decide if your differences are deal breakers or not and move on from there.

Thinking someone was letting my babes CIO would be a *huge* dealbreaker for me. You can be thankful and not be a doormat.
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#18 of 43 Old 11-03-2010, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Shouldn't this say luckily for you because you are the one receiving free childcare from someone who loves your children very much? Honestly, is it possible that your mom senses your frustration which is making her feel unappreciated. She really is doing a huge favor for you, even if you aren't happy with the way she does things. I guess you just need to decide if your differences are deal breakers or not and move on from there.
I say luckily for her because she gets to stay at home and spend the day with the babies while I'm stuck at work and would much rather be at home raising my kids.

I tell her all the time how much I appreciate her help...but she still takes it personally whenever I say I want to do something a certain way. I honestly think she takes it as though I'm saying I don't like the way I was raised because I plan to do things a bit differently.

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#19 of 43 Old 11-03-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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when I told her about all the research saying that it's bad for the children, she responded "I've been raising children my whole life, I know what I'm doing."
That's when you say "I know, and these are MY kids to raise, so I'll be making the decisions for them."

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#20 of 43 Old 11-05-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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That sounds really hard. Personally, I think you should think long and hard about different childcare when you are away from your twins. Your mom is probably not going to change her practices regardless of what you say.

Also, I really understand the "how lucky she is" comment but I would be careful about her feelings too. Taking care of an infant is difficult work, taking care of twins even hard. No amount of love in the world makes it "not work."
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#21 of 43 Old 11-05-2010, 04:14 PM
 
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Shouldn't this say luckily for you because you are the one receiving free childcare from someone who loves your children very much? Honestly, is it possible that your mom senses your frustration which is making her feel unappreciated. She really is doing a huge favor for you, even if you aren't happy with the way she does things. I guess you just need to decide if your differences are deal breakers or not and move on from there.
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I say luckily for her because she gets to stay at home and spend the day with the babies while I'm stuck at work and would much rather be at home raising my kids.
So many people on MDC are always singing the praises of having a village, while not really understanding that the village works both ways. People will complain about not having grandparents around, without realizing the financial/time/physical strain and responsibility it takes to care for these same grandparents as they age. Nothing is for free. OP is not getting 'free' childcare.

honestly.... I understand this dynamic. My MIL expected me to go to work to support her, so she could stay at home with *my* kids-- and thought I should feel grateful to her for the privilege.

It was a huge, angry making, blood boiling type situation. If we hadn't been living with her, we could have made different choices in regards to home size, groceries, even what vacations we could choose. If we didn't have to support her in terms of old age, health care etc, we could make different decisions in terms of how much risk we could live with for our finances. Then she wants me to go to work, and leave my kids with her, not having any say in how they are raised? Uh uh. This was literally the straw that broke the camels back in my story.

Free loving childcare from an live in grandparent can be a huge boon. A win-win-win for all 3 generations, where all 3 should feel lucky.

And it can also be an enormous strain on all 3 generations. I think that all involved have to be flexible, and respectful of boundaries and roles. You are mom. She is grandma. That's it. In this case, it sounds like your mom is not being respectful at all.

Believe me, I now have a ton of nanny woes-- but I still don't think you are wrong or evil for saying that your mom is lucky.

A huge hug for you.

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#22 of 43 Old 11-05-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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That sounds really hard. While I know that frank talks with your mom might help, the truth is you have no control when you are away, and that makes it hard. If you don't trust your care provider, work is so much more stressful! I would suggest talking to your mom, using "I" statements. Like "I don't like feeling like I can't trust you with my children's care.". "I can't handle being at work wondering if my babies are crying when you could be holding them." "I don't like arguing with you about shots for the children." "I feel bad when you question the way I want to raise my children. It makes me sad that you think I am not capable of being a great mom unless I do what you say.".

It is easy to argue about childrearing ideas, like rice cereal, CIO, or shots. But she can't argue about how she is making you feel. These types of conversations work best when both parties are calm, so maybe get a coffee with your mom and have a heart to heart. I hope this helps. Good luck.

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#23 of 43 Old 11-05-2010, 08:52 PM
 
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What a frustrating situation!

I agree with a lot of pp. You have to at least have a conversation with her (or many) where you firmly lay down the law: You are the mom, she is the grandma, you say how things go. And while I think that choosing your battles is appropriate in many situations, with this one I think it should be your call across the board-- they are YOUR babies, you have earned the right to say what goes in them, on them, and goes on around them. If you sense your mom isn't respecting your wishes, you have to find someone who will. Even id you get more firm with her she very well may just say yes and do what she wants behind your back anyways, a scenario which sounds likely. There has to be consequences if she keeps undermining you. Think of what's at stake. They're newbies now but soon enough they'll be toddlers and food and tv will be an issue too. And they'll start to pick up on the power struggle b/n you and your mom too. You love her and are grateful but shes out of line, and you can tell her as much.
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#24 of 43 Old 11-05-2010, 09:10 PM
 
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Grandparent childcare is so lovely and SO HARD.

My in-laws watch my son part time and my partner and I swap childcare/work with each other split shifts to cover the other time. It HAS put a strain on our relationship with them. Because they are not hired help. You can't tell them what to do in the same way as someone who is strictly working for you.

So we have agreed that for us knowing our son is happy and loved with his grandparents outweighs all of the arguments over his care we have had.

