have a DS, worried about being MIL? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all:

So, i have read many many posts in all the different areas on this board. It seems that many of you (myself included) just don't see eye to eye with the MIL. It not always something specific, but many times it is. It seems that many times its our "crunchy-ish" ways vs her "offering advise" usually mainstream, and her not honoring YOUR decisions as parents.

So my question is: Do those of you who have sons (i do)....are you worried about being that MIL? What if your son has a child with a girl who schedules her c-section, formula feeds from the begining, spoon shovels baby food at 4 months, CIO, vaccinate right on schedule ect ect ect Do you become THAT MIL? Offering your thoughts, even if that then means that the DIL probably runs to her chat boards and her mom complaining of her crazy MIL that won't butt out? And then the advise that she gets it going to be to have her DH talk to his mom (you) about it.
Or do you just sit back and watch in horror while your DIL messes up your grandbaby?
I know its crazy of me to be worried about this (my DS is 5 months!), but this is really one of the reasons that i wanted a DD, vs a DS. I know that in theory any sons that are raised by us are hopefully going to pick a woman who has the same beliefs that he does, BUT men just often don't care as much about this kind of stuff, and i doubt that he would grill some girl about it and break off a serious relationship over it. We all know that its the women who seem to do the research and many times make these kind of decisions.

FYI, I am not trying to generalize, or say anything negative with my examples, or say that men are not involved, i am just trying to bottom line my worries and see if anyone else has thought about this.
I know what I talk to my mom about in regards to my MIL, and i don't want to be talked about

thanks for listening to me be crazy.
-L

SAHM to 4 cats, DS 5/09, DD 3/12 and 3# due 4/15. Home birthing, non vax, anti circ, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, real food eating pretty darn crunchy mama.
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#2 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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LOL, you're definitely thinking ahead!

Honestly...I don't have a DS, but I probably will eventually , and even with my DD, there's no guarantee that she will make the same parenting decisions I did. In fact I'm sure she won't. If she or my DILs make different choices, I'll treat them the same I treat my friends who think differently. With DD or DILs, I'll *mention* my opinions when they're pregnant--I'll tell them how wonderful homebirth is, etc. But when it comes to parenting, they HAVE to make their own decisions. And if that's totally different from how I did/would do it--that's ok. If your DIL does all the things you hate, well, at that point, she's the mom. You have your turn at parenting--right now. When she has her turn, she won't be messing up your grandbabies; she'll be parenting, doing the best job she can, making her own choices about what's best for her family. Yes, I'll educate my DILs when they're pregnant, just like I do my friends, but ultimately, what they decide is their right and totally up to them.

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#3 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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Haha! The other day I was reading a thread and I wondered what I would do if my DIL told me I couldn't babysit b/c I won't follow her sleep-training CIO routine. That would be the opposite problem of what was posted.

I think I've learned enough to know how to try to be a good MIL. For instance, not demanding time alone with a 2 month old, inquiring what their baby might need before bringing boxloads of toys over, etc.

I guess the only thing I can do is raise my son up in a natural, but slightly alternative, style, teach him to question authority and think for himself, and teach him to trust his instincts. And then, hopefully, he will choose partners who are the same.

I realize that is asking a lot

I just hope he is not like my brother, who chooses one crazy woman after another who are very difficult to be around.
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#4 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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I'm going to assume that I am raising a loving boy who will grow up to be an empathetic caring father who will not be able to stand hearing his baby cry. I think he will think about their choices as parents and be an active participant in the decision making. I'm not worried.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#5 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lisavark View Post
When she has her turn, she won't be messing up your grandbabies; she'll be parenting, doing the best job she can, making her own choices about what's best for her family. Yes, I'll educate my DILs when they're pregnant, just like I do my friends, but ultimately, what they decide is their right and totally up to them.
I agree with this 100%.

I do sometimes worry about not having a close relationship with my grandbabies because of having only DSs. It seems (generally of course) that kids are closer to their mom's parents than their dad's parents. This was true of my family growing up, and it's already true for DS. He's very close to my family even though we live several states away from them, but DH's family are still like strangers to him. I hope that I can have a good relationship with my DIL and with my grandkids. I think respecting their parenting choices will go a LONG way in that. Hopefully by raising DSs the way we are, they'll play an active role in raising their own children with similar values.

