Help! SIL is driving me mad!
- 05-24-2010, 12:41 PM #1
Help! SIL is driving me mad!
My SIL (actually my hubby's brother's wife) is really stressing me out. She has overwhelmed me with care and attention (which I am not used to) since she knew I got pregnant.
When she found out I was pregnant, she offered to help me "IF" I need any help. At that time, I really thought I was lucky, cause this is my first pregnancy, and my parents are not currently around to take care of me, in case anything comes up.
But what was a "IF you need me" turned into another thing. She frequently calls me (weekly or biweekly) to check on me, and to give me "advices". She has made plan about accompanying me when I am in maternity leave (according to her, it is dangerous for a pregnant woman to be alone at home!), and helping/teaching me take care of my baby. I told her that it is not necessary, and told her that my parents will come to help me, but she still insists. She also talks me into letting her take care of my baby (when I go back to work), saying that some DH don't know how to take care of babies, and don't treat them well (she seems to think that she knows it all!).
I am sick of her constant "care". Last night, for example, had a family dinner, and when I was about to order a cold 7-Up (you all know how hot last weekend was!), she suggested that I should not drink cold stuff, but hot drinks (are you kidding?? do you want me to get overheated??). Then for the food that were served on the table, she would have suggestions about what I should or shouldn't eat: "that may be too fat", "That may be too *cold*, don't eat it all...just take few tablespoons, OK?", "Wine? you better not drink that!"... I went to the restroom, and she even had to follow me!!!!
I don't want her around, as I would prefer to have my private space, and do whatever I do whenever I want to do it... I don't want any intruder in my home. I don't like being treated as if I had any disability!!!.
I really don't know how to keep her away. I have told her "NO" so many times, but she just doesn't listen, doesn't get it, or just doesn't takes "NO" for answer. I have even ignored her calls, but she keeps calling me.
And now I am turning myself into a big fat lier! When she asks me when my parents will come, I say "soon", when I don't have idea about when they will be here. When she asks me when I am starting my maternity leave, I tell her that sometime in July, when I am taking it from the last week of June... and I am planning to keep telling her that I am still working, when I am already in my maternity leave..... And I am stressing myself out thinking about how to keep her away... She just lives one MTR station away, so it is very easy for her to drop by :-(
Has anyone have a similar situation? I have been kind of blunt with her already, and have been trying to ignore her as much as possible. But as we are relative, I don't want to look like the bad and ungrateful one in front of my inlaws either.
- 05-24-2010, 01:50 PM #2
I think that the only thing you can do is to be more blunt - as politely as possible - but seriously I would lose my mind too!! If you keep just trying to put up with it and not look bad and all that, it's going to be like a simmering pot that will boil over at any time. Better to let it out in a controlled manner than to be REALLY rude!
I know with my MIL she can sometimes be like that at time - and I've had to tell her no, and I know that she doesn't like it - but thankfully she does give me space if I really need it (even if it's obvious that she's not happy about it!!)
I would probably also ask your husband if he could have a word to his brother about it - if he could just say something like "I know she's trying to help but my wife finds it a bit overwhelming and would prefer a bit more space", it's not offensive and maybe it's better coming from him...
You really do need to address it NOW so that you can enjoy your family instead of dreading them... If you let it go, it's only going to get worse...
- 05-24-2010, 04:15 PM #3
Actually I have told my husband to speak to his brother, but he just tell me to ignore my SIL. My hubby actually doesn't like her either, and kind of blame me for taking her calls. He says "Just say you are busy and hang up the phone!", but I really find it hard to be that rude.
Some people may think I am lucky, and don't understand how come I am refusing my SIL offer about taking care of my baby. "You get a relative to take care of you baby, and don't need to hire a DH". But I do prefer to have a DH, as the DH would at least try to follow your order. And you can fire you DH if you find that she is not being helpful... But how do you tell a relative that you don't want her to take care of your baby anymore cause she is not doing it as you expected???
