Mum-to-be asks for advice on bossy mother-in-law

She really rules the roost. She adores being the matriarch.
She really rules the roost. She adores being the matriarch. Photo: Shutterstock

It is a truth universally acknowledged that once you fall pregnant, everyone with an opinion will come out of the woodwork and start telling you everything you should and shouldn't be doing. And what you're doing wrong.

Most are easy to ignore, or tell to mind their business, but mothers-in-law are tricky business, as one pregnant mum-to-be has discovered recently.

She shared her experience on Mumsnet, asking for advice on how to handle her "overbearing" mother-in-law, who constantly criticises her choices and drives her "nuts" with her judgemental comments.

The woman, who is 35 weeks pregnant, wrote her partner's 60-year-old mother is a former counsellor to new parents, and has had five children of her own, which she believes makes her "the only woman who can mother successfully".

She wrote of her mother-in-law, "She really rules the roost. She adores being the matriarch." And even though the "judgemental" comments have been coming thick and fast throughout the entire pregnancy, a recent conversation about birth plans spurred her to share her plight online.

"Lots of eye-rolling at my preference to go to the midwife unit and not the hospital and she said that water births are for hippies," the mum-to-be wrote.

Her mother-in-law has also offered to help her learn to breastfeed, "I can't imagine anything worse," she wrote.

The grandma-to-be is also "obsessed with birth weights" and has shared her opinion that a heavier baby will be "more successful" when they grow up. She has also said that because the pregnant woman and her sister were small babies, their mother had it "easy".

The mum-to-be wrote, "I just feel like she's judging me the whole time…I'm left floundering at her snipey comments."

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The poster was met with overwhelming agreement that dealing with the opinions of others can be frustrating, but there were mixed ideas on how to deal with the situation.

"If she offers helpful advice, engage with her about it," offered one responder. "When she makes negative comments, just laugh and tell her how funny she is. Or say how things are different these days. Or remind her that it's your baby, not hers."

"Wow," wrote another. "You're going to have to put yourself first here. She's had her turn, now it's your turn. Be adamant."

Some commenters warned that this could be the beginning of serial over-involvement. "Watch out…she is going to get much worse, by the sounds of it," said one commenter. "I predict she will take over, ignore your instructions and preferences, you'll end up having to get your DH [dear husband] to tell her to f*** off, unless you do it now. Good luck."

Another was more pragmatic, offering, "You will get a lot of unsolicited advice about pregnancy, birth, child rearing, etc. The best thing to do is learn to smile and nod. Remember, she is making conversation on a subject she has assumed you will be interested in at present."

There was also a more diabolical plot offered, involving the use of a human shield. "Is this her first grandchild? If so I would be bribing any sisters-in-law to get knocked up ASAP to take some of the strain. In the meantime you are going to have to be really firm with her."