For a few examples: he's 19 months old and they still secretly give him a bottle. They have already told me when I wean him off the pacifier they will keep giving him one. They give him juice and we have said no countless times (they even gave him prune juice once. PRUNE JUICE??!!! He was crapping for a week!). They don't give him a nap half the time because they want more time with him. They keep him up way past his bedtime when we work at night. They give him much more sweets than we do. Plastic toys at their house. Toys that make noise at their house.

But overall... I can get over these things. There were a few non-negotiables we were willing to fight over. No CIO (luckily they wouldn't). No interfering with my BFing relationship (luckily she nursed my partner until 3 years so we're ok there). No retracting (this one was a fight, she's an RN). Very limited TV. (as in, 1 time in 19 months when it rained all week)


They are family. We value the small family that we do have and feel him having active, involved grandparents in his life does more to enrich him than having a picture perfect no sweets no juice AP approved life.

Fight her to the death on CIO. But realize that her day is really, really hard (really, really, really hard to be alone with twin infants all day) and not using CIO for twins (while entirely possible) can be really challenging, so if someone believes CIO is ok, they they are going to see not doing it as an enormous amount of needless work. So recognize her point of view, and help her brainstorm ways to make her day not be so stressful, even as you put your foot down. If fact, I have no idea how I'd get 2 infants to sleep without nursing!
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#25 of 43 Old 11-06-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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I haven't read other responses, but boy do I hear your frustration.

I live with my parents (post-divorce) and my mom has done childcare - either all or part of it - for years.

There have been a lot of growing pains, but overall it's been great. It took me quite a while to come to terms with the situation, and for us to work out communication, boundaries, etc.

One thing I had to face is that the idea of "I'm the mom so what I say goes" is not so clear cut when grandmom is LIVING in the house & doing significant childcare. Lines between parenting/babysitting/grandparenting get blurred. And that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Over the past several years, I've let some things go - I've either accepted that my mom's way is just as good, or perhaps even better than mine, or I just let less critical things go. Some things I have made clear to my mom are non-negotiable, stood my ground and stopped all discussions. I've also shifted my perspective to view the family in a more communal way. I'm not explaining it well, but it just doesn't work for me to think of my mom as a "nanny" who hands off the kids when I come home. That's not our situation. We're all a team, and though who's "got the kids" at the moment shifts, no one is a sitter. We eat dinner together, have family outings, etc.

Good luck - you've got your hands full right now, and it's a VERY emotional time! This is ALL so new. You, your BF, your mom, the babies - you're ALL new to this! But give it time, take some deep breaths, try to take an emotional step back, stick it out, and hopefully it will work out well for all involved.
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#26 of 43 Old 11-08-2010, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses, everyone.

I totally get what you are saying about the mixing of the roles when you live with a grandparent who is watching the children...but I still don't think that should mean I have to give up my autonomy as a parent.

It's proving to be a struggle, but I'm feeling a bit better about putting my foot down about things I want/don't want.

Lay down in our mother's arms for here we can rest safely
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#27 of 43 Old 11-08-2010, 07:43 PM
 
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Oh no . . . I'm so sorry!



I agree with JudiAU. I hired care provider must follow along with your choices for the kids; they do not have the option of arguing with you about it.

I think it must be very stressful to feel dependent on her for childcare and have to justify your decisions all the while living together.

Happy and in love with my family!
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#28 of 43 Old 11-10-2010, 10:50 AM
 
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I agree with not making it about the research. Because, truly, it doesn't matter why you have decided something, it just matters THAT you decided it. You very much need to sit down- as hard as it may be- and tell her that you could never get by without her help and advice, but she had her opportunities to be a mom, and this is your chance. She got to do things her way, and you want to do things your way. Maybe even throw in a "I think you'll see our opinions aren't that different overall" or something. Maybe even appealing to her emotions by saying, "It makes me feel sad/hurt/etc. when you say x,y,z or roll your eyes at me. I'm a first time mom like you were once, too. I'm allowed to try different things, even if I don't get it right on the first try."

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#29 of 43 Old 11-10-2010, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Tried this the other night and she STILL took it personally. As much as I hate this saying, it fits perfectly: It is what it is. It's just something I have to deal with.

 

 

 

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Originally Posted by karaann07 View Post

I agree with not making it about the research. Because, truly, it doesn't matter why you have decided something, it just matters THAT you decided it. You very much need to sit down- as hard as it may be- and tell her that you could never get by without her help and advice, but she had her opportunities to be a mom, and this is your chance. She got to do things her way, and you want to do things your way. Maybe even throw in a "I think you'll see our opinions aren't that different overall" or something. Maybe even appealing to her emotions by saying, "It makes me feel sad/hurt/etc. when you say x,y,z or roll your eyes at me. I'm a first time mom like you were once, too. I'm allowed to try different things, even if I don't get it right on the first try."




Lay down in our mother's arms for here we can rest safely
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#30 of 43 Old 11-10-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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I agree with everything below. Unfortunately your mom has already made it clear to you that she feel she knows best and that she will do what she wants. You need to find another nanny.
 

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Originally Posted by lynsage View Post

Get another nanny ASAP and let her be Grandma, not caretaker. If you had a nanny that argued with you, rolled her eyes and openly fought you on your decisions like this, you'd fire her! No amount of money saved on a sitter is worth leaving your kids with someone you can't trust to follow your rules.

If she's willing to go as far as to replace something you threw away because you didn't want it used on your kids, I am willing to bet that her next steps are rice cereal and CIO, if she's not doing one or both of those behind your back already!

Mama to a little lady and always praying for more.
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