Honest Opinions Needed (long) — The Bump
June 2011 Moms

Honest Opinions Needed (long)

So, as most of you probably remember, I have had a VERY rough relationship with ILs for the last 3-4 years. That being said, I need some advice on what to do (help wise) when the new baby is born. My MIL has already invited herself up for a week (or longer) to "help" (which would be great if we were friends/I trusted her/she actually helped). I am nervous about this for a lot of reasons, some of which I will list below.

She does not listen to what DH and I say. An example would be how I sat her down and said that because we have large immediate families, I would like to keep the visitors at the hospital to a minimum after LO#1 was born. I clearly said that I did not want all the great-grandparents driving 5 hours up to the hospital bc it was just too many people in the room (the hospital has a policy), and I didn't want to feel like I had to entertain them for hours in the room when I would be needing to recover. I offered to have the great grandparents come up for a weekend long visit when the baby was a month old. She said, "sure. I understand." Guess who walks into the hospital when LO was born? The great grandparents, of course. Guess who they rode with? My MIL, of course. Guess who the nursing staff had to had a "talk" with to have all the people escorted out of the room b/c it was too many? Me!

Another reason would be breastfeeding. My MIL and her entire family are really weird and invasive about breastfeeding. Down to the point of asking me about it constantly, trying to take pictures of my breastmilk to "show off" to everyone  (so freaking creepy), and telling everyone (cousins, great grandparents, etc) that I "can't BF so I have to pump." (which wasn't true but very embarrassing when I found out). I do NOT want to nurse in front of her, and also don't know how much BFing I will be able to do with a toddler running around. I am guessing this one will probably have to have more formula than LO1 had, and I don't want my MIL running down state and "tattling" on me or acting like I'm a terrible mother/talking about my breasts to all of dh's family.

There are a lot of other reasons, but those are the biggest two. She also gets me anxious to the point of me crying every single time hysterically before we see them. She shows no real interest in me, never asks me questions, nada. She also does the exact opposite of what common sense would be in pretty much any situation, treats us less than she treats her other child, etc.

Anyway, with all of these issues with her, I'm afraid that I will be more wound up by her visit than actually helped. Am I being crazy to say "thanks, but no thanks"? I had a terrible recovery with LO#1 and am terrified about doing it again with a toddler. LO1 is pretty easy going, an excellent sleeper, and doesn't really whine. However, I know that things will be nuts with a newborn. What should I do? If she comes here, will I be even more miserable? Will it be worth it because I will be so tired? I truly don't think it will (neither does dh). Help! 

**I should also add that DH has 3ish weeks off to help, my mom will have 2 weeks off to help, and my sister will have 3ish weeks off. (MIL wants to come in January, baby is due in December, which is when everyone is off (school breaks, not a choice to move the days).

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Re: Honest Opinions Needed (long)

  • It sounds like you need to do a "thanks, but no thanks". If she is going to cause way more stress than help, and it sounds like a lot of stress and not really helping, I don't think its worth it. Sounds like you have enough other help that you'll be fine.

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  • I agree a "thanks but no thanks" is in order. Your already stressing about it and it sounds like your H agrees with you so I see nothing wrong in telling her not to come.
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  • First let me say don't feel bad for the way you feel. You have a right to make the decision of who will be able to stay and "help" you. If you don't feel comfortable with MIL then tell her no. I wouldn't be rude just say I would rather have that time to help LO#1 bond with LO#2.

    As far as the breastfeeding goes, have you ever told her you were uncomfortable about that? I know that if I told my MIL that I didn't want her discussing something, she wouldn't.  It sounds like your MIL and mine are a lot different though.

    I would also reiterate to her that you do not want a lot of people in the hospital. Does your DH agree with you? Where does he stand in this? Because it is his mother, I would make him handle her to get your wishes across. Sometimes grandparents get a little excited and overstep boundaries. If it is too much for you, make DH speak up. He is your buffer.

