How do I politely tell my MIL I don't need her help? — The Bump
3rd Trimester

How do I politely tell my MIL I don't need her help?

My MIL  wants to "help" when my baby is born in a few weeks. The thing is, I do not want her help. She is a nightmare - demanding and opinionated. EVERYTHING she gives has strings attached - so if she comes help she will expect me to do exactly the way she says. Plus, her help will be staying with the baby while I have to run around the house doing laundry, cooking for 2 extra people (her and FIL), etc. I don't need this.

I want my mom here instead, not my mother in law, but I do not know how to say that without sounding awful. My husband agrees. He sees how helpful my mom has been during this pregnancy and how much his mom has stressed us out.

If MIL finds out my mom is here helping, she will want to come here every weekend. She is competitive and will want to have her "fair share of time" with the baby. The thing is. my mom lives 5 hours away by plane, MIL lives 2h away by car so she will be seeing the baby more anyways, unfortunately.  One weekend or two a month is OK for her to visit. Every weekend is NOT. 

Any ideas on how to handle this?

1) How to explain nicely I do not need her help when I get back from the hospital?

2) How to avoid the visits that I am SURE will happen every weekend if I don't set boundries?

 

Thanks girls... maybe I am too hormonal but thinking about that is making me so anxious because she made a scene in every important moment of my life (graduation, wedding, etc) and I do not want her to stain this beautiful moment of my first baby's birth.

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Re: How do I politely tell my MIL I don't need her help?

  • I think your husband needs to set this boundaries.   
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  • imageNewzieMom:
    I think your husband needs to set this boundaries.   

    Your DH needs to say, "Thanks mom, but we've got it covered." 

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  • imagelaurakaz13:

    imageNewzieMom:
    I think your husband needs to set this boundaries.   

    Your DH needs to say, "Thanks mom, but we've got it covered." 

     I wish it was this easy but it's not with her. She will question and get really upset.

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  • I'm in a similar situation as you. My MIL isn't demanding but she definitely is crazy and likes to be the " star of the show". She was calling me incessantly to ask how I was doing, which was nice, but it got out of control. She was asking to go to my doctors appointments and come and stay with me since my husband has to work overnight a lot ( I'm in my 30's and a grown adults don't need her to do that). She has also asked to go to ultrasound appointments with me ( she lives an hour away by train). It's ridiculous.

    My mom is coming up ( she lives 3 ours away by plane ) before the baby is due. I want her , my dad and my husband in the delivery room. She keeps insisting on being in there ( she would drive me BSC) . She also keeps offering to come and stay with me after my mother leaves. I don't need her to do that. And I would like some alone time with the baby. I just thank her and say " we can figure this out later " and let my husband handle it from there with him knowing I don't need her help. I think that is the best way....for us to be the good cop and just acknowledge their offer but let the husbands be the bad cop and tell her we don't need her help.

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  • imageicoelho:
    imagelaurakaz13:

    imageNewzieMom:
    I think your husband needs to set this boundaries.   

    Your DH needs to say, "Thanks mom, but we've got it covered." 

     I wish it was this easy but it's not with her. She will question and get really upset.

    Then she gets upset. That is her issue not yours. There is only so much compromising you can do when it comes to what's best for you and your new family vs another family members happiness. 

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  • Then she gets upset. That is her issue not yours. There is only so much compromising you can do when it comes to what's best for you and your new family vs another family members happiness. 


    She's got it. Unfortunately you are setting the rules and she will have go with them. I know it is tough, i had to do the same with my ex-in-laws.   She needs to be told you have it covered and that there will be no showing up un announced, simply ask her to call before popping in, so that is avoids a "bad weekend" for you after she's driven 2 hours. It is going to be a balancing game, and sometimes feelings will get hurt, but you need to look out for what you want and what is best for your new family.

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  • imageicoelho:
    imagelaurakaz13:

    imageNewzieMom:
    I think your husband needs to set this boundaries.   

    Your DH needs to say, "Thanks mom, but we've got it covered." 

     I wish it was this easy but it's not with her. She will question and get really upset.

    Sorry, but it IS this easy.  Your H needs to man up and tell her you don't need her there.  Have her visit, but there's no way I would ever have someone judgemental, controlling and unhelpful stay with me after having a baby.

