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Need advise re: MIL driving daughter around

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive April 2006: Need advise re: MIL driving daughter around
By Anonymous on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 08:56 pm:

I posted a few years back that I did not want my daughter to be in the car while MIL was driving. I won't go into to details, but I don't trust her driving. She has never been in an accident but I see things that show total lack in paying attention to her driving full time. Really scary stuff.

I told DH that I don't want her in the car. He is reluctant but is going w/ my decision. I have been able to avoid even the chances of this for a few years.

Now, MIL called tonight to see if she could have daughter for a couple of nights to go camping. I really don't want this to happen unless there is someone else driving (which won't happen). I sort of avoided giving a real answer, but I know it won't be happening.

MIL is VERY VERY sensitive and gets her feelings hurt so easily. You can say hello the wrong way and she thinks something is wrong. If I were to tell her the truth, she would cut off her nose to spite her face and just figure she'll just never bother seeing grandkids again if we feel that way about her having them alone. It would just cause ongoing troubles.

Also, besides me not trusting her driving, she never does what I ask her to when it comes to caring for my kids. For example, a few weekends ago, we were at our river place about 15 min from her house. She asked to take the baby home with her for the night. I needed the sleep, she needed to feel needed so I let her. I didn't want her to drive, but it was a very hard time to say no. I was very specific about putting him in the playpen for sleeping. He wouldn't like it, but it was far safer than trusting him in the bed with her and or huge pillows. She left w/out the pen (accidentally I think) and I chased her car down and gave it to her. Again, this was the one thing I really stressed. Well, the next day she told me how well he slept in the bed. She had all the pillows around him (I really didn't want this happening) and she slept on the floor. The end result: He was fine. He slept fine. He didn't roll off the bed, he didn't suficate in the pillows. He was great. But still, she did the one thing I told her NOT to do. She, on the other hand, got no sleep at all because she was so worried about him being on the bed and getting hurt.

How does she expect me to trust her when she does stuff like this? Who cares if my rules are not what she wants to do? It's my child.

Oh well, enough complaining. I'm just wondering how can I avoid letting DD go to MIL where she will need to be in the car.

Going anon only because I am complaining about another person and I just don't think it is nice to put a bad face on a person if you don't need to. On many other fronts I think I am very lucky to have the MIL I have.

By Emily7 on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 09:31 pm:

I don't know how to say this nicely, but if you don't trust her driving then she should never drive any of your children around. If it were me I would see it as you allowing me to drive your children when it is convenient for you, but no other time. I think that your actions will definitely be sending her mixed messages & that she would have a right to be upset. If you have always been against her driving both your kids around & backed that up by never allowing it, then it maybe taken differently.
Sorry, but JMO

By Reds9298 on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 09:54 pm:

I can soooooo relate about MIL's not doing what you ask of them. It *is* a difficult situation.

However, when it comes to the driving, I would say she just has to get her feelings hurt. If she's that bad of a driver, and you don't your kids in the car with her, then they shouldn't be. I also think your DH should take the reigns on this and talk to his mom about it. It's really his place.

Good luck! I know how hard it is dealing with in-laws and your kids. I've so been there and it's really difficult. Just think: do you want to hurt your MIL's feelings or risk your kids' lives in her car?

By Anonymous on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 10:54 pm:

I wish it were as simple as telling her her driving worries me. And, no, I don't allow her to drive my children as it is convenient for me. (I know you aren't trying to slam me, but those words felt that way) I have done everything possible to avoid the chance of her driving any of us. She has driven my daughter twice since birth (she's turning 8 in May) and the baby just once now. The first time w/ DD I didn't know I didn't trust her driving. It was on that second trip that I made the decision. As for the baby a few weeks ago, it was a 15 min drive on country roads w/ little to no traffic. I was put on the spot and could not think of a single reason to tell her no without huge backfire (which were already flairing). And please remember, she has never had an accident in her entire driving years. She's not a drunk and doesn't even drink. All I can say is I have my reasons for not wanting them in the car with her doing the driving.

The advise I am asking for is a way out of this WITHOUT telling her I don't trust her driving. She simply is not the type who can handle something like that. It would cause forever problems in the family if I were to say what I really think. Believe, I am the one in MY family who is always known to speak my mind. Most people I know I can be honest with, but MIL is not the one for negative honesty.

Honestly, there is no way I can tell her I won't let my children ride with her.

I just need to find a way to avoid the availability for DD to be free for a weekend trip to grandma's alone....all summer long. After so many years of avoiding it, it is really getting tough.

By Emily7 on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 11:08 pm:

I do apologize if what I said hurt your feelings. I don't know the whole story & to tell you the truth I feel the same way about my MIL. I have just been lucky that she hasn't asked to drive my kids or to have them spend the night. I also know how it hard to be put on the spot like that. It is a difficult situation to be in & I am sorry I don't have any answers...I know your dd can't be staying with friends every weekend.

