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#1 of 9 Old 06-12-2012, 03:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some serious help with dealing with my family. I live in England and they are in the states so we don't see them a whole lot, but when we do things get really crazy and out of control, they deliberately go against our parenting choices and do not listen to the wishes we have for DD, more specifically with baby led weaning instead of purée feeding.

We took a 2 week trip to see my parents in May, and it was horrible to the point where we almost dished out a couple hundred dollars to buy new plane tickets so we could leave early. My mom got hysterical about us doing baby led weaning, and was convinced we were literally starving DD- on purpose- because we are health nuts obsessed with being thin. I tried talking to her about why we chose BLW, the benefits and so on, but it always ended with "people have been spoon feeding for centuries. I spoon fed you and you turned out just fine". It got to the point where whenever we weren't in the room and she was with DD, she would plonk her in the high chair and start spoon feeding away. I physically had to pry a spoon out of her hands. In the end she posted a really nasty public post about me on Facebook, which included the fact that we have chosen not to vaccinate for all of my family and friends to see.

Of course to top it all off, DD stopped eating solids on the trip, just wasn't interested at all which made our BLW seem like a huge failure in my parent's eyes. The only thing DD would eat was bread which I didn't really want her to have a lot of because we are trying to really ease her in to eating grains. We told my family this, but they did not listen and every chance they got they offered her bread and cookies. "She needs to eat something and your breast milk is not enough for her" is what they would say.

DD was hugely constipated the whole trip, I cried a few times, and both DH and I were constantly on our toes and hesitant to let anyone hold her. I tried to let go a bit, and it would've been one thing if she got a bit of dessert or something as a special treat, but this was 2 weeks of constant junk with little nutritional value going into her body.

We are going back in a month for 3 weeks and I am really scared. Scared that DD will stop eating solids again, scared that I will get into another fight with my mom. I don't know what to do about it and feel so upset that things have to be like this when we get together since we now only get to see each other 2 times a year. I tried so hard last time to avoid conflict by changing the subject or just stating that is our choice and that's it, but my parents are both so darn bossy that it didn't work. Any advice?
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#2 of 9 Old 06-12-2012, 04:21 AM
 
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My first is only 6 weeks so I have no advice on weaning but I do live in another country close to my in-laws and away from my family.  I feel i've changed a lot, as have my ideas and opinions, since moving away from my family and every time we get back together I kind of feel like i'm walking on egg shells.  I really feel for you!  Most people ask, 'wow you must miss your family so much', in a way I do but it can be so stressful seeing them again.  My mother just visited with us and saw our DD for the first time, the first time she put her in her bed she asked if she laid on her back or side, I said back.  The rest of the visit EVERY time she put her in her bed she put her on her side...exasperating!  Over here they don't advise on giving any liquids apart from milk until 6 months, my mother kept on going on about giving her a bit of water.

 

You just have to focus on what you want and trust your instincts and bite your way through it sometimes, is there a big generation gap between you and your parents?  I find sometimes it's better if there is, my in-laws are quite a bit older and they just seem to accept that things have changed a lot over the years, generally for the better.  My mum on the other hand thinks she still knows it all...I hope something good can come of your visit and you can enjoy yourself a bit.  How does your husband handle it with your family?  Maybe they accept it better from him?

 

Good luck :)
 


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#3 of 9 Old 06-12-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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This is just a suggestion so take it or leave it but as your baby grows, spoons will enter the picture for soup or yogurt if you choose to feed these things. Maybe there might be one or two things you could be ok with letting grandma offer on a spoon now and then like mashed avocado or squished peas or soft peach bits or something. NOT baby food from a jar, not technically puréed things but maybe a soft finger food baby enjoys anyway, just squished up a bit on the spoon? Grandma gets to "spoon feed" and you choose what baby eats. I would make it clear and lay down the law: mom, you can offer her avocado on a spoon at dinner tonight. Tomorrow we will have those ripe pears you can offer her at lunch. Set your limit, maybe once a day and say baby needs to practice handling food at the other meals. We love and miss you but we are the parents and are making our parenting choices keeping baby's best interests at heart. If you can't respect our parenting, we may have to look into other lodgings/shorter visits. I think a little indulgence for grandma may go a long way to help defuse the situation. Just a thought.

