2nd Trimester

Issues with In-laws

To start, I would have to say I actually have very sweet in-laws. They don't match up with the various horror stories I've seen around, but that's partly why I wanted to go ahead and ask everyone's advice anew - I feel like advice for the extremes have been covered, but I'm having a little bit of trouble figuring out how to deal with this particular, admittedly smaller but still frustrating, situation. This is part asking for advice and part vent. :

 My MIL is very used to having all of her children fairly close. Only one of her 9 kids lives out of state; the rest all live within 15-30 minutes of each other. Any time someone has a birthday (which with that many kids and spouses is quite often) we're all expected to gather for a family dinner. If she had her way, I think her dream would be to have a giant house and a bunch of land where all of us would live with our spouses and children under one roof. DH has mostly grown up with this, so while he doesn't share her dream of living *that* close, it doesn't bother him as much as it does me. I grew up with never living in the same state as my grandparents and visiting them once a year around Christmas when we were young (I still feel that I had a wonderful relationship with them even so). Currently, my siblings and my parents are scattered around the country, and we similarly get together at Christmas as often as we can afford it, but not much otherwise, despite being close via phone. Given that, as much as I love my family - and my in-laws - I've always preferred to have some distance and to have my own family independently. So that may be part of the reason this sort of thing is bothering me. It's anywhere from little things like my MIL sighing and sadly saying she doesn't know when she'll ever have her family back in one piece - because apparently a daughter living in another state means the family is broken - to bigger things like our conversation today.

DH and I are currently living with them in a separate apartment part of the house. It has been very generous of them to let us stay here, and for the most part they've been good about not dropping by unannounced. We were going to move out at the beginning of the summer - we were originally just staying here while DH finished his education - but every time we brought up that we were looking at apartments, they would beg us to stay. Again, it's very generous of them, but I can't help but feel a little smothered at times. We did end up deciding to stay, mostly because they raised the fair point that we can more easily save up for a house while we're living here. So now we're talking about house options. Today my MIL asked me where we were planning to live, and I listed a few towns we were looking at that were close to DH's work. Bear in mind, these towns are literally 15 minutes away from their house, maybe 20 minutes tops. My MIL then suggests that we could live in their same town, and even that there are houses for sale only a block or two away. I smiled politely and told her we were really looking at those other towns, but she wouldn't drop it and kept pressing me to live really really close by. Her reasoning was that we should be closer so it'll be easier for her to come visit the baby.

And okay, that might be what it comes down to for me. My mother once mentioned that with one of the kids she had this strange desire to board up all the windows and doors and keep everyone away from her baby. I?m definitely feeling that, and I haven?t even given birth yet. I?m glad family and friends are excited about the baby ? heck, I?d be sad if they weren?t ? but sometimes I feel like so many people ? my in-laws in particular ? are making plans to visit and I feel like screaming at them to not touch my child. It doesn?t help matters that my MIL is used to seeing her current grandchildren about once a week, if not more, and I really don?t think I could handle that, but I think that may be what she?s expecting. Of course I want my kid?s grandparents to be in its life, but I think I?m really hoping for more peripheral ? or at least not quite *that* involved. All in all, requests to live a block away just fills me with the desire to move to Sweden.

I?ve talked to DH about it, and we at least got the delivery room situation handled (we want just the two of us there), but I feel ungrateful and rude bringing up stuff like this too often. DH *loves* my parents, and again, his are perfectly sweet too. But I feel like I?m going crazy when it comes to this issue. I?d really like to just be straightfoward with my MIL, but any time I do anything even close to saying I?d like things to be different, she gets *so* hurt. One time DH talked to them on my behalf to gently request they tone down the political rhetoric as it made me a little uncomfortable (our views do not mesh at all) and she called me the next day crying because she felt so bad about hurting my feelings. She?s not doing it out of passive-agression or malice, but it makes me feel so guilty that usually I just don?t say anything at all, and it?s really hard to put my foot down about things that matter. It almost makes me wish she *was* mean, because then I could feel justified about standing up to her.

