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Grandma The Underminer

Grandma The Underminer

By Amalah

Hi Amy!

I had a bit of a disagreement with my mother-in-law last week and I can not stop thinking about it or figure out how to move forward. Our situation is that I work part-time (four days per week) so my two boys who are 2 and 3 years old right now go to preschool for three of those days and to Grandma’s house the fourth day. This arrangement started back when my oldest was born and I had to return to work when he was about 4 months old. I hired a nanny to come to our house to take care of him. My mother-in-law went on and on forever about how heartbroken she was that I did not ask her to care for him and hired “some girl” to come to our home. This “some girl” was (and still is) a friend of mine. I had already known her for about 5 years and she was a college student who needed some part-time work. So my husband asked me to compromise and have his mom watch our baby for one day per week while my friend was at our house with him for the other three days. I decided that it would be a fine arrangement and we have continued with that plan even after our nanny graduated college and needed to move on. At that time, I transitioned the kids to the preschool where they currently attend.

I could go into a lot of reasons why that one day at Grandma’s is totally inconvenient for me (her house is a 30 minute drive from ours and in the opposite direction from my office!) but I decided that the relationship and bond that my boys were building with their Grandma was worth all the extra effort. Even so, I have found myself continuously frustrated with her and the decisions she makes while taking care of my kids.

For example, I have always provided all the food my kids need for each day at her house. When they were little I packed up their bottles with milk and when they were ready sent my homemade purees, etc… I asked her not to give them peanut butter just yet when they were less than 2 years old along with some other foods to avoid based on our pediatrician’s recommendation. One day she tells me, “I had N eat a peanut butter sandwich today and he liked it!” And when I asked why, she replied, “I always gave peanut butter to my kids at this age and they turned out fine. I thought you were being too cautious about that.” I could have choked her. I was so mad and it was not even about the peanut butter, it was the fact that she has no regard for basic requests that I have. She thought my request was dumb and she chose to ignore it and do it her way. I could go on and on about examples of things that she has done that make me upset.

But each week, my boys so look forward to their day with Grandma! They adore her and have a lot of fun with her.

Now I am working on potty training the 2 year old. He is doing a great job wearing big boy underwear and we remind him frequently that it is time to go to the bathroom. At home, he has been able to stay dry and go in the potty. He has had a few accidents, as expected, at home and at preschool. I feel he is very normal for a kid learning to be in control of his body. Last week was the first time I sent him to Grandma’s house in his big boy underwear. I explained to her how we ask him to try and go to the potty about every hour and reward him with lots of high fives, etc. I provided several changes of clothes, just in case he needed them. And she seemed totally on board with the plan. At the end of the day when I picked him up, she tells me “Oh, by the way, I just had him wear a diaper today.” I asked why and she said it was because she does not want to deal with possible accidents so she asked him if he wanted a diaper and he said yes. I just looked at her and said “But you are the adult and he is a kid, he does not get to decide to wear a diaper.” I couldn’t handle it and just walked away. I felt that was complete nonsense.

Later that night, she wrote me a lengthy email about what it is like to be a grandma. She said that she wants to make sure that my boys have a special, fun adventure each and every day with her. So basically, if there is something that could be unpleasant or that my kids will not want to do she would prefer not to ruin the day by pushing them. She feels that if she asks him to go potty and he says no, then she would rather not argue with him so they can continue having fun. In this case, she thought the more fun option would be to just wear a diaper. What?!?!?! As I read her email, I started having flashbacks to all the things that have annoyed me and I can see how most of them probably stem from her not wanting to say no to my kids.

I wrote her an email back and let her know that this week I will take a vacation day so she does not have to deal with helping me potty train my son. I do not want her to just put him in a diaper because it is more fun for her. I get that she wants to be special to my kids and she is! My kids love her. But if she wants to be the care provider for them when I am at work, she needs to tackle some of the unpleasant stuff too like a potential potty accident. Am I totally crazy? Am I over-reacting here? What do I do next week and the week after that? I honestly feel like asking their preschool if they can start attending four days per week and we eliminate this day with Grandma. At least that way, my boys would have some consistency. We could visit her on the weekend (with me present to discipline, etc.) and she can be special and fun then. I don’t want to wreck my relationship with her and make things awkward forever.