     

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  • image tulipblossom:
    I agree a "thanks but no thanks" is in order. Your already stressing about it and it sounds like your H agrees with you so I see nothing wrong in telling her not to come.

    How do I word it? I can't really say, "Well I have a lot of help already" because she is asking to come in January, and everyone else is off to help in December. Maybe I could say that I think I will have it under control by then?

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  • I'd have your DH call and say thanks but no thanks.  Invite her to visit but make sure it?s on your terms.  Also I'd have no problem saying we'd love for you to me LO2, these are hotels close to the house. 

    **Of course she'll feel left out (even hurt/angry) if everyone else is "helping" and that makes it harder.  But if DH is on the same page maybe say there are too many people at the house at this time etc. and suggest a workable alternative.

     

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  • image butterfly62682:

    First let me say don't feel bad for the way you feel. You have a right to make the decision of who will be able to stay and "help" you. If you don't feel comfortable with MIL then tell her no. I wouldn't be rude just say I would rather have that time to help LO#1 bond with LO#2.

    As far as the breastfeeding goes, have you ever told her you were uncomfortable about that? I know that if I told my MIL that I didn't want her discussing something, she wouldn't.  It sounds like your MIL and mine are a lot different though.

    I would also reiterate to her that you do not want a lot of people in the hospital. Does your DH agree with you? Where does he stand in this? Because it is his mother, I would make him handle her to get your wishes across. Sometimes grandparents get a little excited and overstep boundaries. If it is too much for you, make DH speak up. He is your buffer.

     

    Yes, I have told her that it not only offends me that she talks about my BFing to everyone, but that it is no one's business what I do with my breasts. DH and also told her (and his dad, and his sister) about 10x's (not kidding) and they STILL bring it up, talk to the extended family about it, etc. Remember how I said they don't respect our wishes? Ha.

    Yes, DH agrees with the visitors, etc. He stands up to them, tells them how we feel, blah blah blah. They still just always turn it around on me (even if dh didn't mention my name at all). They will say, "Well, your wife just doesn't like us, that's why we can't come visit." DH will then yell at them and say that isn't true, that we are already busy with x,y,z like he already said and that they can't talk about me like that or they won't be invited back into our home. So yes, DH and is exactly on my same page. 

    DH and I even went to therapy this Spring to try to learn better ways to handle them, but it didn't seem to work. The therapist didn't offer any real ways to deal with them that we hadn't already tried, except to say "they won't change so you have to accept it." Well, I for one, will not accept them to treat me like dirt my entire life, so there goes that strategy!

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  • image magnoliablossom00:
    image butterfly62682:

    First let me say don't feel bad for the way you feel. You have a right to make the decision of who will be able to stay and "help" you. If you don't feel comfortable with MIL then tell her no. I wouldn't be rude just say I would rather have that time to help LO#1 bond with LO#2.

    As far as the breastfeeding goes, have you ever told her you were uncomfortable about that? I know that if I told my MIL that I didn't want her discussing something, she wouldn't.  It sounds like your MIL and mine are a lot different though.

    I would also reiterate to her that you do not want a lot of people in the hospital. Does your DH agree with you? Where does he stand in this? Because it is his mother, I would make him handle her to get your wishes across. Sometimes grandparents get a little excited and overstep boundaries. If it is too much for you, make DH speak up. He is your buffer.

     

    Yes, I have told her that it not only offends me that she talks about my BFing to everyone, but that it is no one's business what I do with my breasts. DH and also told her (and his dad, and his sister) about 10x's (not kidding) and they STILL bring it up, talk to the extended family about it, etc. Remember how I said they don't respect our wishes? Ha.

    Yes, DH agrees with the visitors, etc. He stands up to them, tells them how we feel, blah blah blah. They still just always turn it around on me (even if dh didn't mention my name at all). They will say, "Well, your wife just doesn't like us, that's why we can't come visit." DH will then yell at them and say that isn't true, that we are already busy with x,y,z like he already said and that they can't talk about me like that or they won't be invited back into our home. So yes, DH and is exactly on my same page. 

