Back off inlaws - we need time with our baby!

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Back off inlaws - we need time with our baby!

Postby oranges » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:49 am

My inlaws are driving me (and to a lesser extent my husband) mad! Nine months ago we had our first child, a beautiful baby boy and while I appreciate how excited my inlaws are, I find their constant visits a real intrusion to our family life.

My inlaws are very outspoken and constantly give their opinions on everything! They seem to think they have some god-given right to drop in whenever they feel like it and I now enjoy their company less and less. I am itching to say something but don't know how to without causing a rift. However, it has got to the stage where my husband and I are arguing over them and I am starting to make snappy comments and obsess about each of their visits - I'm sure this means that every little thing they do is getting out of proportion. Would appreciate any advice / voices of reason/ people in similar predicaments to share their experiences!

Let me give a few examples - bewarned a lengthy rant may ensue:

During the later stages of pregnancy I was measuring small and after having many additional scans we followed the advise of the doctors and had an early induction as it was considered that the baby may not have been thriving. In the end our son weighed a healthy - though not huge - 6lb8oz. I was breastfeeding and thought it was going okay, however, the day after we were discharged from hospital his weight had dropped significantly and it was borderline to him being readmitted. Our midwife suggested we seriously get some food into him by expressing milk with a breast pump and topping up each feed with a bottle - this meant hubby having to make a quick dash to Boots to get bottles and a pump as it was a Saturday afternoon and we needed to ensure our baby was getting enough milk asap.

While the midwife was visiting we had a phone call from inlaws asking if they could come over, they were in their car parked around the corner.They did visit in the hospital when our son was a few hours old but obviously wanted to see him again in a relaxed setting. My husband was quite blunt as we were in a bit of a panic and told them to go away, saying it was a bad time. An hour or so later we were sat in our lounge trying to figure out the breast pump for the first time and desperately worrying that our baby wasn't getting enough nourishment when the inlaws phoned back. My FIL said that MIL was upstairs crying, saying she was 'being denied access to her grandson' and we were being unreasonable. My husband put them straight, saying that we had bigger things to worry about and explained the feeding issues. He was pretty firm and once we had got to grips with everthing I told him to phone back and invite them over - I felt really awful for his mother and didn't like to hear that she was upset - now I wish I hadn't been so acommodating!

A few days later and the inlaws were back on the scene! My father in law constantly complained that our baby was always asleep and he wanted to wake him up. Obviously we were up feeding around the clock and instead of getting rest in the day I felt I had to play hostess! I even had my FIL asking if there was any chance of a spot of lunch and making comments like this is easy, what's all the fuss about? Conveniently forgetting that I was exhausted from labour, breast feeding and being up all night as well as overwhelmed with getting to grips with being a first time mum. Also my husband had two weeks of paternity leave which I had imagined would be mostly time for the three of us, not the case!

We live close to a large park and my inlaws had been dreaming of pushing their grandchild around the park and going for a meal in the local pub throughout our pregnancy, so day 10 and they turned up insisting on a trip out. I said that I would be happier to have a drink rather than a meal and we all set off - MIL pushing pram! I was taking it steady as was still recovering from stitches and birth. My hubby put an arm around me asking if I was alright when my MIL said that they should have left me at home! I was horrified and said that there was no way that I would be parted form my new born baby yet! The first of a few snappy remarks from me... the cracks in our relationship were beginning to show!

After the first few days we established breastfeeding really well and I cotinued to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, however MIL constantly tried to discourage me. I'm sure this was because it made them feel so uncomfortable that they or I would have to leave the room to feed our son and it also meant I was always with him when they wanted to look after him without me around. If I ever had to feed him MIL would make a big fuss and say how embarassed FIL would be if he walked in etc. This meant I often had to skulk upstairs in our own home for hours on end and somehow felt I was being unsociable.

Now the crazy days of new born life are over and my maternity leave is coming to an end - this is my final week before returning to work and they are still driving me bonkers!! It seems every weekend we have a visit from them at least once, often twice in addition to a mid-week drop in. My husband has tried asking them to phone beforehand, but that elicited a response akin to people in their family have never had to make appointments to see each other before!

My husband has a long commute to work and we don't have much time together in the week so our weekends are precious family time. Obviously there is a place for our inlaws in our lives and I know how much they love their grandson but we need our own space. Our son is crawling and so I am constantly cleaning the floor and now asking all guests to remove outdoor shoes before coming in - something my inlaws keep ignoring! My mother inlaw saying a few germs wont hurt his immune system- although I responded that soil and dogshit isn't going to be very good for him!

Only today thet turned up unannounced. When I answered the door I think I made it pretty obvious that it was a bad time as we had just got back from a baby group and I was expecting a friend to visit, plus my son was napping at the time - a quick half an hour where I should have had a break but instead had to listen to my mother in law berating my husband! My MIL is so down on him and our life in general I find it infuriating. We both have professional jobs and live in a nice area, but they are always hinting we ought to move to a bigger house, which we quite frankly can't afford at the moment and we like our home! They think they are being subtle with comments like, your bay trees will look really nice outside your big house!! And they have even turned up with the property pages saying to my husband, this would be a good house for you!! Almost as if I don't exist.

