Anonymous Mom: My Daughter-In-Law’s Parenting Style Is Exhausting

exhaustedbabyAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I’m 45 and childless. I have a stepson and daughter-in-law who have two sons under the age of four. Even though I’m childless I have had much more childcare experience as the eldest of four children than my stepson and daughter-in-law who are both only children.

At the age of 12 I was responsible for my two younger siblings, both in diapers at the same time. I changed diapers, fed them, did laundry, cleaned the house, played with them, and could still find the time to read a book if they were napping.

I understand that in being a first-time parent you will be in awe of every single thing the child does, but my daughter-in-law is over the top and to be around her parenting style is exhausting.

We all went on vacation together to Cabo San Lucas when the first child was six months old. He was so cute, lovable, and precious. But it soon became apparent that everything Jack did was intended to be a showstopper. It trumped watching the evening news, having an adult conversation, etc. If Jack fell asleep in the car on our way somewhere, our daugher-in-law would instruct us to roll all the windows down, not shut our car doors all the way, and slip away quietly while she would stay with the baby in the heat. One of us was expected to go fetch a bottle of water for her and not “explore too far” in case the baby woke up and she wanted to join us.

One day we packed up and headed for the beach. All of us trudged across the hot sand and selected a spot. As we settled into our chairs, I was enjoying my grandson’s reaction to seeing the surf and listening to it crash for his very first time. He was mesmerized, peaceful, cooing and drooling contentedly. But daughter-in-law was dismayed that his favorite toy had not made it to the beach. Even though there were plenty of other toys in her monstrous sized pack and even though the baby was perfectly content.

She insisted on interrupting daddy who is on vacation, reading a book, and works 12-hour days while she stays home. She was relentless until daddy trudged all the way back to the vacation condo to retrieve a favorite toy that the child was not even missing.

Then, in the evenings when it seemed impossible that anymore attention could be bestowed upon this precious child, she would purposely lay a blanket in front of the TV and play loud goo goo gaa gaa, peek-a-boo games with Jack who again was perfectly content to look up at the ceiling fan and coo and drool.

We were constantly interrupted by “Look, look what he’s doing now. Look at this, look at that”. After full days of doing nothing but looking at and coddling the baby all day, daughter-in-law allowed no one any down time. Not even for herself. She couldn’t even make it through a diaper change without needing something. She and the baby required our full-time attention at all times. She was constantly in this baby’s face stimulating him, imagining needs and wants that he didn’t have.

I fear that this is making him think that he needs constant attention. He’s two now and I know that toddlers require a lot of attention so they don’t hurt themselves. But he seems very demanding and like he always needs to be stimulated. I think it’s because she’s had his face three inches from her own every waking minute since his birth.

Does this sound over the top to anyone else out there? Don’t children need a little down time too? If they’re not crying isn’t it okay if they drool and stare into space for a few minutes? Does every waking second have to be an opportunity for enrichment?

Being around her now that there are two of them is mentally draining and I love these two little adorable boys. But I worry about them being over indulged and what the effects may be.

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(photo:  Claudia Deza)

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    • sarahbregel

      all i could think when reading this was i feel bad for this mom for being so judged by her mother in law. most mothers of young babies cater to their child’s every beck and call. i’d chalk it up to being a new parent. and toddlers are crazy demanding. i would doubt it’s because she’s an attentive parent. either way, i would just say that being a parent of a small child is really difficult and i find it hard to take such a critical essay by the MIL who should be offering support. unless the mother is doing something truly terrible, neglecting the child, etc, this just seems uncalled for. she’s getting slammed for being too attentive. there are far worse things she could be.

    • Momma425

      Are you kidding me?
      1) Having a child of your own is completely different than babysitting experience or watching siblings. I practicially raised my sister- and having a child of my own was totally different. She has more experience than you.
      2) Considering she spends everyday at home with her children, I am sure that she is the one who usually changes diapers alone, and has to make trips back to the house/car with kids in tow if toys are forgotten. I’m sure having the extra help felt like a vacation for her- except for the fact that she had an unempathetic mcjudgy MIL criticizing her for daring to ask her husband to go get something.
      3) I have more sympathy for a mom who might be a bit helecoptory than a MIL who has never even had kids of her own and feels interrupted and bothered when asked to pay attention to her grandson.

