We don't want kids, get that through your head! (On dealing with a baby crazy MIL)

My MIL is at it again. Let me explain, wait that will take to long. Let me sum up. My husband’s brother was married, had an affair then asked for a divorce. The divorce was final last week. Before/during said affair BIL and SIL were trying to have a baby. The affair and divorce obviously put an end to that. When BIL got married, MIL quit nagging me all the time about having kids- just only sometimes.

The ink was barely dry on the divorce papers by the time my MIL started hounding me after Easter dinner on Sunday. “Oh, you guys should have kids…blah, blah, blah… I miss not having anyone to make Easter baskets for blah, blah, blah…” ad nauseam. Of course she did this while Mr. Geek was outside talking with his dad. She was obviously mad at me when we left, as she didn’t even tell me goodbye.

We went through this right after we got married almost three and a half years ago. We explained that we didn’t want to have kids. That it is our choice and she should respect that. We thought it was over.

I waited until we got home from dinner to tell Mr. Geek that she started in on me again. I was fairly upset about it. He said he would talk to his mom about it. He just doesn’t know how to make her understand that we don’t want kids and it is nothing against her.

GAH! I won’t be able to take it if she won’t back off about it. She is always talking about neat baby stuff she sees in catalogues or stores. “Oh, Whole Foods has the cutest baby clothes made from hemp.” “Oprah/Martha/Rosie (whoever) was talking about this fantastic baby toy/gadget/clothes etc…” “I saw the cutest thing for babies over at the Pottery Barn Store” “Don’t you guys think that having a kid would be fun” AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Has anyone else had to deal with this from your families? If you got them to stop, how did you do it?

I just launched a preemptive strike at the age of 15 and conceived what turned out to be a lovely baby boy.

Some 25 years later when I got married, I found that not one person had the nerve to question my reproductive plans, least of all my mother.

Sorry, I know this strategy is too late for you, but maybe you could buy her a doll or something to ease the pressure on you.

Oops… this was supposed to go in IMHO. Could a mod please move it over yonder? Thanks!

I have one polite and serious talk. For us, it’s about buying a house. We’re not interested in being homeowners. We don’t have the resources to be homeowners - not time, not money, not education (about buying and selling homes) and not inclination. We don’t have money for a down payment, nor do we have money for replacing a hot water heater or furnace or the ceiling in the living room or any of the other gazillion things that go wrong with homes. We’re not fixer or do it yourselfers. I like that when something goes wrong, I have a landlord who takes care of it. I like that I can maintain the illusion that I might pack up all my things one day, sell them on ebay and run away to join the circus. There are a hundred little reasons, but the main one is just that we don’t WANT a house. So I don’t want to hear about how we might as well just throw all that rent money in the garbage, because I buy a LOT of peace of mind for that money, as well as the roof over my head.

One polite conversation: This is Our Lives. That is Your Life. We appreciate that you are concerned for us, and thank you so much for that. We understand that you’re saying all these things because you love us and want to see us secure and financially stable, and we love you too. We understand that home ownership is a dream of lots of people, including you, and that you’ve found a lot of happiness and pride and security in your lovely, lovely home, and it is lovely. It’s not for us. Please don’t bring it up again, or I will simply change the subject or leave the room.

Then, the next time it was brought up, I changed the subject. Awkwardly, I admit, but I did it. When they persisted, I reminded them that I wasn’t having this discussion any more. Then I left the room. Lather, rinse and repeat. I think it took about four training sessions to extinguish the behavior.

The thing is, they see it as a rejection of THEM, not just their idea. You’re saying (in their minds) that THEIR decision to have kids was not the best one, as we’re saying (in our parents’ minds) that THEIR decision to buy a house was not the best one. They hear it as a personal attack. The best you can do is try to reassure them that their decision was a great one that you really like and approve of - for them.

Plus, of course, they want cute babies to play with. That, I have no advice about.

Those who crave babies and kids can volunteer at the library. Read to the young 'uns. Or see about helping at the hospital, the church nursery, something.

bloodcurdling stare “I had a hysterectomy when I was 17 for cancer. It’s awfully insensitive of you to press the issue.”

Untrue, sure, but it achieves its ends (my MiL doesn’t bug me about having kids, but other members of the family have)

Yes, I would seriously suggest to her that she should find some kind of volunteer thing to put her desire to nurture kids to good use. Surely there is some community mentoring program for kids around there (I just checked - apparently Big Brothers Big Sisters doesn’t have an upper age limit for volunteers!), or she could start volunteering in the pediatrics or obstetrics wing of the local hospital.
I can definitely understand why someone might be disappointed about not having grandkids to fuss over. I haven’t had kids yet, but I already look forward to the grandmother years when I can kick back and just have fun with the grandkids while my children have to worry about all the hard work aspects. :slight_smile: However, obviously that is a terrible reason to try to pressure someone else to procreate, and there are certainly other kids out there already who could benefit from the attentions of a doting grandmotherly type.

I dealt with it by being gay.

You could make up a good juicy lie.

If you don’t want to do that, I think your husband is going to have to take care of this and have a talk with his mother. He’s going to have to make it clear that it’s not going to happen ever. He needs to tell her how uncomfortable it makes you and it might prevent you from wanting to spend time with them if she brings it up again.

I dunno guys. Wouldn’t volunteering to be Grandma to someone else’s kids just make her worse? All that exposure to cute little people and getting to hand them back at the end of the day…just sayin’.

