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Advice re: grandparents

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Advice re: grandparents

    Does anyone have tips on how best to communicate to a grandparent how not to let the child have full control over everything?

    My mom is going to be watching the kids more often in the near future while my MIL recovers from surgery. Today is day #1 and I just got an update from my husband that after a 1.5 hour pre-nap phase, DD is STILL not asleep (it's 2:50pm right now). DH is saying DD is tired and sad, not being "bad", but overtired because she's not getting her nap. This is after me asking my mom this morning to try to get her down by 1:30 so her nap doesn't effect bedtime. As background, it is very easy to put DD down for a nap. She is usually tired by 12:30, and a simple 15 minute routine - read book, get in bed, turn off lights - always works. But of course if you ASK her what she wants, she is obviously not going to say, "I want to take a nap!" And she is a master manipulator. So she will come up with out-of-routine things to try to delay what she does not want to do. My mom watches the kids usually once every other week, and while I know it is harder for someone who is out of the routine, this is something I have been trying to drive home to my mom for 2.5 years.

    I think the bottom line is my mom allows DD to dictate *everything*. No matter what I say to encourage her to take control, my mom will always let DD "decide." And I'm always the bad guy by making the decisions and not letting DD always have her way.

    I shouldn't let this stuff upset me so much, but there is this combination of knowing bedtime will be difficult because naptime wasn't what it should - compounded by knowing that this could be the case twice per week for the next month - and the feeling of being demeaned because my mother places no stock in anything I say. Two very different issues, I know. ;)  If any of you have a difficult relationship with your mom, you may understand why this is so upsetting.

    Any advice as to how to talk so a grandparent will listen is much appreciated.

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    I'm sorry you're going through this...I'm sure the kids are feeling a bit disrupted not to be with your MIL too...a new routine for everyone.

    I can't offer any advice (my DD will NEVER nap for me unless we're in the car or she zonks out, but my dad has a 5 minute routine with her that works 95% of the time!), but I can certainly understand the grandparent dynamic.  My parents watch my kids twice a week, so they have a routine together.  When my in-laws are with the kids, it's a whole different dynamic, that usually starts with DD sizing them up and testing them, since she's not with them as much.   

    Maybe having the conversation with your mom in the context of your DD having a tough time with the change in routine, and need to switch gears from the grandma who is fun and visits to keep DD's routine.

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from rama8677. Show rama8677's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Oh Poppy, it's so hard when grandparents watch the kids. On the one hand you are so grateful for the (free) help and then on the other hand it brings up all sorts of control issues.  

    We have problems like this too. Not with naptime but with other things like my stepmother paints my daughters fingernails even though I specifically say she's too young or my DD will do a poor job eating dinner and my MIL will allow her to eat a bowl of goldfish a half an hour late when she says she is hungry.  Both of those things irk me to no end.  It's a sort of pick your battles thing. My problem is that neither of these women are actually my mother and I'm not so into having a major conflict with either of them. So we dance around the issues and I usually give in unless, of course, it's a major thing.  Both women love my kids and want to do right by them so I guess that's the important thing.

    But back to your question, when naps are involved, and it's so important to ensure that the kids are sleeping on schedule, I think you may have to have a discussion with your mom.  Otherwise you will be dealing with a cranky child for the next month which will not be fun.  Could you tell a small fib and say that her pediatrician said that she has to nap at exactly the same time every day?  That way, it's not you being the bad guy yourself, you are just following the Dr's orders.  Maybe your mom would listen better to someone other than you.  Not a solution to the underlying problem, I realize, but it's a way of getting through the next month or so without major resentment.

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Very frustrating.  I assume you've asked her to please follow your nap schedule.

    short of that, unfortunately, I think when we avail ourselves of family to babysit we are stuck with their style unless they are doing anything illegal or actually dangerous.  You can only command a paid employee when it really comes right down to it because there is the consequence of getting fired if they don't do things the way you want them done.  Since there can be no consequence like that with mom, you are pretty much stuck if she refuses to do what you want her to do.