    • Lindsey Sweet

      I think the DIL does sound exhausting, and I feel for the MIL who has to be around her and paste a smile on her face when she probably just wants to scream “Will you relax a freaking minute?!?” The thing about her staying in the car with the baby while he was sleeping is stupid……why couldn’t she take him out while he is sleeping? I’m totally ignoring the whole “he works 12 hour days thing” and going right to the point, which was she sounds incredibly unreasonable. Yes, that line sounded a little backwards, but I think the OP was just stressing her point and went a little far. As much as I believe he should have just said no to going and getting the damn toy, he probably didn’t because he didn’t want to cause a scene and make the vacation worse for him and his parents. Sounds like they are going to turn into very special snowflakes OP. Hopefully having you around will help combat that a little.

    • Lindsey

      Sure, it sounds exhausting. Good thing you’re not doing it.

      But here’s the thing that bothers me, interrupting daddy so that he can be a dad? Um, no, not a problem. It says the toy wasn’t necessary, well, how do you know that?

      • Lindsey Sweet

        Well, we don’t. We only know the MIL’s side to this story, and are basing our opinions off of it. He was 6 months old…..how many toys does he need at that age?

      • Lindsey

        A favorite toy may be the only thing stopping a crying tantrum and you can bet that any MIL will be giving you the stink eye when that happens.

      • Teleute

        At six months? A ton. That’s when the start on a whole new toy tier.

        It’s also when they get super active and super social. MIL repeatedly mentions how the baby stared into space (or up at the ceiling fan) cooing and drooling. That behavior is more characteristic of a three month old than a six month old. Perhaps Mom was going a little overboard because she was worried about his development?

      • Cliff

        Toy tier? My kid had a rattle, a teddy and a cardboard box.

      • Teleute

        Oh yeah? Well, my kid has ADD!
        Come to think if it…

        …crap. o_O

      • Momma425

        We know the MIL says that the child had a bunch of toys around him and seemed content when the mom asked the father to go get the child’s favorite toy.
        Maybe the mother didn’t want to be in a position where her child was screaming at the beach and they were all stuck. Maybe she wanted the child’s favorite toy there as a backup to stop a tantrum.
        It sounds like the MIL doesn’t really understand children. She seems to think the DIL is in the wrong for not plopping her baby on a blanket and leaving him alone to stare at the fan while all of the adults sit around the television. Personally- I never did that as a parent. And the DIL was not trying to dictate anyone’s behavior- she didn’t demand that they have a family pow-wow citcle on the floor and everyone play patty cake. She did. Sounds like the MIL was just annoyed that “goo goo gaa gaa” interrupted her tv watching.

    • moonie27

      Just wanted to point out that the assumption that “taking care of her siblings” meant the occasional babysitting is – well, a pretty damn big assumption.

      I know a fair amount of families, especially ones with troubled or split parents, where the elder children did indeed parent the younger ones. Not in a “Mom’s helper” way but in a “replacing Mom/Dad” way. Not surprisingly, many of those children grew up to be child free adults.

      It is entirely possible that she raised her siblings by doing everything but pushing them out the birthing canal and that would give her a fair bit of parenting experience. (Albeit, older siblings don’t always make the best parents but they do sometimes parent.)

      • Cliff

        Yeah An aunt of mine never had kids because she spent her entire childhood and adolescence caring for 3 much younger siblings. When they grew up she felt like her own kids had flown the nest. Her mother was mentally ill and her dad was dead. STILL people throw the ” But its different with your own.” speech at her. She had more than enough of the parenting experience. Spent more time with her siblings than their parents did, was more of an influence on them then their parents and , actually , loved them more. She is, to all intents and purposes, their parent.

