Needing support!! <vent> - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 04:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,
I am dying to talk to someone likeminded! Since I've been a mama I have discovered that support from others is so very important. And boy, do I need some support this week!!
My family is supportive of my parenting decisions, but my husband and his family aren't always supportive. My MIL is the worst - she constantly criticizes my decision to extended-nurse, tells me I am stupid for cloth diapering, undermines every decision I try to make, and then tries to get my husband on her side. And she is here for the holidays, for 2 weeks... I don't know if I will make it!
She is from the old school of parenting that tells you not to pick up a crying baby because you will spoil it, not to breastfeed, definately not to co-sleep, and to discipline with smacking of bottoms and faces. This goes against everything I stand for.She gets upset when i dont let her hold the baby, but when I do let her hold him, she handles him roughly and scolds him for crying. The last time she saw him, she had an open poison ivy rash on her arm, and insisted on holding the baby. She got very offended when i said no. My husband just shrugs and says "Well, she's my mom and i turned out fine, so she cant be that bad." She just has totally opposite ideas of parenting that I do, and she refuses to consider that anyone else's ideas or opinions could be correct.Talking to her is like banging my head against a brick wall.
I feel like a bad person but I dont want her touching my son. How do i deal with this? They live a few states away so we only see them a few times a year. Anyone else in the same boat?
<whew!>
I appreciate the opportunity to vent! I feel better already!
Thanks, mamas.
Lisa
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#2 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 06:36 AM
 
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I have found a wonderful place here at MDC, just reading the posts and finding so many women that fel the same way (or similar) as I do has been so refreshing. I'm sorry your family isn't supportive. I'm very lucky, if I asked MIL for advice, her response would be "You're his mother, you must know" Great, but when I was a new mom with a 5 day old I was looking for more.

so what's this talk of extended breastfeeding? your baby is 5 months old!! Can you have copies of articles pre printed out for her to read if she gives you any flack? Like the American Academy of Peds reconmendation of nothing but BM for the first 6 months of life. Or does she know better? And excuse me "You're stupid for using cloth diapers"? WTF???

I think it's time for hubby to stand up and speak for his family. Yes I was FF and my mother let me CIO, bcause that what she was told to do, and I am a functioning memeber of society. However, isn't the goal in any parenting is to want better for our children than we had? If you can get mean with him you can throw his words back in his face and say "obviously you did NOT turn out fine, because you're a grown man and you are catering to your mother over the needs of your child."

You are not a bad person. You are protecting your daughter and that is a mothers instinct, and it's a wondrful instinct.
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#3 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 08:12 AM
 
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i have one like that... and we see each other amost every day b/c she takes care of my 5 yo (and feeds her candy of course, and tells her she's bad for crying, and that this and that "isn't done", and so forth)... we have settled for a mutually allergic relationship. In other words, we are civil. She still tries relentlessly to blab her opinions at me, and I listen and say "hmmm, interesting," but I have told her flat out, "you had your chance to raise kids. Now I'm the mom, I make the decisions. Thank you very much." End of story. It doesn't mean she stops giving me her constant monologue about what is right and wrong but I basically ignore her, and if I find myself compelled to speak up, I choose my battles carefully. Best with these types is to quote "the doctor" (as if your own feelings, instincts & experience count for nothing) - they grew up reliant on the medical establishment to tell them how to live. Check out Dr. Sears for reliable "proof". BTW I thought the nursing recommendation was to age 2 for best immunity? Hugs and good luck to you!
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#4 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 12:20 PM
 
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What they said!

Actually, what has worked for me is a bit of all of it. Whatever it takes, basically. sometimes I just ignore her, sometimes I say "Our pediatrician recommends", sometimes I tell her these are our children, she's raised hers, and what we say is the final word, and my husband has spoken to her, too, although it took him some time to get it together to do that. (um... well, 6.5 years, but we don't need to go there. )

We've finally gotten to the point where she does mostly leave well enough alone, and if she interferes, we call her on it. Last time she even proffered an apology.
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#5 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 12:22 PM
 
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Oh, and I forgot one thing: sometimes it's easier to not engage. For example, we never did tell her the midwife didn't show up in time for the last birth.

