Not sure where to start... - FamilyEducation
Not sure where to start...
10/16/2007 at 16:12 PM

I'm wanting to make peace with my MIL after a very long drawn out argument over my current pregnancy with my 4th child.  I have been married for 3 years and my husband and I have one child together and are expecting another over the holidays.  My older two daughters were conceived when I was very young (17&18).  I have done alot of growing up since being a single mother and I am very happy with where my life has taken me.  Now that I am married and happy I want the babies to go with that.  We discussed having our first daughter and after she was born had talked frequently about maybe having one more.  Finally we made this decision, but we did not tell anyone in either of our families untill we were expecting.  My family is happy about this pregnancy but they don't have the means or live close enough to be as supportive as I would like them to be.  When my husband told his parents his mother stated that she didn't want another grand child and that three were enough (my oldest two are not biological).  She then proceeded to mention every time he talked to her about how embarassed she was to tell anyone, and that we could not afford to buy shoes for four kids or put them through university.  She over spends and nothing but the most expensive and best will do, so yes to live by her means we couldnt do that.  We have tried to get her to understand that our kids dont need to wear gap clothes or sketchers on their feet.  She took over buying them clothes, not because we needed her to but because she said she liked to.  I appreciated this very much but put an end to it when she made a comment about how I shouldnt buy my kids clothes because she does.  All this built up and I blew up on her and said some things to try to hurt her and I am sure my hormones were wacky early on in pregnancy.  I have long ago tried to apologize to her but she refuses to acknowledge this and believes that she said nothing wrong.  I wrote to an advice colomist online and it ended up being published in the paper she reads, so now she figures I did this to be vindictive.  I am not allowing her to see any of the children because she needs to accept us as a family.  She suggests my husband bring the kids and spend time with the family and leave me at home.  This hurts alot to think that she can have to disregard for how that makes me feel.  I know I shouldnt let her opinion or words affect me but they do.  Sometimes I just feel as though I am not good enough and maybe if I just walked away everyone would be happier.  I just wish that I could fix things but it seems hopeless.  Any advice would be greatly appreaciated.  I just feel so alone and wish they could be part of this experience, what is supposed to be a happy time seems to only bring me to tears.

Hey traci,


I would say try to work it out as hard as you can.  Also, I would not keep my children from seeing her---I think that just causes more problems.


Don't let her pettiness cause you to be petty too.  Just deal with her the best you can and keep a smile on your face when she says what she says.  If she doesn't want to buy shoes for another grandchild, then tell her she doesn't have to but if she wants to buy then let her.  My advice is to try and let go of things and not let her bother you too much.


What does everyone else think?




When I told my mom I was pregnant with #5, she made it clear that she was not happy about it.  Since I live nearly 400 miles away from her, I didn't have to put up with any commentary, and she was so glad to see me (and the grandkids) when we went to visit, that the issue didn't come up again.  When I was pregnant with #6, I waited and waited to tell her, then sent her a note, so she couldn't swear at me over the phone. 

My suggestion is 400 miles.  Does wonders for a difficult relationsship.


I agree that not letting her see the kids is a bad idea. You are lowering yourself to her level if you do that. When it comes down to it, it seems that this issue is between you and her. Don't let your kids miss out on a relationsip with her because you want to make a point. How is your husband helping things? Has he spoken with his Mother about things? Has he made it clear to her that the nimber of children etc that you guys choose to have is between you and none of her business? If your husband is with the kids when they see their Granny, and it has been made clear to her that her feelings about you should not be conveyed to the kids, then I would let it happen. You could make up for feeling hurt by planning something nice to do just for you while they are out.

My Mum is very controlling and it can make my life miserable. I just have to make a stand and stick to it.

I hope this helps in some way. Congratulations on your pregnancy too.


You can't change her, just let it go. Change youself is the first thing you should do. Don't let her control your life. There are a lot of ways to get happiness, not only from her. There is a saying say that spring is not far away from us when the cold winter coming. Do what you want to do, don't worry about the others! Best wishes for you!



Ok so your MIL doesn’t like you. This is not the first time in history that this scenario has played itself out. It feels as if there has always been tension in the air between the two of you. For whatever reason she may not like you. The problem so far has been that she has no reason not to like you, now you have blown up on her and given her the reason she has needed. No wonder she wont accept an apology from you.

