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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My H and I are trying to have a baby and if I get pregnant we want his mom to live with us and take care of the baby until it is school age. There is one road-block to this, though - MIL is extremely religious. I lean more towards atheism. My H is Christian with no church affiliation.

She has sent us tons of books and dvds about going to hell if you don't accept christ, told us stories about kids who come back from hell and say they wish their parents had protected them, and even said we are living in sin since we weren't married in her church, etc. Just really negative things.

This is a problem.

What I'm wondering is, should I even consider trying to place a boundary on this? I don't know if I'd just be setting myself up for trouble. Part of me thinks I could just ignore her negative comments but maybe that would change when she's saying it in front of my kid. Even if she abstained from that kind of talk in front of us, I think I would always be suspicious of what she was saying when we're not there. This stuff is her entire life. maybe i should come to some sort of compromise?

My H and I strongly object to daycare. I feel like having MIL watch the baby would be the lesser of two evils. Other then the religious issue I think she would be a great guardian. But maybe this religious issue could be worse? I don't know.

Any thoughts?
 

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Alright, well, first question might be - why are you strongly opposed to daycare?

Take this with a grain of salt, but in my opinion, you are asking for a world of hurt. I am in a very similiar situation - my grandmother moved in with me and H to help with childcare for similiar reasons - and, its a blessing and a curse. While yes, she provides my son with very good care, she feeds him good food, he's always clean, he's changed, she colors and plays, and they get along well ... it comes at a cost. Perhaps not financial like a daycare might, but emotional.

While she's not a religious fanatic like your MIL is, she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and its literally like living in a madhouse. It causes fights between me and H, and is a big strain on our marriage and my sanity every day.

If you haven't established boundaries with her by now about her telling you about what hell-bound sinners you are, I doubt she'll listen now. What's the motivation? She'll have full daily access to her grandchild, likely after a long time of directly insulting his/her parents about their beliefs/thoughts/feelings - what is going to be the great motivator to change if regardless of this factor you want her to move in with you?

This situation is going to put your husband, in a difficult situation, which is potentially mediating daily between you and his mother if she gets in a tither about something. Not every once in a while, not - at holidays, but every single day. Speaking from the other side of the table and that kind of experience, it gets to be a real drain.

This also doesn't cover things like - given how religious she is, and how much she doesn't see your marriage as legit - is having sex with her in the house going to be awkward, will she make comments/inquires/judgements?

Is she going to leave once the baby is school age, or are you planning on her living with you - forever after that? What are the expectations of her contributing to the household? If she provides childcare - is she going to pay rent? For groceries?

If it doesn't work out - and you don't believe in daycare - what happens then?

I could likely start a whole thread myself on this topic, but - I'm just going to say, that I'd recommend at least considering and researching some childcare alternatives - as, while this could work out to be a very great situation, given what you already know about MIL's personality - it could also turn out to be a very bad one.
 

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My H and I are trying to have a baby and if I get pregnant we want his mom to live with us and take care of the baby until it is school age. There is one road-block to this, though - MIL is extremely religious. I lean more towards atheism. My H is Christian with no church affiliation.

She has sent us tons of books and dvds about going to hell if you don't accept christ, told us stories about kids who come back from hell and say they wish their parents had protected them, and even said we are living in sin since we weren't married in her church, etc. Just really negative things.

This is a problem.

What I'm wondering is, should I even consider trying to place a boundary on this? I don't know if I'd just be setting myself up for trouble. Part of me thinks I could just ignore her negative comments but maybe that would change when she's saying it in front of my kid. Even if she abstained from that kind of talk in front of us, I think I would always be suspicious of what she was saying when we're not there. This stuff is her entire life. maybe i should come to some sort of compromise?

My H and I strongly object to daycare. I feel like having MIL watch the baby would be the lesser of two evils. Other then the religious issue I think she would be a great guardian. But maybe this religious issue could be worse? I don't know.

Any thoughts?
You can't be seriously considering this, are you? There are so many landmines. First, there will be no respect for you two as the masters of your own home. No matter who pays the bills, she will treat you like you're living with his mother. I would be surprised as hell if she didn't start to influence (in a bad way) your sex life. Making little comments and trying to change your behavior.

