My Mother-in-Law

Spending time with her turns me from someone I pretty much like to someone I wouldn’t encourage my daughter to hang out with.


Suddenly I’m silent, sullen, withdrawn.  I’m critical of everything she does, usually just to my wife.  But then I realize I’m talking to her daughter, someone who still loves her very much despite the way she acts.  And then I dislike who I’ve morphed into – like some angry, wronged anti-hero.

Regardless, this is my daughter’s grandmother.  And she is the one person who shouldn’t see this side.  I want her to learn that it’s okay not to get along with and to love everyone, but I want her to have a good relationship with this woman.  And so, I’m trying to be nicer.  Less critical.  But also, I’ve stopped trying to win her over or to make her like me.  I think it’s impossible.  She might not have that much good will in her heart.

See, there I go again.

We had originally invited her to come for a week in August.  The week I’m going back to work.  But she just spent three days with us and lifted not a finger, offered no help and enraged my child.  One day she slept until 1pm.  That night she went to bed at 8:30.  We cooked for her.  She held the hollering babe on the couch instead of in the rocking chair because she was “comfortable there”, even though RR most certainly was not.  She stretched our nerves thin.

I don’t think I can handle a week when RR is this little.  How do we ask her to stay home?  Suggestions?

5 Responses

  1. My mother’s visit was supposed to be a week but it ended up only being one day after she acted super weird. I laid down some ground rules hoping to make things better, but she was so offended that she decided she no longer wanted to be part of our lives.

    It was hard for me to set boundaries. There was a point where she was holding Ora and our baby was upset and my mother was acting like a crazy person and I felt myself paralyzed to act. Why was I allowing this woman to do whatever she wanted at the expense of my daughter? Bel saw what was happening and actually pinched me awake. I immediately got up and took my fragile little one back and calmed her down.

    I realized later that this is my family now and I am Ora’s mother and it is my responsibility to do anything to protect her and to care for her. That made it easy for me to communicate boundaries, even if it meant that my mother would no longer be my mother cause she couldn’t handle it. I don’t have a responsibility to force the relationship between my daughter and her grandmother, especially if I believe it could be harmful.

    I know this is a bit more dramatic than what you might be experiencing, but I’m hoping to send you strength and confidence in the face of difficult relationships. It sure made it easier for me when I remembered what’s really important now. How things have changed in these first short 6 weeks!

  2. My suggestion on how to “uninvite” your mother-in-law is this:

    Open the conversation with saying how happy you both are that she was able to come for a visit and meet her granddaughter. Then say it isn’t going to work well for her to come that week in August (you can make up what ever excuse you want here – other house guests, work being done on the house, whatever you think will fly.), but that you’d love for her to come visit again some other (shorter) time. Perhaps a bit later, not during the first week of only one mom being at home, which I imagine might be a little stressful. My two cents.

  3. I am not sure I have advice but I feel your pain. My MIL is annoying in different ways but annoying/irritating to me just the same. She is helpful but everything requires a question, and after about an hour I am ready to scream. Our son loves her so much though, she is the one person who has the most patience with him, surpassing even his Moms (he never throws his big fits with her though).
    Maybe baby or someone in the house can be ‘sick’ right before the week she visits and it would no longer be a good time to come. Good Luck!

  4. i think i would set some clear expectations for her in regards to the next visit and things you noticed during the first visit. i would do this as soon as she got home. that way, she’s away – you don’t have to deal with the fall out.

    and it will give her time to change her flight arrangements should she decide that your expectation are totally not acceptable… to her.

  5. Oh– I agree with giggleblue….. I love that idea! I feel lucky that my MIL is pretty cool, but who knows when the baby gets here. I’m nervous that it will be my mom driving Baker insane with the emotional roller coaster she always seems to be on (like, is it necessary to cry every time I see you? I know you feel guilty about my childhood, but get over it already– I have!)

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