Kirsten, mama to Monkey since May 2007 and Bean born 11/7/09
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#6 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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I'm not terribly worried. As long as my son marries someone who will love their kids, I'm not going to freak out if they make different choices than we did.

I'll be glad to offer advice if its ever asked for, and I'll be happy to be a very involved grandmother, but I'm not going to think less of a woman because she has an elective c-section and formula feeds her child.

It sort of reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my SIL. She was pregnant, and making decisions about different things. I gave her my opinion (and it wasn't water down, I told her exactly my feelings). I told her the most important thing was that she was the mother and she should feel confident in her decisions. I told her that I was honored she asked for my advice, but if she did things differently it would have absolutely no bearing on my feelings for her or my assessment of her as a parent.q

Mommy to two super cute kids.
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#7 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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Oh, by the way, I wasn't trying to generalize either. I know people make different choices for different reasons. We vaccinate on schedule, and some of my favorite people in this world have formula-fed.

I do find, though, the people who generally follow AP tend to question authority a bit more and go with their instincts when they don't feel comfortable making their lo CIO.

I know people in extended family who dispense advice to their daughters like this "don't even bother trying to bf, it's too hard". Now that makes me twitch.

If my DIL schedule her c-section I would probably speak with her about the fact that it's major surgery. I had a hysterectomy, so I know what the incision feels like.

Vaccinations don't bother me. Solids at 4 months isnt' great but not emotionally damaging, and I'd just shrug it off. That's not "messing up" the baby, IMO.
CIO or a negative attitude towards bf'ing would kill me.
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#8 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lisavark View Post
LOL, you're definitely thinking ahead!

Honestly...I don't have a DS, but I probably will eventually , and even with my DD, there's no guarantee that she will make the same parenting decisions I did. In fact I'm sure she won't. If she or my DILs make different choices, I'll treat them the same I treat my friends who think differently. With DD or DILs, I'll *mention* my opinions when they're pregnant--I'll tell them how wonderful homebirth is, etc. But when it comes to parenting, they HAVE to make their own decisions. And if that's totally different from how I did/would do it--that's ok. If your DIL does all the things you hate, well, at that point, she's the mom. You have your turn at parenting--right now. When she has her turn, she won't be messing up your grandbabies; she'll be parenting, doing the best job she can, making her own choices about what's best for her family. Yes, I'll educate my DILs when they're pregnant, just like I do my friends, but ultimately, what they decide is their right and totally up to them.

Well said!

Mabye we'll have to form an internet support group when we're all grandma's. Help each other to take deep breaths and let our kids parent the way they see fit.
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#9 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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Just as I trusted my dds and their spouses to make good parenting choices, I will trust my ds and spouse to make equally good parenting choices with any children they will perhaps have. Whether or not they chose to make the same choices dh and I made for each of our children or not is irrelevant. They aren't (or won't be in the case of Dylan) parenting when I did or when my mom or MIL did. They aren't dh and I. I do know that they will love their children and raise them the best that they know how. And make mistakes along the way. Just like dh and I have done.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#10 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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I do worry about this at times. It also makes me incredibly sad to see the disdain so many people have for their own mothers. It makes me wonder what went so terribly wrong a long the way.

Doula mama to dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08) and expecting (Apr '17)
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#11 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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That's at least 20 years in the future and not even on my radar right now.

I'm just trying to raise caring and discerning adults who will be able to sift through whatever parenting advice is out at the time and find the best so that they can raise caring and discerning adults.

Joy wife to DH, mom to DS1 (4/2005): DD (5/2007) : : DS2 (1/2009 :
I do what works and when it stops working, then I do something else.
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#12 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 05:25 PM
 
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I actually think about this all the time, kind of. DS is an only child for medical reasons and one of the reasons I am depressed about that is because I feel like I have a MUCH closer awesomer relationship with my mom than DH has with his mom. I'm terrified that when DS grows up, his relationship with me will be more like DH's than like mine. It seems to me that after reaching adulthood, girls are much more likely to hang out, play, do stuff, talk to their moms than boys. That is a depressing thought.

