How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Rosemary S. Your Own Question

Rosemary S.
Rosemary S., Human-Svs/Counseling
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6
Experience:  Masters in Human-Svs- Counseling.
24317506
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
Rosemary S. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Help with a mother in law I just had my first baby in January.

Resolved Question:

Help with a mother in law?

I just had my first baby in January. He was the first grandchild and we're thrilled. My mother in law is over the moon, too. My in-laws live two hours away from us. She has been coming to stay with us every Thurs. night and spending time with my son on Fri (leaves Fri).

Here are my issues:
- She can't commit to coming every Fri., so I still have to pay the sitter(though she's here most Fridays - rarely misses); that will be $1,200 in unused daycare
- When she's here, she's no help. I want her to spend time with my son and to have a good relationship with him. However, it's very hectic in the morning feeding him, dressing him, getting him ready for the day, making sure she has her coffee and then getting myself ready. Plus, when I get home, the house is a disaster. Her dishes, baby clothes, etc. are everywhere.
- She doesn't follow the schedule. Cranky baby when we get home.
- We need more time as a family

I don't want to hurt her feelings. Any ideas?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Rosemary S. replied 5 years ago.

10-14-09

 

Hi:

 

Misunderstandings, or miscommunications, between in-laws appears to be a common challenge. You are not alone.

 

It appears that your mother-in-law is extremely thrilled to be a 'grandparent,' and perhaps does not even realize that there is possibly a problem.

 

Since you currently employ someone else, such as a babysitter, perhaps she is under the impression that she is not needed to work, perhaps not.

 

Before you and your spouse voice any comments to her, you need to take an 'objective look' at the situation. We can all benefit from this. Again, you are not alone.

 

I assume that perhaps your mother-in-law is an older woman. Perhaps committing to assisting in caring for a baby at this stage in her life, would be too physically strenuous for her. (Especially after driving two hours to your house.) Perhaps she has typical health problems that sometimes comes along with aging. Perhaps not.

 

Maybe you and your husband could sit down with her together, and ask her if she would be able to help out with the baby. Only, if the work would not be too much for her physically. (Remember, the demands of the job will most likely increase, as the baby becomes a toddler and begins to walk, etc.)

 

It appears from your comments, that she at some time, may have mentioned that she cannot always commit to Fridays. You may want to ask her if this is still the case, or if her circumstances have changed.

 

(*Remember to ask any questions in a non-confrontational manner.)

 

If your mother-in-law expresses that she would like to be a part of the child care 'work team,' then maybe you and your husband together, can offer her some 'financial compensation.' This could cover the traveling expenses she incurs such as the gasoline she pays for the two hour, (each way), drive to, and from, your house each week, etc. Also ask her if she would be interested in receiving some financial compensation her for time, and the work, she would provide for the baby. Try to make this offer in a thoughtful manner, where she will not feel offended, degraded, or insulted.

 

Please make sure that she would need to be very certain if she could really commit to this, because if she says yes, you would possibly need to cut some of the babysitter's hours, since it appears you could not afford to pay two people for doing the same work, on the same days, etc..

 

If she is agreeable to this, the three of you may want to consider finding an attorney at a reasonable cost to draw up a 'simple contract' that all three of you can agree to. Perhaps you can contact the 'Bar Association' in your area to find an attorney. If money is an issue, please be certain to mention this when seeking an attorney. Maybe the association would be able to recommend an attorney who would charge a more reasonable fee, or even a 'legal clinic' who would be able to assist you. This is just an additional suggestion.

 

If your mother-in-law expresses that she only would like to visit her new grandchild every week just to spend time with him, but not do any work, then this should be okay as well.

 

It is usually beneficial for a children to have a happy, and emotionally healthy, relationship with their grandparents. Unfortunately, not all children have grandparents who are still living. A happy relationship with grandma, in my opinion, is an added benefit for the child.

 

Perhaps you and your husband could firmly, but tactfully, tell her when it would be less hectic for her to make her regular visits to your house. (What would be the best day, hours, etc..) Explain to her as to how hectic it could be sometimes, and how the three of you need to start bonding as a new family, first.

 

Perhaps, you can all agree on a day such as a Saturday or Sunday, (or a day when neither you, or your husband, are working), when all three of you could visit grandma at her house. (*As long as the baby's pediatrician says that taking the baby on the 'four hour road trip' to and from her house, would be okay.)

 

Perhaps with all three of you visiting grandma at her house this would be more helpful. She wouldn't need to drive two hours to your home as much.

 

However, regardless, as to whether or not your mother-in-law chooses to make the commitment of the physical work of helping out, or just is spending time with her grandchild, some ground rules should always be in place when she visits your house. (As well as when you and your husband should visit with her, at her home.)

 

Everyone should be responsible for cleaning up after themselves for tasks such as pouring their own coffee, rinsing their dishes, etc.. If you both state this warmly, but tactfully, there should not be any problems.

