Upset over fight with MIL - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First, I want to preface this by saying I adore my mil and we typically get along wonderfully. She is by far more of a mother to me than my own mother. I take issue with some of the things she did raising dh, but it was a different generation and she has also mellowed with age. She is a big part of our family's life, and willingly read Unconditional Parenting and The Continuum Concept at my request. She is European, so bf'ing and no circ go without saying, but she also supports much of my AP parenting choices. She has told me over and over that dd1 is an absolute joy to be around, and she thinks I do a wonderful job as a parent.

She also dropped everything and flew here to help me for a few weeks during the end of my pg when my back pain was so awful and I could hardly care for myself or dd1 (they go south every winter, although they have a condo 5 min from here). She did my dishes, kept my house neat, fed dd1, put her down for naps, played with her, etc.

So. I know I'm so very lucky to have her as my mil, and I know many people don't have anywhere near as good a relationship, and I do feel very blessed.

That said, we had a fight today ... probably the only fight we've ever had. DH went back to work today and mil came over this morning to help me out on my first day all alone (she is gone now, had a doc appt). I mentioned that he was up during the night helping me with Sophie (she is still super gassy and wiggly at night, so he takes her for part of the night and puts her to sleep in a bassinet). She flipped her lid and started chewing me out, saying it was *MY* job to take care of the baby at night, not dh's. That he has to go to "work" during the day, and I don't dare interrupt his sleep. That the only time he should have to "help" me parent is during the evening before the kids go to bed, and then it's my job again all night long. And how would I feel if he fell asleep while driving and was killed in an accident! I would be all alone! Etc., etc., etc. I countered that I WORK during the day too, and I have no opportunity to make up the sleep (dd1 only naps once or twice a week, and it's very unpredictable). She told me his job was more important. I beg to differ, since I am primarily responsible for raising our children and making sure they feel loved and cared for, and grow up into compassionate adults, and I don't think either one of us can say our job is "more important" than the other. But she insisted his job was more important, and told me I had been a "working woman" and I know how hard it is to work without sleep, blah blah blah blah.

She went on to say that she did it all alone, and her friends did it all alone, and she didn't have her mother to help her, and have I asked MY friends what they do? And I said yes, their husbands also help, and she practically yelled that she just doesn't understand the women of my generation, and then went back to telling me I couldn't "do" this to dh.

I could go on and on, but that is the gist of things. Her voice kept getting louder and louder (all in front of both dds, I might add), every time I tried to defend myself she said "NO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!" and I finally held up my hand and said I didn't want to argue about it. Which she thankfully respected and that was the end of the conversation and the beginning of a tense half hour where we practically didn't speak to each other.

I feel so hurt by what she said. I know she doesn't think this about me, but it felt like she was accusing me of being weak and greedy and uncaring. That I'm somehow deficient because I'm not able to do something that she and everyone else she knows could do. I didn't mention this to her, but we have chosen to parent in a way that requires a LOT more effort IMO, at least in the short term (no CIO, lots of time in-arms, no time-outs for dd1, lots of time and energy put into finding ways to solve problems creatively instead of punishing, bribing, etc.). I simply can't parent like that when I'm getting 4 hours of much interrupted sleep a night. And yes, I happen to be someone who does not function well without enough sleep. I get short-tempered and irritable. I yell. I know that in order to be a good parent, I need dh's help at night.

We eventually went about our day like nothing had happened, and she accompanied me to the grocery store with both dds. She kept saying how "brave" I was to make this outing, and she couldn't believe I let dd1 have her own little cart (much harder to manage her when she's not strapped into the seat of my cart!). I wore Sophie in my wrap, so my hands were free, but even with mil's help, yes, it was a little hectic, but whatever . That's life with two kids! It was just so weird that an hour before she was telling me I should be able to do this without help, and then she went on and on saying she never would have had the courage to go to the grocery store with both kids, even with help! I don't know if that was her way of trying to apologize or what.

