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#1 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As our due dates are coming closer and closer...have any of you run into any issues with your relatives (in-laws or otherwise) about your upcoming little one? 

 

I'm just feeling especially frustrated and cooped up in the house lately so maybe it's just me...

My in-laws are constantly giving me grief about my choices regarding my pregnancy and impending birth. My FIL loves to call the house on a daily basis and criticize various choices my husband and I have made so far...he seems to take it personally that we are choosing a more natural approach to everything as if we're saying that he was a bad parent (which we have told him has nothing to do with him and everything to do with research, personal choices, and the needs of our child).

My MIL is especially becoming frustrating, as I find I have to constantly repeat myself as patiently as possible regarding certain issues...for instance, she wants to throw a second baby shower for her family only because she claims I only invited my family...which isn't true, as my mother tried to include her in on the family shower, but she refused to invite her own family because she said she wanted to pay for her youngest son's fraternity fees instead...which resulted in many angry phone calls to my house asking why I didn't invite my MIL's family because she told them that they weren't invited because I didn't want them to be there. Then, when she came to my shower, she started trying to take the party favors from all the tables because she wanted to save them for "her shower." And better yet, I was in the hospital recently as I became very ill (and still am struggling)...when she called the same day that I came home, she blew off my request for rest and said she wanted to come over and announced that she decided she wanted to throw her baby shower the day after Thanksgiving and also wanted to and repaint the nursery with Disney characters...when I said no, citing my physical exhaustion and the fact that I really don't want nor need a second family baby shower (and the nursery is plenty fine the way it is...our baby isn't even going to be using it at first because he will be sleeping with us), she and some of my husband's family called me ungrateful and selfish...which caused my family to get defensive...and so now they are having a feud while I just want to rest. 

 

I never thought being a parent would be so hard because of conflicting opinions of relatives! I always thought the challenge would be raising a child! Maybe this is just be a venting thread....but I personally just find that I feel better after getting my thoughts off my chest...

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#2 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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 I think you are absolutely right that people take your choice to do it differently as a comment on how they are/were doing it "wrong".  Especially with parents I think they get defensive like "it was good enough for you, why is it not good enough for your baby?"  I don't think there is any way to deal with it except to continue to explain that your choice to do it one way doesn't mean you think anyone who chooses another way is a bad parent.

 

Good luck!

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#3 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 04:31 PM
 
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I'd just stop answering their calls. :-P


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#4 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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I'd just stop answering their calls. :-P


Me, too.  That's why Caller ID was invented...

 


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#5 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Fortunately, my parents are very supportive of our decisions...my mom, for instance, was initially worried about us not wanting to circumcise but once I gave her my logical reasoning behind it, she simply said that she learned something new and said she would support our decision...and hasn't brought it up since then. My dad is very supportive to the point where he says that I don't need to explain myself...if I want to raise our son a certain way, he will back me up and keeps saying that raising a child is not a science, but an experience...and one that should not be tampered with...he has butted heads on numerous instances with my husband's parents because of his very different approach compared to them...which makes family gatherings interesting, to say the least.

 

So maybe I'm just used to a different attitude? My husband's parents are very much so about their word being "law," while my parents have always been about encouraging independent thinking. Really the biggest thing I'm doing now is communicating with my husband about what kind of parent he wants to be and how we want to raise our child...especially considering we will be facing his family's criticism regarding our parenting for years to come, so we need to be on the same page ahead of time in order to avoid arguments or confusion happening between us...

 

And I would totally ignore the phone, but they always call our home phone, which doesn't have caller id...so I told my husband that if this keeps up, I am unplugging our home phone (I need it for work, so I figure I can plug it in when I need it) and informing his parents that if they need something, they have to call our cell phones (which they used to do anyway) because we need as much peace and quiet as possible when our newborn arrive...and our cell phones do have caller id and conveniently have a "silent" function. :D Although, I realize that won't completely solve the problem because his parents live less than a mile from us...and love to visit...at random...despite being asked not to...because my husband is too afraid to hurt their feelings and tells them when he has days off and then won't tell them that he needs some days off for himself...and then whines about them bugging him...sigh.

