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Advice on the in-laws???

1020 Views 21 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  DebraBaker
Help me please!! I have a major problem with my husband's family! We have been together for years, and our first daughter was born Feb. 03. We had a HB w/ MW, and his whole family wanted to be present. I allowed his parents and younger sister (he has 7 siblings!) to come, and found myself in a very uncomfortable, long labor (21 hours). My MW suggested that I was too concerned about everyone being there, seeing me naked and what not, that I was unable to properly focus. Anyway, my mom in law became very involved with my daughter, more than I wanted, but I felt that they should be close, so I allowed her to take her off and keep her for days at a time. I was uncomfortable, yet unsure of where to draw the line. I soon became very upset over many things; she took her to her first b-day party w/o me, she allowed her to swim with another sibling, who can barely keep herself afloat, and she refused to answer the phone at any point when she was in care of my daughter. Last Aug, we were due to have our second HB, and I decided to do it alone, just hubby, me, and MW. His family got very upset with me, and began saying that I hate the fam, and I am controlling my hubby. I tried to shrug it off. It came to the point where I was really frustrated with not knowing where my daughter was or when she would be back, so hubby and I wrote a list of rules and tried to give them to his mom. She wigged out....called me crude names, and said she would rather never see our children again than follow our rules. All of the women in the fam got in on it, and decided that they all hate me, and I stole their brother away. No contact was made for several months, and then she called like nothing happened and tried to pick up my girls. I said no way...I need to really ensure that the rules will be heeded. Well, she freaked out again, told me I am evil and need an exorcism!! She also said, she will see my children merely out of spite for the fact that I said no. She has told everyone that I have exiled her from our family, and that I am a liar. My hubby has backed me up all the way down the line with this. I know that what she has done is not right. Now, she won't speak to her son at all. My dilema is this: do you think I have done what's right in saying that I will cut off the visits until I can be sure our rules are followed? They are all safety rules, that I feel could put my children in harms way if not followed. Am I right for being so hurt by the things said about me? She said I am a paranoid mom, who is too overprotective. I just want what's best. I also want the family to stick together. This situation has been very painful for my hubby, who feels he has been forced to chose between me or his mother. Did I force him into that choice by putting my foot down, or did she by refusing to accept our rules? Was I right for demanding to be alone for my second HB? ( By the way, my second labor was 6 hours!) I never meant to hurt anyone...I feel this whole thing got out of hand! I need some down to earth, womanly advice...PLEASE!!!
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I feel your pain. I do see your side of this. But you have to look into your heart for the answer. I wish I had in-laws who cared enough to be in the way. At least I would know that despite how they felt about me, that they loved my children. To me that is the most important thing. My in-laws were here to visit last wk, my twins are 3mths old, they had never seen them before. Neither of them tried to hold my children and could not remember thier names either. This broke my heart. I don't dislike them, but I do hurt for my children. I grew up with two sets of loving grandparents and to this day I still miss them being in my life. Life is very short, and you don't want something to happen to mil and then you and hubby have hard feelings toward each other when it is too late.
Maybe you could invite her out to a one on one lunch date, and just try to explain your feelings and listen to hers. I'm sure she is thinking that she raised 7 kids and they all survived just fine. Maybe have a book on hand that shows her that things have changed with new studies and what was standard practice then is warned against now. Like tummy sleeping, no car seats, etc. Even though this is not your fault, you are the only one who can fix your problem. You can't change her, or the family, and you don't want a hubby who may end up resenting you.
Good luck and God Bless
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You are way nicer than me!
I already decided that no family is allowed to visit until a couple of weeks AFTER birth and then we will pay to put them up in a hotel rather than having to take care of our brand new baby and play hosts to them.
We also have decided that DS will never stay with them unsupervised. We already know they would do things their way and sorry - it's our child and we will do whatever is best for him including not exposing him to things we feel are not in his best interest.
You MIL sounds completely unstable! Wow. I can't believe you are even questioning yourself. Of course you can't let your kids stay with a person like that.
I am so glad you DH is clear on protecting his family even if it means conflict with his parents. I hate to put my DH in a similar position and I can imagine how tough it must be for the DHs.

Your MIL clearly has nothing positive to contribute. In fact she sounds kind of crazy...
Sorry you are in this situation.
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that is all i can think of to say- the first time anyone TOLD me who would be at MY birth would be the last time they would... i don't know, i'm speechless. good god! and the rest- this is a very toxic family situation! yikes! good for your dh for sticking up for you. good for you for sticking to your guns. blech (no, in case you didn't gather, i don't think you were wrong!) i thought my fil was tough!
i don't know, i'm speechless.
Me too!! There are a lot of in-law stories around here, but yours made me

You poor thing! Just like TigerTail said, good for your DH and good for you for sticking to your guns!
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First of all, your husband is doing the right thing by standing up for you against toxic people. The fact that they are relatives matters not in the least. After all, would you take this kind of crap from a friend? No, you would not.'

