Overbearing Grandmother, at point break! HELP!

Chris - posted on 05/18/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Firstly, I am not a mother, I am a father of my newborn aged just 6 weeks, why am I posting here? What better source for a womans / mothers perspective than a site dedicated to mummies!

My circumstances:
Ok I am currently in the process of migration from UK to Australia, I live with my fiancee who in turn rents with her mother and step father. We live in a moderately sized house and have our own living room and space for peace and quiet. However, it would take a different country to achieve any level of personal space it would seem. As I am establishing myself in this country money is not in abundance, so moving out is not an option for the time being.

The problem:
Ever since my son was born the grandmother has tried to completely take over, by this I mean she pushes the button in every respect and seems to desire a surrogate mother status.. From birth even in the hospital she attempted and successfully told me I could not hold my own son as I had seen him all day and took liberty to pass my boy around the family who visited.. From the offset I knew this woman would drive me to absolute distraction and would try to involve herself as much as possible even without prompting. Believe me the stress of the past 6 weeks has been breaking point, it has caused issues with my partner it is causing issues with the development of our relationship with bubby.

I will not beat around the bush here, this grandmother has a drinking problem however holds it down pretty well, when she drinks she gets argumentative, her personality is that of a child, its all about her, whats her role, how much better she is a parent and knows all, she even at one stage put my child to sleep on his tummy without a breathe safe mattress to which I did not stand for, this apparently caused a rift as 'I just pick on her'.. Common sense as you would imagine is really not her strongest asset. Arguing her point as gospel is, even if the ears of the recipient are stuffed with cotton wool.. Yes I have resentment and this you will understand in due course, its difficult to pin down all the wrong doings both illogical and immoral because of the sheer volume, and this is in just 6 weeks..

Ill just try to list a few things rather than spiel, you have better things to do no doubt :)

1. Control, she does not respect the fact this is our child, she does not ask to hold my child she demands and if told no she attacks the parent with rather personal comments i.e "Your a s**t dad, you worked all day and didnt see your baby, now you wont let me hold him, everyone else gets to hold him and i do not" < Strictly speaking the only people who hold him are her and rightfully so the mother.
2. Does not like her advice to be ignored, Apparently if we are told one thing by the midwife and go to conduct this we are not following her advice so this is something yet again to argue about i.e prevent SIDS by always placing bubs on his back when sleeping, apparently the child favors his tummy and should sleep in this position always regardless of what health professionals say.
3.Undermining, Both me and my parent find her feeding our son without being asked to, if my partner is holding the child and he is crying she will enter the room and ask for the baby to settle him, as though her hands would provide a better comfort than our own. i.e just today I came home and the baby was crying, I had him for literally 1 minute, in she walks, 'give me a go on the baby', no I am ok thank you, I'll settle him do not worry', ensued by approx 2 hours of her shouting, literally no joke I was told I am a terrible father, to which almost makes me shout back, but whats the use, she is drunk..
4. Drink, she doesnt not understand that if she drinks she isnt to have the child, because she drinks from around 12 noon until late, its just normality for her, her preferred alcoholic beverage is Scotch, she goes through a bottle every 2 days. I do not want my son to learn these addictive habits.
5. Plays one between the other, she seems to stir trouble between me and my partner, makes suggestions and generally bad mouths us to each other. Its difficult, awkward and above all else a terrible trait.
6. Applies pressure where it isnt required, this really accommodates all factors mentioned above, pressure not to offend her because of the consequence, however she is always pushing too far so there is only one way to go, i.e I spend the best part of one hour settling the baby, she comes along and smushes him, pokes him and wakes him, if i tell her to stop she just stands and glares..Its an awful feeling, she is really the bane of my existence at the moment when I should be so joyus over bubba jubbs.. And thats the worst thing of all, I shouldnt have to deal with this nonsense, it really shouldnt be happening but it is, its real and I have to sort it out but how?

I write as almost a means to just put out there this stuff that is happening, to release the tension get it off my chest, maybe some of you will feel inclined to respond, either to tell me "get off our site, YOUR NO MOTHER!" or more preferably offer some little nuggets of advice to help me deal with this absolute shambles. I want what is best for my child but I am dealing with the unstoppable force, if i play the immovable object it will be an everyday affair, so I just suppress it and use the internet to exhaust this frustration, she steps over ever possible line, imagine ever asset of raising a child that is part of you being distorted by static', from bathing as she peers over with comments like 'look at my precious', to each decision as parent becoming a battle, or even seeing your child fed, not by its mother, but by someone who had this experience 3 times yet will not let up and allow her daughter to revel in the responsibility, I literally can not take it anymore..

Here is one to get you if you have read this without an emotional response or empathy (which is not what I'm after I just need someone to tell me the way i am feeling is natural and if any of you have experienced this please give me some advice). My partner had a hard time breastfeeding, she has sensitivity and was very swollen, and in pain, she tried everything from latching techniques to expressing with a breast pump, our baby was gaining weight, and my partner was producing more milk as the days went on until one day she had a few problems, instantly it was enforced that formula was the only answer, guilt trips like 'your child is starving' and without prompting formula was purchased S26 the same one she raised her kids on, the baby was fed formula, my partner had to compete with it eventuating in her breasts drying as he wasnt suckling her and an experience she was almost robbed of, followed by a swift 'now everyone can feed the baby'.. Could you even imagine that.. This actually happened, now its common ground. I feel for my partner, she doesnt know what to do, neither do I. We can't move just yet, its a feeling of utter powerlessness.

