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I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

Posted by pinkpeonies (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 15, 08 at 18:19

We are seeing in-laws for the first time since the incident.

My MIL was fussing at hubby last week that we have not been to their cabin. When he said we have the baby on a schedule she replied with that they use to take him every where.

They are seeing us this week. I know two things will come up.

Wanting us to come to the mountains with them for a weekend. It's not going to be possible for a while. Too much bad blood to spend a weekend together. Plus, MIL doesn't let you just relax. You have to do a major tour. The house is not set up for a baby at all. Right now I can't deal with packing a baby up for a few nights. There is too much going on to go out of town. We are not going anywhere. So it's not just in-laws.

Second wanting to know when they can babysitte.

They live just far enough from us that to take her to them to keep I would never get anything done. They are an hour in the wrong direction. I am breastfeeding and do not have reserves. I rarely get to have a sitter due to it.

I wish that we could trust MIL alone in our house. But, my hubby has a job where he has files on clients that are private. So we can't chance her looking in the files. Even though we lock it all up, she has gotten into things before.

I don't want to say "sorry you are nosey. You can't babysitte." Even though that is the major reason. She goes through our things.

I just want to make sure I say the right things. Help please. I am trying. I don't want to start a fight. I don't want to be walked all over.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

You can't say the "right" things unless you are willing to always let MIL have her way.
If you are willing to lie down and be a doormat, then MIL will be happy.
If not, then accept the fact now that MIL will not be pleased.
And, by the way...did she ever apologize for her behavior at the christening?
If not, I wouldn't go near her.

As far as her being pleased, I wouldn't care; the ones I would worry about are my DH and my child.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

Be vague (intensionally) and distance yourself.

Your baby and DH are the people you must focus on.

Decide how you want things to be and stick to it.

I know it will be tough.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

I got an unlisted phone number, my husband didn't mind because he recognized his mother's problems.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

No she has not apologized. She never will. Hubby had a long talk with her about a lot of stuff. She never apologizes or takes responsibilty.

I am trying to keep him and baby in mind. I know that if he doesn't see his mother he doesn't see his father. So in the end I am trying to make this work.

I can't stand her. I can't stand that my FIL never puts her in his place. But, it's hurting hubby that he doesn't see them at all. We know we can't change them or make them do what we want.

I just want to know or have help on how to respond so I can not give her more to complain about me to everyone about. And so that I am not ticked off with myself later that I let her intrude.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

Ah the eggshell dance. Gotcha. Been there done that.

Why don't you and DH talk about what you DO want to do with the in-laws. And truly, this is his battle, not yours, he should be protecting you from this.

For example, a short visit at a restaurant or park (NOT your place) not far from you. Someplace where you can get up and leave when you need to. Take two cars, if you can, so you can leave and let DH continue his visit.

There is no need to 'confront' anymore, it won't accomplish anything, as much as you would love to shake some sense into MIL/FIL.

Just smile and say 'thanks so much for the invite to the cabin, we can't do that, lets do [insert your plan] instead!'. When arguments start, just say, 'oh I'm SO sorry, we can't do X. We can do Y! We'll let you know when we can do X!' Don't engage the arguments. Deflect, deflect, deflect, with a SMILE. 'We'd LOVE to see you. This works for us!'

As to the babysitting, again, say 'great, we'll LOVE to have you, we'll call you!' Then keep finding excuses, always with a smile and optimism, but gosh, just can't find the time, in your home. When your baby is older you can drop her off here, WHEN you are comfortable.

My hairdresser had a piece of work ex-hubby like this. She said 'neutralization' was her best weapon. Anytime he accussed her of something, she AGREED. Took the wind out of his sails because all he wanted was a fight.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

I don't see why you have to be around your MIL. Why can't your DH visit alone?
And if your FIL won't see your DH without MIL being present, well then; that's sort of his problem and his choice...you can't help the fact that your FIL is whipped.
You say your MIL won't take any responsibility; and you want to know how to act to prevent her from talking about you, etc. You're way too emmeshed here, and why are you taking responsibility for HER behavior?
You cannot say "if I don't do X, she won't do Y," she is going to gossip regardless....you cannot control her behavior; that should be clear by now.

I wouldn't go within 10 feet of the woman. Let DH visit on his own.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

You *could* just say "to heck with them" and live your own life. But then you would be sinking to the level of someone who puts her own wants before her husband and child... kind of like your MIL. She doesn't sound dangerous, just difficult. We can avoid some of the difficult people in our lives, but not all of them. So I, for one, applaud your efforts to create and be a part of a long term solution based on respect for family.

If she is the gossipy type, she is going to talk about you. I once heard about my MIL talking about me for setting out paper towels to use, "and the expensive brand, too!" At that point, I knew avoiding be talked about was futile. In fact, it became downright funny. If she talks, she talks. Forget about it.

