AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

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AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  Henri on Sat May 16, 2009 3:53 am

once baby comes?

(Be prepared, this is MAMMOTH. I didn't realise it was so long.)

So, I've hesitated asking this and I've ummed and ahh'd for a few days, but I really just need input from people who are not my friends, and therefore implicitly on my side, or my birthboard, and therefore hormonal and anti-IL in general. I highly respect the opinions of certain members here, and it's a slightly more private setting with a bit more room for expansion than Another Place Which Will Remain Nameless.


I am 30 weeks pregnant. I have a wide range of health issues which heavily affect my energy and mobility and mood. I also live roughly three microseconds from my in-laws (ok well 15 minutes in heavy traffic, but still). I live 24 hours solid plane journey from my OWN family.
My entire pregnancy they have been incredibly insensitive not only to my circumstances, but to my opinions and choices as a parent-to-be. No matter what I say, if it doesn't fall in line with what THEY did with THEIR boys, it is clearly Wrong. I have not had a single nice comment my entire pregnancy, not one. Not about how I looked, not about how I'm growing, not about my choice of buggy/crib/bedding/clothes/breastpump/ANYTHING. I have however, had multiple quite nasty and underhand ones. My MIL at one point implied to my husband that our baby would come out deformed because she didn't have enough space in my womb to grow because I was too thin. This is based on the fact that baby in question is a big mover and disturbs my sleep. Yeah, explain the logic there.

MIL only took an interest after she found out we were having a girl at 17 weeks, FIL is for some stupid reason (most likely the stupidest of stupid reasons, that baby is a girl) actively trying to make our lives miserable (we're not paranoid, MIL and BIL have both commented on it to us), they jointly disrespected our decision to keep our babies name a secret by bringing it up in front of GPIL's and putting us on the spot and then TELLING said GPIL's the name we had chosen, G-MIL basically did the same thing, but this time in front of everyone, to a friend said 'They're keeping the name a secret, which means I'll tell you when they're gone.'

For the last 27 weeks it has been an endless stream of sniping and nastiness and never a nice word for either of us. When M was jobless, he was a lazy layabout and he was bringing shame onto the family. When he got a job, it was subtly implied it wasn't quite good enough for them. He never does well enough at work to meet their standards, despite them not actually understanding how his job works and how difficult it is sometimes. My MIL is constantly implying that I'm doing things wrong because I'm not doing them her way, when I was hospitalized in February she told M I was abandoning him, being a drama queen and making a fuss out of nothing, when I discharged myself she said I was being selfish and putting the baby in danger!

I lived with these people on and off for a while and while we have never had a perfect relationship (MIL has consistently decided that because I am not like her I'm WRONG) I've reached breaking point. I want our daughter to have contact with her grandparents obviously, as someone who never had any I wouldn't deny her that, but I'm starting to think that I want to limit the amount of time they can spend driving me insane as much as possible, especially as I am 'high risk' for PND. This is especially important in the early days, as we're doing a few things I just know we're going to have constant hassle over, particularly cloth-nappying. M works very long days and weekends are our only tiny bit of time together where he isn't just home from work or just about to leave for work, and I would like to limit the amount of time spent at their house, but I sense this is going to be difficult since we can't very well say it's too far to travel and they're closer enough that if we said we were too tired to drive, they'd probably come and pick us up.

AIBU to want to keep my distance from now and, and especially when I'll have a newborn? Should I put up with the constant bullying because they're family? Is one or two afternoons a month too little, given how close they are, or is it reasonable given how miserable they make us? I could really do with some outside perspective here, a range of opinions and some insight.