 

 

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#6 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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Kind of an opposite issue here... my in-laws have been almost totally uninvolved! DH's family is, I guess, fairly different from mine (we are quite close). My mom wants to know what's happening with the baby and if she can help, MIL has talked to me on the phone ONCE (around 20 weeks) and didn't even talk to me when DH called to tell her the news initially! I think she means well, but in some ways I also kind of feel like we're just not a priority in her life. I feel like we've tried to reach out: We took a trip (5 hours) especially to see her, and we took public transit halfway - she didn't want to meet us near the station and we didn't have a way to get to her house, (other than a very expensive taxi on top of the cost already... which for us is on the price-y side for gas and ferry, even with public transit) so we ended up not seeing her after all... basically we just turned around and went home.

 

FIL is excited when he sees us (very infrequently) but again there is a bit of an absence I'm not used to. And it's not just distance, because I have some marathon phone chats with my mom. I actually got upset the last time we visited because I just didn't feel like the baby was important to them, and it's such a big thing in our lives. I don't really know what to do other than try not to let it bother me and figure it's really more about them than me. I know that DH was never close with them, and they've never been close with us anyways... so maybe it's just to be expected and I was mistaken to think otherwise.


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#7 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ouch...having to turn around and go right back home right after that traveling had to be disappointing.

 

It's starting to seem more and more it's just a clash of differences in families and parenting styles...nothing we can do about it most of the time, but still frustrating nonetheless...

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#8 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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Cedarwoman- Our situation is a bit similar but not quite as bad.  Yes this baby is a surprise for us and we have a lot going on, but we barely got a congratulations from them.  They have no excitement or involvement.  I have to ask them and remind them to see our older children even though they only live 45 minutes away.  They love us, they just don't put in much effort.  I have given up on them being as involved as my parents and now just try to be happy when I see a little bit of effort. 

 

Kabob- Your situation does sound hard, your MIL sounds like she is going to be quite the pill for you, don't know if it will get better when the baby comes.  Make sure that she isn't your only contact with the rest of your dh's family it doesn't sound like she paints you in a very good light.  I do want to say something about the baby shower though, I think you should just let her throw you one.  If you don't you will probably never hear the end of it and as far as compromises go I can think of worse situations then being thrown a party.  It won't be how you want, but it might make her happy and keep her off your back for a few weeks.  She sounds like she is obsessing on this pregnancy right now so give her something to do, like the shower.  Most grandparents just want to feel included.  They have all this love and excitement yet absolutely no control of the situation.  Just think if you have a son and one day he gets married to a women that wants a elective c-section and a tummy tuck at the same time and would never think to breastfed?  It can go both ways....


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#9 of 20 Old 11-01-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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Holy crap!  If I could offer any advice it would be to fight the fight now and set your boundaries before the baby is born...... It doesn't get easier, it gets harder.  It might be a bitter pill for them to swallow but it will make things so much easier in the long run.... with your marriage, your frustration level, your sense of cohesiveness as a new family, your sense of peace, your right to privacy, your confidence level as new parents.... the list goes on and on. 

 

I don't think we were quite firm enough with my in laws before hand and they were buying my son leather jackets and harley davidson gear when we were anti-commercialist vegans.  Then his mom let on that they didn't tell us what they were buying for him beforehand because they knew we would say no!  Are you kidding me?  So now my husband is going down to talk to them about undermining and how, to say the least, we don't approve. Ugh!.... and my in-laws don't sound anywhere near as invasive or obnoxious as yours.  They also live an hour away and never stop by without calling, so I feel lucky.  They are, for the most part, very nice people with a very different lifestyle, and we still need strong boundaries so we don't feel like they are disrespecting or disregarding our roles and choices as parents. 

 

Good luck... this is no kind of easy territory!

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#10 of 20 Old 11-02-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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Holy crap!  If I could offer any advice it would be to fight the fight now and set your boundaries before the baby is born...... It doesn't get easier, it gets harder.  It might be a bitter pill for them to swallow but it will make things so much easier in the long run.... with your marriage, your frustration level, your sense of cohesiveness as a new family, your sense of peace, your right to privacy, your confidence level as new parents.... the list goes on and on. 

 

I don't think we were quite firm enough with my in laws before hand and they were buying my son leather jackets and harley davidson gear when we were anti-commercialist vegans.  Then his mom let on that they didn't tell us what they were buying for him beforehand because they knew we would say no!  Are you kidding me?  So now my husband is going down to talk to them about undermining and how, to say the least, we don't approve. Ugh!.... and my in-laws don't sound anywhere near as invasive or obnoxious as yours.  They also live an hour away and never stop by without calling, so I feel lucky.  They are, for the most part, very nice people with a very different lifestyle, and we still need strong boundaries so we don't feel like they are disrespecting or disregarding our roles and choices as parents. 

