thread: Overly enthusiastic MIL and first-time grandmother

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2005

    Overly enthusiastic MIL and first-time grandmother

    Hi All

    I wonder if anyone has a similar story and give me some tips on how to deal with my very-excited MIL...

    I would like to say at the outset I love my MIL and have always gotten along very well with her. I would like to handle this situation so that her feelings are considered as she really is doing a lot to help us get ready for the baby and I don't want her to feel I don't appreciate that. As with all MILs she can be a little nuts sometimes - but nothing I haven't been able to handle... so far.

    MIL has been desperate for grandchildren for some time and my DP's older brother doesn't look like having any. DP is now also in his 30s, so it's probably just our kids that she'll have as grandkids. She lives alone, although she has a lovely BF that will be honorary Grandpa.

    She has been knitting and buying frantically since we told her we were pg. It's now stepped up a notch to saying she'd like to come to the u/s (NO!) and she has hinted how much she'd love to be at the birth (NO! NO! NO!). My own Mum and sisters live interstate, but I wouldn't even want them there!! Now she's saying she will come to the hospital while I'm in labour and wait. I don't think this is a good idea, and I've said it will only distract DP and best to wait until after everything is over.

    BUT - I don't really want her (or anyone else) to come right away. I would like to see how we feel and maybe even postpone visitors until the following day. I have said if she is intending to come to the hospital while we're giving birth we won't tell her until afterwards, but how do I now break the news that I might not want to see her until the next day?

    BTW, DP totally supports whatever I want to do and will 'handle' his Mum, but I think it might be better coming from me.

    I know I am going to have the same kind of issues after baby is born as well IYKWIM. Any advice from someone who's dealt with this??

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    SE Melbourne


    Its really hard not to offend isnt it??

    When I had Shannen via g/a c/s, everyone came in straight after and I dont remember a thing.

    With Tayla I had a spinal c/s and no one was stopping my Mum coming in, think it would have taken the army, but they were only allowed to stay for 20 minutes anyway, so it wasnt that long.

    I had Hayley emergency c/s, dad took me to the hospital but left and it was just me and DH. That was really nice and because she was 6w early we didnt have a chance to tell anyone, and I have to say that having time with DH that this birth was by far the best.

    You could always use the excuse that you didnt have time to call, or even that the hospital restricts visitors straight after the birth. maybe you could get a video of the u/s and show her back at your house, she might just be interested in the whole u/s thing, I know that my Mum was.

    I would go with the idea that you should just wait and see how you feel, you never know you might really want to show off your baby.

    Good Luck!

  3. #3
    Melinda Guest

    Hi Jennifer,

    You might want to check out this thread: How to say 'no' to people in the birth room

    When DH and I were thinking about DS's birth, we decided that we did not want anybody but us present and that we did not want any visitors for the first 24 hours. In order to prevent unwanted visitors, either during labour (god forbid) or in those first 24 hours, we decided that we would not tell anyone except for my Mum, that I was in labour. I really wanted my Mum to know, and I knew that she would not come barrelling in, as she understood our wishes. We also explained our wishes to DH's family so that they knew that once they were told about the birth, that they couldn't just jump in the car and come in. We felt that it was better to prepare them for the fact that DS would be 2 days old before they saw him.

    So, I go into labour, and DH rings Mum to tell her from the hospital, which is exactly what we had planned, and he then rang her when DS was born. At that point, we both decided that we would like both his parents and my Mum, to be able to see DS that day (my Dad died a few years ago), so DH rang my Mum and asked her to come in, and his parents. They didn't stay for a long time - but enough to see their grandson and to have a cuddle. So even though we had planned for those first 24 hours to be just ours - we ended up changing our minds, and I'm glad that DS's grandparents did get to see him on that first day of his life - it felt quite special and intimate and I was grateful for their support after a long labour resulting in an emergency c/s.

    About the ultrasounds - I also wanted that to be just DH and I. We had numerous scans, and we always got pictures or the scan taped, so we could show the grandparents the u/s pictures or the video - we both felt that was more than sufficient. I think it's such an intimate and personal thing that it's understandable to want it to be just DH and yourself.

    I know it's a hard one because you don't want to upset anybody, particularly when you know they are so incredibly excited about being a grandparent and want to support you and do as much for you as they can. But at the end of the day, it really is your decision as to what you do.

    Sorry to have waffled on so much, I just thought that may help.......GOOD LUCK!

  4. #4
    froofy Guest

    I'm happy with my future MIL, but my own mum was a nightmare last time around. At first, she was not happy about the pregnancy (and is worse this time around). Then, once she got used to the idea, she got so out of hand. We'd go out for dinner together, and her and my father would argue over what I could/would order, whilst I had already decided lol.

