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How To Handle Your Partner’s Criticising Mother

How To Handle Your Partner’s Criticising Mother

Why is it that once you become a mother, everyone has an opinion on how you should and shouldn’t raise your baby. This can be a very difficult situation to address – especially if it’s your partner's mother.

One of our readers is in a similar situation. We posted her question on Facebook to ask you all to give some advice on how she should handle this situation. Here is what you had to say:

Hi Mums. My boyfriend’s mother is constantly criticising every little thing with my six month old daughter. Right from the beginning with the name I chose (she does not call her by her name instead it's “little pet” or “baby”), that I'm giving her too much milk, that she should be spoon-fed sweet before savoury, and I should not be giving her infant medicine for teething pain. I can take advice, honestly, it's just the way she addresses me. It's as if I'm unable to look after my own baby. I don't know how to approach the subject with my other half. I just feel I'm going to bite her head off the next time she says something. Any advice please? Thanks in advance.

Put Her In Her Place

Edel: What you need is a simple sentence that covers a multitude of topics, and shut her argument down without being disrespectful. Something along the lines of “we find this works for us” or “we prefer to give savoury first”. Don’t enter into an argument with her. Don’t engage. Just keep repeating your line – “we find this works for us” – over and over again. If you engage, she’ll feel the need to get her point across. Don’t allow that platform.

Samantha: It’s your turn to be a mother, not her! Women like this just need to be put in their place so to speak. If you don’t tell her, she will continue to dish out her opinions.

Vineta: Bite her head off. Lol!

Theresa: Tell her you will raise your child as you see fit and if you want her opinion you will ask for it.

READ MORE: Do Your In-Laws Drop In Too Much? Here's How To Handle It

Just Avoid/Ignore Her

Niamh: Avoid her.

Anna: Do what you need to make yourself comfortable, i.e.: Ask your partner to talk to her; try not to be alone with her; etc etc.

Bx Ui: Just nod, smile and ignore.

She’s Nervous

Anna: It's not about you it's about her. I.e. she is experiencing some feelings about the baby (i.e. scared? Nervous?) which have nothing to do with you as a mother, but rather with her experience as a mother: Perhaps she was a nervous mum? Or maybe she did something wrong? Hence what she says is not because it’s about you or she wants to criticise you, she's just really nervous and tries to control everything.

Paula: Many "Granny's" overstep the mark way more. They don't trust us as parents. They don’t realise we have far more knowledge at our fingertips to research our best methods of parenting choices. She doesn't have to agree with your way of parenting BUT she must respect it to maintain a healthy relationship. 

READ MORE: How To Stop Grandparents From Spoiling Your Kids

Don’t Listen To Her, You Know What’s Best For Your Baby

Anna: You don't have to listen to her. If you want to be polite, just say “thank you, but I do it another way”. It's on her to accept a no, her feelings are not your primary responsibility – it's you and the baby which are most important.

Samantha: Listen, only YOU know what's best for your child. Don't listen to anyone else.

Kar: It’s your baby and only you know your baby best! Do your own thing with your baby and don’t listen to anyone else.

Always Put Yourself And Baby First

Anna: Your feelings are very important; the baby feels you. Always put yourself and the baby first. What matters is you and the baby and your new role as a mum and being happy and comfortable with it.

Roisin: I was in a similar situation before. I know how challenging it is. Both for your mental health and the health of your relationship. You have to put your coping mechanisms in place. Stick by them. And eventually with perseverance and a bit of good will it will wean. I'm sure you are a great parent. Always stick with your gut feelings. Best of luck.

READ MORE: Bringing Up Baby - Childcare With Grandparents

Involve Your Partner

Anna: Involve your partner. Just tell him how you feel: “Your mum is giving me all this advice and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I really don't need it right now. What I need is support and reassurance and somebody bringing me a hot bowl of soup (or whatever you like) Can you please help me?” It's his responsibility to deal with her, not yours.

Paula: Your partner needs to step up and talk to his mum. Things have changed in the last decade, so unless you're doing something dangerous, she needs to keep it to herself.

Don’t Expect Her To Understand

Anna: Don't expect that she'll understand (if you or your partner talk to her about this). She might, she might not. It doesn't matter. It’s still your baby and you’ll mother her how you see fit.

Tracy: The worst thing about people like this is that they DON'T LISTEN. You can never get through to people like her. There are some people you just can't reason with.

READ MORE: It Really Does Take A Village To Raise A Child

Talk To Her

Paula: Maybe you all should sit down and have a chat (informal and ideally somewhere neutral). Just explain (calmly) while she may be trying to help, it's not helping but maybe she could do 'x y and z' to help.

How would you handle the situation? Tell us in the comments below.

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eumom team 

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