Having to deal with two mothers-in-law isn’t always gleeful
DEAR ANNIE: I am a 29-year-old married woman with a 14-month-old son. My husband and I live one hour away from his father and stepmother, “Gladys,” and two hours away from my parents. We all get along great.
When I decided to go back to work, both my mother and Gladys volunteered to watch my son two days apiece. I pay a neighbor to watch him the remaining day, especially since she has two kids of her own and I want my son to have some socialization. It’s a perfect setup, and everyone is happy except for my husband’s mother, who lives in another state. She is furious that I allow Gladys to watch my son, stating that she is “not related” and “not really his grandma” and that “she will never love him like a real grandma should.”
My mother-in-law wants me to have the neighbor watch my son for the two days Gladys is now taking, and she even offered to pay my neighbor so it would not come out of my pocket.
My husband has a close relationship with his mother and a polite one with Gladys. (His mother never allowed him to get close to his stepmother, even though she didn’t come into the picture until years after the divorce.) He’s on the fence about this arrangement. But, Annie, I love Gladys. She is a retired kindergarten teacher who is wonderful with my son.
My MIL is giving me a headache over this. I always thought we had a good relationship and her demands really blindsided me. Now she’s angry that I have allowed Gladys to have a relationship with our son altogether. I haven’t mentioned any of this to Gladys, but I’m sure she’d be heartbroken. She truly loves our son and he loves her. What should I do? — Caught Between Two MILs
Dear Caught: Shame on your mother-in-law for being so jealous and bitter that she would interfere in your childrearing decisions and prevent your son from having a loving relationship with Gladys. We hope your husband has the gumption to tell his mother that these are not her decisions to make, and that if she cannot accept your child’s relationship with Gladys, she could benefit from counseling. Enough already.