On dealing with an overly involved, overly critical grandma. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 12-28-2011, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi :) I'm a longtime lurker who desperately needs some advice.

I have a beautiful 6 month old baby girl. She's the light of my life, but her great-grandma (my grandmother) is making my life an absolute hell.

 

I have a very small family, and we're all super close. I grew up with pretty much only my mom and grandma. I'm a single mom, so they make up the bulk of my support system. My mom is great most of the time, and very supportive of most of my parenting choices. At worst, she "puts up with" the cloth diapering, co-sleeping, and babywearing.

 

Here's where things blow up. My grandmother has been watching V while I attend college classes a few days a week. This has been wonderful because I know she dotes on her and never lets her cry. V would definitely not get the same quality of attention and care from a daycare facility. She's high-needs, so she takes a lot of energy. I really do appreciate my grandmother watching her while I'm away. shrug.gif

 

V has NEVER taken well to a bottle (I've tried every kind known to man). Grandma started in with "When are you going to feed that baby?" at about 6 weeks. I explained that I'd be starting at 6 months, and every time she asked me about it again (practically every time I saw her) I'd say, "Grandma, you know my plan." Over. and. over. Now that she's 6 months old (and I'm on winter break) I've been slowly starting BLW with V. She's taken amazingly to it, but Mom and Grandma are VEHEMENTLY opposed to it. They're terrified of the choking factor and V not getting enough nutrients. Ive tried to show them the research and brought out everything I know about it, but they refuse to see it as anything other than a hippy new-age fad. 

 

No matter what I do, I'm doing the wrong thing in my grandmother's eyes. She is an extreme control freak and perfectionist, and if I differ from her expectations, I'm WRONG. I try so hard to let things roll off my back, but after the millionth time of hearing the same comment, I usually end up snapping at her. Like today, we were at a restaurant, and she begged me to let V chew on a breadstick (!) because she was fussy. This is about the 15th time she's asked to give her some sort of nasty "teething biscuit" that was totally inappropriate for a 6 mo. I just looked at her and said, "NO." pretty sharply. When I apologized for snapping at her at the end of the meal, she said something to the effect of "Well, I'm used to it." She pretty consistently uses the guilt trip to make me feel like a terrible parent. 

 

I try to make her understand that I don't mean to snap at her, but the way she talks to me really hurts my feelings. Every time we have this conversation, she turns it around on herself saying, "If you think YOUR feelings are hurt, just imagine how I feel!!" Which totally defeats the purpose of trying to talk to her about it. It just never gets us anywhere but more hurt feelings and pouting.

 

I really respect her and want her in V's life, but she hurts me so consistently that I just hate being around her greensad.gif I've gotten to the point where I'm about ready to resign myself and just puree the damn food and shut my mouth to keep everyone happy. She's not someone I can easily cut out of my life since we're all so close. I wouldn't want to if I could! We used to get along so well before V was born. I think she's having trouble relinquishing control and realizing that I'm an adult and capable of making my own decisions and mistakes. 

 

Wow. Sorry for the rant. I'm just so stuck and don't know how else to handle this. help.gif


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#2 of 15 Old 12-28-2011, 10:25 PM
 
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They don't respect your wishes but you can't afford to have anyone else watch her? That is really tough. I honestly could not leave my child with anyone I did not trust wholeheartedly to carry out my parenting plans. When my mom slipped my 6 month old m and m's and sweet tea... that was end of nana babysitting for a long, long time. Good luck.
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#3 of 15 Old 12-29-2011, 04:44 AM
 
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Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of your life-long need, as her mother, to be V's advocate in all things... because there will *always* be someone to disagree with what you are doing.  You are breastfeeding your baby and giving her nature's perfect food for infants.  Babies do not wean on their own at 6 months (this would be mother-led weaning, not BLW), nor do they start solids because a date turns up on a calendar.  I would be as forceful as you need to be to say, "I'm going to breastfeed this baby on her timetable and feed her on her timetable and respect her as a person to do it her way, not yours."  My dd wasn't ready for solids until she was almost 12 months old!  And then she didn't want any purees, she wanted table food.  Every child is different and respecting their schedule of development is as individual as the person.

