Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™
FAMILY: Future Monster-In-Law
I'm having problems with my future mother in law. Her son and I are together and have a 2 year old daughter together. The other day his mother took our little girl out for the day. Told us where she was taking her and said they'd have her back between five and six pm. Which was fine as it fit in to the plans we had made for the evening. About twenty to six we received a text saying that that they wouldn't be back until between seven and half seven because they had decided to take our little girl to see her great nan and grandad (who live a considerable distance away).
My fiance and I were upset because she had decided to change her plans without letting us know, and didn't take our plans into consideration. We feel that as parents we have a right to know where our daughter is going to be and that if a time has already been arranged to bring our daughter home that they should stick to it. His mother was told before they left that we had plans that night. When they finally dropped our little girl off home my fiance decided to let his mum know that we felt what she had done was inconsiderate and unfair. She got really mad and started shouting at him saying that we were the ones out of order. She also got her mum involved (the great nan she took our child to see) so now they're both angry and unwilling to try and talk it through. They also both feel that my fiance and I are the ones at fault. To top things off, his mum messaged us this morning asking what time she can pick our child up on Sunday. Not even bothering to ask if it's OK to take her out. Just assuming she can.
My fiance and I both feel that she doesn't respect us as parents. And we strongly feel that if things don't change it will make things very difficult between us and his mum in the future. We have no idea how to approach her with our concerns as the last time we did all this trouble started. She can be a very irrational woman who feels she can do no wrong. But we feel that what we're asking for is perfectly reasonable. As our girls parents we want to know where she's going to be, what time she's going to be back. And that if these plans change to let is know straight away. Not twenty minutes before they're due to have our child back by which time they've already taken her somewhere they weren't originally taking her. It concerns us that for a few hours we had no idea where our child really was. We thought she was In one place, when actually she was a two to three hour drive away. But his mum can't see the problem with that and we're worried that if this is going to become a regular occurrence we won't be able to trust her to take our child out.
This is all really upsetting for my partner and I and we have no idea how to fix the situation and make her understand that we don't mind her taking our little girl out so long as she understands that we have perfectly reasonable expectations that need to be met.
I really appreciate your anguish and that of your partner, Amy. You share in the creation of a beautiful 2 year-old child and your feelings about her only prove how much you both love and cherish her. And your intuition is correct--your "Mum" does not respect your role as the parents.
This may have something to do with the way Mum herself was raised and/or treated but it doesn't make it right and it certainly doesn't help the situation. What you and your partner need to do TOGETHER is to sit down with Mum and clearly establish a set of parameters--or rules. Yes, rules. And when you do this, you and your partner must speak WITH ONE VOICE. That means, you've both discussed at length what the rules will be (when Mum can see the child, for how long, and how to properly make arrangements in advance and being required to stick with the arrangements.) All these things you will convey to her as a team so that she can't, for example, try and get the two of you to negotiate anything with her. The discussion you and your partner will have in establishing these parameters will also help bring you two closer and stronger together.
If Mum gets upset at the meeting, so be it. She will have no recourse because you two will be there as ONE. You are the parents and that's that. Reasonable visits with a grandmother are fine but the way this grandmother has behaved and disrespected your feelings--and caused you real worry and stress--is totally unreasonable and unacceptable.
Good luck and many blessings!