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Any advice concerning grandparents - sorry for long post

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  • Any advice concerning grandparents - sorry for long post

    I know there are many threads on here concerning a similar topic, but as they say, every family is a little different so I thought I would look for some advice.

    My first is now 2 months and we are loving every minute of it. We approached parenting with our instincts and have come to find out we very closely follow the AP style naturally. The only big issues we are having are with grandparents.

    Since day one, both sides visited every other day. This was a little stressful since we were trying to get acquainted with our new family but I appreciated the fact that they wanted to be involved in their new grandchild's life. This has backed down to once a week now. However, since the first week, both sides were asking when we they could watch him at their houses telling us we needed time for ourselves. We both feel that our little one is not ready to be without mom and dad and quite frankly we don't need time alone. We enjoy being together and love to go everywhere together! We have expressed this to both sides but every time they come over, they make comments about how we need time and ask when are they going to get to keep the child alone. Our decision is to try and make time to visit their homes more often but stay with the child. It is not that we don't trust them, but we know their parenting styles are much different than ours and that they may not respect our wishes. For example, when they cry, my step dad says "oh it's good for them" and my mother wants to give the kid water and wonders why aren't feeding solids until at least 6 months. I want them to be involved but not at the expense of our values and parenting instincts. Are we out of line? Any ideas on what to say to drive the point home? I don't want them to think we don't trust them and jeopardize our great relationships.

    The other issue is specially with my mother. She gets her feelings hurt very easily and goes on the defensive. When we were pregnant, I told her we were BFing. She constantly tried to tell me that I didn't have to and it was OK if I decided not to. I knew this, but I wanted to no matter how hard it was (surprise, it wasn't that hard for us thankfully!). Then, after the birth, she has been criticizing our decisions - co-sleeping, not letting him CIO, BFing, etc. Not openly like "you are stupid for doing that" but in a backhanded way... "oh...i see... interesting...". I try and explain why we are doing what we do, but she seems to take it as an insult to her parenting (the old "well you turned out fine didn't you?") which I don't have a problem... this is just what we want to do.. On top of all that she seems to act like it is her child. She wants to feed, comfort when crying, and even uses "my baby" when talking. Several friends have seen this and they made that observation to me privately. I understand that she wants a special relationship with her grandchild but there is plenty of time for that to blossom. Right now babies need their parents 99% of the time in our opinion. It is our job to feed, comfort and provide the nurturing to build a strong relationship for our family at home. This is affecting our relationship because I am on pins and needles every time I am around her or on the phone with her. I don't want to offend her but will not back off what I think is right. Ideas?

    Finally, one last thing - we have a big family reunion coming up in a week and there will be all kinds of aunts and uncles there who have yet to meet the new addition. I don't feel comfortable passing the baby from one to the next because of my little one getting upset when not with mom or dad. I will wear a sling but I know everyone is going to want a chance to "hold the baby". Ideas on how politely decline?

    Sorry for the length but I had alot on my mind!
    Last edited by luv2bAP; 04-30-2010, 01:33 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by luv2bAP View Post
    since the first week, both sides were asking when we they could watch him at their houses telling us we needed time for ourselves. We both feel that our little one is not ready to be without mom and dad and quite frankly we don't need time alone.
    This is completely understandable; many new families feel this way, especially if you're working hard to tune in to your instincts and are in the beginning stages of developing a secure attachment with your baby. It's OK to want to be with your baby! I love to hear that. So it is OK to decline overnight visits for your baby at such a young age. And it can be done in a polite, supportive way such as, "I love the idea of our kids spending overnights or weekends with you guys in the future! I think that will be a great way for our kids to get to know their grandparents and develop a special relationship. We're not ready to to that yet, but it's defeintly something we're hoping for someday."

    You might have to tell your families this many times as they continue to ask throughout the baby years. They're probably just very excited to be grandparents and want to know that they are involved in a useful, connected way to your family. Maybe, while you're waiting for the day to come when everyone's comfortable for your son to have an overnight, there's another way to involve your parents in your baby's life? My mom likes to knit, sew clothes, and she also makes dolls, so I asked her for things we really needed/ wanted for our kids, like to make us a new swaddling blanket or soft stuffed toys. She loved this contribution!

