Please Advise

newnana2008December 9, 2008

I am a new grandma to a 4 month old and I have been babysitting her since she was 6 weeks old. My DIL and I have never been really close but have had no problems until now. She checks up on me several times during the day which is not the main problem although it makes me feel like she does not trust me at all. the biggest problem is she does not want me to take the baby out of the house at all. She demands to know exactly where I will be at all times and how long I plan on being there. If I stray from the itinerary (like stop to get milk) I am supposed to check in with her and tell her how long I intend to be there. Then if I take 5 minutes longer she calls me and is very snippy asking "where are you?" Even if I am pulling into my driveway at that time I am expected to call her the minute I get the baby inside. I also have to be in the house at all other times (can't take the baby for a walk even or sit on the front porch) so that I can answer the phone whenever she calls. I have tried to comply and just bite my tongue and smile but I am really beginning to feel smothered. Sometimes I have errands to run or just feel like getting out of the house and enjoying a pretty day. I am at my wits end with this and would like some opinions as to what I should do. I am feeling very stressed out from her control and my son is no help in this situation. She tells him what to do and he does it. I love getting to take care of grandbaby but cannot give up control of my life to this girl.She also accuses me in a round about way of feeding the baby the wrong formula any time she gets really snippy and controlling and I disobey (baby has acid reflux and her formula has been changed several times but she still has bad spit up days even after a weekend when I have not been near her.

Should I just continue to let her dictate to me to be able to continue to see my grandbaby (I fear I will never get to see her if I am not babysitting her) or should I tell her I have had enough and things either change or she needs to put baby in daycare? Her attitude and manner with me are getting increasingly more demanding and I am ready to explode.Appreciate any opinions.

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just tell her if she is not happy with the way you take of the baby maybe she should find someone else.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 8:03PM
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It's HER baby, and you must do things HER way if you continue to babysit for her. She is a new mom. Of course she's going to be a bit overprotective of her baby! I'm a new mom and I'm the SAME way!

If she doesn't want you to take the baby out of the house, then respect her decision. I wouldn't want my baby out of the house either!! You never know if there will be a car accident or something like that. Again, she is a new mother. Cut her some slack.

As far as her husband doing everything she says, butt out. That's between the TWO OF THEM, not you! If he's ok with it, then leave it be. If you're thinking of sticking your nose in where it does not belong, let me warn you that she may NEVER allow you to babysit again, and may limit your interractions with the baby.

I'm not trying to be harsh.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 10:45PM
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After another day of constant phone calls checking up on me (I had not gone out of the house)and her again accusing me of feeding the baby the wrong formula (which I assure you I had not), I tried to talk to her in a calm rational manner last evening about how she was making me feel and told her that if she would be more comfortable with the baby in daycare then I would understand. She got angry, took the baby, told me that fine, I would never see the baby again, and stormed out of the house. I will miss the baby terribly, but I will not miss my DIL. It may be HER baby, but it is MY life she was dictating. I have been a new mom myself, maybe a long time ago, but I had 2 kids and that is why I placated her for so long. what she was doing was not just overprotective, it was to the point of being insane. Her doctor had advised her 2 months ago to get counseling and she ignored the advice. So her overprotection was actually a problem and if you are as domineering as she was then good luck to you too. I never said I butted in with my son and her either. What I did say was that I constantly bit my tongue and smiled. And by doing so, she was getting worse and worse to the point of treating me like dirt. Was I supposed to put up with this for the rest of my life? I took Stargazzers advice and now will never see my grandchild, so I think this girl (37 years old) is in need of serious help. And like I said, if you are the same way, perhaps you might want to seek some help yourself. And I am not trying to be harsh either.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 10:04AM
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STARGAZER If by chance you check back in, I in no way meant to make it sound like your advice caused me to lose my grandchild. I apologize if it came across that way. I had been leaning towards doing that anyway but waas afraid what happeded would happen. I think this was just a time bomb waiting to happen anyway. I think my DIL was trying to alienate my son's family for years. She has never tried to be "part of the family" and her family was always the only important ones. She managed to alienate my son's father and his wife the day the baby was born. They have not had anything to do with them since that day. My daughter (son's sister) is doing what I have been doing - smiling and overlooking all sorts of nasty comments and is ready to just stay away. so I guess my DIL actually got what she wanted. They had asked me to babysit because they could not afford daycare so I guess I was not considered the babies grandmother - rather just a convenience. I have cried and cried since last night but nothing to be done about this sad situation. Thank you for taking the time to give me your advice and please continue to be there to listen to and help others.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 1:18PM
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So, fallaya, how did your baby get home from the hospital? Seriously, out of the house isn't intrinsically any more dangerous than in the house. Yes, car ccidents and the like can happen, but so can house fires and carbon monoxide leaks and planes falling on houses and.... you get the picture, I hope.
Sorry newnnana, that things turned out as they did. I agree with your assessment that this was a time bomb waiting to happen. Unfortunately for your grandchild, mothers who stresss about everything tend to raise stressed babies. Not good.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 9:16AM
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COLLEENOZ: Thank you for your support. My heart is breaking over this but I see nothing I can do. Some people seem to think they can keep their children safe and in a bubble but accidents and life do happen. those are the same children that commit suicide in their teens because their girlfriendboyfriend dumps them or someone dares to say no to them. I worry for my granddaughter's sake. Someday, when it is too late, my DIL will realize the error of her ways, probably when my granddaughter looks at her and tells her she hates her because she wouldn't let her grow up to be independent. a lot of the younger people today seem to feel that things have to be done their way or not at all. then take their ball and go home when you question their rules so to speak. Again, thanks for listening. I know I will always miss being a part of my granddaughter's life but I guess there is nothing I can do about it. I myself never "liked" my mother in law but would never have even thought about keeping her from my kids life no matter what. Oh well, I am sure I will grieve about this loss until I die but my granddaughter is the one who is losing out the most. So sad! All because my DIL is a control freak.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 11:38AM
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newnana i was not at all offended. i'm sorry about the way it turned out, but your life is just as precious as the baby's and the problem would have only gotten worse. i would have spent the best years of my life raising my grandchildren if i had not put a stop to babysitting. i chose to spend my time running around with my husband rather than taking care of 9 kids. be happy.

