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Girl Talk: My Mother-in-Law is Hogging My Baby!

We're living with my in-laws while our house is being built. My husband's mom is all over my 2-month-old. I barely get a chance to hold him, what with all her "helping." Will he love her as much as me? How do I tell her to step back? I want to be his only mommy.


Those unfamiliar with the New Mom language - say, your husband - might see obvious answers: Of course you are his only mommy! Of course he will love you the most! (Of course you don't feel any better.) Lucky for you I am fluent in New Mom and know what you are really asking: "Am I bonding with my baby?" "Does my mother-in-law's experience and enthusiasm mean that he'll naturally prefer her to me?"


These questions are hard for you to answer because your feelings are obscuring your view. For instance, you may have already bonded with your baby. But you may not think you have because you're not swooning every time you gaze at him, or because you're so distracted by your mother-in-law that you don't see what's happening between you and your son. The fact that you want to get Grandma to step aside in the first place is an obvious sign that you've already started bonding with your baby, and that you'll naturally continue to deepen that connection whether you're aware of it or not.


Now, on to your nemesis. Yes, she has the experience, but your baby doesn't care a fig about her résumé, so you're on even ground there.


Yes, she's got endless enthusiasm for her grandson, but that doesn't mean they're at a bonding fest while you're manning the concessions. She is simply free from the pesky distractions of nighttime feedings, bodily functions gone haywire, and a nagging feeling that she's doing everything wrong. (She knows what she didn't do right the first time around, and she thanks God she won't make those mistakes again!) And let's not forget she's in her own home. Grandma's not more popular, just more comfortable.


So take a page from her playbook, and ask her to hand him over. Flatter her with the point that you'll never be as experienced as she is if you don't get hands-on learning. If she still remembers how to speak New Mom, she'll understand what you're really saying.

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