Sorry for the long question, but gah!

Thanks,
M

You know how “they” say there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Little-known variant on that saying is that there’s no such thing as free childcare, either. And any other readers out there who get hassled (like I’ve been in the past) over their decision to use a professional daycare/nanny arrangement over family members — because that’s the best! for everyone! you’re crazy not to do it! so terrible to let your children be raised by STRANGERS! — has my permission to print this letter out, glue it to a phonebook and smack that person with it.

What’s most concerning about your letter — beyond the individual infractions — is that it’s a PATTERN, and it’s a pattern of behavior that, even when you’ve directly confronted her and/or expressed your displeasure at your wishes being ignored, she’s made it clear she has no intention of changing going forward. That if she disagrees with anything you tell her, she will simply go ahead and do whatever she wants to. On the record and everything! This is…not okay. You said it best yourself: I get that she wants to be special to my kids and she is! My kids love her. But if she wants to be the care provider for them when I am at work, she needs to tackle some of the unpleasant stuff too like a potential potty accident. She also needs to remember — ALWAYS — that the boys are your children, not hers. She had her time to raise her kids her way, and now it’s time to defer to your judgement and rules, no matter what.

I’m curious as to what your husband thinks about all of this — he’s weirdly absent from your letter and the situation, other than being the one who pushed for you to accept this arrangement in the first place. You’re sending your kids to stay with a Serial Underminer once a week, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask him to have a chat with his mother and issue a friendly ultimatum: Either do things our way (his AND yours, united parental front, what you say is what he says), or we will have to find other arrangements, because WE NEED TO TRUST YOU, GRANDMA.

Feeding peanut butter to your toddler could have resulted in disaster. A completely not-fun-or-special DISASTER. And I say that as someone who has always introduced peanuts at one year because OH MY GOD THE CONFLICTING ADVICE ABOUNDS, but still. I would have gone apoplectic on anyone who fed my child a potentially dangerous food I specifically asked them not to. Your son didn’t have a reaction, thus bolstering her belief that you are rigid and over-cautious and you now don’t know what other pediatrician-approved guidelines she’ll toss to the wind and ignore. And the potty training/diaper thing is just…ridiculous. (Her, not you.)

The ultimatum doesn’t have to be done harshly — honestly she sounds insecure about her place in your boys’ world and has mistaken spoiling them rotten as the best path to keeping their affections. When in fact, kids need boundaries and consistent behavior from authority figures to feel most secure. She needs to be assured that look, they LOVE you, Grandma, and they will love you even if you — gasp — occasionally have to do “not fun” things, like potty breaks and timeouts and healthy snacks instead of a non-stop cookie buffet. And since she’s agreed to be their caregiver for that one day a week, she absolutely MUST agree to be a caregiver, and not just Super Happy Fun Time Grandma. You have to trust her to follow your wishes, even when she doesn’t agree with them. The undermining has to stop, NOW, because you can’t spend your day worrying about what else she may decide is “being too cautious.” (Seat belts? Bike helmets? Choking hazards? Medicine dosing? Good God, the what-ifs alone could turn the most laid-back mom into a helicoptering mess.)

If she really values her day with her grandsons — and it sounds like she does — I would hope she’d do whatever you guys asked in order to keep it. But there’s also the worry that instead, she’ll just get more sneaky and simply not TELL you whether N wore a diaper or underwear or start telling the boys to “not tell Mommy” about the M&Ms or TV shows or whatever. I don’t know if that seems likely to you (I don’t really know the woman, after all), or how to prevent that other than to start talking to your three-year-old about secrets and why we don’t keep them from Mommy and Daddy, or cut out of work early occasionally and “surprise” her.