    • Lane

      Yes caring for siblings (or working in a daycare) is totally the same as raising a child and having even remotely close to the same experience. Oh wait it’s not!
      Thank god I know you’re not my mother-in-law because you wouldn’t see MY family after being so blatantly disrespectful behind my back, and clearly not too grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time with your grandchild(ren) and enjoy all those first that many grandparents do not get to experience due to many reasons.
      Who cares if the way she parents annoys you, you are not the parent and you are not her spouse. You are not the one that has to be on the same page with her. You’re the grandma and the (step)mother-in-law.
      If you have an issue that you think is actually problematic to their child(ren)s well being (wo)man up and talk to her face to face not looking like a total nagging B.

      • Diana

        She might have spent more time caring for her siblings than the average parent does caring for their own kids for all you know.

      • Lane

        You’re right, but it’s still not the same in my opinion and I have been on both sides.
        On average a daycare worker spends more time with another persons children on a daily bases than the parent does, doesn’t mean anything though does it.

        And that doesn’t take away from the fact that she is coming across more than ungrateful for the time she does get to spend with her grandchildren and, that while in her opinion daughter-in-law may be overbearing, that they have a mother who loves and is devoted to them. I guess my opinion is vastly different than what seems to be the major majority posting here because I don’t have a mother-in-law to share my children with and would love if I did. When you come from that side I just don’t see the point of whining about things that aren’t important like a difference of what would be parenting styles.

      • AP

        A childcare worker can have an illuminating opinion on how the child will be received when they head off for preschool, daycare, school, and lessons. Mom might be able to stop everything she’s doing to focus on a non-sequitur her preschooler wants to share, but an instructor or childcare worker will not always have the freedom to do that. If the kid and parent don’t understand that, daycare/lessons/school will be tough on everyone.

    • Mary

      Over the top. My SD is like this with her DOG! “Look at him” “Isn’t he the CUTEST?” “Play with him” “Aaawwe”. I can’t imagine what she will be like with her first baby.

    • Courtney Elizabeth Peters

      I can’t agree with the Anon Mom of this article. Her tone makes her points invalid, I feel she doesn’t like DIL and would make excuses to validate whatever point she has.

      • Mims

        I’m pretty sure the tone you speak of was in your own head.

    • Amos

      Oh, my. So many nasty commenters, you all really need to take another look because, Oh, honey! That high horse makes your butt look big. Why is sharing your feelings
      disrespectful? Is the daughter-in-law the only one with feelings? Me-thinks
      this might have hit a bit close to the bone for some of you.

      This poster indicates much, much more than an-evil-wicked step-monster-in-law you all are making her out to be. It indicates early signs of insecurity, attention seeking behavior by her D-I-L plain and simple. It IS exhausting and isn’t healthy or fun for
      anyone.

      My S-I-L started exactly the same way with her first and it only continued to worsen over the years. One can feel the walls closing in and can almost hear the oxygen being sucked out of the room when they enter. She will interrupt any and everything to discuss or (even worse) have the kid demonstrate what-ever fabulous thing it is for the day. You WILL be called out if you aren’t paying attention. And it’s constant. The number one rule is must all abide by S-I-L’s rules, although there are 3 other siblings with children. We must all cater to “the girls” and no matter who or how many are watching; she will shut off the television if she thinks it might taint one of her children rather than instructing them to play somewhere else. I can’t even count the
      allergies they “might” have and the one and only time it was suggested we have
      an “adult only” celebratory dinner out, the backlash was so fierce it pretty
      much cancelled Christmas that year. S-I-L has no hobbies or outside interests of her own, “her girls” are her best friends and she theirs. The girls have never stayed overnight with a friend and only once with Grandma. Today, her daughters are 14 & 18, they still sit in her lap (the three of them piled up in one chair), are emotionally
      immature, still do not have any friends of their own (much less of the male persuasion)
      have never seen the evening news; they have no social skills what-so ever and
      are absolutely miserable to be around. It is horrible to feel that way about family but it’s beyond normal. So much so, I have wondered if she might still breastfeed them. It’s THAT weird.
      It’s one thing to make your children your life but it’s quite another when it spills over affecting everyone who comes in contact with them. There was an excellent blog recently about children NOT being the center of the universe and the effects it’s having on our society. The post landed the blogger on national news & into the land of much controversy. If you haven’t read it (Google it) you should. But first, the haters on here need to get a grip. No does a child any favors by suggesting they are the center of the universe. Because they aren’t. And they never will be.

