The Grandparents

I remember a few months ago telling someone that I was really surprised at how hands-off my mother had been with parenting advice since Charlotte was born. My in laws had no shortage of advice to offer (whiskey on her gums for teething, sugar on her pacifier for hiccups, cereal in her bottle to fill her up, let her CIO…), but my own mother had been surprisingly quiet.

Do you see what I did there? With the past tense? HAD BEEN quiet. My mother WAS keeping her mouth shut.

Until… well, until she wasn’t, I guess. Which is now. Now, she’s keeping pace with the in laws.

The thing is that my mother is well meaning. As are my in laws. They are all driving me batshit crazy, but the trouble is that my mom actually has possession of Charlotte one day a week, and on that day, she does as she pleases.

She was playing a game with C that she called “boom” where she pulled C up by her arms and then repeatedly allowed her to fall back onto a pile of pillows. Fine for an older baby. Maybe not so great for a 3 month old. Catch saw it in action and didn’t like it. I asked her to please not play the game anymore. What followed was two weeks of arguing about it until C came home from her house one day and only woke up to eat and I freaked my mother out about shaken baby syndrome. They don’t play boom anymore.

Then there’s the stroller. I have asked my mom to use the infant seat with the stroller until C is 6 months old. That is the recommendation on the stroller. That’s what I’m comfortable with. Is she doing it? No. When I made an issue out of it, she argued with me and told me she’d done all of her own research and that everything she read says it’s subjective and it’s fine for C to be in the stroller.

And yes. This is true. I did the research too. BUT I ASKED HER NOT TO DO IT. Why is it so hard to respect my wishes? We finally got into a big fight about it right before Christmas and she said she’s using her grandparent rights to override me. Um, excuse me? What now? Gah!

Now, I’ve mentioned to her that we’re going to use BLW techniques when we introduce C to solids. Mom was totally on board and said it sounds great. She went to lunch with Catch and C today and insisted on giving C a piece of bread. Catch told her no and she argued with her.

Then they went high chair shopping and mom told Catch she couldn’t get the one she likes because it doesn’t match our dining room furniture.

Mom is not winning any points for herself lately. Granted, Catch’s parents aren’t either (on Christmas, my MIL was wearing a sweater with handguns all over it and there was a gun catalog on the coffee table – don’t even get me started), but Catch’s parents don’t have my baby one day a week.

Anyway, I have no idea how to handle these well meaning grandparents. I’m tempted to buy my mom a muzzle as a not-so-subtle hint that she needs to shut her pie hole, but I don’t think it would go over particularly well. The thing is that none of these things are the end of the world. Well, boom was truly objectionable, but the rest of it–meh. The kid’ll be fine. A piece of bread isn’t going to kill her. But it’s the PRINCIPLE. We are the moms, not her. She already got to be the mom and call the shots. It’s my turn now.

Ugh.

Vent over. We’ll talk about the in laws another day.

Cute baby picture reward for making it this far:

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We even did a test run to decide whether we felt like she was ready for the stroller without the carrier!

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33 thoughts on “The Grandparents

  1. Omg, how frustrating! She’s *your* kid – you’d think a mom herself could respect that. I’m glad she stopped playing the boom game and I hope she sees some sense – soon!

  2. I know that your mom doing childcare is a necessary help to you but her doing childcare voids grandma override. Can you say something along the lines of, “Mom, I am so appreciative that you watch Charlotte one day a week and not only do we need that help but I want you to have that time with her. Unfortunately, when grandma’s do childcare it makes the relationship different. There will be plenty of time in the future for you to veto and override moms – candy, staying up past bedtime, heck, wearing make up – but right now, you are also a childcare provider and we expect our childcare providers to follow our rules and reinforce the habits we are trying to teach. I need you to take that role seriously and realize that right now, at her age, when she is with you for childcare that is the expectation”?

    • It’s not really a thing. The stroller does say 6 mos +, but everything online says it’s totally subjective. We just feel like her head bounces around too much. Our stroller has terrible shock absorption and her head just jerks & bounces the whole time.

      • Oh ok. Sometimes I don’t realize something is a ‘thing’ until I read about it online. Like putting the infant carrier on the shopping cart. Who knew you won’t supposed to do that??

      • That one never would have occurred to me except I read this horrible blog when I was pregnant about this woman who watched another woman’s infant seat fall from a shopping cart and… Well, I will spare you the details, but it has haunted me ever since!!!

