All pregnant women know that unsolicited advice about how best to raise your child can be frustrating, especially when it comes from your own family.
Now one mother-to-be has asked other parents on Mumsnet how to deal with her “overbearing” mother-in-law, who is constantly critiquing her choices and driving her “nuts”, with remarks about everything from breastfeeding to birth plans.
The anonymous woman, who is currently 35 weeks pregnant, explained that her partner’s 60-year-old mother was a former NCT counsellor and has five children of her own (the youngest is 19), which she believes makes her “the only woman who can mother successfully”.
She wrote: “She really rules the roost. She adores being the matriarch.”
Although the “judgemental” comments have been going on throughout the pregnancy, the latest incident (which spurred her to share her story online) occurred at the weekend when the she was quizzed about her plans for the birth.
“Lots of eye-rolling at my preference to go to the midwife unit and not the hospital and she said that water births are for hippies,” the mum wrote.
The mother-in-law also offered to teach her how to breastfeed: “I can’t imagine anything worse.”
The soon-to-be grandmother is also reportedly “obsessed with birth weights” and says that heavier babies will be “more successful” as they grow up. Not to mention, that because the new parent and her sister were small babies, that their own mother had it “easy”, which she objected to.
The poster said: “I just feel like she’s judging me the whole time... I’m left floundering at her snipey comments.”
While all the parents agreed that comments from other people are frustrating, there was mixed advice on how best to deal with it.
One said: “If she offers helpful advice, engage with her about it. When she makes negative comments, just laugh and tell her how funny she is. Or say how things are different these days. Or remind her that it’s your baby, not hers.”
“Wow. You’re going to have to put your self first here. She’s had her turn, now it’s your turn. Be adamant,” said another.
Some feared that this could just be the beginning: “Watch out ... she is going to get much worse, by the sounds of it. I predict she will take over, ignore your instructions and preferences, you’ll end up having to get your DH [dear husband] to tell her to f*** off, unless you do it now. Good luck.”
Another was less sympathetic, saying: “You will get a lot of unsolicited advice about pregnancy, birth, child rearing etc. The best thing to do is learn to smile and nod. Remember, she is making conversation on a subject she has assumed you will be interested in at present.”
And another simply said: “Is this her first grandchild? If so I would be bribing any sister-in-laws to get knocked up ASAP to take some of the strain. In the meantime you are going to have to be really firm with her.”