So Bumpies, any advice on how to deal with feeling so smothered or how to deal with a MIL who takes everything personally? On that note, the other thing looming on the horizon is differing discipline techniques between parents and grandparents as I?ve witnessed with the current grandkids ? mostly that the parents have rules and are frustrated that the grandparents seem to have none. How do I raise my concerns on that and similar issues when the time comes without hurting her feelings or being too demanding? (And am I blowing things out of proportion/is this just the hormones talking?)

Re: Issues with In-laws

  • I am coming at you from complete understanding of your situation. Seriously. 

    Stop bringing it up. Don't worry about it anymore, and don't talk about it anymore with anyone outside of your DH. If your MIL brings up the living in a different town situation again, be kind but say something along the lines of, "We're still looking around. We want to do what is best for us." and leave it at that. Focus her attention on something else, another family member perhaps, and try to move forward with a different conversation. You always could do the kind of "agree" with her but not verbally do so; just listen to her, even if you personally zone out. ;)

    As far as the visiting goes, cross that bridge when you get to it. Your inlaws are going to need to learn that they have to ask before they come over, and then you'll have to be firm about whether or not you're ok with it. Example; if you're really NOT up for having company, tell her that the timing just isn't working out right now if she asks if she can come, and suggest another time. Giving her a second option will show her that you DO care and are wanting her to see the grand baby, just not right then.

    Finally, about the taking things personally, I think you need to stop worrying about it so much. You can't worry about someone's reaction, only about your words. As long as you're kind and careful with what you say (it sounds as though you want to be, so that is what I'm going off of. ;) ) she does need to learn that you aren't attacking her. It sounds like you haven't done that before, or at least often, so then you can always, should you feel the need, step up and stand up for yourself, and gently remind her that you have no harsh intentions; that you never want to hurt her feelings and want to be able to be open and honest with her without feeling like you're going to do just that.

    I really hope these things help! If my MIL didn't internalize her feelings so much, to the point of letting tiny issues fester into full-fledged problems (in her head, of course) I think these things would work with her and I's relationship. She's very bitter at us for not living in town (we live 9 hours away). Good luck!!! 

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  • My MIL is a lot like this, although she only has two children.  She was an only child and had her parents all to herself, and they were very generous with her.  Her own children were much closer with her parents than with my FIL's parents because she wanted it that way, and her in-laws were not particularly interested in being close with her or their family (FIL is one of 7 kids).  She has a hard time letting go of traditions and gatherings and being ok with my husband and I splitting holidays, etc... because she hates change and has never had to "share".

    The best advice I've been given is to stop oversharing.  Stop giving her so much information and allowing her the opportunity to give her opinion.  By sharing where you are looking to live, you're opening up the chance for her to tell you what she thinks (as if you don't already know).  Instead you could say you are keeping your options open, and if she gives her opinion you can at least tell her you're considering it and leave it at that. 

    I know you walk a thin line and you don't want to hurt anyone, and she seems genuine which makes it more difficult.  Stand your ground and be sensitive, already anticipating what her reaction will be good.  Good luck!!

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  • I have a similar experience, but mine are with overinvolved parents.  My mom never had to share time with in-laws, so it irks her beyond end when I have to make time for the other side of our family.  My sisters are unmarried and live very close to home.  We moved 25 minutes away and she had every reason why she shouldn't move.  The best option is to just stop oversharing.  My sisters learned this before I did.  When you share information, it opens yourself up to criticism and suggestions. Learn some delay and avoidance tactics. "Oh, I saw that house, it looks nice..."  "We haven't decided where we want to live, we are keeping our options open."  "Oh, you want to come over, next Thursday looks good for us."  Being vague is your best defense.  Also, we have a firm NO POP-IN stance in our house.  Everybody is aware of this stance and DH has gone as far as making his own parents sit out in the car until we are sufficiently prepared to accept visitors.  Rude? Yes.  Effective?  Yes. 

