My wife and I had our first fight involving our baby before she was even born.
My mother-in-law is something else. Aren’t most of them? She has no shame and no internal monologue. Anything she is thinking, just comes right out of her mouth, unfiltered. This can make dealing with her a bit difficult at times. She has a habit of inviting herself to events and along on trips. She means well and her heart is usually in the right place, but it can be easy to take her the wrong way.
As my wife progressed in her pregnancy, the mother-in-law made it clear that she wanted to attend the birth.
My wife is one of the sweetest and kindest people I know. One of her flaws is that she cannot say “no” to her mother. The first several times the mother-in-law asked to attend the birth, my wife just said she would think about it.
We discussed it several times, and the answer became clear.
My wife did not want her to attend the birth.
I did not want her to attend the birth.
We wanted the birth to be a special time between the two of us and our new baby. We wanted to ensure we had a few hours to bond with the baby before we had to deal with family. It wasn’t just our child being born, our new family was being born. Our joint decision was clear, we did not want her at the birth.
My wife kept putting off the discussion with her mother.
A few weeks before my wife was due, we were out to dinner with my mother and mother-in-law. The mother-in-law brought up her request again and kept pushing the point. My wife kept deferring it to later, but she kept pushing. Finally, my wife said she didn’t care it was up to me! “Why don’t we let dad decide” I think were her exact words.
Oh man, suddenly I became livid. I swallowed my anger with my wife and did my best to keep an even head. I was boiling on the inside. I couldn’t believe my wife was doing this to me. We came to a mutual decision several weeks before, and my wife didn’t have the guts to tell her mother. She was making me out to be the bad guy.
This is the kind of thing that will make your mother-in-law hold a lifelong grudge.
I explained to my mother-in-law as calmly as I could that I think it would be best for all of us if she wasn’t in the room. My wife and I would be stressing out as it was, and we didn’t need another person to worry about. It would be a long and tiring process and we would let her know as soon as the baby was born.
She nodded okay. But clearly, she was upset and felt hurt.
We finished dinner and went about our evening. The mothers had to go shopping somewhere, and my wife and I were left alone for a little bit. I took the opportunity to bring up the issue with my wife.
I explained (as calmly as I could) that I was very, very upset that she pushed this major decision onto me. She had made me the “bad” guy when it was a joint decision. Her mother was clearly upset with me and would probably hold a grudge for a very long time about this.
My wife took the high road and told me she understood. She didn’t seem to know why I was upset or just how upset I was. She said she would talk to her mother about it. She would make it clear that it was a joint decision.
I don’t know if she ever did talk to her mother. I’m sure she did because she told me she did. Her mother doesn’t seem to have grudge or be upset with me. I just hope we don’t have the same type of issue in the future as we embark on raising our child.
Dads, have you had issues with your partner pushing tough decisions on to you? How did you handle it?