i will be so glad when i can type with two hands again. grrrr...

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 5:42PM
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COLEENOZ: If you actually READ what I wrote, I said that she is just a paranoid new mother, and that she should be cut some slack!

If someone was to babysit MY child, I would not want them to drive my child anywhere either! I would prefer that they stayed at home. If that person got into a car accident with my child in the car, I would NEVER forgive myself. THAT was my point. See things from HER perspective.

If this grandmother has such a problem babysitting with all of the new mom's rules, then by all means DON'T BABYSIT for her! I'm sure she can find someone else. But, when you wonder why she doesn't like you, or why she doesn't bring the baby around much anymore, you'll know why!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 3:54PM
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FALLAYA: So I assume your mother or MIL NEVER get to have anything to do with your baby or do they just stay as far away from you as they can? AND, do you stay at home all the time with your baby or do you take her with you when you have errands to run? I am sure she would never get in an accident with you because you are so perfect. You young people have no appreciation for your elders any more. You sound like a spoiled little girl. I hope someday you do need a babysitter for full time and see how long they put up with you. new mom or not that does not give anyone the right to treat another person like dirt. my DIL was as rude and arrogant as you are. And, quite frankly, if the only way to get her to like me is to give her control of my life and put up with her crap, then i am better off without her. Good luck to you. I have a feeling someday you will need it.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 6:49PM
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Normal mothers of 4 month old babies routinely run errands, go to the grocery store, etc. I believe overanxious, overprotective moms need to be cut some slack (I was one myself), but to insist that the grandma stay at home the entire time is beyond overprotective.

I'm so sorry, newnana, but there was really nothing else you could do.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 7:27PM
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Thank you for your support. I tried to appease my DIL and tried to accomodate her wishes from the start but as time went on she got worse and worse and demanded and controlled things more and seemed to get more anxious every day. I fear she does need a lot of help but I think she will not admit she needs it and my son will never push her. He has always let her do whatever she wants. In this case, I feel he should push her for her sake, his sake, and even the babies but I am out of the picture now so I guess it is no longer something I will have to witness. My heart is broken for the loss of my grandchild but if my DIL is going to be this way, then there is nothing I can do but to accept the situation and move on. I appreciate each of you who took the time to offer their opinion and support. sometimes it helps just to have someone listen.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 8:13PM
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Does your granddaughter have particular health issues that make it particularly risky to take her outdoors?

If not, I certainly do feel a lot of sympathy for your DIL. It's going to be so very difficult for her facing the realities of motherhood when she is so very anxious and protective.

I had a relative whose baby had acid reflux, and it was a very frustrating situation. My cousin is a sensible, reasonable person, and I know she often thought whoever was caring for her baby fed him the wrong thing. It was upsetting for all concerned - my cousin and whoever was babysitting (we have a big family). It was a relief for my aunts when her baby grew out of that problem.

