Don’t let these lovely photos fool you. The Christmas festivities with my adoptive family were fraught with emotion and tensions and I might have yelled and slammed the door a few times. I threatened to leave. Because my parents were micromanaging every move, saying things loudly like “watch that plastic bag, babies can choke,” as if A) I don’t know that, B) that plastic bag is stalking my child, and C) I’m such a shitty mom that I’d let him put a bag on his head, tighten it and sit there for 5 minutes until he dies. I mean, seriously.
But more than the micromanaging, was the pressure I felt for Potamus to perform a certain way during present opening time. They were generous and overwhelmed him with every version of the B. toy brand from Target. They love giving gifts, but sadly for them, he was more often interested in the bows or wrapping paper or dancing to Manheim Steamroller. Which Boof and I LOVED to witness. The Christmas magic was alive in his eyes, as he danced and napped with grampy, and got to experience snow for the first time. But my parent’s jealous comments about his other grandparents, paired with the pressure they put on Potamus to react a certain way with the toys, was so frustrating that I wanted to (and sometimes did) scream. UGH.
At the rate they’re going it’s going to be a self-fulfilling prophetic path of 2nd class grandparentdom. Right now Potamus is a flaming ball of pure love toward everyone, but at some point he will notice that he can’t quite fully be himself with them, or he’ll have to react or act a certain way when they give him a gift or ask him to do something just for an arbitrary memory, instead of just being himself. And I don’t want him to resent them for that.
So I’m open to advice. How do you handle parents/inlaws when they become pushy overbearing grandparents? I’ve tried the talking to them route and my mom just gets hurt and shuts down and my dad is defensive.