We did mostly baby lead weaning but my DD loves yogurt, unsweetened apple sauce, and will happily take a spoon with avocado on it. Mostly though she is running around the house with a cucumber stick though or grabbing daddy's toast lol. She loves the chance to practice with a spoon since she sees us grown ups using utensils. It's only been lately (since about her birthday) that I will load up a spoon and let her practice getting it in her mouth. We see my mom weekly and I have to be firm with her. She's into the spoiling with dessert and I say things like "if she has that cookie now then she will be upset when she can't have dessert at dinner. Please offer her a couple of grapes now so she can eat a full supper with us."
I hope you find something that works! Good luck.
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#4 of 9 Old 06-14-2012, 03:15 PM
 
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I don't think the problem is spoons or not, breastfeeding or not, etc. It's that your mom is not respecting your parenting. Have you talked with your mom about the situation since then? I'd stop focusing on the individual things you are doing and try to get her to understand your need for her to respect your wishes for your daughter. Let her know that you've researched your choices and made them along with your DH and your doctor, and you aren't looking for more input. If she wants to know why you made those decisions, then all she has to do is ask, but you aren't asking for her permission. If she wants to have time with family/the baby, then she needs to respect your choices, whatever they are. That your choices for your LO have nothing to do with the choices she made with you as a baby. 

 

I think the only way to make it any better is to firmly stand your ground with her.

 

I know, for me, that if I feel like my wishes are respected and honored, then I'm more likely to be flexible. For example, to me, BLW is about following baby's cues about how much and what to eat, regardless of the food's consistency. So if mom was accepting of this, then I'd find a way to let her participate in the feeding a bit more, since that's probably her ultimate goal.

 

Good luck!


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#5 of 9 Old 06-14-2012, 04:31 PM
 
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So why do you have to go back in 3 weeks? Can you just claim you're too busy and cancel the trip? The whole issue will be over in a year when your kid's eating regular foods.

 

Also, it's possible you could let your kid eat some applesauce or mashed banana or avocado in your mom's presence. I often let my son play with a spoon and he likes to feed himself. Is it possible you could get that working?

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#6 of 9 Old 07-04-2012, 12:01 AM
 
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In my opinion, for whatever it's worth, I think you have two options.  Number one, you stop seeing your family until they can have some respect for your parenting choices - which may be never.  Number two, you find a way to compromise and let your family do some of the things that are important to them that you oppose. Neither choice is pleasant, but in my personal experience, people just don't change, so expecting your family to suddenly "get it" after you tell them why your parenting choices make sense is an exercise in futility.  

 

My in laws are like this. What I did was just accept that my daughter's first food was ice cream.  I was furious because at the time it seemed like a personal affront to me, and it was against everything I believed in, but the truth is, it didn't have any effect on DD at all.  She was vaguely interested, but it didn't interfere with her development, her breastfeeding relationship with me, her ability to eat regular food later on - really, it just didn't matter.  It was a big lesson for me that I can do my best to give my daughter all the right things, but if she occasionally gets the wrong one, it probably doesn't matter, and me holding my tongue kept us from having a huge family blow out. 

 

We don't share much of our parenting philosophy with our in-laws because it is an invitation for them to tell us how we are doing it wrong.  It happens anyway sometimes, and when it does, I usually just ignore it and nod my head.  When it comes right down to it, there are a few things I would fight for (I wouldn't let my in-laws take my child to get vaccinated for example), but when it comes to plastic toys and junk food, I have made a conscious choice not to fight over it and just let these things happen on the few occasions we see the in-laws. 

 

Mama, this is NOT to minimize your feelings.  Everything you feel is valid and it sounds like you are doing the very best thing you can for your little one.  Your parents don't get that, and probably never will.  You can't expect them to change, the only thing you can do is change your reaction - which brings me full circle.  If it means enough to you to stop seeing them, by all means do that, I certainly won't judge you. But if you think you can cope with some compromises for a short period to maintain some peace, that may not be such a bad idea.  


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#7 of 9 Old 07-04-2012, 02:56 AM
 
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My MIL and FIL are Not. Like. Me.

 

She had her babies in hospital.  I have mine at home.

 

She formula fed from birth and still believes the ads she saw back in the 70's which told her that formula is much better, healthier and safer than breastmilk.  I breastfeed for YEARS.

 

They smacked.  I do NOT hit, ever.

 

Really that just scratches the surface.  I love my kids and they love theirs, but we're really different people.