You shouldn't have to get into the tricky stuff with her/them. Even in families with easy communication, I think the norm is for each spouse to work out issues with their own parents. So it's not you avoiding anything to refer the tricky stuff to your DH. It's the responsible thing to do.

If you want some easy answers, be honest but tactful. Don't say more than you have to. Babysit? That's so nice of you to offer, we really don't have a need right now, but I'll keep that in mind. Weekend at the cabin? Joe (that's your DH, ok?) has a lot of obligations right now. You'll have to talk to him about that.

If that doesn't stop the questions, answer with questions. (It's an art, I'm still working on it.) Have you talked to Joe? What have you done to make the cabin baby-ready?

Hopefully you get through this visit. But that's only short term.

I want to be honest with you, though. My impresion is that you have a small comfort zone when it comes to the baby. Leaving the comfort zone of routine and familiarity seems to make you uneasy. I want to be sympathetic, cuz I was a new mom once, too. Your need to be in that comfort zone right now might come across to Joe's family as distancing the baby from them. Do you think they see you as over-anxious? Do you think you are? If you were my friend I would advise you to lower your standards a little, it's OK to get off the routine, it will pass. Sometimes it's worth it to get out of your comfort zone.

You will have to deal with the cabin and babysitting more definitely in the future. Are you open to planning a weekend at the cabin at some later time? How old is your baby now, and at what age do you think you'd be able to handle such a trip? What would you think if next time you and Joe and baby are visiting his parents you and Joe went out for ice cream (or whatever) and let the ILs babysit for an hour? That really could be a treat for everyone, and could be kept short for the baby's nursing schedule. Or you could get out by yourself, leaving DH and baby w/his parents. Cup of coffee, take a walk. You might as well take the opportunity to get some time to yourself while you can. If you will eventually consider going to the cabin, say so, say when. If you have concerns, put them out there and come up with solutions. If she tends to make more elaborate plans, remind her that she needs to tone it down to accomodate a baby's schedule. (I mean the plural "you" here, DH with you.)

We were up at my ILs last week for 4 days. It's like a chess match, every move is carefully considered. But sometimes the other player makes a move that you didn't see coming. LOL. I wish it were easier, for them as well as for us. We had a good enough visit, with moments I could have screamed, moments I didn't handle as well as i would have liked, and moments DH didn't handle as I would have liked. It is sad that they have this kind of relationship with their only son. I can't imagine it is what she wants, but she doesn't know how to change it.

I really do identify with your IL situation. In some ways I hear my own experience in your words. I hope that in the years ahead your family and your ILs can have enough quality time to make it worth the effort. I think I can honestly say that is true with DH's parents and us.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

I think Stephanie offered some great thoughts on the subject and advice.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

You certainly can tell those posters who harbor anger from those who have their act together, can't you?


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

I know I come across as probably overly anxious about the 'routine.'

I have a lot going on right now. I have a business. I have obligations I have to see out until the end of this year. I am working and taking care of a baby.

So when the baby is off schedule it literally can take a day of work out of my life and I can't do that right now.

Even with the help of sitters it's hard. I do my schedule daily like this:
Baby up at 6.
Hubby feeds bottle and takes on a run.
I am sleeping at this time til 7.
Up and baby sits with us for breakfast/coffee while I am checking email and getting the day organized.
Playtime
Baby naps at 8:30
I work from 8:30 til 10.
Baby up to eat.
Playtime
if I can fit in a shower I do. Or I change.
Baby down for nap at 12:00
I work another hour
Baby up....

On and on.

When the baby is off that schedule I suffer. THe baby suffers. It's hard.

When I say off schedule it just means has not napped. Then it makes it that much harder to get the baby to sleep at the next schedule time. It's really sad.

I take the baby out and run errands and try to make sure I'm not being super strict. But, at the same time I feel bad that he can't sleep in his carseat happily or be on teh go for more than a few hours.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

This is baby #1? Right? If this were number 3 or 4 you would find things a lot less "structured" because they would have to be.
You are making it all too hard, the baby will adjust to variations in the schedule and be better for having had the change.
Now that said you don't want him to get over tired or too hungry, but a little later for dinner and a little late to bed is not a bad thing.
And you are making too much of your relations with your husband's mother....she is after all the one who raised him and loved him and changed HIS diapers.
I agree with stephanie you appear to be a bit obsessive and posessive of your baby and your husband.
you say you can't have them baby sit because you are breast feeding, and yet you say your DH gives the baby a bottle and takes him/her on a run?.
Perhaps you need to step outside your self for a bit and think about how you might seem to your husband's family, and think about 25 years from now when you might be a grandmother wanting to spend time with your child and his family.
Everything in life is a compromise of sorts, don't forget to do your part.
Linda C


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

You certainly can tell those posters who harbor anger from those who have their act together, can't you?

