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What do you want from your mother in law?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by gilldyson, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. Hi, in Summer I will hopefully be a grandma for the first time. I am on very good terms with my son and daughter in law and would like to keep it this way having seen several friends go through tricky times as a MIL when a baby arrives. The other granny to be lives a long way away and does not get on very well with my son and h is wife. In my work life I'm an early years specialist so its really easy to be too gobby and 'know it all'. I'm trying to take my lead from the parents to b,e but I wonder if you new mums have any do's and dont's I could learn from before blundering in and making the mistakes? . Thanks in advance.
  2. Hi, in Summer I will hopefully be a grandma for the first time. I am on very good terms with my son and daughter in law and would like to keep it this way having seen several friends go through tricky times as a MIL when a baby arrives. The other granny to be lives a long way away and does not get on very well with my son and h is wife. In my work life I'm an early years specialist so its really easy to be too gobby and 'know it all'. I'm trying to take my lead from the parents to b,e but I wonder if you new mums have any do's and dont's I could learn from before blundering in and making the mistakes? . Thanks in advance.
  3. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    I get on really well with my MIL but I did find myself getting really possessive over my son around her when he was a newborn! She was too fussy and always telling people what to do, like how to hold him, when to put him in his pram etc. The funniest was when she told her sister-in-law ( a maternity nurse!!) what she should be doing! She never actually told me i was doing anything wrong, but she was always being annoying! After a while i was fine with her.
    What i would've liked is if she'd come over and done some tidying for us, or bought some shopping or something. My parents live quite far away but whenever my mum came to visit she would clean our flat (she cleaned it from top to bottom while i was in hospital) and she did some shopping for us and so on.
    I think you just need to be understanding, not question their way of doing things, and help out with practical things!
  4. The best thing my mother in law did was offer to look after our LO one day a week (even thought they live a good hour away) and she tries to follow our routine. She is also much better at the playing and imagination games, then me and OH, and our daughter loves it. The part I didn't find very helpful was her trying to coherce me to bottle feed as that's what she did with her 3 sons and the other 4 grandchildren were, which is absolutely fine for them but I wanted to BF and didn't care if she needed feeding every hour and a half as that was my choice. The problem is that BF/bottle feeding is such a sensitive topic, that I think its best not to discuss it... but that's just my experience. P.S. the best thing my SIL did was give us a basket of 'necessities' (nappies, products etc) and brought us 3 home cooked meals for us just to re-heat which was fab x
  5. My mil lives miles away and is my son's only surviving grandparent. She has never even been to visit and never even sends cards. Things I would have loved for her to have done included just popping in and tidying up a bit or turning up with a meal. Speaking to other mummy friends these things have been a huge help. Having a new baby is very difficult anyway but without anyone just to do the small things it is doubly so.
    Perhaps offering to look after the baby for a night when it is older and obviously sticking to the parents routines etc. Still waiting for that elusive night out over a year later! I would have also been so grateful for someone to just walk in and say you go for a bath and do your nails etc.
    The things that really annoyed me was the endless stream of visitors in the early days who expected cups of tea etc. As others have said people telling you how to hold, feed, change baby etc. is also annoying.
    Slightly off topic but my one bug bear from all new grandparents when out and about is that they expect you to move out of their way as they have a pram or manage to stand in a changing room in the way watching 'mum' and happily watch you struggle with the door etc. I know it's nothing to do with your post but if just one grandparent looked around them and realised that not everyone has the luxury of an extra pair of hands I would be very happy!
  6. I find my MIL quite difficult. She came to stay for 5 days when LO was only a week old- big mistake! I think in the first few days and weeks it would be so helpful for someone to do washing/ cleaning and shopping but to leave the baby things to the mum. Mine kept telling us to go out for dinner/ let her take baby for a walk which wasn't going to happen at 8 days old and really upset me. Now, at 15 weeks, I'd be delighted! So offers to help with the baby maybe should wait until baby is a bit bigger. And I agree, stay away from contentious subjects- my MIL was quite nasty over me choosing to formula feed and is always going on about my "poor little baby who will be left at nursery all day"- like I have a choice!!
  7. I think you need to give them a bit of space in the first few weeks- mine was too much and kept popping in, and asking us round to show of the baby. I know you will be itching to see the baby but don't be 'too much'. I know she wanted to see her grand daughter but she drove me mad.