    She tried to pressure me into calling the baby, if it was a girl, 'Marny'. I made it clear I didn't like that name, and she kept trying to get me to change my mind, and telling me she didn't like the name we'd chosen. Then she got peed off because the middle name was named after my paternal grandmother. She started making suggestions for middle names from her side, none of which I liked, and I was closer to my paternal grandmother than anyone else, so that was that.

    So, she went to my sister in law, and told her the name we'd chosen, and reported back saying, 'she doesn't like the name either!' I said well stiff. Then, she started trying to pressure that sister in law into using that name, and actually believe she would!! (I told her she wouldn't she was just being nice, and she didn't use it. We were pregnant at the same time)

    When she was born, I was trying to learn to breastfeed, my mum would grab bubs while she was ON the boob, and move her around the way she thought looked right, which in actual fact was losing the position. I told her three times to let go, I couldn't do it with her moving her. Each time, she moved her again. I had to physically grab her wrist, and wrench her hand off, and even then I had to use force LOL.

    We would arrive at her house, I was heading up the front steps. She saw my fiance behind me carrying our daughter. So she pushed me up the stairs out of the way ( I fell over) and snatched Harmony off Nigel. Such rudeness!!

    She was always just giving our daughter food we didn't approve of without asking, or putting her in the highchair or taking her out against our wishes. One time she got her out of the highchair, and Harmony let out a little sqwark, she said, 'don't worry, mummy's got you' I nearly spit CHIPS at that one! Then later in the same visit, she announced, she would really like it if our daughter started calling her 'mama'. I shouted, no, I'M her mother.

    Oh and any time our daughter made the slightest sound, even if my mum wasn't in her line of vision, she'd always say, 'she wants MEEEE'. Everytime I tried to put her to sleep, she'd say, 'I don't think she'll sleep, Sharon. ' She ALWAYS did, and my mum would get really ticked off and say, 'really? are you sure? I didn't think she would' Oh yes, and at Harmony's second birthday party, we decided it was time for her to have a nap at 2pm. I said, 'Harmony, come on, time for bed'. My mum was holding her, and talked loudly over me, about bananas in pajamas to block me out. So I said it louder, then Nigel backed me up (bless him). So she walked off with her, and got her to give the ppl on her side of the family a goodnight kiss, but not anyone on Nigel's side.

    We prised her off my mum, and got Harmy to say goodnight to Nigel's side too, my mum got a really nasty look on her face. Then, we took Harmony to our bed (she was going thru a phase where she had arvo naps better in our bed). She was asleep in ten minutes, all the while, my mum was outside the door, saying loudly, ' I dont think she'll go to sleep while I'm here!'

    So we left her asleep, and my mum said, she won't be able to sleep. We said, well she is. 'Are you sure?' We had to physically open the door and show her before she'd believe us.

    In fact, writing this out has made me realise how lucky I am that she hasn't shown an interest yet, lol! I should be enjoying the peace and quiet! LOL

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2005


    I don't know whether to thank my lucky stars that MIL is only as bad as she is or start preparing for worse!!!

    I wouldn't be surprised if she came out with the 'my baby' comment, so I'll have to think of a good response to that one.

    It seems like it's extremes - DP's father (in England) isn't really interested at all in the baby and only really wants to hear that it's a boy and MIL is completely the opposite. What do you do, huh?...

  6. #6

    Oct 2004
    In my Zombie proof fortress.

    Hey Jennifer13 I understand you concerns I went through having the OK MIL to having the MIL from hell. There is a lot more to be concerned about than having the MIL around for the birth. Here is my little story:

    Luckily MIL lives in another state so it was too difficult for her to be over for the birth, even though DH and I had discussed it and agreed that we did not want her over in the 1st 2 weeks after the birth so we could have some bonding time. I knew she was going to come over fairly soon after the birth and stay with us for 2 weeks to help out. At the time I convinced myself it was a good idea as everything I had heard told me to accept all offers of help (not true at all!) and I had had a pretty bad c -s section. Whilst I was in hospital she called me and stated quite bluntly that she WAS coming over and we had NO choice about her staying with us (in reference to FIL staying in a hotel) and she had her way she would have been over sooner.

    So much for helping the first couple of days she was over she kept on asking what she could do and would say "the washing". The basket was overflowing, everyone could see when they went to the toilet and she would still ask what could she do. Err what about the washing!!! Once she finally did the washing all she did was question the way I wanted it done, then she mentioned that she only uses half the washing powder! I was wondering why half the washing came back like it had not been washed.

    We have a small house that we are renovating, so MIL had to sleep in our living area. So I had no privacy when it come to bf'ing etc and I refused to hide out in my bedroom without the TV.

