It’s Not Your Baby: Setting Boundaries with Loved Ones


Dear Mother, Sister, Friend, In-law or other well meaning person in our lives,

We love you. We know you love our children and we are thankful for that. We want you to be close to them. We want you to have a good relationship with our child(ren). But we need to talk about boundaries. It is a difficult subject because it is unlikely that you mean any harm, though some of you undoubtedly do, and we do not want to come across as ungrateful, whiny brats. We are our children’s mother. We suffered with the morning sickness, the difficult labor, the C-section, the adoption fees, the breastfeeding issues, the sleepless nights. We did. Not you. Sure, you may be related to our children, but you are not their mother, and it’s time we cleared the air. We’ve compiled a list of things that are boundary breakers for many of us, and we would like you to consider them, and consider us as new, fragile mothers just trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got.

We want you to know that these words are hard to write, even harder to say, as you mean so much to us. But at times certain words or actions hinder our relationship, cause us to pull back and potentially damage the relationship you have with our children. While not every situation is a boundary breaker for every mom, it would be wise, when dealing with new parents, please consider the following things:

My child is not “your baby.” My husband may be your baby; hell, I may even be your baby, but that little bundle of joy is not. I know you know that. To you, calling him/her your baby is a term of endearment, but it causes mothers around the world to clench their teeth. I went through so much to have that child, and the right to call him mine is mine. It may be petty, but the privilege of calling the baby “mine” should be reserved for the parents.

Please refrain from intervening when I am disciplining my child. You may not approve of my methods. You may think I’m too stern or not stern enough, but this is not for you to decide. You do not see the whole picture. You may think I am overreacting by not giving in to my daughter’s tantrum for more candy, but you do not have to live with the repercussions. You will not have to put her to bed tonight. You are not the one who will be up later tonight trying to sooth her upset stomach. So if you don’t mind, I will handle the discipline myself.

While we are talking about candy, please do not offer them candy then say, “If it’s okay with Mommy.” While I appreciate the consideration, it turns me into the bad guy if I have to say no. Do us all a favor and ask me first. Most often, it will be fine, but since you may not be aware that he had a giant cookie from Starbucks just before we arrived, a quick “Hey, can I offer them him some candy?” will be much appreciated.

You may think my child has an illness, a delay or any other medical issue, but please do not attempt to diagnose my child. This is not to say if there is something clearly going  on that you should remain silent, but be mindful of your words. No mother should hear, “There’s something wrong with that child” from a loved one. If you feel you have legitimate concerns, bring them to the parents, away from the child, and voice them – gently. Suggest we bring it up at our next doctor appointment, but do not label or suggest medications unless you are a qualified professional and we sought your opinion. Attempting to diagnose a child will only lead to frustration and perhaps resentment, even if you are correct.

Unless we ask, please do not attempt to be a lactation consultant. Breastfeeding can be challenging, and it may involve literal blood, sweat and tears. It is also extremely private for some new mothers, and not something everyone would like to do on display. Thank you for your concern, but anything more than “How’s breastfeeding going?” will get you into the boundary-crossing zone very quickly.

Talk to us about birthdays and holidays. We do not need to know or approve of your plans or gifts, but we would like to be sure they do not interfere with ours. Giving our child the same “big” gift we planned to give, and giving it a few days before the actual celebration – that is over the line. Attempting to plan an outing for my child on his birthday, especially one that doesn’t include me, is another example of boundary breaking.

If any of the above describe your words or actions toward the new (or even seasoned) mother in your life, you may be guilty of breaking boundaries. You might think, “Oh, if it bothered her, she would just tell me.” But that is so difficult because we do not want to hurt your feelings. We know in almost all cases you mean well, but that doesn’t stop it from offending us, or causing us to become defensive and even withdrawn.


Mothers Everywhere

Myndee is a 35ish year old New Orleans area native, who has been married to her husband, Luis, for over 12 years. She’s a mom to three kids, all born within three years. After working outside the home for several years, she transitioned to the crazy, exciting world of work-at-home momming. When she’s not doing her absolute best to be a mediocre mom, she’s managing social media for New Orleans Moms Blog and running her company, Papillon Social Media. In her free time, Myndee loves to read chick lit and self-help books, try out new exercise classes (except spin, thank you very much), and stay up way too late binge watching Netflix. As an introverted extrovert, she loves being part of the generation where most of her friends live in her computer.


      • I would like to add on to the gift giving paragraph electronics! Please dont get a child an expensive (or even somewhat) electronic gift without talking to the parents first. depending on the age of the child and the rules of the parents it might not be appropriate or wanted/needed as a gift.

        • I agree on that! One of my mother in laws wanted to get my kids tablets for Christmas last year,and after going back and forth in finally agreed just because I didn’t want to argue. The nice thing is, I have total control over how much or how little they play with it (they were 4&8 when they got them) and what they can down load. It may be their gift, but it is still a privilege for them to get to have time on it depending on how well their attitudes are,if they’ve done all their chores,etc. They know not to even ask me if they haven’t completed all their tasks,played for an hour or two,read or looked at books, done something science or arts and crafts before tablet time is even considered.

          There has been a couple of times it does come in handy on a long car ride or if I have to bring them to work with me for a couple of hours. But mostly their tablets sit on the shelf and are played with once every month or two. 🙂

        • Oh my gosh yes! My mom had asked about getting my son a tablet for my son for his birthday which I said no. She got my son one for Christmas instead and never asked.

      • I would have to add interfering with not just breastfeeding but also feeding in general. There’s nothing more aggravating than having someone take your child’s food from them and switch it out with something else. (Yes this actually happened).

        It’s aggravating to be a new parent and have people assume you’re just stumbling along and didn’t put thought or reasoning into your parenting choices.That because a decision is different from theirs it’s just because of inexperience rather than you decided a different choice was better than your family.

        If you’re overriding a parent’s decision you are not helping.

      • I tried to do this with my husbands mother and brother Wich we currently live with and they got abusive and threatened to kick me out and take my son who is three away from me, my husband just sat there, I have no say in how to raise my son anymore, everything I say is wrong, I don’t know what to do anymore.

      • This blog is 4 years old and i came across at just the right moment. My MIL is a huge boundary breaker and i was wondering was i being silly for being mad she’s ALWAYS trying to take my son at his birthday.

  1. Oh my gosh an outing on their birthday?! I’d be livid but i know my husbands mother would do that and not understand AT ALL why i’m mad.

    • My husband’s parents have tried pulling this crap on us once. The first time we gave in, and then at the last minute they “felt bad” for ruining our plans and decided to let us do our thing. I was pissed. By the time they let us know they weren’t coming, we had already cancelled our original plans and it was too late to reschedule them. From then on out, we haven’t budged on our plans. They can join us if they want to but we aren’t going to bend for them. They have yet to join us. They always have some lame excuse as to why they can’t join us.

  2. As a grandmother with a child and a grandchild living in my house, the baby may not be mine, but I *do* have to live with the consequences when you do not watch your child and my laptop gets doused, my books get scribbled in, my rug gets peed on, my things get broken, etc. So, guess what. I’d rather NOT have to intervene, or interfere. This child isn’t mine. I love him to death, and he will always have a big place in my heart, I love to play with him and hold him and have fun with him. But I don’t WANT the responsibility of raising him. It’s YOUR responsibility, so do something about it.

    • I am not a grandmother but will be one of these days soon. I am glad you have prepared me for the ultimate selfish Ness and one sided opinions of you stay at home mostly moms. I do understand some of your issues that may be attacked and kindness is something you will Learn with age and experience and patience. I hope you think these grandparents who are contributing to your children’s life and care. You can say things tactfully but you are rather uppity and self absorbed in your opinions. I know this won’t go over well, but you sound like typical millennial’s or just a little bit before millennial’s. Maybe you need to rethink how are you show kindness, respect and gratitude. You can say something very tactfully to people about gifts, tall training, interference without being a….

      • Teresa, Maybe you should remember it’s that same “millennial mom” (proud one here!) who will control exactly how much you see the baby. The nicer, more understanding YOU are, the more you’ll be around. When it comes to grandparents (of a VERY different generation), support and patience are much more helpful than opinions and advice.

        • We are Millennials and Teresa is obviously from a different time. We are not stuck back in the day! we are moving forward and have to get respect for what we want to do. how we want to raise our kids. they had their turns

      • Theresa, your love and support shouldn’t come with conditions. That indicates to me your heart isn’t in the right place. You made yourself the center of attention and it’s not about you. Just because this may have happened to you as a parent doesn’t mean you should do it to your child.