- 05-24-2010, 05:31 PM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
- Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
After reading your post, I felt your SIL is nearly to a stage of 'disturbing a pregnant woman'! I understand she wants to be helpful and acts with good intentions, but a person as 'thick' as her, doesn't understand or take 'no' as an answer, I think you can do nothing but being absolutely 'blunt' with her. You don't have to be rude (I think, considering she is your in-law, put the phone down on her is pretty rude and I will take that as a last,last resort). Perhaps you can try this: consistent with one reply. When she calls you next time and offers this and that, you simply reply to her, "... I don't want any help from you at the moment and please give me some time alone..." If she continues to press on, give her the same reply and repeat it until she says goodbye to you. You don't need to pay attention to what she says or offers and please do not give her extra explanation as to why you dont' need her help/advice, as she will just not get it. You can repeat that answer 10 times, like a recording machine, and you will see if she will give up or not.
If she turns up to your doorstep, don't open the door but just tell her behind the door the same answer that you told her on the phone. Always keep your tone calm and firm. Whatever she says or she asks, reply the same thing. She will go!
Then, maybe she will tell your family that you have some mental problem / depression (as you repeat the same thing about not wanting her help) and it will raise concern in your family. It will then be a good time to tell your family why you acted that way - a final straw to let her know you had enough of her.
Hope it helps. Be consistent is the key with THICK people!
Last edited by OX Jess; 05-24-2010 at 05:33 PM.
- 05-24-2010, 07:21 PM #5
My MIL can sometimes "interfere" and I've learnt when/how to say no. I know that maybe it's not the "good Chinese daughter in law" thing to do (I'm white and hubby is Chinese) - but I NEED to do it for my sanity, and when I do, I find that I have a much better relationship with her.
I also prefer having a domestic helper because with a helper you are clearly the boss and can ask for whatever you want - but when it's family it's a lot harder. I prefer my MIL to just do nothing at all because it's so hard to give her directions.
I think that my MIL now respects our differences and although I KNOW that she doesn't always like them, she knows that she can't push me around and I will stand up for what I want and what I think is best, particularly when it comes to my kids. Even though it's hard to say no, it really is best in my experience...
- 05-25-2010, 11:11 PM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2009
Have confidence in yourself as a first time parent. Do not be discouraged by your sister in law and everyone else offering you unwanted advice, that you don't know what you are doing and "they know best" or better than you. There are plenty of books and internet resources, not to mention midwife and nanny services, and of course other mothers, who can offer advice and information. Hubby and I are here on our own, with no family to rely on, and we managed fine with our first baby, also fortunately with a good DH. When your baby arrives, EVERYONE, however well intentioned, will have different opinions about caring for your baby - your husband, your own family, your in-laws, the list goes on. Be very clear who makes the decisions and how the decisions are carried out. One example is that when I was in my confinement period, both my mum and mother in law thought that my breastmilk was insufficient and told my maid to 'top up' with formula. Baby was doing fine (growing and wet nappies) and I knew that. Luckily the maid did not obey them - as far as I know anyway. As your baby grows, there will be even more attention and free advice about the baby's diet, sleep, schooling, you name it - not to mention 'peer pressure' from other mums as well.
With your SIL, you have to make your wishes very clear. Either you have a frank conversation with her or someone in your family does. Be tactful as possible, but even if your wishes cause a rift in the family relationship, remember that you are the mother and the baby is your child to raise!!
- 05-26-2010, 02:37 PM #7
Thanks everybody for their advices.
My parents will arrive 1 week after my EDD. I'll tell my hubby to take leave from beginning of July till the date my parents arrive, so hopefully my SIL will not insist once she knows that I will not be alone.
The problem is that my parents may not be here yet when I come back from the hospital, and my SIL will insist again in helping us take care of the newborn.... Well, I guess we will have to be firm and tell her to let us have some private space to get used to each other... Probably promise her that we will ask for her help if we have any problem with the baby?.... Hopefully she will get it, and leaves us alone.
- 05-26-2010, 03:10 PM #8Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2007
- hong kong
Good luck to you! I agree with OX Jess, that you should just keep repeating the same pleasant "No, thank you, we really would like to have private family time etc., etc." over and over again.
If she is a mother, she should fully understand that the birth of a child (especially the first one!) is one of the most intimate/private times for a family and that you need time just the three of you or just you and the baby if hubby is at work. If not, you may need to explain this to her, but only once in any detail.
You may want to consider inviting her and the brother-in-law to the hospital to see the baby so she won't have that as an excuse to show up on your doorstep!
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