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New Dad Explains How His Mother-In-Law Is 'Stifling The Formation' Of His Family

Photo: Anna Shvets / Pexels
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The father of a 10-day-old baby wrote to Reddit asking for perspective on his experience of ongoing conflict with his mother-in-law. He posed a question to the r/Parenting subreddit, wondering, “Am I just being a tired new dad or is my mother-in-law actually a lot?”

The new dad explained why he felt like his mother-in-law was ‘stifling the formation’ of his family.

He stated that he was “struggling with [his] mother-in-law’s intrusive behavior,” yet he wasn’t sure if his interpretation of her behavior was due to feeling overly sensitive from exhaustion or whether there was actually a problem.

RELATED: Mom Who Had No Grandparents Resents Mother-In-Law For Not Cultivating Close Relationship With Her Child

He said the way she was acting was nothing new, “but it seems so much more intense than it normally is, beyond what I thought exhaustion alone would make it feel like. Even my wife is noticing the problems are worse.”

His mother-in-law offered her time to support them as new parents, cooking and babysitting when they needed naps, only that transformed into her being at their house 12 hours a day. The dad explained, “She uses our kitchen to cook and left 1-3 loads of dishes per meal for me to clean until we had a talk. She’s not happy but is cleaning up.”

“Every mistake I make gets tacked onto the instructions for next time,” he said. “I let one diaper squirt and every single change comes with a reminder to not do that. She can’t let any error go.”

Photo: nappy / Pexels

The new dad explained that his mother-in-law consistently disregards he and his wife's parenting decisions.

He mentioned that they’ve cut dairy from their diet, in order to confirm if their newborn has a milk allergy, as they were told to do by their pediatrician. Yet his mother-in-law is “more upset with how this affects the meals she’s making than the prospect of another year with dietary restrictions for her daughter that was so disappointing it made my wife cry.”

RELATED: Woman's Mother-In-Law Will Only Watch Two Of Her Grandkids & Refuses To Hang Out With The 'Bad' 4-Year-Old

“Every observation about the house is negative and involves an immediate demand to fix it to her preference. Our shelves aren’t organized properly, the bottle warmer should be on the fridge not the counter, the laundry isn’t done fast enough,” he stated.

A major issue between the dad and his mother-in-law is that she compares him to her ex-husband.

He explained that she continued “explicitly accusing me of prioritizing my career over family.” He recognized that her assessment isn’t rooted in reality, as her ex was a director of research with a high salary, and the dad previously worked in a job “where hours meant commission meant rent got paid.”

“The long and short of it is it feels like she’s trying to orchestrate our lives to match her vision of a good life that she misses, which I understand, but also screw that,” the dad said. “In the process she’s stifling the formation of our own family. Do I sound like just a frazzled dad or are these legitimate issues?”

RELATED: Woman Says Her Mother-In-Law Often Insults Her 2-Year-Old & Got 'Offended' When She Said She Looks Like Her

Photo: Laura Garcia / Pexels

The comments from other parents in the thread validated the dad’s experience and advised him to set boundaries with his mother-in-law in order to let his own family flourish.

One person suggested setting rules for the “maximum amount of time she can stay at the house… and if she's not going to stick to those boundaries you're not opening the door to her next time.”

“You need time as a family to nest, to build your routines and find your rhythm, you can't do that with someone else inserting themselves into every aspect of your lives,” they explained.

Another person noted that, “It's OK to say ‘Hey, we didn't anticipate how much we'd want to be on our own with the baby.’”

While it's valuable to have emotional and practical support in those first tender weeks with a new baby, the conflict between this father and his mother-in-law appears to solely be sowing seeds of resentment. He and his wife have every right to establish how they want their baby’s grandma to be in their lives.

As her presence is harming their ability to bond, they are allowed to decide for themselves how often they want her around.

RELATED: New Mom Upset After 'Toxic' Mother-In-Law Offered To Move In To Help But Will Only Look After Her Newborn & Won't Do Chores

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.