By Anonymous on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 11:26 pm:

Thanks Emily. That was a very kind reply towards my feelings. Thank you :)

By Sandysmom on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 11:41 pm:

Go with your gut. If her driving makes you nervous then you do what you need to do to keep peace within yourself. It is not worth a weekend or weeks of anxiety and worry and no sleep. If DH is willing to back you up then do what you have to do. I can relate, though. MIL's are a very touchy subject. But think of it this way, would you ever forgive yourself if you didn't listen to your mother's instinct and something happened. God forbid. It sounds like she has fragile feelings and the family has to walk on eggshells around her. That is too bad. A momma bear has to protect her cubs.

Anon, do you think it would be better if DH talked to her privately. Maybe he could go to her and say that those were his concerns and this was just between him & her. Just a suggestion. I hope I don't sound like a meanie, but I've had to have talks with my MIL & it is not easy. It has always turned out good for me, but if she would go so far as to ostracize herself from the grandkids, then it is bound to happen anyway. :)

By Ginny~moderator on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 05:10 am:

I understand you don't want to get into a battle with your mother-in-law, or have her burst into tears and sulk for months about how you don't trust her. I really do understand that. But, as Sandy is suggesting, I suspect MIL uses her known "fragility" and "sensitivity" to manipulate the rest of you.

Fact - your MIL cheerfully and happily disregards your instructions about your children, even very, very clear instructions about the baby sleeping in the playpen (supported by your driving after her to make sure she has the playpen), because she wants to do what she wants to do - never mind that it's your child, that you explained your wishes and reasons very clearly. She did what she wanted to do, and probably never intended to do anything different.

Fact - You feel your MIL is not a safe driver (and your dh, somewhat reluctantly, agrees). And you've observed her driving often enough to have good reason for those feelings. (Not having an accident is not proof she is a good driver. I once told my brother to stop the car and let me out, with my children, because he was driving unsafely. He never had an accident, but he was a careless, reckless driver - an accident waiting to happen. And I never rode with him again, even if it meant taking the bus.)

I suggest you are going to have to risk the hurt feelings, the sensitivity, the tears and sulking, and simply say - MIL, I do not want my children with you when I am not around because you disregard my wishes and do things I don't want you to do with my children. I can't trust you because you have proven you won't do what I want. I'm sorry to have to say this, but no, my dd can't go on a camping trip with you, and no, my baby can't spend the night with you, and no, my children will not be with you unless I am with them. I truly regret this, but you have proven that you cannot be trusted and you brought it on yourself.

And then, just live with the storm, knowing you've done the right thing as a parent to protect your children. In the end, your children and their safety is far more important than your MIL's feelings or any storm she can raise.

And yes, she will cry, and pout, and sulk, and complain that you are mean to her, that you don't trust her, that she raised your husband just fine so it's clear she knows how to take care of children. Typical manipulative tactics, and you should view them that way.

This lady sounds like a prize manipulator, and everyone lets her get away with it because it's easier. Heck, it's easier to spoil your children by giving them everything they ask for when they cry, but you don't do that because you know it's not good for them. Think of your MIL in the same category, sort of. You know she is not "good" for your children, even if she is "good" to them. For one thing, she is showing your children that your authority doesn't matter if she wants to do something else - not a good lesson for your children to learn. And she is modeling, especially for your dd, that if you kick up enough fuss people will give in to you - also not a good lesson.

I'm not for a minute pretending it is easy, but this is what I suggest. You are going to have to fight this battle eventually, and better to fight it over a weekend camping trip for an 8 year old than to have it be over something totally inappropriate when your dd is a teenager and is manipulated into being on MIL's side because MIL wants to give dd something you have denied her. And that, believe me, will happen if MIL is allowed to continue on her merry way. It is her way of showing that she is a "better" parent than you, because none of your fears come true (the baby on the bed).

And that was very clever (and manipulative) of her. See, the baby slept on the bed all night, and didn't come to any harm - and just to make sure he was safe, I sacrificed by sleeping on the floor instead of in my bed, because you didn't want me sleeping in the bed with him. ... So you were wrong about the dangers of the baby sleeping on the bed, and she comes off as this person sacrificing her comfort for your unwarranted sensitivities. Sweet.

By Tripletmom on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 08:07 am:

Ditto Ditto Ginny-Ginny couldnt have said it better.You're mommy and YOU make the rules.She didn't respect you or you're feelings.When she didn't abide by YOUR rules,she made it known that she can't be trusted.Why should you have to worry everytime your kids are with her,personally I wouldn't do that to myself.You're in a very difficult situation but you need to clear the air and stop having anxiety everytime she wants the kids.I think it should be you're DH to initiate this topic.

By Anonymous on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 10:58 am:

Thanks for great replies. I had typed another longer response, but it got locked when I tried posting. So, just saying THANKs now.


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