I dunno. I'm just looking to vent I guess. I'm not worried about our relationship. I'm not even expecting or necessarily wanting a "sit down and let's work this thing out" discussion. She doesn't have to agree with our choice, and she appears willing to keep her mouth shut about it (once I told her to, at least). I just needed a place to cry about it .

Mama to M (7/05) and S (5/08) my surprise !!!
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#2 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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What a hard thing for you to deal with right now.

Maybe she's feeling defensive and jealous. She sees the wonderful relationship you have with your children and husband (and, yes, even herself) and she knows she missed out on all that because she made different choices.

You and your husband both have full time, 24 hour jobs. One isn't worth more than the other, that's silly. Of course you need help at night. Besides, it's not like this stage will last forever.
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#3 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 05:34 PM
 
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I'm sorry - but that is a really crappy thing for her to say. You handled it a lot better than I would have!!!

s:
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#4 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 05:40 PM
 
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I was surprised when I saw your title said MIL and not mother, I know how well you get along with your MIL!

Sounds like she may be a bit stressed herself, I obviously don't know her but from what you've said about her this seems odd, doesn't it?

I agree with you 100%, my DH helps out at night now and was before I was pg. He will once the baby comes too. That's how we work, and we sound a lot like you!

I have a friend who feels like your MIL and I'm always wanting to say to her "and taking care of your children isn't work/important?" sigh. I really don't understand why one job is more 'important' than the other.

I think you handled it extrememly well too, I think I would have broken down and cried.

Hope things get better soon...

Mommy of 3 super charged kiddos
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#5 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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I've got no advice besides that this too shall pass. Even if you just agree to disagree in the end. You can't agree on everything. I hope thing get back to normal soon. Try and focus on the good stuff.

WARNING: The comments and opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of the community in which I reside; or those of the internet parenting network.
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#6 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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Not in your ddc but wanted to help you. I agree with what 1st poster said. And add:
We live with my inlaws so I have to deal with them all the time. I'm sorry that your mil went off like that on you. I do not agree with what she said to you. The only one who should be worring about your hubby is your hubby and you. She may not understand this but what if your hubby wants to do this, to help you out. Then its really none of her business. Your hubby is really sweet to willingly stay up at night helping you out. Plus it's not like it going to last forever-baby wil eventually learn to stay asleep at night. I totally understand the needing sleep thing or I am the same way.
No ones job is more important then the mothers, otherwise society would not survive.
I think in her own way she was trying to apologize when she said those comments at the store.
This sounded all jumbled but I hope that this helped.

Wife to DH(10/02) Mom to DD1('03), angel1.gif('04), DS1('05), DD2('07), DS2('08), DD3('10) angel1.gif(08/11), angel1.gif (09/11). We follow Jesus, praying.gif, quiverful, homeschool.gif,cd.gif ,winner.jpg,familybed1.gif,femalesling.GIF, and we are a food allergic family.

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#7 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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Are you holding a gun to DH and forcing him to help at night? If so, then we may need to discuss what "you-are DOING to him"...otherwise...I'm gonna assume it's voluntary and he respects your job as much as his. Hell, he may even fess up to enjoying being needed in the night once or twice as mine did to my absolute surprise with our last newborn.

Like someone else said it's temporary as well. Both things you could remind mil if she brings it up again. Maybe dh can defend himself-have her ask him about it.

Sounds like you guys agree to disagree at this point, which heavens knows I have done a billion times with my mil/sil...all the "ils" in which case, maybe just let it lie. Even in a couple months, there will likely be more sleep for everyone and less stress in the house. It's hard on families as a whole, stress wise I think, to have a newborn in the mix even if they are excited and it's happy stress. I'd cut everyone generous amounts of slack and know that you guys love eachother alot.