There are so many small comments that I seem to be dwelling on and I hate feeling negative when I should be concentrating on our lovely boy but it is really getting to me. There are so many other incidents - I won't even get into the whole Christmas palava - but the crux of it is I want to feel in charge in my own home and want to seem them less! Any suggestions on how to get them to ease off their visits would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Back off inlaws - we need time with our baby!

Postby dragon_rider » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:49 am

I'm so glad I'm not the only one with with problematic inlaws! Mine do my head in too. The demands are out of this world sometimes. Our first baby is due Christmas day but we are still being asked to commit to family get togethers and games, and when I pointed out that we have no control over these things, I was met with stony silence.

I have always had issues with my MIL, she just isn't a nice woman. But things got very nasty a few weeks ago, and it fell to me, because she's too immature, to try and sort it. I wrote her a letter in the first instance apologising for any offence I'd caused, pointing out her actions that I felt had led to the problems, but accepting that I may have misunderstood or misinterpreted things. We then met up and talked it through. Unfortunately in my case she refused to accept any kind of responsibility fof her behaviour and made out that it was all my fault (which it is not!). However, in your case it sounds like you get on better in general than I do with mine, and so you may be able to speak to her more rationally.

You could try writing it all down first, explaining that you realise how much she loves her grandson, and that you have no intention of stopping her seeing him but that you are now at the stage, especially as you're going back to work soon, of wanting to get the little one into a routine. Suggest certain times when they can come round, something like every Tuesday and Thursday until 7pm, or something like that, and maybe arrange to meet for lunch on a Sunday or something. That's a fair amount of time to offer, but you are a family of 3, not 5, and they have to back off. You'll need to get your husband on side too, of course and make sure he backs you up at all times.

If they continue to turn up unannounced, start pretending that you are just getting ready to go out/put baby to bed/expecting a friend round, so it really isn't a good time. Try and compromise by suggesting meeting for lunch another day, somewhere neutral. It makes itbso much easier as I don't know about you, but I always feel that they are invading my house, especially as my in laws go through our bedroom, baby's bedroom, stuff in the bathroom etc, and my sister in law always has to come too as she and my mil are incapable of functioning without the other - they even go to the loo together, in my house!

If they refuse, continue to guilt trp etc then you may have to be completely blunt and tell them where to go, which is unpleasant and I do hope it doesn't come to that.

They are never going to change by themselves, because even if they know deep down how you feel, they are never going to admit to it as they are more interested in their own benefits than yours - hence demanding to take baby out whennyou didn't want to go.

I wish you luck with it, it's a horrible situation to be in, but the only way I can see for it to work is for you to put your foot down which may cause problems in the short term but will ultimately solve some issues, or to allow it to continue until you explode and cause a rift. I had to allow my mil to "win" by allowing her to basically lie to my face and make out that she was this lovely woman who'd never done anything wrong in her life, and that her complete ignorance of my pregnancy was all in my head (I was 20 weeks before she acknowledged it was happening, and even then, she wasn't pleased). To keep the peace I allowed it, but she now knows she's walking on very thin ice and has behaved herself since, although Christmas will be telling as I don't think having a day old baby will be a good enough excuse to miss out on her day of games.

Good luck with it all, I do hope you can sort it all out.
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Re: Back off inlaws - we need time with our baby!

Postby Bel Bel » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:54 pm

I agree with dragon_rider except I think in the first instacne this all has to come from your husband or you will just be that horrible woman he married.
He needs to tell them if they want to come to your house they have to obey your rules i.e taking their shoes off. If they don't next time you go round their house do something you know she doesn't like and then tell her "now she knows how it feels". It sounds childish but sometimes unbtil someone feels the way you do they just don't realise.

Ultimately your husband needs to tell them if they cn't or won't do thins your families way there are only one set of losers and that's them.
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Re: Back off inlaws - we need time with our baby!

Postby oranges » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:33 pm

Thanks for the advise. Will have a long chat with hubby this weekend and see if we can tackle them together. Think you ar eboth right, going to have to be brave and set up some rules to stick to and make our feelings known otherwise nothing will change.

Glad to know I'm not alone too, although I'm sorry that dragonfly is having her pregnancy marred by MIL! When our baby was due it clashed with my sister-in-laws wedding and to complicate matters she lives in New Zealad so throughout our pregnancy there was a lot of tension surrounding us not going to the wedding. My inlaws wanted my husband to go but it was three weeks before due date and being the other side of the world just impossible! When we announced our news of the pregnancy the first thing MIL said was, well you can tell your sister that your not going to the wedding!! It's so ridiculous it is actually funny but when your mixed up in it, it's hard to see the funny side!

Dragonfly make sure you can rest and relax over Christmas - you will need all your energy for your new born - good luck!
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Re: Back off inlaws - we need time with our baby!

Postby oranges » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:33 pm

Sorry I meant dragon_rider!!
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