I believe parental rights are superior and grandparents should have no say in where the kids go and with whom they will visit. That being said, there is a reason you let the kids interact with her prior to this falling out. Maybe you thought it was good for all of them to have a relationship. Now that you feel she doesn’t accept you, you make a decision to withhold the kids from her, and her from them? Get over it if she doesn’t accept you. Do not look to the rest of the world to make you feel good about yourself. This theory you have about accepting you in order to see the grandkids is insane. My ex in-laws don’t accept me, in fact they despise me. I don’t really care what they think about me as a father, a person, or as their daughters former husband. Their opinion means nothing to me. Now add the kids in to the equation, I do care how I raise them and want them to have that extended family. No matter the tension between the ex in-laws and myself, I wont let it effect my decision making for my children. I know the children love them , and they love the children. They do not have to accept me in order for them to have a relationship with their grandkids. They will show me respect as far as being the kids dad, and the decisions I make for my kids. After that they can throw darts at my picture all day long.

Now for the part that really bothers me. You say that if you just walked away everyone would be better off? This is garbage. Where is your drive in life? YOU brought these kids in to this world and to even entertain walking away when they need their mother is outlandish. Let the kids go see their family. Let her buy the clothes. Let her say what she want to about you. If you just smile, pretty soon it takes the wind out of her sails, and in the long run she is exposed for what she truly is. Whether it works in her favor or not, you are still allowing her to control you. Call her and ask her if the kids can come visit next weekend. Do something to show her that you are not the person she wants you to be. Good luck to you and your family.


maybe you could even send your mil JUST WHAT YOU HAVE WROTE HERE? Of course your hormones were up and down and maybe will be for some time yet 4 children are certainly not easy, planned or unplanned. But it is obvious you love then all dearly and obvious you love your husband too. The fact of the matter is your husband is supporting you but will be finding it hard to keep the children from his mother. Money isnt everything but love and safety is. Explain once again your not trying to undermine her intentions as a doting grandparent, and clearly appreciate the help she offers. Children can be brought up on second hand/hand me down clothes as long as they are clean. as for unerversities colleges etc there is quite some time yet and scholarships or uni grants are there for them ( but at present they need to enjoy hteir childhood and the love of their parents and grandparents are essential.

Don't walk away honey you will be missed, your mother in Law has your childrens interests at heart as do you. My mother in law told me after i had had my second child that i wasnt allowed to have any more as i had a boy and a girl. The third child came along 3 year after she had said this, he was born on the 23rd of december the same day as her birthday, and she wasnt happy at that because we missed her birthday party. this year she was 70 and my thrid child was 16 my mil is the best i could ask for and her and her husband were my only babysitters because i could trust them. Of course your Mil is going to give you advice and try tell you her way is better, and maybe her children all grew up fine with no problems. But your ways are important because your from different era's let her read your page its obvious you want to remain friends and obvious you want her added love for your children. Let her read the " every child matters" web page and see how things have changed since her children were children. Let her know your hormones were uncontrollable, that you have said sorry and your family need her added love. All THE VERY BEST take care hope your christmas is going well and happy new year to all of you

love Tracie xx


hi there i jujust had to reply to your statement that granparents shouldnt have any say???? I am 42 and my eldest child has blessed us with a gorgeous grandson.

My grandson is 18month old and spends between 3 to 5 days a week with my husband and I. this is by request of the babies parents so they thmselves can love thier lives as drunken teenagers? we buy babies clothes food and other necessary items. They have no central heating and usually no food so i take tehm food. they have lived in 6 different homes since the baby has been born twice here with us. HEALTH VISISTORS  and social services are aware but do nothing and due to the parental rights my input is minimal. but please don't ay that granparents have no rights i do know my grandon wouldnt be here if we didnt help and wasnt allowed to contribute.

i do agree with your last section the just smile and wind out of sails etc it works many a time even in relationships.

cheers and happy new year to you all

Tracie xx


If you were dependant on your MIL for basic food/clothing/shelter, I'd say grin and bear it.  Since you are taking responsibility for those necessities, you do not need to subject yourself or your children to the undermining influence of an angry woman.  If she can't be polite to your face, you know that she will bad-mouth you to your children.  Blood is not thicker than the milk of human kindness.  Providing gifts for your children is a privilege that she does not appreciate. 


Get enough rest, drink plenty of fluids, put your feet up.  You are doing the one thing  YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE who can do it.  GESTATE, woman, GESTATE. 


 When I said that grandparents should have no say, that was my opinion. Luckily for me and in my situation, the Supreme Court agrees.