  3. In other words………BUT OUT Mom,sis,etc unless I NEED you on my terms,my time ,with my words. I get it .Grandmothers are supposed to just be there when needed at all times. This is a selfish post in so many ways. Let’s see you are now a Mom raised by the one you criticize and yet you turned out ok? Be thankful you have a mother who loves your baby enough to call them ” my baby” .i am sure there are many new moms who don’t have that luxury.yes it is a term of endearment and one that should melt your heart not cause you to list all the things you have done for your child because you see we did all those very same things for you!!and might I add without Facebook,Internet ,blogging etc but with the sound advice of our mom!! So selfish,immature.lighten up your child will never confuse their grandmother for you and what more could you ask for than a loving relationship between your baby and extended family such as a Grandmother who loves them as their “own.”

      • “wisdom and experience” hahahahahah if that means hearing “we did it x way and you were FINE” ten million times when they’re not the ones paying your therapy bill now….let’s see, with the grandchildren in my family my mother has mocked a toddler for a speech impediment, made it into a competition to see if “she could make the baby love her more” than anyone else, tried to feed a young child alcohol TWICE, and cares only about her emotional satisfaction rather than a child’s well being, aka she makes sure every small child knows EXACTLY how much she paid for a gift, etc et al And that’s just MY mother! My MIL tried to disown my unborn child when my husband told her we weren’t going to tell people the name we picked until the kid is born! She did that with her other son too, because she thought their getting the baby vaccinated was a personal affront against her!

        If by wisdom and experience you mean rude, having poor boundaries, narcissistic, and entitled, then yeah, that’s what that generation is all right. I hear “grandchildren are a grandparent’s reward for having children”. No, a good, adult relationship with your grown children is your reward. if you haven’t laid the foundation for that then so sorry, too bad, so sad. No one has “rights” to grandchildren if you’re too self-absorbed to see anything but what YOU want without regard for anyone else. *snorts* and then tut tutts about self-absorption of younger people you have to be KIDDING me.

        • This is exactly right. I’d love some great advice. Not just how what I’m doing is stupid & you never did that & what a ridiculous waste of time.
          I dont get any support from my MIL or my own mother. Mostly scoffs.
          It’s not “immature”, as someone stated, to grow up, become a mother, & decide not to expose your daughter to the berating & entitlement. If you’ve been self absorbed your whole life don’t think your kid might not get over that & decide to break the cycle of disrespect. Look inside yourself if you’re offended by this post……

      • Exactly. As a mother of 2 girls 18 and 22 that may have felt this way at the onset of the birth of the eldest, I can tell you that the wisdom of generations and love they give is to be cherished. This entitlement is not necessarily new but this list of “grievances” makes me sad for the kids. Let them be loved and get off your high horse.

    • I totally agree with you !! I know that sometimes Grandparents, aunts, uncles etc can be a little overwhelming, but 99% of the time it is done with love and encouragement, not malichness !! I probably spelled that wrong, but I’m sure people can see what I mean. Thank you for speaking out on the unfairness of this diatribe against family closeness !!

    • I agree with you. What a selfish post – unnecessary pissing match – of a mother who cherishes controlling and using their child as a means of control. Why do people feel that children don’t have the magnitude to love large. Sad…

    • This is such a reality for some mothers. Like when my sister in law and mother in law thought that because I was taking my infant to doctor without their supervision that it was okay to administer medication while they had him, talk about me not giving proper medical attention and then I had child protective services show up for the next three months because they were ‘so concerned’ that the pediatrician and I didn’t know what was going on and he should be medicated. I had to pull medical records proving that I didn’t neglect my child while he was sick, and then I had to prove that I wasn’t abusing my six year old at the time. Or when they took him for a overnight while I was breastfeeding, and I was crying and saying no and I was so engorged the next day. Some people are absolute bullies if you don’t give them their way. So I don’t see this as selfish at all. Wish I had stood up to them and said this stuff.

    • I agree this blogger needs to take a major chill pill! New Mothers deserve bonding alone time with their baby. But beware that you think you are the ONLY one the baby needs. Your selfishness will lead to building walls of separation in relationships with your husband, In Laws, family, neighbors and friends. And most of all create an unhealthy, even harmful relationship with your child.

  4. Something that really bothers me is when my parents-in-law send out Christmas cards with the the two of them and my two kids on them. The children’s actual parents are no where to be seen. I think some people think I am being petty but it just infuriates me. They had a kid, they had their chance to send out cutesy Christmas cards. Now I am the parent and it is my turn.

  5. What if they live in the parentd house and and the parents in las have to break the
    boundary of discipline, because they hit their kids and scream at them way to much?

  6. I for one can relate to most of this. I don’t think she was talking about living with the grandparents or abuse or any of that (I believe that is a highly different circumstance).She was just clearly speaking her own personal views and we do not know her story as she does not know ours. But she was clearly speaking her mind on her own circumstance and I don’t think meant any disrespect to anyone. As I have a mother and mother-in-law (which I might add speak their minds more than I like) I don’t appreciate any advice for my own personal reasons. They both were not fit or well parents that didn’t take care of their own children (but think they were God’s gift of mothers) let-alone have the right to tell me how to raise mine and etc. If you don’t like what she has to say that’s fine, you don’t have to agree with her, but it doesn’t make her disrespectful. I agree we live in different times, but that doesn’t mean just because do we should always allow everyone to do things. I mean it is like nails on a chalkboard to me when my mom calls my oldest child hers, especially since she took out a life insurance policy out on him when he was a baby saying it as to help us and my husband and I were the beneficiaries only to find out she is. You don’t know my whole story, that might sound like nothing, but the story is much deeper. So I get where she is coming from when she doesn’t want anyone else calling her baby “their baby”. I think everyone should cut her a little slack, because sometimes as mothers, we just want or need to vent. I pray that her situation gets better and I am a mother that can relate to many and more of what she is saying.

    • Thank you, Danielle. To clarify, this was more a collaborative post where I sought out opinions from other moms, sharing those along with my own. Not all of the things listed bother me, personally, and I’m certainly not dealing with all of them.

  7. Very much understand this new mother wants all the firsts with her child and doesn’t want to share “my baby” term of endearment, but I would love for her to revisit this blog once she has raised this child and has become a grandma….to say the child is grandma’s baby is just a way of saying how much you love that child! not that you are in any way trying to replace mommy. If she is ever lucky enough to be grandma, I’m sure the views will change!

    • Hi KC! I am certainly not opposed to changing my views as I grow and learn. I may very well want to call my own grandchild “my baby”, but I also may remember how it makes most mothers grit their teeth, and refrain. I do, however, hope I am lucky enough to be a grandma one day! 🙂

      • With all do respect, and I do respect that you had the nerve to actually post this list, the “most mothers” you know, need to remove the stick from their back side. It shows how they feel that child is like their own, and in no way diminishes the fact that you gave birth and are raising your child. Hopefully you’ll allow your child a broader picture than the close-minded, stuck up view you’ve afforded the rest of us.

        • Lizzie – after reading your response, I tend to think you may be the more narrow minded of the bunch. After I read the post, and have watched my sister go through something similar with the “my baby” terminology, I find this post very accurate. To be honest, I never once thought the author was speaking directly towards grandparents, but instead the overbearing “family” members. For example, the father of my sisters baby has a brother, well his wife (who has ZERO blood relation to the child) has been incredibly overbearing. She doesn’t have the right to post pictures of my niece with a caption saying “my baby.” PERIOD. If she wants one so bad, go have one. Until then, refer to her with an endearing nickname, say you love her to pieces, there are so many other ways! I call her little monkey, but I would never be so disrespectful to call her my baby. Am I a mother, no, but the fact that I feel this way and I’m not a mother speaks VOLUMES. It is just creepy, she barely let my sister hold her after her birth in the hospital! So again, maybe you should consider opening your own “close-minded stuck up view” and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes for just a minute and you might get some insights as to why those words might be offensive to a new mother.

      • This is a very well written article that sums up nicely the overstepping of in laws when it comes to your child. Having experienced many issues like this from my insecure jealous sister in law has been diificult as a new Mum adjusting to the life changing event of having a baby.
        To have a sister in law that just takes your baby without a word to you when you’re sitting in the same room, to deliberately stand in the way and break the eye contact your new born is making with you, to give your mother in law a Mother’s Day card and gift from your child and not acknowledge you as the mother, never bothering about your wellbeing but all over your child from the second he is born…..the list of possessive behaviours could go on!!
        So thank you for this post and highlighting to the other side of how they make us new hard working emotional mums feel.

    • New mothers do want all the first. After all, grandma already got all the first with her children. Isn’t only fair for the new parents to get to have these experiences too? I am so glad that I have so many people that love our baby; however, I do feel that after I carried “my baby” for nine long months that my husband and I have both earned the right to call him ours! He may be a cousin, nephew, grandson, or even a grandma’s boy. The term “my baby” should be reserved for the parents in my opinion.

