dearmargaretDear Margaret: My mother-in-law is a busybody. She calls every day and always has to know everything our children are doing and voice her opinion, which usually means her disapproval. She wants to know every time they are sick, what I am doing about it, who their friends are, when their sports events are scheduled, how their grades are, and on and on. And, if they fall short in any area, I'm to blame. She's getting on my nerves and I'm having trouble being civil to her. My husband doesn't seem to mind the intrusions, and our kids don't realize their grandmother is so nosey. I don't want to cause a rift in my marriage or cause hard feelings between my mother-in-law and me. How can I handle this without rocking boats? I'm the only one that's getting seasick!
Seasick of Mother in Law
Dear Seasick of Mother in Law: First of all, you and your husband have to be on the same page. If you're not feeding his mother the information, he probably is. If you are, then you need to stop. A frank discussion with your husband should include instances of her criticisms of you and your child rearing practices. Excuses for her behavior are not acceptable. She should be called on it as it happens and told you won't entertain negative judgments on your parenting. Your husband should back you up. Then pick your battles. Of course a grandmother wants to attend the grandchildren's sports events, and I'm sure the children are happy she cares to be there. Let her know it's important that she be part of the children's lives, but needing to know minute details of their daily existence is excessive. She has raised her own children and at this stage in her life she should enjoy the benefits of grandparenting rather than the stresses related to parenting. The only remedy for this 'seasickness' is honesty, and you can expect the boat will be rocked at first. If you don't set boundaries, no one will.

Click Here to write to Dear Margaret.  Margaret Snow is a Life Coach in Ithaca, NY.