Mothers-in-laws are often given a bad rap.
Evil, manipulative, condescending and sometimes much worse. I don’t believe this is always the case. But, I do believe that quite often some mothers-in-law completely overstep the mark. I realise you loved my partner long before I did. But come on! He’s not your 10-year-old child anymore. He’s a grown man, can do things for himself and contributes to a household you don’t even live in.
Snide comments about our lifestyle, my housekeeping standards, and parenting strategies are actually none of your business. Unless asked, your bullshit opinions are not required like.. at all. Advice and support are completely different to offensive comparisons about my household contributions. And many mothers-in-law really need to understand the difference.
One of the most sensitive and fragile moments for a woman is when she becomes a mother. It doesn’t matter whether it’s her first baby or her fourth, it’s a very deeply emotional experience. Leading up to the birth, many women consider who they’d like in their birth suite for support. I know for sure my MIL wasn’t one of them. Unfortunately for some of us with a severe case of ‘Overbearing MIL’, you are left with little to no input even though it’s your own birth plan.
On a thread on Mumsnet (unfortunately, the post has now been removed…), it was reported that a MIL stepped in moments after the birth of her granddaughter and completely took over.
The post explained that after the birth, the mother had been taken to another room to be stitched up. Mum was still in theatre, when her MIL let herself into the baby’s room (she is allegedly a doctor and works at the hospital in question, and had her own access card), and had the first cuddle.
When the new mum found out that she had missed out on that very important first skin to skin contact, she was understandably crushed.
To me this would be the absolute height of rudeness and complete disrespect to me as a mother. I would be livid and I’m sure this kind of stuff happens more often than what most of us actually hear about.
Many women don’t want to rock the boat or make for an uncomfortable relationship when it comes to in-laws. But honestly, fuck them. In a world where so many of your firsts are dictated by others, women really need to start saying how they feel. Especially in the delivery room. If you don’t want your mother-in-law in there, say so. If you want an epidural even though your MIL likes to make comment about how she used zero drugs during the birth of her son, who cares? Ask for one! If you want a C-Section, book it in. And if you want to bottle feed! Do it.
Start realising your power and stand firm in the knowledge that, although your MIL may have been where you are, she isn’t you. Your experiences are uniquely yours and any advice she offers is exactly that. Advice.
You can completely ignore it if you choose. Mothers-in-law can be bullies and quite controlling at times. It’s honestly a behaviour you are not obligated to tolerate. But, if your MIL is really nasty and persists in ignoring your boundaries, you can always get her back.
Send your children to her for sleepovers when they are extremely hungry, overtired and have early onset vomiting and diarrhea. And, if you’re worried about getting your husband offside in an attempt to sit your MIL on her arse, remember, you have sex with him, she doesn’t.