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I am trying to work out a way forward and hoping that sharing and asking for some other perspectives might help. Me and husband have been married for 4 years, together for 7. We have a 18 month old daughter and live near the majority of his family (mother and siblings, some have kids) but in another country to mine. To start of with the relationship with his family was good. His sister and younger brother call me their sister. And I enjoyed helping my MIL with things she needed, like practice driving to the airport (she doesn’t like motorways), getting new furniture for her house, helping with phone plans etc. We sadly lost FIL 5 years ago. To say that it was hugely upsetting for the whole family is an understatement. And I can’t imagine my MILs pain. He was such an amazing man. It is very sad that our DD never got to get to know him, but we chose her name i inspired by some of the things my FIL enjoyed in his life. It felt special to do that.

But since we had our DD my relationship with MIL (and his family) has become quite weird and I am quite upset by some of it. When we found out it was a girl she expressed disappointment to not take the family name forward. She then kept asking if we were going to take her name as the middle name (in the end we chose another name from her family as the middle name, felt like a nice gesture). Two months after our DD was born SIL and fam visited from Europe. Nearly daily husband and I walked 30 min each way to see them in MILs house and garden (we didn’t have a car at the time). I was struggling with BF at the time but whenever I tried to sit quietly to nurse family or kids would come in and I felt so self conscious about not managing it really. DD was hungry and upset! I felt like mine and DDs needs were really put last in all of this. The final straw was walking a screaming baby over there so that all the cousins could take a photo together. Now I think back I wonder why on earth I didn’t just stay home. But at the time his family were pressuring us to come over and I didn’t think twice. I though if I make the effort we can build a good close bond for us and DD. But I think since then we’ve just got in a bad rut. Was I being silly to expect them to see my needs as a new mum? Fast forward 1.5 years. We were recently at a family gathering and our daughter is very comfortable in new situations. She was off playing with her cousins most of the day but knew we were there if she needed us. On the train journey home we were with MIL, BIL and DDs cousins. DD wanted to sit with her cousins at their table. We said great and gave them some snacks to share. MIL then said loud enough for everyone (the whole train!) to hear “yes your parents are so boring, come sit with us”. 15/20 min later she said to BIL “look, she really doesn’t care about her parents (us)”.

I was so upset by this but really didn’t know how to respond. I’d felt proud of my DD being so secure and MIL really put a pin in that. Really early on in the pandemic husband and I respected the rules that said not to socialise etc where as MIL and her other two sons were seeing each other like normal. If we met MIL for a walk she would insist on touching our newborn. Once rules relaxed over x-mas 2020 MIL said some things like “I wonder if I will be allowed to hold her” about our DD. I felt like the priority should have been keeping the baby safe, not a cuddle for grandma. That time I gave her a call and said of course you can hold her but you have to understand I have had to chose not to see you so much because of the pandemic and if it wasn’t for that we would see you more. Another unexpected point of contention. Husband and I have decided to avoid plastic toys for DD but MIL keeps a collection of them (that she gets second hand, some with bite marks and all!) at her house and if husband visits on his own with DD she brings these out. Husband has now told her not to. I just really felt like she was trying to make him side with her and I feel unsure of what else, that I don’t agree with, she will do if I am not there. We have made arrangements (on MILs suggestion) for her to take DD to the library every week. Some weeks she does, other weeks we hear nothing from her. My husband has to chase it with her. Yet every time she sees our daughter she says “do you remember me”. We experience this as a hint she doesn’t get to see DD “enough”. Some weeks she rushes to the library and back in 45 min. Lately she has been saying things like “I just want to bring you home” to DD and asking my husband repeatedly for alone time at her house with DD. She’s asking husband if I still BF ie keeping her from taking DD home. MIL has 7 other grandchildren and this is not something that she has had with them at this age.

Frankly, we don’t need her to take DD and would rather spend time with her as a family. We do invite her over and have her for lunch, tea etc. All in all, with the way she is somehow this doesn’t feel enough for her. I suppose I wonder if it’s me she doesn’t want around… The other thing that happened recently is that my husband, his siblings and their mum did a secret Santa rather than buying each other presents individually. I was not invited to join. My husband asked if I could but it was concluded that only “original family” should be in this. Over Christmas I put my effort on making it magical for our daughter, of course it is not about the adults. But it still felt odd to be excluded like that. Is that a normal thing to do? Husband, DD and I had most of Christmas Day on our own (MIL does not want to host and gets stressed out by having too many ppl around hers) so we invited MIL and BILx2 over for food on Christmas Eve. We then hosted a Christmas Day morning when MIL, BIL and husband got to open their secret Santa presents. MIL rushed to open hers while I was making them tea.

