Monday, May 28, 2007

Today I would like to shoot...

my mother in law.

After she practically moved in with us during Poopee's first month, we somehow managed to get the house key back from her (we didn't give her the key in the first place). Somehow with her getting in and out of the house all hours of the day didn't sit well with me.


She has an opinion on everything, and is not afraid to tell me what a bad mother I am because I don't know how to put a cardigan on my daughter, my breastfeeding routine is wrong, the fabrics of the grow-suits I bought for Poopee are of poor quality, I don't know how to change Poopee properly, I am the one RESPONSIBLE for giving Poopee a slight nappy rash because I didn't wipe her properly...etc etc etc.

I was simply too tired, and too emotional to fight her. I offered fimble explanations, she brushed my explanations off as being too `new age' - after she has looked after 3 children of her own and four grandchildren. So she is ALWAYS right.

My breaking point was one day last week, Poopee did the biggest poopee in her nappy, and without asking me, MIL picked up my child and declared it is time to bath. In the past I refused to let her bath my child because I maintained that I want to do everything myself. This time she wanted to do it just to SHOW me how it's done - properly. I was too tired to protest so I followed her into the bathroom like a little girl.

Bad moment of weakness on my part.

She started to lecture me about my technique. She said she overhead Poopee's cries during her bathtime (I should never let her into the house), and said it is probably because I am too quick to get her into the water and frightened the living lights out of her. I said not all babies enjoy bathtimes - some babies cry. She said, ALL BABIES ENJOY THEIR BATHS. No babies will cry like Poopee did.

So on her high horse, she begin her perfect bathing technique. And guess what, Poopee cried. She cried real good.

And then, she told me it is because the water I prepared was too hot. I was boiling the poor baby, she said babies need to have luke warm water.

I said - this is luke warm water. See? (Dipping my elbow into the water). This is luke warm. Even the midwives in the hospital said this is perfectly okay.

She said - no - it has to be cooler. This is hot water. Not lukewarm. You are burning your own child.

My eyes were wide open in shock - THIS IS LUKWARM WATER. My god - any cooler than this my daugther will be bathing in cold water.

Afterwards I was so angry, so FUCKING angry, because she was doubting my abilities as a mother, she always want to be right, she wants to have the last word. And how can I argue with her? She looked after 7 children compared to my 1.

When she knocks on the door these days (we took the house key back), I am going to pretend I didn't hear it. I really want to kick her off her fucking high horse and give her a dose of reality. The reality that I AM Poopee's mother, not her.

And you know what the worse thing is? When she comes over, she takes Poopee off my arms straight away, and refuses to give back until she leaves - which can be hours later. I don't want to be petty like her, and fights to carry my own child, so I let her. But it makes me feel so vulnerable that she feels it is her given right to take Poopee away from me when she wants. She really is a very frightening human being. She can't wait until I return to work, hopefully soon, so she can look after Poopee and give her the best care.

But I'm afraid, not even over my dead body.

All advice on how to deal with his person are welcome. Apeman knows his mom is the equivalent of Hitler. But he soothes me by saying his mom is only here these days for `quick' visits, so I should just let her be. She shouldn't walk into MY house and tell me what to do.


Thalia said...

Sweetie I don't really know what to say except that you know that your MIL is being completely unreasonable and it is perfectly reasonable for you to ask her to stop.

Is it worth setting up 2-4 hours a week when she is booked for babysitting so that you can take a bath/go for a walk/go shopping/read a book? Then in those few hours she can take care of poopee without you feeling she's telling you what to do as you're doing something else. This will only work if you trust her with poopee,even if she may do things differently from you. From what you've said she's not an incompetent caregiver, she's just awful with you. This way both of you win, you get a bit of a break and you don't have to hang out with her telling you you're doing stuff wrong. what do you reckon?

JV said...

I don't have any advice, but I wanted to say that this sounds awful and that I hope things settle down real soon on this front. Ugh. Hang in there.

Kath said...

