I’m good enough, ma

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If Grandma is always finding fault with your parenting skills.

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No matter how hard you try, it seems like you’re never good enough as a mum in your mother-in-law’s eyes.

Each time your baby falls sick or injures himself, she blames you for not taking good care of him.

Every time he cries, she says it’s your fault for not handling him properly.

Grandma seems to have forgotten that this is your baby, and that bringing him up is your responsibility, not hers.

Here are suggestions to help reduce the tension in your relationship:

Stay level-headed Remember that mum-in-law only wants the best for her grandchild. She has lots of experience raising her own children and, as a result, she thinks she knows best. She wants to pass this accumulated knowledge on to you so you can also do a good job as a parent.

There is no malice intended in her negative comments, even though you find her constant criticism irritating and undermining. She thinks she is being helpful.

Have confidence in yourself Every mum was once a first-time parent, so it’s not just you who has ever worn parenting “L” plates.

Remind yourself that you are as capable as any other new parent.

While Grandma’s constant negativity might slowly grind you down, keep telling yourself that you have the capacity and skills to tackle most parenting challenges on your own. Don’t assume that you are doing something wrong just because she says so.

Be aware that she has limitations Everybody has limited experience, including know-it-all Grandma. Even if she raised 10 children, she still might not have faced the same challenges that you have to deal with your baby.

So the fact that she’s an “old-timer” and you are a “newbie” doesn’t automatically mean she gets everything right and you get everything wrong.

There are many different types of parents.

Remember there is more than one “right way” to raise a child Of course, there are universal rules about parenting, such as the need to help your baby fulfil his potential, the need to stimulate him through play and the need to love him.

But there are plenty of ways to meet these needs, which means there may be more than one “right” answer.

Have private time with your baby Naturally you want your baby to know his grandmother, but that doesn’t mean she needs to be there all the time. Make sure you have plenty of time managing your young baby on your own, without eagle-eyed Grandma watching your every move.

You’ll find that your confidence in your parenting skills builds more quickly when you are not subjected to criticism all the time.

Use tact and diplomacy Even if your mum-in-law is driving you nuts with her incessant complaints, bear in mind that maintaining positive family relationships is in everyone’s best interest.

That’s why you have to deal sensitively with her negative comments and criticism. Stay calm, irrespective of how annoyed you might feel, and speak respectfully to her at all times. Try to avoid squabbling with her, if possible.

Get your spouse involved Another effective strategy to help keep Grandma’s onslaught of blame in check is to ensure that your husband supports you and understands the pressure you are under.

You need to work as a team.

Ask him to speak to his mum, to let her know that he fully supports your decisions and to respectfully suggest that she stops undermining your confidence. She’ll follow his wishes on this matter.

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