 

If you and your husband should visit your mother-in-law at her house with the baby, then of course, the same rules should apply in her home as well. (Such as pouring your own coffee, rinsing your own dishes, etc..) Remember, if she is an older person, this could be helpful to her as well.

 

Also, both you and your husband should remember to always sit down with her together for these types of issues. Not just 'you' alone. This way, you are both indicating that the two of you are concerned about this. (In order to avoid the situation being misunderstood as 'your problem only,' or that you 'just do not like your mother-in-law.' You want to avoid a 'she said - she said' situation.)

 

In addition, as I mentioned above, please remember that any conversations the three of you have, should be tactful and non-confrontational. Otherwise, it could be misinterpreted as the two of you are 'ganging up on her.'

 

If the situation does not appear to be improving, then perhaps all three of your could join a 'support group', in the area. Perhaps all three of you could seek some 'professional family counseling' with a competent 'mental health professional.'

 

Maybe a hospital has a 'referral service' that could recommend a competent 'mental health professional' to work with all three of you. Perhaps your physician could make a recommendation.

 

In addition, perhaps the 'referral service,' and/or your 'physician,' could recommend a 'not-for-profit counseling center' that al three of you would greatly benefit from. Perhaps the center would charge a more affordable fee.

 

Maybe you and your spouse only, can inquire about 'couples counseling' with a 'mental health professional,' or a 'support group' for new parents.

 

If financial affordability is an issue, please be certain to mention this to anyone you seek a recommendation from. This way, perhaps the 'referral service,' or the 'physician,' could assist you in finding options which will be more financially affordable.

 

As stated above, it is wise that you have decided to seek a 'neutral third party professional opinion.' This is a good start.

 

It is also encouraging that you want to avoid hurting your mother-in-law's feelings. This is also a good start.

 

It is always important to remember, if you can, to seek a 'neutral third party professional opinion.'

 

As a general rule, in my opinion, it is counterproductive to discuss a matter like this with friends, co-workers, or worse yet, other relatives.

 

I say this because, by discussing this type of information with 'non-professionals' such as 'personal friends,' and or 'relatives,' the comments you make could always get back to the person you spoke about. (Sometimes comments can be unintentionally embellished, and/or exaggerated.)

 

This could only cause more conflict to a situation, as well as cause the person that you spoke about, tremendous embarrassment.

 

Lastly, I would encourage you and your husband to begin attempting to get this matter resolved immediately. You want to avoid having 'hidden resentments' fester. This could escalate into a more serious family feud. No one benefits from a situation like this.

 

It is always more 'emotionally healthy' for the child, and/or children, if everyone in a family, gets along. This is especially true regarding any relationship(s) involving grandparents.

 

Children can benefit greatly from the love, and wisdom, a grandparent can offer, but only if everyone is getting along, and the child sees healthy relationships amongst all members of the family.

 

I hope all of the suggestions, and opinions stated above, will be helpful to you and your family.

 

Good luck!, and best wishes.

Rosemary S.

 

 

Legal Disclaimer: The information provided above, is general information only and is not intended to serve as a long, or short term, professional relationship. By providing the above information, I am not engaging in a 'relationship designee - client relationship' with you. The above information is only intended to provide general information. The fee that you may pay me, is for general information only. No part of this disclaimer can be reproduced, or copied, without the express consent of Rosemary S., the owner.

 

*If you find this information to be helpful, then please click 'accept.' Otherwise, I will not be financially compensated for the time, and effort, I spent on answering this question. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck.



Edited by Rosemary S. on 10/15/2009 at 2:39 AM EST
Rosemary S., Human-Svs/Counseling
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6
Experience: Masters in Human-Svs- Counseling.
Rosemary S. and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/deedeeham/2011-1-24_51523_408.64x64.JPG Dear Debra's Avatar

    Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy's Avatar

    Kate McCoy

    Counselor

    Satisfied Customers:

    1235
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1215
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/CoachJenK/2012-3-9_31019_Jen.64x64.jpg Coach Jen K.'s Avatar

    Coach Jen K.

    LMSW, CPC

    Satisfied Customers:

    726
    Providing the utmost care and support.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IN/intrapsyc.com/2012-2-20_161928_RGMTPicturex5002012.64x64.png Rafael M.T.Therapist's Avatar

    Rafael M.T.Therapist

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    549
    MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/HU/hungryjack20/IMG_1281_edit_2.64x64.jpg Dr. L's Avatar

    Dr. L

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    349
    Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/SU/suzmsw/2011-9-2_184634_Thisone.64x64.JPG Suzanne's Avatar

    Suzanne

    Therapist, LCSW

    Satisfied Customers:

    338
    Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
 
 
 

Related Relationship Questions

Chat Now With A Counselor
Rosemary S.
Rosemary S.
Counselor
6 Satisfied Customers
Masters in Human-Svs- Counseling.