    My DH also deals with the fact that we have A LOT of family events.  Like your DH, it doesn't bother me because I am used to it.  He has been more independent, although since we had our DS his family has been more demanding of our time.  My solution to ease the burden on him is to take my DS to my parents' house without DH.  If there is something DH does not want to do, like go to Sesame Street Live, I invite my mom to go with me instead.  She gets her time, and DH gets out of doing something he doesn't want to do.  I pick and choose which events are "mandatory" for him to attend.  Your DH might have to do similar things to avoid smothering you.  I will warn you that it is very difficult for my mom to understand that my DH is more of an introvert and does not want to spend every waking minute with our family.  Her feelings get hurt, but I just need to keep reassuring her that it is really not about her.  He just likes his time alone.

    It sounds like you have siblings in law.  How do their spouses feel?  How do your DH's siblings feel?  I find recruiting family members as a line of defense is very helpful.  My sisters do an excellent job of calling my mom out when she is being too overbearing, or blocking her before she pops in.  Feel out other family members and see if there is any support they can provide. 

     Finally, as for discipline.  My parents are pretty strict with DS which is fine for us.  Although there are times when they make certain suggestions and I just say that we are choosing not to use that approach.  When they see "We will see..." I just say, "I guess we will..."  However, my in-laws do not discipline DS at all.  My MIL frequently says "You can do whatever you want with grandma.  Whatever my baby wants."  DH takes care of this by telling her that we are not raising a brat and taking care of the discipline himself.  That being said, we always have a day of regression any time DS spends a large amount of time alone with IL.

    Good luck.  The birth of our DS changed my relationship with my IL.  They do a ton of things that bother me.  However, you need to keep in mind that they desperately love the new baby and try to keep that in mind. 


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  • Thank you first of all for such a great and calm post - it's clear that you have thought things true and can rationally see where she's being generous and where's she's stepping out of bounds. 

    The big thing is for you and DH to have a conversation and just stand your ground re: where you want to move. And to thank them for their generosity of having you under their roof.

    I am very close with my ILs however they are a little more smothery than my parents. They just "suggest" things in a quiet lovingly manipulative way (meaning it's not with ill intentions)! They would move on our street if they could and they're not from here so they would literally be moving TO BE close to us. Smothered is how I felt. I talked to DH and said that 20 minutes is no big deal but down the street is a bit of a problem. It just changes our daily dynamic - a lot!! I communicated it to my MIL (where in her culture living on the same street is normal for g-parents). She was hurt but I communicated our deep love for them and that it's just about autonomy.

    I have my own battles. We're going on vacation with them next year (they ask us every year which is a little much so I had to assert that every other year would work) and I sometimes lie awake at night a little anxious about it. But I know that they love us very much and just want us to keep them involved. So I do...in our own way.

    So assert your autonomy and create your own traditions. BUT include them in different ways! 

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  • Honey, I feel ya. I've seen my in laws 3 times in 4 days. They are very possessive about holidays, even smaller ones like Halloween and St PD. They are super generous and always want to drop things off at our house- read: they want to drop by to see Ds and use gifts as an excuse. I feel like an a hole for being upset but I am like you and really need my space. And I need to feel like they respect my boundaries and parenting decisions! Anyway, sorry I don't have much advice except to make decisions that are best for you and your H. And try not to let them guilt you into things. ETA- mine just left for FL for 3 weeks, so at least I will have a little separation. :) 

