Mother issues. Please advise. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 04-02-2003, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I see that there has been a recent thread dealing with MIL's.

My problem is with my very own mother.
I think this might be the forum for advice on this front.

I recently found out that my husband and I are expecting our first, which is wonderful. What's not so great is the light that is slowly but surely being shed on my own relationship with my own mother.

I'm feeling truly overwhelmed with the probability of my mom coming to stay with us for the birth of our child.
I've been extremely independent since I was a teenager (I requested to be sent to boarding school, moved away for college, etc.) My mom didn't meet my husband until our wedding, and I'd been dating and living with him for over ten years.

We're just not close, for a number of reasons. Mainly I feel like she's a burden, like whenever she's around I need to take care of her. And she expects it. That's the dynamic surrounding the two of us, especially since she divorced my father a few years back.

How have you experienced mom's dealt with your changing relationship with your own mothers? Is is OK to set limits, for example, to ask that she stay at a hotel when she comes up for the birth, as opposed to staying with us? How would I even bring this up? She's maintained total oblivion to our distanced relationship, even during the five years or so of us not even talking over the telephone. She still tells people we're "close".

The bad part is that I'm much closer to my MIL. She's coming up and I'm thrilled (she wouldn't dream of asking to stay in our small place, she's a provider, and would not want to impose).

Thanks for any feedback. And for any hope that this overwhelming anxiety will pass. Maybe I'm just experiencing my hormones in an extremely brutal way this week. ..
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#2 of 10 Old 04-02-2003, 06:25 PM
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It is DEFINITELY ok to set limits. Make her aware that you intend to have a babymoon and you don't want company during that time staying in your house.

Write out your concerns, look them over and then calmly talk to her about them. You have every right to ask her not to stay with you.

Hugs, I hope it goes ok for you!

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#3 of 10 Old 04-02-2003, 06:44 PM
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I agree completely!

You are the mom now. Set your limits now and don't feel guilty.

My mom wanted me to stay at her house after my first baby was born. She is all about "shows" and wants people to think we are close, too. She was not even taking off work, and I would have been alone the whole time!:
Well, except for DS!!
I just told her how dh had the week off, and we would all be more comfortable at our own home, etc.

You should do whatever YOU are comfotrable with!
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#4 of 10 Old 04-02-2003, 06:53 PM
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well... I'm not a mom myself yet, but I have definitely dealt with having to put down limits with my mom.

My parents got divorced about 3 years ago. It seemed very sudden at the time and all these things I didn't know about starting spilling out-- my dad was having an affair, etc. While it was certianly okay that my mom told why they we're getting a divorce, in the months to come she kept telling me all these horrible detials that really should have been saved for her therapist, not her daughter.

I knew she was blurring the boundaries and had my therapist confirm that for me, then I called her and did my best to explain that there were a lot of details she shouldn't be telling me and that I no longer wished to hear about x, y, and z. My mom and I have a pretty close relationship-- but boy did this tick her off! At first she seemed to understand, but in later conversations when she would start talking about off limits stuff and I would try and end that line of discussion, she'd get mad and say things like "well, I just don't know what i'm allowed to talk to you about anymore." She even once told me that her therapist said that I was in denial of the fact that I was now caught in the middle of my parents divorce and that hearing painful details was unavoidable. : I said "fine, I'll have my therapist call your therapist and they can duke it out over what appropriate mother daughter boundaries are and they can get back to us." Luckily, my mom has a good sense of humor.

This is all to say that it's hard to lay down boundaries with moms when you're close, so I imagine it's even harder when you're not. My advice would be to figure out what exactly you want and lay it out for your mom and expect resistance. If you would prefer she stay in a hotel while she's visiting (which is TOTALLY understandable if you have a small place and a new baby), talk to her about that and try to make it about the fact that your place is small.
I would also *try* (I know it's hard) to tackle only one issue at a time, even if the issues are related. For ex, If you can, try and steer clear of the issue about you felling like she expects you to take care of her-- unless that's an issue you want to try and talk about-- In which case I suggest trying to talk about that first and in a seperate conversation.

OR-- if all the issues you mention in your post come up at once, just expect that it will probably take several messy conversations to work it out. And that your mom will probably protest or (like mine) try to make you feel guilty, but you need to stick to your guns for your own sake.

From what it sounds like, your mother's obliviosness to the distance in your relationship, will probably make it hard for you to ask her to stay elsewhere when she visits. However, I think it is probably better to hurt feelings now and talk now, than to let her stay with you and either resent her the whole time, or end up having a huge fight when you want to be enjoying your new baby.

Just my thoughts, take what you like and ignore the rest.

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#5 of 10 Old 04-02-2003, 11:39 PM
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definately set limits! I didn't with the birth of my first baby, and it started things off really badly - my resentment built and built until we were barely speaking. She didn't understand my ap style, and didn't respect me as a mother. I would sometimes tell her what i needed (or didn't need) from her, but by this point, the relationship was too broken for me to be listened to. she would complain to my dad or dh that she didn't know what she was allowed to talk to me about, everything she said or did was wrong, etc...

