Disrespected mother-in-law

[deleted account] ( 9 moms have responded )

I am a first time mom and my mil watches my daughter full-time. I have to start off by saying that my mil is very sweet, non-judgemental and loves my daughter to pieces. My only problem with her is that she doesn't listen to things I ask her to do. She will kindly reply with an okay, no problem or sure. However, she always ends up doing things her way. At times, I wish I could put my daughter in daycare or quit my job. However, neither is an option at this time. The types of things I ask my mil to do seem quite simple to me, but she always does the opposite. For example,

No junk food
Daily green smoothies
Daily naps in bed, not arms
No tv for more than an hour or two
Read to her every day
Make sure she falls asleep in bed, not arms

Btw, we pay her to watch our daughter.

Recently, I took time off if work to start potty training her. I had been at it a week 24/7. My daughter was doing great. We asked mil to babysit for a date night . She was I instructed to keep up with the training and only put a diaper right before bed. Well, we got home around 11pm. She was in the Nursury with my daughter watching cartoons. My daughter was in her arms, wearing a soaked diaper. I feel so bad because I pretty much raised my voice and asked her the following things in a very aggressive tone. Why is the tv on? Why is she not in her bed? Why is she in your arms ? Why is her diaper wet? I reminded her of all the work I had been putting into potty training her and told her that I felt she was not listening to me and I needed her to be on the same page. My daughter had been in her diaper for over 3 hours!!!!! I only wanted her to be in right before bed. Anyway, I overreacted big time and she did not deserve it. I know she is doing her very best. She just doesn't listen to me and basically tells what I want to hear and does something completely different. Anyway, I am the worst daughter in law ever and I feel so bad. I wish my husband would be the "bad" guy sometimes, but he is way to chill about things. Nothing phases him. The worst part about me losing it is that my mil just kept saying sorry. I felt like such a bully because it is hard to get a reaction out of her.

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Chet - posted on 11/15/2014

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@LMCBW Why do you think that reading to young children is so important?

It's important for children to be exposed to lots of language. It's important for children to develop a large vocabulary and a good general knowledge base. It's important for children to value education and learning. It's important for children to enjoy quiet time with parents and caregivers. Reading is an easy way to accomplish all of those things, but it's not the only way.

A long list of positive outcomes are strongly correlated to the number of books a child owns, or the number of books that are in a child's home. What's interesting is that the child doesn't actually have to read the books, or have the books read to them. Number of books is just a very strong indicator of family education, socio economic status, value placed on education, etc.

Too many mothers have themselves wound into a knot because their baby, toddler or young preschooler has little or no interest in being read to. There is nothing wrong with a 9 or 18 or 24 month old who would rather chew on book, slide it down the stairs, or stand it on end to make a tunnel for toy cars. Some very young children enjoy being read to, and others have little interest in it until they are 3, 4 or 5. Some kids would listen to you read the phone book, and other kids are more difficult to engage and you need to work to find books that interest them.

Time spent making up stories, doing rhymes or finger plays. singing songs, describing how to make ice cubes while your toddler helps. doing an alphabet puzzle together, playing word games, asking questions, answering questions, etc is just as valuable as time spent reading together. All of the skills that reading fosters in children under the age of 3 or 4 can be fostered in other ways if, for whatever reason, reading books together isn't something works easily for a particular child or family.

We're a household that is literally drowning in books, but that doesn't make us better than other parents or caregivers who accomplish the same goals in different ways.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/15/2014

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Becky, while I agree with a LOT of what chet said, I do NOT agree that reading time is not important at such a young age. YES it is. VERY important.

The only other thing to add, is please apologize to your MIL. Bed time is difficult for parents, so of COURSE it is gonna be hard for grandparents. Especially if you CIO (which I don't agree with) but for a grandparent, it makes it a lot harder. Let her spoil her grandkid. BUT, if you want her to have her daily smoothy, make it FOR her and bring it. Bring over your approved foods and snacks. Maybe your MIL is at a loss for what to make. IDK.

[deleted account]

Your reply was extremely helpful and you really put everything into perspective for me. I literally stayed awake until 5am tossing and turning over the situation. I was cared for by my grandmother who I know did not do 90% of the things I am asking my mil to do. Yet, I turned out great. I have a masters degree and I have done well for myself. The relationship I had with my grandmother is still the most important bond I ever had growing up. You see, my mother was an alcoholic and I was let down often. I am pretty certain that is why I tend to want to control everything around me. Anyway, my mil is so tender and patient with my daughter. She probably offsets my "tough love". I cannot wait to apologize to her and ask for her forgiveness. Although, I know that she forgave me the instant it happened. That woman loves me so unconditionally as if I was her very daughter. I think that is also why I feel so comfortable voicing my opinion and not holding back. I am so ashamed of myself and I pray that I can control my agitations in the future. I would hate to lose her one day and be left with the memory of treating her badly.

