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New Mom Bails On Dinner With In-Laws After MIL Purposely Ignores Rules About Feeding Baby

baby being fed
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Boundaries are a necessity in relationships to avoid confrontation, anger and upset.

People who refuse to honor other people’s boundaries are either addicted to the chaos they create or just inconsiderate of others.

If a person disagrees with or dislikes another person’s boundaries, they can discuss it, but ultimately everyone is entitled to their own boundaries. Don’t like them? A person can always end a relationship or limit contact.

But plowing over or ignoring other people’s boundaries is a definite a**hole move.

A woman whose in-laws run roughshod over her and her husband turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Glittering_Way4037 asked:

“AITA for leaving without explanation after my mother-in-law (MIL) pretended not to hear me?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (32, female) have a 7-month-old daughter with my husband (34, male).

“My country does ensure a long maternity leave for up to 2 years, however I am self employed and cannot afford to lose my clients so I try to work while my daughter is sleeping and during the weekends.”

“Lately she’s been teething so I’m operating on little to no sleep.”

“I have an issue with my MIL. She does what she wants despite people asking her not to and then says ‘oops’ or denies doing it.”

“She does this to everyone more or less. She’s the kind of person who touches stuff at a museum and attempts to feed wild birds despite signs advising otherwise.”

“My husband does have a sister, but she’s lived abroad for ~15 years and I’ve only seen her twice. They are not close and she only calls her parents on Christmas and birthdays as far as I know—or at least that’s what MIL says.”

“As for FIL, he’s not reasonable. He’s a typical older man who demands respect everywhere he goes and is upset when he sees a person with an unusual hair colour.”

“Anyway, things like that. It was annoying before the baby, but after she was born it has become insufferable.”

“Husband talked to her and set boundaries, so she stopped doing that when my husband is present, but she was still doing it when it’s only me in the room. So we agreed she cannot visit when husband is not at home and husband is not to leave me alone with her.”

“Because of these boundaries, we did not see them for 1.5 months.”

“They live 2 hours away and we did not find a mutually good time. They finally came over last Sunday.”

“20 minutes into the visit my father-in-law (FIL) wants to see a lawnmower that has broken down, so my husband goes into the backyard with him, leaving me, the baby and MIL inside.”

“She’s drinking coffee and eating cake. She sits next to my daughter on her playmat and tries to feed her some of her cake.”

“I immediately told her ‘no, she can’t have that’. MIL pretends not to hear me and proceeds putting her spoon to my daughter’s closed mouth.”

“I can assure you her hearing is just fine.”

“She has no trouble ‘accidentally’ overhearing me and my husband very quietly talking behind closed doors.”

“I repeat ‘stop doing that, she can’t have cake yet and definitely not from your spoon’. Still she pretends not to hear me.”

“I also think this was deliberate. Not the cake feeding part because this was expected of her, she told me to give my daughter water and tea at 3 weeks, so I’m not surprised honestly.”

“But the pretending not to hear me part was definitely intentional and probably some kind of a power play.”

“I repeat it again, still nothing and now there’s cake on my baby’s face and she’s fussing. So I grab my daughter and go to my husband and FIL, subtly gesturing him to come back inside.”

“After about 5 minutes MIL decided to go outside too and was approaching me and the baby. I gestured to my husband again and he made an annoyed face.”

“Had I interrupted FIL’s monologue, my husband would be 10 times more pissed with me. I did what I could to avoid open confrontation with his parents because he can’t handle it.”

“This is the exact reason why we agreed he is to be in the same room at all times when MIL is visiting. If he’s not, she tries to pull something like this and he finds it easier to just always be there rather than address the issue again and stick with the boundaries that were communicated.”

“I had no energy to deal with any of this so I stood up, went inside, grabbed baby bag and car keys and went to the car without saying a word. MIL asked me where I was going and I ignored her.”

“I drove to my sister’s, which is about a 15 minute drive. There were some missed calls from my husband, so I texted him where we were and that we’ll be back in the evening.”

“Had I stayed, I would have probably slapped MIL because I simply do not have the energy to deal with her sh*t anymore.”

“Had I stayed at home and locked myself in the bedroom until husband finished talking to FIL, she would come banging at the door. So I just went where I knew I would feel comfortable.”

“I texted him where I was and when we’re coming back 15 minutes after I left.”

“It was time for my daughter’s nap and she fell asleep breastfeeding so my sister told me to go sleep too. After she woke up and had her milk my sister took her and told me to go back to sleep.”

“I slept ~3hrs in total. My phone was on silent, so my husband’s calls were ignored and apparently his parents left disappointed and MIL cried.”

“Even if my phone was on silent later on when I was sleeping, he knew how to get a hold of me. He has my sister’s, her husband’s and even their oldest kid’s numbers.”

“My husband is furious I did this. We’re still fighting about it.”

“He can’t believe I was so rude and took the baby away when his parents came to see her after such a long time. He’s angry I couldn’t have waited a few minutes so that he could finish talking about the lawnmower.”

