Daughters First Child + Pushy Mother-In-Law…

by Valerie Jo

(Fontana, CA USA)


I am the Mother (owner of event planning business) to a daughter w/first child.

Recently I was informed that ‘mother-in-law’ volunteered herself to plan my daughters baby shower. Hummmm…

In my day it was usually a ‘best friend’ or ‘sister’…

But, okay…if ‘mother-in-law’ wants to step up, then okay!

However, here is where my dilemma begins…

My daughter indicated to mother-in-law that her Mother, Step-Mother, girlfriend & sister-in-law would like to help. Mother-in-law closed the door to the idea as she already had plenty of help with ‘her’ sister-in-laws

To date my daughter has yet to be asked what SHE wants! Where she wants the shower at, what kind of food or cake to serve, games or not, favors/colors, blah…blah…blah…you get the picture.

Recently my daughter needed a sit-down & talk session with me about the baby shower!

Owning an event planning business myself I end up sitting down with brides & having these very same talks about ‘in your face’ mothers & mother-in-laws all the time.

But, this seemed different as I was now faced with ‘what do I tell my daughter’ that doesn’t sound ‘canned’ or seeming to side for myself!

So, her resolve was that mother-in-law’s baby shower would be only for husbands side of the family, this would leave the door open for myself, step-mother, friend & sister-in-law to plan a baby shower for our side of the family.

Yesterday another Mother/Daughter talk was requested: mother-in-law has now rented a ‘golf course’, complete with brunch & champagne, 3 tier cake, favors, games & invitations have already been made, addressed & stamped. (Addresses that she retrieved from the wedding list over a year ago…)

My daughter is a simple type, her request was: a park, local community center, finger sandwiches (made by her brother’s, who is a Chef, restaurant), no games, etc.

Now…I find myself searching for answers for my daughter. What would be the proper etiquette? Do I make a call myself to mother-in-law volunteering myself to help, taking a back door entrance & trying to curb some of the ‘over the top’ plans? Does Daughter need to ‘belly up to the bar’ & insist to mother-in-law that this is all too much?

Thank you, looking forward to your answer.

Comments for
Daughters First Child + Pushy Mother-In-Law…

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Aug 13, 2010

Time to Celebrate With Focus on the Parents-to-be, not the extended family

by: Anonymous

I disagree with the previous comment. This time is for your daughter and her husband to celebrate their new family. The celebration is not for the grandparents, it should be focused on the new baby and what the parents, particularly the wife, desires. While it can be appreciated that others want to “help”, “be hospitable”, and throw a party, firm boundaries should be taken now before the child is born. These boundaries should be decided on by both Mom-to-Be and Father-to-Be and it should be the husband’s role to communicate that directly to his mother. If the roles were reversed, I am sure that he would want his wife to communicate that to you and you would want her to do so. By taking control of the situation, he would reduce resentment by the mother-in-law about the issues and also show her that clear boundaries are needed. If you try to provide input or take control even the most open and well-intentioned motives may be taken with resentment and create family problems for years to come. If clear boundaries are not set now and resentment grows with all parties, imagine what labor and delivery and childhood rearing will be like for your daughter….

Aug 10, 2010

Graciously accept, but give input on the other shower

by: Expecting in Oklahoma

Wow, she really does sound pushy! However, I think your daughter did the right thing in telling her that she would only be hosting the shower for her husband’s side of the family. I’m sure that the MIL is just trying to show her enthusiasm for her first grandchild, and this is the only way she knows how. Your daughter’s wishes can be respected in the more traditional shower thrown by a friend on your side of the family, and even though the MIL’s extravaganza may not be her taste, and completely lacks her input, she should just let go and enjoy not having to plan a thing. She can truly enjoy having input in the shower that your friends throw for her, but ultimately, MIL’s party is still a party in honor of her, which she should accept graciously.

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