Mothering Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just don't know what to do.<br><br>
My relationship with DH's parents has never been easy, but as the years have gone by things got smoother and smoother. Until recently.<br><br>
We have a dog. An energetic, young dog. My ILs came for a visit 2 weeks ago. During this time, they pulled DH aside to "chat" with him about the dog. They think our car is too small and that our dog will disfigure our child. They had already expressed their concern over dinner, but decided that there message didn't "get through" to us or something, so had to have a private meeting (without me) to talk some sense into their son. They think I am emotional (which I am) and irrational (my DH says I'm the most level-headed, rational person he knows). They have never really got to know who I am - they are too busy telling me how they did things in their life and why that way is the best way.<br><br>
Anyway, so DH is so fed up with his parents after this little private chat about the dog. We were happy to see them leave.<br><br>
A few days later, DH gets an email. His parents talked the entire car ride home and decided that they are not only concerned about the dog and the baby in the car, but now they worry about the baby's safety in general. The email includes a list of websites of stuff we should have been doing months in advance to prepare the dog for the baby, as well as some dog-bite statistics. Their main message was that they didn't like the idea of the kid and the dog living in the same house. I think they were obtusely trying to say we should get rid of the dog.<br><br>
I got pretty darn angry about that email, which DH showed me - we tell each other everything... We start writing a very poignant response, but decide to sleep on it before we sent it. After a night's sleep, we've both calmed down enough and decided that rather than engage in any more discussion, we just ignore the email - plus, that would really annoy them <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Today I receive and email from DH's sister, which, among other things says, "Mom tells me you are getting a fancier car [we aren't btw, we said we'd cross that bridge when we came to it]. That sounds like a good idea to me since you would'd want the dog crushing the baby - I know how excited she can get". To me, this was the ILs bass-ackwards way of getting their point across, again. I lost it.<br><br>
We decide to write an email (from DH) to both ILs and the sister that says: "Hi Guys, Thanks for your concern, but we do not wish to discuss this topic any more".<br><br>
The sister responds with an email apologizing for interfering. FIL responds with this "We had no intention of raising the subject again. Mommy went into town yesterday and had lunch with sister. Obviously the subject of the dog came up, it is a pity sister made the comment to you that she did in her email. However I do feel your email response was somewhat hurtful, considering we only had you and the baby's interest at heart and we directly know two friends whose kids were attacked by the pet dog."<br><br>
We're pretty sure MIL will call tonight to discuss. She'll be all in a tizzy. Our gut reaction is to write another email, that says <i>exactly</i> what the first says,"thanks for your concern but..."<br><br>
I do not know how to like these people. They are making it extremely difficult to coexist with (even though they live 9 hours away)! Not only are they annoying and nagging, but they insult my intelligence by assuming we (me) wouldn't take the necessary precautions to ensure baby's safety. They also have the nerve to go behind my back (at my own house) to have secretive conversations because they think I can't be reasoned with! The childish side of me wants to punish them by keeping them away from my family. I want to hurt their feelings like they've done mine. I want to yell at them because, in my emotional state, I think (but I know better) that it will feel good.<br><br>
However. These are DHs parents who are not bad people. I don't want our relationship to be awkward and strained - that isn't nice for DH or for our kid. I just don't know how to deal with them - especially since I know that these sorts of issues will keep creeping up. They won't let it go until we finally agree to do it their way. (We've had the, 'why don't you have a microwave? it is just SO convenient' talk about 30 times (seriously)).<br><br>
Can anyone tell me, or at least help me figure out, how to deal with these people and still keep my sanity.<br><br>
As an aside, I did dog-baby research in the first months of being pregnant. I am well aware of my dog's faults and personalities. I have already looked into car restraint systems and have already done "prepping for baby" training. (So all those websites we were sent were old news) I am an ANAL person who worries about EVERYTHING. I am the LAST person that would not be concerned about my kid's safety. Being an animal lover does not make me a stupid person (they think that pets are a ridiculous idea - a waste of time and money) - but I think that they would beg to differ. UGH.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
663 Posts
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> I am so sorry this has been a struggle for you.<br><br>
I think I'd take the same line approach if/when your MIL calls. Have your DH say something like "I am sorry you felt hurt by my email response. It was not my intention to hurt you and dad, I just wanted to make our stance clear. It hurt both me, and HonkyTonka when you pulled me aside at our home and did not include her in the second conversation you felt it necessary to have. Our stance is the same. Thank you for the concern, but we've got a handle on it." repeat last line as necessary.<br><br>
I haven't BTDT with my inlaws, but my family does it sometimes. You just have to stay level headed, make the best decisions you can, and be very matter of fact. It's a plus when everything works out well and nothing they fear comes to pass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
495 Posts
Hang in there, mama! My husband's family can be the same way. They just can't help themselves from commenting on any.little.thing or some particular issue that they get fixated on and they have to repeat their concern to us over and over. It can drive ya nuts if you let it. The short and sweet reply IMHO was the best way to deal with them and didn't seem hurtful at all to me. Definitely keep having your husband be the one who replies to them since they are his parents. I hate to say it, but you may be hearing a lot from them about parenting strategies they'd prefer you use once your little one is born. It took me a while to stop feeling defensive toward my ILs but it gets easier (I even was able to laugh when my husband said his mother pulled him aside at a family party last month and offered him $20 to buy dress shoes for our daughter because the sneakers she was wearing were "inappropriate" attire for her one-year-old cousin's birthday party.) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">)<br><br>
Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
737 Posts
Obviously I'm totally removed from the situation but what I am hearing is that usually things are pretty decent with the IL's. From what you have said it sounds like they have had some pretty traumatic stories come their way from friends or people they know about dogs. To be honest dogs kinda freak me out. I have two chihuahua's but I totally have a big dog phobia (not that I push that off on other people-um, unless their dog runs up on me unleashed <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">)<br><br>
I think the bottom line is they love you guys a lot and are truly concerned. That doesn't mean it's been an appropriate way to handle their fears with you at all, but sometimes it helps to look at what their hearts are saying and not their actions. I think the email was great and I think you both are doing a wonderful job of staying on the same team and responding together! We have learned that's really important with in laws or they make your own home a living hell.<br><br>
I love the idea of restating the same email, but I would add in some form or another that although it may not seem like it to them, you both have heard and considered their concerns and are well aware of the upcoming situation with dog and baby. Maybe tell them you have looked at their websites and you are aware of the awful incident that happened with Joe Blow and Susie Q. <i>In other words, let them know well that you heard them.</i> At that point, if it continues it justifies a more snarky response. But it sounds to me like they just don't think you guys are hearing them and they feel the need to add some drama to it...totally out of fear.<br><br>
Of course, like I said, I'm on the outside so I may be way off. I like the idea of just restating "thanks for your concern..." I would just add in or change it to "we have heard <i>repeatedly</i> your concerns and understand what you are telling us, but this is our baby and our dog and our situation so we would like to close this conversation now." You may have to let a few days of missed calls go by for them to calm down. Ultimately like it or not they have to understand this is your and DH's life and even if you make the biggest mistake in the world and your dog totally crushes your kid, that's on you guys...then they can totally say "I told you so" but until then, they gotta give you guys some room to become parents. Maybe that's something DH could chat with his dad about guy to guy?<br><br>
I hope you guys work it out soon. I can totally relate to in laws throwing last minute stress on things. My DH is fending his family off fairly well, but it does leave his brain a little scattered some nights. I gotta say though it feels really good to be on the same page as your spouse and no longer at that place where in laws *his or mine* can place a wedge between you-and you guys seem to have that part down. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banana.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banana"> Hang in there...I'm sure advice about diapers and pacifiers and when to feed solids is in the near future! Tis a good warm up!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,317 Posts
Not sure how to advise you, because your IL's sound JUST like mine.<br><br>
As to the dog. We had 2 kids and just cats. DD2 came along, and we purchased a dog, we had actually wanted to get the dog right before birth, but things didn't work out that way. The puppy was about 3-4 months old and DD2 was about 3 weeks old when we brought the puppy home.<br><br>
We have not had an ounce of trouble between the dog and baby...actually, the dog is extra protective of her, and we have had the dog for 2 1/2 years...she can feed the dog from its own food bowl, the dog would/will lick up breastmilk spit up from DD2. I have had the dog growl and bite only once at DD2 and that was while we were de-people fooding her because the neighbor got her to only eat people food and refuse dog food. DD2 dropped a piece of food on the floor, dog growled and tried to bite at her when she went to retrieve it...I swatted at the dogs nose and put her up.<br><br>
We are now expecting again, due any time (5/13), and don't see any issue.<br><br>
BTW - my SIL was bit by the family dog when she was a child. She just had her dog put down because the other siblings got the dog to play bite at their sister.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Your in-laws sound a bit like my Dad. I love him and he is lovely, but he has this thing where he won't let it drop, especially if he thinks I'm not really listening to him. He is very opinionated and likes doing things his way. I've learned to acknowledge what he is saying and then tell him what I plan on doing. If he brings it up again, I say "I heard you the first time." If he continues, I say, "I heard you, but I disagree. I don't want to hear anything about it again." After that, I'd walk away. I'm really firm with him.<br><br>
It is rude to continue to batter you with the same concerns. Perhaps the ILs don't know if you heard them. Let them know you heard them, you disagree and that THEY are the irrational ones who need to back off.<br><br>
You are the mom. You get to call the shots. Your SIL obviously knows she overstepped her boundary...your ILs...not so much.<br><br>
Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
Ugh. It's a hard balance to strike. I have similar issues with my in-laws. They tend to overstep their boundaries with advice and try to parent our children the way <i>they</i> see fit. Heck, they tried to parent dh still for years after we were married. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
I try really hard to bite my tongue and remember that for the most part what they do comes from a place of love and concern. I've lost my temper with them a couple of times and really regretted the way I handled things. Apologizing afterwards is a humbling event I don't like to repeat if I can help it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
I've learned now to usually just smile and pay lip service to them when they start offering advice. "Okay, thanks. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I'll keep that in mind." Or "I'll bring it up with dh and tell him what you read/heard/etc." "Oh really? Hm. I've never heard that before." "I have heard that. I can't remember where I read it but..." Becuz I'm usually so non-confrontational, it really makes an impression when I do say something stronger. They know I'm serious.<br><br>
Anything major I leave up to dh to deal with. Sometimes he has to have really strong conversations with them when the issue truy warrants it. Sometimes he takes a similar approach to me. "Hmm. Maybe you're right. Thanks for your concern." Then changes the subject. At some point for us it just becomes easier to let them feel they've helped out. They're happy and feel useful. We're tolerant. Nobody gets hurt in the end. It's taken a while to get to this point, though, and I still struggle with it at times.<br><br>
Good luck. I hope things even out soon.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top