I need to vent about my mother-in-law, who has become increasingly overbearing since our first baby was born three weeks ago, and is now involving my cat.
The initial honeymoon stage with our newborn has ended, as he has entered the phase where his systems are starting to kick in. On top of that, my boyfriend has returned to work, and I’m still recovering from my c-section.
Yesterday, our son had his first inconsolable screaming fit, which coincided with switching his formula and him going through a growth spurt. It was the first challenging moment we’ve experienced since his birth, and all three of us were in tears. This week has been a true test for us as new parents.
To make matters worse, my boyfriend was venting to me about how his mom confronted him about not seeing her grandson enough. We have so much on our plates, with not enough hours in the day. Our focus has been on troubleshooting and dealing with the constant challenges that come with caring for a newborn. I’ve been taking him to the pediatrician regularly because, as first-time parents, we’re still figuring out what is normal and what isn’t. Sorry, but your feelings aren’t at the top of my priority list right now.
Furthermore, my mother-in-law had her sister criticize my boyfriend, claiming to know everything because she works for some homeopathic doctor. They both blamed me for our son’s problems, insisting that I warm up his formula even though I’ve repeatedly explained that he prefers it cold and it helps with his acid reflux discomfort.
Now, let’s address the issue of why my mother-in-law doesn’t see her grandson as often as she wants. My boyfriend has explained countless times that we can’t afford another trip to the expensive emergency vet because our beloved cat suffers from anxiety around strangers, which triggers urinary inflammation. Her response was, “Well, then you need to get rid of the cat because I’m not going to let some cat come between me and my grandson.”
My cat is incredibly important to me, especially considering the loss of my parents in recent years. My boyfriend understands this and supports my attachment to my furry companions. I made it clear to him from the start that he should never ask me to choose between him and my cats because he wouldn’t like the answer. My mother-in-law’s comment was highly offensive, but I kept my emotions to myself. I know when to stay quiet and be there for my boyfriend without adding to his stress.
On top of everything, it’s not solely the circumstances mentioned above that prevent her from visiting. The truth is, my boyfriend doesn’t want her around because she only exacerbates his stress. Despite this, I never confront her about it because it’s not my family, and therefore, not my place to intervene. If I can accept that my own parents will never meet their grandson, she can cope with not seeing him for a week. To make matters worse, she has no idea that my boyfriend confided in me about all this. She texted me earlier, asking how we were doing and offering help. Frankly, I’m not interested.
Her idea of help is showing up unannounced at our house, not once but twice, even though we’ve asked for a heads-up so I can give my cat his anti-anxiety medication to avoid triggering another episode. And every time she visits, she brings bags full of useless things that I then have to find a place for. Out of respect for my boyfriend, I chose not to tell her off. I considered not replying at all, but I sent a brief and polite text in return.
Now I have two babies to tend to—one adorable son and one demanding mother-in-law.