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Taking care of your baby isn’t all there is to be a parent. There are other aspects to it, such as managing influences from relatives like siblings, cousins, in-laws (mother-in-law and father-in-law), uncles, aunts, and sometimes even friends.
There are times these influences and attention to your baby may start becoming meddlesome and overbearing even when they are well-meant. What do you do in such a scenario? Often, these influences tend to come from the mother-in-law due to the maternal instinct of mothers to protect and care for young ones.
Knowing how to manage situations like this is a skill that every mother should acquire to avoid unnecessary scruffles while maintaining a peaceful environment for the growth and development of the baby.
We bring to you today different common scenarios that may arise about the mother-in-law, baby and the mother relationship and how to handle such situations as a mother.
Mother-in-law wants to babysit. Should I allow her?
Letting your mother-in-law babysit comes down to what you want as the mother. If you are not comfortable with her babysitting for you, maybe due to one reason or the other, you shouldn’t let her. However, in doing so, you should bear in mind that your priority as a mother is what is best for your baby in the long run. If babysitting for you doesn’t in any way make you or the baby uncomfortable, you should go ahead and let her. In most cases, your mother-in-law would want what is best for the overall growth and development of the baby. After all, she probably babysat the father of your baby, and he did turn out good, didn’t he?
My mother-in-law is obsessed with my child. What should I do?
Ok, no cause for panic yet. There is probably more to this. It would help if you understood that this is perhaps her way of showing her affection to the child and letting herself feel she is an integral part of the family, howbeit she might be going about it the wrong way. So it would help if you established boundaries. Talk her into knowing that you’re responsible for the well-being of your child and that you’d appreciate it if she asked before doing certain things for the baby. You could go like this ” mum, I understand that you care for the child a lot, but it makes me feel I am not caring enough for my baby the way I would want to. It would mean so much to me if you would ask me before you take the baby for a walk with you or before you feed him dinner”. This should do it.
If the obsession continues, then you probably should speak to your husband concerning this. That should definitely sort it out.
My mother-in-law is trying to raise my baby. How do I stop her?
Is there something she’s noticing about you concerning your baby that maybe you just have considered yet? Is it that perhaps you don’t give your baby adequate attention as it should be? Possibly due to your tight schedule? If that is the case, you would have to make more chance for your baby. We understand that these days, you might need to juggle your work or other things with taking care of your baby. So it’s good you put that into consideration.
However, if it’s not so, you would need to stamp your foot down and let your mother-in-law know that you don’t want that. You can do this subtly by always being around for your baby. When the baby cries or seems uncomfortable, try as much as possible to be there for him/her. When it is time to bathe the baby or feed him/her, be available. Yes, it might seem a little extreme, but by doing this, you’re passing across a subtle message without even as much as saying a word. She should get the message.
My mother-in-law is intrusive. How do I handle it?
There are times care and affection for a baby by the mother-in-law tend to cross the boundary. This can very well affect the overall development of the child. This is what you don’t want as a mother since you’re responsible for how your child turns out in the long run. Like said above, you need to set boundaries. Let your mother-in-law know politely what you will tolerate and what is a ” no-no” for you. It is also vital that your husband is involved in this. Let him understand how you feel about his meddlesome mother. If she doesn’t get the message after this, maybe you should start considering limiting her time with your baby.
My mother-in-law wants always to hold the baby. What do I do?
It is not entirely unusual for a mother-in-law to always want to hold a baby, except if she becomes over possessive with the baby. If this is the case, then with a bit of mutual understanding with your mother-in-law, it can be sorted out. Speak to your mother-in-law about this; that there are times you feel your baby just be left alone, or you would want to hold your baby and bond with him/her. Also, make sure that she understands that you appreciate her affection for your baby even though you feel it is getting in the way of what you would like for your baby.
My mother-in-law thinks my baby is hers. How do I prove her wrong?
This where you have to increase the attention you give to your child and also the time you spend with your baby. It means that you try as much as possible to be there for your baby and attend to his/her needs. This should get your mother-in-law to back off.
My mother-in-law is overbearing with my new baby. What should I do?
Again, this scenario is often expected. Speak to her politely about this and ensure she understands how uncomfortable you are with her overbearing attitude towards your baby. Tell her you would love her to give you a chance to be the mother of your baby the way you would like to. Also, let her know that you’d appreciate her care for the baby if she does that with permission from you most times.
When dealing with mother-in-law and her behavior towards you and your baby, what is required is communication and action. Your communication with your mother-in-law and action towards your baby should be considered paramount. Following the suggestions outlined above will significantly enhance the relationship between you, your mother-in-law, and your baby.