      • AE Vorro

        I think that’s really the point of the article. Sure, the author is judgey (but aren’t ALL the essays on here judgey? It’s just a lot of knee-jerk opinion pieces that don’t seem to have an editor to call their own), but the real point she’s making seems to be that the baby’s mother expects everyone to behave a certain way because there’s a baby present. And I agree with the author’s sentiment — babies are not the center of the universe. For the parents? Maybe, sure. But she shouldn’t expect everyone to modify their behavior based on her mommy whims (unless there’s an obvious safety issue, but that sort of goes without saying – none of the examples she provided suggested that the accommodations the mother was expecting were necessary/life saving).

    • kylie

      I am going to be frank with you being a mum apposed to looking after other children is nothing like each other until you bear your own child you will never understand the bond and the excitement of being a mummy my daughter is 6 months and she is a show stopper to me and always will be pffft daddy works 12 hour shifts wow that would be refreshing for me considering I work around the clock having a baby turns your world upside down and until you experience that you will always be the third wheel

      • kylie

        I worked in the mines 4 weeks on one week off for years doing 12 hours a day and I can tell you mother hood exhausted me more in my mind you can never love a baby enough if paying attention and loving her baby is a problem then geez this woman must be the devil maybe next time dont go on holiday with them I think u my dear are the one that beeds to lighten up a bit bloody do gooders

      • candyvines

        You might be pregnant, you missed some periods.

      • Alexandra

        LMAO

      • Ven

        Maybe all the periods are in front of the baby admiring him/her and weren’t allowed to perform their actual function.

    • Alicia Kiner

      At the risk of sounding harsh and judgey… I think maybe AnonMom just doesn’t have the experience to know that most of this is kind of normal new mom behavior. We all think our babies are the coolest things ever, and are unable to relax until we know our babies are happy. But we have to prepare for that inevitable tantrum when said baby or toddler has had enough and isn’t happy anymore. Babies, toddlers and children require a lot of attention. You don’t just have them and shunt them off in a corner somewhere and expect them to play quietly. Again, I think this is just the inexperience talking. Speaking as a woman who helped raise her siblings as well, there is no comparison between being the older sister responsible for your baby brother and sister, to being a mother responsible for raising two children. None. It’s like comparing being a janitor to running a Fortune 500 company.

      • Amos

        And you know this because you raised your siblings? Just curious. Cause it could just be the inexperince talking.

      • Alicia Kiner

        I see your point. I actually do have two kids of my own, so I am raising my own kids and helped care for my siblings. But, I did leave that out.

    • Simone

      I’m completely in agreement with this anonymous mom. Babies are wonderful and amazing and time-consuming and when you have one, you really want everyone to be in awe of it as you are, but really – life goes on. Ordinary, regular life. Babies and children also need to fit in with regular life, not have the entire universe arranged around them constantly.

      Young children don’t learn to occupy themselves or use their imaginations if things are constantly handed to them, arranged around them, and created for them. My god, isn’t the best part of parenting those times when your child is busy on their own, independently creating play and learning while you get to read emails or sneak cake in the cupboard without being interrupted?

      I’m proud to have a young toddler who can be happily left alone in the backyard with a bucket of water, a hat, and a bunch of things to dunk in the bucket. He’s good for half an hour at a time, and I encourage this behaviour. He’s amazing and I love him, but he’s one person in a busy household and we all have stuff to do – including him.

      • Amos

        Oh, Simone, you crack me up.
        I’m impressed your post has made it an hour without attack. You know, seein’ as how you leave your kid alone in the back yard AND with a bucket of water. That’s some good stuff right there.