Anyway this essay had brought me to 630am, so i need to rest, whats keeping me up is 'your a sh*t father". I just cant let that go for some reason, have coped with everything else, but that is just too far.. What if I punch this woman? Not that I ever had or ever will lay a finger on a lady, just sometimes she feels less than human in her everyday activity.

Your response, thoughts or just general analysis would be appreciated, and thank you for taking the time to read this, even if it makes you feel better about your situation. Believe me, you wouldnt want to be in my shoes!

Thanks

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Michelle - posted on 05/18/2012

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First off, I want to congradulate you for you little newborn baby. They are such a blessing to have. There is nothing wrong for you to post on here. You are a daddy and concerned.
I have had problems in the past with my mother in law. When I had my first son, she would just barge into the room( while i was breastfeeding), like she owned everything. It really made me mad and upset, so I sorta went off about it. It was a private thing to me. I wasn't covered up or nothing.I was in my bedroom with the door shut. She didn't knock.
She one time told me that she was going to take my kids home with her. I told her that if she took my kids and put them in her vehicle and left, that she wouldn't get too far because the cops would be on her tail end and then put in jail for kidnapping. She had no right.
As for your situation. I would have already flown off the handle. You need to tell her what her place is. A grandmother should be able to give advice...not take over. In the delivery room ,she didn't want you to hold your son...I would have told her to get out. You had every right.
You need to tell your partner how you feel about this situation. YOu both need to go to the grandmother and tell her that her advice is fine. But it doesn't mean you will accept it. And as to taking over isnt' going to happen anymore. If you continue to allow this...she might try to say you are an unfit father. This could turn the tables to your partner as well. If this is driving you crazy. You need to speak your mind and let everyone know how you feel and what is what. Enough is enough.Wether you live together or not with this woman. I wouldn't take it. You need to step your foot down now, before it gets too far out of hand. It seems to already be out of hand, but I mean tooooo far out of hand. Good luck and I hope it works out for you.

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Sarah - posted on 05/19/2012

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I remember when I first had my son being very insecure about my role as a mother. Was I doing things right? Was I handeling things okay? It took me one day, with constant "suggestions" by my mother in law, who I do believe thought she was helping, to finally lose it. I burst into tears, telling her how her suggestions made me feel insecure and second guess myself as a parent. She had no idea she was making me feel that way.

Maybe if you and your partner sit down together and explain to her that you both are just learning how to feel secure as parents, that comments like that hurt and undermine your confidence. Set some boundaries, but allow her to have access to. Maybe just explain to her that you love the time when you get home to learn about your child, how you love settling him to sleep at night, but during his nap, grandma during the day could do it. She may not even be aware how hurtful she is being. Explain to her that you guys are still trying to learn how to be parents and a family together, that you need support emotionally from your families in able to grow together.

You cant change her drinking, and if she is drinking before this conversation, it may not go well. Make sure she is sober.

I would encourage you though, if at all possible to find other housing. Sometimes that distance is a little better acheieved physically. Good luck!

Michelle - posted on 05/18/2012

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I will pray for you. It is really nice and thoughtful of you to think about the woman that had a cecearn. A cecean birth is a very hard birth, I went through that myself. I would just tell the grandmother that she can't take control of your baby, that it is your job , not hers. Advice is okay, but there is a boundry. I understand with not wanting to argue. It takes a man to not want to be mean and want peace. You seem to be a good man and I hope it all works out for you. If you are able to get out. Then I would go for that. If your partner loves you, she will follow. Have you spoke to her about your feelings? It is not immuture to act like this at all or to feel like this. As for baby blues, we all go through them. My husband did, the same as I. I can tell that you want the best of the situation and no hard feelings. But, your feelings are being hurt. Maybe if you speak to your partner . She maybe able to help. Good luck

Chris - posted on 05/18/2012

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Thank you for the congratulations, you see, in the hospital I couldn't just tell her to get out, she is the type of person who wouldnt care who heard the argument, she'd just go for it, there was a woman next door who just had a c-section and 48 hour labor, I couldnt do that to her, so I just left in a mood, when I returned the grandmother took liberty to pass me my child and say 'here you go, you can hold him because you where in a stress' as if its my fault to be offended by her actions, as for putting my foot down, I just dont want the arguing. The frustration I feel is something I can cope with, the sh*t that comes with it is just nonsense.. I could try I guess to say enough is enough and I will tomorrow the instant she oversteps the mark, but in the end I am enlisted as the immature one. Its a catch 22, do I want my kid to have arguing engrained in his personality, or do I just show leniency and work toward getting out and will my partner follow, I wonder if the grandma's overpowering raising has lead her offspring to be too dependent? thats not something I wish to dwell upon either, its madness.. The more views I have on this the better and easier it will become to find a resolve within myself, peace in the face of it all.. Its a true learning curve, once you experience it, normality becomes a pleasure.. Sometimes I wonder if I have baby blues, I actually stay up most nights wondering whats the quickest way to get out.. Anyway, thank you again, ill give your advice a try and report back at another stupid hour no doubt..

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