Kris - married to Nate since 12/06, mom to Toby since 1/08. Also servant to two felines. Done having babies for medical reasons.

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#13 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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lol. It's crossed my mind sometimes (three boys! three daughter's in law, potentially, and we've only just started our family).

I hope and pray that we will raise our boys well and that part of that will be them making very thoughtful and wise choices in their mate.

I probably will cringe, once in a while, but I am bound and determined not to be meddling or overbearing. I am also working right now on making sure I see our son's behavior clearly and do not coddle them or let harmful behavior slide. I think mothers who always take their adult son's side no matter how awful he is may have started that in his childhood and I don't want to go there. Our kids already know that if they treat someone badly, they don't get a pass from me just because they are my biological offspring.

I think that there are some things worthy of mention. YK, some people just don't have the information and are happy to hear it, so it's worth at least one mention (as with c-sections, solids, etc). What I would like to do is develop a relationship with any DIL's that is good enough to allow me to make a mild suggestion and for them to hear it, even if we still end up having made different choices. I'm sure my first reaction to pregnancies will be "Oh, that is so wonderful! Birth and mothering is so amazing! I had such great experiences. You just let me know if you need anything, I will be happy to hold your hand through this if you want me to!"
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#14 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 06:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
I do worry about this at times. It also makes me incredibly sad to see the disdain so many people have for their own mothers. It makes me wonder what went so terribly wrong a long the way.
Read the book "Hold On to Your Kids" (author's name escapes me right now) but his book discusses your very question. Gave me lots to think about!

OP - I have thought of this as I have 4 sons and no daughters (yet). I am very opinionated on parenting issues and it will take great effort not to become that MIL, but I definitely don't want to be her, as all that will do is drive my children and future grandchildren away. I am already practicing as a sister/aunt to keep my opinions to myself! Not easy when I see some very (IMO) bad choices being made! But I have the most success when quietly live my life and let my sisters come to me (which they actually do from time to time!) asking for input or advice, rather than interjecting my options unsolicited. My best hope is that my sons will chose wise and kindhearted women to marry who will use their nature-given intuition as they raise their children which is, IMO, more important than the particulars of how they raise them. And my best chance for getting wise and kindhearted DIL's is to raise wise and kind sons. Like attracts like is a law of the universe.

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#15 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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I do worry about this at times. It also makes me incredibly sad to see the disdain so many people have for their own mothers. It makes me wonder what went so terribly wrong a long the way.
Me too. It just makes me sad. What has happened? I spend so much time trying to be a thoughtful, attached, present parent....and it just kills me to think that my dc's and I will be distant in the future
I hope that this will not be the case.

On the contrary, I was at a birth last week and 'the' MIL was invited to the birth. Her DIL seemed to adore her and she was very close with her son. It was very encouraging. They had such a beautiful relationship and each interaction seemed to stem from a place of love and respect. She really gave them their space and treated them respectfully as the intelligent adults that they are. Her attitude about their parental choices was one of amazement and support. I just remember thinking how i hope to have a relationship like that with my dc's and their partners. I want to be that mama when I'm older! She probably thought I was weird- I asked her so many questions about how she parented and handled different situations while her kids were growing up. She was just one of these easy going, awesome mothers. She probably read Mothering when her kids were little
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#16 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 09:39 PM
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It won't be that long in the future for me, my oldest son is 21 I'm hoping he's not ready for marriage and babies for quite some time, maybe when he's 30 (fingers crossed)
All I can hope for is someone I can get along with, I don't want to bite my tongue too much. I worry Dh will alienate her as he doesn't use the brain/mouth filter some days.
It's a pretty scary thought.
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#17 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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I have thought about this. My ds is an only so if/when he does marry, I *hope* she will be a wonderful blessing to our family. I will do my best to welcome her warmly, even if I don't agree with her parenting choices, etc. As long as she (or he if that is the case) loves my son and any subsequent grandchildren, then I will be happy. All I can do is hope that he will fall in love and marry someone who shares the values he is being raised with and then it won't make it tough for me to lover her/him too!

