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Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
June 16, 2024 ·  4 min read

Ex-MIL Wants to Take Mother’s 1-Year-Old To On Vacation for 3 Months and Won’t Take No For an Answer

Although establishing boundaries is tricky for most people, few parents can imagine allowing their children to leave the country, for months. However, one concerned parent shared that her ex-MIL insisted on taking her 13-month-old to another country for 3 months. When the mom said no, grandma kept trying, refusing to “take no for an answer.” 

New Countries

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The concerned mother explained that her ex-MIL is from a different country and wants to take her 13-month-old on a trip back to grandma’s native country. She explained: “I immediately said absolutely not! She then followed up with “ok, just one month then”!

Read More: Man Is Certain His Wife Died 3 Years Ago, Accidentally Meets Her on Vacation – a Short Story

A Mother’s Thoughts

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This is apparently so that DD can “get used” to being away from me as she is very clingy. Why on earth would a 13-month-old need to get used to being away from their mother for months at a time?! The outraged mom wondered. “Apparently I’m completely unreasonable for not allowing this and have been accused of “hogging” the baby… honestly couldn’t make this up.

Holding Off on Passports

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Unsurprisingly, many moms reacted, commending her for standing her ground and agreeing they wouldn’t let their kids go either. For instance, a mom responded by explaining they put off getting their children’s passports for fear that grandparents might try to take them out of the country. 

No Unsupervised Visits

Actively Supervise Children in this Area Sign
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I would not allow this woman to have ANY unsupervised access to my child. Ever. And that supervision would be done by me. I would also hide your daughter’s passport. There is something very, very wrong and sinister about this woman.” Added another. 

Some Boundaries Must Be Set

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It’s not unusual for parents to struggle to establish boundaries, especially when it comes to grandparents. Grandchildren have a special bond with grandparents; most parents want to encourage and respect that. However, grandparents also have methods that may not always work for parents. For example, grandparents may offer snacks between meals, whereas parents may have strict mealtime rules. They may push bedtime when the kids stay over. They may even be relaxed regarding screen time.

Read More: Millennials Are ‘Quiet Vacationing’ Instead of Asking for Time Off

Grandparents are Invaluable

Little girl sucking her thumb and taking a nap with her grandfather.
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Alternatively, kids need to have special moments and memories with their grandparents so it’s okay to lighten the rules a little, especially if they live far away. After all, most grandparents would never intentionally hurt or put their grandchildren in danger. So where is the balance? 

Like most things, balance is necessary but difficult to achieve. Luckily, professionals are here to help. Open communication and a united front are 2 of the most helpful tools for parents when establishing boundaries. This means parents should agree on the boundaries before discussing them with the grandparents. 

Tips From Professionals

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Next, it’s important to know yourself, know your expectations and “values” explains Jacob Goldsmith. Goldsmith is the director of the Emerging Adulthood Program at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. “If I know my values, I can communicate my needs, boundaries, and standards to others with more clarity,” he said Jacob Goldsmith

Set boundaries like a negotiator

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Although some boundaries and rules should be firm to ensure safety and well-being, fighting with others over your expectations is exhausting. As such, prioritizing rules that mean the most, may be a good way to decide what you’re willing to negotiate. For example, you’ll likely stand firm on rules that ensure safety but consider allowing an extra cookie that grandma made or grandparents to pick the kids up a little early from school once in a while. 

Calm is Crucial

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Lastly, be kind and gracious to yourself and your in-laws. Approach the situation calmly, ensuring both parties have an opportunity to express their concerns and wants. Note that some grandparents may be unwilling to budge, so it’s okay to do what you feel is best as a parent. “In order to avoid being reactionary, or even worse, manipulative, always converse about setting boundaries when you are calm and settled down. It is extremely challenging to communicate kindly and fairly when you’re frustrated. Chill and then chat!” Explains Fran Walfish, a family and relationship psychotherapist in Beverly Hills.

This mom struggled with the notion of her 13-month-old leaving the country without her and, unsurprisingly, several moms agreed. Boundaries must be established to ensure smooth sailing; however, it’s equally important to remain flexible so kids and grandparents can create precious life-long memories. Plus, being willing to budge on small things will alleviate pressure on parents, kids, and grandparents. Everyone wins when they’re feeling less pressure or tension!

Read More: Cruise Ship Vacations: Expectation vs. Reality

Sources

  1. My Ex-MIL Wants To Take My 1-Year-Old To Another Country For 3 Months And Won’t Take No For An Answer.” Huffington Post. Unzela Khan Sheikh. March 18, 2024.
  2. How to Set Boundaries With Other Grown-Ups.” Parent Data. Yael Schonbrun. March 5, 2024.