    Discretion is the better part of valor.
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Write it all down and hand it to her. "Mom - this is DD's schedule. If you don't follow it she's a nightmare in the evening and we can't get her down to sleep. Please don't let her con you into doing something else. Put her down, take a break youself and you'll both be all set to play some more when she wakes up. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it that you're helping me by watching her."

    Don't know if it will help or not.

    Grands are wonderful sitters - and it's a huge plus that your children get to spend so much time with them. Be happy that you have them. When they are gone you will miss them more than you can imagine. Believe me, I know.

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    I face this problem and basically, I live with the choices the grands make with my daughter - but since my husband works for himself we have a great deal more flexibility than most families. Last week, DD got NO nap at all, fell asleep on the train at 5:00 PM and WOULD NOT WAKE UP. I thought she's be down for the night (that has happened a few times), but she woke up hungry at 7:30 PM and was up until 10. So aggravating.

    Passive-Agressive me just deals with it, but I wish I'd emphasize how difficult it is for everyone when the schedule is not followed, and I'd also emphasize how not following the schedule will make things difficult for your MIL when she recovers (a bit of a whose the best grandparent competition).

    Hope the month passes quickly.

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    I totally agree with writing it down exactly as misslily wrote it.  However, if that doesn't work, you have to just let it go.

    ml, take missliy's advice, too - you can do it, and when the dust settles, no matter what actually ends up happening, you'll feel better about yourself.  I've been working with DH about curbing his PA tendancies, and he is much happier.  He always imagined it would be terrible but is finding all it does it get him more of what he really wants for having had the courage to be direct.  And, even if he doesn't get what he wants/asks directly for, at least he has the peace of mind for having spoken up.  It seems to be getting through that if they react poorly to his direct request that is not his fault or his repsonsibility, it's theirs.  

    Discretion is the better part of valor.
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    As always, I appreciate your experiences and advice.


    Misslily, I do appreciate the fact that my mother is nearby and able to care for my kids. I know part of what happened yesterday was a result of their mutual excitement being together after not seeing each other for about a week and a half. I calmed myself down on the ride home and focused on the two sides of the issue, so that I didn't walk in the door with a negative attitude. I do have an email written out to her that I will re-read a few times before sending. It's actually very similar to what you wrote above. I'm making sure to take out anything that could be viewed as an attack, and just keeping it fact-oriented. Hopefully she will find it helpful and not accusatory.

    You're all correct that if I want the perk of grandparents as caregivers, I partially need to accept their decision-making (it's definitely a "pick your battles," like you said, Rama). I could say that it's only when it's actually to the detriment of one of my kids that I get upset. It's that fine line of trying to explain to them that all of the giving in they are doing, seemingly to make their grandchild happy, actually has the opposite effect in the "long run" (being the rest of the day/night). However it's not just that. It's the ongoing feeling that my mother has little respect for me as a mother. But that's a separate issue.

    What DH and I decided yesterday is that we would let her sleep until 3:45, then wake her. so this is what we did. (Like you, ML, my DH works from home) So she had maybe a 45 minute nap, and was tired by her normal bedtime. It was good to know this is an option that worked for us if this happens again. What does NOT work is when she has a late nap and sleeps past 4.

    thank you all for letting me process this. Part of what's happening is my own increasing frustration at having to work full time. I hate not being able to care for my own children, but that is a whole separate issue that I am working on. Cleary, I have a lot of issues! :p

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Poppy- I feel for ya! the "free" help (if you aren't compensating her) is nice, but it never is free is it?!?

    My suggestion-write down the schedule, explain that night time is  bear if she doesn't nap on schedule and wake up on schedule. Explain that when DD gets older your mother can spoil her and go off schedule, but at a young age the schedule rules.

    I've had to explain this to my family. When the kids grow up and they baby sit, go ahead and let them stay up-eat popcorn and run to bed when they hear us pull in the driveway-but when they are under 5-the schedule rules for a reason.