If she wants to try to deal with her MIL, more power to her....I don't think she should feel obligated to, though, just because the woman doesn't even take responsibility for herself and her own behavior. If expecting someone to act like an adult means I am "angry," oh well. I get along with my MIL. Just hardly ever see her.....and there's no reason a DIL should feel obligated to expose herself and especially her children to someone who cannot behave in police society.

That's just my opinion, of course.


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RE: Also

Your MIL goes through your personal papers? Don't allow her in your home alone. She sounds mentally ill...good luck dealing with this mess, pinkp.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

I think I made it clear WHY a schedule is so important at this time in our lives.

I am trying to do the best I can. I am not a Super Woman. I have a business. A baby. A house to run as well.

A schedule is very new for us. We have not had one and the baby is close to 7 months now. Nothing has been consistent since birth. Obviously that is how a baby works.

He doesn't sleep at all when we are at other peoples homes. Then it takes at least two days to get him back into a better routine. It's not like he sticks to the same schedule daily.

The funny thing is that I have friends that have kids that are on schedules and compared to them, I am laid back. We go to church on Sunday and we are never on the time schedule that every other day of the week holds. I ran an errand yesterday and on the way to the next stop he started melting down. I knew my time was up. I drove home and he went straight to his crib where he slept for two hours happily.

I see the need to be able to come and go with a baby. I try to do that as often as possible. But, I am also not going to drag him into stores and run errands while he is obviously upset if I don't have to.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

I am the MI, sort of, my son has a girlfiend and neither will have a realtionship with us. Our son has been completely silent for almost 3 years. The GF emailed (unitl we finally blocked her email) and called just to say and accuse us of unkind things. We have apologized and want a realtionship on their terms, but are not even given the option. We have found out that they are upset about things we did that we didn't even realize. Usually the reasons given are very vague. From the MIL/FIL point of view, I think that absolutely having a difficult relationship should be avoided, but I also think that people are human and should at least be told when they do things there are unaware offended someone. My husband and I have always been referred to as kind, nice, caring person. We put our son first when he was growing up. We paid for his college, bought him a new car. Do we not at least deserve a chance to correct any perceived differences of opinion. We do not want to argue, but are always accused of things, we never meant to harm anyone. Now that we realize they are upset, we want to move forward and have a peaceful realtionship without conflict. How can one move forward if they are not given an opportunity to repent for sins that we were unaware of at the time. Our son, gave us mixed messages about his realtionship with this girl so it was difficult to trust her and treat her like a DIL. SHe is a GF and we never knew after all the bad things he said that he would turn around and chose her over us. Why the need to chose? He would talk bad about her, not us, but now that they live together we are the enemy. We are accused of saying the things he said about her---we just listened to him--we did not offer advice in case they got back together which they did. How can a future MIL gain forgiveness when the future DIL/son won't even give them a chance.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

Penbyrd, you might want to go back and reread pinkpeonies' earlier posts about her problems with her mother-in-law. I agree with you completely, penbyrd, that if our adult children never tell us why they're upset, then we can never address the situation. However, pinkpeonies and her husband have extreme issues with her mother-in-law, and they have both tried to talk to the MIL. Your situation is probably very different from pinkpeonies' situation - you seem very willing to try to work with your son and his girlfriend.

Pinkpeonies, there are young mothers who keep to a schedule, and young mothers who are very flexible. If a schedule works best for you, then just do it. Jessyf gave you great advice.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

First let make sure I was not misunderstood. I didn't use the the words 'obsessive' or 'possessive' b/c I don't think they describe you, pink. I was only making a point that your actions and choices might be perceived differently than intended. I hope you understood me.

Now that you have explained, I hear your exhaustion and frustration with the demands in your life these days. I often tell people "Nine months in, nine months out." Meaning after 9 months of gestation, it takes at least 9 months afterwards to feel like you've got a handle on life again, and for a baby to settle into "life on the outside." So it sounds like your MIL is not the only thing stressing you out. You have a lot on your plate right now. If not for the other daily stress, in fact, you would have the mental energy to handle the MIL stuff easier. Is that true?

I gotta run, kids waiting to go to the pool. I'll check back later.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

I had a similar problem with my MIL after the birth of our DS. But in retrospect I think a lot of it was my DH fault. MIL would call DH to let him know what her wishes were for our family during her visit and not wanting to rock the boat or maybe not knowing better he would agree. Then he'd tell me and I'd say no because.... Then he'd feel caught in the middle. I blamed her, she blamed me and DH was miserable. DH and I discussed it and he agreed not to agree to anything until we discussed it. It has made all the difference.