        I wish more parents would focus on what kind of human being they are raising; our narcissism cup runneth over, thank you very much. The best thing any parent can teach their children is to be self soothing & self sufficient. The second best thing is teaching their children that even mommies have goals, hopes and dreams, other interests and “fun things to do” without them. There are many lessons to be learned from NOT always making a child the center of attention, and not the least being respect. As in respect for others time, ideas, feelings and differences of opinion, the list goes on and on. The focus of any parent should be less on “how special their child is” more on doing their best to raise kind and contributing members of society, instill the necessary survival skills while still being considerate to the world around them. Sounds like you’ve got it under control.

    • http://www.funbookes.com/ www.funbookes.com

      damn good.

    • drinkpepsi

      Maybe instead of ridiculing your DIL’s every move, you should be happy that your grandchild has a mother who is so attentive and so in love with her baby.

      Rather than make passive aggressive digs about your DIL being a SAHM, you should ask your precious step-son to stay home with the baby for twelve hours and then ask him if caring for a newborn is easier. It’s not.

      You may have experience helping out with your siblings, but that is not the same as being a mom. You admit that you are childless, so you can’t possibly know the feelings a new mom experiences. It sounds like your DIL is mesmerized with her baby and that isn’t really a bad thing.

      If it bothers you so much, don’t vacation with them.

      And rather than writing an article attacking your DIL, you can offer to help out at their house. Cut the grass or clean windows so your step-son doesn’t have to (after his hard 12-hour days). And he can then have more time with the baby.

      Oh. And read this.

    • GPMeg

      This woman needs a mommy’s morning out program STAT. Also, probably a glass of wine now and again and for someone to take that child away from her! I can say from professional experience that is not good for either of them, and definitely isn’t good for the marriage!

      I hope y’all can talk her in to finding a reputable program (many churches hold them as fundraisers) to leave him for a few mornings a week. Perhaps a gift certificate towards a hobby she had before the child? It seems that she’s a SAHM and may be struggling to find herself outside of baby; a friend of mine had the same problem and found part time day care was a blessing! She still got to spend plenty of time with her beloved baby, but also found her footing in the grown-up world and was able to stop goo-gooing 24/7! She’s much happier now, and her son has adjusted wonderfully and is growing in to an amazingly well behaved young boy!

      Obviously there could be other things at play, but it seems like getting adult time in life wouldn’t hurt anyone in this scenario.

    • HillyCSP

      What is so funny to me about this article is that the DIL is my mom, to a tee. When she is around my now six month old baby, who I live for and love more than life itself, it is constantly, “LOOK LOOK WHAT HE IS DOING NOW. He is drooling out of the left side of his mouth instead of the right!” I would hate to know that I have ruined or lessened an experience for someone else by making my child, or grandchild, the focus. That being said, I am also a first time mom and being a new mom is scary sometimes. I can’t say I share the need to constantly hover over my son, but we don’t know what the DIL’s background with children is or what motivates her to be the way she is. Before I had my son I would have rolled my eyes and sneered at the DIL for being so obsessive over her son, but can you blame her? She loves her son and wants to give him the best of herself. Her husband could probably do her a favor, tell her what a wonderful mom she is and that she can give herself a break now and then, but that is his place. I think supporting her or even trying to provide your own brand of stimulation for the baby/toddler for a few minutes, to give her a break and show her support, might go a long way in making her feel less like she must be the sole provider for her child/children. It is pretty annoying that my mom is so enamored by my son’s vomit and spit bubbles, but that means she is willing to deal with the vomit and spit bubbles and give my husband and I a break, so I still find a way to appreciate it. She is doing her best for my son just like this mom is doing her best for her son. I think that is something we can all get behind.

    • Jussame

      If you can’t stop yourself from being so judgy, don’t go on vacation with them. This is the kind of “you’re doing it all wrong” crap that gives mothers-in-law a bad name.