I thought that was kinda sad, as my dh is very very proud to have been the one to catch our baby, but he didn't feel comfortable sharing that with her.
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#6 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 01:26 PM
 
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Well, how we cope is to not bring situations up, ie not circumcising, vaccinations etc. When mil has gotten really argumentative I very calmly and forcefully state that the topic is not up for discussion, sometimes I have to repeat myself, but eventually the conversation stops. As to not get her to hold him, well I don't know, I find if I hold lil' man real close and people are less likely to even ask. Sometimes I tell people he has sensitive skin, which he does, so reacts to other people's clothes. Perhaps something about how he prefers his mom right now. My lil' man is about 2 weeks younger and he is now at the stage where he shows definite preferences to who holds him, sometimes I hold him while others interact with him.

good luck,
amanda

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#7 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 01:59 PM
 
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I know how you feel. Thank God for the internet - we know we aren't alone.
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#8 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To all -
Thanks so much for the advice! Yes, thank goodness for the internet. I can't talk to anyone i know about this, cus somehow it always gets back to her.
I think it is crappy that she tells me i am stupid for cloth diapering. When she raised her kids, they lived in South America, and cloth diapers were all they had, an she loves to tell me how her kids all had diaper rash so severe their skin cracked and bled. Of course she says its all the cloth diapers' fault. I say, just change your baby more often. My son has been in cloth for 5 months and has never had more than occasional mild redness. She also said it was a huge mistake to want a homebirth. Of course, i didnt end up with a homebirth, i got an emergency c-section, but thats another post entirely.
Sphinx, i admire you for putting up with your MIL babysitting your kid.I couldn't do it!
I made the mistake of telling her i was planning to nurse my son until about the age of 2, and she was horrified. When i am at work one night a week DH watches him, and gives him frozen pumped milk. His mom sees DH carefully defrosting the milk, warming it, and she tells him its silly go to to all that trouble, just give him formula. Thankfully, DH knows that i would absolutely murder him if he gave formula to my baby. I still have the upper hand with that, at least!
My husband is a great guy and he defers to me in most of my AP stuff, since before we had the baby he didnt really have an opinion about parenting stuff. Its just when his mom is actually around that he thinks he has to defer to her. Thank goodness its not that often!
I have cited the Dr. Sears books often. I also have a wonderful Ped., who encourages us to breastfeed as long as we see fit, to cosleep, to AP, and to wear the baby. She's old as the hills, which makes my MIL think she's wise, so when i get into a debate with her i just cite the Ped.
I can't thank you all enough for letting me get this off my chest! I feel so much better today.
Well, time to go crawl into bed with baby for a sleepy nursie. You all are the best!
Lisa
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#9 of 11 Old 12-22-2004, 04:29 PM
 
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My MIL is like that, too, and she only lives ten miles away!! Some topics just aren't open for discussion, and certainly not for debate. I will leave the room rather than respond to her nasty comments about my parenting decisions.
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#10 of 11 Old 12-23-2004, 07:10 AM
 
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i don't know if i'm blessed or cursed that my MIL backs off totally. it's nice that my parenting isn't questioned, but when i do really need advice she retreats completely. apparently she had some fights with her daughter over child-raising, and it affected her. i told her i'm a "take what you need and leave the rest" person, and to please offer advice if she has some. (knowing i may regret that someday!)

keep on citing your ped, since a voice of wisdom seems to work a bit. but you can also say "every child is different, and this is how this child needs to be parented."

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#11 of 11 Old 12-23-2004, 03:16 PM
 
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I'm in the same boat. My ILs live in OH and I'm in UT, so they come out to see us (and stay with us - why can't they stay in a hotel?) once a year for a week or two. Oh how I dread those times! They just left after meeting DD for the first time. While they were here I heard "You can't hold her ALL the time.", "You need a stroller!", "You're spoiling her already, aren't you?", "Sometimes you just have to put them down, leave the room, and let them cry."

She was sleeping so DH took her to MIL to hold. She said "Oh, do you want me to go put her in bed?" and DH said "You came out here to hold her, not put her in bed." WOOHOO! DH rocks!

All you can do is grit your teeth and bare it until they leave. I'm glad I don't have to see them again until July!!!!

Monica, mama to Olivia (6)
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