Nobody would knowingly want to expose their children to manipulative people with anger issues.

An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for telling Mother-In-Law (MIL) she is not allowed to see my child for a week, and if she crosses the line one more time, it will be for the foreseeable future?”. Please look into this matter!


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The Original Poster (OP) (25M) and his wife, “W” (25F) started dating in college. They dated for a couple of years before getting married and have been married for almost four years. They have one child (6 months old), “M.” Both OP and his wife work, so when his wife’s maternity leave ended, they had to look for different daycare facilities. 

“The one we chose did not start accepting new babies until mid-August, and my wife had to return to work mid-June,” says OP. 


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From mid-June to mid-August, they had OP’s mom, OP’s younger sister, and W’s mom watch the baby on different days of the week.

OP’s family lives an hour away, so his mom came once a week, and his sister (the only one they paid) came twice a week. OP’s MIL lived 15 minutes away and watched the baby twice a week.


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Since OP and W were dating, OP’s MIL has had extreme trouble controlling her temper, tongue, and actions. There were times when OP was having dinner with W and her family, and they had to leave as W’s mom was screaming, throwing things, slamming doors, and even involving OP and asking if he agreed with her.

Since they got married, this has declined as they don’t see her every week.


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“However, since the baby was born, things have escalated. We had several mini arguments with MIL over the summer, as MIL is extremely opinionated and does not know how to keep things to herself.

When confronted about unsolicited advice, she responded, ‘So what am I supposed to do if I disagree with you all? Just shut up and not voice those opinions?’ says OP”. 


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Once daycare started, they planned to send the baby to daycare from Monday to Friday. They did not want Baby M to be watched by the family for three main reasons. 

1) Daycare is consistent as long as M doesn’t get sick (if daycare workers get sick, they have substitutes. If OP’s MIL or his mother get sick, there are no substitutes). 

2) OP’s family cannot commit to watching the child every day for the next year, and OP’s MIL has a history of being unable to control her anger and tongue. 

3) OP’s MIL has, more than once, given them a couple of days’ notice that she could not watch M on a day she was supposed to babysit M, which is another reason they value daycare’s consistency.


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“However, for several weeks, MIL hounded and argued with W, saying it was ‘unwise’ to pay for daycare when she was available and willing to watch M all week. We finally agreed to let MIL watch M on Thursdays and Fridays and send M to daycare Monday to Wednesday. This would save us money and get MIL off our back, or so we thought”, says OP. 


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Fast forward to this past weekend. M has been sick and unable to attend daycare for two weeks. OP’s MIL watched M every day last week, and there weren’t really any issues. MIL called W over the phone and asked if they would want her to continue watching M Monday to Friday and pull M from daycare. 

W told her mother that they would be sending M back to daycare as soon as the doctor cleared M as they liked the stability (as long as M isn’t sick) of daycare. This is when it all hit the fan.


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OP’s MIL became irate and started yelling at W over the phone, criticizing their parenting decisions and saying that they wouldn’t let MIL watch M 5 days a week because they were “punishing her.” 

W assured her mom that they weren’t punishing her and that it was for logical/common sense reasons why they wanted M in daycare, as even this upcoming week, MIL had stated she could not help with M at least once this week. 


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MIL then yelled at W, stating, and OP quotes, “You are doing M a disservice by not letting me watch her moving forward.” W then became angry with her mom and told her it was none of her business what decisions they make regarding M, as they are the parents. 

OP’s MIL replied, “Oh yes, it is my business. I’m the grandmother. Some laws give me rights to M, even if you don’t like it.” This was the icing on the cake, and W hung up on OP’s MIL.


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After OP and W discussed what W’s mom had said to her, OP was furious. Firstly, it is way out of line to criticize his and his wife’s decisions regarding raising their child. If they are doing something that will cause harm to their baby, OP thinks even then she cannot criticize them. 

“Call Child Protective Services (CPS). But if it’s not that bad, do not say we are doing our child a disservice. Secondly, making vague threats and saying you, as a grandparent, have rights that trump our rights as parents? That’s a big no”, says OP. 


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OP and his wife decided that MIL would not be allowed to see M at all this week. If she made statements criticizing their parenting again or threatening to utilize “rights” to get M around them (there are no rights such as OP’s MIL referenced in their state, they looked), she would never get to see M again. 


Image Credits: Roman Samborskyi, Shutterstock

“Honestly, I want to say never again now. But to try not to have M grow up with estranged grandparents and to be gracious, we are giving her one more chance. When we informed MIL of this, she called and said she wanted to speak to my wife and me over the phone. 

In tears, she asked why we were doing this and if it was something she said. We said yes, this is a punishment (this time), and it was because she said we were doing M a disservice and her comments about laws.” 


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MIL vehemently denied saying anything close to what she said, swearing she ‘didn’t even know what the word disservice meant.’ She also said she hadn’t mentioned laws or rights. MIL talked on the phone for over an hour, swearing she didn’t say any of what we spoke about and that either we misunderstood her earlier comments or misheard her.

We neither misheard nor misunderstood her. Even now, days later, MIL swears she didn’t say anything negative and is telling people that she only offered to watch M, and we flew off the handle at the offer”, says OP. 


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At this point, OP thinks his MIL is either 

  1. A) a pathological liar, or 
  2. B) has a severe and undiagnosed mental issue (growing up, W thought her mom might have bipolar disorder due to her extreme mood swings and unprompted by W; OP has also made that observation to his wife before).


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In both of these scenarios, they do not want OP’s MIL watching M alone anymore, and they are seeing if they can get M enrolled in daycare on Thursdays and Fridays in addition to Monday to Wednesday.

“Are these measures too drastic? Is threatening limited-no contact too much? My wife and I are sick of her comments and manipulation, but we wonder if we are the jerks in this specific situation?” asks OP. 


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“Not the jerk. Denying what she said and saying you flew off the handle, classic narcissist. I wouldn’t let any child of mine near her in case she punishes it for you punishing her.” 


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“Once someone makes custody threats, all normal relationships are off the table. You can never trust if she uses time with your child to collect or create fake evidence against you. Not the jerk.”


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“Don’t let her ever babysit again. Grandparents’ rights are a thing, and the more contact a grandparent has with the child, the better case they have. I cut off my parents because my mom made threats to lie to CPS so she could get my kids. She also threatened my grandparents’ rights, but my parents didn’t qualify. Make sure to document everything. Let daycare know she is never to pick up your child. If you allow any contact, it needs to be supervised.”

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