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Struggling With In-Laws

 
LazarusAurellius
(@lazarusaurellius)
New Member Registered

Hey there,

I was wondering if I could get some advice from people here because I really don't have anyone to talk too. 

I've been with my partner for 4 years, we're not married but have a 6 month old baby and I am currently living at our in-laws whilst trying to find at house.

My partners mother has made it really hard for me to bond with the baby during these first 6 months due to her over obsessive controlling nature over the baby and it's really hard to live with, little things such as;

  • Trying to get the baby to say her name 
  • The baby sleeps in her room and not ours
  • Refusing to let people hold the baby including my own mother
  • Asking where I am going with the baby
  • Looking at me with the baby whilst I am holding her 
  • Booked her child care days in already without consulting us (bearing in mind this is like 12 months away)
  • Chosen where the baby will be going to nursery
  • Taking away my first moments with the baby like her first bath

How I feel at the moment

  • She's a second mother to the baby
  • My role as dad is limited and I am not making the decisions in my childs life
  • I can't connect with my child and I feel I'm losing her love to the mother
  • I get annoyed when I hear her singing to the baby at night in the other room because I feel it should be me
  • I don't get to hold my baby enough
  • I sleep through the nights because I have work but that's used against me and I am told I should be up helping more
  • My mother lives 70 miles away and only gets to see her on a handful of occasions 
  • I am trapped in this house under their rules 
  • I don't get enough quality time with my child

 

The obvious solution is to get our house but I would like someone to help me with some coping mechanisms to get me through these early stages, I love my partner but this situation is driving us apart and I'm always in the wrong for having an opinion.

Kind regards,

This topic was modified 4 weeks ago by LazarusAurellius
Quote
Topic starter Posted : 29/08/2021 8:09 pm
Champagne
(@champagne)
Estimable Member

Thats a very sad situation.  Do you go out with your partner and the baby, just the three of you?  Perhaps you could drive over with the baby to see your mother?  Could you both take the baby out for a walk?  It sounds as though your partner's mother is on her own and using the baby as company.  However you do need your own time together.  If they want you to help more, then perhaps you can bath the baby or do some feeding

ReplyQuote
Posted : 31/08/2021 4:01 pm
Clarinet
(@clarinet)
Estimable Member Registered

Hello there, Well done on being so open and honest about how you are feeling as a new parent. I’m sure this can’t have been an easy post to write, so I hope I can offer some perspective and pointers for you to progress in the right direction. 
I have one thought - how was your relationship with your partners mum before your baby was born ? Perhaps something to think about. 
reading through your first list, there are several that are concerning me and I would like to address these first. 
The sleeping arrangements- I appreciate that as a new parent you need sleep. But I really feel strongly that you and your partner should discuss together and work out a plan that your baby sleeps with you for example 6 nights out of 7 and perhaps one chosen night with MIL as a way for you both to spend some quality time together. You will need to be firm and respectful to your MIL, but I really feel strongly that a baby needs to be either in their own room ( which is not currently possible) or with their parents. This is vital for bonding and for you to get to know your baby’s sleeping patterns and learning feeding times etc. I don’t know what your job is, but please don’t be afraid to gently explain to your partner and her mum, that when you have a work shift you will need your sleep. Perhaps offer to cover the nights when you’re not at work the next day. 
Communication is vital in relationships, please don’t be afraid to speak with your partner - alone - and tell her what you’ve shared with us on here. All your points are valid and important to you. Is your partner coping as a new mum? Has she shown any signs of post natal depression? Perhaps she’s feeling as overwhelmed as you but just doesn’t want to tell you.
Another pointer - your Mum. She has every right to be able to spend quality time with her grandchild - I appreciate how hard it is when parents live away from home - as your baby’s dad it is essential that they get to bond with both sets of grandparents. Discuss with your partner - again - on your own, that you would like your mum to have some special time. Perhaps go away and see her for a mini break ?