Personally, this would be a complete deal breaker for me. NFW. I would not be willing to continue trying to have a baby as long as this was the plan. I can see no upside at all.

Now, perhaps if she lived in the same town and you dropped baby off to her for day care...that would be acceptable. But to live with her? No.

One last thing. Are you ok with your child growing up thinking of your mother in law in a mommy role? Because with so much day to day contact, he's bound to see her in that light. Are you ok with being supplanted by her in your role as mother?
 

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It's doubtful that your MIL's religious beliefs will change, and no matter what boundaries you create regarding her indoctrinating your child, in all probability she will see it as her duty to her grandchild to ignore them.

Do you really want your child to grow up believing this sort of thing?

She has ... told us stories about kids who come back from hell and say they wish their parents had protected them, and even said we are living in sin since we weren't married in her church, etc. Just really negative things.
Frankly, OP, you and your H are setting yourself up for a bucket load of trouble if you go ahead with this plan. It's better to make sure that you can rear your child independently of your MIL's influence by placing him/her in daycare.
 
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Personally I love the 'idea' of a family member looking after a young baby/child. IMO it's the way it was once and it seems right. The whole 'blood being thicker than water' kind of thinking ( I realise it's not fool proof). Young families are often very isolated and unsupported today.

Having said that my kids all did preschool/kindy from 4 years on-wards.

My MIL is religious...once again not to the same extreme as yours but she is very 'godly'. I have no god but we have always got on wonderfully.
She is such a 'good' person and is everything I imagine a religious person should be... kind, generous and loving. A wonderful role model for my children.

What does your hubby say about his childhood? Was she loving and fun and affectionate?

Will she be able to limit her 'bible bash' talk? Would she be open to discussion on the subject?
Or will it become more of a problem that it solves?
Only you and your H really know this (and maybe MIL).

Also will she be living in a separate area like a 'granny flat'?
I think being able to all have your own space would be helpful... in fact it may be what makes the difference between it working and not.
 

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As some of the other posters said...

I like the idea of family taking care of a child. I don't like the idea of someone pushing their religion into my family. I don't like the idea of an in-law (or one of my parents, for that matter) living in my house, unless it was because they couldn't live anywhere else (i.e. it was that or a home).

What's plan B, if you try it and after a year decide it's not working out? That would be my concern.

And BTW... People like her (from the way you describe her) don't "compromise" on religion. If she was willing to do that, she would have stopped telling you that you were "living in sin" just because you didn't get married in her church. You're setting yourself up for all sorts of pain, I think. How good is your husband at standing up to her?

C
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys for all the feedback. Sort of confirmed what I was hoping wasn't true- that this would be a train wreck. I didn't realize just how religious she was until we had her visit for a week and she started saying all that stuff about kids suffering in hell because their parents didn't teach them about christ. Obviously that set off a big red flag.

I guess I was hoping that the kid would be too young to understand what she was saying. I don't think it would bother me if I didn't think my kid understood. She would definitely be leaving us when the kid was school-age, maybe even leaving when the kid was 3 years old. Do you think that is young enough that her abrasiveness would elude the kid?

She would have her own room, shower/bath on the lower floor. It's a three story town home so we'd have some privacy at the top. We'd pay for everything for her and pay her a salary, plus health benefits. That part isn't really a problem.

I do worry about how my H and MIL would get along. She sure knows how to get under his skin and tick him off. But he's been working on it and says he's OK now.

Man, this sucks. I was so hoping she could take care of the kid. I used to work in daycares. I don't really care for them. Do you guys think if she left when the kid was three that it's still unrealistic?
 

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Blanca said: MIL is extremely religious. I lean more towards atheism. My H is Christian with no church affiliation.

She has sent us tons of books and dvds about going to hell if you don't accept christ, told us stories about kids who come back from hell and say they wish their parents had protected them, and even said we are living in sin since we weren't married in her church, etc. Just really negative things.

This is a problem.

Living WITH you sounds like a horrible idea, coming home to those ready "sermons" ...living in your own home...

