My Mother-in-Law - FamilyEducation
My Mother-in-Law
05/21/2009 at 08:28 AM

Well, i'm a working parent. And i live with my in-laws :( they don't adore me and don't either. My 20 months old daughter stays with them and a baby-sitter, who is very kind and calm. My MIL is way toooo strict. Even when she wants to praise my daughter, she does it in a very strict and harsh tone.. like, when my daughter has a cute dress on, MIL will say "What are you wearing!!!" so... and once or twice i've heard her saying bad names to my girl, like "silly, brat" etc, and i argued with her for that issue, but that's another story. Now my girl is kinda scared of her, and doesn't love her. When i'm around, she goes and hits my MIL, and when we ask her do you love your Grandma, she says "NOOO!!!" while she says YES to the rest of the family.
A couple of months before my daughter would do only what i told her to. And never did anything her Grandma told. Now i've noticed the opposite - gradually, she does only what her grandma tells her, without paying attention on what i tell her. It's not fair - i'm her mother, i love her, and i'm the one doing EVERYTHING for her. she never does anything. we pay our baby-sitter to take care of the baby while i'm at work... Now i think that maybe she's being too harsh with my daughter during my absence, and DD is scared of her and wants to do everything Grandma's way so she won't get angry with her any more... do you think i'm right? or i'm overreacting?
Yesterday my DD took off her shoes, and i asked her to put them back on in a very kind voice (My trasure, will you put your shoes on?). she didn't even pay attention. when i brought her shoes close to her, she started screaming! MIL heard and came into the living room, saying "My sweetie, will you put on your shoes?" and my DD jumped up, a big smile on her face, and yelled "YEEES!!!!" and ran to put on her shoes!! Isn't that frustrating?
Note - my DD doesn't speak yet, only a few words, so i can't ask her what's going on.
The other day we were playing, and i was holding her hand, while she was standing on a stack of flat boxes, and MIL came, saying "Get down, you'll fall!" and i said "I'm holding her, she won't fall down, besides, we're playing!" but my daughter ceased at once her favourite game and got down. I told her that it's ok, mommy lets you play that, get back up... but she didn't. she just didn't! i'm so angry and frustrated!!!
Yesterday when we were alone, i told her that she needed to listen to her mommy and not Grandma... did i do a wrong thing?

As long as you are dependent on your in-laws, you will have less control over your circumstances than you would otherwise. Some families can make a situation like this work. It requires that all the adults show respect and compassion for each other. I've told my children that if their finances get rough, the grandchildren can move in with me, but my children can't. I don't know if I would hold to that, but I just am acknowledging that having three generations in a household would be very difficult. I do think that you should keep your daughter out of the conflict. She is responding to the situation she sees, and asking her to change the situation is too much.

Reminding you daughter that she needs to listen to mommy is fine, but telling her not to listen to gandma just causes conflict for your little child. She does not have the power to tell her grandmonther "No" so don't put that on her. Does your babysitter stay at your MIL house during the day? If you are paying for daycare, you should find daycare outside your MIL home. You should also spend time at the park alone with your daughter and take her out of the house for activities. You need to spend lots of alone time with your daughter and husband without your MIL. When you are at home, you need to gently take control of each situation. Give you daughter direction and if your MIL interfears, calmly leave the room and have a private conversation with you daughter about the behavior but not about your MIL... When you MIL interrrupts her playing on the boxes then take your child by the hand and go for a walk or play another game. Then as soon as you can, move into your own home because you live with you MIL and it's her house, her rules...

I agree w/ Tamz. Why not pay for childcare elsewhere if you're paying for a babysitter already? I also understand it's your MIL's house, but it is also YOUR child. You are paying a babysitter to watch your daughter. If you wanted your MIL to be the caregiver, you wldn't have hired the babysitter to begin w/. In my opinion, your MIL is interfering. Yet, as long as you're under her roof, you have little control over the contact your MIL has w/ your daughter. Have you tried talking to your MIL about how you feel? She may not even realize what she's doing. I don't know why your daughter listens so readily to your MIL and not to you, but maybe your MIL is less of a pushover than you are. Sometimes parents that are too soft get less of a response from their children than those who are more strict or firm. I see that w/ my husband and I sometimes. There needs to be a compromise here. I don't think your MIL shld interfere when you're there. When you're at work, however, she can spend time w/ her granddaughter, but you have to make it clear that your babysitter is in charge, not her. Maybe you shld consider a nanny cam. I'm not sure it wld be doable in your situation since it's your MIL's house, but it wld allow you access to what is going on during the day w/ your daughter. Another option wld be to take a few days off to observe your daughter at home w/ your MIL. If you see something you don't like, speak up. I don't think you shld be telling your daughter not to listen to her grandmother. You shld expect her to listen to you, though. I think the advice to spend alone time w/ your daughter is good. You're daughter needs to understand that you're the parent, and although grandma is important too, she doesn't make all the decisions. Don't turn your daughter away from her grandma. Instead, give her all the love and attention you can give her when you are home. You're daughter may be responding to your MIL negatively b/c maybe she doesn't get away w/ certain things that she gets away w/ w/ you, and maybe she doesn't like that. Just b/c your MIL is strict, doesn't mean she is a bad caregiver. Observe, take notes and see for yourself why your daughter is acting the way she is. Then decide what you want to do about it b/c you are the parent, so it is your decision to make.

Thank you all very much. It is a fact that i live under her roof, but it is also a fact that i'm paying for EVERYthing in the house, including meals, gas, water, electricity, etc. She doesn't work, and her husband works only for collecting his money under his pillow. And i also pay for the baby-sitter. Since now the baby is only 20 months old, I'm planning her to go to daycare at 24 months, she's too small now. And there is no use if i tell her that the nanny is in charge, because when i'm not there MIL takes over and the nanny is very soft and shy. I and DH are planning of moving on our own home, but it can take a couple of years, as he doesn't want an appartment - he want to buy earth and construct a house... that's another issue in my family :-( He's planning to make two separate entrances in that house, like 2 separate houses, so hat in the other house right next to us his parents will live. and i have to live with it, coz there's no way i can convince him otherwise. but it's ok as long as i'll have my own kitchen and my own spaces in my own house. I realized i did it wrong when i told DD not to listen to Grandma... and you're right that i'm too soft with DD. I'll try to change a bit to strictness, and also, htatnks for the advice to take DD out a lot for alone time with DH and DD... i'll try that. also, i hope that when she grows up a bit, she'll understand everything. I can't wait these 3 months to pass for her to go to daycare. Thanks for all the advice...

no i totally agree with what you did my daughter is also 20 months old and her grandmother my mother in law always wants my daughter under her it was plenty of times when my daughter would trip and fall and start to cry and i would pick her up and comfort her and her grandmother would come and try to take her out of my arms. i had to let my mother in law know that she was overstepping her boundaries as well as let my daughter know that i am her mother and she listen to what i say. i dont blame you for what you did bcuz i did the same thing and dont feel bad just let ur mother in law know she is only her grandmother and not her mother.

Are you kidding me? You are so wrong! To not take in your own son or daughter is way messed up!! Maybe u should go rethink your values! Why in the world would u ever think it was ok to split up a family! I'd hate to be ur DIL..

Ps my previous message was for the first woman that posted!