But lord, who needs THAT kind of relationship with their child’s caregiver? Free or not, family or not, I certainly couldn’t deal with it. Even if things are just fine most of the time, it really doesn’t take that much for trust to be shattered. And I don’t care who is watching your kids — Grandma, a nanny, a daycare center, Good Dog Carl — you absolutely HAVE TO TRUST THEM. If you simply no longer trust your mother-in-law going forward, I’m not entirely sure this arrangement can (or should) be saved.

Could the boys go to preschool during the day and then you and your husband set up a standing weekly Date Night where Grandma watches the boys? Because Super Happy Fun Time Grandma sounds like a perfect evenings-and-weekends babysitter. Pizza for dinner! A movie! Popcorn! Forts in the living room! Staying up a little late because it’s not a school night! Five different bedtime stories! There’s a different vibe and expectation from a nighttime sitter, you know? The worst she can do is get them amped up before bed and maybe skip brushing their teeth. Then you and your husband can stay out late until you’re sure the kids have simply crashed from exhaustion. And Grandma can have her special fun time to spoil without being asked to do anything “unpleasant” like actually assist in the messy business of raising children, the horror.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice[at]gmail[dot]com.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Whitney
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Whitney

Everything Amy said!! She wants to be a caregiver and a caregiver steps in as a parent. They don’t simply provide FUN FUN FUN all day long. If she doesn’t want any parenting responsibility, then she needs to be a weekend babysitter, not a weekly caregiver. And yes, your hubby needs to step up to the plate here. She has limited time before your kids start kindergarten and she is going to lose it if she doesn’t follow your rules. Period. Full stop. The End.

Cobwebs
Guest
Cobwebs

This could definitely be, chapter and verse, my mother-in-law.  From the moment I asked her specifically to put my son to sleep on his back when he was an infant, explaining that it lessened the risk of SIDS, and came home to find him asleep on his stomach (“Tsk.  My kids slept on their stomachs from the time they came home from the hospital and they turned out fine”), she made it clear that she knew more about parenting than I did and was going to do things her way no matter what I wanted.  After two or three similar… Read more »

A
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A

I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. I have crazy undermining in-law stories too (let’s give the 6 month old soda and see what happens! Ooh, DIL got mad, isn’t that funny!) and the only thing that has worked is to either watch the kids like a hawk when the in-laws are around – which obviously won’t work in your situation – or just figure it won’t kill the kids and try to relax about it. It sounds like your MIL is going to do whatever she feels like doing with no regard to your parenting wishes. It’s time… Read more »

Rachel
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Rachel

We had a similar problem with my mother and my daughter. We were finding that she wasn’t ever saying no and what bothered us most was that she was allowing her to be disrespectful to her which is so not ok in our book. It sounds like a little less of a huge issue as you are having as it wasn’t once a week and it wasn’ a blatant disregard to what we were asking, but still bothersome. i made a rude remark in front of her and she was clearly upset and hurt. Later that night i emailed and… Read more »

IrishCream
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IrishCream

If you do decide to go with day care for all four days, you can frame it as a favor to Grandma, almost. “I was thinking about what you said about keeping your time with the boys special and fun, and you’re right! Now you can have special weekend visits that are just for fun, and I can relax my rules so that you can spoil them a little bit.”  That is, if you can get the “you’re right!” out without choking on it. My goodness, that would be tough, I would be livid if any family member was so… Read more »

SarahB
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SarahB

It sounds like your trust in your MIL went out the window a long time ago, and the fact that she wrote out exactly why she won’t follow your rules…”I understand your need to be the fun grandma, which means it is time for you to no longer be the caregiver.  The children need more reliable structure, and I am weary of driving an extra hour out of my way each week.  It has been so kind of you to watch the grandchildren for so long.” Realize that you let your MIL undermine your parenting decisions way back when you… Read more »

