Where's this rudeness coming from from new mommy daughter in law?

lincrawJune 12, 2002

I am a first time grandma, and was so excited about it.

My son's wife became pregnant a month after being married last June. They both wanted this early pregnancy.

Baby girl was born 6 weeks ago. Delighted everyone.

Since the baby's been born, my daughter in law has been extremely rude to not only me, but her mom as well.

She was NEVER like this before the birth, and I'm wondering if this goes along with the post partum hormone thing?

all 3 of my children were adopted, so never being pregnant, I really don't know.

She makes comments like, the flash will blind the baby, you're holding the baby wrong, don't touch her head, you're too close, don't be grabby - I'll give you the baby.

Just rudeness and snaps at me to the point that after I leave, I cry all the way home, becasue she hurts me so.

She doesnt' think before she speaks.

I've raised 3 babies, babysat countless nieces, nephews, neighbors and friends babies, I know how to handle a baby!

I've told my son how I feel, and he's trying to keep peace, by saying give her time, she's tired, cranky, and very possesive with the baby, and wanting to be independent.

She even snappped at her own mom, for offering to babysit !!!

HELP !!! Can anyone give me some advie quickly?

I'm at my wit's end!

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You want advice? OK, here it is. Butt Out. No matter what is causing her problem, anything you do or say at this time will make it worse. Listen to her husband. Give her time.

She is tense
She is tired,
She is unsure and edgy. It doesn't matter one whit what you know about babies. She is the one that is responsible for THIS baby and you and her mother are going to have to do it her way.

Now, you have the choice, you can risk making things worse, and trust me on this, you can make them much worse, or you can just go with the flow and let her alone. You are allowing your self to be hurt by not seeing things from her viewpoint.

Have patience.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 11:49AM
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Thanks for the response, I'll try to bite my tongue, but it IS hard not to tell her she's hurting my feelings by snapping at me for no good reason. I would hate to have any trouble in my close family. I've not given her any advice on how to care for the baby, and have no idea why she's like this now.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 12:32PM
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I can imagine how hard it is for you. Just look at it from her view point, she's not trying to hurt your feelings and she thinks she HAS a good reason. She feels that any thing that you do or say is a reflection on her mothering skills.

She wants to be the only one involved in the baby. She may not even like the father having a lot to do with it. She wants to be the whole, entire world to HER baby. It comes from being defensive because down deep inside, she knows that she might not know everything.

But you can control whether or not she "hurts" your feelings. You can also feel angry, irritated and disappointed. all of these emotions are under your control and if you don't expect too much from her at this time, You can handle them. don't set yourself up for being hurt and it won't happen.

I know that is easier said than done, but you can do it. Consider the source and ignore her responses. Give it time, the newness will wear off and she will be glad for your help.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 6:51PM
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Are you a social worker by chance or physcologist? Your responses are exactly what I needed to hear! My friends have been trying to tell me to tell her she's hurting my feelings by her rudenss, but I'm afraid that would just upset her more. And you are right on about the comment about my poor son. I've heard her like that with him as well. and he is the biggest sweaatheart, but maybe I'm just prejudiced ! Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 8:30PM
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What purpose would be served by telling her she's hurting your feelings? Would it make her feel better? Of course not, so keep your lip buttoned. Don't keep complaining to your son about her, either. He has enough to worry about now without adding stress.

Do you call before you visit them to see if it's convenient? Just thoughtful things like that would be helpful. But, thankfully, it usually goes away after a few weeks.

It sounds like post-partum depression. There was a recent article in the newspaper about it and they recommend either a support group or some kind of therapy if it keeps on.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 10:08PM
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It sounds like me and my mom when I had my DD. (can't imagine how I would have been around my MIL if I was that bad around my own mom).

I was very moody, very up-one-moment-down-the-next, and VERY DEFENSIVE!!!!! I still get defensive and she's 4!

So just relax, ask what you can do to help, and let her guide you thru building this new relationship!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 10:25AM
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Aileen is right on..(as usual!). Your poor DIL is wiped out....overwhelmed with all the new stuff and trying to convince herself that she really does know how to care for that baby........and perhaps just a little possessive!
And as Aileen said.....she can't hurt your feelings unless you give her permission!
So when you go over and she snaps at you about how to hold the baby....ask her to show you how she wants it done, maybe she will eventually realize that you didn't just fall off the turnip truck!
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 3:21PM
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You ladies are the absolute best !!!!
Each and everyone one of you have given me the boost and the confidence I need to salvage my relationship with DIL.
and not take that chance of loosing it. And Yes, I do always call before going over. Never, ever would have asked that of my own dear mom or dad, and would NEVER tell my kids they can't just pop in. I want them always to feel welcome enough that they can always drop in whenever they can.
Thanks to ALL of you!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 4:12PM
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Good for you!! and Thanks Linda C.