You are doing the right thing. MIL has basically told you that she rules and you do not matter. She is trying to take over your family. She and the rest sound dangerous, if you ask me.

I think that since she is telling you when she will see YOUR children, and says it is in spite of what you, the mother of the kids, says, I would consider a restraining order if she keeps it up.

Be sure to keep a record of any nasty messages, phone calls, emails, and incidents. It could come in handy someday.

I am sorry, but this goes way beyond normal inlaw annoyances.
There's a book called Toxic Parents, and or Toxic In-laws. You need to find and read those books.
she took off with your daughter for days at a time? took her to her first birthday party?

um, no way.

I wont even let my mom have a stocking for dd for christmas at her house, or give her a separate easter basket. i'm the parent, and it's my kid. yes, i want them close, yes they can have their own special things, but she is *my* daughter.

I support you 100% in your actions, and i hope your dh continues to do so as well. They are out of line.

Does she behave this way with grandchildren from her other kids? are there any others?

kudos to you for standing up... it's hard to do
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I think the biggest thing here is that there isn't a black and white who's right or wrong. The bottom line is that you're the momma and you have to follow your gut and try not to feel guilty about it. I know easier said than done. We get a hard time about not ever leaving our daughter. My SIL (who had her kids removed for 4 months by CPS) told me there is a uch thinng as too attached and I need to let Emma go to her house. My mom has even prerssured me about it, knowing that it makes me uncomfortable to leave Emma at all. My SIL and even my mom's friend's kids started leavingt heir kids overnight at like 3 weeks. I was beginning to think we're weird parents. I trust my mom completely with my dd. She's pretty much our only babysitter. But I call every hour and check on dd and she knows she has to answer her phone. She also knows that I have to know if they're going somewhere. And I don't want her to have any firsts without me. If she didn't agree to these things, we wouldn't leave dd alone with her. And as far as your births go, it's very different for every woman and it's a very vulnerable and private time. Nobody has any right to be there but your dh. I would suggest writing her an e-mail or a letter and calmly address your feelings. Tell her you love the family(or whatever) and you want them to be a part of your dds' lives and you definitely don't want your dh estrarnged from his family. Then explain to her how you feel about everything. I find that putting your emotions on paper gets them out there without interuptions and explosions. Then arrange a sit-down and ask her what she thinks and if she can rerspect your feelings. You have to do what feels right.
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The way you have described it, it seems very black and white to me. In settin up rules, you have handled this well. Your in-laws are nuts! Your husband backing you up was the right thing to do. Your rules should be followed and you can never trust that they will be, so I think it's sad but that you are doing the right thing.

Like KBinSATX said, you are much nicer than me. Those people sound very icky!
I can't tell you ladies how happy I am to have had such sympathetic responses. There aren't too many mom's in my area who feel the way I do toward parenting. In fact, I was originally very close with some of my SIL's, in fact I named my second daughter's middle name after one of them. So, yes, I have been feeling very estranged, and lonely since all of this happened. Finding this forum has been such a blessing to me already; being able to reach out and talk with other women more like me. My first daughter is both my mother's and my hubby's parent's first grandbaby. One of his sister's is pregnant now, too. She and I were close before, and I haven't hardly spoken or seen her during her pregnancy. I know that her new hubby and her have a much more swinging door relationship than my hubby and I, and their views on birth differ much from ours. But, I don't know if the circumstances will be different for them. I'm sure a bit, because she is very different than I, and they also live out of town. I have tried to write my MIL, and calmly express how I feel, in a way that wouldn't demean anyone, but that route at this point has not worked. She is adament about not following our rules, and feels very offended that we gave them to her. One of my SILs was also very upset on the last occasion we spoke, because she took my daughter out and was supposed to have her back at 8p; 10:30p rolled around and I haden't been able to reach my SIL by phone. I was worried!! She called me at 10:45p upset that I hadn't "trusted" her with my daughter (because I repremanded her for not answering the phone). She has also been saying that I am too controlling and not good for my hubby. He and I have talked a lot about this, and he doesn't think that I am trying to "control" anything, that I am just trying to be a responsible parent....which is my job. So, I have really just been feeling hurt, and rejected. I had so loved being a part of their family. I think it is sad that they can't just accept me for who I am, and the mother of my children, and the woman my hubby loves. What more is there? I like who I am, and the mama I have become. I know that's what matters. I do have one more question for y' do I explain to my 3 year old why we don't see grama now?? She has been asking a lot lately, and I haven't really dealt with the question. I'm kinda dancing around the answer, and she's on to me. My daughter is very smart, and also very emotional. How do I explain the situation in an age appropriate way, that won't make her feel like she has done something wrong? I hope that one day, this situation can change. I can accept her for who she is, as long as she doesn't present a negative impact on my life style. She sent me a note in the begining of this mess, a few months after she called me names, saying that the family just reacts like that, and to be a part of the fam, I have to be willing to put up with it. Now, I would like to consider myself a fairly forgiving person. I'm definately no Mother Theresa, but it really takes a fair amount to make me mad. In fact, the largest issue in this isn't the way I've been recently treated, it's the disrespect toward the ways we have chosen to parent. However, I do think it's a bit wrong to say the condition that I be a part of the fam is that I "put up" with people being demeaning and cruel to me. I would never tolerate that from a friend or neighbor, and I do think that personal respect should extend to everyone around you. We run our family fueled by love, boundries, and happy respect.
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Here's another book that might be pertinant although it is more about the push to have young kids interact with peers more than parents. I haven't read it myself (since my ds will hardly leave my side, it hasn't been an issue for me) but it might help solidify, or form into words, what is bugging you about the whole thing (beyond a control freak MIL).
I think you are dead on with setting boundaries.

