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I feel perfectly comfortable with my mother watching DD. I also feel comfortable with DH's stepmom watching DD. They've both proven themselves to have DD's best interests at heart, and they have been respectful of our wishes regarding her care.
But I don't feel comfortable at all with DH's biological mom watching DD. She loves DD. But it's almost like she treats her like an object. (Come to think of it, she actually treats EVERYONE like an object ... if she can't use someone to do things for her, she ignores them.) She doesn't want to get to know DD's personality or help her learn and develop, she just wants to play with her like she's an Xbox or something. It's really hard to describe!
Like last night at DD's bedtime, we were trying to wind her down to go to bed. DD has three toys that make noise when buttons are pushed. MIL insisted on pushing ALL the buttons on ALL three toys at once constantly and waving them in DD's face so that she was bombarded with nonstop music from three different devices. That's just a strange thing for a grown woman to do with a 6-month-old baby. Really, why would anyone do that? It's weird! I could understand a 4-year-old doing that with a baby, but not a grown woman. And when we asked her to please not do that, she started an argument saying that it's fun for HER to do that with DD, therefore it's ok.
We had to explain to her that no, it's not ok. At which point she got defensive and claims she gave birth to two boys in the 1970's and they're both still alive today. Somehow that makes her an expert on child-rearing.
Meanwhile, I'm at work today and DH is taking a certification exam, while MIL is watching the baby unsupervised. I'm not at all comfortable with this arrangement. I never want to leave DD alone with this strange woman again.
What do you ladies do when you're uncomfortable with family members (especially grandparents!) watching your baby?
I agree that she does not sound like a good first choice babysitter because she is not really tuned into what baby needs/wants. On the other hand, she is probably not dangerous and as you said she does love your child. Perhaps she will relate better to your DD when she is older - some people are good people but they just aren't as good at dealing with babies. Until your DD is older, I would avoid her as my first choice babysitter, but might use her in a pinch for short periods of time (like while your DH has to take an exam). It might help them foster a good relationship for when your DD is older and your MIL can relate to her on a different level.
I would just hate for you to cut her out of being able to care for your child because she is a little tone deaf on relating to such a young child. As someone whose family connections are few and far between - and whose mother really would be dangerous to leave my child with - my perspective is a little skewed toward wanting my children to have as many good relationships with family members as possible.
All that said, I don't know the woman - you do. I don't know your child - you do. You are the mama, and you have to do what works best for your family and your child.
I agree with the other ladies I wouldn't have as the first choice babysitter. Maybe she could just come over and visit while you are there. I know how you feel. My stepmom always wants me to leave the twins with her but she has like 7 kids with my day and she can barely watch all of them so I just come over and stay with them.