M
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M

Thank you everyone!!! I am the one who submitted the question and I feel so relieved to read the response and comments. I have walked around feeling like the bad guy for the past week and worrying about this situation. Somehow whenever I talk with my MIL, I walk away feeling like I did something wrong, not her. She will never apologize for any misunderstanding. Even after realizing my displeasure with the peanut butter situation, she just acted like I was the one with the problem. I did leave my husband out of my question because I thought it was… Read more »

Lori Myers
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Lori Myers

I can beat all of this. My mother in law took my child to Disney World for the day (she’s one) without mentioning it to me. I had to find out through someone else. She doesn’t see anything wrong with this ….

SB
Guest
SB

I can give you a perspective from the future. I am 51 and my son is now 23. My MIL did these things with my son. Fed him donuts and bacon because he liked it, despite my asking her not to, until he became overweight. The list goes on and on. I never really put my foot down. Recently I gave him my old car. Today she decided he needs a new one and is taking him shopping next week. Don’t be me. Make her respect you as the parent or you will still be angry and undermined 20 years… Read more »

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Christen
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Christen

Oh man, the peanut butter thing…not cool! Like Amalah said, how would she have felt had your son had a not fun/special reaction? You have every right to be upset and say enough. We don’t have kids yet, but my husband often talks about how great it would be for his mom to watch our future baby since she’s great with infants, retired, FREE, etc and I see how she disregards my sister-in-law’s wishes with HER kids all the time and think “Hell no.” She smokes (outside but still) and definitely has a case of “Grandma Gets to Spoil/Knows Best”… Read more »

CC
Guest
CC

Ditch her, and don’t feel bad about it. I’m at that point with my MIL. She also never says no to the point of endangering my daughter (letting her play with bathtub cleanser at 18 months because “she wanted to”), and making me question her mental acuity (letting my 2 year old pick her nose…note:not my daughter picking her OWN nose, but picking my MIL’s nose. WTF?!!). You’ll find another way for your kids to have a relationship with their grandmother that won’t involve potentially endangering them or rage on your part.

Amy
Guest

My daytime sitter is a friend of mine, a fellow mom, who has two kids aged 5 and 7 – and she fed my 1 year old peanut butter.  I just assumed that she knew not to, and was surprised when I came home and saw it on his plate, but I decided not to make a federal case of it since he was fine and I hadn’t said anything ahead of time about it. The fact that you said something and MIL went ahead and did it anyway is really worrying.  I agree with everything Amy said.  Basically, this… Read more »

Mona
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Mona

Mommy over here of two boys, with one overbearing know it all MIL and a peanut allergy. Feeling your pain. After several run ins, husband and I decided we just needed to set boundaries and be willing to shut down the relationship for a while when they are crossed. The ball is always in her court when she crosses the line, but until she can admit there’s an issue, we just kind of don’t deal with her. It’s peaceful, but I also hate that she / the boys miss out on time with each other. I swear she’ll miss months… Read more »

Carrie
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Carrie

Ok, I usually agree with everything Amy says, but in this case I think the advice isn’t harsh enough. Your MIL does not respect you as a parent at all. Not one little bit. You can give her a million ultimatums, but she doesn’t care. She has told you flat out that she is going to do what she is going to do. Does she care about your feelings? Does she care if things will be awkward? No, not one itty bitty bit. Time to step up and say “No more.” Call the school right now and move the kids… Read more »

Jeannie
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Jeannie

My mother in law is JUST LIKE THIS. Grandma is FUN! Grandma lets us do whatever we want! Now, to be fair, if there are important rules, she will stick with them (like safety related stuff), and we’ve never had the problem with regular caregiving because she’s simply not in a position to do so, so I’ve been able to let it go as “occasional grandma spoiling”. But yeah — I echo everyone else. There’s a difference between “regular caregiver” who follows the schedule / rules, and “grandma spoiling” and if she wants the latter, then she can’t be the… Read more »

MR
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MR

In a way, she totally gave you an out when she sent that email. Now you can simply say, “I heard you loud and clear that you want to be the fun Grandma, and I am glad the kids get that in you. But what I need while at work is a caregiver, not a fun Grandma, so I have made other arrangements.” If she protests, “nope, I’m just doing what you wanted.” End of discussion.

z
Guest
z

Maybe she doesn’t feel capable to manage their responses when they hear “no.”  If you’re not ready to confront her on this, maybe you could try coaching her on what you’ve found to be most effective, and reassuring her that they really do get over being disciplined pretty quickly.  