    Also, be aware that mum may be ultra posessive in the first few weeks and may not want you cuddling the baby ALL the time.... My MIL would take her out of the room as soon as she started crying- when a cuddle from me would have calmed her. When your grandaughter cries- hand her back!
    Don't tell her what she is doing is wrong but (when baby is older) do help out. When you visit, make the tea yourself, bring some food and look after her as well. I think that is the main difference between mum and MIL- when my mum comes, she wants to see me as well and looks after me, when MIL comes she only wants to see baby so expects me to look after her.
    Help by making her drinks, bringing some food and stuff but try not to outstay your welcome.

    My MIL is pretty good and it is unfair complaining but she does drive me mad. She also projects her own ideals on to me 'oh, I hope she is a girly girl- I so want her to have a pink pram, she won't play with cars! I hope she isn't an outdoorsy girl!!; I was a girl who spent all day outdoors in wellies... Oh dear!
  8. Let the baby's parents make their own choices. I BF but keep getting told that LO needs milk (i.e. formula and that mine isn't good enough for her now.)
  9. Spot on - it can be such a strange and awkward relationship. Mine steered clear which was very welcome. In fact, she steers so clear that I can count on one hand how often she's seen her granddaughter! Now I worry that she thinks I'm deliberately keeping her away (I'm not!) or that she just doesn't want to see us. It's a very difficult balance.
  10. Spot on too moomoon- the number of times I just wanted to say GIVE THE BLOODY BABY BACK- SHE WANTS HER MUMMY! But they just kept bouncing her about trying ot stop her crying which was the very worst thing to do. Also, perhaps because MIL didn't BF, she didn't seem to get cluster feeding- I needed to sit and have her latched on in the evening as she was crying but parents in law insisted they had her. I'm pregnant again and this time I will be honest and assertive and ask for him/her back!
    The fact that you posted this gilldyson means that you'll probably be a great MIL- you obviously care enough to get advice and not to tread on DIL's toes. Hope all goes well!
  11. I very much agree with this statement. My MIL didn't breastfeed her LOs and when I was finding it difficult in the early days and baby wasn't piling on the pounds very quickly, she annoyed me no end by saying 'oh just give a bottle'. Perhaps her intentions were good but all I wanted was support and people who said 'You're doing really well, keep it up, you'll get there'. You've had some really good advice on here...one other statement I related to was 'don't be too much'. Even if you are in la-la land at the arrival of your grandchild, try to keep calm around him/her & not be too 'intense'. I found all I wanted in those trying early days were calm people around me & my LO. I was over-whelmed and in shock & needed not to deal with my MIL's emotions too! Practical help is the way to go early on. Oh and always following the parents's routines & rules. I'm happy to say I love my MIL and she is a great support to us. She adores my LO & has lots of time & energy to devote. What a star.
  12. Haha- that sounds familiar too. She was so excited she would keep ringing up asking when she could come and see the baby and then would turn up early (which is a real problem- if you say you're going to be here at 2.30, don't come at 2!! They won't be ready for you!) She'd also ring the landline and if I didn't answer she'd ring my mobile- sometimes at stupid o'clock (like, 9 am when we were getting our best quality sleep in the whole 24 hours)- and often when baby was sleeping.
    Luckily and happily for me to say things did calm down- like La mariposa we have two amazing sets of parents and we're very lucky. Just being a new mum takes some getting used to, and I agree that you need calm, and yes I did feel quite territorial.
  13. My MIL is lovely and thrilled with her first grandchild but the DIL/MIL relationship can be a bit fraught. I love her but I wish she would be a bit more thoughtful about some of the things she says (as an example, we took LO to meet her colleagues as she had requested, one of her friends said 'oh baby don't look in there, it's a mess', she said 'don't worry he's used to that', says things to the baby which are really digs 'maybe one day mummy will let you wear a bib' if gets some milk on his chin etc etc) I take it very personally (especially when the hormones/sleep deprivation are kicking in!) I know it's my fault but it's hard to keep smiling, especially when you feel so vulnerable. Be gentle, I think is what I'm trying to say! [​IMG]
  14. Many thanks for all the advice, some good ideas. Have to say I'd forgotten just how much the hormones/sleep deprivation etc make you take things very personally. I'll try to be gentle! I wish my own mother could have read some of this, she was much worse than my MIL.