Why gaslight yourself


You can't change how she IS, but you can control how much of this behavior your child is around. I would think the influence the parents themselves have on the child would be stronger than any Grandparent, so long as you show love & playfulness..... all that holiness strictness / conformity with religion, kids will get sick of that real fast, and rebel anyway. Generally this is how it goes.

Was she ALWAYS this way- did your husband grow up in that environment ??

I'd prefer a trustworthy family member over Day Care if I had that choice, but if it meant her moving in to live with us, that would be the deal breaker...never with that sort of religious fundamentalism.

Do you guys think if she left when the kid was three that it's still unrealistic?
Here is what I think.. It won't affect your child up until age 3/ preschool..... but it sure sounds like it WILL affect your marriage / your husband ...your happiness having her there -too close for comfort.... frustration, her religious attitude coming down on the 2 of you, that will get OLD real fast, and you'll be wishing she never moved in.

Maybe if she lived across the Street & had her own house, that would be different. 2 women (an Atheist & a Fundamentalist) sharing a Kitchen even... let the fun begin!
 

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OP, up until the age of 3 your MIL probably wouldn't be able to indoctrinate your child, but he/she is likely to be affected by the trouble your MIL could cause between you and your H if she's living under the same roof as you.

Why go down a path that you know is has the potential to cause a multitude of problems in your lives? Life can be difficult enough to navigate without looking for trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I guess I don't think it would be a problem for me, or even my H. My mom is also extremely religious so I'm used to it. I get along with my mom well, even through all her rants telling me i'm going to hell, she's never going to see me again when i die, that my children will be corrupt, blah, blah, blah. I usually joke around with her and i realize that she's lonely, lost and confused and i feel bad for her. I think I would have the same attitude towards my MIL. I realize when they talk that way that they're just scared and it's their way of showing they care. It's not a lot different then if someone were to tell me to eat healthy foods.

My H has talked a lot about his upbringing, which is one reason I am comfortable with her being with the baby. She has a very healthy discipline style and has absolutely no temper. My H was never grounded a day in his life and she's never even raised her voice to him. He gets frustrated with her because he thinks she worries too much.
 

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We'd pay for everything for her and pay her a salary, plus health benefits.
If you can seriously afford to do this - you could probably afford to pay for a live-in au pair/governess/nanny. And, you could probably be more picky about making sure that you got along/had the same ideals/etc.

Having lived in a similiar situation now for three years - three years is a really, really long time to be dealing with that kind of constant, crushing negativity and judgement. Honestly - while I agree that family members are better over strangers, I don't think this is going to be the loving, nurturing environment you might imagine it should be.

Personally - I'd recommend holding off on the pregnancy efforts until you figure all of this out.
 

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My H has talked a lot about his upbringing, which is one reason I am comfortable with her being with the baby. She has a very healthy discipline style and has absolutely no temper. My H was never grounded a day in his life and she's never even raised her voice to him. He gets frustrated with her because he thinks she worries too much.
Now she is suddenly sounding much more TAME in her ways over the comments in the opening post...which I had her painted more as an "in your face" harping MIL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Personally - I'd recommend holding off on the pregnancy efforts until you figure all of this out.
I know and you're right. Unfortunately all the things she's said in the past didn't dawn on me until just now - when i think i might be pregnant :banghead:

Of all things I really don't want to put my baby (less then a year old) in daycare, but i can see that there are some serious pitfalls asking her to live with us. So frustrated. Sucks being a women. we're expected to do everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you can seriously afford to do this - you could probably afford to pay for a live-in au pair/governess/nanny. And, you could probably be more picky about making sure that you got along/had the same ideals/etc.
we looked into this and for a good live-in nanny we couldn't afford it. while we can afford to pay MIL a decent salary it's no where comparable to the salary required to get a high-quality live-in nanny.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Now she is suddenly sounding much more TAME in her ways over the comments in the opening post...which I had her painted more as an "in your face" harping MIL.
she's a very quiet, gently person. never 'in your face' or anything like that. she calls my H a lot to make sure he's taking his vitamins, tell him not to eat out, ask if he's feeling well, etc. she talks a lot about religion, too, and tells him things her pastor said but it's never aggressive in nature.
 