 

It can be hard to do these things because we also love the people that are voicing their objections to what we are doing (you want to respect your grandma and mother, too!)... but stand your ground.  You are going to have to advocate for your dd over, and over, and over again before this child of yours is raised to an adult.  Do things the way YOUR mothering instinct is telling you to do them.  They don't know best, you do.  Put your foot down and if they are not respecting your wishes, I would strongly suggest finding other caregivers that *will* respect you.  If, as you said, they love your little V, they will do everything that is in her best interest... and that is the way YOU want things done, not their way.  Whatever strong language it takes, they need to realize this.  Be strong, mama!  Hugs and best of luck!

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#4 of 15 Old 12-29-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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I totally agree with the pp! One if the hardest lessons for me as a parent has been to learn to stand my ground & advocate for my child - even in situations where it is uncomfortable to do so.
IMO, tell them you love them & politely stand your ground now on the important issues, or, you'll be caving/arguing about decisions - school, etc. - for years to come. Also, let the small stuff go!
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#5 of 15 Old 12-30-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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I think you're not talking about baby lead weaning, right?  But BLW is something having to do with how you introduce foods and not turning them all into a pureed baby food?  If so, I'm wondering if that specific problem could be addressed by letting your g'ma feed her stuff like apple sauce or yogurt with a spoon.  Or does BLW require no foods of that texture?

 

As for the larger issue of how she's treating you, that sounds really hard to deal with.  I'd be snapping, too.  And I don't think you should feel guilty about it, she's the one who's being disrespectful.  Maybe you should sit her down and tell her that it's your turn and you need to be able to parent your child the way that feels right to you.  


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#6 of 15 Old 01-20-2012, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The problem isn't so much her eating off a spoon, it's the forcing food into her mouth. My rule of thumb is that I feed her stuff that I'd eat off of a spoon by loading the spoon for her and handing her the spoon letting her eat it herself. My grandma has gotten it into her head that I don't feed DD at all (she thinks a 6 month old should be eating 5 times a day, mostly cereal), so I'm afraid she'll try to force feed her when I'm not there.

 

She did this to me when I was a child, and I have some serious messed up food issues now. angry.gif Not that it's all her fault, but that certainly didn't help.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

I think you're not talking about baby lead weaning, right?  But BLW is something having to do with how you introduce foods and not turning them all into a pureed baby food?  If so, I'm wondering if that specific problem could be addressed by letting your g'ma feed her stuff like apple sauce or yogurt with a spoon.  Or does BLW require no foods of that texture?

 

As for the larger issue of how she's treating you, that sounds really hard to deal with.  I'd be snapping, too.  And I don't think you should feel guilty about it, she's the one who's being disrespectful.  Maybe you should sit her down and tell her that it's your turn and you need to be able to parent your child the way that feels right to you.  



 


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#7 of 15 Old 01-20-2012, 03:43 PM
 
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I think most of us parents have to go through a growth of some sort, to some degree or another. Supposedly we're already adults, before we even had children. But having children is another step of adulthood, where you stand up and say "I'm the parent." By extension you are also establishing your role as an independent adult, making your own decisions (whether they are related to parenting or not).

 

I think it's great you're trying to explain what you're doing to them, but apparently they aren't going to be convinced. And that's fine. They are adults too, they don't have to agree with you. But rational adults respect the wishes of a parent and do not undermine them.

 

Can they agree to disagree and follow your wishes? Ask them.

 

If they can't - whether they admit they won't or you just know they won't, then you have to decide. Either you tolerate it or you don't.

 

Not tolerating it would include finding another care provider. You absolutely have that right. You are not doing anything wrong if you choose that. If they can't be grownup enough to respect your wishes as a PARENT, then they lose child care privileges.

 

I realize finding other care may seem impossible, but if your mother and grandmother were to suddenly disappear, what would you do? There are options. It may be difficult but it's possible.

 

It's also a reasonable decision to make that it's worth it for them to continue childcare. But there are no magic wands that will make your mother and grandmother respect you. You can stand your ground, and they might grow to respect that - but they might not. So we can't really give advice on  how to make them listen, because some people just won't listen. I do think that it may be more effective to stop trying to convince them and start just putting your foot down. "Do not feed V this food. Why not? Because I said so. I'm the mom, I've done my research and that's what I've decided. You've got reasons why I'm wrong? Well, I've heard them, I've considered them, and this is my decision. Are you going to respect that or do I need to find other child care? Yes, I love and value you and you guys are great, but I need someone who will RESPECT me and my decisions as a PARENT, can you or can you not do that?"