Sorry, this is a rather long summary of the past 1.5 years with a lot of jumping back and forth! I’m just looking to understand what is going on and what I can do to make these relationships work. I want to avoid stress for husband and I and try and give DD a good relationship with her gran. At the bottom of all this I do like all my in-laws which is why I find this all rather confusing. Any advice?
 

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Pick your battles. What is wrong with plastic toys. The vast majority of toys are plastic and there is nothing wrong with second hand ones either.
I cuddled my granddaughter throughout the last 2 years frequently. Small children just aren't affected by covid anyway. If they even catch it they usually have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Children need to build up a resistance to things by coming into contact with other people and germs. You can't wrap them in cotton wool.
 

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Pick your battles. What is wrong with plastic toys. The vast majority of toys are plastic and there is nothing wrong with second hand ones either.
I cuddled my granddaughter throughout the last 2 years frequently. Small children just aren't affected by covid anyway. If they even catch it they usually have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Children need to build up a resistance to things by coming into contact with other people and germs. You can't wrap them in cotton wool.
Hello there! Thank you so much for taking time to respond. It is interesting that you think we seem to wrap our daughter in cotton wool. Maybe that is what my mil thinks too. As our daughter has grown and we’ve learned more we are more comfortable with the covid side of things as well. I guess when she was brand new in mid 2020 we had no idea how safe/unsafe things were. She is at nursery nowadays and we are very happy she is being exposed to all the germs haha. I suppose what I am saying is that my dear mil has a knack for going against our wishes and undermining things that we think are good. But maybe that is what all mils do and I need to just get used to it.
In terms of plastic, I suppose we have different information. I tend to think it’s pretty harmful to people and the planet, so try to avoid it if I can which of course isn’t always possible. Especially with toys, you are absolutely right. But is it normal for mil to make decisions on that kind of thing? Or would parents normally decide what they think is good and go from there? I guess I hadn’t expected push backs from someone I thought would be supportive.
 

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Hello there! Thank you so much for taking time to respond. It is interesting that you think we seem to wrap our daughter in cotton wool. Maybe that is what my mil thinks too. As our daughter has grown and we’ve learned more we are more comfortable with the covid side of things as well. I guess when she was brand new in mid 2020 we had no idea how safe/unsafe things were. She is at nursery nowadays and we are very happy she is being exposed to all the germs haha. I suppose what I am saying is that my dear mil has a knack for going against our wishes and undermining things that we think are good. But maybe that is what all mils do and I need to just get used to it.
In terms of plastic, I suppose we have different information. I tend to think it’s pretty harmful to people and the planet, so try to avoid it if I can which of course isn’t always possible. Especially with toys, you are absolutely right. But is it normal for mil to make decisions on that kind of thing? Or would parents normally decide what they think is good and go from there? I guess I hadn’t expected push backs from someone I thought would be supportive.
My point was that you need to pick your battles. Don't stress about the small things. Most toys here in the UK get passed on to siblings and then to other children and so on, so l don't see them as a bad thing and definitely they are not harmful to children playing with them.
I am glad she is now mixing in nursery. I was just reading an article about many small children here catching Bronchiolitis(RCV) and some even being hospitalised because they have no immunity after being kept away from people for so long now.

No its not what MIL's do. I am a MIL and am very careful about not going against the parents wishes and asking before I give the children anything, but its how YOUR MIL is and you and your husband need to talk and discuss how to deal with the more difficult aspects together. Or try and talk things out with her as well and come to an understanding/compromise.
 

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I agree with Diana, you need to pick your battles. Your MIL has some toys for your daughter to play with at her house, that's a good thing. Don't sweat the small stuff. If she were to bring plastic toys to your house and you feel that strongly about it, then say something, but if they're kept at her house and your daughter only plays with them occasionally, let it go.

I understand your fears around Covid and letting people hold your newborn, I would have been the same. I think that was perfectly understandable.

As for the Christmas stuff, you have a husband problem, not a MIL problem. I am absolutely gobsmacked that your MIL only wanted "original" family included in the secret santa - and that your husband went along with it! WTAF? No way in heck would I be hosting them for Christmas anything!
 

