Challenging MOTHER IN LAW

[deleted account] ( 6 moms have responded )

Hello & Help~!

I am dealing with the challenge of a painful MIL and are hoping for some advice/feedback.

I am originally from Europe and now married to an Aussie are not sure on the customs in Down Under..but maybe you can all shed some light on what’s normal and what’s not.

I grew up with 2 fantastic grannies that I would see ONCE a month. Looking back my mum must have felt more comfortable with her own mum minding me as they let me in her care for 2 weeks when I was 1 year old but I never spend more than a day with my dad’s mum. By the way - both grannies lived I my hometown, so very close by.

Well, now to my MIL (by the way - she is a lonely widow):

From Day 1 of dating her son she presented a challenge: there is either her way or no way. Just a few examples…:

* She tried to decide on our wedding venue and the guest list and even bought me a wedding dress without being asked for any help,

* When I fell pregnant she knew it all despite having adopted her own children.

* She bought CHRISTMAS Baby curtain material even though I clearly mentioned we had decided on blinds.

* She buys BOYZ clothes for our GIRL because they are on sale.

* She buys a special & expensive reflux pillow because I must have mentioned that little one threw up a bit.

* She asks inappropriate questions about my sex life with her son.

* She has made up lies on several occasions.

* She comes over unannounced/uninvited and knows she shouldn’t (Her excuse” I was just in the neighbourhood”)

And now the worst: she wants to come over to see little on all the time. I honestly threat her visits by now as she is not an entertaining person to hang out with (she always wants to know everything) and if I catch up with her without my husband, I can be sure she will call him afterwards and repeat or conversations. (slightly altered!)

Because I don’t like her anymore (I did originally but she has screwed up too many times) I also don’t want my daughter to be exposed to her all the time. Guess that’s just a normal mother thing to be protective.

Question is…how often should a granny be able to see her grandchild? Is it really common for her to come over every single weekend? (she knows I wouldn’t open the door if she starts popping by during the week)

After all her son has his own family now and she should respect that we want to spend time as a little new family… . I am happy for her to visit every 2 weeks but don’t think every weekend is appropriate.

Am I asking for too much??

Thanks much,



View replies by

Deb - posted on 06/20/2010




I too am Australian and to be honest your MIL sounds very over baring and a tad controlling just going by what you have written, I definately wouldnt be putting up with it, and that kind of behaviour isn't common practice in this country, so definately say something because at the end of the day you want your child to have a healthy relationship with their nana/grandmother because it benefits children knowing and having close relationships with their grandparents....but it has to be on your terms otherwise you will end up resenting her and that will in turn cause dramas with you and your hubby. Hope it gets better

Celissa - posted on 06/18/2010




I'm from the states also so I can't tell you about customs there, but with my mother-in-law, I absolutely adore her, although we have our days. She comes over usually about twice a week, sometimes 3 times. She keeps our son on Thursday nights, and my husband and I have a 'date night'. My mother see's our son about the same amount, although she doesn't keep him over night often because she lives 30 miles away, where as my mother-in-law lives 5 minutes from our house. She buys him clothes when she catches a good deal, and we really appreciate it. She's very helpful, also. She does anything she can to help us out. I think everyone has a tendency to not get along with their mother-in-law, especially when a child is involved. I grew up with only one grandparent (the others passed away) and the one I had really had nothing to do with me. I feel so fortunate that our son has two sets of such wonderful grandparents that I'm pretty good about letting the small things go. Maybe you should talk to her. I understand her wanting to see her grandchild. A lot of the things you described seem very odd and would bother me too, but some of the thing you said seem like she's just trying to be helpful, such as buying her the reflux pillow. I would just talk to her. She may not understand how her actions really appear to you. It could never hurt.

Sarah - posted on 06/15/2010




My mother in law was abit like that, and still is kind of.
I live in the uk so unsure about australia. Anyway, my mother in law has always (usually) been nice to me, for my husbands sake (he's her baby). She's had words to say about me, not to my face though. But apart from that, she's been ok... Until i fell pregnant.
She wanted to be involved in everything (this is her 1st grandchild, so thought id give her chances) I was on 17 when i fell pregnant and i was still living at home. So all i wanted way my husband and mum, not her. Well, i bled and lost a huge blood clot when i was 7 weeks. A couple of days after i bled, she went and brought a second hand moses basket out the paper !! She knew i didnt want anything buying until my 12 weeks scan and once the bleeding had settled !! That really annoyed me.
Then she was pestering my husband to ask me if she could be in the room while i was in labour ! Like i was going to let her in ! She wouldnt drop it and it nearly split me and my husband up because she was being so intrusive ! About 30 minutes after having my son, i phoned her and asked if she wanted to come see him. She started having a go at me down the phone, which made me cry. And when she arrived, she started again. Thankfully, my mum and husband stopped her and said if you carry on then you can get lost.
After the birth, she just kept popping round whenever (i was out most of the time, didnt want her coming round when i was on my own) If i mentioned i was going to get my son something, she'd go and buy it as well !! She just used to do little stupid petty things that really annoyed me !! But i grit my teeth and bared for my sons sake, after all she is his grandma. She wasnt impressed when my husband and i announced we were gettin married. She didnt contribute to anything. But after we were married, she mellowed. She hasnt been half as bad with my second. And she sees the kids quite often.
When i was yuounger, id see my dads parents on a sunday, my mums parents at least once a week and my great grandparents at least once a week. And i used to stay at my mums parents house as well.
Now, with my own. I take my children to see my mum about 3 times a week. And my mother in law has my son on a thursday for a few hours and we usually spend sunday with her. If she pops round with some food shopping for me, she'll take my son back to hers for a couple of hours. Which i honestly dont mind anymore, because it gives me a break and gives me time to relax or tidy up or spend some quality time with my daughter. When i go back to work, she'll be having both the children once a week and my mum will have them once a week. My mum and mother in law also have the children over night when i want a night off, which is very rare !
But you should do whatever you think is best and whatever you are comfortable with. Dont let anybody push you into doin something your not comfortable with. It's your child so it's your decision on everything ! Hope she mellows abit for you because i know how hard and annoying it is :)

Amy - posted on 06/15/2010




I'm from the states so I can't tell you what's common in Australia but I can tell you my mother-in-law is similar. She stops by about twice a week to see the kids, I have gotten used to it. She buys clothes for both my children in sizes that don't fit because she got a really good deal on them. She also trys to get information on my soon to be ex sil, about why her and her husband are splitting. She thinks it's her fault because her boys can do no wrong. My mil will actiallybe taking care of my two kids when I go back to work, what really bothers me is she wants to keep my 3 month overnight and will not acknowledge the fact that I bf, she thinks because my husband gives her a bottle sometimes she should keep her overnight.
Honestly I would attribute the visits to her being lonely. Is your husband an only child? Is this an only granchild? I would try and figure out what her interests are and get her involved in something else. As far as changing what you say I'm sure she's been that way her whole life and her son probably knows not to believe everything that she says. Talk to your husband and see if you can convince him to talk to her! Honestly I would probably let her in one or two days during the week so you can have weekends with just your family. If you trust her (which it sounds like she's just annoying), run to the grocery store while she's there so you don't have to be around her, or start preparing dinner while she's there. I do hope it gets better I know inlaws can be intrusive I'm sure they just forgot what it's like to be the woman who took there husbands away from their mother in laws!

Stacey - posted on 06/15/2010




Wow, she sounds like a bit much. I think that the amount of time she spends with your daughter depends on what you are comfirtable with.
Can you ask your husband to have a word with her? It might be a bit more effective coming from her own son.

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