I guess what I have said is based a lot on the fact that my mother was a pain in the rear about HER grandchild. It's hard to explain, but sometimes a new mother just wants to be left alone with her baby. I didn't like the way my mother held the baby, he spit up a lot and she tended to move him about too much. We disagreed on how much clothing he should have on, how to fold the diaper, whether or not to use bath powder, etc. etc, etc, And it got worse. I gave up on even trying to be nice to her. She meant well, but it was just too, too much.

What I am saying that unless advice is asked for...it is unwelcomed by the new mother. All your experience is not going to help a bit.

At six weeks, her body is still getting over the strain of pregnancy and childbirth. emotionally, she is also strained. This is a big thing with her. You can help most by accepting the fact that First, foremost and forever more the most important thing is that this is HER child, not your grandchild.

The fact that you are the grandmother is important only to you. It is not important to her, That sounds harsh, but that is the way a lot of women feel.

You can do much more for the relationship if you can convince her that SHE is important to you as a person, not just because she happened to give birth to your grandchild. Do you see the difference?

When you call to see if it is convienent to drop by, make it sound as if you want to see HER, and if the baby is around, that would be nice, but secondary.

You have a lot going for you. You have sense enough to ask for advice and you realize that telling her that your feelings were hurt was bad advice. So, I suspect by the time a few more weeks roll around, a lot of things will have changed. Give her time.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 4:51PM
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Men tend to look for solutions. You have complained to your son about his wife's behavior. She's stressed to the max with a new baby. No doubt he has told her you aren't happy with the way she is behaving. Talk about fueling the fire. Man, my husband has told me the same things before about his mother. Drives me nuts. I'd be willing to bet your DIL is having to bite her tongue right now also. She'd probably love to tell you that she thinks you're being terribly selfish right now by dumping your negativity on her, particularly immediately after her kid is born.

And, her husband has probably told her to curb her behavior, but not to mention anything to you. So she's probably resenting having to worry about your feelings right now, and also feeling as tho HER husband is protecting you when he should be telling you to be patient.

I just read a book on in-law relations. One of the cardinal laws is for the DIL not to cut down the MIL to her husband and for the MIL not to cut down her SIL to her son.

My MIL thinks she is sly. She calls my husband at work. But he tells me everything. I'm sure she believes his loyalties are to her, but we've been married 8 1/2 years and there is very little he doesn't tell me. We went to counseling over it and he actually wrote his mother and sister an email and copied me. In it he admits to having participated in negative discussions about me in the past, apologizes to me and warns them that he will not listen to negatives about me again.

Anyway, you are really setting yourself up for a miserable relationship with your DIL, AND your grandchildren if you continue to confide in your son about his wife.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2002 at 9:06PM
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Boy can I relate to the new mother. I know I was grumpy etc but couldn't seem to help it. I cried, I ranted, raved, no one but me could do things the right way. I was afraid that I wasn't doing things right and I didn't want it pointed out to me if I wasn't. Yes, your best bet is to butt out and let her come around. You may want to suggest something like, "when you feel comfortable with it, let me babysit while you and (hubby) go out for dinner" That way you're letting her know you're willing to help and on her terms. If she takes offense, back off again. I was really emotional and defensive. I would bet it is post partum and she'll improve with time. Just give her space.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2002 at 5:50PM
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I don't think it's really post partum depression. I experienced what your DIL is and also know many other mothers who have and I wasn't depressed. I would get EXTREMELY edgy when there was a family function that we had to go to. My fiance' was ready to pull his hair out when someone invited us over. My problem was that that was my son and I hated taking him other places and having 20 other people take him and tell me how to take care of him. It wasn't everyone really that got on my nerves but a few people could make me snap at everyone I was so mad. The problem is that you have this baby and suddenly everyone treats you like you're too stupid to care for him/her. I had people telling me that he was cold and to put a sweater and hat on him and it would be 80 and humid and all of us were sweating! They'd try to tell me when he needed fed but had no clue about what his schedule was and that no that wasn't the problem~he'd get cranky because too many people were holding him and stuff and wanted left alone after a bit. Every time my son cried the tiniest bit up until he was about 2, my grandmother would ask when his last bowel movement was because that was probably why he was crying. If someone was holding him, they felt it was their right to go through our diaper bag and things to find whatever they felt he needed and I didnt like them getting in my stuff~would you go through someone else's purse or suitcase without asking? My mother would tell me how to mix the formula until I turned around and said to her that this was my responsibility and I would be the one doing it for the next year so let me do it my way. Every little experience caused more stress and anger. It took me a long time to finally snap back and I did hurt people's feelings but I needed space to do my own thing and it was the only way they got the point. I guess what I'm saying is that to you, what you're doing or saying may not be a big deal but you have no idea how many people are doing the same to your DIL. It makes you think that people think you are incompetent. The best thing to do is only to speak up if the baby is actually in danger or something like that. Do give your DIL space and keep comments to a minimum. Things will get better over time. Good luck.

