My husband and I have 2 daughters who are 4 months old & 2 years old. We are pretty evidence-based when it comes to our parenting. My family is not very science/evidence-based and my mom, in particular, is not respectful of our rules/parenting and it is seriously affecting our relationship because I just don’t trust them to watch my kids unsupervised. Both my dad and mom (they’re divorced) *constantly* ask me to watch my kids (us visiting them together isn’t sufficient) and they both want sleepovers.
I will give some examples of things that concern me and I’m just looking for any advice on if anyone here can relate, how they navigated the relationship, and if my concerns and anxiety seem reasonable or not (I tend to be anxious in general so want to make sure I’m being rational).
On my dad’s side, he doesn’t agree with most of our rules but he will at least be respectful of them most of the time but here are some things that concern me on his end:
- he has an indoor pool in the backyard without any fence or gate around it and I just don’t know if I trust him to watch my kids closely enough to prevent an accident and he doesn’t think a fence is necessary
- we follow ABCs of safe sleep very carefully and he’s joked about how he didn’t do that with us and “we’re fine” (evidence of survivorship bias)
On my mom’s side:
- other than safe sleep, which she has reluctantly agreed to follow now, she just blatantly ridicules our rules and says I am being way too overprotective and all her kids turned out fine.
- I lived with her while she cared for my infant niece and I saw my niece fall off the bed and down the stairs multiple times (luckily she’s OK) but my mom always just laughed it off like it was normal to happen (I understandaccidents happen but this seems like negligence. She also doesn’t put up a gate at top of stairs and puts a 7-month-old baby on bed unsupervised)
- she would get drunk almost every time she had my niece and then put her in her Pack and Play and go to her neighbors and say that’s fine.
- she’s taken my niece (when she was about 2–3) out in the car without a car seat “because we’re just going up the road”
- despite me telling her to be careful what she feeds my 2-year-old, she has tried to give her whole grapes, raw carrots, a bag of chips unsupervised and says “it’s fine”
- during summer, we have a cottage and a lot of young kids in the family and whenever she’s at the cottage with the other kids, all the adults are drinking and no one’s designated to be the sober watcher or anything. It’s a miracle nothing’s gone terribly wrong so far and again she says “it’s fine, we’re not that drunk and watching them”
- whenever I’ve been at her house with my 2-year-old, she’s just absent-minded and does her own thing. Nothing is baby proofed and I’m not saying the whole house needs to change but have one baby safe area especially since she’s the one harassing me to watch them
- the other day she was at my house watching them because I had an appointment and no other choice but I was telling her please watch my 2yo carefully as she is in the climbing everything stage, etc and she snarkily said “oh ok so you want me to stare at her the entire time?” I feel like yes.. not stare lol but you should be watching her very carefully.
There’s more.. but I’ll leave it at that. I’ve tried to politely say I’m not ready for sleepovers yet and now because of COVID, I have a valid excuse but they’re already asking me “post COVID, we can have them right?” When I’ve expressed my concerns to them but primarily my mom, she’s just so snarky and dismissive and then says I’m being hurtful because I don’t trust her when she’s “had 4 kids.”
It is seriously affecting my mental health negatively and our relationship. I would love a break from my kids once in a while but I have so much anxiety about this that I don’t think I’d be at peace and it wouldn’t end up even being a break.
Please, does anyone have any advice? I’m looking for honesty as well. If I’m being totally unreasonable, let me know.