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  • I don't normally post on this board but I can totally relate to your circumstances. I love my in-laws and they are great in most areas and are always there to support DH and I. Recently DH and I went through a really rough patch and I took our girls and left, and stayed with my Mom for 6 weeks. My MIL was NOT impressed. She kept calling and telling me that I had to be a more supportive and understanding wife. After a few very heated discussions I had to lay down the law so to speak. She wasn't impressed but if she wanted to be part of our lives she had to learn to respect that I have different view points and opinions. Of course it helped once I was able to explain my point of view to DH and although he might not 100% agree with me on everything we have agreed to be a joint force while around his parents and keep our arguments and disagreements between ourselves. Even if he doesn't agree with what I am doing he will show his support to me in front of them. My in laws also LOVE having there grand kids around and do expect to see them at least weekly. While DH and I were separated I refused to bring the girls to my in-laws house because they live so close to us I didn't want to confuse the girls. MIL and FIL did not get it but in the end I had the "power" and they had to do as I said. I was more then willing to meet at a different location (a park, store, or other relatives home) and they finally realized that I was not going to budge on the issue. At one point my FIL came to visit the girls at my mom's house and he barley spoke 2 words to me which just pissed me off. His reasoning was that he was there to see the girls and not me. He was not invited back!!! My in laws often say they would rather see the kids then the parents and I find it incredibly rude. MY family is nothing like that. In terms of discipline, although DH and I thought we were on the same terms before we had kids, when we actually had to put it into practice we are on different pages. Since I am a SAHM and DH works full time I do most of the discipline and I deal with all the little stuff during the day. Some things I let slide the DH would NEVER let the kids get away with. One of our major disputes is over whining. Our younger daughter whines when her older sister bugs her, steals toys, or when she is hungry or tired. DH can't stand it because growing up his father would not put up with it.  I figure she usually has a reason to be whining. If I deal with the issue then she stops. NO big deal. DH thinks I shouldn't allow whining at all. His parents back him in this regard because that is how they raised there own kids and will let me know that they don't agree with me in very subtle ways. I find I have to be pretty direct and it is working.

    Good luck. Start making boundaries now and be open and honest. Deal with things as they come up and try to approach things together as a couple so that you don't have MIL going behind you back to your DH.

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  • Honestly it sounds like your MIL needs to cut the cord with all her children and you guys need to find your own space. You can and absolutely  should limit visiting hours after you have your baby. You only get those newborn days for so long. You have created a new family with your DH and you need to do what is best for you guys. That includes moving closer to his work.
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  • image RissKay:

    I am coming at you from complete understanding of your situation. Seriously. 

    Stop bringing it up. Don't worry about it anymore, and don't talk about it anymore with anyone outside of your DH. If your MIL brings up the living in a different town situation again, be kind but say something along the lines of, "We're still looking around. We want to do what is best for us." and leave it at that. Focus her attention on something else, another family member perhaps, and try to move forward with a different conversation. You always could do the kind of "agree" with her but not verbally do so; just listen to her, even if you personally zone out. ;)

    As far as the visiting goes, cross that bridge when you get to it. Your inlaws are going to need to learn that they have to ask before they come over, and then you'll have to be firm about whether or not you're ok with it. Example; if you're really NOT up for having company, tell her that the timing just isn't working out right now if she asks if she can come, and suggest another time. Giving her a second option will show her that you DO care and are wanting her to see the grand baby, just not right then.

    Finally, about the taking things personally, I think you need to stop worrying about it so much. You can't worry about someone's reaction, only about your words. As long as you're kind and careful with what you say (it sounds as though you want to be, so that is what I'm going off of. ;) ) she does need to learn that you aren't attacking her. It sounds like you haven't done that before, or at least often, so then you can always, should you feel the need, step up and stand up for yourself, and gently remind her that you have no harsh intentions; that you never want to hurt her feelings and want to be able to be open and honest with her without feeling like you're going to do just that.

    I really hope these things help! If my MIL didn't internalize her feelings so much, to the point of letting tiny issues fester into full-fledged problems (in her head, of course) I think these things would work with her and I's relationship. She's very bitter at us for not living in town (we live 9 hours away). Good luck!!! 

    Yes 

    If you're not intentionally trying to be rude, then you have to quit worrying if her feelings are hurt. She's grown. She needs to act like it! 