  8. This article is appaling. It is a blanket statement of things that need to be taken in a more subjective veiw. Everyone from family to strangers will offer advice. You take what you csn use and leave the rest. I don’t think I could have survived that first year without the support of my family, especially my mother. instead of pushing your support away, maybe you should get off the net and listen, you might learn something.

    • Some of the responses here are unbelievable. Many of you missed the point completely! As she said, she asked what some women thought and then she shared it. You don’t have to like other people’s boundaries- they aren’t YOURS to like or dislike and for crying out loud have some respect for them! No one is disrespecting you by telling you that you do things that bother them, but it IS disrespectful to dismiss them and then try to shame them out of setting boundaries. “Lighten up”? Why don’t you take your own advice and not get so upset that grown women are setting their boundaries, as they should, and expecting other grown women to respect them, as they should. She isn’t talking about your abusive dysfunctional situation with the kids from Shameless and that is clear. We all have the right to set boundaries and if you want to be great grandmothers and aunts and sisters, respect the boundaries set by the parents- it isn’t about YOU, it’s about them and what works for them and their children. If you lived your lives and raised your kids allow them to do the same and examine If there is a need for control in your life. I know I would rather love and communicate with and respect the people in my life and their boundaries than gripe about them setting them. Thank you for writing this article, I will be sharing with my friends and family and anyone else I know that struggles to respect the boundaries of others.

    • Man, how many shallow, childish, rants about every little thing that in laws grandmother’s etc do! One day you whiny new parents will see just how hurtful it is, disrespectful, ungreatful, ugly your trivial complaints are…and yes using YOUR babies as control and punishment. You don’t even behave maturely enough to have or raise children! You should feel VERY grateful those people are loving and sharing wisdom with you…and it breaks our hearts when you use a child we only want to love for your own unresolved issues…the child will suffer…knock it off and grow up!

  9. I can really relate to this as my Mother-In-Law and I are no longer speaking due to some of these very issues but also because things went a little deeper than this.. I have been with my husband for almost three years and he was an only child to his mother. He shared a half sister by his dad, but she is older. Anyway, my husband and I have a beautiful six and a half month old baby girl. She is the light of my life. My MIL (mother-in-law) and I have had so many issues over the years. I probably couldn’t count how many times she and I have quit speaking. However, things weren’t always that way. Before my hubby and I was getting serious, she and I got along just fine. She was the typical mother and we never really had any problems. I guess that all changed whenever he and I started getting a little more serious, because she wanted us to break up. I had never talked to her out of the way or been disrespectful to her or his dad. Anytime my husband, who was just my boyfriend at the time, would act out or do something it was always my fault. She blamed me for everything. He and I were and still are young and he was still living at home. I started feeling unwelcome at his house because I knew his mom didn’t want us to be together. She would say things to my husband about being too young to be serious. Anyway, as time went on, I just distanced myself because I didn’t want there to be any conflict between the two of us. Sadly, it ended up being that way. I got pregnant and she and her family who had never really even talked to me or acknowledge me, wanted to act like I was just the best thing to ever happen to him. They just wanted to be close to me because of the baby. I had ever intention on letting his mother and her family be apart of her life and a part of mine as well. His mother is very over bearing and very touchy about things. Especially if it has anything to do with her son. I learned over time to just ignore her little remarks and to just bite my tounge until she really landed on a sensitive subject. And it happened more than once.. We were in the parking lot of a baby store and I had said that I was so excited to meet my daughter. I was in my last trimester of pregnancy and I did not feel too great! Anyway, after I had said that I couldn’t wait to meet my daughter, she poped off with ‘Well, she is my daughter too!’ I thought I was going to come unglued. I corrected her politely and just let it go. But the little comments didn’t stop there. Anytime I would be talking to somebody about my baby and how excited I was about being so close to having her, she would say you mean ‘our’ baby. I couldn’t ever even call my child mine without a comment like that. And that’s honestly the least of things she did that caused us to not be speaking to this day. You can only tolerate some much. I think a relationship with your mother is a lot different than one with your mother-in-law. My own mother never pushed herself on me like that and still doesn’t to this day!

  10. I must admit that I never resented my mother or his for calling our sons “my baby” or “my boy” or any other endearment. It never occurred to me that anyone would resent that until I worked with a thirty-something friend who became furious over that very thing. I thought it petty and small of her. However if my daughter-in-law resented it, I would want to know so that I would not lose her love or friendship. I guess that since we had to wait for long for our babies, we were too grateful to care about someone else calling them theirs. I think this is the only point that really bugs me about this post. Grandmothers know that they didn’t go through your morning sickness, unwieldy body, or labor; they had their own of each of those. They just love that baby so very much. Be grateful you have a grandmother who cares instead of one who ignores your child.

  11. Thank you so much for this, this is exactly what i need inorder to write my inlaws about our concerns. Ever since my oldest was born, even the day we brought him home, my father in law has ignored me. And as of recently with quiting my job upon the arrival our third child my mother in law now thinks she can tell me what to do in regards to my kids, adding more stress to my life as I try to adjust to being a stay at home mom of 3 boys under 5 years old and a new house that we’ve been in for less than 2 years. This for me at least puts my feelings and frustrations in a more calmer way otherwise it would not be very pretty. And hopefully it will be gentle enough but serious enough for my in laws that they won’t think we’re just picking on them but that they need to learn their place in our life and our children’s lives.

  12. This article makes me laugh and makes me sad all at the same time. As a stay at home mom of an 8 and 4 year old I see this as nothing more than selfish and whiny. Everyone knows who the mom is. Get real. I see almost everything on this list as a control issue. No I don’t want my child away from me on his/her birthday but that’s when you politely say that you have other plans. Sounds like people who don’t communicate. I also agree with the person who said- oh you just want help on your terms and when it’s convenient for you. That’s what is selfish. I am part of this generation and am so sad that we are a bunch of selfish people who care more about what Facebook and Twitter care about than we do about what our own relatives and friends think. Shameful.

    • I agree with you!! I loved that my family “loved” my babies. My babies have now grown up and are having babies themselves. My son’s GF’s parents haven’t come to see their 8 month old son in 3 months; they always have to take him to visit ALL of her family. My husband and I see our grandson a minimum of 3x a week, even if it is a drop by for 15 minutes. Her parent’s also refuse to watch the baby on the one Saturday a month that they both have to work. Holidays it is also not a priority to see the baby. I love spending time with the baby. I have taken off work to take the baby to the dr., when his parents are working. Whenever they need anything, my husband and I are there for them. I got ridiculed for offering the baby some juice and was told that I was overstepping my boundaries (in a not so nice manner). I would never have offered the juice, had I known they didn’t want him to have it. I’m very hurt, because I NEVER would give him something that his parents didn’t want him to have. I totally was unaware of it. I was told to stick to my grandmother duties. Which is? What? I don’t think that includes me missing work to take “YOUR” baby to the dr., nor me finding a backup sitter for “YOUR” baby. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel they take advantage of me at all. They needed and I was able to provide, but now that I have been confronted via phone regarding my boundaries, things may change.

  13. Nope. Nope. Nope. I’m a mother of 3 and incredibly grateful for all the people who claim my kids as their “babies.” It means I’m raising people who other people want to be around. This post absolutely does NOT reflect mothers everywhere. I’d like to be omitted from your closing.

  14. I think a lot of the people who are commenting are getting hung up on the “my baby” issue, while missing some of the other valid points that the author makes. For example, a mother has a right to some privacy in regards to breastfeeding, doctor visits, hospital care, etc. I understand how a well-intentioned relativie might ask how things are going out of concern or curiosity, but the mother does not need to give updates on the topic to anyone based simply on their status as grandmother or grandfather. A lack of these types of boundaries has negatively affected my relationship with my in laws. For example, my MIL hid behind the curtain in my hospital room and popped out when my c-section staples were being removed because she was curious about how my incision was healing. The nurse had asked everyone to leave, but she did not care. I was completely exposed from the waist down. Furthermore, without my knowledge, there were photos taken of me as I was just starting to breastfeed that were then put in a photo album that was shared with relatives and coworkers and left out on the family coffee table. As for the issue of relatives disciplining children, I think there are some factors to consider. If people expect their parents or in-laws to be secondary caregivers for their children, then of course the in-laws are going to discipline the kids. However I don’t think that relatives you see only periodically should feel they have the right to discipline your children, especially when the parents are present and can discipline the kids themselves. My father in law constantly disciplines my child in my home while my husband and I are in the room, even disputing the directions that we’ve given our son. He harps on him for every little thing. I would not mind if my FIL wanted to talk to my husband or me or both of us about our son’s behavior if it worried or embarrassed him, but I am offended that he denies us the opportunity to address our son’s behavior in accordance with our parenting style. If my son is destroying someone’s property or endangering himself or others obviously I welcome help from relatives, but this is not the case with the vast majority of the things my FIL disciplines my son about. The point of the article was to air some of the common issues that are causing frustration and discomfort so that parents might not have to sit down and set these boundaries and risk potential rifts with grandparents and other relatives. As a mom who lives with many of these issues, I appreciate what the author was trying to do. I would love it if my in laws could see some of their out of bounds behavior from my point of view.

