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This is getting complicated

Posted by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:54 AM
  • 28 Replies

What do you do with a mother in law who basically acted as BM to SS13? Think about's like I spend every day with my SS's bio mom. His real mother was never involved with him.

I haven't said a word because I think it's more me having normal mother-back-to-work blues, but I am not feeling so comfortable with my mother in law. A few things bugging me: what do you think?

1. She's home all day with my 3 month old while I work. When 13 yr-old SS comes home, they bond with the baby together and sometimes she leaves him alone with her to get my 6 year old off the bus. When I get home all I hear is baby and SS this, baby and SS that. She pushes and pushes and pushes verbal emphasis on SS and baby bonding. All right already! We get it! He's her brother, now shut up!

2. She makes dinner with the SS for my husband and I and my kids --we don't get home until 5:30 pm or so. Dinner being ready is wonderful, however, she stays and often invites other family to my home to eat without my permission. Additionally, she gushes and gushes how SS and baby bonded and they made dinner and isn't SS so wonderful and blah blah blah. Over dinner, SHE holds my baby as if she's holding her socially captive. What the HELL? I haven't seen my baby ALL day! I have to all but take her from her so I can hold her. When she does hold her through dinner all you hear is, look...there's your brother. Look there's your brother. She is definiately trying to make a point that I don't quite understand. SS and I have a good relationship. I don't get it. I feel like she's trying to beat a dead horse.

3. My SS and I are taking things slow. He's 13 but he's been raised to be a hugger and a clingy little lad. I was not raised that way. I give him a light hug goodnite, but she apparently thinks I'm not being affectionate enough and has raised the issue with my husband (her son). I am NOT comfortable with a 13 year old SS canoodling with me on the couch. It's just icky. Doesn't seem quite right to me.  She judges me for that. We've been a family for 8 months. Give me a break and some time!

4. I feel like my HH is being taken over. When I come home and it's her and MY 3 month old and 13 year old SS that she raised as her own, and dinner is on the table and I'm just walking through the feels foreign to me. Like I don't belong there at my own house. It's odd.

I'm grateful that my daughter is with someone who adores her. But I'm feeling like the 3rd wheel. Last night when they all stayed to eat dinner, and she held my daughter the entire time, I got up and said I'm going for a walk. It was just all I could take. I had to get out.

She's staying again this evening to cut husband's hair. I'm almost thinking I don't want to arrive home until she's gone. i just can't take it much more. It's TOO much.

Last weekend, she was at my house everyday. My husband and his mom are CLOSE. I don't want to touch that with a 10 foot pole, but at the same time, this seems excessive to me!






by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:54 AM
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by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:33 AM
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First it sounds like you have a great MIL, just maybe a little too involved.  She is doing A LOT for you all, taking care of your infant all day and then also taking care of a 6 year old and a 13 year old.  That's a lot for anyone.  Plus she's willing to help by cooking dinner.  But clearly some boundaries need to be set up.  You said this is a relatively new situation and it may be that your MIL has been used to her current role for several years and is having trouble adapting to what her new role in the new family situation should be. I don't think she is doing this with any negative intention, but it sounds like there is a large, extended family dynamic in your situation that maybe you aren't used to.

Talk with your DH and let him know how you are feeling.  Let him know that while you appreciate MIL's help, there needs to be more defined rules about inviting people over for dinner and MIL joining you for dinner.  Set up a  night or two night as "extended family dinner night" and the rest of the week can be "immediate family nights."  During extended family night, MIL and other family can come over and join in a family dinner.  The immediate family nights should be just you and DH and the kids so everyone can have some down time.  I agree I would be furious with my MIL if she just started inviting family over for dinners at my house. Plus, I kind of like to decide with DH and kids what we are going to have for dinner that night.  I don't think it's unrealistic to expect to have some time with just your family after a day of work. 

If you have a good relationship with your MIL, maybe sit down with her and have a good long heart to heart over coffee or a glass of wine.  Share experiences about where you come from and how you were raised.  This may go a long way to helping each other understand why SS being affectionate/touchy-feely makes you uncomfortable.   Ask her about her attempts to have SS and the baby bond.  It may be that SS has made a comment about feeling left out or maybe MIL sees something in the family dynamic that you aren't seeing.  Thirteen years is a large age gap especially with half-siblings and maybe MIL is just trying to get SS more involved?  You also need to discuss the expectations you and MIL have of each other.  Express to her that while you are very grateful for all her help, you miss your daughter terribly during the day and want to spend as much time as possible with her when you get home and would expect that she can step back and allow you that time. 

It sounds like a lot of this frustration you are feeling with the current situation is a lack of communication and a failure by DH and MIL both to recognize the change in family dynamic. Good luck!

by Bronze Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:36 AM

I put myself in your shoes and I have to say that I would feel the same way. When you get home from work after you freshen up pick up your baby and give her some hugs. Your MIL probably feels like you don't give ss the affection that he needs. I am a mom that was very affectionate with my sons when they were little, my sons are older and I have pulled back. I think I kind of hurt them a bit. I think you MIL may think that you are distant to the boy. Trust me it doesn't hurt to show affection.