Anyway, I know some new mothers relax more when their kids hit toddler and preschool ages. By then they're so exhausted they're just happy to have a babysitter! Hopefully that will happen with your DIL.

My own MIL, a very careful and excellent mother, let my son play with tiny toys when he was little and didn't think anything about it. I was a nervous wreck as she dumped out the box of tiny leggos (not the 4 and under ones, but the tiny ones for older kids) for him to play with. She did it every single time we visited. I watched my baby like a hawk while he was at her house, and I would not have left him there without me. But as soon as he got past the stage of putting everything in his mouth I quit worrying and being so careful while we were there. I'm sure it hurt my MIL's feelings, and I wished I could have just told her what the problem was. However, she is very easily offended, so there just really wasn't a good solution. But as soon as my son passed that stage, she was welcome to babysit, and a couple of times even took him on trips without me.

Just an aside - my husband point blank strongly said he didn't want me to ask his mom to put the box of tiny toys up while my son was there, or at least ask her not dump them out for him to play with. So I bit my tongue to a bloody pulp and accepted the label of ultra paranoid mom. 3 and a half years later, my MIL's own daughter had a baby. As soon as that baby got old enough to sit up, the box of small toys disappeared and was never....ever...seen there again.

Sometimes it's hard to be a DIL, and it's hard to be a MIL, too, I know.

I hope once the initial unpleasantness blows over with your DIL that you get to see your grandbaby again, and frequently.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 9:54PM
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Newnana: From you're post, YOU sound like the spoiled brat! I'm glad you won't be watching the baby anymore! The baby is probably better off without you! You sound co-dependent and very lonely. Do you have a life?

You can't get past the fact that THE BABY DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU, and that YOUR SOIN HAS HIS OWN LITTLE FAMILY NOW. You're a typical monster-in-law.

I guess you'll be back in here whining soon about how she won't let you see the baby, and "What did I do wrong???!!??"


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 11:41PM
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Frankly, Fallaya, if anyone is bratty around here, look in the mirror. Yes, the brat is looking back at you.
I did read your post. Your words:
"I wouldn't want my baby out of the house either!!"
There are other ways of leaving the house than by driving. When I babysat for a friend, I did not by that stage have a baby seat any more ans would not even consider driving with her. But, I took her out in her stroller. Your post implies that grandma should not leave the house, period.
New mothers don't have to be over anxious, it's not a rule or anything. I myself was once a new mother and I didn't feel the need to stress over every possible bad thing that might happen. I wasn't cavalier, just... balanced and commonsensical. And you have to figure that a grandmother has by definition raised at least one child to adulthood successfully, so she must have a few clues.
There is a huge difference between setting rules for the treatment of your child and being a control freak.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 4:20AM
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my nephew had a wife like that only worse. she wouldn't let anyone babysit her baby unless there were two adults in her house. nothing on the baby, no powder, lotions and couldn't sit any thing on the floor like the car/baby carrier seat. when it ran a temp, no meds and the dad agreed until the temp got so high it went into convulsions and they had to call an ambulance. after that the dad made major changes in the child's care. the mother is emotionally unstable.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 1:19PM
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FALLAYA: To answer your last rude posting, yes I do have a life -a very full one - at least I did until my DIL tried to completely take control of it. I have many friends so no am not lonely, and I belong to a quilting guild and used to teach quilting classes at the local quilt shop before starting to babysit my granddaughter. I also am active in my church but thanks to my controlling DIL have had to put church activities on hold as well as teaching and enjoying lunches with my quilting and church friends, etc until I was to be allowed out of the house with the baby. I also volunteered at one of the hospitals here. You seem to have missed the post where I said THEY asked ME to babysit to save them money" so I was doing them a favor. So yes, I had a full and happy life. What do you have to do besides smother your child and write nasty notes to others. I have a feeling that you have a very low self esteem and have to be arrogant and rude in these posts to make yourself feel better. So sad! Maybe you should get a babysitter and get out of the house a bit more. Oh, that's right, no one will probably watch your baby if they have to put up with you.
TO EVERYONE ELSE: Again, it is nice to see that I am not the only one who finds Fallaya annoying and immature. And, I am happy to tell you that things are getting better. MY son and DIL called ME (yes, Fallaya, THEY called ME, and we have talked about all of this. I have refused (yes, Fallaya, I refused THEM to take the baby back yet. My son agreed with me that his wife was too overbearing and overprotective and he talked to her. She has an appointment with her doctor to see if maybe she is suffering from post partum depression and all of this has also made her make an appointment with a therapist to help her deal with her anxieties. I have told them I will take the baby back once she has worked through her problems, not until then. In the meantime they have had to put the baby in a daycare center and spend the money and after 2 days the day care center told my DIL that they could not put up with her constant calls and demands to them about the baby so she needs to find another day care center. That was when my son really began to see just how bad her problem was.So FALLAYA, I am the monster-in-law? Even people who get paid to care for children found her overanxious and overbearing and overprotective. so some good will come out of this after all. So, FFALLAYA, you wont get your wish that I will never see the baby again. I will, and will also gain control of my life back again. And I am not demanding to go back to doing everything I used to do until the baby gets older but will instead keep my activities within reasonable limits and merely run my errands and occasionally attend a church committee meeting and maybe once in awhile meet some friends for lunch. Maybe this should show you FALLAYA that you need some serious help yourself because, honestly, you are the one who is pitiful. Again, i wish you luck. You are going to need it. To everyone else, thanks for listening and not judging. No one is perfect (not even you FALLAYA) and life throws bad things in the way of even good people sometimes but if people are mature enough to deal with the problems in a kind, compassionate way (like smiling and biting ones tongue, Fallaya) perhaps good things can come out of the bad. My DIL is getting the help she needs and her baby won't grow up feeling smothered now NO MATTER WHO TAKES CARE OF HER.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 7:48PM
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Don't let your DIL control your life. Tell her that you would love to keep the baby, but you have rules that she has to comply with as well.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 7:10PM
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i ABSOLUTELY think you did what needed to be done, for your own sake, if anything (real or imagined) ever happened to the child (a stumped toe, tummyache, fever)
you would have been put through the wringer

