Toddler / Grandma relationship

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  • #169725
    M .SM.S

    Good day everyone,

    I trust you are well and blessed 🙂

    I am in quite a stressful situation. My husband and I sold our house and moved in with my mother-in-law and will be building her an apartment on the premises. She is a lovely person, but very sensitive and deals with major rejection issues from her own childhood (which has poured over into every other relationship she has, having divorced twice). She helps us a lot as we both have full time jobs which often allow us a few hours at home in the afternoon and then out again at evening. It is good to know our 21 month old girl is being looked after by someone that loves her and she loves in return.

    Thing is, my daughter prefers her grandmother over me every single time. And when she maybe doesn’t want her, she wants her dad. When I got home last night my daughter was already sleeping and I asked my MIL how the evening went. She told me it went very well and then dropped this very excitedly – they bathed together and my daughter enjoyed it so much… I started tearing up and just said good night. To me, this is not on. Absolutely not. Am I being unreasonable?? I sometimes perceive my MIL to enjoy the fact that my daughter prefers her over me.

    When my daughter opens her eyes, her first words are that she wants her grandma. When her grandma leaves the room it is as if the world came to an end and she freaks out. When I leave, she is just like, okay, bye bye mommy.

    This literally is breaking my heart. I cannot talk to my MIL because she is going to make it all about her again. She is being rejected again, nobody wants her, she just wants to help – which she does, but I really think the relationship gives her that sense of belonging and she will hold on to it as much as possible.

    I really need help and encouragement. My husband tries to support me, but he does not worry about just handing her over to granny if it will make his life a bit easier in that moment.

    Thanks everyone 🙂


    It seems very normal that your daughter would develop a close relationship with her grandmother, but I also understand how painful it is for you. Maybe you could find ways to spend more time with your daughter, or at least do something special with her when you can? That might be better than trying to discourage your MIL from having a close relationship with her. A close relationship is good for both of them…and it enables you and your husband to work.

    As for the bathing…well, I would not want anyone bathing in the tub with my daughter either. Maybe it is a cultural thing, though. Is she from a culture where that is acceptable? Maybe you could ask her not to do that specific thing (because of your cultural beliefs?), while at the same time complimenting and thanking her for taking such good care of your daughter. Then it hopefully will not feel so much like rejection to her and will not turn into that whole other conversation.

    I hope things get better!

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