To be honest, my relationship with my in-laws hasn't always been that great. I've been married twice, so, I've had to navigate two sets of in-laws. It's not easy, and it became even more difficult after I had kids. Sometimes my in-laws have been a part of my parenting village. Other times, well, not so much. They have a sense of entitlement over their grandchildren, and want a say in how they're raised, where they spend holidays, and how often they visit. There are fights every new mom has with her in-laws, to be sure, and I have had them all. Trust me.
In a way, I sort of get it. I mean, grandparents are naturally super excited to be grandparents. They love their grandkids and want what's best for them. And they have years of experience as parents, which us new parents often rely on to figure things out. However, when whatever idea my in-laws have about "what's best" conflicts with mine, they totally need to remember that I am the mom in this equation. If there's going to be a "fight" over how my children are raised, I am going to be victorious. You got to be the parents, now give us a chance. It's our turn.
The bottom line is this: my partner and I get to raise our kids the way we want, feed them the foods we choose, insist on vaccinations before our parents and/or in-laws visit or hold our baby and stay home for the holidays. It's totally up to my in-laws to decide if they will have to adjust their traditions or come to our house for a change. It also means that we don't want unsolicited advice. In fact, don't throw any "tips and tricks" our way unless we specifically ask for it. Sorry not sorry, in-laws, but them's the beaks. Otherwise, we'll just end up having the following fights, over and over and over again:
When You Don't Want Them In The Delivery Room
This was so hard. When my mother-in-law asked to be in the room, I had no idea how to respond without offending her. So I said "maybe" when what I really meant was "hell no." What I should have said was, "While I appreciate you wanting to be here to support me and your son, you being in the delivery room would not help me feel relaxed and supported. We'll happily call you once baby is here, but to be blunt, no."
When You Don't Post Pictures Frequently Enough On Social Media
My mother-in-law constantly reminds me that I need to post pictures of her grandkids on Facebook at least once a day. If I skip a day or two, I will get a message from her asking what's up, or worse, my husband will get a message from her asking if I have blocked her. Ugh.
When You Decide To Stay Home For The Holidays
It's impossible to please everyone around the holidays. Impossible. So, sometimes, my partner and I have chosen to avoid hurting one set of parents' feelings by hurting everyone's feelings and just staying home.
When You Decide Not To Adopt Their Family Traditions
My partner and I have every right to make our own traditions — for holidays, birthdays, and well, everything else, too. As adults, we get to choose the ones we like from our childhood, or skip all of the family traditions we grew up on altogether. You would think my in-laws would respect and encourage this independence, but, alas, they don't.
When You Aren't Ready To Let Them Babysit The Baby
I promise I will eventually get to the point when I feel comfortable letting my little kids have overnight visits without me there, but honestly, when they are little I don't want to leave my kids overnight with anyone. When they are old enough to decide if they want to spend a weekend or a week with their grandchildren, it's up to them. I'm not going to make them go, and I so wish my in-laws would respect that.
When You Want Them To Get Vaccinations Before Baby Snuggles
This one was a deal breaker for my partner and I, and for good reason. We didn't make exceptions for anyone, including close family members. It was so weird how many people tried to argue. Sorry, not sorry. If you don't respect our wishes about exposing our newborn to deadly viruses, there will be no baby snuggles for you.
When Your Parents See The Kids More Than They Do
My mother-in-law gets seriously annoyed when she feels left out. And for her that means becoming super passive aggressive. The thing is, though, there's nothing stopping her from seeing her grandkids. We can't afford to travel there as often as we'd like, and it's up to her to prioritize how she spends her time and money, too. If my parents get to see my children more, it's because they make it happen.
When You Name Your Baby Something They Don't Like
I made the mistake of telling my then mother-in-law a name idea before my daughter was born. I will never forget the look on her face and the additional "Seriously?" that came out of her mouth. And guys, it was a totally nice, reasonable name. I have no idea why she didn't like it. Then when my partner and I told my in-laws we were planning to hyphenate our kids' last names, they freaked out because we were not going to "carry on the family name." What about my family name? What a ridiculous double standard.
When You Aren't Religious
I still remember the look on my mother-in-law's face when I told her we weren't going to baptize our baby. I mean, we aren't Christian, so why would we have our kids baptized as Christian? It really makes no sense.
That decision was the first in a long line of decisions that didn't make my in-laws particularly happy. No, you can't take our kids to church. No, we don't pray. No, we are not going to send our kids to Sunday school. My partner and I have had to practice saying the word "no" without apology, but when it comes to our children, it's worth it.
When They Give You Unsolicited Advice
I hate unsolicited parenting advice from anyone, but I especially hate it when it comes from my in-laws. It always comes across as lowkey shaming or judgment, even if they mean well. They got to be parents. Now we get to be parents. If I want advice I will ask for it, but don't be offended if I don't.
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