0-1 YEAR OLD
Watch what you say about parenting to your mum-in-law.
DON’T SAY “I’m the baby’s mother, not you.”
Okay, Grandma can become over-excited such that she behaves as though your baby is hers. But that’s just because she is carried away with the moment, and she remembers what it was like when her ﬁrst child was born. It’s better if you say: “I’d like to try things my way because I have so much to learn.”
DON’T SAY “That’s too old-fashioned; we do things differently nowadays.”
Of course, there are trends in baby care, just as in other areas of life. Instead of reminding your mum-in-law about her advancing years, explain there are now different opportunities, methods and equipment for parents.
DON’T SAY “You are visiting us too often, and we need some time to ourselves.”
You need time to adjust to your new family structure and you may ﬁnd that Grandma’s frequent visits are intrusive.
To avoid possible confrontation, explain: “Your visits are very helpful but sometimes I need to learn how to do things by myself.”
DON’T SAY “You don’t understand how much my baby’s crying upsets me.”
She understands – because she felt the same when she was a new mum with a young child. Try to learn from her by consulting her on the strategies she used to cope when her baby sobbed uncontrollably.
DON’T SAY “You are buying so much, you are spoiling him.”
She does this because she loves your newborn. Your mum-in-law demonstrates her care and concern by giving him lots of presents, and she enjoys spoiling him. To manage her gifting more effectively, show her all the fabulous clothes and toys he has, so she’ll see he has plenty.
DON’T SAY “I don’t think he needs to see you every single day.”
The problem is, Grandma disagrees and she is convinced her daily visits are crucial to his development and welfare. You can sidestep this by telling her you will be out all day tomorrow because you are visiting a friend.
DON’T SAY “You need to get a life of your own.”
For many mums-in-law, spending time with their new grandchild is much more important than all other social and leisure activities. Grandmotherhood is their new role. Consider saying: “I’m worried we are taking up so much of your time lately. I think it is important for you to keep meeting your friends.”
DON’T SAY “My baby is much more settled when you’re not here. You get him over-excited.”
Grandma’s enthusiasm can make your baby very hyper, and this may be very disruptive for him, even though this is well-intentioned. So when your mum-in-law starts to get him all worked up, tell her you’d like to keep him settled because he needs to sleep.
DON’T SAY “I’ve noticed he prefers his other grandma.”
There is no way back from that statement (even if it is true). If your little one seems to have a favourite grandma – you can tell by the different way he responds to each of them – it’s best to keep that information to yourself. You gain no beneﬁt by sharing it.
DON’T SAY “I’m bringing my baby up differently from the way you brought your son up.”
You must decide how to parent your baby, raise him and develop his full potential. Even if you may well disapprove of some of your mum-in-law’s parenting ideas, you don’t need to tell her so explicitly. Just be the parents you want to be.
For many mums-in-law, grandmotherhood is much more important than all other social and leisure activities.