  15. Caroline, your in-laws sound like they’re incredibly challenging. I’m so sorry for that. However, your case may be less common. My issue with this article is that she includes mothers everywhere, which means me, and I would hate for my parents or my in-laws to start questioning everything they’re doing to the point of feeling like they’re walking on eggshells around me. That was the case once upon a time, and it was terrible. Most of the things in this article didn’t even occur to me to be offensive let alone apply to me. I really hope that you’re able to have the tough but necessary conversation with your in-laws and find a place of peace. It will hurt in the short term, but the long term benefits will be priceless.

  16. Mothers everywhere do suffer from these feelings. Just because you do not does not mean that many woman don’t. This is not a list of things that should have people spewing hate toward the author, they are her feelings, and according to her, the feelings of some of the woman around her. If you have such a strong opinion, go write your own blog about how much you like it when people raise your child for you, but do not bash people who feel differently. I am not a mother, but as an aunt and a member of a very large family I can see both sides, yes I have stepped over the line and made my sisters angry because I was just trying to help, but I was still wrong because it isn’t my child. Just because someone feels differently than you does not make them wrong. So for all of you mothers who don’t feel this way, take a step back and think about how your words might be making someone who does feel these things think. What if this was YOUR child? Be kind.

    • Thank you, Abi! I’m sure you are an amazing aunt and mean more to your nieces and nephews than you know. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate my husband’s sisters for all they do. Thank you for seeing the big picture, and for realizing that not all these gripes are mine, rather a collection of things I’ve gathered from other local moms. 🙂

  17. Myndee, this clearly is a controversial topic, but I appreciate your sharing your thoughts because it was a more eloquent way of stating alot of the things that I have been thinking myself. It was nice to hear that someone else had similar thoughts. I also appreciate the prospectives expressed in the comments. It’s good to hear all sides of the issues.

  18. Yes I attest to this blog. In fact I wish there was one like this written for the gf of my ex who swears these kids that I gave birth two are hers. Ha! The girl is a psycho.

  19. I think everyone is a bit too sensitive here. All moms are different. We all want to raise our kids in our own way whether that is with or without help from our families. It is a matter of personal preference. Some may want the help, others may not. Not everyone has to be the same. Not everyone has to feel the same way. We don’t all need to agree on one way of raising children. I like to do things on my own without help – not just raising kids, but also anything else I do in life. It’s a personality thing. My sister wants the help and advice of the family. Both are FINE. One way isn’t better than the other. Every family is different. Some of them really can be rude and pushy and others are perfectly fine and the mom should lighten up a little. You never actually know someone’s reasoning for why they want to parent the way they choose. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they do. Stop judging each other and just let everyone raise their kids however they choose. The way that COMPLETE STRANGERS raise their kids should not be such an issue to any of you.

  20. I’m shocked at the number of people blatantly refusing to acknowledge that calling a baby who is NOT yours “mine” might be irritating to a mom. A new mom, especially.

    If you’re a mom and it doesn’t bother you, great, but would you not think it was weird and irritating if someone randomly claimed other things as theirs? possessions? pets? spouse? Why is child any different than those? you’d think it was totally bizarre if your sister called your husband “my husband”. “My baby” is no different. Call him your grandbaby, your grandson, your niece. whatever word is accurate is a-okay. But he’s only “my baby” to his mom(s) and dad(s).

    • Totally agree!! I have this problem with some family members and my daughter! I don’t understand how hard it is to say “my grand baby” or “my niece” especially to a new mom!! I do think that a lot of the issue comes from long histories of breaking boundaries and resentment. If you have an A.Ok relationship with your mom or MIL you might not even notice if they call your baby their baby but if there is already resentment there it sounds like finger nails on a chalk board every time they say it! I have a twin sister and we are incredibly close with each other’s kids and I have never felt the need to call her baby “my baby” he’s my nephew and I love him dearly but out of respect for everything she did to become a mom in her own right I affectionately call him “my nephew” and she calls my daughter “her niece”!! It’s pretty revolutionary I know!!

  21. I see no issue with this article. Mom and Dad are the parents, period. They alone have the parental rights, the legal rights, and the responsibility for the child. My personal experience has been when you are lax about these boundaries problems arise. Grandparents, aunts, uncles etc…. Start viewing the child more as their possession, or as an extension of themselves rather than an individual human being with human rights. They start not respecting either both parents or one. You are walking a fine line here.
    Just a reminder that, Back in the day, husbands and wives got married ( and stayed married), moved out of Grandmas house, and raised their family. Mom stayed home and Dad went to work. They didn’t rely on the Grandparents they were independent. The problem today is children had children, and now they are having children. There are three generations of children in the house and no one is running the show.
    Millennial Women need to be strong, stay home and raise your family, eat dinner as a family every night, and stop being manipulated and guilt tripped into thinking you have to act like a man.
    JUST Be Mom she straightens everyone’s ass out!

  22. This is exactly what I needed to read today. I am a people pleaser by nature and have a hard time setting boundaries but am finding myself needing them. I have people in my life (not even related to me) that request status updates after I take my daughter to doctors appointments. I have a friend that used to occasionally watch my daughter that told me that she forgets my daughter isn’t hers and that she always tries to trump me when she is with her. She has taken liberties with my daughter and done things with her that either I wouldn’t allow or that I had wanted to do with her myself, without asking my permission. When I was on vacation with a friend, she wouldn’t even allow me private time to talk with my daughter without her right there telling my daughter she loved and missed her before I could even get a word in. When my daughter was born, a friend rushed to the hospital and waited hours even though I told her I didn’t want anyone there. I felt I had to let her visit even though I was having some complications and she took a photo with my daughter and posted it before I even had a chance to. If you disagree with this article or think some of these things sound petty, consider yourself lucky that you haven’t had someone you love push past acceptable and normal parental boundaries because it is hurtful and disrespectful and incredibly hard to manage. It is a matter of respect and consideration.

    • My MIL and the whole family held my son before I was even awake from anesthesia…and posted a pic of him online with my sister in law. After 3 years it still brings tears to my eyes. I feel like I should be the second (my husband the first in this circumstance) to hold the baby I had been growing. No one thought it was disrespectful.

      • I would feel the same way. My husband held our son in a rocking chair near me until I could physically hold him. Even that was hard for me, but seeing the love on his face for his son was priceless and precious and I’m so thankful to have it in my memory.

  23. I am a grandma this author is not being rude or selfish in any way. It’s not your baby sip don’t try to take in Rome as mother!! You are grandmother and everything on her list you should respect! I’m sure the grandmothers that are guilty are the ones balking.

    • Michele you are wonderful. I bet everyone wishes you were their child’s grandmother. It’s not their baby and no amount of justification or boundary violations will make it so.

  24. This is the saddest, most narcissistic dribble I’ve read on a long time. It makes me sad for this entitled generation and fearful for the children they’ll raise. This also seems to be coming from the same kind of people who say it takes a village to raise a child – as long as it’s done their way, of course.

    • obviously you don’t read much than because it makes perfect sense to a non narcisstic boundary respecting individual. The fact that you have such a warped sense of entitlement to another’s child show’s that you’re the narcissist who probably does one or all of these since you got so offended. *sips tea

