Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.
I am sorry for your difficult situation. It is not an unusual one. You are torn between allegiance to your wife and allegiance to your mom. However, this is really an artificial conflict that is created entirely by your wife, according to your story.
She is very jealous of your mother. She wants all of your attention and does not like it when you give it to your mom. She also wants all of the attention from your child and is very jealous when your mom performs her proper role as grandmother. Your wife did
not get to pick your mom, but she chose you and your mom came with the relationship.
You respect her mother (whether or not you care for her) and you must demand the same from your wife. She does not have to like your mom, but she needs to accept the situation and act like a mature adult, not like a jealous little kid.
Explain this nicely to your wife, and tell her that you don't want to tear your relationship apart, because that is what will happen if she continues. You have already lost your temper and hit your wife, which wasn't the best way to handle the situation, but came out of frustration. She is in fact abusing YOU by her impossible attitude. One abuse doesn't justify another, but she is pushing this too far and she needs to understand that she is putting your marriage at risk.
She needs to clearly understand that she cannot change the fact that you have a mother that needs to spend some time with you. Explain that you treasure your mother in the same way that she treasures her own, and that she will have to change her behavior or risk losing the marriage. It is clear that this is escalating and that your marriage IS in trouble. She holds the solution, by calming down and acting more civil, and trying to make your household more functional. Your child benefits from your mother's attention and love, and your wife benefits by having someone else to tend to your child just to give her a break.
She is very insecure about the old established bond between you and your mom, but that is the same bond that she has with her mom. She needs to start accepting this now.
I urge you both to find a marriage and family therapist to help guide you. If you do not resolve this problem, your marriage may break apart and your child will be in a broken home.
I urge you to purchase a book that might help. It is simple reading, and contains humor and cartoons, but the book is serious in intent, and very effective. It is called:A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents
By Jenna D. Barry
and you can purchase it online at the following website from Amazon:
I hope that this encouragement and information can help you to save your marriage and establish a peaceful and tranquil environment in which to raise your children.
Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC