Having a baby can often change the relationships we have with family members, including our own mum and our partner’s mum.
It can seem as though everyone has an opinion on what we’re doing, and wants their bit of time carved out with the new baby (not surprisingly).
Sure, a new arrival in the family can make us realise how lucky we are to have the extended family we do have – but it can ratchet up the tension level, too.
And when we saw this thread in our Chat forum, where a mum asks others to share what they wished they could say to family members but couldn’t quite muster the guts (or energy?) to do so, we couldn’t help but notice how many of the comments were directed at mothers-in-law.
Some of them were lovely and positive but quite a few were, well, let’s just say they didn’t pull any punches!
So, we thought we’d see if any of them – nice or negative – resonate with with you out there. Have a look…
1. I love you to bits but you’re driving me MAD
“Please stop asking me whether Toby is sleeping through yet. You have asked me every day for 6 months. I have been very patient but, if you don’t stop, I am going to lose it.
“He has never slept through and probably won’t for ages. Nobody cares but you! There is nothing wrong with him. And FYI, your children probably didn’t sleep through either. You put them to sleep in the nursery at the other end of the house from you and didn’t have baby monitors, so you really have no idea if they slept through or not.
“And please stop telling me to give him formula. It will NOT necessarily make him sleep better. I have nothing against FF – I know you did it with your 3 boys and they all turned out great – but I want to BF so please let me!”
2. You are an amazing person but…
“You are a kind and thoughtful lady but please back off! Yes, I am very grateful that you will be looking after Noah when I go back to work so that we can move house but…
“Noah is not a doll. He is not yours to pass around to all your friends (most of whom I have never met). I am grateful that your friends have sent Noah lovely gifts but it is my responsibility to thank them, not yours. He is our child.”
3. Thank you for looking after our daughter once a week but…
“Please keep her out of the sun or at least put suncream on. I know you love the sun, but baby’s skin doesn’t!
“And, next time I have a baby, DO NOT tell your son off for leaving me for a couple of hours when DD was a week old – I am not going to bleed to death, as you claimed, and I did actually ask him to go out as I wanted to have some sleep when the baby was sleeping.
“Also, can you stop being so clingy about our baby. Let her have some breathing space. She doesn’t need to be in your arms constantly!”
4. I love you but why don’t you listen?
“It really is quite rude at times! And no, we haven’t named our daughter after any one famous! I don’t watch Big Brother/I’m A Celebrity or any other reality programme on TV, so please stop asking me every time you see me as I have no idea what you are going on about!”
5. You are so thoughtful
“Thank you for making me feel so welcome in your family and for including my mum in things and ringing her since my dad died. You have given more support than some of her lifelong friends and I know she appreciates it as do I.”
6. Not bothering to contact us is not OK
“Deleting your son off Facebook is not Ok. Turning up at the hospital 2 hours after I had an EMCS is not OK. Not bothering to make another visit for 2 months is not OK.
“Your granddaughter’s name is Isobel. Repeat it 10 times to yourself and perhaps that will stop you forgetting it.
“Yes, you have a lovely dog. You also have a beautiful, clever, amazing first grandchild, so perhaps we can focus a little of the conversation on her next time you deign to visit.
“Just a small fraction of your time and then we can go back to discussing the total fabulousness which is your dog.”
7. I love you so much
“And I don’t tell you that enough.”
8. Keep your opinions to yourself
“I don’t care if you weaned your son at 16 weeks; our daughter is not ready yet! And no, a little bit of chocolate is not an acceptable first taste!”
9. Don’t judge us
“Don’t expect my son to like you when you only bother to see him every couple of months. And don’t pull that face you do when we swing Oliver: Oliver loves it and we are capable of looking after our son! We are NOT going to drop him!”
10. Thank you for being so utterly and completely wonderful
“I love you so, so much and feel incredibly lucky to have you in my life.”