PS: I should mention as an aside but one that makes quite a bit of difference: my entire immediate family live in Australia, my entire extended family is in South Africa. I have had no one to turn to in this pregnancy. I speak to my mom every few weeks and my sisters once or twice a week, but not for very long and not properly in-depth, as they're younger and not up to dealing with all my crap.
One of the things that really really upset and angered me is that from the beginning of my pregnancy we decided and planned that we would spend a month in Australia when she was a few months old so I could be around family for once and so that we could also have a holiday (something we haven't had as a couple yet). From the very very beginning IL's were completely against it, saying I would never cope with the journey, saying that it was selfish of me to 'drag' M across the world (er, no dragging involved, actually!), that it was a stupid idea. They have not let up about this sodding issue for months.
When we tried pointing out that it wasn't just THEIR grandchild, that my mom and dad had a right to meet baby too, and how would THEY feel in my parents position, they said 'Well then they should come here, they can stay with us!' Yes. Both my parents should take weeks off work from their very busy jobs in the middle of a recession when they've just bought a house and leave my younger brother to look after himself, pay £1700 in plane fare alone, and stay in IL's attic. That makes SO MUCH more sense than just one of us taking time off work when we have no other commitments, so we can see ALL my family, and getting a long holiday out of it too. It will cost us about £400 to make this trip. It would cost my parents thousands, and they would have to come for a much, much shorter time. And yet still, we are getting constant nonsense for it.


Last edited by Henri on Sat May 16, 2009 3:55 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to add mammoth-post warning)
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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  Jeliwobble on Sat May 16, 2009 6:34 am

I wanted to post this now but I'm very tired so I might not make much sense!

I do think you're being a little bit unreasonable in that you ARE hormonal and you are on your own, so you are feeling as if no one is on your side. Which is rubbish, cos we're all on your side.

Mothers of the dads are always going to think 'she's stolen my little boy, she's numpty and not good enough for him'. Now, usually, MiLs can be coped with because your own mum is on your side and it doesn't matter what MiL thinks because your own mum backs you 100%. Which she probably does, but it's bloody hard to argue the toss with a woman from several thousand miles away!

Even if you were a little older, there's no guarantee that your MiL wouldn't be like this still. My mum was ALWAYS trying to TELL me what to do and I was 27 when I had Eldest. So, I think it's time to use all that vast intelligence of yours and start to come up with significant reasons why she's wrong. Pick your fights carefully, but fight nonetheless. You have nothing to lose really. She won't want to be out of your daughter's life, so she's not going to seriously upset the apple cart. M loves you. He loves his mum, but he picked you to be his life mate. He isn't going to pick her over you. And she knows that. So, pick your fights carefully, but fight back. I know you can do that!

One thing I would definitely fight about is going to see your parents. One month out of the several years that his parents will commandeer your baby girl is nothing. How selfish are they? If your parents get to see their granddaughter one month every other year, they'll be lucky, so pack up your nappies and get thee to Oz!

The other thing I would fight about is how often you see them. There is no need to see them every weekend. I lived 45 minutes drive from my mum and I only saw her every third or fourth weekend. Sometimes I saw my PiL more often because we stayed with them rather than popped over for Sunday Lunch! So work out some kind of schedule with M and stick to it. He must be getting tired with his mother's constant nagging and belittling of you too. He knows your mental health is fragile, so he will want to protect it. Use that!

Right, I'm off to bed. Hope I made some sense!

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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  Moomin76 on Sat May 16, 2009 10:55 am

YANBU to want to limit contact with them. They clearly upset you and are unsupportive of you. However, in the long run and given how close they live, I'm not really sure how successful you would be at limiting them. Are they the sort of people who will pop round anyway if you haven't been to see them enough? Ideally there should be some sort of set visiting arrangement, but I know from my own experience that it can be quite annoying to have a pattern to stick to and then you feel guilty when you need to change it for any reason.

I'm afraid that I'm one of those people who just puts up with stuff like this. I suffer it and bottle it all up, which is no way to do it, but I'm a coward and the thought of 'fighting' with anyone fills me with horror. DD wore cloth nappies and I was vociferous to anyone and everyone, but I was worn down in the end and I got so fed up of justifying them that I stopped doing it eventually. I had no idea that people were so set in their own (outdated!) ways. So I just carried on doing things the way I wanted to do them and changed the subject whenever anyone tried to challenge me on it. BLW was the same - although that was slightly easier as once people saw how well dd managed with it then the proof was in the pudding (no pun intended!)