Chet - posted on 11/15/2014

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We have had family care for our children when they were young, and we definitely sucked up some stuff that wasn't exactly what we wanted There was certainly more TV and junk food than I would have liked. Tooth brushing and bedtimes were also lax. My husband's parents were worse offenders than my parents by far, but my parents were hardly "perfect".

However, I felt very strongly that our children benefited more from the relationship than they were hurt by the TV, the junk food or the failure to follow bedtime routines precisely. The TV was generally age appropriate, the grandparents were around while they watched it (they weren't abandoned in front of the TV) and half of the time that it was on they weren't actually watching it anyway. There was nutritious food as well as junk food, and a lot of the junk food wasn't entirely recognized as junk food (there was some difference of opinion on what actually constituted junk). The bedtime issues stemmed largely from good intentions.

More than anything, young children need to feel loved and secure. The value of being "loved to pieces" by her caregiver does your daughter vastly more good than a green smoothie.

With the TV and the junk food we just scaled back on what they got outside the grandparents' houses. Eventually it got to the point that TV and junk food was something that happened only with the grandparents, but we could live with it.

I also came to recognize that we needed to accept their limitations. My in-laws are just not that good at bedtime. If our kids were going to be there at bedtime we dropped them off with the expectation that they'd probably go to bed late, they would probably get their teeth brushed with water instead of tooth paste, and they probably wouldn't fall asleep in the diaper I wanted them to be wearing (we used cloth diapers). When we asked them to babysit in the evening we just needed to decide if we were prepared to live with consequences of doing that.

Personally, I would leave things alone at grandma's house as long as they aren't impacting things at your house. If falling asleep in grandma's arms doesn't impact bedtime at your house, leave it alone. And if things are really important to you, do them at home. Read at home. Drink the green smoothie at home. Fill your daughter up with healthy food before she goes in the morning before she goes.

It's not so important that young children be read to. It's important that they be exposed to language. As long as your mother-in-law talks with your daughter a lot that's what matters.

Potty train a 2.5 year old is ambitious and if your MIL can toe the line during the day I'd cut her some slack after 7pm or 8pm.

At one point I did get sufficiently annoyed with the food and the TV that I put our oldest into an expensive preschool. For all the healthy food and stimulation it offered, at that age, she was better off with my parents getting lots of love and cuddles.

There are situations where it just doesn't work to have family provide childcare. My gut feeling on your situation however is that your daughter is young and in a very loving place, and that you're being too hard on your MIL.

Michelle - posted on 11/15/2014

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I agree with what you are saying in your last post but that's not what you are demanding in your OP.
Yes, my children have slept in their own beds since birth but I was the one that looked after them at home for the first 6 months (until I went to work with my 1st two). I then had them in daycare (I don't have any family in the same country to help out) and they slept on their own mattress for naps. At daycare they also don't have a TV and they read to children. My daycare also has to serve nutritious meals for lunch that meet the accreditation standards for Australia. n other words the children get served a hot. cooked from scratch nutritious meal for lunch at daycare. I think it's better than what I pack for school lunches!
You can be a working Mother and have your children cared for properly. I have 3 children and my oldest is now 13, he started daycare when he was 7 months. He is a great kid and stays away from the trouble makers at school. He knows right from wrong and is also healthy.
Maybe look into a daycare for your daughter instead of getting your MIL to look after her. They are more structured and depending on where you live, have accreditation guidelines they have to abide by.

[deleted account]

I agree that I am a perfectionist. I did not realize that I was asking for too much. Those things seemed like normal requests. Most people want children to sleep in their beds, not watch tv for 5 hours a day or eat junk food all day. :/

Michelle - posted on 11/15/2014

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You are not going to find anyone that will look after your child the way you are wanting them to. The fact that you are wanting her to have a green smoothie daily screams controlling.
I think you need to stop with so many demands. Your MIL has brought up children and I assume she did a good job since you married her son. Also let your child be a child, they are only little for such a short amount of time and before you know it they will be teenagers and living their own life.

Michelle - posted on 11/15/2014

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You are being a bully, that's an awful big list of do's and dont's for her to follow.
I would suggest if you want such a strict regime then stay at home and look after your child the way you want her looked after yourself.
How old is your daughter? Why would you need to take time off to potty train? If you let your daughter lead the potty training then you wouldn't be at it 24/7.
I think you need to stop and enjoy your child, not push all these things onto her.

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