    My MIL stayed with us for 2 weeks after LO was born.  She cooked, shopped, cleaned, did laundry and cared for the baby when I needed to nap, shower, etc.  Not once did I have to lift a finger to do anything around the house during this time. 

    Then my mom came to visit and was awesome as well.  You don't need this type of stress during the newborn stage.  You need to talk to your husband. 

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  • I feel like we'll have the same issue, unfortunately my MIL is 30 min. away and known for stopping by.  I really wish I was the person that could just say what I want to.  Luckily your husband is on your side! 
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  • It sounds like your MIL and my MIL have the same idea of "helping."  Last time we had a baby she came to visit, wanted to hold him the entire time, and did little to help. She did bring a bag of food, then made my husband cook while my BIL took a nap. I've already told DH that won't fly this time.

    I'm also sensitive to hurting people's feelings so I know it can be problematic to tell them things aren't going to be as they expected.  I would be very proactive and get things set up ahead of time.  You will need to be ready to compromise in some instances.  For us, we just set up a schedule, one month she comes here, the next month we go there.  I've tried to orchestrate it so it always works with other things going on in our life.  This month, we're meeting half way to go to a museum I really want to take LO to.  I'd just say, hey to make sure we're all on the same page, this is what we're thinking and tell her when visits would be most convenient.

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  • I have often used the statement 'I don't know how I'll feel at the time, but I will absolutely let you know if I need you when then time comes'. This has to do with my mom during labour and in the weeks following, but it has made it clear that this new person is a creation of my husband and I and we will be the ones setting the boundaries from the beginnings. Can you or your DH tell your mother you will feel overwhelmed if both your mom and MIL are there at the same time? And that right after the birth you really want your mom staying with you? Perhaps suggest some concrete times MIL can visit for the day? A 2 hr does not need to be a weekend stay. Drive down in the morning and home in the evening...then she gets time and you don't need to cater to her all weekend.

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  • I know what you are going through. My MIL is constantly asking to help with DD#1 wanting to keep her overnight etc. My SIL has a little boy just 13 days older than my first and won't let him stay. SIL set boundaries and MIL has just focused all of her attention on my DD. She has been much more helpful this pregnancy than my last but I think she is using that as something to hold over DH and I so that we have to let her see DD more than we are comfortable. She uses physical punishment that we are not ok with and I just don't like how she is with DD.

    My SIL told me we just have to say no and if she is hurt she is hurt. That is her issue. I will not put my family in any situation we are not comfortable with just to make someone else feel better. Your family needs to take priority. If your MIL gets her feelings hurt they will heal. 

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  • imagelindsayandjamie:

    I have often used the statement 'I don't know how I'll feel at the time, but I will absolutely let you know if I need you when then time comes'. This has to do with my mom during labour and in the weeks following, but it has made it clear that this new person is a creation of my husband and I and we will be the ones setting the boundaries from the beginnings. Can you or your DH tell your mother you will feel overwhelmed if both your mom and MIL are there at the same time? And that right after the birth you really want your mom staying with you? Perhaps suggest some concrete times MIL can visit for the day? A 2 hr does not need to be a weekend stay. Drive down in the morning and home in the evening...then she gets time and you don't need to cater to her all weekend.

    This is an excellent way to say it - thank you! I will make sure I say that. My fear is that she will just "show up" with her bags packed and in this case, not sure how to turn her away. I guess it doesn't matter, I will end up hurting her feelings anyways and she will have to get over it. Thanks!

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  • imageMrs.Wifey318:

    I know what you are going through. My MIL is constantly asking to help with DD#1 wanting to keep her overnight etc. My SIL has a little boy just 13 days older than my first and won't let him stay. SIL set boundaries and MIL has just focused all of her attention on my DD. She has been much more helpful this pregnancy than my last but I think she is using that as something to hold over DH and I so that we have to let her see DD more than we are comfortable. She uses physical punishment that we are not ok with and I just don't like how she is with DD.

    My SIL told me we just have to say no and if she is hurt she is hurt. That is her issue. I will not put my family in any situation we are not comfortable with just to make someone else feel better. Your family needs to take priority. If your MIL gets her feelings hurt they will heal. 