Dear Drew, I'm so sorry -- that sounds awful! I tend to agree with Thalia (words I must have written 31,298 times already, because Thalia is so often right) -- if there's any way you can countenance giving MIL some one-on-one time with Poopee (and yourself some I-love-me time in the bargain) then maybe MIL's pathological competitiveness will become more tolerable?

Whatever happens, I so hope this gets better. A situation like that would drive me mad.

Katt said...

Having an evil mother in law from hell I can fully understand where you are coming from.

We went through a tough time with our first born and the INLAW (though we supplied the first grandchild).

What I can recommend is stomp on it NOW...If you let her get away with all of this she will get worse (take it from my experience)...


tops-y said...

Oh, Drew, I don't know where to start!!!!
First, I am so angry for you (in support of you and angry at your MIL). She truly needs to bag her head.
I am afraid I don't agree with Thalia.
I think you need to take your power back. You are a capable woman who has the capacity to be a great (wonderful, fantastic,....) mother and the last thing you need is for someone like HER to sap your confidence at every turn.

Let me ask you this: if your husband had a problem with your mother, who would sort it out? Would you approach your mother and try to negotiate a solution for your husband?
HE needs to stand up for you as his wife. YOU and POOPEE are HIS FAMILY!! He seems to be forgetting this. Saying she is only there for 'quick visit' - Bah! He needs to tell her that if she cannot keep her negative opinions to herself, she need not visit at all!!
There was a great article in the May 2006 edition of Practic*l P*renting about MOnsters in Law that you should take a look at. If you want me to photo-copy it and send it to you, leave a message here and I'll get in touch somehow.

I am just so angry! They wonder why women end up with PND. This woman is not respecting you in the least. Tell her that if she can't say something positive, not to bother saying anything at all.

How many of us would you like to arrange to have at your house next time she comes to visit? (HE HE)

Take care of yourself. This is the best way to give Poopee the best, and TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!
You are a mother. We all have to start somewhere. We will all make mistakes, but they are ours to make and ours to correct if we so choose.

I so want to give you a big hug of support.

Tops-y XO

(Sorry, I still haven't calmed down, it may take a while!)

tops-y said...

PS Baby Tops-y hated her bath until she was around 5 months old and it had absolutely nothing to do with water being too hot. I bought a thermometer to check the water is between 35-38 degrees which is what our midwive advised us was the most appropriate temperature as it was the same as in the womb.

Drew said...

Hi ladies, thanks so much for all advice. It keeps me thinking!
Thalia - I have actually done what you said and left Poopee with MIL for a few hours a week so me and Apeman can go out (for a meal date). When we returned home apparently she did a check on my arrangements in the nursery, went through my baby clothes, and told me the number of things wrong with my set-up. They were really unreasonable comments, I feel, because they are more personal preferences rather than safety or health related. So after that experiences I refused to let her babysit again because I always ended up feeling like shit afterwards. It had gotten so bad that I told Apeman I rather get depressed sitting at home than to ask her mom over to relief me because she depresses me even more. That's how nasty she is. To top it off, she scratched all of the dried skin off my baby's head (cradle's cap) with her long, unwashed finger nails - something which I told her specifically NOT to do because the midwife saids it will give the baby an infection.

And Tops-y - thanks for your input too. I would love to check that article out if you can send it. I am not sure if I have listed an email address here but it is Since that bath incident I purchased a thermometer to check the water temperature, and I was right. But of course MIL still maintains she is more RIGHT than me and my thermometer.

Mony said...

OMG. awful. And such a sticky situation, I mean, how can you tell your husband's mother to FUCK OFF!!!! What an old cow. Sorry she is treating you like an idiot...we all know that you are very capable!

Stilla Momma said...

LOL! Sounds like the same thing over in my world! People will give a$$vice on everything related to baby....can you shoot a few people for me too :)

Oh, by the way this is Sunnie from The Sunnie Side up...well, with a new addition, and a new adoption blog!

Shawnee said...

What a horrible situation to be in. It sounds like you could ask her to stop till your blue in the face and it wouldn't matter. I feel for you girl! Atleast you got your house key back and you can ignore her if you choose to.