    I am saying these things with a replica MIL who also acts hurt all the time. I don't care anymore. I am doing what is best for my family (dh agrees) and if anyone (MIL, my family, anyone) doesn't like it, they can go jump in a lake. Also, my husband and our family are the ONLY ones who live out of town in the ENTIRE family (cousins, aunts, uncles, gparents, everyone). And they all actually do live on a giant farm with separate houses (ha- from your example) so I get it. We live several hours away b/c it's where dh's job is and where we want to live anyway. So, yah, I get it!

    You have to stop caring so much about her feelings. You are a wife and mother now, you have your hands full! Focus on you and your family, and throw her a bone (invitation to visit) every now and then. Other than that, she can't force her expectations on you guys anymore- you don't have to be the same as everyone else.

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  • Don't bring up the house-shopping location again. Be sure that you and your DH completely agree on the location you both want and if your MIL brings it up again, just say that your decision is already made. I totally agree that it makes SO MUCH more sense to live near his workplace. He has to drive that EVERYDAY and the extra time he'll get to spend with you and your LO rather than driving is way more valuable than the extra 15-20 minutes you'd drive once a week to see the grandparents. You can always back it up with the fact that your husband won't feel so caught up in the rat race and that will make your whole family more relaxed and willing to visit with the inlaws frequently.

    On the discipline differences, unless it's something serious or causes major repercussions during your own disciplining, I would let it go. Grandparents are notorious for being push-overs. It makes sense, though; they get to dote on the kiddos with no repercussions because they send them back to mom & dad!

    Lexy

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  • Thanks for this thread - I'm in a similar situation, but it is my parents who are overly involved, etc. DH isn't used to that. It stresses him out, which in turn, stresses me out. I finally had to tell my mom that I needed a break from family stuff, not necessarily for ME but for him. Once a week is nice and fine and normal for me, but not anything like what he's used to. And I know he doesn't have to come, but then it's like "Oh, he didn't COME. Again." Good luck and thanks again for all the good responses, because i"ve been trying to figure out how to do this too.
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  • I'm having the same issues, just it's us living with my parents... my sister lives, not even a mile away... and she expects them to come over every sunday for lunch, and stay all day. we initially moved in because we had both been laid off from our jobs, and needed to get back on our feet. we both feel smothered, and haven't brought up the fact that dh has a job offer 2 hours away from them and that we will be moving.... just the idea of us moving gets my mom all emotional and starts telling me that we should just wait longer, we've been there almost 3 years. discipline in my house is ridiculous!!! They dont allow them to be kids and wrestle i have 2 boys, I never dress them appropriately to the weather... my mom will go and change them... her opinion to appropriate. I feel like I have no say on anything... and I'm ready to move far far away.... but at the same time, I feel bad moving so far. I'd say try not to stress about it, it's not good for you or the baby, find the house you want.... then after it's final, you tell them, hey we bought a house, give them your moving date, and say thank you, and tell them how.much you appreciate them helping you get to the point to be able to buy a house. even if she says anything negative, just day it's already been bought, and I'm doing whats best for my family. she might be hurt for a while, but she'll get over it, and she'll be too happy to see you guys when you visit, that she won't have time to be mad at you or dh for moving.
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  • My MIL is somewhat similar, but not quite so "hurt" all the time.  She can get upset, but I am just matter of fact with her. Not rude, or coddling, just matter of fact. When we told her the name of this LO would be Ariel Rose, she said she didn't like Ariel. I said she could call her Rose. She asked why I don't just name her Rose then. I said because I like the name Ariel. Not rude on my part, just matter of fact. Her name is Ariel end of discussion. I said it with a smile on my face, but it isn't up for debate and she got that from my answer.