      • We did the same-in fact, we haven’t even put her in the regular stroller because I baby wear everywhere anyway. I only used the stroller at the library to help with getting books and we haven’t been since we put the infant seat away. But I totally feel you on this is my whole point.

      • We actually use the stroller a lot since we walk with the dogs every day. She doesn’t like being worn anymore. It makes her mad, which makes me so sad. I miss it. I’m hoping she’ll come around when she’s a bit bigger maybe.

      • Yeah, we have a mei tei and a moby and she’s not a fan. She’s always hated feeling restrained. Not that’s she’s really restrained, but the pressure of her mid-section against me just gets to her. She only lasts maybe 15 mins before she has a meltdown. She never tolerated a swaddle, either.

  3. Oh, man, that sounds hard. We just had an argument with di’s mom about overstepping (in the form of ‘research’ emailed to us telling us we were doing something potentially damaging), and it made me livid even though they live on the other side of the world. After obsessively googling “how to deal with overstepping grandparents”, I’m a new convert to the “pass the bean dip” approach, but you can’t just change the subject and move on if they’re actually caring for your kid without your supervision. I’m flabbergasted that our parents don’t seem to remember what it was like being new parents – we need support and encouragement, not unsolicited advice and undermining of our decisions. Pot and Lid’s suggestion sounds pretty good…

  4. Oh man. See my mom probably doesn’t realize it, but this is exactly why she hasn’t kept Charlie yet. Well meaning but contrary to what I want ideas. I have no idea how to tell you to handle it. I think my mom would probably at least honor our wishes, even if she did so bitterly and with passive aggression. I can’t believe yours pulled the grandma override card (which isn’t a thing!)

  5. I’m so glad you opened the door on this, though I have no advice other than a fashion observation that a bullet necklace would go well with a hand gun sweater 😏

    My in laws were driving me cray over the holidays. I know they mean well and are worried about my preterm contractions, but being told me that they weren’t buying the baby’s stroller until January because they don’t want to buy it in case I go into labour and he passes away. That was a moment where I had to excuse myself, go into the bathroom and say the serenity prayer 47 times so I didn’t bitch slap anyone….

    I really did have to excuse myself and I made myself have empathy because my mil’s brother, wife and 3 kids all died in a car accident on Xmas day 30 years ago and she never got help, so frankly that fear of loved ones dying is a life defining blind spot. She really doesn’t mean harm, she’s just worried.

    Your stories are making me wonder if things are gonna get more dicey… Guessing yes!

    Fwiw – I don’t think any of your requests are unreasonable and the boom game at 3 months would have me scared, too.

    • Oh. My. Gosh. I cannot believe she said that about not purchasing the stroller just in case. My jaw hit the floor. After everything you’ve been through you’d think she could be sensitive despite her (admittedly sad) past. You are one gracious DIL to let that go! Hats off to you, expecting! And the bullet necklace? My mil would totally wear it. In a heartbeat.

      Babies do seem to strain those inlaw relationships a bit. I’m hoping it will get easier with time.

      • It was definitely a moment where I felt justified losing my shit but I felt my point would be lost on them anyway 😞😒.

        And I was kinda thinking long term, like you say – I guess I can look forward to years of wtf moments so may as well get started now 😝🙄.

  6. We’ve got both ends of the spectrum. Luckily for us the grandma who is close is quite aware of not overstepping and listening to what we want. The other is no longer allowed alone time but lives on the other side of the country so that helps.

  7. no advice here, it sounds like you are handling it well… I mean as well as you can right? Family is a challenge. But I just have to say… a handgun sweater? Really? LOL!

  8. Oh wow..that is a tough one. I’ve been very lucky that my Mom and Inlaws are pretty respectful of my requests. But I can be pretty bitchy :). I sat down with each of them after we brought the kids home and as kindly as possible, explained that these are my kids and I do appreciate their advice but I need to be in control of their care. I’m going to make mistakes but that’s part of being a parent and I would really prefer they just observe and only intervene if they thought I was making a fatal error.

    I’m sorry but I was cracking up over the handgun sweater. Where do you even buy one of those???

    Good luck!! Deep breaths…

    • I’ve turned into a raging b toward my in laws. I totally had to check myself over Christmas! I love that you laid it all out from the beginning. That’s so smart.

  9. OMG my mom was the same way about the stroller. I WAS SO ANNOYED.

    As far as moms being irritating, I can relate. If I remember, I’ll write more, but I’ve got an awake baby in my arms that is trying to type. 😉 ❤

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