Saturday, 29 November 2008

Pantomime Problem

Feeling much better, nearly back to full strength. All exams marked, grades entered and only two sets of reports left to write. However, I now have another problem:

MIL wants to take daughter to a pantomime. Normally I would reluctantly agree and then worry all afternoon. (Remember she's in her seventies, blind in one eye, bad back, can't manage stairs and yet is still driving - go figure!)

However, she wants to take Izzy along with her other grandchildren. Three kids, two under five. On her own. No other adults.

How do I tell her that I don't want daughter to go without mentioning the facts that

a) I don't trust her driving
b) I worry that she will lose one of them
c) I suspect she will leave two alone if one wants toilet?

I base these assumptions on previous experience of

a) my neice being driven around by MIL without being strapped in to car seat

(MIL thought it good enough for her just to sit in it, good job she called at our house and I put her straight)

b) my nephew (aged 18 months) standing crying at top of her stairs having climbed out of his cot while MIL sat in kitchen doing crossword saying "he'll settle down"

(she doesn't do stairs, not even to sort out crying grandchild, good job I arrived and sorted him out before he fell down the stairs!)

c) my daughter left in car at petrol station while MIL paid

(I know this sounds paranoid, but a friend of mine left her car for ten minutes once and came back to find her car on fire, luckily she'd decided to take her daughter in with her - NEVER, repeat NEVER, leave your child alone in car)

I can't tell her the truth and hurt her feelings. Don't say "go with her" or claim "previous commitment". She would definitely suspect something if I offered to go with and I'm a terrible liar. And it's too far in advance to claim previous commitment (I have said I need to consult the diary though, can I see a reason I would be busy on 21st February?).

Husband thinks his mum is still a young and sprightly sixty year old and can't see the problem, so he's no help. And we all know how safe he keeps daughter (click here to find out)!

Or am I just being over protective?

Meez 3D avatar avatars games


auntiegwen said...

I am now in bed with what sounds suspiciously like what you've got !

I think the only tactful way to do it to say how much you'd love to join them and maybe other mummy/daddy too and make a family outing out of it ?

Maggie May said...

Glad you are feeling better.

I consider myself to be a much more spritely person than your MIL, but even I wouldn't go out with more than two small children on my own. When you get a pack of children, they tend to go a bit wild.
I think you would be quite justified in telling her your concerns!
If you feel you can't do that then insist on going with her or getting someone else to go with her.
Don't think you can be too particular about what she thinks, really.
Go with your gut feeling.

Ladybird World Mother said...

You are so right. Trust instincts. God knows how you make it OK. Gosh, I'm helpful! Sorry for lack of sound advice. Just to say we have to follow our feelings about safety of our children. Tact just doesnt enter into it.
Best of luck! If I have a brilliant solution will come back.

gigi said...

Book a trip to the USA today and you and Izzy come visit me! Please don't send Izzy by herself. That's scary.

Gary said...

I actually would do what was best in the interest of my child and if that means risking the feelings of someone else then so be it. A parent has the responsibility to their child in this area and you seem justified in your concerns. I think of my sister in these situations. She is a tigress. Gotta love that.

Kathryn said...

"Newbie" here. I like the gentle answer from auntigwen... and encourage you to follow that ever-so-smart Mommy instinct that no one can explain, but it always seems so right!
Just follow it - find the key words to say, or steps to take.. but trust your heart. Better to do that, than to regret later.
Oh, and btw, men don't have Mommy Instincts... until the hubby learns to trust it, they seem to ask for details.. which never "make sense" to them.
Best to you!

cheshire wife said...

auntiegwen's comment sound like one option. I was going to suggest that you get together with the parents of your MIL's other grandchildren and work out some rules relating to outings with Grandma. It is in the interests of her grandchildren.

Suzysoo said...

In those circumstances,if they went, I would worry so much I would be ill! Before AND during

Go with them (or make sure someone does!) I know its a pain in the ass, but it would be awful if something went wrong. MIL doesn't need to be in that position either. She wouldn't live with herself if something happened.

You are not being over protective!

Polly said...

Oh dear thats a tough one isn't it. Ill leave it with you and sympathise!

Working mum said...

Thank you for your advice everyone (and welcome to Kathryn!). I will think about everything you've said.

It does get complicated when you consider her other grandchildren are her daughter's children, and her daughter is fine with her mum taking them out. Also MIL worked voluntarily in childcare for years so obviously thinks she is superior to me in childcare matters and doesn't see her deteriorating health and mobility problems.

I'm just the big, bad, spoilsport daughter-in-law who worries too much!

I'll let you know what I decide.

Reluctant Housewife said...

I don't think you're being paranoid - I'd be nervous, too.

Glad you're feeling better! :)

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

I know Auntie Gwen and Gary are offering sage advice and they are very wise and probably right, but I'd probably find out what pantomime it is and then spend a ccouple of weeks telling your daughter how rubbish it is and that she'd do not want to see it and that it's one for the boys and just boring.
Ok ok I am a BAD mother. I am also a total wimp and hate confrontation!

Claire Sutton said...

OK I'm going to be the one voice of dissent here I can tell!

I would say that you're worrying too much and that Izzi will love it as will Grandma. I know that if she does go then you will be worrying all afternoon but sometimes you just have to let go a little.

You've got to tell yourself that Izzi is going to be sitting inside a theatre most of the time and not much can go wrong with that!

Just find something absorbing to do for that afternoon to take yuor mind off it and let her go and have fun x

Working mum said...


Thank you for being a voice of reason. I definitely worry too much and need to let go sometimes. Will discuss issue with Andy, who, as you rightly pointed out before, balances my anxieties with his more laid back approach. Yin and yang, that's us!

Ernest de Cugnac said...

yeees, I see what you mean!

Stacie said...

I don't think you are being overprotective at all.

glad you are feeling better!