Wednesday, November 08, 2006


With each new generation there is a changing of the guard in terms of who sets limits, makes rules, etc. This is on my mind as the holidays approach and my MIL is coming for Thanksgiving. She will be staying with us, as she always does. But this time is very different. This time I am a mother, not just the daughter-in-law. My MIL has already stated she wants to help with middle of the night feedings, etc. Well, this isn't going to happen. We are still bonding with our son. When we are here (we have had a babysitter-my mom and my dad and my bonus mom) we are the ones who provide for all of our son's needs. I expect that to continue until he has been home six months. This will not set well with my MIL. I have to now set the boundaries of our relationship and her relationshiop with our children. I haven't had to do this before, as my family lives here so they swing by for an hour here or there. My MIL is coming for 7 days/nights. I will have to be strong and help her fit into our rountine and the way we do things. I know she will feel left out, she already exhibted that when we were in Ethiopia. I will have to help her understand her supporting role. I know this will be hard, as she will only see Minnow once or twice a year. I know that she will want him to get to know her, but I will have to make sure that she understands that I am the mother now.

I wage this battle with my own mom as well. It is hard to find your own mother voice and to voice it lounder and stronger and prouder than the the voices of the mothers who have come before. Any advice?????


Fizzle said...

Ah, changing of the guard. And the new things you must think about. Good luck with this, Dawn. I'm sure you'll find a way to both make your MIL feel included and part of the family while also setting appropriate boundaries for your own family. If anything, being a mother now will give you a new sensitivity to yours and your MIL. (I can read that sensitivity in your writing since bringing Minnow home!)

Anonymous said...

I just try to remember all the things that my mom and step-mom-in-law do and don't do right. Hopefully I will take the good and leave the bad when its my turn to be the granny.

Good luck. I hate family company coming sometimes! Oooh - another thing we are not above: asking that they please stay in a hotel. We just did this actually, and it was very well received. We said that we would love to see them, but that we are still getting our feet under us and that it is very difficult to host guests the way that we would like to right now.

But friends are a different story - so head on up and join us for some vennison (-:

Bek said...

I am sure that you have been throught this with your MIL already, but just in case......

For most people, asking to help w/ middle of the night feedings is an act of love FOR YOU!!!! They think that they are helping you out (my mom does this for all of her kids when they have their babies...she is the one that stays up w/ the babies at night...). It was always accepted as a welcome break (and sleep). With attachement and parenting it makes that a different story. Even if you have told her this before (while in ET maybe?) she may have "heard" it but dismissed it. She also is an "expreienced" mom and there tends to be an attitude of "oh how cute, first time mom..... well, I will just do it my way..." etc. (I confess I feel that way sometimes w/ my sisters...). My MIL was like that w/ my first about CARSEATS!!!!!!!!!!!

She may take your request that only the parents to be the one who provides the needs (in an exercize in bonding...) as a "new mom" thing. Or a contol thing. KWIM?

So, I guess my only advice to you is to maybe just send her a "reminder" (and attach and article about attachment parenting...) before she comes but give her some ideas of things that she CAN do to help you out. I have a feeling that is where the request comes from. Can she bathe the baby? Read stories at bedtime? I imagine she wants to be part of his special time (and also, if she doesn't see him very much you can feel anxious about wanting to get all of her help and love into one visit).

You are a good DIL to be thinking about about this. I don't remember reading about your MIL before, so if she isn't someone that is just unreasonable all the time (and I have heard of a few)she will come around. Hey, my kids all use carseats in grandma's car now. It took many, many conversations, but most of the time they are buckled up............ :-)

Anonymous said...

Smart girl, to think about this ahead of time!

Remember that everyone likes to feel useful. If you can come up with some things that she CAN do, emphasize the value of those things, and ask humbly that she allow you to set pace as you learn this new mommy thing . . . surely she will get it. (You didn't mention that she is unreasonable at any point in your post. And if she is, stand your ground! You can do it!)

Just my thoughts,