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#8 of 15 Old 01-20-2012, 04:10 PM
 
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Im honestly not seeing a huge issue here. I am understanding that you and your family are very close and that your grandmother takes amazing care of your baby. I understand that she is frustrating you by disagreeing with your choices but what i dont understand is why you are holding so firmly to a choice that from what i can tel doesnt matter? If you are feeding baby the same thing what does it matter if it is pureed or solid? If it makes your grandma so upset and she provides such good care isnt it reasonable to simply puree just to satisfy her since the baby will not be hurt by that choice? Maybe i am misunderstanding though... If that is the situation my suggestion would be to just go with it being "right" isnt worth an argument if its not benefitting the child.


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#9 of 15 Old 01-20-2012, 05:09 PM
 
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It sounds like a compromise might be the best thing.  We used to put food in cheese cloth and tie it up so the babies could chew on itm.  Baby gagging freaks my mom out too and if she was watching tthem i didn't think it was right for her to be nervous.  I understand you not wanting her force fed cereal and that habit seems to have been beaten into people past a certain age.  I do almost no cereal except for a little brown rice cereal occasionally and if my mom asks I tell her no cereal and she drops it now.  I remember a line from the teen class for parenting with love and logic, "I love you too much to argue with you" *smiley sweetly* and change the subject.  Has To be repeated a lot in the beginning.  

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#10 of 15 Old 01-20-2012, 09:16 PM
 
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well... i did BLW with my second child and it was great. (by BLW i mean that i never pureed foods or "forced" food into his mouth by "traditional spoon feeding.")

 

BLW is a **big** responsibility. there IS a choke factor. you DO have to commit to watching your child the whole time they have food in their reach, and you have to accept to yourself that you CAN rescue them from choking (which you can) -- provided that you see it happening right away and respond immediately.

 

IMO, that is a HUGE responsibility to ask someone else to fulfill. personally, if i wasn't a SAHM who was with my child/baby constantly, i don't think i would have undertaken BLW. i would not have, for example, expected my mother to execute this type of baby feeding in my place.

 

--- 

 

would it be so awful and screw everything up if you allow gma to offer some puree on a spoon, provided that she not "force feed" but instead simply "load the spoon"'; yogurt, mashed bananas, that type of thing. and YOU can take responsibility for the rest of the feeding, when you are home... which it sounds like is the majority of the time.

 

---

 

i understand that you have some food "issues" which may be related in part of being force fed. i'm sorry you have that problem.

 

---

 

it is tough to be an idealist when you have to rely upon others. and it is doubly hard to when those you rely upon are your direct family. are you also very young? not saying that's an "excuse" for them to strong-arm you, or that you are any less of a parent-in-charge... just that these are all factors in your situation. i'm big on compromise in this type of situation. give a little but set some limits. how would that go over?

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#11 of 15 Old 01-21-2012, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you all are right. I'm struggling because my grandmother had fought me on every decision I've made, and I guess I'm just frustrated, I've pretty much mastered the "smile and nod" when she gives me advice, but I really think that when she's watching her, she deserves a little say, too. She's fought me on breastfeeding ("Put her foot down" and demanded that I give up when I got mastitis), cosleeping, cloth diapers, CIO, practically every parenting choice I've ever made. Nothing I do is right, and I guess I don't have much tolerance anymore. 

 

I'm not terribly young, I'm 23 and self-sufficient. However, I don't have a partner in this, and my family and I have always been close. I could take her to a daycare if I needed to, I'd just rather she be with family if she needs to be away from me.

 

I have suggested she load the spoon, but she refuses to feed her anything other than plain, white rice cereal which I'm not doing at all. I am totally willing to compromise, but she isn't. Sometimes I hand her a loaded spoon. I think it's silly to eat applesauce with fingers. But my grandmother thinks a baby is incapable of feeding themselves even though she's seen DD do it successfully several times. 

 

However, I've resolved the issue myself. I'm taking all online classes this semester, and will not require childcare at all. I still visit her several times a week so she doesn't feel left out or rejected. She's taken this really hard. When we visit, she coos and fusses over the baby but won't talk to me. She says things like, "If your mommy would ever let me see you, you could have some REAL food" and "mean old mommy" and things like that. It really hurts my feelings.