K
Guest
K

As a mother-in-law with 2 sweet grandchildren, I would just LOVE one time to hear that some young woman appreciates her mother-in-law and understands that grandma wants the best for the grandchildren while having a great relationship with the kids and the daughter-in-law. And that maybe the daughter-in-law can understand that there’s a huge difference in how we raised our babies just a generation ago, and yes, our children did just fine! Sorry, but it seems like we spend a lot of time bashing mothers-in-law…makes me regret some of the things I said about my own. 🙂 ********** From Isabel:… Read more »

Jaime
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Jaime

Hi K, I’m gonna rock your world! 🙂 To begin, I LOVE my MIL. Seriously and without sarcasm, I LOVE my MIL. She is amazing, sweet, thoughtful, smart, and in many ways has been a better Mother to me in the almost 10 years I’ve known her than my own Mother was to me my whole life. She has accepted me as her own and (trying not to cry right now) I am VERY blessed to have her. I tell people that half the reason I married my husband was for his parents, half-jokingly (but only half lol).  They are… Read more »

N
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N

K, my mother and grandmother get along FANTASTICALLY. I’m getting married soon, and when I went dress shopping, they flew across the country to visit me. I couldn’t take time off during the days to see them, so they spent three work days with each other the entire time, and the rest of the time they were still together, just with my fiance and I. They shared a house for about nine months when I was an infant because my parents were dealing with an eminent domain legal mess. Good in-law relationships DO exist, and we grandkids can tell and… Read more »

Hillary
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Hillary

I’m going to come down on the other side of most of the people here and suggest you think very hard about the ramifications of how you deal with this situation. While there are many examples of how your MIL has undermined you, only the PB suggests she put your kids in danger, and she’s been watching them for YEARS. Which means that a lot of the time you’ve trusted her to watch them and be a responsible caregiver. Totally pulling out of your current caregiving situation seems really harsh and hurtful. This is your MIL, your family, someone who… Read more »

Arlene
Guest
Arlene

You are missing the point. You said you raised your babies, so why not let DIL raise hers? DILs don’t have problems with inviting extended family into their lives, DILs have problems with extended family members not RESPECTING their wishes as a family raising kids. The bottom line is that it’s not up to you. It just isn’t. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it.

Dayna
Guest
Dayna

I’m with Hillary in thinking that the reactions here in the comments seem really, really harsh and colored by personal experiences that may be much worse than what the OP has outlined. I would have a sit-down with Grandma. Tell her how much you appreciate the relationship. Tell her that you have gone out of your way to drive the boys to her house each week. Tell her that you want the boys to always have a relationship with her. And then tell her that you feel undermined when she ignores your requests and that it hurts you and concerns… Read more »

Meg
Guest
Meg

Haven’t ready anything beyond the first letter and OH MY HEAD THAT WOMAN. I had a similar situation during a long period of nap struggles. “I didn’t to fight her to take a nap, just put her to bed at 4 if she’s tired!” Oh sure, that works with our home schedule. “I didn’t think giving a graham cracker would be a big deal, you’re all wheat *intolerant,* not *allergic.*” Ahem. I feel your pain and I will go back and read what everyone says after this but dude. She can either be responsible and occasionally play the heavy on… Read more »