Writing this post brought back many memories! LOL

    Bookmark   July 1, 2002 at 11:24AM
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Sounds like a case of MAMABEARISM. GRIN.

I would like to add one thing. Be sure and give her sincere compliments on her mothering. She needs the reassurance and support.

I think everything that has been said is really good, with the expection that she needs some group therapy or therapy for this. I think it is just a phase. One which the two of you can laugh about in years to come. This too shall pass.

This is from a gramma, who with her first born would only roll down the car window a smidgen when we stopped by my grandparents to show them our newborn. I mean, geeeeeeesh. LOL.

But somehow the kids do survive. LOL.

But she is lucky to have such a caring MIL who wants to do it right.

Gramma Connie

    Bookmark   July 5, 2002 at 12:29PM
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Thank you to all of you for your replies. Although 95 % of you told me to be quiet and say nothing to her, 2 weeks ago I had a talk with her, and asked her politely to please not snap at me any longer. This was after she told me "If I have to tell you one more time not to touch the back of her head, I'm going to smack your hand!"
I was only softly and very lightly touching her gorgeous hair, not touching any bone.
She screamed back at me "you just don't listen!"
I told her you can talk to a 12 year old like that, but have some respect for your mother in law, and that it was just rudeness and disrepectful.
She then told me she didn't have the baby so that I could be a grandmother. I calmy answered, "Of course you didn't".
This is coming from a 25 year old. An only daughter, and,
one that I think was very spoiled.
I already do everything that you have all suggested, I call to make an "appointment" before going, I never just drop in.
I have not suggested in any way how she should be caring for her, or raising her.
I have said nothing for 2 months. But that was the last straw. I told her to stop and think before she blurts something out, and that she may not even realize she was hurting me.
And it's NOT just me she has been doing this with. It's been her own mother, her sister in law, and a friend.
I just went there today, the first time in 2 weeks.
She was a changed person, back like she was before she had the baby. Smiling, and happy, and she told me she was sorry for talking to me like she had, and that she loved me.
My son told me if it wasn't me, someone else would have told her to smarten up.
She stopped breast feeding last week, because the milk wasn't coming in, and she's been frustrated with it and having trouble since the baby was born. I think all lot of it had to do with being tired, and frustrated.
But after finally telling her firmly, but calmy, I do think it made her realize what she sounded like.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2002 at 8:41PM
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I still think she wasn't being spoiled or rotten. I was the exact same way for the first couple months. And some of the things she said, sound just like I did. And if she was having trouble breastfeeding, that causes unbelievable mood swings, guilt, mental anxiety, and all that on top of the hormones.

I had heard that breastfeeding can make a baby less likely to be diabetic (which runs in our family), and so I had that guilt that if BF failed, I'd be dooming her. And I had a very militant la leche friend who gave me no end of grief over my 'failure'. And on and on and on. And as someone else said, the sense that only "I" knew the right way to feed her, hold her, dress her, etc. Mom wanted to bathe her, and I flew off the handle like you would not believe, over Mom bathing her granddaughter.

I had to deal with my 'failure' (for lack of a better word) with the breastfeeding. I had to deal with guilt over going back to work. I was one big ball of guilt and hormones, surrounded by well-meaning people that, at the time, I hated!

