My fiancé and I have a six-month-old daughter. Since her birth, I’ve had mother-in-law issues.
I’m bound (like a contract) to see my in-laws every Saturday for "lunch" - a whole-day event from 1pm-10pm.
Also, she’ll usually call to see if she can "pass by" after work, which means staying for dinner.
Or, some other event arises, so I end up spending two days a week with her.
The “family together time” with grand parents can be overwhelming to me.
I’m currently having a relationship rut with my fiancé and we spend more quality time with his parents or friends than we do together with our daughter.
How do I nicely tell his mother that my family takes priority first?
It’ll be very hard because she cries when she gets the slightest bit offended and she turns everything around to be all about herself.
You’ve been swooped up into an in-law love-fest regarding the new baby, just when you need rest and relationship time after having her!
It’s a natural, common grandparent reaction – they’re excited, proud, and eager to be part of your daughter’s life.
But what feels like an invasion of “others” is actually an over-enthused embrace of their son and you, along with your baby.
Explain all this to your fiancé and ask for his help (rather than just blame his mother, because he’s likely as uncomfortable as you are about her “tears”).
Together, you two need to find time for yourselves as friends, partners, and lovers, as well as for your new life as parents.
Trust me, every couple has to make this adjustment. It’s sometimes called setting boundaries, but at this point, with everything new for all of you, it doesn’t have to be done through harsh statements.
Your fiancé has to tell his parents that you two need time alone or you’ll forget how to make more babies in future. They’ll get that.
As for Saturday’s marathon “lunches,” decide together how to gently cut the time frame to either lunch or dinner (a few hours maximum) because you both need to catch up on work, sleep, whatever.
So long as you stay connected on showing that you appreciate some “family time” but also need the same thing for your own small unit, there’s no insult involved here.
My cousin’s work colleague has been extremely bossy. She treated everyone like garbage, frequently saying that she doesn't want to be disturbed, and don’t enter her office without an appointment.
She didn’t read most of her work e-mails or answer them if read.
My cousin understood that her colleague had recently lost a relative and a close friend.
So she encouraged her co-worker to smile more and affirm her good aspects and awesome ideas at work.
After one year, her colleague’s still without friends and wanting to be best friends with my cousin.
But my cousin hesitates to trust her more than as a co-worker. It’s hard to change your opinion about someone you met during her depression. Who’s the real person ?
Forgive or Stay Distant?
If your cousin (or is it really you?) has the compassion to understand why this person’s behaviour has been off-putting for awhile, give her a chance to show her better self.
It doesn’t take long to see whether a change for the better is consistent.
Also, if the colleague has other personal setbacks, a “friend” can speak up and urge her getting help for her depression, not take it out on others.
FEEDBACK Regarding the boyfriend who’s “lazy” but eager to make big money and considering studying for a new career (March 3):
Reader #1 – “Until your boyfriend is also working (after more schooling), you should not consider “settling down” with him.
“You need to become an independent person first, which includes managing your finances to provide for yourself only.
“Don’t start a serious relationship with someone who has debt, doesn’t know what he really wants to do, and for whom you’ll be financially responsible.”
Reader #2 – “When our daughter went back to college, she took a good, thorough career aptitude test.
“It involved filling out a long questionnaire, then a face-to-face consult to discuss the results and what kind of careers it seemed she’s best suited to.
“She’s now studying towards qualifications for one in that area of her aptitude and that we all agree seems right for her.”
Tip of the day:
New parents need time alone together besides visits with eager relatives.