Q: My mother in law is so clingy! I know she is trying to help but she calls every day wanting to stop over and there have been times when she will just show up saying she has an outfit for the baby she bought and just has to give it to us today! She is always around and I don't know how much more I can take! She is alone so I feel bad but also get frustrated because I'm not getting to do things with my new family because she thinks she should always be included.

A: If I had a dollar for every new mom who is overwhelmed by the attentiveness of the thrilled new grandparents… It might help for you to know that this is common, and in my opinion far easier to take than grandparents who seem totally disinterested in their grandchildren. But the time has come for you and your husband to figure out a way to solve this problem before you begin to really resent her. It might go better in fact if he has the conversation with her. He needs to tell her that you are both so happy with her generosity and support, but that you and the baby are trying to figure out a schedule and when she drops by, it can upset that plan. Perhaps you can help her feel more useful by making more direct but structured requests. Tell her what you need and when. And perhaps you could benefit-have her play with or hold the baby while you catch up on writing thank you notes, take a nap, run some quick errands, or even meet a friend for coffee. Make use of her willingness to help by actually using her effectively. You will all feel better.

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Answered by Dr. Alice D. Domar



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