    My in-laws are with us for three weeks, and boy has it been an adjustment! Our first dinner at home, I cooked a simple dinner of chicken stir fry-my in-laws decided they didn't want to eat it (they basically don't eat anything I cook), but agreed to sit with us. Then they pulled out an entire other meal to eat at the table with us. I had to put my foot down, and did so immediately. The rule in our house is one meal. You have to eat the meal that is prepared. If you give it a good try and are still hungry after you can have fruit/yogurt, but you have to give a decent attempt at what was prepared. The look of shock on their face as I layed down the law with them. but I needed to maintain the house rule. My FIL sat the entire meal and pouted, my MIL followed along.  For the few crazy meals my MIL has prepared the expectation on the kids is they eat them. The one exception was when she made a meal and used about half a bottle of Sirachi sauce-the kids did try it, but it was way too spicy for them-but they had to try it! (it was super delicious-more for me!) 

  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    There are always trade offs when the Grands are around. I think we can all agree that we appreciate the help, but get a bit upset for various reasons when our schedules and other directives aren't followed. As my kids have gotten older I've realized that as long as they are happy and unharmed when I return, everything is fine. My parents loved "spoiling' my kids and I finally realized it wasn't out of disrespect towards my wishes, but an overriding desire to love and, yes, spoil their grandchildren. :)

    I do think it's hard for grandmothers to take directions from their daughters and DILs. After all, they raised us so they're pretty sure they know what they are doing. My mother used to literally roll her eyes at me when I'd tell her what to do with my twins.

    I totally agree that sleep issues need to be addressed. There is nothing worse than an untired toddler/preschooler at 9:30pm when all you want to do is GO TO BED!

    And KAM - your in-laws sound like a total nightmare. I have my own issues with my ILs (don't we all?), but I think if they refused my perfectly acceptable meal and then started preparing their own food, I'd hit the roof! I'm happy to accomodate food allergies (my DH is lactose intolerant and when my mother was alive, she couldn't eat anything even remotely spicy without having an asthma attack) - but simply not liking something is no excuse for an adult to not eat it.

    So back to Poppy - hang in there, be direct but kind about the nap. Try to approach from the "let's be co-conspiriators" angle. We have to stick to the plan or Zoe will dupe us all into not napping. Unfortunately she's too young to realize that she'll be a nightmare come bedtime.

    BTW - I didn't mean to imply that anyone doesn't appreciate having Grands help with childcare. I just couldn't help but remind everyone what a precious gift it is. My kids loved spending time with my mom - they really miss her (and so do I).

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Novembride. Show Novembride's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Poppy, bravo for your excellent approach.  Remained calm, had a back up plan, well-thought out email not fired off in the heat of the moment.  woohoo!!

    It could be any one of us on any day.  It is hard hard hard to be a full time working mom, a part time working mom, a working from home mom, and a stay at home mom. You are doing great!!

    As for you and your Mom, are you able to say to her "when this happens I feel like you don't respect me as a mother"? I don't know her, but maybe hearing it will make it sink in.  I can remember telling my mother once, although I have no idea now what it was about, that whatever it was that she was doing at the time made me feel like she didn't trust me to do it.  I have a great relationship with my Mom, and rely on her for a lot with DD, probably too much sometimes.  But that really got the point across - not mean, just honest.

  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Mislilly-oh the stories I have from my ILs! Many would be blocked by! ;) But it's only once a year! (and I'm 1/3 of the way through this visit!)

  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    My IL's wouldn't be able to handle stir fry - too exotic.  :)

    I just wanted to sympathize and also say I really agree with misslily's co-conspirator technique.  I think it really works!

    also, it's going to be a lot harder if your DH works from home because you're both going to get too much info.  I think it's really hard to hear what's going on but not control it.  This is not to say you shouldn't address important issues like nap, but if you could find a way to not hear about smaller stuff, then smaller stuff won't be able to bother you.  Personally I had to start wearing headphones if I ever work from home.