They sound like a total nightmare and you have my sympathies. Totally stick to your guns over the holiday - how and where you choose to spend your valuable free time is totally and utterly up to you. It is completely unreasonable of them to try to dictate to you what you do and don't do!

I know I'm rambling, but I guess in conclusion I would have to say that you should try and decide with M what are the most important 'battles' to you. Try and let the other stuff go if you can. Come up with a stock phrase which you can use - e.g. "I understand and accept that you don't agree, but she is our daughter and we have to do things the way we choose - now can I get you a cup of tea?"

I know this is easier said than done. I spent years ignoring the stuff that my MIL does that I have issues with and this then culminated in a massive telephone row a months ago where everything came out of my mouth and I then slammed the phone down on her. I haven't spoken to her since and I have no intention of doing so. My dd will not now have a relationship with her unless she decides to grace me with an apology and that is never going to happen.
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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  Anybugger on Sat May 16, 2009 11:28 am

Hello, I haven't read the other replies but would guess that Jo and Emma have given good advice.

I thought I would add my little story which may make you see there is light at the end of the tunnel.
My Dh is an only child. Parents sacrificed everything (including a secnd child) to privately educate him, including boarding him.
I started working for his Dad in the evenings whilst doing A levels when Dh had just left university and was also working there whilst looking for proper work.
I dropped out of school and went to live with DH in London when he got a job. I was called all things including someone who would take his money and sleep with him but do nothing herself. (a prostitute then!!)
Not a great start to a relationship with outlaws.
Now, 12 years, 3 children and 2 sucessful careers later I get on extremely well with them. It has been a long and hard road though.
I have also been able to put myself in their shoes.
They were protective of their child and were concerned for his well being. I would now be the same. Hopefully

However I do think that it is a good thing for you and your DH to discuss the kind of relationship you want your child to have with his parents, amount of visits/names to call them, that sort of thing. Once you have an agreement, you have a united front. At the end of the day you (together) have their very special granddaughter and they will need to respect that.

I would also advise keeping plans etc to yourselves, letting them know on a need to know basis. I guess I mean put a little distance between you so that you can establish yourselves as "Your" family.

Good Luck, And always feel free to come here to vent!!
Hannah x

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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  Guest on Sat May 16, 2009 2:06 pm

I agree with Jo, Emma and Hannah. Everything they all said is correct, IMO, lol.

You DO need to make a stand, and it will be easier to do so while pregnant than it will be as the mum of a newborn.

If I was the MIL I'd want to see my granddaughter more than one or two afternoons a week, BUT I wouldn't have acted as they have thus far, so that's immaterial in this case. From what you've described, they're lucky you are even considering allowing them that much access to her! They do sound horrific, even if they are acting to "protect" their son & granddaughter (in their opinion). They need to realise you are her MUM and you are the one who will do the protecting, from them if need be.

I can't believe they have such massive issues with things like cloth nappies and blw. What exactly has it got to do with them? They should actually be PROUD you have done so much research on such things before she's even born!

The Aussie holiday - why the Hell not? They are being selfish, unreasonable and jealous. Not attractive qualities in grandparents, I think we can all agree. Yes you bloody WILL be going to see your parents. They deserve the chance to meet the wee one (I wish I knew her name-to-be, as I'm a nosey mare Rolling Eyes ) and you deserve a chance to chill out with your own family. M will also enjoy the holiday aspect, as well as spending some time with HIS inlaws, showing off his daughter - it's a win/win situation.

I do think you and M need to sit down and work out a set of 'rules' which suit both of you. Things like "Don't ever leave me alone with your parents" would be a good starting point. Write them down if it helps. Then you can say to the PIL's "We've been talking and we'd like you to know you'll be more than welcome to see us 2 Sundays of each month. We can't make it more concrete (as life changes) but we'll do our best to make sure you see her 2 Sundays each month for a few hours". If you think they'll argue back, have your repsonses planned in advance. If both of you keep saying the same things over and over, it helps make the distinction between their family and 'yours' (you, M and Baby Girl).

You're not being unreasonable. They are. Very much so, from what you've said here.