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#18 of 38 Old 10-11-2009, 11:35 PM
 
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After my own experience with my "If you're not doing it my way, you're doing it wrong." MIL, I think my inclination is to not offer advice unless asked for it.

I deal with the results of some of my IL's parenting mistakes, just as my DH deals with the baggage left over from the mistakes my parents made. We make decisions as a team, and tend to balance each other out.
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#19 of 38 Old 10-12-2009, 12:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by indigo515 View Post
She probably read Mothering when her kids were little

Perhaps having a 20 year span between my first and last has given me a different perspective but I have seen changes in child raising that many people only see between generations. When Joy was born, the prevailing medical advice said to lay infants on their stomachs, co-sleeping wasn't even on the radar, solids "could" be introduced as early as 3 months (note "could" not "should"), baby wearing was just coming into vogue, as was breastfeeding and making your own baby food. Homeschooling was in it's infancy and mostly done under the table. Car seats were not mandatory and it was 20 pounds or 1 year rear facing which ever came first.

If new moms would take a more objective, less emotional approach to MIL's advice, keeping in mind everything that has changed, there weren't be so many of these threads. You're not being attacked for your parenting decisions so much as MIL doesn't know how much as changed since her boy was born. So she, in turn, feels attacked and things escalates from there. Thank her for her advice, point out in a non threatening (from her perspective) manner what the current thought is on the matter and reassure her that you and her son have the best in mind for your child--her grandchild. And let her feel needed and not pushed out into the cold. Meet her half way; know when to allow her her way; compromise when possible; and stand your ground respectfully when necessary. Always keeping in mind that the goal is 18-20 years away. So think long term. 20 years from now, is that sugar/preservative/HFCS laden cookie or battery operated plastic toy going to be all that important as to cause hurt feelings and possible alienation now?

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#20 of 38 Old 10-12-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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Always keeping in mind that the goal is 18-20 years away. So think long term. 20 years from now, is that sugar/preservative/HFCS laden cookie or battery operated plastic toy going to be all that important as to cause hurt feelings and possible alienation now?
This, exactly.

Leeann, mama to 3*magic*kids: DD 1/03 DD 9/04 DS 8/06
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#21 of 38 Old 10-12-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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I think I'll have Dh have a good informative conversation with Ds if he gets someone pregnant. Dh is better at being diplomatic (I get too hyped up) and he's extremely good at working logically through ideas... and presumably they'll have that kind of relationship anyway... it's the same kind of relationship Dh and his father have. Our family really values doing our research, and so when MIL was upset that we weren't going to circ our son (she's not so into research...) FIL came and talked with us about it and we gave him our research and why we're not doing that. He accepted it and moved on. I guess I'll feel ok about what my children choose as long as they've done their research on it and are making an informed choice.

That said, it freaks me out that my (3 yo) DD keeps telling me that only doctors can do stitches after someone gives birth... considering I haven't had a doctor for ANY of my births, I'm not sure where this is coming from...

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#22 of 38 Old 10-12-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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I actually think about this all the time, kind of. DS is an only child for medical reasons and one of the reasons I am depressed about that is because I feel like I have a MUCH closer awesomer relationship with my mom than DH has with his mom. I'm terrified that when DS grows up, his relationship with me will be more like DH's than like mine. It seems to me that after reaching adulthood, girls are much more likely to hang out, play, do stuff, talk to their moms than boys. That is a depressing thought.
I worry about this too but I believe that relationships like this are more a product of the personalities involved and maybe even the parenting. My DH and his mom don't really communicate and aren't very close. There is love there but it isn't that apparent. My brother and my mother have a fantastic relationship. He is a fully functional recent college grad with a job, grad school aspirations, and the sweetest girlfriend of 3 or so years. He talks to my mom about everything, they cook and bake together, go to movies, stop at hip bars and try different cocktails....basically everything my sister and I do. My mom is open, warm, affectionate, and not very judgemental. I think my brother's girlfriend is more comfortable at our parents' house than she is at hers. I think it works both ways.