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Any household with more than one woman will have an "alpha female". The question is, which one of you will it be? It's your house. Are you comfortable with it if she becomes "in charge"?
 

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I didn't realize just how religious she was until we had her visit for a week and she started saying all that stuff about kids suffering in hell because their parents didn't teach them about christ. Obviously that set off a big red flag.

I guess I was hoping that the kid would be too young to understand what she was saying. I don't think it would bother me if I didn't think my kid understood. She would definitely be leaving us when the kid was school-age, maybe even leaving when the kid was 3 years old. Do you think that is young enough that her abrasiveness would elude the kid?

She would have her own room, shower/bath on the lower floor. It's a three story town home so we'd have some privacy at the top. We'd pay for everything for her and pay her a salary, plus health benefits. That part isn't really a problem.

I do worry about how my H and MIL would get along. She sure knows how to get under his skin and tick him off. But he's been working on it and says he's OK now.

Man, this sucks. I was so hoping she could take care of the kid. I used to work in daycares. I don't really care for them. Do you guys think if she left when the kid was three that it's still unrealistic?
Having her there visiting for a week is a lot different than having her living with you. It will only escalate all the issues that are there.

She might not be able to cause issues with your child, but she will cause problems for you and your husband. She will try to take control and already bothers your husband about how he is doing and she's not even living there yet. It can only get worse. I think it is a very bad idea.

If you make enough money, have you thought about staying home yourself for a while to take care of your baby? Then as the baby gets older you can look into a good daycare or other daytime nanny/babysitter while you go back to work. Something to think about.
 

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It is not always as easy as it sounds to have a parent living with you.
My parents stayed with us for 3 months recently. I nearly went demented. My mother & I get along fine, in small doses. Like your MIL, my parents are very strong Christians. H & I are Christians as well, but more the mild variety. This caused some issues as we did not feel free to live quite the way we normally do. (Not bad, just watch some TV that has some bad words etc.)

My mother moved her MIL to watch my brother & I when I was 4 & my brother was a new born. My brother bonded far more to our grandmother than our mother. This caused many issues when our grandmother died when he was 9. My mother also felt like she handed over care of her son to someone else, she did not have anywhere near as much influence on him as his grandmother did.

IMO, this is a situation that needs to be carefully thought through & could end up badly on every side. The baby will be with the MIL through the day & will have access to her in the evenings & weekends as well. It might be best for the grandmother to live off site & come to your place for set hours to childmind or look for an impartial nanny or au-pair.
 

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It is not always as easy as it sounds to have a parent living with you.
My parents stayed with us for 3 months recently. I nearly went demented. My mother & I get along fine, in small doses. Like your MIL, my parents are very strong Christians. H & I are Christians as well, but more the mild variety. This caused some issues as we did not feel free to live quite the way we normally do. (Not bad, just watch some TV that has some bad words etc.)

My mother moved her MIL to watch my brother & I when I was 4 & my brother was a new born. My brother bonded far more to our grandmother than our mother. This caused many issues when our grandmother died when he was 9. My mother also felt like she handed over care of her son to someone else, she did not have anywhere near as much influence on him as his grandmother did.

IMO, this is a situation that needs to be carefully thought through & could end up badly on every side. The baby will be with the MIL through the day & will have access to her in the evenings & weekends as well. It might be best for the grandmother to live off site & come to your place for set hours to childmind or look for an impartial nanny or au-pair.
That's my train of thought, your child WILL bond with their main caregiver, who will be a very big influence in their life.
Children can & do remember things from very early in their lives, so 3 years old isn't too young NOT to be influenced.
Besides, 3 years old is not school age, that's barely Pre-K, real school won't be until about 5 years old.
I would seriously reconsider having your MIL come live with you, your husband has already stated the issues he has with her, why would you want to put him in a position to continue having those issues with his mother.
Can you not imagine the nagging & worrying she would do while living with you & being able to see everything he does or does not do?
And what are you going to do once your child does go to school?
How are you going to get her to leave?
 
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