  15. My MIL had 4 kids and I frequently though to myself that she must have forgotten what it's like. But saying that my daughter is only 13 months and I have forgotten too :)
  16. princessmelody

    princessmelody New commenter

    First of all- well done for caring what your son and DIL think...I'm pretty certain my MIL doesn't!
    My MIL STOLE MY BABY! Well thats what it felt like. At 2 days old she came round 'to give me a break' and took him out! After 15 mins I was pacing, at 30 I called her and at 45 I was outside trying to find her when she arrived at the same time as my doctor who I'm pretty certain thought I was mental! Logically, I knew he'd be safe but it hurt. Not really a break for me!
    This is going to sound rude(sorry)...you dont know ANYTHING about your grandchild. As far as the parents are concerned anyway. My MIL works in a nursery so was giving me her opinion on everything, especially when he was a couple of days old. My problem with this is that the youngest she has at the nursery is 3 months, my hubby (her eldest) was in hospital for 10 days after he was born (and slept in the nursery overnight) and her second was a c section so again a lengthy stay (and again the nursery). I had an emergency section and was home the next day. By day 8 I was knackered. She was STILL telling me everything I was doing was wrong. When I told her what the midwife told me about BF she said 'I cant believe they are spouting that rubbish'. She has no experience of being at home with an 8 day old baby who I'd had EVERY NIGHT since birth. She told me that I should be feeding 10 mins on each breast every four hours and wouldnt have it any other way. He was back up over his birthweight at 13 days..I was so proud and she just took it as an opportunity to remind me how she did it. Well if I'd have done that he wouldnt have been up to his birthweight.
    I've spent a lot of time crying over what she is saying. My hubby and BIL have both told her to stop. I turn to jelly. The upshot of this is that I didnt see her for over 2 weeks (LO is only 10 weeks) or answer any of her calls.
    All these things my MIL didnt do but I would have loved
    • Tell your DIL what a <u>great</u> job she is doing (even if you arent sure about some things she's doing- different isnt wrong) OVER AND OVER
    • Send a text. Dont keep phoning the landline. My MIL told me that people who tried to be quiet around babies were stupid and they sleep through anything etc the problem was I WAS ASLEEP!!
    • Take food with you. Either something you've cooked or something easy to prepare from somewhere like M&S or Waitrose. (My best friend did this a few times)
    • Make your own bl00dy cup of coffee!
    • Give your opinion WHEN ASKED! If you really feel you have a fabulous idea, ask if its ok to share it. Then it wont feel like you are attacking everything she says and does.
    Really its the first point that is the most important. I felt a bit lost and so very tired. Everytime my husband woke me to feed LO up he would tell me what a great job I was doing. It really did help.
    The fact that you've posted in the first place makes me think you'll be just fine [​IMG]
    Good luck

  17. My mother in law does my ironing (still, LO is 18 months) It is amazing!
  18. roise

    roise New commenter

    I have a very lovely MIL. Things she does that I really appreciate are,
    she is very non critical and makes me feel like I am doing brilliantly even when I do things that are are very different to the way she did them with her children.
    She gives practical help when she stays and lightens the load.
    She is sensitive to what the baby needs and will hand him back if he needs be with me.
    She only gives advice when I ask.
    Mostly for me she clearly loves my son very much and is someone I can have long conversations about how very lovely and clever and beautiful he is.

    Goodluck with your DIL I think the fact that you are already thinking about what they need means you will be a graet Mother in Law.

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