    This! You are right, that is what I am thinking, no matter what I do, she will be "hurt" so I might as well do what I believe to be the right thing for me and my family. Thanks :)

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  • Set boundaries early. It only gets harder as the kid gets older. Don't feel guilty for putting your family's needs before your MIL. She needs to know what you need whether she likes it or not. My MIL asked to be in the room while I labored. I just told her I wasn't comfortable and she was welcome to visit at the hospital the day after the baby arrived. We then didn't invite her back for another week. She got over it.
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  • Regardless of how much drama you know she'll cause, you and DH need to set boundaries now.  I'm setting the policy that unless they come see the baby within the first couple of days that everyone is to stay away until baby is a month old, including my own family.  That's so DH have a chance to set our own routine without having to worry about entertaining visitors every weekend.  After that, if certain family (for us it's FIL) tries to visit every weekend, we're going to tell them that we have plans or just want a quiet weekend without visitors.

    You have the right to say no to visitors, including MIL.  It isn't her business how long your mother will be staying.  Like you said, she'll probably get the chance to see LO more often than your mother anyway, so don't feel bad for turning her away for the first few days.

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  • Wow we must have the same MIL! I have no advice besides maybe your husband needs to help "set" boundaries since it's his mom. I have said things before to my MIL but she just thinks I'm a crazy, overprotective, overeacting idiot so I never win. My husband tried to put her in her place once and she just screamed like a banshee and hung up the phone on him... I now don't share anything with her because she also "uses" things against me like my prior health (I'm a cancer survivor who has ongoing issues which she thinks are "made up". Also my sister is bi-polar so now she just assumes everything I say is crazy and because of that.)

    She also makes things about her all the time! I am scared when our kids come! She only lives 30 minutes away!! She's crazy, racist, and showy basically very Waspish... I don't want her putting her "ideas" in my kids heads!! So I definitely understand!! 

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  • If she shows up at your door, you retrieve to your bedroom to "nurse the baby" for an hour at a time every 2 hours. Right before you leave the room, you say: "It would be so helpful if you would clean the kitchen/go to the grocery store/make dinner/etc". Maybe she then won't come as often :)

     

     

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  • imageNewzieMom:
    I think your husband needs to set this boundaries.   
    '

    this

     

    I had my husband tell his parent they are not to come visit until i say its ok and i'm comfortable 

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  • You're going to reach your boiling point at some time, and when that happens, the conversations is not going to be nice.  You might as well set good strong boundaries now before things get out of control.  I have always let DH handle things with MIL, but now that my child is going to be involved, I'll stick up for myself instead of being put in a crappy situation for a few hours till DH gets a chance to fix it. 

    You tell her: Although we really appreciate the offer, we wont be needing you to stay with us after LO is born.  My mother has already volunteered, and more people in the house will be unnecessary and make the place too crowded.  

    The first time she shows up unannounced, answer the door, tell her you are so sorry, but it's not a good time, and would she mind calling first the next time in order to save herself the long trip for no reason.  Then shut the door, and do NOT let her in, no matter what.  If need be, get in your car and drive away.  

    Don't let her push you around.  She's just a person.  Don't let her get away with stuff that you wouldn't put up with from other people.

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  • imageicoelho:
    imagelaurakaz13:

    imageNewzieMom:
    I think your husband needs to set this boundaries.   

    Your DH needs to say, "Thanks mom, but we've got it covered." 

     I wish it was this easy but it's not with her. She will question and get really upset.

     

    Well then she is going to be upset because it sounds like no matter what you say she is going to think her way is the better way... at some point your DH needs to step up and politely say why don't we call you when we need you, that your Mom will be there and that it might be a little much with so much "help."  If she get upset, she gets upset... do you want to have to deal with her for a whole week in your house or have her be a little upset? 

    And for what it's worth, we may have the same mother in law.  She "helps" by reading her nook while I carry DD up and down the stairs with a laundry basket in my hand.  She lives 20 min away however... REALLY wish she would pack up and move on down to Florida... or maybe to Europe... 

