Sasha Answers: Will my mother-in-law steal my baby?
Sasha, My kid is due in 4 days (planned & medically necessary c-section). I am not worried about the OP. However, I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night (like,now) and my mind races - so much so that I can't easily get back to sleep. Because I'm obsessed with my mother in law. Specifically, with an image of her rubbing my tummy and squealing "myyyy babyyyy!" EVERY CHANCE SHE GETS.
There are underlying issues. I resent her for being needy, using her living alone as a crutch, refusing to achieve simple tasks like driving herself places (she can drive) and not, for example, being able to pump her own gas or pay her own bills. She's not sick or incompetent; she just wants an inordinate amount of attention from her (3) adult, married children. As in, daily phone calls, multi-weekly visits. All while being kind of a horrible, selfish mom to them.
I'm fake nice to her, for my husband's sake and for my general sanity. But back to the issue: "When is MY BABY coming?" "OOH, you mean MY BABY is coming earlier than we thought?!" "Oh I can't wait to meet MY BABY!" Add tummy rubbing and a really high pitch.
Look, it creeps me the f*ck out. She is not reading my blatant, icy stares, and gentle reminders by her kids/me/anyone that this is not her kid just isn't getting through to her. Tell me what to do. Time is of the essence.
I think we can all agree that your hormones are majorly peaking right now and coupled with the lack of sleep, you’ve gone a bit mental. It’s all cool but I just wanted to put that out there. Now wait, wait, wait, I’m not saying that your MIL isn’t totally annoying but letting her voice spiral in your head 24/7 isn’t doing any good. So let’s get to the bottom of what’s really going on and how to actually deal with it.
If you look beyond the gross belly touching and the “my baby” stuff, the fear is that you don’t want her to control your child like she controls and manipulates everyone else, right? I think this is something a lot of first time mothers feel. YOU want to know what’s best and any sort of “help” or unwarranted advice is not only irritating but it ends up feeling like criticism.
I think it’s important to establish some ground rules early on so that these power struggles don’t f-ck up this really amazing time in your life. For example, making sure that she calls to check if she can come for a visit, or when the baby’s asleep asking her not to wake him/her up -- these are the things that politely and firmly assert who’s in charge. I also think it’s important for you to have a conversation with your husband to ensure that he has your back and sets some limits for his mother.
Look, she’s going to do some annoying things, even the loveliest of mother-in-law’s do, but right now nothing all that bad has happened and sh-t, you never know, this baby could actually even soften the woman up a bit. The bottom line is that everyone’s just really excited so instead of stressing yourself out over things that haven’t even happened, enjoy this time and concentrate on the most important thing which is that a human being is about to come out your f-cking body.
Hope this helps and keep me posted! And for all you out there keep your LIFE + STYLE questions coming to me at firstname.lastname@example.org