 

I'm also having a bit of a "I was here first" kind of feeling. This is totally stupid and selfish, I know. I don't resent my baby at all, but I am kind of hurt by my grandmother's total deference of all kindness onto her. She doesn't even hug me or tell me she loves me anymore. Until the food thing, I hadn't acted any different. I was trying really hard to "kill her with kindness" and allow her to give advice, even if I had no intention of following it. She just sees it as a huge disrespect if she suggests CIO while we're together and I don't immediately leave my screaming DD in a room by herself.

 

Well. This turned into a rant. But the good news is I get to stay home! She's offered to still watch her next year, and by then she'll be well over one and feeding her won't be so much of an issue, I hope.

 

Thanks for all your advice, you've all really given me some perspective.

 


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#12 of 15 Old 01-21-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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I'm sorry you're grandmother is being such butthead.

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#13 of 15 Old 01-21-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShyingViolet View Post

However, I've resolved the issue myself. I'm taking all online classes this semester, and will not require childcare at all. I still visit her several times a week so she doesn't feel left out or rejected. She's taken this really hard. When we visit, she coos and fusses over the baby but won't talk to me. She says things like, "If your mommy would ever let me see you, you could have some REAL food" and "mean old mommy" and things like that. It really hurts my feelings.

That wouldn't fly with me. There is no reason for her to bad mouth you in front of DD. If she doesn't like your parenting choices, she should voice them to you, not DD. That IMO is disrespectful to you as a parent. You are at least trying to keep the relationship with her and visiting several times a week sounds stressful if she is making statements like that.

 

I'm also having a bit of a "I was here first" kind of feeling. This is totally stupid and selfish, I know. I don't resent my baby at all, but I am kind of hurt by my grandmother's total deference of all kindness onto her. She doesn't even hug me or tell me she loves me anymore. Until the food thing, I hadn't acted any different. I was trying really hard to "kill her with kindness" and allow her to give advice, even if I had no intention of following it. She just sees it as a huge disrespect if she suggests CIO while we're together and I don't immediately leave my screaming DD in a room by herself.

Grandparents love babies, usually. Your grandmother was gaga over you and now she wants to be that way with your DD. That's great. But just because you don't heed her every word of advice does not mean that you are disrespecting her. You are parenting as you see fit.

 

Well. This turned into a rant. But the good news is I get to stay home! She's offered to still watch her next year, and by then she'll be well over one and feeding her won't be so much of an issue, I hope.

 

Thanks for all your advice, you've all really given me some perspective.

 

 

Truth is, your grandmother will not change. At this point staying firm to her about your parenting decisions and keeping the relationship going (if that is what you want to do) is going to be a bit rough. I would stand your ground, though. I am very close to my grandmother and I love her dearly. But she is so set in her ways. She insists that we come visit her but my uncle that lives there with her has Hepatitis C and she has MRSA. We limit contact and dodge visits because we don't want DSS exposed to either disease. She has thrown some fits about it. Which she loves to do about once every month or so. I don't let it get to me. I love her and she is an amazing grandmother. The best way to deal with her is in small doses. I call and check on her a lot and she seems to like that I call. If she needs anything, I do run and get it for her. I just don't take DSS with me, he stays with DH. I also use hand sanitizer as soon as I walk out of her house.

 

Good luck. 



 


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#14 of 15 Old 01-21-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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You can not change grandma. Better to find someone else to care for the child,and limit your visits with her.Me, I would not tolerate the BS comments she is making and would cut contact telling her," Respect me or we don't visit." It is up to you what you are willing to put up with. Toxic people do not deserve time with the little ones unless they learn to hold their tongue.

 

<<<< She says things like, "If your mommy would ever let me see you, you could have some REAL food" and "mean old mommy" and things like that. It really hurts my feelings.>>>>

 

Saying this to an infant so you could hear it is quite the insulting jab. I would have left right then and there.Best wishes with her.

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#15 of 15 Old 01-21-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

<<<< She says things like, "If your mommy would ever let me see you, you could have some REAL food" and "mean old mommy" and things like that. It really hurts my feelings.>>>>

 

Saying this to an infant so you could hear it is quite the insulting jab. I would have left right then and there.Best wishes with her.

it's passive aggressive. *intended* for your ears, not the baby's.
 

 

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