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Advice Needed - I found my MIL very annoying

  1. #9
    MLBW Guest
    May I ask how old your baby is?

    Y'know, I found that when my baby was a newborn and a lot younger (below 6-months-old) I tended to be more picky about how his grandparents (my mother-in-law--local Chinese lady) interacted with him. I tended to also get annoyed a lot more at their behavior. I think a big part of that was that I was adjusting to being a parent and I didn't want in any way to be undermined by my parents-in-law. I didn't want to appear incompetent and let them have too much reign in how my child was cared for.

    There were also other factors at play--including my attempts to breastfeed, hormonal shifts after having a baby, health problems, baby not sleeping at night...etc. etc.

    I find now, that I am able to relax a lot more and let some things slide with my parents-in-law.

    I don't want to "take sides" with your MIL because obviously she is upsetting you. But, try to imagine things from her point of view.

    If she is Chinese, she has basically been living her life waiting to have grandchildren. Also, Chinese grandparents culturally take a lot of responsibility for their grandkids--they are traditionally big influences in their grandkids' lives--and sometimes even "raise" the kids while the parents are working.

    This is normal and expected (in their minds) and also is a huge honor for them--they love to go sit out in the park with their grandbabies and soak up the attention and adoration of others. They love to feel needed and like the wellbeing of that baby depends on them. Since their children have already grown up maybe they haven't felt like they were needed for some time. Especially grandparents who either did not work outside the home (housewives) or have been retired for some time.

    They feel like being a grandparent is their reward for all the years they sacrificed while raising their own kids. My father-in-law once told me, "Having a grandson is so much better than having a son." What he meant was that now he can actually enjoy being in somewhat of a "parenting" role--whereas, when my husband (his own son) was growing up he was under so much pressure as a young man himself to work hard and provide a good life for his family (which in HK--especially in the past--was a crushing pressure) that he actually wasn't able to be that involved in my husband's life. Being involved in his grandson's life is sort of a redemption for him and has been good for our whole family.

    Having said all this, I do understand that everyone needs boundaries. Boundaries are healthy and I think Chinese grandparents especially don't really understand how important these boundaries are. Culturally, they subconsciously think, "Because I'm older, automatically I'm right and people should listen to me and do what I say." So this can be very challenging because whether they understand it or not, you are ultimately your child's parent and are not obligated to hand over any authority for that child to anyone else. You DO have the final say when it comes to your child. I think your husband needs to understand that.

    Now, how you communicate that to your MIL without hurting her feelings, making her lose face or completely confusing her, will have to be carefully planned. I do agree, that assigning her a task is a good idea to begin with. Instead of waiting for her to come knocking at your door, maybe you can be proactive. Call her up before she comes and say, "Oh, I just ran out of diapers, rice, baby soap etc. etc.....could you go by the store and get these things for me if you're coming over." Also inform her of your schedule. Tell her that you are putting your baby on a schedule and at a certain time everyone in the house is going down for a nap and it might be better if she leaves before then. Allow her time for visits but also lay down which days of the week you aren't accepting visitors (i.e. her). With your husband's willingness and help, all of this can be communicated clearly.

    I hope you can work with your husband to set up some healthy boundaries that give you the space you need while honoring your MIL.

  2. #10
    dimsum mum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Pokfulam Hong Kong
    my mother in law died, just as our relationship was improving.

    i am not sure why she is annoying you, but i believe you if you say she is. however, as others have pointed out, it is wonderful that she is making such an effort to be an active part of her grandchild's life. i definitely support the idea of you slipping out when she arrives. she gets quality time, you get time alone. win, win. it will also make her feel needed, and you appreciate, win!!

  3. #11
    AndreaY is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Hong kong
    I am sure when you do not like someone, a sec with them is too much, but let's be honest, 1 hour or so every week is not really a lot of time for a grandparent to see grandchildren.

    My personal opinion is that you should just find the best way to suck it up, you are talking about your husband's mother here. Am sure you would not like it either if someone says things about your parents, especially if it's from your supposed nearest and dearest, whether it's true or not. If you keep showing your displeasure, it will only drive a wedge between you and your husband.

    Don't know about your mil, but if it were me getting really negative messages from my dil, I may have a word or two with my son about it. If that happens, it will just put your husband in a very bad situation, torn between the 2 of you.