Two years later, with the birth of my second daughter, I guess we both got smarter - I simply told her what the limits were - and as she started respecting them, we slowly started being friends again.

I agree that you should try and tackle only one issue at a time. Definately tell her well ahead of time that you need her to stay in a hotel, and mention that your mil is doing the same because of the space. Hopefully, with her not living with you for that week that will also alleviate some of the you having to take care of her issue.

Good luck!
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#6 of 10 Old 04-03-2003, 01:39 AM
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I can definitely, definitely relate. I think my advice would overlap with what has already been said, so I won't repeat, but one thing from my experience that I haven't seen here is that my mother expected that we would suddenly magically TRULY become close once I had my daughter. I would finally "understand".

Since our problems are based on real issues, not the fact that I didn't understand what it's like to be a mother, we did NOT suddenly magically truly become close, and this led to a pretty major blowout which did mark a turning point, though. (I said at one point "I think being a good mother during the first 9 years makes the child a well-adjusted adult, and being a good mother for the next 9 years makes for a close mother-child relationship into adulthood." Pointed look which was understood to mean that she was NOT a good mother for a big chunk of those next 9 years. I know that had to have hurt her very, very much, but it was true.)

I've set all kinds of limits throughout, and my mother is finally on a combination of medication and therapy that really seems to be helping, but I do think you have to really be prepared for this to be a signal moment in your relationship with your mother. I'm so glad that you feel close to your MIL and have her to rely on for support, and feel free to come here for support as well.
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#7 of 10 Old 04-03-2003, 02:32 AM
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The way I look at it is like this: the birth of this child will happen only once in your life, and those precious early days/weeks of bonding with your newborn will fly past, never to happen again. Your mother might be miffed, or even deeply hurt that your idea of heaven is NOT having her around at that time, or under those conditions...but IMO there is no contest as to which comes first.

My mother also wanted to come right away, but I wanted her to come later. There was a bit of tension, and I usually cave to my mother's feelings, but not this time. It was too important. And it all worked out fine in the end.

So, as you can see, my advice is to ask yourself EXACTLY what you want. When do you want her there, for how long, where will she stay, etc. then put your foot down and tell her THAT is the way it will be.

I can tell you that the LAST thing you will need is someone making you feel "not good enough" or who will make you doubt yourself and your abilities to mother your child the way you want to. If there is any possibility that your mother will do this to you (and it sounds as though she will) then do whatever you can to rid yourself of that situation.

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#8 of 10 Old 04-03-2003, 10:55 AM
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Firstly, congratulations to you and I hope your birth goes well!

I totally, totally agree with all the previous posts; I have been there and am still struggling with this one too. You MUST set your limits; you are now a family and you need to decide on how you want to do things. There is a whole world out there that will try to decide these important issues for you if you don't stand up for yourself.

My mother did stay with us for 3 days after dd's birth. It was NOT helpful, and we sent her out earlier than she intended to go. dd cried and nursed around the clock during this time and I dissolved into tears on day 4 from sheer sleep deprivation. My mom stood their and cried too - she simply didn't know what to do (hug, offer reassurance, encouragement, etc); but then, her not being able to acknowledge emotions at all is one of our issues. She was never able to support me as a new mother.

interestingly, my MIL is also a fabulous and very supportive person.

also, my experiencing motherhood did not "draw us closer" either, as a previous poster`had alluded to. Though my mother thought I would now "understand" and see things her way, I just see that she missed out on something truly special.

Good luck and seek out support - it is so important. I get lots of support from this place- it's awesome!
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#9 of 10 Old 04-03-2003, 11:38 AM
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Oh, this is so difficult. I found myself in a very similar position with the birth of my daughter. I love my mother, and we are quite close, but I really wanted this special time for the three of us alone. I felt it was really important that DH and I have the first week with our new baby to get to know one another as a family. I agonized over how to accomplish this, as I knew my mom wanted to be with us for the birth of her first grandchild. I asked everyone I knew for advice - and got many conflicting opinions.

In the end, I listened to my inner voice, which kept telling me that I needed to ask for exactly what I wanted, and to be firm and accept nothing less. When I explained it all to mom, telling her that I would love to have her come and meet the baby, but not until the second week, she was a bit hurt but understood. We had a great week together, the week after she was born!

Good luck!

mommy ro Greta 3/14/02
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#10 of 10 Old 04-03-2003, 03:04 PM
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Congratulations!! I will echo others' advice, and say that limits are absolutely OK.

Before our son was born, my husband and I decided that we didn't want anyone to come stay with us. We wanted our own space. Well, when his mother decided when she could come visit, my husband caved. Ds was only a week old when she came to stay for a week. She hasn't been back since.

Good luck, and know that you DO know what is best for your family.
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