 

Good luck... this is no kind of easy territory!


I agree with moonSnail. If you can't just ignore their behavior, you need to set boundaries now. Your husband needs to set boundaries too. It's one thing if they're bugging him on his days off, but if he's too worried about "hurting their feelings" when it comes to parenting issues, they'll walk all over him.

 

We had a kind of similar issue in the beginning of my daughter's life. My in-laws are very "let you make your own mistakes" kind of people, but for some reason it just rubbed them wrong that we were co-sleeping. There were snarky little comments here and there and even some heated discussions. My husband is a very out-spoken, confident man, but not so much when it comes to his parents. I was always the one telling them why we co-slept and everything like that and he mostly stayed uninvolved. Then one day when I wasn't there, they started talking behind my back about it (because they had gotten the impression that he wasn't really into co-sleeping and just was going along with it because it was what I wanted). For some reason, something snapped in him and he told them off (though probably still in nice words) and made it very clear that it was his wish too that we co-slept. They never brought it up again (or really, any other parenting decision we've made). 

 

I think it's important to get the grandparents in their place as early on as you can. Then when it comes to situations that you can't control, they'll mostly still follow your plan. I mean, if my in-laws didn't take me seriously, they would have been giving Peanut candy when she was less than 2 even though I told them we're not giving her candy. Stuff like that.


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#11 of 20 Old 11-02-2011, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Kabob- Your situation does sound hard, your MIL sounds like she is going to be quite the pill for you, don't know if it will get better when the baby comes.  Make sure that she isn't your only contact with the rest of your dh's family it doesn't sound like she paints you in a very good light.  I do want to say something about the baby shower though, I think you should just let her throw you one.  If you don't you will probably never hear the end of it and as far as compromises go I can think of worse situations then being thrown a party.  It won't be how you want, but it might make her happy and keep her off your back for a few weeks.  She sounds like she is obsessing on this pregnancy right now so give her something to do, like the shower.  Most grandparents just want to feel included.  They have all this love and excitement yet absolutely no control of the situation.  Just think if you have a son and one day he gets married to a women that wants a elective c-section and a tummy tuck at the same time and would never think to breastfed?  It can go both ways....

I did try to find some common ground and asked if she could throw the shower after our child is born...or maybe some sort of celebration more towards spring or summer, when the weather is warmer and both the baby and I are in good health. She agreed to this, but then changed her mind and said she wanted to do it right after Thanksgiving...after she had said she didn't want to organize the shower with my mom because she had no time or money until next year...

 

Originally, she said she was going to throw the shower with my mom, since my mom lives another state away and also asked to go in on the shower with her, especially since I've had some health problems with this pregnancy that makes big events like this tough...my MIL was excited but then suddenly changed her mind and said she wanted to focus on her youngest son instead (ie, paying for his fraternity fees). No biggie, so my friend stepped in and set up the location and such for my mom. Suddenly, my MIL decided she was going to throw her own family baby shower and decided to inform us of this by taking the favors (that my mom paid for) while saying "I think I'm going to save these for my shower." If she had approached me about throwing her own shower in a more respectful manner or had at least asked if it was okay to take stuff from my mom's shower for her own, perhaps I would be more willing to let her have it her way and throw another shower, but that was just downright rude...especially considering the way she handled her relative's questions about why they weren't invited...

 

Speaking of my MIL's relatives, none of them have even talked to my husband for over 10 years...they have completely separated themselves from his life and instead focus on his half-brother....whom his mother herself said is because his half-brother is her only real child. My husband never complained about this, nor held any grudges about this and still tries to be a part of his mother's life and her family's lives (for instance, he went to a family event where his mother claimed he was his half-brother's uncle). My MIL has five other grandchildren and has not been a part of their lives...and they live nearby as well. She says they are noisy and that her and her husband (my husband's parents are divorced) don't really like children...so she said that neither the grandkids nor her own kids are welcome at her house for holidays anymore...which my husband again swallowed and simply held family get-togethers at our home and invited his mother (much to the chagrin of some of his siblings). Really, she has shown little interest in our upcoming child...she has never asked about his progress, how I'm doing, or anything...she said she wanted to throw this separate shower because she wanted to "get together with [her] siblings." 