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Honestly pretty much everything you wrote seems pretty run of the mill typical grandma knows best type of stuff. I would say my FIL has done a lot of things one could consider undermining as has my mother. They just think they know better. As far as the Secret Santa situation that actually sounds like something my mother would want to do. She would never do it because she knows I would not stand for that for a second, would never happen. So thats an issue you should take up with your husband not your MIL.
 

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Hello there! Thank you so much for taking time to respond. It is interesting that you think we seem to wrap our daughter in cotton wool. Maybe that is what my mil thinks too. As our daughter has grown and we’ve learned more we are more comfortable with the covid side of things as well. I guess when she was brand new in mid 2020 we had no idea how safe/unsafe things were. She is at nursery nowadays and we are very happy she is being exposed to all the germs haha. I suppose what I am saying is that my dear mil has a knack for going against our wishes and undermining things that we think are good. But maybe that is what all mils do and I need to just get used to it.
In terms of plastic, I suppose we have different information. I tend to think it’s pretty harmful to people and the planet, so try to avoid it if I can which of course isn’t always possible. Especially with toys, you are absolutely right. But is it normal for mil to make decisions on that kind of thing? Or would parents normally decide what they think is good and go from there? I guess I hadn’t expected push backs from someone I thought would be supportive.
I think your problem is quite common.
You both battle for being the alpha-woman to daughter and husband.

Nevertheless, you seem also to have a tendancy to over protect or observe your daughter and showering her with praise like a lot of parents tend to do today. Which is actually not good.

This is what I mean.
We were recently at a family gathering and our daughter is very comfortable in new situations. She was off playing with her cousins most of the day but knew we were there if she needed us. On the train journey home we were with MIL, BIL and DDs cousins. DD wanted to sit with her cousins at their table. We said great and gave them some snacks to share. MIL then said loud enough for everyone (the whole train!) to hear “yes your parents are so boring, come sit with us”. 15/20 min later she said to BIL “look, she really doesn’t care about her parents (us)”.
You don't have to constantly be worried about your daughters well being.
Are you an anxious person?
There is a lot of control you seem to seek over your daughters developement. More then necessary and I think your MIL (as a more experienced mother) is sensing it, but doesn't have the clarity to articulate and communicate it to you.

Instead, your MIL throws something at you, that interferse with your need to be in control of your daughter and her emotions. In control of your daughters perception of her world that you want her to gain.

And this is perception I refer to is, that your daughter sees you as her save heaven in the world.

This is what you actually trying to achieve by constantly observing and analysing your daugher.

This is no attack!
You might simply lack experience with children.

You most likely didn't grow up with smaller children and therefore you now did enter a complete new world by having a child.

You only try to do the best for your daughter. Geat! But less is sometimes more!

I know it from myself. That I tend to do it as well, but I also know that it is toxic to a child to be constantly emotionally observed and I tune it down.

Nevertheless, what your MIL did wasn't OK.
She has no right to try and brainwash your daughter into thinking badly about you.

Your MIL is trying to gain your daughters love over you and you can feel it. This is upsetting you. And you are right!

But you have to find a balance. Your MIL behaviour doesn't come out of nowhere.

You are enabling her by being insecure about how to be a mother and how to stand up.

Work on your confidence and trust into the world around you more.

This will make you a stronger person when it comes to confronting your MIL and to being a safe mother to your daughter.

About the plastic toys:
Well, yeah. They are toxic. But they don't kill children instantly most of the time.

I personally hated plastic and plastic toys when I was a child. I still do actually. Makes me feel sick and I might vomitt if my child ever bites into a plastic toy while I have to see it.

Hence, I agree with you. Plastic shouldn't exist in this world. Therefore, I might be the wrong person to say the following actually... but

I think if it was such a threat to your daughter she wouldn't touch it anyway like I did and do.

I mean, she'll grow up and then you don't have control over it. She will buy and touch plastic.

Not letting her play with plastic toys won't lead to her living a live without plastic forever.

Were you thinking it would?

Keeping plastic toys away won't protect her from getting cancer or whatever you worry about. Your daughter has her own body and immunsystem. Those are better in protecting her from getting cancer then you are.

So let go a little bit. You don't have to buy it deliberately, but if she gets plastic toys at her grandmothers house or if she fancys a plastic toy, just let her.
Avoud it where you can but don't force it.

Don't waste your time trying to wrapp your daughter into cotton.
It is stress. You just substitute toxicity with even more toxicity in your daughters live.

Don't make your daughter your project.
And you don't always have to call her Dear Daughter as you did in your entry thread.
She is your daughter and you love her, but don't exeggerate expressing your love.
This is just narcissitic love and only hurts your daughters developement.