Be brave and ask your MIL to sit down with you and your partner and ask her respectfully to describe her feelings about family life, and how she would feel if someone kept asking her all the time what she was doing and why. It’s ok to offer advice and guidance if it’s wanted, but MIL needs to learn that there are boundaries and that it’s you and your partner who are parents to your baby not her. She has a special role as the baby’s grandparent! 
Perhaps you could make a list of ideas of special activities that only your MIL could do with baby, eg, making you and your partner a birthday cake or buying a special gift at Christmas and birthdays, going to the park, whatever suits your family. I really feel that if you can communicate as a couple first, and be then UNITED together talk with your MIL, then you can take little steps towards all finding your feet. Remind MIL that you are working very hard to provide for your family so you can give them a home that they and you will love. THANK your MIL for all she has done so far, but perhaps encourage her to see friends more or take up a new activity. 
Insist that you join in bath times and the bedtime routine, try to ignore her remarks about how you’re doing things and why, try to always be polite and smile but stay firm in your activity and choice. You don’t have to explain your actions, as father to your baby. Yes, you must respect your partner as the baby’s mum, but work together. 
You and your partner can change if you want too, the outcome of where your baby goes to nursery, that was not your MIL decision to make, and although it’s stressful for you, try not to hold onto to the stressful things but take each day at a time, all the while be more assertive in the role that you want to play as a new dad. 
Be encouraged - you read like you’re a caring dad and partner, who only wants the best for his family, and with some tough love and appreciation on all sides, I am sure that you will be able to move forward. I wish you all the very best, please let us know how you are doing. 
Very best wishes, Spurgeons Parent Support Volunteer  

ReplyQuote
Posted : 31/08/2021 6:00 pm
Bill337 liked
LazarusAurellius
(@lazarusaurellius)
New Member Registered
Posted by: @clarinet

Hello there, Well done on being so open and honest about how you are feeling as a new parent. I’m sure this can’t have been an easy post to write, so I hope I can offer some perspective and pointers for you to progress in the right direction. 
I have one thought - (1)how was your relationship with your partners mum before your baby was born ? Perhaps something to think about. 
reading through your first list, there are several that are concerning me and I would like to address these first. 
The sleeping arrangements- I appreciate that as a new parent you need sleep. But I really feel strongly that you and your partner should discuss together and work out a plan that your baby sleeps with you for example 6 nights out of 7 and perhaps one chosen night with MIL as a way for you both to spend some quality time together. You will need to be firm and respectful to your MIL, but (2)I really feel strongly that a baby needs to be either in their own room ( which is not currently possible) or with their parents. This is vital for bonding and for you to get to know your baby’s sleeping patterns and learning feeding times etc. I don’t know what your job is, but please don’t be afraid to gently explain to your partner and her mum, that when you have a work shift you will need your sleep. Perhaps offer to cover the nights when you’re not at work the next day. 
Communication is vital in relationships, please don’t be afraid to speak with your partner - alone - and tell her what you’ve shared with us on here. All your points are valid and important to you. (3)Is your partner coping as a new mum? Has she shown any signs of post natal depression? Perhaps she’s feeling as overwhelmed as you but just doesn’t want to tell you.
Another pointer - your Mum. She has every right to be able to spend quality time with her grandchild - I appreciate how hard it is when parents live away from home - as your baby’s dad it is essential that they get to bond with both sets of grandparents. Discuss with your partner - again - on your own, that you would like your mum to have some special time. Perhaps go away and see her for a mini break ?

(5)Be brave and ask your MIL to sit down with you and your partner and ask her respectfully to describe her feelings about family life, and how she would feel if someone kept asking her all the time what she was doing and why. It’s ok to offer advice and guidance if it’s wanted, but MIL needs to learn that there are boundaries and that it’s you and your partner who are parents to your baby not her. She has a special role as the baby’s grandparent! 
Perhaps you could make a list of ideas of special activities that only your MIL could do with baby, eg, making you and your partner a birthday cake or buying a special gift at Christmas and birthdays, going to the park, whatever suits your family. I really feel that if you can communicate as a couple first, and be then UNITED together talk with your MIL, then you can take little steps towards all finding your feet. Remind MIL that you are working very hard to provide for your family so you can give them a home that they and you will love. THANK your MIL for all she has done so far, but perhaps encourage her to see friends more or take up a new activity. 
Insist that you join in bath times and the bedtime routine, try to ignore her remarks about how you’re doing things and why, try to always be polite and smile but stay firm in your activity and choice. You don’t have to explain your actions, as father to your baby. Yes, you must respect your partner as the baby’s mum, but work together. 
You and your partner can change if you want too, the outcome of where your baby goes to nursery, that was not your MIL decision to make, and although it’s stressful for you, try not to hold onto to the stressful things but take each day at a time, all the while be more assertive in the role that you want to play as a new dad. 
Be encouraged - you read like you’re a caring dad and partner, who only wants the best for his family, and with some tough love and appreciation on all sides, I am sure that you will be able to move forward. I wish you all the very best, (6)please let us know how you are doing. 
Very best wishes, Spurgeons Parent Support Volunteer  