 

I don't think my MIL is being intentionally manipulative or anything...I think perhaps she doesn't think about how her actions and words affect the people around her...I am in touch with some of my husband's siblings (he has 5), and one of his brothers doesn't even talk to her or go to any events that she is attending anymore because of her past inconsiderate behavior towards him. The rest of his siblings are indifferent towards her and love to tell stories about all the "crazy" stuff she did or does...while his sister and eldest brother are the ones that will side with her mother at random and tell me I'm being selfish because all their mom is trying to do is be nice for once. I've never said anything bad about her mother to them (even when they are complaining about her) as I've been trying to respect my husband's wishes to keep his mother in his life after he worked so hard for so many years to get her to be interested in his life...

 

Whew, sorry, long rant...

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#12 of 20 Old 11-02-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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We are trying to set our boundaries early. Its both a blessing and a curse that our parents live within 5-10 minutes of us. I have already told our parents that when the time comes I do not want the whole family camped out in the waiting room and driving me crazy. It is something between DH and myself and once the baby is here and named we will call and let everyone know. That didn't go over great and I think its something that needs to be said frequently so that they understand it is important to me. My MIL has decided that she is taking 6 weeks off of work when the baby comes. I think that is a bit much and truly think she will be very helpful the first week and get bored but it will be nice having someone pick DD and bring her to the bust stop for Kindergarten. I am also trying to get DH to take a week off from work but its hard for him not knowing the exact date and its tricky for him to take vacation. He is supose to have it approved 6-8 weeks in advance.

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#13 of 20 Old 11-02-2011, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are trying to set our boundaries early. Its both a blessing and a curse that our parents live within 5-10 minutes of us. I have already told our parents that when the time comes I do not want the whole family camped out in the waiting room and driving me crazy. It is something between DH and myself and once the baby is here and named we will call and let everyone know. That didn't go over great and I think its something that needs to be said frequently so that they understand it is important to me. My MIL has decided that she is taking 6 weeks off of work when the baby comes. I think that is a bit much and truly think she will be very helpful the first week and get bored but it will be nice having someone pick DD and bring her to the bust stop for Kindergarten. I am also trying to get DH to take a week off from work but its hard for him not knowing the exact date and its tricky for him to take vacation. He is supose to have it approved 6-8 weeks in advance.


Wow 6 weeks...my mom isn't even staying that long...my stepdad told her that she needs to make sure she isn't intruding, so she is staying a couple of weeks, unless we ask for her to stay longer.  I'm also just worried about her getting bored as well after the first week....

As for your DH, his company doesn't have a paternity leave policy? How about qualifying for Family and Medical Leave? Sometimes I wish we had the same policies as some of Europe...I had a professor that was from Norway (with relatives also in Sweden) and boy was I jealous to hear their policies about family leave...why doesn't the United States have the same attitude towards child-rearing? It just seems more conducive to healthy families to allow parents stress-free time with each child...

 

And yeah, I definitely don't want 15 people (5 of them under the age of 10) camped outside the birthing room and lining up to hold our baby right away...makes me feel like I'm part of some sort of petting zoo, as weird as that sounds...

 

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#14 of 20 Old 11-02-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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I've already ranted about my MIL a bit in here... She has severe bi-polar disorder and has physically attacked me on several occasions so I no longer feel comfortable with her around our kids. She's also told me she blames me for stealing her son from her. It's very difficult for us but we have had to set extreme boundaries with her. She hasn't seen our kids in over a year. We didn't even tell her we were expecting a baby. The first few year of our marriage I thought she was wonderful, albeit a lot of drama but I just wanted to help her with her issues so we could have a great family. Both my husband and I were raised by single moms, and he is an only child so I really wanted her to be a big part of our lives. I grew up surrounded by a very large Catholic family and loved it! They have spread out all over the country over the years so we don't see most of them now. It really depresses me that we don't have a strong family for my children to grow up with. I miss it a lot. Sorry you're having issues with your inlaws, be happy you have them though. Definitely talk with your husband about how you two can stick together as a team instead of your family against his. You are a new family together, put each other first. 