Same with the plastic issue, try to not go into extremes neither with plastic or your love.

Everything is potentially toxic, but it is the dosage that makes the poisson!

Yes, your love can also be toxic to your daughter.
Think about it...


Just let your daughter be herself and not always your Dear Daughter. She is more then just your DD.
She is a human being that will grow independent from you and your emotions.
No need to analyse if she feels safe sitting with her cousins. She is safe. Let her socialise. It is nstural from day one.
As a mother your are not the only safe place for her.
Her family members all contribute to her safety naturally.

Try to be less conscious about her. Your instincts will keep her safe automatically if you are a good mother.
 

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Small children just aren't affected by covid anyway.
********.



From the article just above.

Aaron Milstone, M.D., M.H.S., a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and an infectious disease expert at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, talks about COVID-19 symptoms in children, how to keep babies and kids safe, the risk infected children may pose to others, and an overview of MIS-C, an uncommon but serious condition that may be related to exposure to the virus.

Can children and toddlers get COVID-19?

Yes, children and toddlers can get COVID-19. Cases have been increasing among children, indicated by recent data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Diana, it's a flat out lie to say "small children just aren't affected by covid anyway."

Most children aren't, heck the overwhelming majority aren't, but SOME are. You need to at least be accurate and honest.
 

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****.



From the article just above.

Aaron Milstone, M.D., M.H.S., a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and an infectious disease expert at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, talks about COVID-19 symptoms in children, how to keep babies and kids safe, the risk infected children may pose to others, and an overview of MIS-C, an uncommon but serious condition that may be related to exposure to the virus.

Can children and toddlers get COVID-19?

Yes, children and toddlers can get COVID-19. Cases have been increasing among children, indicated by recent data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Diana, it's a flat out lie to say "small children just aren't affected by covid anyway."

Most children aren't, heck the overwhelming majority aren't, but SOME are. You need to at least be accurate and honest.
In the UK small children have hardly been affected. If they have caught it they have either had no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Thats why young children haven't needed vaccinations.
Of course a tiny number have been affected badly, often those with other medical issues. However small children not being able to mix and socialise for so long did affect many negativity. We must get things in proportion.
 

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In the UK small children have hardly been affected. If they have caught it they have either had no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Thats why young children haven't needed vaccinations.
Of course a tiny number have been affected badly, often those with other medical issues. However small children not being able to mix and socialise for so long did affect many negativity. We must get things in proportion.
In this case, we are talking about a newborn, brand new baby with zero immunity to anything. Covid is a HUGE risk to a newborn, huge.
 

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In this case, we are talking about a newborn, brand new baby with zero immunity to anything. Covid is a HUGE risk to a newborn, huge.
Yet small children have been affected the least of any age.
It's very little risk to babies and small children. Statistics have shown this all through the last 2 years.
 

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Well, caution is always good when it comes to any infection when it comes to small children.
And with covid no one new at the beginning ehat this laboratory mutant was capable of... hence children definetly needed to be protected more carefully.

But the main problem of you OP seems your insecurity about how to raise your child and your MIL is abusing this.

You need to get more confidence and you also need to let go of some of those strict rules you applied to the life of your daughter such as no plastic.

There is a lot of pressure for every woman to be a good mother and most don't want to fail.
But many think being a good mother is to micromanage every aspect of their childrens life. This is wrong.

Micromanaging is as bad as being careless.

To get back to the plastic issue, you need to remember you grew up with plastic and you is still alive and I am pretty sure you got no health issues that are related to being exposed to plastic as a child.
Therefore, why putting such a burden onto your daughters life. I mean inderectly, if that makes sense.

Reduce plastic in your life, but don't make it a task to your daughters life. Do it for yourself and your daughter can see and learn from you.
But don't try to control her entire world. If she plays with plastic somewhere else leave it.

If you don't want your children being exposed to anything potentially harmful simply don't get any children. Because just existing on earth means that you are constantly exposed to natural radioactive radiation for example.

Just safe your energy and focus on things that are more important.

And with confident you are less of a target to your MIL. And then you will know how to stand up for yourself and set clear and more realistic boundaries with her.

I know you where here to get help how to change your MIL.
You can't change your manipulative MIL, but you can change yourself.
 

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Not from an unknown virus they don't.
If you look at the statistics babies and small children are hardly being affected by covid. Thankfully. They clearly have some sort of immunity.
 
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