Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
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My first feeling is that, if this criticism is extending beyond just parenting to all aspects of your life, that she really has an underlying issue here that is manifesting itself at your expense. Perhaps deep down she is jealous of you, your family, your children, etc...and this is how she expresses it.
Second, I think that you are going to have to let her come over for Christmas, now that you've invited her. It would be really hurtful to her, I'm sure, to be "disinvited".
My suggestion is to try and "grin and bear it" while she's there. Steel yourself mentally for the criticisms that you know will come, and come up with some "mantra" or repeat response you can give to diffuse the situation and hopefully gently let her know that this isn't getting her anywhere. Try to put on a smile and say things like "well, we're happy with doing it that way", or "well, it works well for us", or "I used to think that way before I had children", etc. Just brace yourself to ignore what she says, put on that smile, and try to let the comments slide.
Then, after the holidays, you should definitely have her over for tea and talk with her. Don't make it a criticism of her, focus on how it makes YOU feel. That way the conversation is about you, not an attack on her. For example "you know, when you always comment about how we should let DS do [blank], it makes me feel as though you think I'm a lousy parent". Or something along those lines. Hopefully she'll just feel so bad that she is coming across that way (which she may not realize) that she'll just cut it down a bit.
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Mama to DD14 and DS12, both born on MDC.