My boyfriend wants nothing to do with our baby

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Dear Patricia Marie,

I have a beautiful one year old baby girl whom I adore. However I split with my boyfriend, her father, soon after I became pregnant, and he has nothing to do with our baby, which has caused my mum to be extremely upset, as she never wanted me to be a single mum. I can cope with this, but what I am struggling with is the way she tries to take over my daughter's upbringing. It is her first grandchild and she is so over protective. She lives close by and is always popping round, sometimes at the most inconvenient time, being very critical of the way I am raising my little girl, and insisting she knows best. My dad can be a little interfering too, but he knows when to stop, unlike mum.  I believe I am a good mum, as my baby is developing well and is really happy, but my mum seems to think she has a right to dictate every aspect of her life. How can I explain to her the way I am feeling without hurting her feelings? 

Patricia Marie says...

Having a baby in the family can be an exciting time for everyone, and you wouldn't want unnecessary conflict to take away that joy. Try to consider that grandparents generally mean well and just want to make sure their grandchildren are well cared for. Indeed, there are many mums and dads who've no family help or support whatsoever and would give anything to have doting grandparents for their children.

It may be a while since your parent's looked after a baby, but keep in mind there is a great deal to be said for experience. Stay open-minded, as some of their suggestions and advice may actually be very helpful. Your mum may particularly be wanting to take good care of you both as your boyfriend isn't around. Gently explain to her that you value and appreciate her opinion, but ask her to understand that you might have a different way of doing things, and could she please respect this. Speak from the heart and tell her that you are wanting to adapt a routine for you and the baby, so could she please try to call before she visits. Perhaps it could be a good idea in future, when she gives you advice, to listen with a smile - and then do what you feel best. Also, it may be helpful to see things from your mum's perspective, as one day your own daughter may have children herself, then you will become the adoring grandmother. Keep in mind that, no matter how old the children, a mother's love and protective instinct never wanes.

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