  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Poppy, your describing being upset over a persisting feeling that your mother doesn't respect you might be impacting your perception of the nap issue more than you think, and transferance comes to mind.  Yes, the naps are intrinsically important and their being messed up does have real ramifications, but maybe it feels that much worse because you're transferring all the negative feelings from being disrespected by your mother to the nap issue making it feel like that much more of a disaster.  Consider talking to your mom about how you feel like her behavior implies she doesn't respect your postion as the MOTHER here, not the child, and it might work itself out from that angle.

    Discretion is the better part of valor.
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Do not feel guilty that you aren't "taking care of your own children."  If your job is putting food on the table and a roof over their heads, you are "taking care of them."

    For millennia women did not care for their children single-handedly morning noon and night.  There were always grannies, aunties, older siblings, etc. helping.  And the moms were working, and gave the kids something to do while they worked.

    And yes, I'm sure that for millennia Grandma didn't do things exactly the same way as Mom and everyone survived.  Unless she's purposely doing it to get your goat, or is doing something strange, she's not "disrespecting you as a mom" but acting like an alternative caregiver.

    If you want someone to follow orders, hire it out and give them directions that they will be fired if they deviate.

    Or you could do the sensible thing and meet Grandma halfway.  Find a couple of things that she can do differently that you don't mind, then put your foot down gently, politely, about having the nap be at least close to the routine because it makes the rest of the day miserable.  Going on about how the kid is so devious...makes Kiddo sound awful and Granny sound dumb.

  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Poppy, I don't have too much advice, just some empathy. I have a similar relationship with my mom, who is also very sensitive and doesn't take criticism well. It's tough when there's a tug-of-war with your role as DD's mom and the awkward balance of maintaining a relationship with *your* mom.

    Just remember that there are lots of different ways to be a good mom, and even though you can't be home with DD when you'd like, you're still a good mom and doing great things for your DD.

  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Purplecow - you may be the most negative person who ever lived. No one is saying that the child is evil and the grandmother is dumb. My children are more than capable of telling stories to any care giver that sound totally plausible - and are completely against the rules. That doesn't make them bad or my sitter or father a moron. It makes them normal children checking the boundries. Any caregiver needs to know where they have some wiggle room and where the battle lines must be maintained.



  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    There's something about naps too.

    My MIL is incapable of getting the girls to nap, largely because the idea of leaving the kid awake for more than a minute (and my girls hardly cry when they are put down for a nap, especially if they're left to themselves BEFORE they get too tired) is antithetical to what they want. 

    My mum has the baby sleep on her chest when she watches her.  She did this with my eldest too.  But with her, it's different because I know she KNOWS how to put a kid down for a nap.  She just flat-out says she's going to get her snuggle time in with her granddaughters.  She's a grandmother now and has the luxury of sitting there and smelling the baby's hair for an hour rather than trying to get dishes done or whatever.  Power to her!  I will probably do the same thing when I'm a grandmother. 

    But the not letting the kid sleep because "she just doesn't seem to want to nap" the way my MIL does is absolutely infuriating. It's like she's saying there's something wrong with my kid because she won't nap.  The same way she comments on how DD doesn't eat enough.  She doesn't like mac n cheese, she'd prefer actual vegetables with some meat.  Of course she's going to eat less macncheese.

  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    (Purplecow, you might consider that extreme judgment and snideness completely obscures any decent point you might have, rendering your comments useless at best and painful and useless at worst. I hope you aren't this snide with people you deal with face to face, too, for your sake and theirs.  There's honest discussion and there's snide high horse pseudo honesty - you present the latter.)


    Discretion is the better part of valor.
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents

    Really, I don't see any issue w/ purplecow's post. 

    I think you can present your preferences to your mom in a non-confrontational, matter of fact, way. However, if she does not implement your preferences, remember that you are getting free childcare by a family member who loves your child - you kind of have to just take what you get in that situation.  If it is truly not working for you, then the next solution would be to hire someone so you can tell them exactly what to do. 

    It really sounds like you have another issue w/ your mom that may be coloring how you are looking at this issue.  GL

  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Advice re: grandparents


    Tact wouldn't detract from pc's points.


    Discretion is the better part of valor.