No one telling me what I was doing would have helped. Because I KNEW how I sounded. I KNEW I was irrational. But I could not control it. And one day, it passed. Almost like a cloud lifting. And I was normal again.

Just posting this because I feel like you are still thinking its that she's spoiled or something. You sound like a great Grandma! Enjoy this time - your DIL and GD will love you because you sound like you're very understanding and patient.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2002 at 7:55AM
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TREKaren is right. I read your reply yesterday and thought that you were very lucky to have the DIL that you have. You're lucky she didn't take MAJOR offense to what you were saying and not speak to you again or at least for a while.

It seems that you may have forgotten what it was like to be a new mother. I'm sure that maybe if you have relatives who were around you when you're kids were newborns they may tell you you reacted a lot in the same way. Many of us may not realize how harsh we are being, while others are aware but just can't stop. It's a major life changing experience that nobody can totally plan for. It just takes time to get used to the changes and for your body to get back to normal. Many women act like changed people until they get back on track and everything. It's scary suddenly being totally responsible for this new, tiny and fragile-looking human being. I'm sure that if you wouldn't have even said anything to your DIL about her actions, they would have stopped just like they recently did. What you said probably had nothing to do with her changes, it was just time.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2002 at 11:09AM
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I'm glad is all worked out, but I must admit that it sounds to me like she had tried to ask repeatedly that you not do something and you simply ignored her. It also sounds like it took her snapping to get through to you.

I apologize if I am missing information, but it doesn't appear that she was 100% in the wrong here. She shouldn't have bitten your head off, but you shouldn't have put her in a situation where she felt she had to.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2002 at 4:17PM
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I noticed the same behavior from my wife toward my mother after our baby came. A lot of it has to do with getting accustomed to the new family roles. Your DIL is in control now not you. Your DIL feels threatened by you because she is concerned you may vie for control or challenge her ability to care for a child. She doesn't want you telling her what to do. This is HER show. She's calling the shots not you. So bite your tongue, only offer advice when it is asked for and focus on enjoying your grandbaby.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 1:02PM
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Hmmm... I'm always hesitant when anyone says they did nothing wrong and it's all the other person. Especially when you didn't bother to ask your DIL what was going on.

My own mother frequently gets exasperated and tells me not to blow things out of proportion. This upsets me. If for some reason I don't want my baby's head touched, I don't think I should have to repeat it numerous times. It sounds like you didn't think it was a big deal and disrespected her wishes repeatedly. I'm curious how many times that happens in other circumstances?

My MIL also talks incessantly and puts everyone around her down. It's terrible to be around. We've all tried to talk to her and she insists she has no idea what we're talking about. My point is - I can't make nice and let it roll off my back when I'm tired and taking care of the baby. I'm in no way saying that's what you're doing, but there may have been issues in your relationship you didn't know about.

And telling her not to speak to you like a 12 year old... well, in general I agree. I do. But if you can't follow basic requests like not touching the baby's head (even if it is her hair) then how do you expect to be talked to?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 3:57PM
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This thread is nine years old.

I'm also reading it for the first time. My question would have been about why she didn't want the baby's head touched. Was there a medical reason, or cultural? I work with new mothers and babies, and routinely touch newborns' heads. I have heard that in some culture (don't remember which) there is significance to that action.

