Social Question

keobooks's avatar

Is there a polite way to tell very kind generous family members to "butt out"?

Asked by keobooks (14293points) August 30th, 2010

I have wonderful in-laws. They have been very kind and VERY generous to my husband and me. However—my mother-in-law somehow keeps bringing up the topic that she is sure that my daughter will be an only child.

CONSTANTLY. Every time I see her, she mentions my health, my age, our finances, or several other reasons why it wouldn’t be smart for us to have another child. Suggesting a vasectomy to my husband while we were eating dinner was a last straw for me.

She has been very very kind to us, like I said. But I’m frankly TIRED of her talking about this when my first child isn’t even born yet. It’s not really her business anyway.

Chances are, we aren’t likely to have another child. But I REALLY don’t want her to keep mentioning it over and over. I find it insulting. I’m just worried that in my overly hormonal state, I’ll just spaz our on her rather than being grateful but firm.

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14 Answers

Ben_Dover's avatar

Sure. Ask your husband to take her to the side and gently tell her that it is none of her business.

OR, just ignore it whenever she brings it up and remember that she is old and will die long before you do.

marinelife's avatar

@Ben_Dover has the right of it. it should be your husband who speaks to her. He needs to tell her (and how gently depends on how obnoxious she is being about it or how often he has already told her) that the number of children you two plan of having is not her business, and it is not something you care to discuss with them.

He must set the boundaries or your relationship will suffer.

P.S. Their generosity should not seal your mouths on setting limits on what they can talk about.

iamthemob's avatar

I agree…this is his job to handle. However, I’m the kind of person that my solution would be to just go ahead and get pregnant. That’s a big old period on her opinion.

Austinlad's avatar

You have every right to make this request of your in-laws, and if you don’t establish boundaries now, the situation can only get worse.

Rather than you or your husband speaking to them in person, you might consider writing a polite but very firm letter. This would give you time to compose your thoughts, and the request might be better received than in a face-to-face conversation, which could become unnecessarily emotional.

SeventhSense's avatar

Sounds like my mother. The only solution is stop taking her money, say Fuck Off and kick her in the ovaries.

fafafatty's avatar

just tell her that its a private matter

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Tell her you aren’t really comfortable with the topic and feel that it’s inappropriate for her to continue bringing it up. Have some sort of consequence for her bringing it up again – maybe every time she does, that’s when lunch is over (note: it should be the boundary-enforcing kind of consequence, not the “I spilled red wine on your white carpet” kind of consequence).

Frenchfry's avatar

Does your husband feel the same way? what is his reaction when she says he should get fixed? I would say if you both feel the same . He should tell his mom to keep her comments to herself. Be happy to have a grandchild.

keobooks's avatar

He’s the one who talks about having a second kid, so I don’t think he’s cool with his mom talking about this stuff. He asked me several times about how quickly we should have a second and I mentioned that I didn’t want to until I got some things (like weight gain caused by thyroid disease) under control. But he says he thinks our daughter should have a sibling. I was an only child, so I don’t care so much.

But when his mom brings it up, he either gets quiet or goes along with it. I was a bit shocked that he nodded along with the whole vasectomy thing. It was RIGHT after I told him I wasn’t comfortable with the whole “this is your last child” converstation topic and told him we had to NOT talk about it at dinner that evening. I was like WTF?

If he was agreeing with his mom, I wouldn’t be so touchy about it, but he brought up the idea of a second child long before I was even thinking about it—and my take on it has pretty much “Let’s get the first one born and THEN think about it.. for a long time”

I really don’t want to tell her off or be rude. She’s a wonderful person. I just don’t think it’s appropriate to bring this up—multiple times.

There are times I want to be ornrey and tell her in November that I’m pregnant again—and we’re having triplets.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@keobooks I know that feeling, but really, telling someone to stop being rude isn’t being rude yourself (if you do it tactfully). She may be a lovely woman, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have faults, or that you shouldn’t call her out on them.

SeventhSense's avatar

I tell you this from experience all sick jokes aside. My mother said something disturbing when discussing if my girlfriend (in her late 30’s at the time) was going to get pregnant again. Mom simply said, “Well if you find out the child has Down Syndrome or something because of your age you can always have an abortion”. We were both like WTF? I wouldn’t have put it past her to say it even if she were already pregnant. My mother is a seductive, charming and attractive woman who will say anything because she is a narcissist. I got it from her but unlike her I’m aware of it
There is no blunt way to do this though. Don’t use my method because if she’s a real narcissist that will just be like foreplay. Don’t incite her wrath or you will never forget it. Especially as the wife of HER SON! You are just a stand in for her after all and simply competition. Sounds like incest? It is a form of emotional incest. He is her object and another child only detracts from the attention she has already lost from him by you. Can’t you see how selfish you are?~ ;)
Just smile and nod while looking at your spouse. Love him with all your heart and be the wife that she can’t be. As soon as she brings it up on the phone immediately remember the roast in the oven, the clothes in the dryer, the baby in the bathroom or whatever. She’ll get the message and try a different angle. Block every entrance tirelessly. If none of this works, hire a hit man. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

She doesn’t sound kind to me.

keobooks's avatar

@SeventhSense—People can be pretty tactless when it comes to older women and pregnancy. A relative on his side pretty much told me the same thing when I announced that I was pregnant. Also offered to chip in for an abortion if DS showed up. Nice. Also got a “I know someone your age who had a baby.. the kid was never right in the head…”

I think she has some troubles with boundaries. Sometimes she makes a big deal about not interfering with something really minor that nobody would care if she meddled with (like whether she should visit the hospital or not) , and then two sentences later she’s talking about my fertility options.

She’s SO much better since we’ve gotten married though. So I give her a lot of credit. I almost totally called off everything before we got married—and I wouldn’t have regretted it at all if my husband didn’t stand up to her and call her on meddling in some really serious ways. She has backed off a lot and its been a good few years. This one just started creeping up on me over the months.

I’m one of those people who will hear an insult, but not feel insulted until a few hours later. No idea why that is. So sometimes I will end up nodding along and not saying anything to my defense and then I go home and think… ”... HEY…that was RUDE!” but it’s been several hours, so what can I do?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@keobooks It’s definitely better if you can say something right away, but just because you don’t doesn’t mean you can’t be offended or say something later. You have the right to say “you know, MIL, it really upset me how you said blah-blah-blah the other day.”.

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