I am dreading the day my sons have children - I hope I can be the best MIL in the world, but I've read a LOT on *another forum* about MIL hatred and I'm a bit scared I will be one of those who hardly gets to see her grandkids. All I can do is read and learn until the time comes, lol!

XX
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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  phoenix on Sat May 16, 2009 3:16 pm

YANBU at all. You are starting a whole new path in your life and you need to do it alone. However, wanting to cut back and actually being able to do it are two totally different things, so you need to prepare yourself for the times that you *are* with them.

I liked Emma's advice of having some "stock" replies to everything.

Them: "You're going to hate using cloth nappies, disp are so much easier and you have no idea what you are letting yourself in for, and it's just a waste of money..."
You: "I hadn't thought of it that way, I'll certainly keep all that in mind, thank you for your advice - hey, did you see the advice on healthy eating that just came out? Let me get the newspaper and show you..."

From the examples you have given it seems that your MIL isn't as much attacking you as she is defending her own choices by going on the offensive. "She's using cloth, disp were fine for me, and so if cloth is the "right" choice and disp are "wrong", then I was wrong? Bet she thinks I *was* wrong and I have no idea about parenting, I'll show her...". Without caving, show appreciation for their concern, no matter how hurtfully they have phrased it and then change the subject, quick.

Along with a healthy dose of "OMG my little boy is going on a long trip half way around the world for a long time, I will miss him so much and what if he likes it so much he moves there...".

Try to see their interference as genuine fear and concern, and you'll be able to cope with it so much easier!

Oh, and most important... never tell them anything again! You should never have told them your name choice if you wanted it kept a secret, you certainly don't need to tell them about your plans for BLW and you didn't even need to tell them you were buying cloth. Don't discuss anything with them apart from the most innocuous of things, just get on and do things your own way.

Stock phrases for future use: (With a rueful laugh) "Oh you know what it's like to be a first time mum, MotherBrown, we like to follow all the guidelines and work things out for ourselves!"

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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  Henri on Sat May 16, 2009 9:17 pm

Thank you so much guys. I had an inkling I wasn't actually completely out of line given their behaviour, but I have a very hard time judging my own behaviour so a lot of times I need a bit of outside perspective. I'm one of those people that if someone tells me my feelings are invalid or unreasonable, I can't help but think they're right. Need to work on that...

A few points, for clarity:

Phoenix: I wish we never had told them the name. It was completely accidental though, we got pregnant about 5 years earlier than we thought we ever would, and it happened to come only a few weeks after we'd had a discussion with the in-laws in a very casual way about baby names. We'd told them during said discussion that the names we'd picked when we first got together were still the ones we were going to use, thinking we'd have plenty of time for them to forget before said sprog ever arrived. Then, not so much. They asked us if we were still going to stay with the same names and we didn't want to lie and then have it cause a row when baby was born and we DID use those names, so we told them yes. I wish now I'd just said no and dealt with a row when it came, if it came.

Jo: It makes a lot of sense, especially about having no one to fight my corner. IL's and my parents have only met once. My parents left the country when I had just turned 19, and not having any other family here, we only ever see the in-laws, and so I only ever get their opinions and their perspective. It makes it ten times more difficult to say 'Actually, I am healthy, and my bump is perfectly normally sized' or whatever I need to say to defend myself when I don't have anyone but M (who, like most men, gets a teeny bit wimpy around his mum) to back me up. If we were seeing my parents as much as we see his, I'd have a more sturdy place to stand, so to speak, because I'd have more balance. My mum can't imagine why I'd want to bother with cloth nappies, but she also knows it's my choice and if I want to I can, and she's never said anything bad about it. She is so supportive of everything (which, by the way, is a brand-new state of affairs for us) and she's so supportive of ME, but when I only get that support for an hour every three weeks, it's hard to draw on it for strength.