 

 

(1) It was good, we only really ever saw each other in passing i.e. they come over to drop off food or collect bits and pieces, maybe once every two months.

(2) The baby sleeps with MIL so that my partner can get a rest, I have challenged my partner as to why this is the case and it's because I don't wake up in the nights and can't look after her. 

(3) She's coping but is very tired, she does need the support of her mother which I understand and post-natal depression is something we want to avoid.

(4) We did go away for a few days which helped and I come back here feeling a lot better that mum had some bonding time with the baby but I've sunk back into this depression. Again, it will be another 6-7 weeks before she sees the baby again and when she does its only like half a day or maybe a weekend - am I asking too much? I find it hard to live here and watch MIL bond 24/7 with the baby whilst my mother is miles away, it's making me depressed especially as my mum is really ill and missing out on these lovely early stages in the babies development, smiles, looking around, sleeping, laughing, bathing etc

(5) I am going to do this at the weekend and express my feelings and challenges so we can come to some sort of decision

(6) Not great if I'm honest, I just feel my role as father is overshadowed, like I'm pushed to the side, they've got their granddaughter and that is. The environment is very toxic and they've made it like a competition i.e. the MIL shouts "nanny, oh its your nanny, say nanny, I love my nanny" throughout the day when I am near her almost like I am a threat? and have even said "The baby said her first words today "nanny"" and started laughing to wind me up and said "you wouldn't like that would you"

My concern is that she's showing signs of discipling her, this happened yesterday, I was in the back room and she was in the front, the baby was crying for some time and I heard her raise her tone aggressively and say "If you cry any more, then I am going to keep you in this moses all day until you shut up" I didn't come in because I know I would be blamed by the family but it's also not the first time she's said "shut-up" to the baby and when raising this with my partner she said I am reading too much into it! it's normal when the baby cries for long periods to become frustrated and things.

I hate that the MIL would rather sit their struggling to hold the baby because her arm hurts rather than coming to me and asking for help. They MIL never willingly passes the baby to me since she's been born, she keeps her close all day and when needed will ask my partner to help and I've even had to resort to saying can I hold her please? and the reluctance to hand her over and the look she gives me is awful, this whole ignoring my role and undermining my position as father is making me sick and ill. 

This whole situation living with your in-laws has overshadowed my whole experience of being a father, I feel like there's no real place for me in my babys life and that there's nothing I can contribute or no value I can bring because it's all taken care of and I'm just left to the side. 

How I envisaged being a father was very different, I thought we'd have more privacy and endure the highs and lows of parenthood together. I knew it would be difficult and that my partner would need help and I have given a lot of time from my job (work remotely) to provide where I can although this heavy dependance on MIL has really just eased me to the side. 

 

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by LazarusAurellius
ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : 03/09/2021 12:26 pm
Clarinet
(@clarinet)
Estimable Member Registered

@lazarusaurellius  Hello again - thank you for your replies and for taking the time. I would strongly recommend you now get help for yourself, by going to your GP and telling them exactly what you have shared here re your depressive feelings. This is something that needs attention in order for you to be able to cope with your current situation. I’m sorry that you are having issues with MIL, families can be complicated can’t they. Keep talking with your partner, explain to her again how you’re feeling and that you would like to get some independent help and advice. Dads can become depressed after baby is born as well as mums. You must look after yourself too, as you are providing for your family and being very gracious in your attitude towards your MIL. 
Please also explain to your partner about how upset you are over your mum being unwell, and sit down together and work out some times that you can see her. It is important to you - just your partner and her mum spending time together. 
Don’t give up. One day at a time. Kind regards PSP worker 

ReplyQuote
Posted : 03/09/2021 12:37 pm
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