And you know what they can't change what people do you can only change how you react to it. I think at this point you and your husband have both made your wishes clear. Don't be bullied into changing to please them. I think if you ride it out they will come around and maybe you won't have the same closeness as before but you will have respect. You are better off right now spending your time trying to resolve your own feelings over the matter than trying to change theirs.

With the SIL I bet she comes around pretty quickly after she has her own child and the "helpful advice" starts flooding in for her. Its so easy to judge other parents before you are one yourself.

With your daughter asking questions about why you aren't seeing grandma...that depends on how honest you want to be with her. You could just say "sometimes grown ups get busy and even though Grama really wants to see you she can't always." Just say it and mean it and she'll probably believe it.

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I gave another mom on here some advice today to look at how her MIL was trying to compromise on a situation. I'm not going to tell you that.

I think you should be glad this woman is not a part of your life. If someone took of with my daughter for several days and refused to answer the phone I would have called the police right then and there. You MIL obviously has no sense of appropriate boundaries and is unwilling to respect your wishes and worries as a parent. You are absolutely right in expecting your MIL to show that respect to you and your family. I'm glad to hear your husband is backing you up on all of this, but I'm sorry it's so hard on him.
i would first like to thank all of you wonderful women for the help and support. i am glad she started writing here, the feed back is great. the thing with my fam has been hard on me, but not as hard as i thought it might be, the women in my fam just went too overboard. we tried to settle this thing peacfully, calmly, and quietly, but as things go with my fam, that was just "too much" for them. bah, i say. if they don't like our rules, which we wouldn't have had to put out if they would have used comon sense, well too bad. that's just the way we raise our kids. it does suck that it has come to this, but better now then when they're 16. once again, i thank all of you wonderful women.
the hubby.
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Can I just hubby deserves a hand for backing me up...and for posting on a women's site...LOL!!
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Hi mama.
I just wanted to say good for you and your dh to sticking to your guns. Than definately is NOT an easy situation and she sounds like a very minipulative women to say the least.
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I second the previous poster's recommendatin of Toxic Parents.

I also want to point you in the direction of
The discuss boards there often have a LOT of "dealing with the in-laws" information.

Good luck, and stand your ground!
listen to your instincts! That is the best and biggest message at MDC.

Trust yourself!
ITA the other moms who suggested TOXIC PARENTS. Wonderful book.
I would move to another country and change my number if I were you.
The whole thing about attending the first birthday without you is just plain creepy. Like chann96, I would have called the police if my MIL took my child for several days and not answer the phone. Absolutely toxic, absolutely insane.
Just so you know, it's not so bad to be estranged from in-laws. My dh and I were estranged from his parents for years (we've been together 15 years) and finally did a little bit of reconciling a few years back. After all those years not speaking to them, they have learned to behave a little better.
And frankly, it's a lot easier on all of us to not have them around. Honestly, too, the kids are not really missing out on anything if they are toxic--I would prefer they have little contact than to have unhealthy role models in their lives. My dh, like yours, has always supported my choices over their personal problems--it's what makes a healthy marriage.
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