MIL Out of Line - FamilyEducation
MIL Out of Line
01/16/2012 at 17:22 PM

Ever since my son was born, I've been having increased issues with my mother-in-law. She constantly criticizes how I take care of him and ignores my instructions when I have had to leave him in her care. She has put him on the couch with pillows surrounding him for naps (when she has watched him for us) and goes in the other room. We have told her so many times that we are not comfortable with that arrangement. I have caught her doing it multiple times since then. She keeps trying to give him food that he his body is not ready for. She will suggest it to me, I will tell her that he can't have that particular item (i.e. cookies, ice cream, gravy, guacamole - he is only 8 months old). She will not respond to my answer and then suggest the same thing to my husband in front of me. He will tell her "no," but it still has not deterred her for doing this every time we are at her house. She actually gave my son guacamole when I wasn't looking the other day. My husband caught her and told her not to do that again. I just don't know what else to do to make her behavior change. I have told my husband that he needs to tell her that she cannot babysit anymore if she continues to disregard our instructions, but he feels like he would be hurting her feelings if he followed through that threat.

Also, we just told my husband's family that I am pregnant again. We told them the names we have ready for the baby (we are set for boy or girl). She didn't say much when I gave them the names, so I knew she didn't necessarily like them, but I don't really care what she thinks. But, then she pulls my husband aside to say, "So what names do YOU want?" He told her that we both agree on the names and we both like them. She then said that if he really didn't like the names, he could tell me that and can choose whatever names he truly likes. This bothered me, but she said none of this to me, so I was just going to let it go. Then she emailed my husband a list of other names, and then she called him to say that he should look into more names from HIS side of the family. This really angered me because my son's first name is from my husband's side (and his middle name is my maiden name). The middle name if we have a boy would be my mother-in-law's maiden name. If we have a girl, the first name is of neither side, and the middle name is my grandma's maiden name. I just don't see how my side of the family is overpowering here... And to top it all off, she emailed the rest of my husband's extended family in England and told them that we were expecting a baby (when we would have enjoyed telling them ourselves), and she complained to them about our name choices.

I just feel hurt, overwhelmed and frustrated. I have been stressing out about all these things, and I don't know how to "let it go" or just relax. I had a miscarriage before my pregnancy with my son, and I'm very early on in this pregnancy. I just don't need the extra stress. I need to figure out the best and quickest way to handle this situation.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Stop going to her house, find someone else to babysit. Let your husband take care of any communication. Be gracious when you must speak. If someone tries to tell you what she said about you, graciously change the subject because they are just gossiping. And, don't you gossip about this. If you have already been talking to extended family about how poorly you are being treated, apologize. "I'm embarrassed that I said those things, please forgive me."

Thank you for you advise on how to handle the situation, but I am not embarrassed for discussing my issue with my family or anyone else and would never apologize for that. It is my MIL who should be embarrassed and apologizing. What I am looking for is just the best way to deal with the situation without harming my own marriage and family.

I think you are right about limiting my communication with my MIL. I have already told my husband that I won't be returning his mother's calls or emails and will not go out of my way to see her. If there is a family event that she will be at, then I will have to sit through it. He has already responded to an email she sent me. And while I do not enjoy hearing gossip, I do appreciate being told when someone is gossiping about me. My husband is the one who told me the things my MIL has been saying, and I would not be happy if he kept those things from me. He is my husband now and that supersedes their relationship.

I also told my husband that I am no longer comfortable with her watching our son. He agrees that she is not well suited for that task at this point, but he is also trying to reiterate our rules every chance he gets in hopes of her changing. I guess it's just a bad situation that can I can only find a way to control and/or tolerate as best I can.

The lack of discretion on all sides is what is harming your family. The thing you can do to repair your family is to increase your own discretion. Your own behavior is one of the things that you have control over. The other is determining who provides supervision for your children. You can't make your mother-in-law do anything. You can tell your husband not to burden his pregnant wife with the details of his problems with his mother. He's SUPPOSED to protect his family. He blew it this time, but he can learn.