As a first-time mom, I often catch myself thinking things that my own mom would consider outrageous. I worry that I will drop the baby, feed her the wrong things, give her deep-seated emotional problems, or that the in-laws will inadvertently damage her in some irreparable way. Oops, did I just say that? Yes, it’s out there and dare I say that if you feel the same; let’s form a club!
I quite simply don’t trust my in-laws with my new baby. This is probably a cringe-worthy topic for any new mom trying to navigate the whole new world of motherhood, but it is what it is, and it needs to be brought to light (even if it’s with you and not directly with my in-laws).
First off, if you’re having these thoughts, don’t worry too much. You are not alone. In a health survey run by Withings, it was found that 55% of moms say that they don’t trust their mother-in-law, best friend, own mother, or even their partner to look after their new baby. As it turns out, you are fairly normal…or at least on the more normal side of what most mums feel. Phew.
This probably doesn’t put your mind at too much ease, so let’s take a look at the reasons why I don’t trust my in-laws with my baby and see if these reasons and thoughts are warranted, or if we can debunk them and get over our worries. Below are 14 reasons I feel are quite valid for not trusting my in-laws with my new baby. Perhaps you feel the same.
14 valid reasons why I don’t trust my in-laws with my baby:
1. We have very different ideas when it comes to discipline.
I consider myself a gentle person and don’t believe in certain punishments when it comes to discipline. I have done my fair share of listening to the in-laws when they discuss how they feel a child should be punished. The topic of self-soothing has also come up, which has been a sensitive topic for us. Because of their ideas of how to discipline a child even from the very young months of age, I tend to be a little wary of leaving my new baby alone with them.
2. They will often have a drink while around the children.
My in-laws aren’t excessive drinkers by any stretch of the imagination, but drinking any alcohol when dealing with a newborn baby is a no-no, in my opinion…especially when that baby is mine. I can’t ask the in-laws not to enjoy their nightly drinks, and therefore I would rather not leave my baby in their care.
3. They are religious and impose it on people rather than living by example.
Even though my baby is really young, I don’t want her to have any form of religion imposed on her. My in-laws are staunch in their faith, and sometimes I feel their ideas and way of living are limited and restrictive because of it. I don’t have anything against religion, but I don’t want my child to be indoctrinated by the in-laws. Even at an early age, I feel a strong sense to protect her against it.
4. Their idea of nutrition is sketchy, to say the least.
What we eat is something of major contention in our extended family. As a vegan mother, I have done extensive research into how to bring my baby up on a highly nutritious plant-based diet. I am acutely aware of how against this the in-laws as a whole are, and often my mother-in-law will pass comments that “granny will treat her to some milk”. Even though it is probably said in jest, it has made me very uncomfortable not knowing what my child will be fed while I am not around.
5. Our values, and therefore lifestyles, clash.
The way I choose to live is undoubtedly quite averse to my in-laws, who are inflexible and quite set in their ways. For instance, I have a great focus on living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle based on wanting to protect a small part of our planet for my child’s future.
On the flip side, my in-laws are completely blasé to how their lifestyle impacts the environment. It seems a small thing, but I will use a specific non-chemical laundry detergent on my child’s clothing (just for example), and I know that at my in-laws’ house, this won’t be something that is honored. How we live so differently and value such different things makes me really nervous about leaving my child alone with them. I don’t want my child to pick up on a more careless way of living simply because I wasn’t around to provide guidance and insight.
6. I have never felt truly comfortable around them.
Unfortunately, I cannot say that I ever developed a truly deep and meaningful connection with my in-laws. Spending time with them has always been somewhat of a strain for me, even though I have put in the effort for my partner. I have never felt entirely comfortable or able to be authentically me around them. Because of this, I also don’t feel like I can leave my child with them and trust that all will be fine. Is this reasonable? I am not sure – perhaps it’s just a mother’s instincts.
7. They have poorly trained pets that could hurt the baby.
Something that I have always noticed is that my in-laws have pets that are poorly cared for. They are large, boisterous dogs that are filthy, undisciplined, and dangerously rough. I cannot for the life of me imagine what would happen when you add a small and vulnerable newborn baby to this mix. It spells disaster for me.
8. My husband has told me some horror stories from his childhood.
While getting to know my husband, he has told me some stories from his childhood that have really affected him that make me shudder. Yes, those days are in the past, but the people involved in the creation of those horrific memories for him are the very people who I am expected to trust my baby with. It’s just not going to happen!
9. I don’t think I really know them.
Trust is something that is earned. The more you get to know someone and the more you know how and who they are, the more you can trust (or distrust) them. While I have spent a lot of time with my in-laws, I can’t say that I really know them, and I know for a fact that they don’t really know me. Owing to this, I don’t really know who I will be leaving my baby with. This makes me unsure.
10. I haven’t enjoyed the baby advice given to me prior to giving birth.
During my pregnancy, my mother-in-law has offered up a lot of advice about being a new mother. The stories have been about what to expect, how to handle certain situations, and of course, basic baby care. While I have done a lot of polite listening, I have also done a lot of research and spoken to other new mothers, and it just seems as if the advice given to me by the in-laws is antiquated and bordering on unsafe.
While I am not keen to judge anyone, I don’t think I quite feel comfortable knowing how the family would look after my baby if I left her with them.
11. I have seen them handle other babies in the family and don’t like what I see.
Of course, we are not the only couple in the family to ever have a baby, and over the years, I have had a front-row seat to the show. I have watched how each family member deals with and responds to babies in the family, and quite frankly, I haven’t really liked what I see. Things have appeared haphazard and careless, which just doesn’t sit well with me.
12. They don’t seem to have any respect for schedules with kids.
One thing I am sure of as a new mom is that a schedule or routine is best for my baby. Even though she is so young, I find she is at her best when we follow her daily routine to the letter. She knows what to expect, and so do I – and that makes for two very happy hearts.
When we visit the in-laws, it almost seems as if all routines go out of the window. Sleep times become impossible, food is disputed, and all the wrong things are imposed on us, and it’s noisy and unsettling. Unfortunately, leaving my baby with the in-laws would definitely mean that her routine is disrupted, and she will be uncomfortable and unhappy.
13. Their home isn’t baby-friendly.
At home, we prepared for the arrival of a new baby, which means a lot of thought went into it. We have baby gates, plug covers, the correct lighting, all of the right furniture, and of course, all the bits and bobs you need to keep a baby happy and comfortable.
While our in-laws may have the best intentions, their home has stairs, there’s no crib, they have no baby care items, and of course, there are no baby gates or plug covers. It just doesn’t make sense to leave my baby in their care when their home simply isn’t safe for a baby.
14. They are a lot older and quite out of practice with dealing with babies.
Say what you might about older in-laws having been parents themselves in the past… that’s the past. Over the years, they have completely lost practice, and this means that their baby care skills are rusty at best. This makes me a bit nervous, especially when I see the panic in my mother-in-law when my daughter has a crying fit or how she leaves a dirty nappy to “marinade” for hours on end.
It’s natural not to trust just anyone with your baby. We are designed for our mothering instinct to kick in, and after all, we are just doing what is natural: protecting our baby.
I don’t know about you, but the more I think about it, the more I feel as if my reasons for not trusting my in-laws with my new baby are warranted and valid. Perhaps there are ways to work around these issues, but for me…I will be hanging tightly onto my own baby, thanks!