New baby has brought out worst in my mother in law
Q:We have just had the most beautiful baby girl after five years of trying and two miscarriages. I thought that I was coping well but my mum-in -law interferes all the time. When she’s not here she’s on the phone, asking daft questions. My husband says that she means well but it’s driving a wedge between us as he won’t even admit she is in the wrong. I dread hearing the doorbell or the phone at the moment. What can I do?
A:Congratulations on your new arrival I’m so pleased for you all. Having a new child in the family is a blessing for everybody. They must be so excited, hence the ever-present mum-in-law.
Is this her first grandchild? I think you may need to step back a little on this one as I am sure she means the best for you all. If you really can’t stand being quizzed about every feeding session, sleeping pattern and toilet habit then give her a specific job to do when she visits or take the opportunity to ask her to baby-sit while you and your husband get some time together. Once she has an official title or role she will hopefully retreat a little.
You could explain phone calls after a certain time disturb your routine and you are asking everyone to abide by that. If she is not actively challenging or criticising, then you may be being over-sensitive. I used to cry at adverts whilst nursing. It is natural for family to want to see the new baby and mums especially get over involved. Remembering how much of a whirlwind it was, they want to offer help and advice. Too much advice in some cases. I remember feeling distinctly touchy whenever anyone offered comments or anecdotes, thinking they were doubting my abilities as a mother. After your problems and sad losses it is even more important you have a supportive family around you. Your family must have been devastated to have lived every traumatic episode alongside you, unable to help and been elated when your little girl arrived.
The constant care necessary for the first few years does get less intensive as children near school age. It goes so fast. Make the most of it. Any help is good help, even if it’s just half an hour’s respite for you to reload the washing machine, have a soak in the bath or an hour’s uninterrupted sleep. Tell your mum-in-law you appreciate her help, treat her to flowers to say ‘thanks’. You are going to need help with babysitting and the school run if you return to work.
Also remember some new mums have no partner or family and would jump at the chance to have a hands-on grandma.