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Family & Parenting

TOPIC: Baby sometimes prefers grandma over me

Baby sometimes prefers grandma over me 3 years 2 months ago #81691

  • clee03m
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Hi, my son is 18 month old, and his grandmother watches him while my husband and I are at work. Lately, I have noticed that he seems to prefer her when all of us are together. Many nights she stays late to have dinner with us and help us clean up. Baby would want her to read to him instead of me, or want her to play with him instead of me. I have to be honest. It really kills me. And it seems to me that grandmother enjoys this preference.

To make matters worse, ever since I night weaned him, baby seems to prefer dad over me to comfort him at night.

I am going to try to take one day off per week to spend more time with him. I can't help feeling bitter towards my mother in law for not leaving right away, and towards my husband for not making any money (he is starting a law practice from scratch which is taking way longer than either of us imagined).

I swear that my mother in law is trying for a second chance at motherhood with my son. I of course know that there is a chance I am blinded by my jealousy. But she acts like she is the mom (in the 50's sort of sense where they are the primary care giver), and I am the distant breadwinner husband, and my husband is just some dumb kid who happens to be around. Even though my husband and I have already chosen a potty training method and time frame, she is reading 10 books on potty training and thinks with "our next child" we should start early potty training at 3 months of age. Despite my best efforts to distract the baby, he always cries when she leaves because she will repeat her good bye routine at night until baby wails.

I think I need to have a talk with her about how I really need her leave when I get home. But she moved here from far away to take care of the baby, and she doesn't have a lot of friends here. Essentially, I would be asking her to eat dinner on own every night I am not on call. Is this OK? I don't know.
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Re: Baby sometimes prefers grandma over me 3 years 2 months ago #81692

That's such a hard call. I definately understand how you feel with wanting to be preferred. I go through this a bit with my husband who stays at home. I don't think you should have to apologize though for wanting private time with your family when you get off or are not on call. Most families do not have their mother-in-law eat with them even if they are local. Just because she moved here to help - I am not sure that should change this. You still need to develop/enjoy your family unit, which involves you being the primary maternal figure.

I'd have an honest talk with her. Let her know that you are not feeling like you are getting enough time being the mama. Maybe this ring home for her? Perhaps it is optimistic, but I'd like to believe that all mamas know what this could feel like.
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Re: Baby sometimes prefers grandma over me 3 years 2 months ago #81699

  • lyn2006
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Clee03m, your post could have been written by me! My mother in law watches my 19 month old son almost every day (my husband is also a resident), and I sometimes feel like he prefers her. OK, I often feel that way. We also live next door to them, so he is trained to walk right over there first thing in the morning since we do that at least 3 days per week. It's all "nana, nana, nana" starting about 2 hours after he wakes up if we haven't gone over. So, I give in and we chat over coffee... reinforcing him I guess but oh well.

One thing that has helped a bit, that may be an option for you, is we started him at daycare 2 days per week. Those days he doesn't go to nana's house at all. He often asks for her when we pick him up though.

It does hurt when he definitely wants to see her every day- and I never get to hear him ask for me! However, my husband and mother in law claim that he does :). Maybe your son does want you when you're gone - and grandma when she's gone. The grass is always greener, right?

Anyways, try talking to her. A real heart to heart. We were eating dinner with my in laws for awhile almost every night when we were super busy. I felt like we weren't our own famiy and talked to my mother in law about it. No one's feelings were hurt and we were both happier (I think she was at least!). It may be a bit harder since your mother in law would eat alone - but at least try to bring it up. Otherwise you will continue to feel this way. Good luck!
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Re: Baby sometimes prefers grandma over me 3 years 2 months ago #81702

  • sahmd
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clee03m, I can understand your feelings, but I think you should count your blessings! It is really wonderful that your MIL moved from far away so that she could help take care of your family. And she apparently has a very positive relationship with your baby, which is a good thing! I assume that she will also be taking care of the new baby, too.

Your feelings are totally valid, but I wonder if they are more about your own discomfort with the distant-breadwinner role than with the help your MIL is providing. I hope there is some way that you can arrange things so that you feel better about the situation without hurting her feelings. It kind of sounds like disinviting her from dinner would hurt her feelings. I would tread very carefully on that one, unless you know that she would welcome the time away from your family. But working a little bit less and spending more time with your baby could be a win-win.

JMHO.
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Re: Baby sometimes prefers grandma over me 3 years 2 months ago #81703

  • Emily2651
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Oh, man. This is a tough one. Of course you want your kiddo to have a strong and loving bond with his grandmother. But I can totally see where you're coming from too ... maybe it's time for a little part-time preschool? The extra day at home each week sounds great too.
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea. -- Isak Dinesen
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Re: Baby sometimes prefers grandma over me 3 years 2 months ago #81705

  • sah
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This is opinion from mom that doesn't have luxury of family care and I am going to be brutally honest: Having someone that loves your child take care of them is something that few have. I cant tell you how hard it is to find someone who actually will care about your child as part of the job. And that is crucial to their overall development as a confident human being to be taken care of by people who love them.

I think you should also think about the impact that your conflicted feelings could have on your child. You chosen this path (md lifestyle) and your child had no choice and so your number one obligation is to minimize its effect on your child, not on you. If your interactions with your child include a large part of this negative focus, then that is going to further impact their lack of bonding with you. Asking your mother in law to take a hike during dinner is really not cool. I would recommend that you focus on loving and learning as much about this unbelievable little person as you can, as opposed to worrying about who they prefer. And mostly, they will, when push comes to shove, need Mama. So be Mama-the person who loves them more than anything.

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