A Redditor in a parenting forum hit close to home today with a question about how to deal with an annoying mother-in-law who is constantly over-stepping boundaries and ignoring his wishes when she watches his children. I know how this feels, because my mother doesn’t listen to a damn thing I say when it comes to my kids. My only advice to this person is – if you want the free babysitting, you better just STFU.
Lately, my mother-in-law has been getting on my nerves with lots of things, and last night we had her babysit overnight for the first time (daughter is 2 years old – she has stayed overnight with my mum twice). As expected, she did things her way, disregarded our requests, and the result was that we picked up an exhausted toddler with dreams of riding a dolphin (thanks grandma!). Grandma herself was exhausted from constant playing (just let the toddler toddle for 5 minutes!), and also didn’t get any sleep because she insisted against our request to put the cot in their bedroom.
I get it – believe me. My mother is in the process of teaching my eight-month-old to clap and laugh when she hears the world “no.” I’m not even kidding. She also second guesses all of my parenting choices, reminds me to do things that I clearly don’t need to be reminded of (Make sure you put a jacket on her! It’s raining!), and takes credit for every milestone either of my kid crosses. It takes an epic amount of patience not to freak on a daily basis.
Then I remember that she is doing me a huge favor. Also, her grandchildren love her, and I am thrilled that they get to grow up with a grandma around. This is not something that I ever experienced. Dealing with an overbearing mother or mother-in-law after you have kids is an exercise in patience – yours. I had to finally admit that I don’t have to win every fight, argue every point, or freak out about every little decision she makes that annoys me. There are plenty of people who don’t have the benefit of having a family member around who is more than willing to take on such a huge responsibility. And although I’m quite sure that I will continue to bitch and write about how annoying it can be – I am thrilled that I have this to complain about.
Setting boundaries with in-laws is difficult, but when you rely on them sometimes you really just have to step back and realize that they are doing you a huge favor. I say, as long as your kids are safe, just STFU. Let grandma have her glory and save your complaints for the ears of sympathetic friends.
(photo: Getty Images)