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#23 of 38 Old 10-12-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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I have two boys and I have sworn that I will not be that MIL ...my MIL is a sweetheart but does give unwanted advice etc...and I will do my best not to do that to my DIL ...I know what its like to get advice that you don't want or need ...I will willingly give my opinion if asked and unless there is abuse will keep my mouth shut
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#24 of 38 Old 10-13-2009, 12:51 PM
 
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That said, it freaks me out that my (3 yo) DD keeps telling me that only doctors can do stitches after someone gives birth... considering I haven't had a doctor for ANY of my births, I'm not sure where this is coming from...
Did you have stitches though? Her idea about doctors seems to be about the stitches, not the birth.

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I do what works and when it stops working, then I do something else.
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#25 of 38 Old 10-13-2009, 01:02 PM
 
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I have three sons, I am pretty sure if I do and say the exact opposite of almost everything my MIL says and does (with a few exceptions because she's ok sometimes) then I think the girl will really like me ROFL. hahahahaha...I will probably let them know my ideas and feelings about some things because thats just who I am. In those instances if they tell me to back off then I will. I wont be too overbearing or harsh because it's just not who I am anyway and I dont see things changing.

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#26 of 38 Old 10-13-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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Did you have stitches though? Her idea about doctors seems to be about the stitches, not the birth.
I had a few stitches, the first time. I told her (many times) that the midwife sewed me up... but dh had stitches on his knee that she was obsessed with for a while, so maybe you're right. A doctor did dh's stitches.

She's talked about how a doctor would catch the baby, too... actually I think she said a doctor would "take the baby out"

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#27 of 38 Old 10-13-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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Note: I am not advocating FF, CIO or non-AP or vaxing.

However, IMHO, just because someone doesn't parent exactly the way you do, or did, doesn't mean that the child will be messed up. I was formula fed, allowed to CIO, and was not attached to my mom's hip 24 hours a day. I was also vaccinated. I am fine.

I have sons. No daughters. I had a tubal, so there will be no more children for me.

I plan to give advice when asked, mind my own business, and realize that I have no control and no say in my child's choice of a spouse, or in the decisions made for any grandchildren I may be blessed with one day.

Sometimes, you have to just let go and not worry so much.
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#28 of 38 Old 10-13-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
Perhaps having a 20 year span between my first and last has given me a different perspective but I have seen changes in child raising that many people only see between generations.
This. And I think that most MIL's have good intentions. They just want their child/grandkids to be happy

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#29 of 38 Old 10-13-2009, 07:10 PM
 
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I think step one is to do your best to raise you child (son or daughter, because you'll be a MIL either way) to be a responsible, thinking, aware adult. Than hopefully he or she will choose another responsible, thinking, aware adult with whom to raise kids.

Then you need to respect both your child and their partner as fellow adults and parents in their own right. As others have said you'll also need to be aware that times change and so does the expert advise. You can offer advise, based on your experiences, with the understanding that what worked for you may not work for them and that's ok and not an attack on your way.

My MIL is really good about this. She's pretty mainstream, but is really good about not pushing anything and respecting me as the mom.

Kristy, wife to Josh proud mama to Katie: since 3/08 and Emma since 8/12.

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#30 of 38 Old 10-13-2009, 08:35 PM
 
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When and if I have a pregnant DIL, I'll talk to her about c-sections, breastfeeding, etc. If she asks me to butt out, I'll butt out. Yes, it's my grandchild, but it's her child. If she tells me that I can't babysit if I won't follow a CIO sleep training schedule, then I won't babysit. I wouldn't want to. I can't handle that. OTOH, I'm not going to assume I know her child better than she does, yk?

The only other thing I can see being a huge issue is actual abuse. For me, that would include circ. I honestly have no idea how I'd deal with a DIL who circ'd her son. I mean - once it's done, it's done, so it's not like I'd have to be dealing with it on an ongoing basis. But...I'd have a really hard time even being civil. I really would. OTOH, I can't even begin to imagine that happening with either of my boys as the father.

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