  25. I can relate to this also but I have not experienced all listed subjects. I have 4 little ones, ages 6,5,3, & 2. They can be a handful all together and I honestly never saw myself being a mother in the first place, I mean to say I didn’t think I was mom material I guess. Well, I didn’t like kids but I didn’t understand them back then either. When I found out I was pregnant I was excited and scared, I asked my mother about giving birth and it made me nervous but I made a decision to be strong and enjoy this new adventure. When I held my first baby in my arms for the first time, I melted into happy tears and said “God picked me to be a mommy and I’m in love with our beautiful baby girl!” It set me straight is what I’m saying and when The flood of advice started flowing at me it was overwhelming! I tried very hard to keep what I needed at the time and not get offended because as much as it overwhelmed me and in a small way irritated me I could appreciate the motivation behind why the family and friends where saying anything at all, it meant they cared about my success as a mother and though bar was st high in my mind I could raise to the challenge. Not every new mother can handle that and that’s OK, I had to stop and take deep breaths and think if I was on their end how would I hope for the new mother to react.
    Now that I’m a seasoned mother of 4 children, having breastfed all of them (that was a battle with two and a breeze with two) I had people say to me “breastfeeding is disgusting” and you shouldn’t hold your baby so much and don’t give them that passifire. Honestly if I had said what i was thinking at that time I should like to think I’d have gotten a few full of a palm even if I was within my motherly jurisdiction. But that’s some of the family I have. I like having the freedom of asking for advice when I have exhausted all my own tactics/ methods or what name you. I am the kind of person who has been raised with high morals, manners, self respect and respect for others, dignity, integriy and the ability to look ahead to imagine what might come of choices before making them so I figured if I cannot figure it out on my own I will, do and need to ask for advice or listen if it’s offered. That is me, I find it fun to learn one step at a time, one day at a time until I hit a wall online mentioned yet and then go from there with what knowledge and wisdom I have been given thus far and get more if I need it. That’s not selfish. That’s just how some people operate. I cannot see anything in this post that is disrespectful, repulsive or demeaning at all. My heart going to all he ladies young and old that have these situations where they would need to speak up and set the boundaries I have my share of experience in the matters of too much advice and he kind not meant with love it driven by jealously. Also, it only really bothers me when someone I don’t know calls one or all my kids their babies, however, my dad gets the privilege of saying any of my children are “his” my mother also but they are polite and have asked or earned that. I think there is a line there but not one that should burn bridges if crossed unless it gets out of hand and hostile. In the extreme case it may be necessary for your child’s protection and is no longer a matter debatable. I have heard stories about women who were so obsessed with having another woman’s baby they kidnapped the baby and convinced herself it was hers and in one life story, this was years ago, the lady was a close friend, and the baby ended up dead. When I was a new mom I didn’t want advice I just wanted to get lost in our daughters sweet little face and snuggle and love her. I let mother instinct take control and it was MY baby (ah well she was my husbands too) but you get the idea 🙂 I did learn to relax when it came to close family members I learned I could trust and depend on for support. Anyway, wanted to encourage someone and say if you needed a way to explain how you feel about someone else correcting your child or leaving you out of plans or breastfeeding things and all the rest, it’s all important and family is supposed to be a supporter of their children having children and if years misusing their support then it’s important that you do communicate. It’s hard, I still have not stepped up and asked the person who has done all these and worse to please ease up, sometimes it’s just too much input. Just remember, treat others how you want to be treated. It may not seem productive at first but it’s like Karma, it comes back around to you.

    I appreciate this post I know mothers that would be blessed by it and they would gain some courage from it. As I also know some mothers that it would not be necessary nor apply to at all.

    Take what you need from it and don’t criticize others who agree.

    P.S. Thank you to all the moms and dads, step parents, in-laws, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters brothers best friends and even strangers who love us new or young mothers so much to show true concern enough to give help to us when we are uncertain or (metaphorically speaking) hold our hands when we don’t feel like we can get up after the long nights next to sick babies and collic babies and breastfeeding is frustrating. When temper tantrums get hairy and scary or in public places. Thank you for wanting us to succeed. For those parties I named above who are over bearing don’t hold on so tight let us have some room to learn for ourselves and let us grow into our parenthood at our own pase, let us have our new baby to ourselves sometimes and trust us, since we are trying to get into the rhythm of a new baby or juggling 2, 3, 4 or maybe more. We need you, just understand that sometimes we want to be asked if we need advice before it is given sometimes learning on our own is the best way for some or maybe all of us will succeed. Sometimes when you ask before you give the advice it sends the message that your intentions are to be there if we need help rather than making us feel like you don’t think we can handle it or (more for younger but seasoned mothers) it could make us feel like you think we know nothing if we didn’t say I don’t know how to handle ______. Or I can’t figure my kid(s) out.

    I apologize for the book but I had to express myself with care and gentleness, hoping I have accomplished being so as my motives were to share relation and anti-critical perspective for all around, I doubt I touched on everything but I felt I was becoming long winded. You’re all great moms and family it’s OK that the positions are different just wish my generation would be less crass when it matters.

  26. Post note: I forgot to mention that I with good judgment do think family helping with discipline in appropriate times is good. After all if for example i left one or all my children with a family member or close friend i would not allow my children to get away with disrespectful behavior. Well the older two for sure the younger two are not yet old enough to understand but we are encouraging it soon as possible. I would not want the person caring for my children to be stepped all over by even one of them. Building characteristics as a babe is vital to how they will function when they are grown. All family members who are a constant part of their life should have the privilege to tell the child, particularly when mom and dad are not there, that they may not do something that will harm the child or put the child in any kind of danger (that’s a use your discretion kind of thing) and be able to use some form of appropriate discipline both the the parents and person watching the child are comfortable with. But if the parents use a form of discipline the other person dislikes it is not for anyone to dictate if it is wrong unless of course it’s abusive or negligent.

  27. I find this utterly rude, especially if you’re talking about you own mother. I hope most new mothers have the decency to show respect to those who have already raised 1,2, or 8 children. You do not know everything. Learn that now, or you will later after you’ve alientated everyone close to you. These types of snotty, snarky articles circling new mother forums reveal a selfish “me” generation. I don’t know whether to cry or be angry. Utterly selfish. Utterly rude. Extend grace to others and maybe you get some in return.

  28. I agree with Janie and Michelle on this article response. Very sad and disrespectful. I don’t believe this is a general concensus by most new Moms. I would have loved my Mom, sister, aunt or even Mother in law or any family member to help when I was a new Mom. If you ask this way you are bound to set more than boundaries. may just alienate people from fear of saying or doing anything to offend you. I know I would stop trying if I thought this article was about me.

    • Mom in law. I completely agree. Excessive boundary setting and narcissistic parenting does great damage to in laws like us that are called upon to help. We can end up walking on egg shells and not enjoy being ourselves with the grandchildren when so many rules apply. It sounds like some Nana’s are nuts according to this blog but or ofnus are not. We’re very respectful and often times don’t receive the respect given. I’m grateful I have amazing daughter in loves who value me, my wisdom and support.

  29. Add sending gifts and candy without permission, reporting naked baby butt photos on Facebook, then practically yelling at me to take off the photo with no reason or logic, and calling the school for a progress report behind my back.

    This is a controlling maneuver, and completely disregards the role of the mother. They are not the parent. I am. How scary is it that they would call the school without asking me? That raises so many red flags considering there are bad incidents involving abuse, kidnapping, or worse. My job as a mom is to protect my child. I have enough problems knowing that someone could walk into that school and massacre all of them, or a close friend or family member who I thought would never do such a thing, take my child for their dark deeds. I come from a family of military and law enforcement. It is not crazy to think about security and scenarios like this when we have seen these cases in real life and watched the family deal with the tragedy.

    If you think this author is out of line you are the fool. She said it in the nicest, most considerate way to make boundaries, which makes a HEALTHY relationship. Otherwise people will keep walking all over you and you’ll be a doormat the rest of your life. I don’t know how–no–I know, but it’s not in my logical mind to be nice when it is for the sake of my child’s life to bow to people’s feelings where they’ve tried to manipulate my family in the first place.

  30. My response:

    Dear mothers everywhere,
    I can well understand your feelings since I was a young mother also. You will learn that because your children grow and become husbands or wives, mothers or dads, they are still your children. Though I may try to mind my business, it becomes extremely difficult when your children are out of control, defiant, and running you as if the roles are reversed….you can have a warm loving joyful relationship with your children…but you cannot play the role of friend because that puts you on the same level as your children who need to know THEIR boundaries, need direction and instruction. You did not reach your adulthood and values on your own…
    So, if I sometimes faulter, remember you will one day be in my shoes.

    With loving understanding ,
    Your mother, mother in law , sister, grandmother …..

  31. I have the exact opposite problem. I live with my parents and my 25 year old sister. I just turned 19 and I started college this fall.

    My sister expects that since I live here, I will watch her children, newborn and 2 year old, but I have school work and I’m also looking for a job for myself. If it’s not me, she expects my parents to watch her children.

    When her older son acts up, she tries to blame me or my parents for his behavior, which I think its wrong. It wouldn’t be any different than sending him to daycare, and blaming those who watch him for raising him wrong. You are the child’s parent you are responsible for raising them right, not the babysitter or caregiver.

    Me and my parents don’t receive any compensation for watching her children either. She is in no place to move out on her own, she doesn’t seem at all that concerned with moving out. There are no significant others or friends that she can go to. They are her kids I am very aware of this, I have never called them mine.

    Any advice? Please leave the, “childcare is expensive, you are doing a good thing” advice at the door. I understand it is, but you shouldn’t place the weight on your parents, even more so your younger siblings.

    • Hi Amber,
      I am no expert, but that definitely sounds like a difficult situation. Have you talked to your parents or sister about how you feel?