    • jpkansas

      I think this mother-in-law is dead on. Give the kids some space to figure out who they are…let them get some independence going on. My 4 year old is pretty good with that. He has the days where he is super clingy and wants to play with me ALL DAY but most of the time I am the one who is trying to play with him because I am missing him. :)

      As for the toy situation…the mom should have walked her butt back to get it. Geez…the kid was fine without it. Really. Let dad have a break. OH here is a concept…how about you let grandma/grandpa have baby time alone and spend the time with the husband alone. Bow chica wow wow….but you know most moms forget about the spouse when the baby comes…unless of course they want something or want to complain. This woman probably complains about how little this guy does but he isn’t probably allowed to do anything without being ripped a new one about doing it to her satisfaction. She needs to loosen up.

      And to those talking about how being the full time stay at home mom is so much work….NOT AT 6 months ITS NOT. I know…I have been there. Mine was a screamer and had bad colic for a little bit too…and it wasn’t that hard. I had a lot of watching tv while I folded laundry time. The baby slept…or sat in the bouncy seat in front of me…or I held him while putting clothes away. Not that hard. Now the toddler + years…oh yeah…but when we look back and say we miss our kids being little….lets all just confess we are talking about before 1 years old.

    • Paige

      Just went on vacation with my sister and experienced the exact same thing. I’m a mom of three, two kids under five, and I was tired of how often it was my nephew’s ‘show’. We weren’t even ‘allowed’ to go to the beach when he was napping! Some people are wrapped up in their kids; but then they complain about how tired they are. Take a break! Sit down. Take picture of your kid enjoying life. Go swimming. Watch tv. Do something besides being the center or your kid’s world and making yourself the center of theirs.

    • bee

      Ok maybe DIL is obnoxious over obsessive in your face helicopter FTM or maybe shes not because there are 2 sides to every story & sorry annonymous the only thing that screams out at me from this article is your dislike for DIL. Im pretty sure that if DIL had spent vacay giving baby space & vegging out herself we’d be reading about how horrible a mother she was for not being more attentive. My advice- try to find some good in your DIL & maybe take her in smaller doses. Eventually she’ll realize babies are kinda like weddings- no one cares about yours quite as much as you do.

    • SarahJesness

      It might just be a phase on her part. If it’s not, well, I hope the kid doesn’t grow up clingy and/or spoiled.

    • Snipe

      It’s interesting how a critique of one person’s parenting technique has resulted in so many “You’ll never understand because you’ve never had your own” responses, along with a heaping dose of derision at stepmom’s opinion for that very reason. The moms in the audience have closed ranks and maintained solidarity, refusing to acknowledge criticism from someone who isn’t One Of Them. I hate to burst your bubble, but not everyone wants to focus all of their time and attention on babies, and from the sound of this article, that’s exactly what the baby’s mom expected. The vacation consisted almost entirely of catering to the mom’s and baby’s wants and needs, even to the point of restricting everybody’s movements. It sounds like this was only an example of this behavior, and it indicates the way the children are being raised.

      Here, I’ll beat you to the punch. I KNOW that parenting is an immeasurably large responsibility, and children are of utmost importance in their parents’ lives. However, there is such a thing is reasonable expectations, and interrupting conversations and demanding that people constantly pay attention to the baby is unreasonable. I would be annoyed if I was trying to spend time with loved ones and someone kept demanding that I direct my attention to a baby.

      I don’t think AM mentioned her childrearing experience with the sole purpose of discrediting her grandson’s parents. She has been a caretaker, she knows what it takes, and she is concerned that being overly attentive may not be in a child’s best interests. So what if she never had the hormone cocktail that greatly helps parents to bond with their children, or the physical experience of childbearing. It makes her perspective different, but no less valid. If anything, it makes her more objective and immune to trends and fads. Saying “She doesn’t know what it’s like” is like saying I don’t know what it’s like to make a movie, so I have no right to criticize ones that I don’t prefer. Sorry, but “been there, done that, you haven’t” doesn’t trump AM’s opinion or anyone else’s.