I know what you mean, but isn’t this exactly what Grandma can expect from her son’s family?

Oh, sure. Take the easy way out. :wink:

My stepmom drops little hints and jokes about my (perhaps eventual) having of children. It bugs the hell out of me. Look, woman, I don’t have a girlfriend and I cancelled my wine club and Netflix memberships because I wanted fewer monthly drains on my finances. The idea that I’m ready for the commitment of a child is laughable.

So far my tactic has been to respond with uncomfortable silence and a quick change of topic, but I may soon have to ratchet up my response a bit. I’m thinking nuclear weapons.


Cajun Man
for the SDMB

My brother and I got puppies for our parents (our puppies, their grandpuppies).

They’re so enamored with the dogs that they forget to harass us about kids.

Unfortunately, the plan kind of “turned” on us and we’re both sort of wacky “treat-your-dogs-like-kids” people now with playdates and birthday parties and even daycare. Heh.

My SO’s younger brother is married and they’re mother did start to push the baby issue…which he nipped in the bud by moving two states away. :stuck_out_tongue:

She LOVES having kids around, and she was in her element when her boys were young. She’s been having a hard time letting go and letting them be adults (my guy especially, meh)…so she REALLY wants little kiddies around. Two cousins that live close to her have two young children that she adores, but its not enough. She’s also an elementary school librarian…but that doesn’t seem to satisfy. The SO and I will probably have kids, but not for a while and we probably won’t be living in the area by the time that happens…

What she really wants is for her two sons to be little boys again and keep them that way forever. Seriously…she is having a very hard time getting over it (they’re 28 and 25).

In my opinion, there are two types of kid-craving In-Laws: The ones that want grandbabies who they can spoil like crazy in a way they didn’t with their own children, and the ones who want their kids back. I’d try to figure out which one you’re dealing with, and handle it accordingly.

Maybe I can suggest the volunteering thing to Mr. Geek to mention to his mom. I know they have a read to the kids type of deal at rhe libraries here.


Other than the baby nagging, I really do like my MIL :stuck_out_tongue:

We have four cat beasties and they have two high strung Bichon Frisees

I’d say both.

She also doesn’t understand how come I don’t get up and cook breakfast every day :rolleyes: (uh, because I have a job and who has time?) She never had a “paycheck” job, so being a wife and mother was her job. But that is a whole different issue.

Repeat after me: “Sure mother-in-law, we’ll work on that right now. So get the hell out of my house so I can have sex.”

LVgeogeek, both grandmothers-wanna-be… well, wanted to be grandmothers real bad. In this case, Bro wanted kids (he never was jealous of 2-yr-younger Lilbro when they were little, always wanted to hold him); SiL… SiL wants what she wants when she wants it how she wants it. And if she’s thinking out loud trying to choose between a white blouse with midi-long sleeves and a thin ruffle at the end of the sleeve or an almost-identical white blouse with midi-long sleeves and no thin ruffle, giving her your opinion just sets her back.

So both grandmothers-wanna-be bit their tongues for five years and exploded in laughter, with tears of joy, singing and dancing (well, I don’t know about SiLMom, but Mom did wiggle and sing) when SiL decided it was Time. It now seems to be Time Number Two and both grandmoms-wanna-be-more are, again, singing and dancing.

In that case, no talks were needed… maybe the problem is a mixture of Insensitive MiL plus DiL Who Isn’t A Minefield :wink:

When I turned 27, Grandma took me aside and said: “my Ma had me at 27. I had your ma at 27. Your ma had you at 27. You have 3, let’s say 5 tops, months to get preggers.”
“Uh, I’d kind’a prefer to get a father first, rather than a stallion.”
“The fuck for, they’re nothing but a headache, men.” (Their 70th anniversary is next month)

So that didn’t work. But she hasn’t brought it up again.

SiL comes from a family where nobody has ever rented, as far as anybody remembers. She and her brother went to college “in town,” so they’ve never even lived in dorms; nobody has ever been to boarding school. My family has a history of renting when it makes sense and buying when it makes sense; on Dad’s side, there’s generations of going to the Jesuit seminar at Xavier (aka boarding school, since 90% of the students through four centuries never intended to be priests).

She’d made many thoughtless remarks in front of me about how “renting is just throwing money away”; that particular line disappeared from her vocabulary after this one time when I was walking down the street with her and her best friend, they said that and I said “are you saying that if my next job is a six-monther in Sweden, I should buy a flat there? Or should I buy one here and leave it empty whenever I’m working wherever?” Her friend was the first to react “ah… agh, no! ’ the hell, I guess there are times when renting makes sense!”

When they start on that line again (like I said, it’s not even directed to me, just thoughtless remarks), I simply remind them of my existence.

I expect to have this conversation a lot more after I graduate college. I don’t want kids, ever. I get little comments now and then about “When you have kids…”, and I make my decision known and let it pass for now.

Its (nagging by family members) a big problem for many childless-by-choice people, and if you ever find a solution, let us know. Maybe I’ll steal it…

Is a vasectomy for Mr. LVgeogeek out of the question? Or a tubal for you? Surgical sterilization pretty much would take the discussion off the table for good, I’d think.

Not that ‘shutting up ma’ is the best reason for such a procedure, but the whole ‘impossible to get knocked up’ thing is kind of a bennie too.

Short of that, an earnest “But mom, I thought you knew. I simply can’t bear children.” is appealingly ambiguous.