Moomin: YES, they ARE that sort of people. I am honestly and truly epecting MIL to 'just pop round' constantly once baby is here. It's so bad I've considered fitting a video intercom on the door so that I can ignore it when it's her, but my rational brain says that that is a tad over the top. I'm going to have to develop a way of dealing with un-announced visits. I wish I could say that I believed a firm 'Baby is sleeping right now and I'm off to have a nap, but we'll see you soon.' would deter her but I honestly don't think it would. She would probably invite herself in to clean or something while I slept.

Anybugger: Thank you for the light! I really do hope that one day they accept that I am good for their son, I just wish they would have done it already. They definitely use me as a scapegoat for all sorts of stuff....they found out he smoked a few months after we got together, so obviously *I* had led him astray and made him a smoker. They found out about his depression and self harm after we got together (because *I* dragged him to his GP for help because *I* could see he was in a bad way) and they blamed ME for that and for the time he was subsequently signed off work! He proposed to me, but *I* was the spoilt one demanding a huge wedding he couldn't afford (er, I never did, our wedding was done on the serious cheap, and it was as much his decision when we got married as it was mine, in fact it was almost MORE him than me). When we moved out of their house after we got married, *I* was the one 'dragging' him into a commitment we couldn't afford, *I* was the one supposedly demanding we moved out, blah blah blah. Basically, ever since we met, I have been the reason for every single action they disagree with, every single choice they don't like, and every single change in their son. I have been blamed for everything, whether I had anything to do with it or not.
When we found out I was pregnant we did wonder if this could be the glue that would hold our family and theirs together, that maybe a grandchild would soften them a little. It hasn't so far but there's always hoping.

Marley: Everything that you said is correct, imo! lol, but seriously...you're right about a lot of stuff. They are trying to 'protect' their son, but they don't realise that I've spent a lot of time protecting him from THEM! I took SO much flak from them for so long to protect him from it when he couldn't cope, and he's done the same for me so many times. They just cannot see how unreasonable they are. A prime example is the Australia trip. They CANNOT see why their 'solution' is unworkable and unreasonable. They just can't. And that BAFFLES me. Pretty much your whole paragraph about it is how I feel. Mike has only spent a chunk of time with my family twice. Once when he met them for the first time and once when we took them to the airport for them to go to Oz. He still hasn't met my sisters. It is so so so important to me that Baby gets time with my parents, and my parents need to see that their daughter is ok. They won't have seen me for almost 2 years by October. I am over being angry at them for going, what I need now is to show them 'Hey, look. I know you're worried about me being halfway across the world married to some guy you barely know and popping out his babies, but actually, we're doing ok!' I think my in-laws often forget that my parents lost a daughter much more than they are 'losing' their son. I stayed in England for M. I pushed my entire family aside and said to them 'I'd rather be here, alone, halfway across the world with this guy I've known six months, than carry on living with you.' They missed my wedding, they're missing my pregnancy, they're missing the birth of their first grandchild. While to a large degree that was their choice, I don't think it's unreasonable to make it a bit easier for them to swallow.



There has been a lot of very good advice, and thank you for helping me with this. It's one thing to think that you're not being unreasonable, but sometimes when you're the only voice in your head thinking it, the doubts can be hard to ignore.

Has anyone got any idea's for stock-answers? Things like cloth diapering, (almost) exclusive breastfeeding (the 'almost' being that I am going to express some, but only so M can feed her as well. NO formula unless absolutely necessary), having her in our room for the first 6 months...that's all we can think off for the moment.

And any advice on how to keep them out of our business? Especially since before recently we were kind of operating under the assumption of 'if we're open and honest and tell them things then they'll feel included and it'll put them at ease!' it took us a while to realise this is not the case Sad Now we're trying to not-tell them things but as soon as they find out about one thing they'll question and poke and prod and insist on being told more. How can I learn how to make this stop?
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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  cu2 on Sun May 17, 2009 1:53 am

barricade the doors, board up the windows, rip out the phones!
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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

Post  Shazmataz on Tue May 19, 2009 3:13 pm

I agree wirth cu2. And U r being totally normal and they are bein horrible. U need to be brash with ppl like this and its not easy but you do need 2. Your baby your rules.
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Re: AIBU to not want to see my in-laws all the time, especially....

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