I say fake it till you make it. Do what you have to do to get along. Yes MIL is over bearing but she means well. I would take my baby bond for about 10 mins are more and then get on with the evening. I am happy for you, most people don't have people to care for their children as much as they do. Grandma loves the grand kids and that is where you are blessed. Try and stomach the rest for you peace of mind. Sometimes we mom can be a bit over bearing but I promise we mean well. Make it a great day!!!!!!!

by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Thanks for the advice. I definately have a tendency to expect people to just 'do the right thing'. Some communication is probably in order.  :)


by Gold Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:46 AM
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You need some space.

1.  You already said you're not comfortable with SS13 being alone with the baby.  This is your maternal protective instinct rearing its head.  You, protecting your baby, against them.  Since your DH is also uncomfortable with SS13 being alone with the baby, he needs to establish that boundary with his mother, so that you can relax.

2.  Your MIL has a boundary issue and doesn't know when to take a step back.  Again, your DH needs to clear that up.  You need some quiet mommy-baby time. 

3.  As a friend of mine likes to joke, there are two types of people in the world:  huggers and non-huggers.  If you can't recognize the difference, it's because you're a hugger.  Your MIL is a hugger.  She doesn't get it.  I'm very much NOT a hugger but have to extremely huggy SKs because BM is like a super-hugger.  I'm frank with my SKs.  One hug hello/goodbye is fine, as is the occasional hug for no reason.  More than that is off-putting to some people, myself included.  Your MIL is assuming this is about you and your SS, so you might just try explaining to her that it's you.  Your personal space requirement is higher than hers.

4.  Your HH is being taken over.  What you're MIL is doing for you is WONDERFUL, but it needs some boundaries.  You get home tired, longing for peace and quiet and your baby, and you're having to run away instead to get your space (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.).  Talk to your DH!

by Platinum Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Put your baby in daycare. Problem solved.

by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:29 AM

If I were in your situation I would have to get MIL out of my house completely.  I'm too much of a control freak/personal space freak to have someone else running my home.  Its wonderful that you can share your home with your MIL, I think its really great for the kids too but personally I wouldn't be comfortable.

by Bronze Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM
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 Pretty much... 

This is one of those "beggers can't be choosers" situations.  When you decide to rely on family for free daycare, this kind of stuff happens.  Trust me, it pisses me off too sometimes, but it is what it is. 

I HATE some of the ways my mother interacts with my child, but on the other hand, I'm the one letter her take care of him.  If I make that choice, it's on my head.  I could make a different choice - it just so happens that for me, being annoyed with my mother, while being a "cost" in that "cost/benefit" ratio isn't large enough to change the fact that my son staying with my mother after school is a better situation overall than the other options available. 

You have other childcare options available.  If your husband is not willing to establish boundaries with his mother, or if his mother does not accept your terms for boundaries while still providing your childcare, then I suggest you take one of the other options. 

Quoting baparrot2:

Put your baby in daycare. Problem solved.


by Silver Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM
I agree with some of the posts above. You are getting free daycare and dinner made for you every night. For the dinner aspect of it alone I would keep my mouth shut! :-)

Honestly, I think you are bummed about MIL and SS spending more time with the baby than you. Is it possible that you are a tad jealous that MIL is getting all this baby time? I'd just focus on gratitude. Your baby has a grandma who obviously adores her and gets to grow up in a home with some pretty loving family members.
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by Bronze Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:39 AM

 That I can completely sympathize with. 

At first, I hated anytime my son's daycare told me anything cute he did without me there.  I eventually got over that, but...

When I needed to go back to school for my Master's so that my son and I could be more financially stable, it required sacrificing two evenings a week with him.  My parents offered to watch him and while I was very greatful, I was also completely jealous!  Why did THEY get to have those evenings with my sweet child instead of ME!  lol... 

Quoting Panda113:

Honestly, I think you are bummed about MIL and SS spending more time with the baby than you. Is it possible that you are a tad jealous that MIL is getting all this baby time? I'd just focus on gratitude. Your baby has a grandma who obviously adores her and gets to grow up in a home with some pretty loving family members.


by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:46 AM

For the most part, I'm keeping my mouth shut because I KNOW some of my emotions are just the normal feelings a mom has when she goes back to work and has to leave her baby in someone else's care.

I'm also keeping my mouth shut because this isn't ll about me. I don't want my daughter in daycare. Therefore, the trade off is going to present me with some of these issues. Saw it all coming from a mile away and weighed the options heartily before deciding this was best for the baby.

Also, some of my feelings are part of the 'blending family' variety and the stark differences between who and how I am and who and how they are. Nothing wrong with either one of us, it's just different strokes for different folks.

It's her pushiness, comments and baby-hogging in my presence that I find mildly irritating. Almost like she's trying to say something without actually saying it? Dunno.

This is my new normal. I just need to find a way to get used to it.


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