i don't see your son mentioned, but i would be sure to tell him that you would happily babysit when he and his wife wished -- within the structure of your own life

do not feel guilty--feel pity for your son and grandchild!!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 8:57PM
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newnanna-Why isn't your DIL staying home with her child herself? Maybe some women have high anxieties and a high need to be protective of a new child. I certainly did. It took me several years and having three children as well as counseling (my midwife was super helpful too in getting over all my issues). A regular counselor may not be fully familiar with how to help your DIL get through her anxiety. The hormonal issues new mothers face are not identical to those of men on which most mental health studies are done.

One specializing in helping new mothers would be best. At my local hospital there is also a support group for mothers with mood disorders. Anxiety is actually super common. As much as 80% of mothers having babies today suffer with a diagnosable mood disorder during pregnancy and the first two years after giving birth. Modern life does not equip women for facing these serious issues alone. It is very painful to have such anxieties, as painful as it is for you, do you see that it can't feel great to be your DIL either? It is torture to feel as though you cannot control every tiny detail enough to do right by your child. Frankly the thoughts of how tightly everything must be managed is excruciating. If I could have divorced me and run away during that painful time I might have.

It is great that your DIL has your son standing by her and you both insisting she get help. She needs support to see her self and others realistically if she is suffering from anxiety.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 6:05PM
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(((newnanna)))---- I am behind you 100%

I would never expect anyone watching my children to do the things your DIL was asking you to do (or not to do).

I am glad that this all came out and that she is finaly getting help.

I wish you the best.

fallaya-- to qoute one of your words in your post. You are "PITIFUL"

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Newnana, as I read your OP & the responses, I kept thinking "what day care would put up with this" & then I read where they won't. I'm glad to see that your son has finally pulled his head out of the sand, and that your DIL has agreed to get some help. I've had 'horror' DIL's, too, but not to this point....enough to know you are right in saying 'no more'. The day care saying the same thing is a GOOD'll soon be seeing that precious doll - but don't be a door mat. Been there, done that, it wasn't appreciated. Enjoy your re-gained life AND the baby!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 1:46PM
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How is your family doing newnanna?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 9:08PM
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newnanna, you ABSOLUTELY did the right thing.
Sometimes the right thing is hard to do, but it is necessary.
I hope she gets the psychiatric help she apparently needs both for herself and her family and I hope this situation improves. But if not, so be it.
She treated you worse than a stranger, instead of a Nana doing her loving, kind best.
Yes, it is hard for you, but this nutty woman is also depriving the baby of the love and care of a wonderful Nana.
Hang in there and I am total agreement with you.
I also send my sympathy to your unfortunate son.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:48AM
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Get all the babies things togather and meet her at the door and hand them to the ungrateful mother.she will need you befor you will need her.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 2:50PM
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