Lee
Guest
Lee

I’m on the more wishy-washy side of telling grandma this is a problem, too.  I would definitely talk to her, but gently.  First of all, any caregiver is going to do things differently than you would.  It sounds like you have a more comfortable arrangement with the preschool, but there must be things they do that aren’t what you would do.  Second, the grandmother relationship is special, and I think it deserves more leniency and different expectations.  I hear the MIL poster above, and it’s true that there’s more than one good way to raise a child, and that most… Read more »

professormama
Guest
professormama

We all have a limit, everyone’s is different. My parents, and I think most grandparents do things that we newer parents (as in I’ve been a parent for 7 years, my parents have been for 34 years) can criticize and be annoyed by. But we need to be able to make decisions for OUR kids, and if our parents won’t respect them, then it’s up to us to decide what to do.   For me, the diaper thing is CRAZY, and really selfish on the Grandma’s part, asking a toilet training child to crap themselves is just confusing and cruel.… Read more »

Jess
Guest

I get how much it sucks to feel undermined as a parent, especially by someone that you have something of an awkward relationship with (the whole in-law thing is fraught, it just is). And yes, your kiddos need consistency, and boundaries. And yes, it is uncool for your MIL to not just GIVE you that because, well, duh. All that said, I think that it’s important to maintain perspective: you have a MIL who LOVES your children, and wants to be with them. She wants to give them good memories and experiences, and for them to feel spoiled and loved… Read more »

Meg in VT
Guest
Meg in VT

So I rarely comment, but am an avid reader and usually agree so wholeheartedly with the advice given here. I have to weigh in here, however, and disagree a bit. Even as someone who cares a great deal about the details of my kids lives, I think you are taking things a bit too hard. Also as someone who is potty-training a 2-year-old, the diaper issue is not a real deal breaker. One day in a diaper at Grandma’s house is probably not going to set your son back — potty training is not a continuum and you’ll have ups… Read more »

ECT
Guest
ECT

I agree with the last commenter who said she rarely disagrees with the advice here… but I do disagree a bit here too. I think the original poster is SO lucky to have a grandmother so willing to take care of her grandchildren, and willing to provide such regular childcare.  So few grandparents are willing to do that, and it sounds like your boys really love her and have a real relationship with her.  In the big picture of their lives, I truly think that’s more important than feeling “undermined” on a few issues.  The peanut butter I totally get,… Read more »

Liz
Guest

I’m thinking that your husband needs to tell his mom just what the deal breakers are for you both. Like following diet restrictions. And maybe he can take over pickup and drop off. And maybe really ask her if having the kids every week is too much?

Amanda
Guest
Amanda

What a horrid situation. Yes she stepped over the line, and yes it’s going to be difficult to solve it pleasantly if she doesn’t even think she’s done wrong. All I can think is – I’m so glad I stayed firm, and insisted on daycare every working day rather than agreeing to my MIL looking after him for 1 day a week. I make sure she gets time with him every week, just with us all as a family, not alone – because I don’t like the way she deals with my SIL’s kids. I’ve argued with MIL before, and… Read more »

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

My mother-in-law thinks I’m a little silly for all my “rules” about the kids, but she does her best to follow them.  They live far away, so it’s hardly ever an issue, and I think she appreciates knowing that I care so much about the kids and she knows they aren’t out playing in the street 😉 As the mother of three little boys, I am already getting worried for the day when they grow up and get married.  What if their future wives are elective c-section, formula feeding by choice, cry-it-out type of parents?  Then when I start talking… Read more »

Karen
Guest
Karen

I can see where M is coming from, but it seems to me like she’s over-reacting. On the peanut-butter issue, though, if she told her MIL not to give it, I’d politely but firmly tell her that the daycare arrangement has to end if she defies your PEDIATRICIAN’s advice. Like back-sleeping for babies, it’s a health issue, and regardless of her own opinion, she needs to respect medical advice. On potty-training a 2-yo boy though, I think M should really reconsider whether it’s an issue worth confronting Grandma over. If she’s still putting him in a pull-up when he’s 4,… Read more »