“He doesn’t even care about that lawnmower, he’s not interested in fixing things at all. But his dad is and he just couldn’t say no or interrupt him to handle the MIL situation.”

“Parents can’t be rude to their children, not in the in laws world anyway. He agrees her behaviour is unacceptable, but somehow in his mind it’s expected and ‘just how things are’.”

“After I let him know we were not coming back until the evening, his mother started to cry because she ‘missed the baby so much and I took her away after they drove all this way’. His dad then yelled at him, that’s why he kept calling me.”

“He knew where I was and could have called my sister if he really needed to get hold of me. Him not doing that indicates it was either not important enough or, more likely, he was ashamed of not being able to handle MIL again and did not want to talk to my sister.”

“After they realised I was serious and not coming back, his dad scolded him for failing to be ‘the head of the household’ and soon after that they left. That’s what he told me but I’m sure there was more.”

“What he really does not like is that me leaving escalated the situation and now he’ll have to handle it instead of keeping on pretending everything is fine.”

“He knew damn well what was going on. This was not the first or the second time his mother was doing stuff like that.”

“He didn’t know the details of the incident, but he 100% knew what was going on when I indicated he needed to come back inside.”

“I told him I’m too exhausted to deal with this sh*t. He left me alone with MIL despite our agreement (be it only 10 minutes) so I left.”

“She can come but I won’t be there, that’s what I told him. And neither will our daughter because I can’t trust MIL not to feed her crap.”

“Next time she could try to give her a sip of wine for all I know, after all she admitted to rubbing whiskey on her children’s gums to alleviate teething pain and thought it would be relevant to mention this suggestion because my baby is teething.”

“Husband kind of agrees with all this and seems to understand where I’m coming from, but keeps saying I can’t just leave when they come because ‘rude’. It’s infuriating really.”

“I know how it’s going to be. He’s going to choose my side and then play the victim each time I’m not OK with his parents stomping on our boundaries.”

“All because he finds it so hard to say ‘no’ to them because ‘impolite’ and ‘disrespectful’. Even though he fully agrees with me and has been complaining about his parents’ behaviour for YEARS.”

“He does agree with me, that’s the most annoying part. He just can’t say no to his parents and is pissed that telling his mother about the boundary once was not enough.”

“I did what I could to avoid confrontation because I know how hard it is for him. I went up to him and let him know I needed him to come back in without describing the situation in front of FIL.”

“But he just could not tell FIL to stop talking about the lawnmower and chose to politely stand there until FIL gets bored of the topic and do nothing about the MIL situation.”

“I could have caused a scene with MIL and put her in her place myself but it shouldn’t be my job. And i surely don’t want to waste the little energy I have on this.”

“It’s so frustrating.”


The OP summed up their situation.

“I left without saying anything after my MIL pretended not to hear me and husband did not come for rescue.”

“Husband is saying I’m an a**hole for not waiting longer.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. Your MIL should respect your boundaries and especially when it’s about YOUR baby. And your husband should have your back on that.”

“I do understand that it must be uncomfortable and hurt him, seeing his mother cry and be upset, but then he should talk to her about it instead of making you the bad person.”

“The only thing I think you did ‘wrong’ was that you didn’t pick your daughter up after the first time you said it and MIL didn’t listen. Maybe that would have made things go more smooth, but then again it shouldn’t really be necessary.”

“I do think that it is important that you stand up for your boundaries, and your husband should support you on that.” ~ ano93g

“This needs to be the new standard. If you don’t listen to the baby’s mother about what is best for the baby you immediately lose access to the baby. That is how it is going to be, and will be the ONLY way that she might listen.”

“When you are a parent, you need to learn to enforce consequences. This is a great place to start.” ~ Music_withRocks_In

“This kind of behaviour worries me because what if the baby is allergic to something? You absolutely cannot trust MIL around that baby unsupervised for even a second.” ~ Divyaxoath

“Plus MIL has the nerve to cry and act all upset when she is in the wrong. Feeding cake to a 7-month-old even after the mother repeatedly said not to.”

“OP did not yell, scream or argue , rather she chose a dignified exit with her baby when she realised her wishes were ignored. NTA.” ~ Sweet-Fancy-Moses23

“NTA. MIL can’t go 10 minutes without trying to pull something? That’s not your fault or problem.” ~ Ok-Interview-7328

“That’s what got me. They were literally alone for 10 mins. MIL IMMEDIATELY found some sh*t to get into. NTA.”

“Even I know a young baby shouldn’t have something flaky and dry like cake. Jesus Christ, I usually end up choking on cake!”

“And no matter what, you ALWAYS ask the parent before you feed a kid anything.”

“This MIL actively and deliberately f*cks with her family. I try to be a positive person, but I also wish a lot less people like her existed.” ~ unled_horse

The OP may not have the full support of her husband in standing up to her in-laws, but Reddit was definitely on her side.

The boundaries were set. OP isn’t at fault for maintaining them.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.