    I am not going to get upset over her opinion, and neither should you over the opinion of your MIL. My MIL will grow to accept Ariel, if not, that isn't my problem it is hers and she can handle it in her own way.  I would start to distinguish "her" problems from "your" problems and then act on only those that are your problems. Your problem is buying a home in the town your husband works in, her problem is that he doesn't work in her town. If she has an issue, she can move to the town he works in. End of problem. As for visits, just be matter of fact with her, "now is not a good time. How about tomorrow/next week/etc.". She asked, you answered, end of problem. 

    Give yourself the permission to be unapologetically adult. Figure out what you want and need for your family and stop apologizing and agonizing over it.  

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  • You and your MIL are going to have to learn to meet in the middle.  While it's not necessarily realistic fair for her to expect to see you multiple times a week (once you move out), it's not realistic or fair to tell her she can only visit once a month (or whatever).  You're going to have to give a little, and so is your MIL.  

    We live 2 miles from my ILs, and see them generally once a week.  Could I go some weeks without seeing them?  Does the way she interacts with DD drive me up the wall sometimes?  Do her comments about wanting to do MORE together irritate me?  Absolutely.  But.  She is DH's mother.  And she is DD's grandmother.  And while I'm absolutely fine setting boundaries and not letting her rule our lives (though I dont feel she has any intent to do so), I also realize I need to ease up a little and let her have some time with her granddaughter when maybe it's not the ideal or most convenient time for me.

    It will work out, just try not to be so rigid in your idea of how the family dynamic is going to work.  There are battles worth fighting, and battles not worth fighting.  Stand your ground when it matters, but dont restrict her time with your LO TOO much.  When I find myself getting irritated over the same thing, I think of how I'll feel in 30 years when MY kids are grown and out of the house and have their own children.  I'll want to be in their lives more often than a visit at Christmas. 

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  • image magnoliablossom00:
    image RissKay:

    I am coming at you from complete understanding of your situation. Seriously. 

    Stop bringing it up. Don't worry about it anymore, and don't talk about it anymore with anyone outside of your DH. If your MIL brings up the living in a different town situation again, be kind but say something along the lines of, "We're still looking around. We want to do what is best for us." and leave it at that. Focus her attention on something else, another family member perhaps, and try to move forward with a different conversation. You always could do the kind of "agree" with her but not verbally do so; just listen to her, even if you personally zone out. ;)

    As far as the visiting goes, cross that bridge when you get to it. Your inlaws are going to need to learn that they have to ask before they come over, and then you'll have to be firm about whether or not you're ok with it. Example; if you're really NOT up for having company, tell her that the timing just isn't working out right now if she asks if she can come, and suggest another time. Giving her a second option will show her that you DO care and are wanting her to see the grand baby, just not right then.

    Finally, about the taking things personally, I think you need to stop worrying about it so much. You can't worry about someone's reaction, only about your words. As long as you're kind and careful with what you say (it sounds as though you want to be, so that is what I'm going off of. ;) ) she does need to learn that you aren't attacking her. It sounds like you haven't done that before, or at least often, so then you can always, should you feel the need, step up and stand up for yourself, and gently remind her that you have no harsh intentions; that you never want to hurt her feelings and want to be able to be open and honest with her without feeling like you're going to do just that.

    I really hope these things help! If my MIL didn't internalize her feelings so much, to the point of letting tiny issues fester into full-fledged problems (in her head, of course) I think these things would work with her and I's relationship. She's very bitter at us for not living in town (we live 9 hours away). Good luck!!! 

    Yes 

    If you're not intentionally trying to be rude, then you have to quit worrying if her feelings are hurt. She's grown. She needs to act like it! 

    I am saying these things with a replica MIL who also acts hurt all the time. I don't care anymore. I am doing what is best for my family (dh agrees) and if anyone (MIL, my family, anyone) doesn't like it, they can go jump in a lake. Also, my husband and our family are the ONLY ones who live out of town in the ENTIRE family (cousins, aunts, uncles, gparents, everyone). And they all actually do live on a giant farm with separate houses (ha- from your example) so I get it. We live several hours away b/c it's where dh's job is and where we want to live anyway. So, yah, I get it!

