Hi, I was hoping to get some advice about my MIL. I'm interested in what some of you can help me understand from her side and what I can do.
I thought I had a great relationship with my MIL - my husband and I dated for 7 years before we married, and currently have been married for 2 yrs. We recently had our first child 10 months ago. DH is an only child, and his mom lives an hour away from us. Up until about 4-5 months ago I had no issues (I thought) with her at all. She was always very respectful of our relationship, during wedding planning she would always say "whatever you two feel is best, etc" and was never critical or rude. I honestly didn't think she even had it in her to be like that. My mother lives about a 5 minute walk from our house, and both my parents and ILs are divorced.
In November (my son was 6 mo) it seems like she did a total 180 and now picks apart every little thing I do, right down to the spoons I use to feed my baby. She's obsessed with how much time my mother spends with my son, and how my son reacts to my mom. My son doesn't always react well to my MIL, she frets and hovers over him constantly, despite us assuring her he's fine she'll prevent him from playing with certain toys, rolling around on the floor or sitting up. He frequently ends up in tears because she's hindering his movements. She's criticizing decisions she was previously supportive of, ie we use cloth diapers to save money, which initially she said was great, now it's supposedly going to make him bow-legged and she doesn't know how he can stand wearing them. I made a point of trying to make sure she felt included during my pregnancy and initially when my son was born, because my husband is an only child and we do live an hour away. She was the first person I ever let bottle feed my son besides my husband (he's breastfed), I frequently suggested to DH to invite them over or that we should go visit those first few months. I printed lots of pictures for her (I don't even do that for my own mother).
I'm not sure exactly what started all this, but here's my theory: Halloween weekend we were supposed to go visit but had a snowstorm. The highway to the city were she lives is notoriously dangerous so if there's any remotely bad weather we don't go. We told her we'd reschedule and she assumed it was going to be the next weekend. However DH told her that'd we'd be up the weekend after that because he was away on business, didn't get in til 2am Saturday morning and was exhausted and the next day was my mom's birthday breakfast. The comments towards me started with at the beginning of that visit, and really intensified when I asked her not to feed my son ice cream (with frozen chunks of chocolate and peanut butter) and DH backed me up when she turned to him for permission to feed it to him. That was the first time we'd ever gotten into a situation like that, and the snarky comments have been coming fast and furious ever since. All mostly out of earshot of DH. She's picked on his diapers, clothes, spoons, food (she yanked his food out of my hand one day), how he sleeps, told me I couldn't go check on him when he was crying, breastfeeding (which she also was previously supportive of), his carseat, where I sit in the car, my going back to work, his toys, how I cut his toenails etc. You name it. After the first visit where she acted like that I think my mouth was hanging open the whole drive home. I could not believe it.
I never used to bat an eye when we visited with her, but now every time one is coming up my stomach is in knots and I can't sleep. Do I say something to my husband? Do I wait her out and hope she comes to her senses whenever she's over what's made her upset in the first place? I ignore the snarky comments and try to be polite as possible, but I'm wearing thin, especially since my return to work is coming up and she's very critical of that.