That said she's still a strong force with her own ideas of how things should be. When she came to visit when he was 2 weeks old she told DH she would sleep on his bedroom floor to take care of him all night. DH thought that was a great idea so we could both get some sleep. NOT!!! Not sure what he was thinking anyway since I was breastfeeding. Huge fight! Also when I would let her hold DS she wouldn't give him back when he cried. So I had to go take him from her. Then the next time she held him and he started to cry she would literally run away from me so I couldn't take him. She'd even go outside of the house (IMO) so I couldn't hear him cry. She also camped outside of his room so when he woke from his nap she would be the one to get him up. At 4 months he'd scream everytime he saw her because like it or not she's not the one he wanted when he woke up from a nap. UGGGG I was very protective of him too (which I think is natural when they're young) and her behavior drove me crazy! Not to mention that she kept accidentally calling herself mom when she talked to him.

Now he's two and he can spend as much time as he wants with her because now when he wants me he tells her "No, I want mama." And she tells him "Grandma is as good as mama" but he still runs to find me. :)

Just a suggestion but as long as your DH is on your side can't you just be aloof and say "our lives are hectic and it's not a good time to visit the cabin" and leave it at that. I would never have thought you could get away with that but my husband does it all the time! And if they push he just gets a stern tone to his voice and say "It's just not a good time." You don't owe them any more of an explanation. Then let your dear husband take it from there if necessary. They really are his problem to deal with.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

Thanks for all the advice. They have yet to say if they are actually even coming to visit now. So maybe I worried for nothing. I hope they do since they havent seen their grandchild in almost two months. But, if they don't it's fine too.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

LOL. I can never decide if I want my ILs to come or not. I always *think* I do, but then I wonder what I wished on myself!


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

Stephanie you nailed it. I feel that way. I do that every time. I wish. Then I am left feeling run over. At least if we see them now I can go at least another month without having to deal with them. I have so much going on with my job as does my husband. It's sad that work does at times come before family. Only I would rather it be that way instead of not being able to pay the mortgage! I often think my in-laws don't understand the pressure of just living (paying bills, keeping the house clean, cooking, etc.,.) Since my MIL always had a cleaning lady, and their house was paid for. She did cook each night, but she also worked a teachers schedule. So she was home by 3:30 each day too. I wish they would be more respectful of my schedule and how much pressure I have sometimes.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

Pinkpeonies, I wish someone had sat me down as a young mother and told me this - for the rest of your life as a parent with kids living at home, other people will try to set your priorities for you, guilt you into doing things, imply that you/your kids/your family should be doing something different.

Notice how different people here have different ideas about your baby's schedule - some say loosen up, others say keep a schedule. That's just the tip of the iceberg, you're going to experience a version of that for the rest of your child's time in your home.

Don't expect people to be respectful of your schedule. If you're not pressured to spend a weekend at the in-laws' cabin, you will be pressured to co-chair the PTA carnival or play on the traveling soccer team. Or find the perfect supplies for the perfect science fair project. You will find that many wonderful, well-meaning people have an agenda that involves your family - teachers, PTA members, coaches, youth ministers, neighbors, family, etc. There are MANY good, worthwhile, wonderful things you and your kids won't be able to do (that someone else thinks you should).

Every family is different, has different schedules, goals, priorities, circumstances. Every family has to find the balance that works for them. You know best for your little family. You don't sound like a selfish person, you sound like a kind, reasonable person. Continue to be kind, considerate, thoughtful, but always remember that this is your time in life to take care of your little family. Do what you know is best and don't feel guilty about it.


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RE: I want to make sure I say the right thing for in-law visit

Great advice! I need to make that into a sign to hang in the kitchen.

The visit did go okay. I got aggravated when my hubby started apologizing for our son when he cried when MIL took him out of my arms. My hubby said it was just a phase. I said "It's not that he loves his mother?"

My MIL did her same dance of saying how much our child loves daddy, looks for daddy, etc.,.

I had to laugh at one point when something came up about an outfit and I said my parents had sent it for the baby. My MIL always gets this look on her face and changes the subject. My in-laws never buy anything for the baby (NOT THAT THEY HAVE TO.) My parents are constantly sending something to the baby and it's always something he needs. I am very thankful for the care packages of new bibs, books or a toy.

My MIL changes the topic anytime my family comes up. It's sick. But, I laughing internally because it's so easy to see how she can't deal with another family being in the picture. Hence the outburst at the christening.

She acted like all was fine in the world. I had to tell my hubby in private to take the baby from his mother and hand to his father since he had not held the baby at all in the three hours they had already been in the house. MIL let him hold the baby for ten minutes. It kind of broke my heart that he probably has only held him now a total of an hour since birth and he is 7 months old.

My MIL of course was in his face the whole time. She wants him to love her so badly. I can't help but wonder at what point a child gets tired of having someone in their face like that. Maybe never. I guess time will tell.

All in all it went well. I hope that keeps them away for a month or so though.


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