 

They live very close to us and we see them every few weeks.  In the beginning with DD2 (DD1 is mine from a previous relationship and was 2 when they first met her, so they never felt the need to involve themselves as much) there was a lot of bitterness regarding feeding.  MIL "never gets to hold the baby" (because she was nursing), so i would pass her over to be winded (even though i never wind, i just hold them upright).  I made an effort to put DD in the (sometimes pretty crazy) outfits they'd bought her, even if it was literally that i changed her into them, took one photo, and put her back into normal clothes.  When she was on solids we did BLW but i picked out or prepared organic foods for MIL to try to spoon feed her (she'd sometimes take it and i sat right by her so that there was no chance of her being too forceful or anything).  Honestly it made no difference, DD coped fine with BLW at home and occasionally took half a bowl of food to MIL's delight at their house, the two things together were fine.  Now she's 2 she has a real love of them and a great relationship with them, and though they do things differently i do feel like i've won them over more with flexibility than i could have with laying down of laws.  I have even heard MIL telling people proudly "well my DIL nurses ALL her babies herself and they are SO healthy" which you'd never have heard a few years ago!

 

In YOUR place i think i'd cancel the trip or shorten it, or mix it up by doing a few days with them then a week elsewhere then a few more days with them etc.  The fact that after a few hours i can come home and do it all my own way makes all the difference!  I don't know what kind of relationship you had before you had your kid, but when anyone of the older generation said to me "i did this and my kids all turned out fine!" i reply "yes, we're all anxious to do it our own way, i'm no different" which seemed to get the message across without it ending in a big fight.  I did also download and print a few leaflets on extended breastfeeding and BLW and give them to the PIL's and said "I know you're baffled by the weird stuff i do so i've brought you the things the doctors give you nowadays so you can have a read" - that worked really well because they've come from a generation where if the doctor says it it MUST be true and ok.

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#8 of 9 Old 07-04-2012, 10:23 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post

They live very close to us and we see them every few weeks.  In the beginning with DD2 (DD1 is mine from a previous relationship and was 2 when they first met her, so they never felt the need to involve themselves as much) there was a lot of bitterness regarding feeding.  MIL "never gets to hold the baby" (because she was nursing), so i would pass her over to be winded (even though i never wind, i just hold them upright).  I made an effort to put DD in the (sometimes pretty crazy) outfits they'd bought her, even if it was literally that i changed her into them, took one photo, and put her back into normal clothes.  When she was on solids we did BLW but i picked out or prepared organic foods for MIL to try to spoon feed her (she'd sometimes take it and i sat right by her so that there was no chance of her being too forceful or anything).  Honestly it made no difference, DD coped fine with BLW at home and occasionally took half a bowl of food to MIL's delight at their house, the two things together were fine.  Now she's 2 she has a real love of them and a great relationship with them, and though they do things differently i do feel like i've won them over more with flexibility than i could have with laying down of laws.  I have even heard MIL telling people proudly "well my DIL nurses ALL her babies herself and they are SO healthy" which you'd never have heard a few years ago!

 

In YOUR place i think i'd cancel the trip or shorten it, or mix it up by doing a few days with them then a week elsewhere then a few more days with them etc.  The fact that after a few hours i can come home and do it all my own way makes all the difference!  I don't know what kind of relationship you had before you had your kid, but when anyone of the older generation said to me "i did this and my kids all turned out fine!" i reply "yes, we're all anxious to do it our own way, i'm no different" which seemed to get the message across without it ending in a big fight.  I did also download and print a few leaflets on extended breastfeeding and BLW and give them to the PIL's and said "I know you're baffled by the weird stuff i do so i've brought you the things the doctors give you nowadays so you can have a read" - that worked really well because they've come from a generation where if the doctor says it it MUST be true and ok.

This is great advice and a great approach. 


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#9 of 9 Old 07-17-2012, 05:55 PM
 
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I gave a my way or the highway approach, honestly. This isn't to say that's what you should do, it is simply what I had to do in a similar situation. I finally had to state that while they may disagree, they had raised their kids and they could either respect my wishes or speak wistfully about the grandkids they never got to see due to their disrespect of my wishes. Harsh, but I feel it is my job to do what I feel best for my kids, and if someone can't respect that, I can't respect them, and if I can't respect them, I have a hard time finding a place in my family for them.

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