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21/01/2014 at 10:18
My mother in law was hinting the other day about going on holiday in half term in may, which would involve going somewhere with my mother and father in law where we would all stay together, such as a lodge at centreparcs as we did last year. Although we do get on well with them, there are times when they over step the mark and I find it hard work. it is also difficult as my partner and I are a step family - he has a 3 year old son and I have a 4 year old girl. The kids get on brilliantly and the dynamics work really well when it's the 4 of us. (My partner, myself and the kids) It gets more tricky when the inlaws are around because they are totally obsessed with their grandson, and less so with my daughter. It creates a situation where I feel she is often second best, and so i try to compensate for it, which then creates a split in the family where I am more with my daughter and the inlaws and my partner and with his son. It's just small things really like if we go out to eat there's 3 of them fighting to sit by my step son, to help him cut things up, to take him to the toilet, to entertain him at the table etc. Sometimes it feels like it's just me and my daughter. My partner is very stuck in the middle because he doesn't see his son as much as he would like to so when we do have him with us naturally he wants to spend as much time as he can with him. He is brilliant with my daughter too, as I said it's just when the inlaws are there is feels like we are more separate.
I have slightly gone off on a tangent here, but I am due to have a baby on 20th feb, which is my partner and my first baby together, the inlaws second biological grandchild. They have suggested going away in May, so if the baby is on time it would be 14 weeks old, possibly 12 weeks I guess. although it's not my first baby I have totally forgotten what they are like at this age. I am planning to exclusively breastfeed so by then I guess things will be in more of a routine, but wil still be feeding regularly. the thought of spending the whole week in a lodge type place with the seven of us sounds like hard work to me, especially with the dynamics as they are. If the baby had a bad night and I was up all night, the others would wake up ready to go out for the day and I'd be shattered. I know I would be frowned on for not making the most of the holiday etc and I wouldn't feel I could have daytime naps or just chill out as we'd be on holiday. My mother in law said something about there being lots of people there to 'help out' but they can't breastfeed / express and it won't be them up in the night!
I'm interested to know what your 12/14 weeks are like at the moment - could you imagine going on a weeks holiday with your inlaws and a 3 and 4 year old? How much sleep can I expect at this age?
21/01/2014 at 10:35
I have a 4 yo and am finding the baby sooo much easier this time round. Much to my surprise! I would absolutely have been able to enjoy a holiday at 12/14 weeks (she's 16 weeks now). But every baby is different, and we're bottle feeding so that'll be a factor. If you really wanted to go, I'd totally be saying yeah,do it; but you don't sound like you do :)
21/01/2014 at 10:45
Thanks!! I suppose deep down the issues are more to do with the dynamics between us as a step family and how they aren't as close to my daughter, which I can cope with for a few hours but it's hard for a week. Then I guess I'm thinking if I add another baby to this mixture will it make the divide even worse?! I just find time so much easier with the 4 (soon to be 5) of us that the thought of a week together with the inlaws too is quite daunting!
21/01/2014 at 10:54
Tbh the holiday sounds great, and if they treated your daughter as you'd like I'd say def go, they could even all go out for an hour here and there, take baby, and let you nap. But given the circumstances I wouldn't go, you'll be tired, be splitting your time between baby and daughter and it won't be a break for you. Plus of they fuss over baby too it'll exclude your daughter even more. Maybe book something for the five of you?
21/01/2014 at 11:51
Has your H spoken to his parents about how they treat you daughter?
21/01/2014 at 13:03
I think what weekender says makes sense. Have you thought about discussing it with your in laws? or getting OH to? I have a step daughter and we have a child of our own, I am Mum to my SD as she lives with us and has no contact with her mum. However ,right form the word go she has been treated as one of the family, equally to other children/grandchildren. If it was my parents doing this I would be making it clear that we are an equal family which includes all the children
21/01/2014 at 13:22
It's a hard one. They treat her the same in terms of tangible things like presents, they always say how when they are asked that they tell people they have two grandchildren. But it's the other stuff that you can't really fake, like the attention they give to each child when they are together, it's clear they are focused on their grandson and my daughter is secondary. It's hard to explain, like if we walk down the street they will walk one each side of their grandson, and I'm walking with my daughter. My poor partner sees what is happening and tries to split himself between us all. Or like the other day the kids were eating ice cream at the table, they were right in my step sons face 'oh look isn't he doing well, ohhh watch it doesn't drip, mmmm ice cream, that looks lovely' kind of thing all the way through, they didn't take their eyes off him. My daughter was on the other end of the table, she had finished eating about 5 minutes before they even noticed. I find myself compensating and spending my time with her, but then it creates this divide in the family. It also doesn't help my bond with step son as I don't feel like I have any input into him when they're there. Another example they collect step son from nursery once a week (even though I am on maternity leave and could collect him) yet when I asked if they could collect my daughter last year as I was at work they said that they liked to keep their weeks free so they could be spontaneous with what they did each day, so she had to go to the after school club.
We generally get on well with them, but this issue does make things hard. My partner has said things to them, but they really don't see how they behave, as the obvious things like presents they treat them the same so they think that's all it's about.
21/01/2014 at 13:52
Ok so maybe a different approach would be to go on the holiday (concious of the fact that your daughter may find this harder too as there will also be a new baby) and encourage the grandparents to do things with both the older children on their own or perhaps a girly thing for you, your daughter and MIL? to help build your daughters relationship with them and for the focus / attention to be positive around her only?
21/01/2014 at 15:31
Thanks for your suggestions nina beanie! I think it's a good idea to encourage the relationship between my daughter and the inlaws, however I am conscious that if I leave them alone with both children that she will just get ignored and I won't be there to compensate for it. They don't seem to 'get' girls, she is a typical girl and likes all the dolls, babies, princesses type of thing, which they just seem to find a bit annoying and roll their eyes at. My partner is a only child (boy) and until recently try only had a boy grandchildren, so they seem to find girls a bit of a challenge. A girly activity for me, MIL and daughter is a good idea though, I'll have to plan something and express in advance!
21/01/2014 at 16:07
Most woman find their inner girl when in the company of a little girl doing something fun. I know what your saying. We have the only girls in my OH family which does present a challenge because they just don't seem to relate as well to the girls but hopefully it will get easier. X
21/01/2014 at 19:44
I think it's an in law thing
My in law are like this with my son, compared to their other 2 grandchildren.
they did exactly the same thing at his birthday party, focused their attention on the 2 girls my SIL's children, and not on my son who's birthday it was. they decorated biscuits as an activity and they cooed over their designed, praised them, and said how we must wrap them up carefully so they could take them home. Never once looked at my son. I know it's your partner's child too, but I think loyalties are formed early and hard to undo.
I don't think I'd want to go on holiday on with my inlaws for this reason, especially if you are feeling emotional anyway with a new baby.
22/01/2014 at 13:30
Thanks Carole, good to know it's not just me! It can be so hard to watch and bite your tongue! I know that if I am sleep deprived and on holiday with them for 7 days on the run I will find it harder to just smile and ignore it. Plus despite my best efforts my daughter might feel sidelined with the new baby so I think a holiday would be a challenge!
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