      Anon Mom, you asked if kids need some downtime. I offer this anecdote. My friend’s five-month-old son was fussy when I last visited. She tried holding him, feeding him, and reclining him, but he continued to make frustrated noises and kick about. I suggested that he might want some time on the floor with his little play gym. She set him down and he commenced to rolling, grasping and gnawing his toys, and squirming in his mighty efforts for forward motion. He did this for at least twenty minutes, giving her time to get some things done. So yes, I think kids can benefit sorting stuff out on their own or passively observing the world.

    • Katia

      Anon mom, I understand your concern, and ill give you that perhaps you did do a better job then she’s doing even though you were only 12.
      But I think if anything, she’s making a minor mistake. (or not even..), and one that she will be able to work to correct if the boy has any behavioural issues.
      You only asked about that…^^

      the fact that she’s a shitty person to travel with? Deal with it if your husband insists, or avoid it if you want. If you have to deal with it do this: anticipate the situations you can’t stand and proactively change them for the better. Bring a small cooler of water bottles and cel phones so that you don’t have to stay close to the car, for example. And explain nicely: “this way we can easily help you,” etc. yeah she might be slightly in need of a reality check but I know lots of ppl like her, and its in your worst interest to ever have. Talk with her And say she needs to change her parenting style.

      The fact that she bossed her husband around about something ridiculous ? Hopefully he can find a way to explain to her what a waste of time that was. But who knows what’s going on. Maybe he cheated on her and has to make up for it by being her bitch for a year. The only thing that affects you is that you don’t enjoy her since she became a mom, so avoid her or find a way to cope.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      Am I the only one who does actually think the mother is quite attention-seeking? Cos the child isn’t at the “look at me” age yet…

    • nikki753

      It sounds to me like she’s trying really, really, really hard to be the absolute perfect parent and it’s working like trying to hold Jell-o by gripping it tightly.

      This is what really stood out to me, “daddy who is on vacation, reading a book, and works 12-hour days while she stays home.” There is an edge of judgey to that and I wonder if she feels the judgement of being a stay-at-home parent and feels like if that’s what she’s doing she must be the best and never give herself a moment to chill out. What was she like before they had kids? What kind of work did she do?

      I’m sure it’s annoying as hell to be around and exhausting to even think of being her or the constantly-stimulated child but, step back and think about her for a few. Maybe she needs someone to gently tell her that it’s okay to relax and that she can let the kid entertain himself and that that is actually good parenting.

      And really, as much as I always support parents making the choices that work for them and their families, I think it’s good for a lot of people to at least have a job or a volunteer position for a few hours a week where they get out with other adults and do something else.

    • helloshannon

      I have a few thoughts:
      1. you taking care of your siblings as a pre-teen/teen, as difficult as that is is NOT, repeat, NOT the same thing as having a baby and being a mother. =/=
      2. You are a bitch for insinuating that she does nothing by being a stay at home mom (i am a working mom, btw) and that she is in any less need of a vacation.
      3. I am sure she doesn’t welcome your opinions if she hasn’t asked. Leave her alone.
      4. Don’t travel with them if you don’t like the way she runs her family.

    • skritch

      Dunno. I do think this young mom seems over the top. We all adore our babies. Forcing others to worship our baby 24/7 is excessive.

    • Amanda

      That’s great that you got to be the eldest, but it does not in any way shape or form give you more parenting experience than your 2 grandson’s MOTHER. Geesh.

      If you were so annoyed that she didn’t want you to stray far from the vehicle, then maybe you should’ve planned a day to yourselves…

      I agree, the beach thing was probably a little over the top- but your SS could’ve said no, if you want it, go get it? And thats another thing- just because he works, doesn’t mean when he isnt working he doesn’t have to be a parent when he comes home…

      I work and my husband stays home with the baby, when I am off work I am a mother. It works that way for moms and dads who have to work 12 hour days, like I do.

      If you don’t like it, then stay away. It sounds like you think you know best, when you should just enjoy your grand kids and let her be the mom and him be the dad.