I hope things are smooth as glass next time you're together (and PS..you are doing an awesome job!)
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#8 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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Wow, I am sorry that this happened! I know what it is like to be sleep deprived, but then to have someone challenge you, someone who you trust and love. I agree with other posters, she may be stressed and sad that your relationships are better than what she had. I did want to add a bit of my story though..... When I had DD1 I did do it all, DH NEVER helped at night, (because I wouldn't let him). I about had a mental breakdown! DH figured out that I was trying to do it all and he sat me down to have a talk. He told me that my job is more important than his, and that I am not super mom and I need to learn to ask for help. Raising children is a HARD job, add lack of sleep and all of a sudden patience levels go down, tempers go up and we make bad parenting choices we wouldn't normally make!

So I think it is great that your DH is helping out with the baby! You should just tell MIL that she did such a good job raising a gentleman that he wouldn't dream of leaving you all alone at night to deal with a fussy newborn babe!

Momma to Ema(7), Amy(5) and David(1), wife to Dan the Man and due for another blessing in August!
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#9 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 08:38 PM
 
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My MIL went off on a very similar rant after our second child was born. She just *couldn't believe* that DH was feeding and bathing our 18 month old before bed while I cared for the baby. That was MY job. He was supposed to come home, crack open a beer, watch TV, while I waited on him hand and foot.

I was floored.

Not only because I'd just spent the day alone with an 18 month old and newborn and had just lost my grandfather to a sudden heart attack and was dealing with some vicious PPD....but also because my husband WANTED to do those things. He worked long hours and didn't see his son all day. He liked to come home and take over with him. Then he'd take the baby after Gabe was in bed and play with/feed/love on her for an hour or so. Those were his choices. I didn't MAKE him do it (although I darn well would have ) and she just couldn't get that. He also got up with Hannah every other feeding (she was bottle fed) at night. When she got a bit older he did all the nighttime feedings. It was their quiet alone time. He's never once complained and often says it was some of the most special time he could have had with her (sort of like nursing, only for a man).

Anyway, she said it herself. She doesn't understand. There were different expectations in that generation. One, I will point out, that started the anti-depressant craze. Women were expected to do an awful lot more then and we still don't have 'equal footing'. Studies show women that WOH still do the majority of the child and home care AND put in 40 hours a week at work.
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#10 of 21 Old 05-19-2008, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks all . bad night here, so no time, but I appreciate all of the support!

Mama to M (7/05) and S (5/08) my surprise !!!
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#11 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 12:15 AM
 
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I'm sorry you had a fight

My DH is gone right now, but when he was here he gets up when ds wakes up during the night to change his diaper and then he give him over to me to nurse him.

My MIL came to visit and suggested we take shifts during the night. Me and DH just started chuckling b/c obviously I always have to get up b/c I have the boobs.

Mom of 3 sons and one daughter
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#12 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 12:16 AM
 
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keeping you in my thoughts mama-i've had my family go-rounds this preg.,including dh just being dumb. hope tomorrows a better day for you
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#13 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 12:21 AM
 
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I'm sorry that this happened between you and your MIL. At the same time I'm happy that you have a good MIL DIL relationship. It's so good that the two of you can go on after an arguement. My MIL and I have never argued, but we have such a fake phony almost non-existant relationship.

: 2:Ma To 6 :12,8,7,5,2,1&
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#14 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 12:22 AM
 
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Oh man, DH gets up to change the diapers & occasionally to burp the baby... neither of us are getting any sleep. That's just how it is with a newborn, for both parents! I'm so with you on this one.



Your MIL is just from a different time.

Mommy to THREE sweet boys & ONE sweet girl + a newb due in February!  I need a nap. 
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#15 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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My French MIL has the same attitude. She's always defending her son to me. Telling me how lucky I am that he helps so much and bla bla bla. My husband tends to hang around with his father, sitting on his arse watching t.v. and waiting for dinner to magicly appear on the table when his parents are here. I'm not too quiete about my anger when this happens, so I get lectures from her a lot when this happens. Luckily, my dh sees when I've hit my limit of this and gets up to help, with his mother trying to stop him or take over the whole time.