And yes, if she was asked repeatedly, she shouldn't have done it. My MIL would have ignored my wishes, too.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Boy , this forum is old, but I'm just now finding it and it has been so helpful.
I could use some insight/advice from any experienced person out there.
briefly without alot of details which I can provide upon request :
DIL gave birth to our first grandchild one month ago. Baby is fine - a boy. SHe has been experiencing P.Partum depression that came on gradually. My son is very supportive and her parents have been helping alot with the baby who has a BAD case of night and day mixed up ( not unusual). Baby lives about 45 min from us , nearer her parents.
We have always been very loving toward her and have a good relationship although it could be better. I have stopped by only twice since the birth and brought food and held the baby and tried not to stay too long. I have emailed numerous times making it VERY clear I would love to help with the baby whenever they may need me , I'm just waiting for the call. I don't give advice unless it's asked for. 2 weeks ago , the grandpa and I were asked to keep the baby as the other grandparents couldn't that night and the parents were exhausted and the mom was having a particularly bad time of depression. We gladly helped ( even tho I had to go to work the next day , my husband is retired and he helped during the night). Our son was the one who lined it up at the last minute , and brought the baby to us with some very quick instructions. The baby is bottle-fed. We did fine with our grandson - and he actually slept longer and pooped more under our care. I kept a log of everything we did , when fed , when pooped, when slept, etc.- for the mom to have.
A few days later, I sent a very nice email addressed to both my son and DIL - saying how much we enjoyed the baby, but sorry it was under the circumstances - but it's surely nothing to be ashamed of and we hope and pray (mom) gets better real soon - just all loving words - and I sent a couple of photos of the baby at our house. One was of him laying in the "play and go" with a stuffed monkey I had made,sitting beside him and an "I love Grandma" blanket on him that I had made. I innocently sent this pic to them.
When he slept here, I did not have the monkey in there with him and I kept the blanket way down just covering his lower legs. He was on his back/side just as our son had instructed us to do and prop him that way. But our son had given us a little bassinet thing that they keep him in in their bed at night. He didn't say specifically that this is where he needed to sleep when we had him. We made sure when we laid him in the 'play and go ' that his face was clear of any loose cloth etc. He doesnt' even move when he's put in a position.
The next day , after the photos and email were sent, my son sent me an email - and all it was was a forward from the baby's mom to my son and then to me ( indirect) and it was a list of the guidelines to prevent SIDS. No note, no thank you, no response to my mail - just this. I didn't know how to respond. So I didn't respond. Still haven't. It hurt me so. Was she implying that I put the baby at risk? Was she thinking I compromised his safety while in my care??? Oh my, this is a precious baby , my grandson ! And my husband and I were so attentive to him. I believe my son was just the go-between for the email. I have let this really get to me in last few weeks. If she had only just written a little sweet note with it, I would have received it gladly. We met with our son for dinner recently and I did not bring it up. He mentioned how she is still having problems and that the baby is her life right now. But he brought the baby with him to dinner and we got to hold him. She didn't come and there was some reason he gave. We have not even talked or had any communication to or from the mom in weeks. I'm tired of emailing her and getting no response. Yes, she's having some postpartum stuff and wasn't able to breastfeed - but is that really an excuse to be so rude and ungrateful toward us. Her family has just taken over helping with the baby and I don't see where we fit in. I love being a helper ! My husband and I have not offered any more and decided to just lay low and give it time. But the idea of her implying that I put the child at risk for SIDS has really done a number on me.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Apparently, there are a lot of really rude DILs out there. Thank God I'm not the only one. My only comment after dealing with this woman who turned on a dime once she got herself pregnant by my son -- MAYBE THEY ARE ALL JUST BI*CHES who hate the fact that our sons love their mothers.

I really think that's the case for me. I'm not saying that I'm a complete innocent, but my experience in life is that I treat people with the golden rule. always have. This woman is completely unreasonable!

A good example: Last week was Easter. I asked her if she had anything she'd like me to get my 16-month-old granddaughter for an Easter gift. Her response: "I'M THE EASTER BUNNY - NOT YOU."

So, I decided after talking with my son that I would put some cash toward the college fund.

Her response: "It was too much and it made me uncomfortable."

I can't do anything right. I guess one day, when I die, that will be right.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 6:37PM
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Wow, so glad to find this forum, even if some of it is old. It is comforting,yet sad, to see so many in the same boat.Whoopitup,don't feel too bad. Our son/DIL walked in with 1 yr. old who we have never even been allowed in room alone with, much less babysit for, implied that we might allow him out in the yard unsupervised--go figure that one. Abusedbydil, I thoroughly agree, if I die, then maybe it will be right. If I act my normal self, I am too silly. If I am quiet,don't talk much, I am stuck up and aloof. DIL speaks to me as if I had single digit IQ, yet she loves the man I raised. I do not have an answer for where the rudeness comes from, although I cannot help but feel it has something to do with society's attitude that everyone is special/no one can fail/ all deserve trophies. It is all about ME,no consequences of their actions.

I have never offered advice, accepted her rudeness by saying it was hormonal, but after almost 2 yrs.it is going to stop. If she is rude in the future, then I am calling her on it. If it means I don't see GS, or DS, then so be it. I have not been allowed to bond with GS, so the loss will not be as bad as it might have been.If DS refuses a relationship, then perhaps we are not as close as I thought. The hole in my tongue is too big, it is time for her to bite hers for a while. No relationship worth having should be one sided.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:28AM
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