Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !
I am writing this post as I am at my wits end and have had no luck trying to get my in-laws to respect boundaries. I will put in as much information as I can in this thread so that everyone can have a clear picture of what's happening before they start giving advise / tips.
My husband and I have been married for 7 years and been together for 9. We have a 1 year old daughter together. My main issue at the moment is my in-laws. I just don't know how to get the message across to them that they need to respect boundaries and my wishes.
Just to give a bit of history, my husband is the oldest of 2 boys. When I first met him at Uni, it seemed odd to me that his parents were very heavily involved in his life. I didn't think much of it then - maybe I should have. When we got married and we had problems i.e financial - his parents would always step in and assist. I was very uncomfortable with this but when I would say something, my husband would point out that I was being ungrateful.
My husband's health is not fantastic and there was a time when we were living in 2 different cities because of work and he fell really sick and had to be taken to hospital. He was in the ICU for a couple of days. He didn't ring me but rang his parents. my Mother in law (MIL) was the one who drove down to where he was and took him to hospital and her and my father in law (FIL) kept this from me because I had important commitments at work. I was in an absolute panic because I'd been trying to get ahold of my husband for 24 hours and had no idea what had happened. Finally I rang my FIL and got it out of him and he cant keep secrets. I was so mad at them that I didn't speak to them for months.
Soon after this happened, I fell pregnant. our daughter would be the first grandchild on both sides. During my pregnancy I took my in-laws on a couple of events baby-related (scans, shopping). at this stage, I was still mad at them but thought it would be best to let bygones by bygones. When I first took my MIL and FIL with me to the baby shop, I was looking at bottles and my MIL said "you don't want to look at bottles. Bottles are bad for your baby. you don't want to think about bottles for at least the first year". She breastfed her boys for a long time so she's a snob and know-it-all when it comes to this. The whole family looks down on women who cant breastfeed and regards them as failures. I really hate that ! I didn't know if I was going to be successful at breastfeeding so I said to her that I would decide which option was best for me, thank you very much. when I told my husband about this, he agreed with her and said that breastfeeding was the way to go.
That aside, my husband and I always said that when it came to naming our children, he would pick the first name and I would pick the middle. I am Asian so I gave our daughter my grandmother's name as her middle name. When my husband told my MIL this, she told my husband to get me to change my name choice because "kids would make fun of my child at school". When my husband replayed that conversation back to me, I was so mad that I told him that I was never going to change my choice of name. What business is this of hers anyway ? Am I wrong in thinking this way ? My husband initially contemplated giving our child both her grandmothers names as her middle names so i'm not sure if this is the reason why she reacted the way she did.
After my daughter was born, I had my parents come visit (they live overseas and I see them once or twice a year). After they left, my husband insisted that I go stay at his parents place (they lived 4 hours away from us at the time) so that they "could help us" as we were both first time parents. Boy was that a big mistake! my husband was a very nervous anxious parent, as was I. the entire time we were there, she would hover around my husband so that he wouldn't get a chance to bath, change nappies, carry baby, rock her to sleep. he probably preferred that because he was so nervous ! She wouldn't do it to me as I told her to politely to back off as I was a first time mum and needed to figure things out for myself when my husband would eventually go back to work. if I had to have a shower and gave the baby to hubby, it would be MIL carrying her when I got out of the shower. Everytime my husband had to change nappies, she would hover and stand next to him and give him instructions. if he showed any nervousness, she would just take over and do it for him ! same for changing clothes and carrying baby ! It got to the point where I would go and stand next to him so that she would stay away and let us FIGURE THIS OUT OURSELVES.
my husband had really bad reflux as a child and still suffers reflux as an adult. I know that my baby DIDN'T have reflux. But everytime my baby made a noise, she would comment that my baby was "unhappy, unsettled, something isn't agreeing with her" which would send my husband into an ABSOLUTE PANIC. I told her to cut it out and she told me in private that she would but she NEVER did. This continued for MONTHS and everytime my baby threw up or spat up, my husband would make me stop whatever I was doing and give the baby a breastfeed because according to my MIL, that would "soothe my baby's burning throat and the milk would wash it all down". my midwife and GP laughed when I told them what happened and they would say to me that my child showed ZERO signs of reflux.
my MIL actually said to me that I never go to her for advice and that I take advice from "random people" and my response to her was that I choose to take advice from my GP and my midwife whom I regard as experienced professionals in their field. I also had to tell her that I would never go to her for advice because my husband involves her more than he should. ordinarily I wouldn't have an issue with that if I knew she was giving good sound advice but everything she said was the total opposite of what both my GP and midwife would say.
When my child was 6 months old, I got a job offer that I couldn't refuse and moved 4 states away. My husband had to become the stay at home parent as my earning capacity was higher than his. I have been working for more than a decade and him a couple of years. This is another reason why I would never take advice from my in-laws - my husband spent nearly a decade at Uni constantly changing programs. As teachers, I thought they would have given him better guidance instead of letting him run around like a headless chicken and wasting so many years of his life. As parents I am sure they have done the best that they can but still I would never take on any advice from them.
Since we have moved, it seems like we have seen them more times than ever. My husband feels lonely and homesick so he loves it when they come down. Each time they come down they overstay their welcome and don't think twice about it. My MIL will buy toys for my child even after I've said she doesn't need them. if I say no, she will go straight to my husband who will tell her to do what makes her happy. Whatever toys she buys for my child, she will comment for weeks on end about how THAT TOY is my child's favourite toy and how much my child "loves" it and how she couldn't possibly live without it ! My husband yearned all his life to have a decent relationship with his grandparents and this never happened so he's desperate for my child a decent relationship with his parents. At the expense of rules and boundaries that we have set for our child.
They constantly buy things for my child or for our house which I know we will never use and I end up chucking them into the bin. I have asked them before to not waste their money and it falls on deaf ears. Every time I go away on a work trip and come back, there's more crap there than there was before that we don't need. My husband doesn't say a word because in his mind his parents are just trying to help. He doesn't mind that they try to clutter up our place with rubbish because he's a bit of a hoarder himself (nowhere near as bad as them though). They will tell my husband that because they bought those items, they now have to go without because they don't have much money. I hate how they put the guilt trip on him !
Both my in-laws are retired teachers and have no hobbies or interests. My MIL spends a lot of her time on Facebook stalking people which is why I've had to restrict her access to my page. They have lived in their house for 35 years and don't believe in spring cleaning. They have so much stuff in their house that it's not funny. There's no space for us to stay when we visit because they have just hoarded so much stuff. this is why I have said to my husband that I will never step into their house again now that my child is walking. It is like a death trap. My sister in law wont go to their house either. She pointed out that she and her husband (my brother in law) suggested to my MIL to clear out some of her belongings and my MIL started crying. my sister in law thinks that my MIL attaches memories to things and therefore cant bear to get rid of them. I have no issue if she wants to that to her own house but I have a big problem with her doing that in MY house.
What should I do to get them to back off once and for all ? I also forgot to mention now that we have moved 4 states away, they send my husband weekly care packages, filled with random things !
PLEASE HELP ! Any advice is appreciated !