AmyRenee
Guest
AmyRenee

Is it possible that the “fun grandma” email is trying to tell you (either consciously or unconsciously) that she’s not up for being a full day a week caregiver for 2 energetic boys? After all, that’s quite different from 1 infant, which was the arrangement she started with. Potty training & following rule are not the same as cuddling & rocking a baby. We’ve had similar issues with my MIL not enforcing our rules – she NEVER says no and my son comes home a complete brat after spending extended time with her – one time when we were there… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I don’t think M is overreacting at all. She obviously values her kids’ relationship with Grandma. This isn’t about peanut butter or diapers – it’s about RESPECT. Grandma needs to respect mom and dad’s wishes whether she agrees with them or not. She needs to understand that no one is saying that she did things wrong when she raised HER kids, but everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to THESE kids or this arrangement is just not going to work. I think M and her husband need to it sit down and have a talk… Read more »

Carrie
Guest
Carrie

I know it can be hard when someone watching your child parents differently than you but this all seems harsh. I currently because of divorce live with my parents. I depend on them to get my daughter to daycare and pick her up because of my schedule. My dad lets my 3 year old watch more tv than I do, my mom is a complete disruption to her bedtime routine at least once a week and sometimes I make a healthy dinner to find out it was replaced with ice cream. My parents have undermined me in small things in… Read more »

Bananna
Guest
Bananna

I have been lucky enough for my parents to be able to provide nearly full-time childcare to my two children, now 6 and almost 2. It has been wonderful for all of us — the grandparents get to have a very close relationship with the kids, the kids get to spend time with people who love them to pieces, and it has saved us boatloads of money. That being said, I put up with way more than I would tolerate from a paid caregiver… but it is totally worth it in the end. Here’s the thing – the kids understand… Read more »

AE
Guest
AE

From a very young age we explained to our children that Granny & Gramps’ house was their “special happy place”. The things they were allowed to do, eat and say were NOT allowed anywhere else. Once they understood this principle, the after visit fall out was minimized.

Athena
Guest
Athena

I know my nana definitely did this with me… in particular, never ever saying no or disciplining me. That is, right up until the time she told me not to touch her sewing pattern and came back to it cut up into tiny little pieces because when nana says no, it doesn’t mean a damn thing.

After that, she decided maybe always being happy fun time nana wasn’t such a great idea… XD She was still always convinced my parents starved me, though… along with basically anything else under their care that needed to eat.

Dayna
Guest
Dayna

So my daughter who just turned 8…never really had a problem sleeping in her own bed from birth on, she occasionally slept with me maybe once every month or two just cause she wanted to. She was sleeping with her grandma on when she stayed over nightweekends (I didn’t like it but in my mind it was only because there wasn’t really anywhere else to sleep. During the week she would sleep in her own bed at my house. Well I moved in with her grandma recently because I needed someone to watch her while I work 2nd shift. My… Read more »

john
Guest
john

I also suffer this syndrome. My mil has a complete mental melt down if my 5 year old cries so discipline when she is around is tough because we know 2 people are going to be upset. Once while living with them temporarily we were trying to get my daughter to take a bath and she was resisting. We finally got her in the tub but not without some tears for a few minutes. My MIL freaked out and left her own house and slept in her car all night because she didnt like seeing her cry.. this went on… Read more »

becky
Guest
becky

I must say,… my dear ,dear,Italian (best friend) says when your daughter gets married and has kids ,you take the back seat in another words,  its their kids, and in saying that my daughter and son-in law absolutely allow me to say things,do things even disagree sometimes with them and they say “I’m grandma” and grandmas are always good for children” my daughter says “mom my friends have faults and things I don’t agree with and I allow them to talk, “why wouldn’t i let my mom,”& dad”.. all I can say is young ladies and gents you will one… Read more »

Jack
Guest
Jack

Wait how much are you paying? You get what you pay for. If you want free babysitting you’re going to have to put up with that.

