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How should I handle my intrusive mother-in-law?
Q: My problem concerns my mother-in-law. She is a wonderful lady but whenever my new daughter (6 weeks old) gets upset, my mother-in-law says, "Let me show you how to handle this." I know she means well, but I am about to lose my cool with her. She is always picking my baby up when I put her down for a nap, saying the baby just wants to be held, but this always leads to my daughter crying. She makes little comments to my daughter like, "I am your favourite grandma, I am the only one you love." She does this in front of my parents! And, she takes my daughter from my parents—especially my dad—and says, "Let me show you how to do this since you don't know how to handle a baby." My parents raised two girls and we are both alive and well!
A: Oh, boy, you’ve got a problem. And your husband, whose mother she is, has got to help. Insist—don’t merely recommend—that he talk to her and remind her that you are the baby’s mother and that no advice in the world will help the baby if you disagree with it. And have him remind her that the baby does indeed have other grandparents who also want to be important in her life.

Try hard to keep your cool and not alienate her. You want your husband to remain on good terms with his mother, and you want to do the same thing. If you are hostile to her, it could well put a strain on your marriage. Also, don’t overlook the possibility she has some good ideas that might be of help. When we are new mothers, most of us can learn from our relatives who have preceded us in this critical role. You want your baby to grow up knowing and loving all her grandparents, including the one who is now being intrusive. Try to pass some of this off as simply overly intense grandmothering. Chances are, she will moderate her behaviour as your daughter gets older. If not, you can then consider more drastic steps to take.