      • Hey Myndee. No, I haven’t talked to them about it, even though I’ve dropped plenty of hints. The thing is, my parents don’t see it the way I do. They absolutely love their first grandchildren, and my sister. Not that they don’t love me, because they do. They work during the day, so they aren’t home around them all the time. So I’m sure the conversation about this would end with them saying I’m overreacting and to get over it.

        • I understand. Again, I’m no expert, but I do understand the complexity of family dynamics. If it were me, I would remember that I can only control myself. Whatever the reason, your parents are comfortable enough with the situation to allow it, and even if you feel they are being taken advantage of, there isn’t much you can do. However, if you aren’t available to babysit, you shouldn’t feel as though you have to. I hope that this all works out. You sound like a very responsible young woman, and I wish you all the best with college and hope you and your family have a happy holiday season!!

      • Amber I love your story. Sounds like your sister is very narcissistic in her expectations and expects y’all to do these things for free. I’d set serious boundaries and tell her to pay up, don’t complain or find someone else to watch her kids.

  32. Please do not plan my son’s FIRST birthday party at YOUR house. Or anywhere for that matter.
    I sincerely hope that could only be an issue in my boyfriend’s twilight-zone family, but yeah, that happened.

  33. So glad to come across this article. I’m a mom to a 6 month old and I struggle with setting boundaries. I often question if I’m overreacting about things, but it is comforting to see others bothered by the same things. Thank you for sharing!

  34. What about the situation where the grandmother is the one who is always present for a grandchild with Down’s syndrome? If she gives advice based on therapists’ recommendation, should I feel offended as a mother? I feel guilty, because I am always at work, but her “advice” aggravates me. I am the mother after all.

    • Hi Grace,
      I can say that these “boundary breakers” are meant in general situations, and obviously there are specific circumstances in every family. For you, I think you should remind yourself that you are the mother, and whether or not you can always be there for therapy does not negate your role. If the grandmother is truly just passing along advice and has your child’s best interest at heart, then she is doing a good thing. BUT, I do understand where you’re coming from. I do not want you to feel guilty about being at work. I know that’s easier said than done, but you have nothing to feel guilty for. You are earning a living that no doubt benefits your child. You are an awesome mom. Never forget that.

      • I would like to add when I went to my mother in-laws house to pick up my son she tells me she gave him sugar water for his hiccups suger is the wrost thing you could give a baby I mean come on it’s a baby hes growing he needs to be healthy. Also his face was really red he got a sunburn she tells me she took him outside but your not supposed to take babies outside there skin is sooo sensitive she said he just got a little sun not a sunburn umm no thats a sunburn he was crying for weeks so what did I do I purposely brought sunscreen so this will not happen again so the next time I pick him up he once again was red she didnt use the sunscreen she tells me sunscreen is not good for babies because it makes them brake out yes that is true but I was trying to tell her I bought sunscreen its design for babies but she kept talking over me as if she didnt want to hear what I had to say I swear she doesnt respect me or my parenting I talk to my fiance you need to talk to your mother but all he can say is I think my mom knows what shes doing she raise 3 boys and at this point I just want to pull my hair out

  35. And stop inviting yourself over to my house!!!! All visits should require 48 hour advance notice and await approval!!!

    It’d also be nice if you considered my feelings half as much as you demand other people to care for yours.

  36. I would like to add when I went to my morther in-laws house to pick up my son she told me that she gave him sugar water she said it helps with hiccups I dont think he should have that I mean come on its suger and hes a baby a baby suger is the wrost thing you could give a baby that’s growing he needs to be healthy and not only that but she didnt ask me frist she went in did it because she knows best and also his face was really red he had a sunburn your not supssoed to take a baby outside there skin is sooo sentive so what did I do I purposely bought sunscreen so this will not happen again so the next time I went to pick him he once again was red and she didn’t use the sunscreen she tell me that sunscreen can make babies skin breakout yes that is true but thats why I bought the one made for babies I tried to tell her I bought sunscreen its made for babies but she kept talking over me as if she didn’t want to hear what I had to say I feel as if she doesnt respect me or how I parent she looks at me as ohh your a new mom you don’t know anything and I can’t talk to my finece again about this becuse when I did talk to him he just says ohh i think she knows what shes doing she had 3 boys so at this point I just want to rip my hair out

  37. I find this relatively helpful but some things are truly selfish as only mothers can be. What I find most interesting is you forgot to mention the flip side: all the mothers who expect their parents to be extensions of your baby’s care; who want Nana & Papa available at a moments notice to watch your children when you need it, not considering the health of your own parents. I find it funny that parents your age know so much and don’t consider what your own parents went through raising you, paying your way and ruining their bodies worrying for you. Oh and don’t get me started on mothers Day. Suddenly the world revolves around you and you forget your own mothers.

    I find young people to Day to be mostly narcissistic and completely self absorbed when it comes to parenting “your baby”. I’m all for what you’ve described in your story but need to add: don’t put pressure on grandparents to know what’s allowable and not allowable without guidelines. And don’t expect anything you’re unwilling to give.

  38. I agree with this article!

    I am able to raise my child the way I see fit. I do not think it “takes a village” it takes me and my husband ( no one else).

  39. I do think it takes a village, but that means many things. My husband and I live 4 hours away from his parents and a day’s air travel from mine. All 4 grandparents are present in our child’s life, but on a day-to-day basis, it’s a network of friends who are the more tangible village. (The main difference being, I guess, that there are many things we’d begrudgingly put up with for family that we wouldn’t for friends. Hence, fewer problems. ;))

    We also have a great day care with fantastic teachers, which took us a while to find and costs a bit more than we’d have preferred. But in reality, it’s a big part of the village, and she thrives there.

    I have to say, the thought of expecting to use grandparents as free babysitters gives me the willies on many different levels. That is something that would have never even occurred to me. We have a couple of great babysitters for that purpose, or again, it’s possible to “swap” watching the kids with friends.

    But in the end, it goes to show how much what we experienced growing up shapes our ideas of how things “should be done.” E.g. when I was a child, we alternated visiting the two sets of grandparents on Sunday afternoons. But my parents were always there, and I can count on one hand the times we had an overnight stay with any grandparents. This was simply a thing for major situations (like when my parents spent several days finishing the attic or when my mom had surgery). When two families join together who have totally different (often unspoken) assumptions about this, things can get very interesting…

  40. Myndee, you are a spoiled child. I referred to my first grandchild before she was born as”my baby” and my dil instantly put me in my place. She should have known it was only a term of endearment. Well our relationship from that moment forward has been Luke warm. Honestly, I believe these girls only feel that way toward their MIL’s and they would never be that rude to their own Moms.

    • I’m sorry your daughter in law upset you by standing up for what she felt is right, no matter the intent (which I am certain was a term of endearment). If it helps, my own grandmother was the source of one of the things listed above. My mother-in-law has always been a gem…she loves my children with her whole heart, but has always respected me as their mother, and her son as their father, aka the chief decision makers of our children. Perhaps your daughter-in-law has felt you have crossed the line about other things and the “my baby” comment was too much for her to handle? Perhaps she tried for years to earn the right to call a baby her own. Perhaps she is spoiled. I really don’t know, but I can tell you setting boundaries is healthy and a good thing, even if you don’t agree with her boundaries. I would hope you have some of your own- and maybe you have some that I think are ridiculous, but that certainly doesn’t mean you are spoiled, and mothers setting boundaries with friends and family, especially in regards to their children, does not make them spoiled…or rude. I’m sure you know that people are different and what bothers one person may not bother another…and they can both be right. 🙂

  41. Looks at all of these old, entitled bitties. I feel terrible for your daughters and daughters in law. You are textbook narcissists. The above article’s points are completely reasonable requests from a mother or father and the fact that you choose to attempt undermine the parenting of a child who again, is not yours, shows what kind of person you really are. Greedy, selfish, and in need of a “do over” baby. Oh the mother in the article above is “too controlling” for your liking. Tough titties. It’s her prerogative to raise her children as she see fit as she is legally, financially, and emotionally, responsible for her own children and the way she wants to raise them. All parents get to decide how their own children will be raised, you did, and great, your kids may have turned out just fine. That doesn’t mean you get to decide that’s exactly how your grandchildren will be raised too.

    I happen to be incredibly lucky to have a gem of a mother-in-law who has the grace and couth to not even need the points in the article mentioned. She can express her love as a grandmother and does not narcissistically require autonomy over the upbringing of children who are not her own. She respects me and I respect her. She does not impose her opinions and beliefs on her children and children in law and respects each of them as the adults that they are and we all respect her as well.

    You are not entitled to more respect than you are willing to give. Respect their roles as the mother of their children and they will respect yours as a grandmother.