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#15 of 20 Old 11-02-2011, 03:38 PM
 
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Sorry to hear that having a hard time with family relationships is so common. Wish I had some wise words, but I'm struggling HARD with my personal relationships with my mom and dad at the moment. Especially my dad...My mom suffers from bipolar disorder and refuses to seek treatment...because she doesn't realize how bad it is. So it's always a gamble when we talk on the phone. He mania/depressive episodes are happening more frequently and are more acute, but it's not to the point where she's either one or the other and is on "even keel" about 60%. She also struggles with jealousy regarding DH's family. My dad and I have a very emotionally distant relationship and every few years he makes a half-assed attempt to change that. We're currently in an attempt. They've never worked before and usually end up making things worse. YUCK! So many emotions for my pregnant mind and soul to process right now. However, my relationship with DH's family is wonderful and growing stronger by the day. I have found them to be a very rational, lighthearted, and loving bunch of people. Which adds to my confusion because I feel like I'm pulling away from my own family, but I'm really not when I think about it. Ugh. Oh! My dad is the kinda guy that buys presents/gives money when he feels shitty. He totally disregarded the recommendations I gave him for birthday presents for DS and bought him a very expensive Cars(the movie)-themed race track with battery operated racecars. DS has no concept of movie characters, the track is 3 and up(DS is 2), and he's terrified of electronic beeping/blinking/talking toys. The other gift was a top-of-the-line webcam so my dad and DS can Skype. I'm thankful, but at the same time feel very uneasy about expectations from my father. He also left the receipt in the box...

 

P.S. Thank goodness for Caller ID :D

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#16 of 20 Old 11-02-2011, 03:39 PM
 
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Sorry for that rant...it wasn't birth/pregnancy-related in the least!

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#17 of 20 Old 11-02-2011, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry for that rant...it wasn't birth/pregnancy-related in the least!



I disagree - getting stuff off your chest by talking about it is healthy for your pregnancy. wink1.gif

 

My mom at least is trying to be understanding of my MIL...even though she has every right to be offended...she keeps telling me that just because DH's parents have a different parenting style, that doesn't mean they're bad parents or people (she loves playing devil's advocate). My mom owned a daycare center before she became a nurse, so she has "seen it all."

 

I don't hate my in-laws or anything and usually get along with them just fine...I just find myself to be more touchy about baby-related stuff all of a sudden. Hmmm....

Thank goodness DH communicate well...even when we disagree, we talk about it...which is good, because family issues aside, I have my crabby pregnancy moments. shy.gif

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#18 of 20 Old 11-23-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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My MIL always comments that my bump is "weird".  It's incredibly annoying.


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#19 of 20 Old 11-23-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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Wow, I cannot believe grown people act this way towards an expectant mother or anyone for that matter. She wanted to repaint YOUR nursery at YOUR house? She took baby shower favors??  WTH! That is so self-centered of HER, not you. I'm sorry. I hope you find a way (with your husband) to set up some healthy boundaries and soon, like today! Situations like this can cause bigger problems down the road. I think they need to be put in their place and it has to be your DH and you doing it as a team. hug2.gif


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#20 of 20 Old 11-28-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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I am with everyone else, btdt! I still butt heads with my mother in law. People like this are controlling and that's the end of the story. I would NOT let her stay with you, that seems to give her permission to try to control you in your environment in a time that you will be emotionally unable to fully deal with her trust me BTDT after you have a baby it's one of those things you will probably let her get away with whatever because you will be in an emotional state that is hard to argue stand your ground etc...at least thats how it always is for most people I know including myself. Next...this will NEVER stop, trust me it won't after 10 years of marriage it still hasn't stopped here only what I learned was to start telling my inlaws how it was and not being nice about it anymore. That is the ONLY thing that put them in their place. I also have had to like lose it on my husband for being too afraid to stick up for me to his parents which is also still an issue but he knows now that when and if it happens I'm just going to hand it to him and get ugly with him and his parents. I have dealt with their abuse for 10 years! They arent as bad as they used to be but they still try to act like they have control of us and I dont and never have let them...it gets to the point where you have to tell them off and you cant tell people like that off nicely....they dont get the point and obviously yours dont get the point either hence them still pressuring you and on you like rabid dogs. Stop it all now because when the baby comes they will really make life miserable. My mil still tries to undermine me as a parent and we've had kids in our ten yr marriage for almost 9 yrs! I have to tell them off a lot and now I dont care about their feelings anymore, they've treated me like dirt for this long the niceness no longer applies on my end and hasnt for years Being nonconfrontational with some people (like them) will get you nowhere...they dont care about you or your choices, they care about them.


 Jess mom to 5!!! 3 boys 2 girls and another girl on the way edd jan 31st! I have a Disabled veteran husband
breastfeeding,cosleeping, non vax,no circ,and nature loving family!

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