This one is a real roller coaster of emotions! For a decade, OP (the original poster) enjoyed a smooth relationship with her husband, cherishing the close-knit bond he shared with his family. The plot twist came when OP found herself with child, transforming her usually loving mother-in-law into an overbearing nightmare! Is her mother-in-law baby crazy, or just regular crazy? Buckle up, and read more to find out!
A Perfect Family Life Takes a Sharp Turn
OP admired her spouse’s close bond with his family.
But when she announced her pregnancy, the dynamic drastically shifted.
Her mother-in-law’s behavior quickly transformed from loving to worryingly over-involved.
When Help Isn’t as Helpful as It Seems
Unasked-for involvement started to creep in as OP’s mother-in-law said she wanted to switch to part-time work so she could help OP and her husband care for the newborn on the daily.
But OP never asked her to do something like that!
She was appreciative of her mother-in-laws generous offer of free childcare, but the idea of her mother-in-law taking such drastic steps unprompted left her terribly uneasy.
A Well-Intentioned Offer or a Ticking Time Bomb?
What started as a kind-hearted offer quickly escalated into a stress-inducing ordeal.
OP felt the need to set boundaries, so that’s exactly what she did.
She Had a Heart-To-Heart
She sat her mother-in-law down and told her that, while she was incredibly grateful for the offer, it was way too soon for her to be making career changes like that.
OP didn’t even know what her own life was going to be like after giving birth!
It Was Like She Didn’t Hear a Word
But her mother-in-law completely ignored OP’s request to back off. In fact, it was like she never even heard it in the first place!
She plowed on with her part-time application process. Her rationale? She thought it was necessary for her to be there for the baby.
Who’s in Charge Here Anyway?
OP is totally disconcerted, because it almost feels like her mother-in-law wants to become a third parent!
An Unwanted Upgrade to VIP Status
OP was used to manageable interactions with her mother-in-law, but now found herself barraged by multiple calls and unexpected visits every day!
Their once sporadic, comfortable conversations had turned into a constant barrage of attention.
The Unanticipated Nursery Invasion
It got to the point where OP half expected to come home to find her mother-in-law decorating the nursery uninvited.
The thought of an uninvited and unapproved interior decoration marathon wasn’t too far-fetched given the recent turn of events.
No More Nice Girl?
Despite her best intentions, OP began to question whether just being assertive was her only option.
Should she resort to stern words or even more drastic measures to reclaim her space and her family’s dynamics?
Pushing Back Just a Little
OP reflects that she’s had boundary-setting conversations several times with her mother-in-law.
Each time, she felt like she made it perfectly clear that her mother-in-law was doing too much, too fast, and that she was putting too much pressure on OP and her husband.
Cry for Help
But each time she has one of those conversations, her mother-in-law agrees to everything and then keeps acting like they never had the conversation at all!
OP doesn’t want to be mean and she doesn’t want to upset her mother-in-law, but she’s started to think that might be her only option.
The Balancing Act of Love and Limits
Navigating this tumultuous situation without causing familial rifts iand preserving her sanity is going to be significant challenge.
Advice From the Ether
Many people answered OP’s call for help and advice. This problem was not unique to her and the outpouring or dire warnings of rabies and overbearing parents echoed across the internet.
Here’s what some of the best comments were:
In the Same Boat
“Careful, OP, or you’re going to end up with a third parent in the mix. This will strain your relationship with your MIL and likely your husband as well.”
A Call to Be More Firm
“Nice has no relevance. You’re telling her something she doesn’t want to hear. She’s going to be upset no matter how you say it. Be firm and direct. Do not change your work schedule. We do not need frequent or consistent child care. We have it covered. If you give someone like that an inch they will take a mile. My Mil tried and got shut down hard and fast.”
“Mine had complete and total baby rabies! We had no real relationship before and she isn’t close with my husband either, so she couldn’t outright say the things she wanted to – but she kept saying she wanted to work less and then saying how she wanted to move to our neighborhood. Both things we just ignored. When the baby came she became so overbearing and critical that I’ve stopped having a relationship or communicating with her at all, and I’m now contemplating NC for me and baby. Please nip this in the bud right now! If she comes over, be unavailable – don’t let her just pop in. Don’t open the door. Open and say now is not a good time. Stress that you don’t want childcare from anyone and that you want to bond with your child everyday – say it like a mama bear “I just want my baby all to myself” mark your territory now. It’s only going to get much much worse!”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.