    DH and I even went to therapy this Spring to try to learn better ways to handle them, but it didn't seem to work. The therapist didn't offer any real ways to deal with them that we hadn't already tried, except to say "they won't change so you have to accept it." Well, I for one, will not accept them to treat me like dirt my entire life, so there goes that strategy!

    You also quoted my response and asked how to word it and after reading this I don't think there will be a good way to word it. I would suggest having DH talk to them but he needs to stay calm, if your H is anything like mine when dealing with his parents I know this can be challenging but he has to stay calm and not be drawn in to their drama. 

    I think telling them that by the time January comes around you most likely wont need help would be the best idea but I don't know how well that will go over if they are as much drama as you say. 

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  • Trying to keep things straight...so, you want to tell MIL she can't come w/o her getting her feelings hurt that you're allowing others to come help? Does she have to know others are helping you? How far away does she live again? If it's not too far, maybe she could just come for a short weekend and stay in a hotel. Then she thinks she still gets to help but you don't have to deal with her as long. If you're really adamant about not wanting her there and she really won't listen to you or YH, I'd say you might have to stop worrying about hurt feelings and be very firm and up front about it. As for her broadcasting your BFing journey, that's just weird. It kind of sounds like you might have to say something like, "If you can't respect our wishes and our privacy, you will no longer be welcomed around us." Maybe that kind of ultimatum would snap her out of it...
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  • image magnoliablossom00:

    Yes, I have told her that it not only offends me that she talks about my BFing to everyone, but that it is no one's business what I do with my breasts. DH and also told her (and his dad, and his sister) about 10x's (not kidding) and they STILL bring it up, talk to the extended family about it, etc. Remember how I said they don't respect our wishes? Ha.

    Yes, DH agrees with the visitors, etc. He stands up to them, tells them how we feel, blah blah blah. They still just always turn it around on me (even if dh didn't mention my name at all). They will say, "Well, your wife just doesn't like us, that's why we can't come visit." DH will then yell at them and say that isn't true, that we are already busy with x,y,z like he already said and that they can't talk about me like that or they won't be invited back into our home. So yes, DH and is exactly on my same page. 

    DH and I even went to therapy this Spring to try to learn better ways to handle them, but it didn't seem to work. The therapist didn't offer any real ways to deal with them that we hadn't already tried, except to say "they won't change so you have to accept it." Well, I for one, will not accept them to treat me like dirt my entire life, so there goes that strategy!

    I am really sorry you guys are having to deal with this. My SIL is going through something similar with her DH's family (it's my husbands sister). They have finally just cut off all ties with that side of his family. It's really sad but they just won't listen/compromise.  They blame SIL for everything that goes wrong and has even cussed her in front of her boys.

    I wish I knew what to tell you. If it were me I would tell them the truth. (I recant the not being rude part. I still wouldn't be rude but I was just tell the truth) It's hard to do and will hurt their feelings. In the long run, I feel like it will be easier on you all. Good Luck in whatever you do. Setting boundaries would be the right direction to take IMO.

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  • image magnoliablossom00:
    image butterfly62682:

    First let me say don't feel bad for the way you feel. You have a right to make the decision of who will be able to stay and "help" you. If you don't feel comfortable with MIL then tell her no. I wouldn't be rude just say I would rather have that time to help LO#1 bond with LO#2.

    As far as the breastfeeding goes, have you ever told her you were uncomfortable about that? I know that if I told my MIL that I didn't want her discussing something, she wouldn't.  It sounds like your MIL and mine are a lot different though.

    I would also reiterate to her that you do not want a lot of people in the hospital. Does your DH agree with you? Where does he stand in this? Because it is his mother, I would make him handle her to get your wishes across. Sometimes grandparents get a little excited and overstep boundaries. If it is too much for you, make DH speak up. He is your buffer.