    Originally posted by luv2bAP View Post
    The other issue is specially with my mother. She gets her feelings hurt very easily and goes on the defensive. This is affecting our relationship because I am on pins and needles every time I am around her or on the phone with her?
    You can always acknowldge her input, but not take it any further than that....you know you are going to make your own decisions anyway. Nothing says you have to engage in a discussion or arguement to "prove" yourself. If she has something to share about why she thinks you should do or not do something, listen attentively, say, "I see...interesting..." and move on.

    Try not to take offense at the backhanded comments. I really do know that that gets hard, but if she's not actually giving you information or asking any questions, you can try to ignore the comments and move on. I know it's hard to pretend you don't know what she's really saying though!

    Do you have a strong enough relationship to talk openly about your concerns with her? Maybe you can let her know that you love her, that you agree that she raised you to be an awesome person, and you casn can thank her for that, but that you are just doing what feels best for your own family right now. It might help to validate her feelings and acknowledge her concerns and hurt feelings regarding her parenting choices. NVC is great for this kind of thing! I highly recommend it: Nonviolent Communcation

    Originally posted by luv2bAP View Post
    Finally, one last thing - we have a big family reunion coming up in a week and there will be all kinds of aunts and uncles there who have yet to meet the new addition. I don't feel comfortable passing the baby from one to the next because of my little one getting upset when not with mom or dad.
    If it's convenient...that is, if he not tucked in the sling or sleeping etc...maybe you can let relatives hold him as long as he is happy? If he's fussy, sleeping or tucked away in the sling, I'm sure people would understand if you decline. Of course you'll be right there anyway, and if he gets fussy after being handled a bit too much, you'll be able to take him right back anyway.

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    • #3
      I apologize I didn't read the other posts yet but just had to respond. you are singing my song! My daughter is now 18mo. and we never left her side until the day after her first birthday. We got hell from the parents, especially my husbands, (Mine live thousands of miles away). They were so angry, they told us we were trying to stop them from having a relationship with their Grandaughter, that we needed time away, that we were being selfish. My MIL sounds a lot like your Mom, she always feels hurt. We just stuck with it, saying we needed to do what felt right for us and our daughter. At 18mo. my in-laws have only watched her alone 3 times, and every time was in our house for 1.5 max. It is all we've been comfortable with. We had her baptized when she was small and we just made it clear the doctor told us not to play pass the baby so we would be the only one's holding her. Ohhh I got so many nasty comments and remarks made. But we made it through without pass the baby. When it would get to me I would excuse myself and go nurse her in private. My mother-in-law at a party with people we didn't know commented that we had a look and don't touch policy with our daughter. I was steaming, but now I look back and laugh at how petty she can be. I don't have any good answers, but your not alone and you don't have to give in to their manipulation.

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      • #4
        My son is two now, but this sounds so much like what we went through! We still get the backhanded comments now. As far as the reunion, can you pretend to get sick? Or say that the doctor said no baby passing until x months, or that baby is having a "mama day"....

        As far as setting boundaries with family members, what finally worked for my husband's family was him writing them a letter. He tried to discuss it with them and it didn't work. It can be really tough for grandparents to learn what their role is. I would just spell it out in a letter or in person if you think they'll "hear" you. It is okay to set boundaries. It is a healthy thing for you to do. You need time to become a family of three... It is a big job and it is hard when others are constantly interfering. You are the parents now and have the right to make your own parenting choices and have those not be criticized. Both of our families were super mad at us when we set some boundaries with them, but after a few months, they got over it, and now we have what we want, and they realize what their role is.

        After my mom asked for the billionth time "uh, so WHEN is it going to be okay for him to CIO?.....oh....hmmm...that is 'different' from what WE did.... (read: bad, unacceptable to me)." I finally said "it doesn't sound to me like you are asking me a question. It sounds like you are criticizing my parenting decisions." Of course, she didn't like that, but she did back off a little. good luck setting boundaries...it is tough but so worth it in the end for *both* parents and grandparents (and baby!).

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        • #5
          Thanks for the comments. I am glad I get reassurance that I am not the only one! The reunion went well. I let go a little and let an aunt and cousin (much older than myself) hold him. The only moment that bothered me was when a 4-6 year old cousin came over and grabbed all over his hands while my aunt had him. I just walked over and cleaned them off before they made it to his mouth. =)

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