    One day I was really sure that bubs was not feeding properly, in my sleep deprived state I found this really upsetting, I was trying to tell DH of my concerns and she would tell him "don't listen to her she is being stupid and hormonal" (Anyway I was right bubs was not feeding properly and had started to lose weight.)

    One that same day we were out shopping and she was insistent on finding a Bunnykins bowl. I was fine with that so long as she let me sit down and get a drink, but she did not seem to want to let me. I was exhausted and dehydrated and really should not have left the house. On the way home she started crapping on about how babies of girls in her town sleep through at 2 weeks. I went off at her screaming and crying that I did not want to be compared to other women and their babies. She aid she was not comparing me. Why tell me this, how was it going to make me feel better? When we got home I was still really upset and she shoved the Bunnykins bowl in my face and expected me to be happy and grateful for it. WTF? DH pulled me aside and started the "she means well" crap. She had only be with us 2 days and I wanted her gone!

    I ended up having trouble with bf'ing and really wanted to persevere. So I had to end up expressing a lot. Whilst I was expressing she would comment on the size of my nipples and make comments like "you only have to bf for 6 weeks, I know 'cause I had 2 boys" WTF?! Basically she gave me no useful advice whatsoever and was highly critical of everything I did. She was subtle in her criticism though, she would never say I was wrong or that she didn't agree, she was continually ask me "why" over and over again and if she really didn't like what she heard she would go "oh.....right" The longer the gap between the words the more she disliked it.

    I was getting home visits from the MCHN rather than visiting the clinic. After every visit she would tell me to do the opposite of what they said. If I did it her way and it didn't work she would then suggest the MCHN's way as if it was her own. I was so confused. Once again DH was like "she means well"

    She would constantly say how much better she was than a lot of other people because she reads, but she would then criticise me for reading to much parenting stuff and she didn't need a book to raise kids. First of all how hypocritical to criticise me for reading, maybe if she read something other than fiction she may not need to ask "but why" so often. Secondly if she was such a great mother why is her youngest son an ex dope head turned alcoholic who can barely hold down a job for longer than 2 months?!

    After 5 days FIL came to visit (he & MIL are divorced, been apart for more than 20 years) MIL turned into a stupid school girl. She dominated all conversations with him and tried everything she to impress him. I really like my FIL and wanted to talk to him, but I couldn't. Her behaviour was embarrassing, normally I would not care that she still has feelings for him, but she brought it into my house and made me feel like an outsider. Anyway we were taking some family photos and doing a couple of shots of the paternal gp's with Maggie. Whilst these photos were being taken she commented on how FIL's new wife would be "****ed off" by the photos. What a thing to say! I don't want Maggie used as a tool by her.

    Her visit had started to cause a real rift between DH and I was he felt that he was being forced to choose between us.

    MIL finally left us after nearly 2 weeks, rather upset that I never listened to her (I tried to but her advice was crap and verging on dangerous) and how I rarely let her hold bubs. I was in such a daze I had no consideration of the needs of others other than my own daughter's. Also bubs was at the sleep and feed stage, so there was not much holding for other people to do!

    Sorry if it sounds a bit jumbled, I am still so annoyed with her and she did a lot more other things. From now on I am not going to accept any well meaning advise if it is either unsolicited and/or dangerous. I believe the person giving the advice should be told it is not welcome, they will never learn if we just smile and then thank them for it.

    All I can suggest is to try and set any ground rules early and don't accept any help that is emotionally damaging.

    Good luck with you MIL


  7. #7
    jaggard Guest

    I have a VERY over the top MIL. I do get along with her but then there are times when I have to give it a rest from her as she's too full on.

    She came to one of my OB visits as she was the only one that could drive me there. He did a quick U/S every visit on his machine and all she asked were stupid questions like, so does it look like a girl or a boy? HELLO we were not finding out for a reason. She was stinging for a girl as she had 3 boys herself and I have 4 brothers so there were no real girls around. So my advice, don't take her to the U/S, they get too excited. Especially if you don't know what your having or you want to find out and keep it a secret.

    When DD was born, we had written in our birthing plan that we wouldn't call anyone till I'd had bubs. We ended up calling quite a few people when I got to hospital as we were so excited.... BAD MOVE... I had a 9 hour labour and for those 9 hours my MIL, FIL and my mother (who I didn't mind being around) wandered the hospital grounds, came in every so often. After I'd given birth I ended up with about 12 family members in the birthing suite which was TOO full on. Oh my god, never again, I looked like I'd been hit by a truck, I was still quite out of it after the peth, I'd lost a fair bit of blood too so I felt like cra*p, they then passed DD around, all I could smell was cigarette smoke on a few of them and I was getting so anxious and paraniod about it all, I burst into tears... that worked, it got them all out! The next night they all came charging into my room again, passed her round and left me with a screaming newborn.

