Menu

6 common in-law conflicts after baby arrives: How to handle them

Including: How you can say “no,” how you can avoid alienating them and how you can be sure to stand up for yourself.

how to deal with mother in law after having a baby

The baby has arrived and so have your in-laws.

Chances are they were involved in some way during your pregnancy. They may have watched what you ate, tried to trick the baby's gender out of you even though you were clear you didn't want to tell, or perhaps they wanted to help name the baby following their family's tradition.

Involving your in-laws because you want to is one thing. Doing so unwillingly opens the door for your in-laws to take over, or at the least—upset you. And once opened, the door can be difficult to close.

The arrival of your newborn shifts family dynamics and gives you more power than you probably realize. Most of us want to share the joy with our in-laws, but no matter how good your relationship was before the baby or how gracious you are, conflicts arise.

Here are 6 common conflicts and solutions, including how you can say “no", how you can avoid alienating your in-laws and how you can be sure to stand up for yourself.


1. Arriving unannounced

In-laws may not see any reason to call—you are family after all, they think. They want to see the baby and that's what they intend to do.

Emphasize how much you want them to visit, but remind them that you need to rest when the baby sleeps and that is totally unpredictable. So, a head's up for when they'd like to visit would be appreciated. You might say, “We love that you want to stop by, but please call first so the baby and I don't both sleep through your visit."

2. The parent/in-law tug-of-war

From their point of view—one set of grandparents believes (whether or not they're correct) that the other set spends more time with the new baby.

It is rare that two sets of parents have equal time—typically your parents are around more often and in-laws feel slighted. To calm jealousy, reassure your in-laws that the time together—whether short or extended—tells you what fabulous grandparents they will be, how you look forward to sharing the wonder of the baby as she grows.

3. Questioning your choices

Criticism, advice and suggestions around caring for your baby run the gamut from breast to bottle feeding, from getting the baby to sleep to sleeping with the baby, right down to the temperature in the house.

Hear an in-law out, but if you believe in the choices you've made, an in-law's comments should not bother you as much.

From the Shop

Beautiful items to remind you of just how amazing you are.


4. Doing “it" the in-law way

If, for instance, your mother-in-law wants to hold the baby until he falls asleep or anything else that will not permanently disrupt the baby's routine (or yours), let her. Some disagreements are not worth arguing about.

Gain a few 'points' by saying, “Thank you for taking care of (whatever she does) or teaching me another way to calm the baby," for example. In all in-law issues, call up your sense of humor when an in-law is particularly insistent and intrusive. And, when your way is decidedly not your in-law's, you can gently remind him or her that new developments in child rearing have their merits.

5. Helpful—not really

Generally, in-laws want to be useful—they know you need help. In-law assistance that makes your life more difficult can be turned around if you speak up.

No one is a mind reader. Instead of being polite and going along with what they offer, think ahead of time to tasks that visiting in-laws (whether from out of town or just across town) could do. Also consider what your in-laws are good at and like to do. Pointing them in useful directions by assigning jobs you can't find time for or are too exhausted to do—a few loads of laundry, grocery shop, prepare dinner, put gas in the car, put together new baby equipment—will help reduce some of your stress.

6. An extended visit

Long visits are great if you adore your in-laws and they are super helpful. However, it can be stifling and exhausting if they are not helpful or if they need to be entertained.

When your in-laws tell you their plans, announcing that won't work or it's too many days is much more likely to be accepted coming from their son than from you. Hearing it from you, they will think you are trying to keep them away from the baby.

When you say, 'your parents are impossible!' chances are your partner will agree with you. He knows that. He lived most of his life with them—until you and the baby arrived. Insist that he deliver the message of a reduced visit and provide specific dates.


Join Motherly

True

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

These kids dishes don’t look like kids dishes

And that's exactly why my toddler loves them. ❤️

My 4.5-year-old is, let's say, spirited in his opinions. He very clearly knows what he wants and doesn't want (oh to have the confidence of a stubborn preschooler!). And what he doesn't want right now is anything that looks too babyish. "That's for babies," he'll say if I give him anything with primary colors or looks too miniature. He doesn't want the baby fork and spoon, he wants what grown-ups use. He doesn't want the baby plastic cups and plates, he wants the glass and ceramic ones.

Well, you can see where this is going.

I had to find something that would satisfy his "not a baby" opinions but still not shatter to pieces if he accidentally drops it on the floor. I had to find him something that's made for kids but doesn't feel made for kids.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play