If you pay then perhaps you can be a little demanding.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Something MIL should think long and hard about. I had a similar problem with my mother, not my MIL. In the end, the only solution became clear. We moved across the state and don’t have to deal with it anymore. She visits once in a great while. I make sure it doesn’t happen too often. I love my mother, but she will not undermine my parenting.  The day she gave my 11 month old son regular milk against my wishes was the beginning of the end. She just casually blew off my telling her not to. Then, she took him… Read more »

J
Guest
J

I do not feel the orginal poster is overreacting at all. This Grandmother is in the care provider position. That means you have to be able to tell the child no and follow the parents rules. There is clearly a lack of respect for the parents here. The diaper thing would be a big deal to me. Kids need consistency When they are potty training. So it would be in the child’s best intrest that grandma stay consistent with the parents. When a parents ask you to not feed their child something you don’t feed it to the child. This… Read more »

maggie
Guest
maggie

I am very alarmed at all the responses here. While I agree in laws should try to abide by your instructions as a guide, people need to also keep in mind it is her home and she may not like being told how to behave I,het own home. It should also be pointed out that we grandparents were taught how to care for our children too. Just because somewhere along the way someone changed all the rules is not fair to anyone. We were taught to put our babies on their tummies now they say to not do that. It… Read more »

maggie
Guest
maggie

I also eventually quit the Mommy and Me because I couldn’t stand what they were teaching the young mother’s. It went against everything I learned as a mother and I hated feeling like a terrible mother because I did what was taught back then. They teach such stupid things now and the potty training we didn’t have pull ups we had real pants and we taught our kids and they did just fine. Peanut butter seems to be a big deal but We never worried about it and our kids are fine. We gave our kids milk instead of all… Read more »

Patricia
Guest
Patricia

I think you all are selfish. And grandparents are there for you. But now your finished with grandmother so don’t come back every weekend and when you want to go out of town. Or when your kid turns 10 and rebel.

Patricia
Guest
Patricia

It’s very painful when your son has 2 baby mothers. The 6 ur old has been with me since he was little. The new mom has my other 2 grandsons. When I speak to either one of them im punished and not allowed to see them. I cry and cry about my grandson who is 6. But now baby mom #1 has a new life and is keeping him from sin who pays child support and me the grandmother. I do spoil but I have always tried to do what my daughter in law and ex daughter in law so… Read more »

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

If you can let it go. You, I think know the answer. You want to be kind to granny. Children can cope with different rules on different households. Far better that she leaves you to potty train.. Far better that she is trying to give them a fun day.. Imagine the other extreme where the discipline being handed out was too harsh? That would be awful. I think on diet stuff you can say something and ask her to stick to your rules she will I hope always tell you when she has broken those rules and that is better… Read more »

Rae
Guest
Rae

The number of entitled, sniveling grandparents in this comment section is legitimately terrifying.

Not your child, not your decisions to make. Lose the control issues. I hear therapy helps.

Joan Michaels
Guest
Joan Michaels

Holy Cow! Lighten up on Grandma! Until you are one, unhinge just a bit. I’m a grandma of 2 beautiful little girls and take care of them quite a bit. So does the other grandma. My own daughter is relentless with the instructions to the point where both me and her mother in law finally had to say, “maybe you should go pay for daycare and drop your babies off to them with your mile long instruction list and see how that works out for you”, let alone a daycare giver will not love your babies like grandma does. Your… Read more »

Joan Michaels
Guest
Joan Michaels

Holy Cow! Lighten up on Grandma! Until you are one, unhinge just a bit. I’m a grandma of 2 beautiful little girls and take care of them quite a bit. So does the other grandma. My own daughter is relentless with the instructions to the point where both me and her mother in law finally had to say, “maybe you should go pay for daycare and drop your babies off to them with your mile long instruction list and see how that works out for you, let alone a daycare giver will not love your babies like grandma does. Your… Read more »