    • FirstTimeCaller

      I know a baby needs a lot of attention. (I am a FTM of a 4 month old – and I love gooing and gaaing with the best of them, but I also enjoy those ‘ceiling fan’ moments). And honestly, I can sympathize with both women here. We can all project our personal experiences onto this article. I could say maybe the DIL is uncomfortable with her SMIL and uses the baby as a buffer, because when conversation wanes, it’s all *I* can do to stop myself from yelling “Look at the baby!” in a can’t-control-the-volume-of-my-voice kind of way. And yes, there are logical potential explanations for DIL’s requests. I could also say the SMIL seems tired from an on-going, attention demanding style of parenting. It’s not just that DIL wants to enjoy her babies, it’s that everything and everyone has to adjust around the babies. Baby needs to nap in the car – that’s cool. Don’t demand that everyone else hovers near the car in case the baby wakes up. Gack! People are watching TV and not paying attention to me and my baby – blanket on floor! Problem solved! And by the time you’ve changed a thousand diapers, you know not to leave the Desitin in the diaper bag. I know a few people who are All-About-Me in this fashion (though not with a baby as a prop), and it is exhausting.

      AM has something valid to say about being in difficult situation – because I find it tiring to be around kids who aren’t my own for longer than a few hours in the best of circumstances. It’s just too bad she cited her babysitting credentials, and emphasized her overworked step-son’s right to read on the beach, because it weakened the true point of the article. Baby’s are demanding enough as it is – without the mother demanding that everyone jump-to.

    • NannyShanny

      Babies need to learn to self-stimulate and self-comfort, or they become monsters. They become kids who can never play by themselves. They’re EXHAUSTING.

    • Gloria

      Despite looking after younger siblings, Parenting is a whole different kettle of fish. Honestly this letter reeks of jealousy and privilege. They are A) Not your children. B) first time parents who are presumably adults and capable of navigating parenthood without the judgement of onlookers and C) Not your problem.

    • SB

      I have two kids ages 11 and 12. At this point and from here on out you could not pay me to go on “vacation” with a baby! We won’t even agree to go on vacations with people who have kids any younger than our own. Too much maintenance. My days of “vacationing” with “baby” are O-VER!

    • Jo

      I hardly think this is a cause for complaint! The woman is besotted with her child and wants him to be happy and content. Quick lock her up!

      Thank goodness she isn’t negligent and uncaring.

    • Stephanie

      I agree with AM. That type of parenting is exhausting and it doesn’t do the kid any favors. Kids need the opportunity to explore and figure out the world on their own. This mom isn’t giving her child that chance and that’s going to cause problems down the line. It’s too bad the wording of the article caused most of the posters to completely miss the point of the article.

      I’d like to point out that AM never mentions confronting her DIL about any of this. She’s just venting to US. For all we know she’s never said a word to DIL. Being around a parent like that is tedious and annoying. I’ve had the same thoughts about some of the parents I know but I’ve never actually criticized them for it. Maybe AM is the same way.

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    • Organizedchaos

      Definitely over the top. A 6 month old might be attached to a certain blankie or teddy bear, but if he’s content with what he’s got, why send dad to get a toy he obviously doesn’t miss? And not giving the baby any down time is just going to complicate things in the future. I know kids aren’t meant to be uncomplicated, but why would you want to make things more difficult in the future? By not allowing your kid to have a little time to himself ever, he will grow up thinking he needs every second of your attention as a toddler, and maybe even as a school age kid. Giving kiddo a little down time means you might be able to hold an adult conversation once in a while without the constant “Mommymommymommy watch! Mommymommymommy look! Mommy!” Jmo based on a little experience.

    • Nickel

      Unless you are a mother yourself, you have no right to comment on anyone’s parenting choices. Babysitting siblings/cousins/neighbors/whatever doesn’t give you “more experience” than the actual mother.

      I feel for your daughter in law. You sound extremely overbearing.

    • Diana

      What a horrible stepmother in law this lady is. Hey lady, if you have something to say, don’t vent it online with strangers. If what you have to say isn’t nice, don’t say a thing! The level of obnoxiousness and meanness in you is so over the top that I consider you a joke for a mother in law. You are disrespectful at sooooo many levels!!! Grow up, let your son in law’s family alone and don’t say you love the babies, ’cause obviously you don’t!