     

    Yes, I have told her that it not only offends me that she talks about my BFing to everyone, but that it is no one's business what I do with my breasts. DH and also told her (and his dad, and his sister) about 10x's (not kidding) and they STILL bring it up, talk to the extended family about it, etc. Remember how I said they don't respect our wishes? Ha.

    Yes, DH agrees with the visitors, etc. He stands up to them, tells them how we feel, blah blah blah. They still just always turn it around on me (even if dh didn't mention my name at all). They will say, "Well, your wife just doesn't like us, that's why we can't come visit." DH will then yell at them and say that isn't true, that we are already busy with x,y,z like he already said and that they can't talk about me like that or they won't be invited back into our home. So yes, DH and is exactly on my same page. 

    DH and I even went to therapy this Spring to try to learn better ways to handle them, but it didn't seem to work. The therapist didn't offer any real ways to deal with them that we hadn't already tried, except to say "they won't change so you have to accept it." Well, I for one, will not accept them to treat me like dirt my entire life, so there goes that strategy!

    Some people are just toxic.  If you've tried therapy maybe distancing yourselves from them will snap them into place. 

     

    A straight "I'm sorry but we wont have you in our life if this is how you act." might be needed.  Also i dont know how far away they live, but i would not welcome someone overnight who drove both DH and myself nuts.  Sometimes it doesnt matter that their family, you dont need that stress in your life. 

     

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  • Suggestion for how to word it: 

    Son to mother, "Thank you for offering to come up to help us. We really look forward to your help. The dates possible are XX (8weeks after birth) and XX (four or more months after birth). Which would you like?"

    When she protests, "I know you want to come and help us, and we look forward to your help, and these are the dates that would help us. Which would you prefer?"

    broken record, broken record - each round leads to more stress on the word "help" and then "us".  

    When she blames you, "I am very sad to hear you say that. You know that I love and respect my wife. I expect you to do so as well. (short pause) I know you want to come and helps us, and we look forward to your help, and these are the dates that would help us. Which would you prefer?"

    I work in organizational change management and this is exactly how we train leaders to work with difficult colleagues, managers, customers, and employees. The trick is consistency, calmness, and very important: respect and compassion in your voice. Never a hard tone - always with as much respect and in this situation love as possible. 

       image

  • We have a hard time setting boundaries too. We know what we want, and it is hard to enforce them. You're going to have to set limits, and find a way to stick by them. Both you and your DH need to be on the same side, and comfortable with the boundary, and stick to it. Easier said than done, we work on this all the time with my IL's.
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  • I would say "thanks but no thanks" and have your dh, mom, and sister all lined up to help (separately) for the first almost 2 months. By then you will hopefully be recovered and if you're not then maybe your mil can help. If you decided to take your mil's help have her be LO1's playmate and have her leave you alone with the new baby.
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  • image tulipblossom:
    I agree a "thanks but no thanks" is in order. Your already stressing about it and it sounds like your H agrees with you so I see nothing wrong in telling her not to come.

    I agree with this, and don't shoot yourself in the foot about breastfeeding 2 yet... I was able to go 9 months with #2.  If you can set up a "toddler safe place" and learn to nurse on the floor ( had a beach chair and a boppy) it makes is a lot easier to entertain #1 while feeding #2.  GL

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  • image JuneBugsMommy:
    I would say "thanks but no thanks" and have your dh, mom, and sister all lined up to help (separately) for the first almost 2 months. By then you will hopefully be recovered and if you're not then maybe your mil can help. If you decided to take your mil's help have her be LO1's playmate and have her leave you alone with the new baby.

    My mom is a teacher and my sister is in college. I cannot change when they will be off because it's their Christmas break. Dh, obviously, has to take off when the baby is due (in late December). So, I will have 3 people willing to help out but all at the same time (late Dec/early Jan) then no one to help. I can't change the dates because it's their school breaks. MIL wants to come for a week in mid January to help. 

    Thanks everyone for the responses. I think I will have DH invite her up for a short weekend visit to "help" (so dh will be home to run interference). That way, I don't really have to deal with her, and she also feels like she is included. 

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