  42. I would like to voice my opinion about aunts in particular with the takeover spirits. I also told my relatives before I had my first child, that we will not be around much because my aunts will not contain themselves. I do not need any of them to help raise my toddler son, because they are very inpatient women that are getting older. What I find funny that I will never leave my son with any of them because they are manipulators and I cannot put my son in danger like that. So, I rather depend on childcare centers so I am able to work and provide for my son and if i feel I need time away from my son on a particular Saturday, I would rather put him in a drop in childcare center for two hours than leave him alone with my family that is so quick to hit other people children for no reason.

  43. Got it.. a little much, who wrote this is very selfish , but I guess this generation is a little up tight. issues like this petty ways are what puts wedges in families.. I ( we ) don’t need to watch Your baby either. Definitely leaving grandparents feeling heavy hearted. Dear Future Parents… we know they are YOUR BABIES. Sorry we are so full of love and feeling proud that My Baby is having a baby

  44. I think the author was being kind when she used the term “privilege” of the mom to call her child her baby when it is fact her (and the other parent’s) right to do so. Also, I did not once read that the author or her supporters were ungrateful or unappreciative of help and support. I am grateful for my job AND have to set boundaries and limits to ensure I am not disrespected or taken advantage of. It doesn’t have to be so black and white. Both can be true.

    Ladies (and gents): do not feel guilty for setting healthy boundaries. Of course we have to choose our battles and set them respectfully, but we have every right to do so; in every aspect of our lives!

    P.S. some of you ladies are saints! Hiding behind a curtain, taking pictures of me breastfeeding, holding my newborn before me?!? I would have lost it and felt no remorse.

  45. My MIL let my son watch my FIL pee, and took pictures of it while I was at work. Boundaries can be absolutely necessary! She calls herself “BFG” (best fu***** grandma) , in front of my mom and step mom. She wanted to throw a grandma shower when I was pregnant. I love my MIL, bit she has gone completely overboard since my son was born. I’m all about love and affection from grandparents… but BFG and you let him watch his grandpa pee.. come on. She will not be left alone with him again.

  46. Absolutely correct. The primary factor is that the responsibility for caring for the baby belongs to the baby’s parents, nobody else.

    Grandparents often undermine the parents simply because they have different views on raising children, which is unacceptable.

    If a grandparent or any other relative cannot respect the parent’s wishes and boundaries then they forfeit any expectation of having time with the child.

    My philosophy is to set firm boundaries and expectations with relatives and if they break that trust then give them a reminder of the boundaries and also that you are the parent.

    If they break the rules again then withdraw contact with them for a period of time, ensuring to explain why.

    Any further transgression results in permanent withdrawal of contact.

    People need to respect boundaries and parents need to set and enforce these boundaries.

  47. I couldn’t agree more.

    Now, what do you do when your father-in-law has your toddler my 19-month-old, calling him “daddy?” He wants to be called “granddaddy,” and of course, a toddler is not able to say that, so she opts for daddy instead. Whenever she calls him daddy he smiles and is responsive to her in a reinforcing way, but never corrects her. My wife also knows this and brushes it off.

    Because of this behavior, among many others, I have a very strained relationship with them, especially him. They also babysit my daughter and spend quite a lot of time with her when my wife and I are at work.

    Any insight of wisdom would be appreciated.

  48. My sister in law is exactly like that, she manipulates my husband over my parenting choices and struggles. Our son is autistic and, on the bad days, it can be a struggle, but we pull it through somehow and, all in all, he is a happy little boy wholoves us dearly. In my SILs opinion, all his delays come down to my bad parenting, bad tactiques, bad everything. She never comes over to offer hands on help, you know, that mucking in involved when you look after a person with a disability, just constant judgements ,”well intended”, of course, and always from the distance. Because of her, my relationship with my husband almost collapsed, especially after I realised that she was been managing my marriage from distance for years. As my husbands bond with her is very strong, he refuses to see how much damage her interference produced, so, a while ago, when the times became so tough that they visibly affected my health, I sent her a text message saying, essentially, ”Enough is enough, back off!”. She felt offended, put on the victim cap, told my husband, etc. She keeps sending my son birthday presents and I have now to find the most relevant words to let her know how little value they have and that ANY input from her into my sons life is not welcomed anymore, after she almost broke our family. Sometimes in laws have a very thick cheek and a talent to dig into your self-confidence as a parent, indeed, but we have to stand tall and assert constantly our boundaries. There is no way around it than confronting the beast.

  49. Thank you for that! I thought I was the only one experiencing this issue and I was confused and frustrated with emotions of being upset and jealous and mad that my baby was allowed and taught to say mummy to her “paternal grand ma” that sits while I am at work and her dad is at college.

    I needed this.

  50. This is a fantastic post! Many people in my mother’s generation have very little awareness of how their behavior, actios, and words come off. Generations parent differently. I wish there were more understanding. I don’t need someone to come hold my newborn so I can get a break. Other cultures seem to understand this better a D mother the mother during the postpartum months. But I agree with he author. This is one of the nicer versions of this I have seen.

  51. Everybody on here talking bout the writer is overrating or anything like that you much not have children or just don’t love them the way you should but everything they said is true it’s not your kid I’m a father and my girlfriends mom has never giving us space or time to bound with our son she has been in his face from day one she thinks she can tell us what to do with him what he should wear even tells us that somethings bout him is not our decision but hers she has been doing this for almost three years I really really think my girlfriend doesn’t care at all she tells me she talks to her bout these things but nothing ever changes there’s so many times I wake up to get my son and she has him or has taken him from the house because I didn’t wake up at 5 in the morning with him but I feel like bitch I’m his father and nothing bout him should concern you just because you wake up before everyone does not mean just go and get the baby we’ve asked her many times time to do this I’m not even going to sit here and explain everything she does because it’s honestly just creepy and ridiculous like if I tell her I don’t want her to take a bath with my son I’m not understanding why I have to KEEP telling you but like I said all I have to say to this is yes we live with you but just because of that doesn’t mean I should have to SHARE or GIVE you my child it’s not like you don’t work and pay all our bills and take care of our son all I know is if this is the way life is when we FINALLY get our own place I plan on being single again because I will not live my life like this if my girlfriend still wants her mom in my sons life after all this I will be forced to leave she asks like she is on my side with thing but honestly it does NOT feel that way at all she’s a BIG mommas girl and loves the fact that her mom is so involved with our son and our relationship from the first day I met her I have been in competition with her mom because her mom feels like she loves her mom then anything or anyone but now that my son is here she feels that way bout him there has been times she has burst into tears because we lay him down for a nap she need help and I think she acts and does these things because she hasn’t had a boyfriend since her child’s father passed away when my girlfriend was 2 and she’s 27 now she has no friends or family and is alone most of the time and all of that may very well be sad but that doesn’t mean I should just give you my child full time or not have a problem when you do something we’ve asked you not to do a million times none of that has anything to do with me and I don’t feel bad anymore because it’s like what did you do to be alone most of your family is still alive there is just so much more that she does and how I feel bout her but like I said if this is going to be my life I will find a new woman to be my wife I will not stay with her for the child I would do my part as a single father it just sucks because I know it’s not her fault because this is how she was raised to feel like know one should come before her moms she was raised to never leave the nest because her mom will be alone but that doesn’t mean I have to all I know is when we move her and I OR even just me, will leave the nest and I know some people will read this like he’s trying to keep her away from her mom not at all the case hang out with your mom text your mom but MAKE sure she knows her fucking place because it’s obvious she doesn’t with my son or even care to know therefore have fun watching him grow from afar.

  52. And here I am thinking this is just a part of PPD or I am a bad mom or I am just being too sensitive just like my husband always say. This is posted on what year? 2014? Now it’s 2018 but this is what I exactly feel and my daughter isn’t even 1 year yet. I’m a new mom. Since day 1 after her birth, I and my husband haven’t received a full time help from experienced figure about taking care of her. My family is in the Philippines. They can’t come here to Canada even if they’re all willing to help me with her. We’re living with my in laws but they’re busy with work. My mother in law has 2 jobs, my father in law works overnight and afraid to hold her, not until she’s big enough and my husband also works. I’m left with her alone everyday even if I’m still recovering with my stitches. She’s now 2 months, still a bit colicky and has baby acne. So you can imagine how it is. Don’t get me wrong. I love her very much and wouldn’t exchange her for the world. But when you had a very tiring day, didn’t get to shower or eat much, maybe skipped going to the loo then your mother in law comes home, hears the inconsolable crying. She rushes to your room like you just hit your baby. She asks what’s wrong, holds your baby, calls her her baby then literally asks her if she’s mad at her mom because HER MOM! HER MOM! did something to her. Maybe she’s just joking but it’s making me feel like I’m not a good mom, that I’m not doing .