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  • Could you set some specific boundaries?  i.e. "My mom is flying in for things for __ days/weeks so I'd prefer to spread out my help as much as possible.  Once we know exactly what her plans are, we'll let you know". Also agree with the invite for an hour or two during the afternoon idea.  Probably cold turkey with NO contact isn't going to work, so I might offer "could you bring over lunch on Saturday for all of us?" or something concrete like that.  Finally, if she does start dropping by unannounced, I'd probably leave to nurse frequently while asking her "since you're here, could you throw in a load of laundry/make some dinner?"

    Good luck! 

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  • Specifically addressing the every weekend visit, I'd tell her no, and when she comes anyway, lock all doors, turn off all lights, and don't answer any phones. That should teach 'em.
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  • I'm prepared to tell both MIL and my own mother that "they [meaning the "experts" I've concocted] highly recommend that taking some time to get used to one another and bond as a family" or something to that effect.  Start with the boundaries now or it won't ever stop!  I agree that your H should step in and have as many conversations as necessary to get the point across.  That, and change your locks if necessary and pretend not to be home.  I am also prepared for this possibility Sad

  • You have to set boundaries...  It's none of her business that your Mom is coming for a week, the fact is that she isn't welcome to stay at your place for a week.  She can get a hotel if she wants, but MIL isn't going to stay at your place for a whole week..

    Also, set the parameters for her "helping"...  But also that there is time to be Grandma snuggling with the LO even if you'd like to give her a piece of your mind about her method..

    Some may get worked up about people coming and all they want to do to "help" is hold the baby...  Maybe it's the 2nd time Mom in me but I'd have no problem with some people coming here to do that so I can nap, iron DD's uniforms, take a shower, do some laundry, eat with both hands, pump, etc.

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  • I think you need to coach DH on what to say. But HE needs to be the one to step up and tell her. Set firm boundaries that apply to all parents.

    My MIL has made a similar offer, and I told DH to politely decline. He asked why, and I reminded him that in our baby class we were told that I need to be stressfree in the weeks after delivery - To help with recovery AND BFing. I know she will not/would not be a help and will cause more problems than its worth. 

    I feel for you!

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  • this! i totally understand what you're going through...
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  • Since it's your husbands mom, I think your husband should be the one to talk to her. You can't lie to her about your mother being there, it's only going to fuel her competitiveness. If you allow her to act this way and always get what she wants, it wont end. I would have DH say something like "Thanks but ____(your mom) is coming for a few weeks since she lives all the way in X-state and we can't have both of you their at the same time. We would love to have you over on X-day for a few hours." I don't really think its fair to ban her for the entire time your mom is there so pick a day for her and FIL to come over for a few hours. If she calls and says "I want to come over this day" or "these days", say no. If it works for you too, great. If not; say no, tell her why, give her some alternatives, and thats it. 
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  • Omg we have the same MIL - except mine is 30 minutes away... especially the bit about her making a scene in every important moment of my life (graduation, wedding, etc)...

    You have my sympamthies. State what you want clearly, firmly and if she shows up unannounced, be clear you're happy she's visiting for a short visit and let her know when would be best for her to leave.

    Stay strong you can do it.

  • I have had the same issues and my MIL lives only 1 mile away.  You have to set up boundries and the best way to do it is have you and your husband both on the same page.  Have him tell her - it is easier for her to listen. 

    What I can tell you from experience (since we've been married almost 10 years) is that you'll want to pick your battles too.  I have let the in-law situation stress me out to no end in the past and it wasn't good for the pregnancy and after.  We've even had all out wars at times.  My husband and I have had many an argument over his Mom.

    I say this because there will be times that your MIL may be of help (as crazy as she may be - because mine is in no way a rational person).  Through her craziness she has brought me boxes of diapers, done dishes, etc... but I've had to ask her.  She even went and bought me pads after the hospital.  I've learned to just tell her what I want/need.  I've told her she has to call first before she shows up.  If she comes to help you should not be waiting on her - she should be helping you so you can cuddle/feed baby.

    Okay, so good luck and as I'm writing this I hope my future post won't be about my MIL driving me crazy with baby number 3.  In laws are so hard but.... they did raise you a hubby - we all need to find a compromise.  =)

    (Hope I'm not eating my words in May)

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