Even when I hand a child over to him for him to take care of for whatever reason, she'll take over for my husband as if it's inconvenient for him, so she'll do it. For example, I can hold my baby at dinner, but if I get tired and hand the baby for dh to hold while he's eating, she'll jump up and get the baby from my husband. She doesn't do that for me.

It also seems that every aspect of our parenting is up for approval or disapproval. It's not just how it is, it has to be dissected.

Anyway, I feel ya.
Lisa

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#16 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 01:45 AM
 
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I hope tomorrow is a better day, and that your mil was just in a bad mood and took it out on you. To me, family tension is very upsetting, so I hope that all is well very soon.

Amy
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#17 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 02:08 AM
 
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I agree that parenting is a joint venture and that it doesn't stop when a certain hour is reached! My dh helps out immensely with the children we both agreed to bring into this world. We very much take into consideration each other's abilities and schedules and help one another out. He knows I am available at any point and he is available at any point to me - whether it's the middle of the night or a Sunday morning.

I hope your dh is able to mention to his mother how important it is to him to be able to share some of the nighttime parenting and maybe inform her that it's his choice to be involved when the need arrises.

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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#18 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 10:13 AM
 
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i have had the same discussion/argument with my inlaws.. but the thing is, if you look at the facts, they actually DID have help... just not how they see it. my MIL, as an example, took her sons to either one grandparents house or the other for dinner at least 3-5 nights a week for many years. and they stayed with GP's after school when she was working, too.

Her mother, who likes to remind everyone that she raised 9 kids, and her husband didm't have to help at all... had for many years of that time one of her kids grandmother's either living with them, or comming to stay every weekend.

they don't think they had help, but they lived i n the age of "it takes a village" it still takes a village, we just more often than not don't have one, which makes things only haerder for us. but really, in the dayds of or moms and grandmothers, in many areas, at least, even if family wasn't right there, there were always neighbors you could trust to help watch out for your kids... they could send there kids down the street to a freinds house without fear of the kid beibg snatched, or worse. very few places are safe enough now to do that.

i take everything the oldeer generations say witrh a grain of salt. just because it was rught for them in their day doesn't make it right for us now.

Theresa, Mom to DS 4-6-06, and DD 5-11-08, and another on the way anyday.
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#19 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 02:28 PM
 
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My husband heard about a trick from his boss (who has triplets) which we are strongly considering. They traded "shifts" at night. One was on duty from 8pm-2am and the other was on duty from 2am-8am. It means that one way or another they each got six hours of uninterrupted sleep. It's not absolutely ideal, but it helped keep sleep deprivation at bay.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#20 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone ! I am feeling much better about things today, and reading everyone's responses really helped. Postpartum hormones just seem to make this kind of stuff harder to deal with . Anyway, spent time with mil last night and today, and it looks like it's going to fall into the "let's just pretend that didn't happen" category, which is fine with me. I could see her bringing it up with dh, but he and I have discussed it and we're on the same page.

On a very sweet note, dh was changing Sophie's pooper diaper during the night last night, and had her out of her sleeper (poop leak ). He said, "I don't think I spend enough time touching her," and the next thing I knew he slipped her into his shirt and was snuggling with her skin to skin! And you better believe that would NOT have happened in the evening, what with a tired toddler running around and having to fix dinner, go through the mail, talk about our days, etc. It really warmed my heart .

Mama to M (7/05) and S (5/08) my surprise !!!
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#21 of 21 Old 05-20-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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There are tender moments like that in the middle of the night, when all is quiet and you are just in a different space all together that would never have otherwise happened. I cherish the late night moments I've had with my babies! The way the full moonlight comes thru the window and washes across their chubby nursing little cheeks comes to mind. Those are moments that Daddys need to share too!

I remember a poem I read once about this and it brought tears to my eyes!

I am so glad you have a husband who understands the precisiousness of these times. That is so awesome!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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