    Another thing is that children pick up tension and animosity like they have a radar on the back of their heads, even if they are young. Your children's relationship with their grandmother will also be affected by your attitude. I am not on your mil's side, but for the sake of your children and your husband, you should try to find a way to solve the matter.

    If it is not something you can solve with your mil, like suggested before, maybe you can make just make sure you do not have to confront her when she is around.

  4. #12
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Tsuen Wan
    My MIL came to `help out` for 2 weeks as soon as I got out of the hospital. My hormones were flying, I was getting used to being a mother, and all I wanted was for my husband and I to bond with our little one ourselves for awhile, but I couldn`t exactly decline the offer which was proposed when I was 5 months pregnant.
    It was awful. I also found her to be the most annoying person. My husband was gone all day and left me alone with her and all I wanted to do was sleep and take care of my baby, but when someone else, a GUEST, is staying in your house, it`s pretty hard. And she doesn`t speak English, and I barely speak her language, especially baby vocabulary.
    We even had a fight at one point when it was me against my husband and his mother. I still have trouble forgetting about that. Although it was only for 2 weeks, I couldn`t bite my tongue, I couldn`t grin and bear it.
    Now, almost 2 months later, I feel bad about how I acted sometimes, especially the way I was territorial about my baby. I am more relaxed now in every way, but she was not able to see that. I`m pretty sure she hates me.
    I don`t have any advice. I just wanted to say that I understand how you feel annoyed with her just being there. But it sounds like something you will have to get used to. I`m sure you will with time. you are also a new mother and probably also territorial about your baby. I`m sure there will come the time when you will welcome her extra hands, just so you can get some time on your own.
    In the meantime, stay strong and try to bite your tongue and watch your facial expressions!!

  5. #13
    lylee is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    I can totally understand how you feel & I felt the same about my MIL. Whilst I was still at the hospital & in the breastfeeding room, she called me 12x within a matter of an hour. She tagged along when we brought the baby home, she called me several times a day offering to 'help out' after we came home... I found her very annoying & extremely obsessed about the baby (her first grandchild). I also didn't trust her with my baby since she didn't raise her own 2 babies as she was working at that time & left them with her own mother. She wanted to sleep over when my husband was away on business trips (2 weeks after delivery) etc. etc. & the list goes on. I was so unhappy & stressed that I called my own Mom (who's lives overseas) every night to complain about MIL & cried a lot... She finally sensed I was annoyed & didn't need her help after ~2 months & left me alone. We now bring the baby over to their place every Sun for about 2 hours & she joins our morning strolls once/week. We're both trying to make an effort to rebuild the relationship now that it's been 6 months... All this has been very hard on my husband & he felt hurt that I kept on criticizing his Mom... we had a long talk about this recently. I'm more relaxed now & know that she'll always be my baby's grandchild. She's just very excited to have a first grandchild & loves my baby dearly. Some things she says I still tune out (Eg. will give my child junk food, let her watch lots of TV, will spoil her etc. etc.) & will eventually take the "what I don't see won't hurt" approach later on.
    Anyway, take good care!

  6. #14
    Frenchy is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Ap Lei Chau
    Hi BabyC,
    As most of the other mums said... you are lucky your children have some grandparents close to them, I think it's a special bond and it will give them a family image that most of our kids won't have because we are far away from our own parents.
    Does she come without being invited ? maybe you could invite her to come so she feels welcome, and do it when you feel the best time for you. Does she tell you things about your behaviour or your baby ? ok... just listen to her, ask her some advice, and just do what you want after ! but maybe one day she will really be a great help.
    Maybe you can also wonder how you would like your son and daugther in law to treat you when you will be a grand-mother, and just try to walk in her shoes. Your family is maybe the biggest love of her life now !

  7. #15
    BabyC is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    i might sound immature and unreasonable - but i just want my MIL to leave us alone and don't visit as i don't want to see her

    when you don't like a person, a sec is like forever - and that's my feeling when i see my MIL

    i am trying to put up a "happy" face when she visits because i don't want to put my husband in a difficult position

    thanks all for the advice

  8. #16
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    you pretty much have to "suck it up".
    i mean, she isn't being unreasonable asking to see her grandchild for an hour once per week, is she?

    the best thing to do is for you to use the time to do stuff for yourself... have your shower, get a haircut, a pedicure, a massage.... go to the supermarket etc.

    that way, she gets what she wants... to see her grandchild...

    you get what you want... not to be around her.

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