    I cant forget that one time she thought I was overdressing my baby. Maybe she was overheating or I was holding her too much that she’s already used to it that’s why she wouldnt stop crying.

    She saw the rashes on my baby’s face and asked if I am bathing her.

    And here’s the breastfeeding issue. My baby wouldn’t stop crying. My mother in law asked me to take out my breast then while I was nursing, my baby was still fussy. She asked if she is getting enough or if the letdown is too fast. Ofcourse I will know, it’s my breast and yes she gets enough. If not, she will not grow and we will not run out of diapers. She is just colicky and I am just really not comfortable being observed while breastfeeding.

    Another related issue. My father in law thinks my baby is fussy because all she gets is air from me because I dont eat. But I do eat. He just doesn’t see me because he sleeps all day. My husband leaves me with food in our room before he goes to work. My husband explained it to him a few times but I dont think he believes him.

    Honestly, I dont understand if they know what colic is or if they would understand even if we explain it to them again. Do they even listen to us or just choose to understand the things they’re used to.

    Where am I going with all these? I’m sorry by the way. Looks like I just rant. Might as well make my own blog and post this as my first entry but my point is, they dont know what I go through, what I experience because they were not with me the whole day then they will come prancing their way in like everything I do is wrong.

    New parents, especially new mothers doesn’t deserve this. The last thing we need is judgement. All we want is real actual help.

    This open letter is the first comforting thing I’ve read since the last two months of my new life as a mommy. You made me feel that I’m not insane😂, that I’m not the only one.

    Thank you very much! ☺

  53. Wow, this headline should read “The Entitle Spoiled Brat Generation Speaks Out.” First of all, why not be grateful that more people than you and your husband love your children? I call my grand angels “my babies”. It means I would do anything for them, help you as parents in any way I can. Give my left kidney or blood or bone marrow if they needed it. They are really extensions of my babies, but this is just shorthand. Be honest: do you resent someone else loving your children besides you? That screams insecurity on your part.

    Then the gifts: you want to control what your children receive? I can understand inappropriate gifts, but toys or cherished gifts from their parent’s youth are not to be passed down? Who said grandparents even have to give gifts? They do it out of love because they cherish those babies. The Entitlement here overwhelms me!

    And why is it bad to make you the “bad person”? After all, those are your rules. You made them and have every right to make them, and good for you for feeding your child healthy food only. So have the conviction to stand up for it. FYI peers in my generation who banished sweets from the house found their kids consumed twice as much once they were out of the house.
    You have a lot of growing up to do, and the word “gracious” is missing from your profile. You should be respectful to your “elders”. Remember, your kids are watching how you treat us, because they will do the same to YOU! In agrarian societies, the basis of our evolution, children were raised in large families. Elders were respected for their knowledge and consulted often. It was one of the small perks of getting old. Now you go to Alexa for child rearing advice. It is great to set boundaries in every relationship, but there comes a point where you go too far and are just plain rude. I think this is one of those times!

  54. Great article! PERFECTLY SAID. Tho whoever said the author is entitled/spoiled, etc. they are the ones that need a chill pill. They clearly never went through anyone taking advantage of them when they were a mom. Or maybe they themselves are the bullies that like taking advantage of new moms, so this article upsets them because it exposes them and offers alternative options to those being oppressed by people like them. They’ve never been robbed of motherhood or been bullied by the ILs. So for them to say that is completely ignorant. Truth hurts! Whether you like it or not.

  55. Great article! PERFECTLY SAID. Tho whoever said the author is entitled/spoiled, etc. they are the ones that need a chill pill. They clearly never went through anyone taking advantage of them when they were a mom. Or maybe they themselves are the bullies that like taking advantage of new moms, so this article upsets them because it exposes them and offers alternative options to those being oppressed by people like them. They’ve never been robbed of motherhood or been bullied by the ILs. So for them to say that is completely ignorant.

  56. So all u grandmas out there, what if the mil is manipulative to the child and says things like mommy doesn’t love u and makes your kid cry? Or tells one of your children that she is her only granddaughter and she only loves her and your other 3 girls cry and feel unloved bc of the remarks she makes? Or you are breastfeeding your baby and mil says u need to stop it that’s disgusting? Or she tells your children not to listen to you and in front of everyone says that you are a horrible parent and that you never do anything right and supposedly you are a bad parent? All of which u r not. U r wonderful parent and take excellent care of your kids. So what do u do then? How would u handle it?

  57. I have an older sister who is trying to “mom” through my little girl. She has never had children. When she found out I was pregnant, she went to my parents house and threatened to commit suicide. When I gave specific instructions about sleeping areas, she ignored and allowed my baby to fall… she apologized by saying how terrible she felt because it ruined her day. I could go in, but I don’t want to get worked up. Just because you don’t agree with everything, doesn’t mean there isn’t a situation where they apply.

  58. I love this article. I actually wrote something recently for my mother in law because she is assuming many things without even discussing it with me or my husband. I don’t want her not be excited because this is her first grandchild but I’m having trouble not getting upset. She is planning a baby shower and instead of asking us anything about it like the day she told us she is doing it this day at this place and assumed it was okay. Now she’s assuming she’s going to be in the delivery room and that she’ll have to stay at my house postpartum to help me. I may be a first time mom but I have helped with many many children in my time and wish she would just ask instead of assume. Sorry about the complaining but I don’t feel like I can really say this to anyone

  59. This is happening in my family as I try to be there and play a supportive role for my sister as she raises her two small children. I didn’t have the luxury of support and offers of regular free babysitting, since I lived across the country when my kids were little. Alas, she’s becoming exactly this kind of over-protective, know-it-all young parent with no regard for the wisdom and experience of her elder female family members. Her kids are 2 and 4 and she still won’t let either set of grandparents be with them unless she’s there to supervise. I used to think she must have superhuman levels of patience and an endless fount of empathy to give and give of herself, coddling those two to such an extent she doesn’t set any boundaries for herself, her time, the bed she shares with her husband, or even her own body. Her unwillingness to let them cry for even one minute results in kids that run her life and car rides to visit family on holidays end up taking two and even three times longer than they should, because they stop every ten minutes to settle a frustrated or impatient child. The coddling extends to absolute control over all influences (violent video games are one thing, but no Sesame Street or Thomas the Tank Engine?!). It’s gotten to where she’s started making excuses for not making family get-togethers, I think to avoid her kids playing with my kids, their cousins. The last straw came when I was with her and her kids (always, conveniently, during school hours when my kids can’t be there) and she told her four-year-old son, right in front of me, “that’s why we don’t see [my son], he’s a bad influence.” My son is a normal (maybe even socially delayed) second-grader, perfectly capable of playing gently with boys much younger than himself, which I know because when we’re around kids he doesn’t know he gravitates towards younger, smaller boys, perhaps because they’re on his socio-emotional level. My point is, my sister’s belief that she can tailor the perfect upbringing for her kids, controlling the exact timing of any and all cultural influences (the candy/food/electronics/toys argument above is spot on for her), is not only naive, but is hurtful to those who want to love and support her and her kids. And, ultimately, she is hurting her own kids by not giving them the opportunity to play with, learn from, and form life-long bonds with extended family. When my kids were little, I would’ve killed to have the family support she has, and it’s downright offensive how blithely ungrateful she is… and all the other mothers out there thinking they can lock their precious little ones away in towers.

  60. While I can appreciate the sentiment of this blog, as I think back over my own parenting experiences it was hard to look a gift horse in the mouth. As a single parent I relied on the best grandparents in the world to watch my babies while I had to work to support my family due to circumstances that were less than ideal. I made reqeusts of those grandparents that were not necessarily followed, but we did the best we could at the time. My children also manipulated the situation (as children will do) to gain advantage for themselves. I love my kids more than life itself…that being said they drove me to the edge and back. I would not have survived without the village that helped me raise them. I am eternally grateful to all who were there for me during that difficult time when I was less than my best self. My family was small and broken, but it is still good. The Millennials as a whole seem to feel that they can just toss away family members if relationships are dysfuctional, and have some interesting boundaries. As a whole, they don’t have any concept of how to functionally communicate or how to repair relationships. Perpaps it is related to spending so much time on social media at such a young age instead of forming personal relationships. If I was a member of this generation I wouldn’t have a relationship with any of my children based on their rules, and I definitely wouldn’t have attended weddings/receptions where my ex-husband was present. IMO, sometimes in life we have to suck-it-up and deal. I taught this montra in my home because I spent most of my life sucking-it-up, and I’m still sucking-it-up. I’m not saying that anyone should stay in an abusive relationship, but sometimes we need to pick and choose our battles. What hill do you want to die on today? Do you want to offend your village and not have anyone there when you need them? Maybe nobody will be coming to your child’s next birthday party after reading this blog… The choice is yours. Just sayin.


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