    You have to stop caring so much about her feelings. You are a wife and mother now, you have your hands full! Focus on you and your family, and throw her a bone (invitation to visit) every now and then. Other than that, she can't force her expectations on you guys anymore- you don't have to be the same as everyone else.

    Agreed, you need to find a way to move beyond worrying about how your MIL will feel.  It took me years to get to that point, and I still have work to do.  But I have to say that having a child has made a big difference.  

    One of my favorite lines for MIL when she tries to insert her well meaning opinion is, "Well, we'll pray on it."  Having a few noncommittal, disarming phrases in your pocket may work wonders.  

    That being said though try to pick your battles.  I mean end of the day it's your child you get the final say.  But there are certain things that might not be worth turning into an issue.  For example, DH and I went out of town this weekend and my ILs were kind enough to watch our DD.  I was so tempted to say, 'no juice and no chocolate milk' because we have these things in the fridge, but they are not for DD.  I just thought to myself, it's not worth it!  Let them feel like they are spoiling her a little (not sure if they actually gave it to her or not).  But I had the bedtime clearly typed out for them, because that is a non-negotiable in my mind and I don't want anyone tinkering with our hard work.   

  • Thank you all for your kind and supportive replies and all the wonderful suggestions! I have talked to DH some about it and I believe we're pretty much on the same page about visiting hours. We've talked about maybe having some visits here and there with close family shortly after the birth, but when it comes to friends, etc., we're planning an open house at around 2 or 3 months, as dealing with everyone in one fell swoop tends to be much easier to handle. He has also agreed to share the responsibility of answering the door or phone to turn them down when necessary, and we always check with each other before agreeing to any outside engagements. I'll be bringing up the "no drop-in" rule soon (he's currently recovering from two excessively long shifts at work back to back, so we'll discuss it after) to make sure we're on the same page there too. I think for me, the hard part will probably be when they do call and it's a bad time to stick to my guns and actually say that it's a bad time.

     

    image RissKay:

    Example; if you're really NOT up for having company, tell her that the timing just isn't working out right now if she asks if she can come, and suggest another time. Giving her a second option will show her that you DO care and are wanting her to see the grand baby, just not right then.

    Thank you for this advice and for all who expressed similar sentiments; remembering to do this will make it much easier to handle hurt feelings and to make sure she knows we really do love her.

    On a separate note:

    image sschwege:

    One of my favorite lines for MIL when she tries to insert her well meaning opinion is, "Well, we'll pray on it."

    This. This will be really really helpful, for both the house situation and probably plenty of other big decisions. Both DH's family and mine are very religious (one of the few things we do have in common!) and in all honesty we probably will be praying over this before we make a decision. Hand in hand with that is the belief that answers to prayers come from a higher power, so this will work extremely well as a conversation ender with no hurt feelings. And I don't mean I'd be using this as a lie to weasel out of a conversation, but rather than remembering to share the (true) fact that we've been praying on it and this is what feels right will likely be the best option when it comes to conflicting opinions on big issues.

    image magnoliablossom00:

    If you're not intentionally trying to be rude, then you have to quit worrying if her feelings are hurt. She's grown. She needs to act like it!"

    This sentiment, along with "stop oversharing," seem to be the most common responses. I've already had some practice with biting my tongue when it comes to what is initially an offhand statement but will quickly balloon into an uncomfortable political discussion at family dinners, so extending that practice to other difficult topics shouldn't be too hard - I just have to be a little more careful about my offhand comments! And then on the flip side, when these things do come up, I need to be able to stand my ground. Remembering that I don't need to feel guilty as long as I'm polite is going to be key for me.

    Once again, thank you all so much for the wonderful answers! It's definitely nice to feel the support from people who have gone through or are going through similar situations, and I hope those who are still in it can find some help in this thread.

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