Sasha Answers: House-jacking mother-in-law
Hi Sasha, My friend needs serious help and I am very concerned. My friend just gave birth to her first child. A few months before the birth, her and her husband moved into a new home. Everything was falling into place as planned. However, once they moved in, her mother-in-law, along with the father-in-law, started coming over whenever they felt like it, with guests, to have informal parties. She treats the house as if it is her own, with no regard for boundaries. My friend's husband sees that she can be overbearing, but he doesn't put his foot down as my friend would like, and he says he feels caught in the middle. Now that she has given birth, the mother-in-law has come over to the house, sometimes with friends, every single day and stays very late. She also now started making comments about how young people don't know how to take care of babies and tries to enforce her parenting style; once by waking the baby up after it had just fallen asleep! Did I mention the baby is ONE WEEK old!?
Do you remember this article? Well, I heard back from the reader over the Christmas break and while her MIL is still doling out unsolicited annoying advice here and there, the boundaries I asked her to put in place gave her the confidence to set the tone for their relationship. So M, if your friend wants to fix her problem too then she needs to get on the don’t-fuck-with-me program as well.
There’s no denying that this MIL is bonkers for what she is doing. I have no idea why she thinks any of it's okay, but dude, it’s not like anyone is telling her it’s NOT okay. So someone needs to man the hell up and in my opinion, that's the husband. It’s time for him to stand united with his wife, yank his thumb out of his mouth, and set some f-cking house rules with HIS mom. For example: 1) She can’t come over unannounced, 2) She can’t treat the house like an after-hours club, and 3) She can’t unleash snide parenting advice.
Now the trick here is to deliver this one-two punch with some love. I know you might not think this woman deserves it, but she’s still the grandmother and needs to play a big part in the child’s life. So it’s important to reassure her that she’s not being closed out, but that as a couple they need space to focus on their new family and that she needs to respect that.
Thanks for writing in and keep me posted on how this all pans out for your friend, even though I think you’re the “friend” (wink) xx