    After DD was born I got a text from MIL a few days later saying "I have the baby blues", I couldn't believe it, who was the one that had the baby here. :mad: After that she certainley had her moments, I've had the comments like "where's my baby", or "she doesn't cry like that with me", or when I went back to work one day a week and she'd mind her, I'd get to her place stinging to hold my baby and she'd say "you can't have her" AHHHHHH :mad:

    I had DS in another town (we moved away) so we had no one to disturb us! SOOOOOOO much better, then we controlled who could visit etc.

    I still have the odd MIL issue. She spoils DD rotten which is the next issue I'm dealing with. She gives her so many lollies and cakes and junk as she's scared that DD might reject her some day. Funny thing is when MIL visits now, DD whinges ALL day as she knows she'll get something like a cake for doing so, she's never said "No' to her. She also said to me she wouldn't know what she would have done if I had another girl as she doesn't think she'd love her the same. :mad: Gee that made me feel great!

    My advice, say exactly what you want and ask her to respect your wishes.
    If you MIL is like this now, you'll most likely have scenarios like I've had after the birth of your baby so get in early and tell her exactly how it is.

    Gosh i could write all day here, better leave some room for others!

  8. #8
    froofy Guest

    Funny thing is when MIL visits now, DD whinges ALL day as she knows she'll get something like a cake for doing so, she's never said "No' to her.
    This was a HUGE problem for us when our daughter was going through the tantrum age. We always managed our daughter's tanties well, we had a rule that if she threw one, we would not give her anything, nor would we talk to her, we would completely ignore her until she got over it. And once our daughter realised there was no reward or 'pay off' for this behaviour, she stopped doing it.

    However, when my mum and dad were around, all she had to do was make any semblance of a noise, and my parents would fawn all over her, grovel at her feet, and throw toys, keys, junk mail, food at her to cheer her up. We told them that we had a rule that when our dd was throwing tanties to not reward the behaviour in any form, in other words, please ignore her, do not speak to her and especially do not give her things for it.

    Well! You can just imagine, for this, we were the MEANEST parents on the face of the earth! ](*,) They completely disregarded our rules. One time, we turned up at their place, she threw herself on the floor as soon as we got there, my parents got down on the floor grovelling, saying, 'oohhh it's alright, what's wrong? Do you want a present?' I clearly and firmly said, 'please ignore her, otherwise you are rewarding this behaviour'. Did they listen? NOOOO....

    So of course, the tanty went on, and she threw many more. Every time, they would give her a huge pay off for it. So, our daughter would go in as a well behaved little person, and would come out as a spoiled little tanty chucker lol. It used to take us at least a week to 'unteach' this behaviour again. Even when she grew out of tanties, she would still often get whingy after their visits, and be very disagreeable with us.

    Another thing I used to have a problem with when our baby was bottlefeeding, was I would feed her a bottle, then ten minutes later she'd cry with wind, as babies do. My father would say, 'feed her again' oh yeah, great idea... I would say no, and not explain why. Why should I have to, you know? So mum would be standing there waving a rattle in her face, while I'm just trying to calm her down (Even after I asked her not to, as it was only overstimulating bubs), and dad would be yelling at me, "Feed her, can't you see she's hungry for god's sake??" Oh yes, two bottles of formula over ten minutes, what a great idea -NOT!

    Ah the joys... lol

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2005

    All I can say is I hope forewarned is forearmed!

    I am taking all this in and I can see that if I thought I had problems with her involvement with the pg I am going to have to prepare for a lot more after bubs is born!!

    Thanks for all of your stories, I hope it helps to get it off your chest (I know I always feel better after having a whinge about my MIL!) and it certainly lets me know what I might be able to expect.

    We find out if it's a DD or DS tomorrow, and thankfully MIL went away over the weekend until this afternoon and hasn't been calling me to ask what time my appt is for almost a week!

  10. #10
    froofy Guest

    Good luck with finding out the sex! I was also going to say that although my issues are with my parents and not inlaws, that watching the show 'everybody loves raymond' seems to be a great outlet LOL. It may sound crazy, but I always believe the saying, 'you've gotta laugh, otherwise you'd break down and cry' is very true in these situations, and it's great being able to have something to relate to lol

  11. #11
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2005

    And the news is...

    It's a girl!!!!

    We thought as much (intuition) and are very happy that we're going to be having a DD.

    Of course MIL is going to be even worse with this news, 'cause she's always wanted a granddaughter sooooo bad. Get this though, she left a message this morning saying she was going out but to call her on the mobile when we knew. So we tried and her phone has been turned off all morning!!! Everyone else practically knows except for her!!!!

    Go figure...

  12. #12
    jaggard Guest

    Congrats on your news!!!! Let us know how MIL reacts when you tell her, is you tell her of course LOL!!!