Boundaries are hard, but sometimes you really need to tell your family to back off when it comes to your kids. No one besides a parent gets to tell your children how they should dress, what they should eat, or how much TV they should (or shouldn’t) watch, but try telling that to one mother-in-law who specifically disregarded her daughter-in-law’s wishes and got her 3-month-old daughter’s ears pierced. Furious, the new mom explained that the breech of trust was so bad that she never wants to let her MIL spend time alone with her kids again.
To her MIL, it’s a rite of passage to get a girl’s ears pierced “pretty much at birth.”
The Original Poster explained that she and her husband come from two different cultures, and while she’s OK with certain aspects of his heritage, in the past she’s had to push back when his parents try to enforce traditions that she doesn’t feel comfortable with (such as believing that “woman are to serve men”).
However, it was one recent culture clash that really got her heated, she explained in a post on Reddit. The drama went down after her MIL snuck her 3-month-old daughter to get her ears pierced even though the mom repeatedly told her that she wanted her daughter to remain hole-free.
“I know they won’t remember it and wasn’t so much the pain aspect, but more so I wanted her to be able to decide,” the mom explained. “Yes, the holes close up, but I’d rather her get to decide when or if she pierces them, when she’s older.”
The OP added that her MIL “pestered” her about getting her daughter’s ears pierced “pretty much from the time I was post-labor and she came to visit me in the hospital.” And the mom wrote that her husband was in agreement. “Now, mother-in-law has watched our kids a handful of times since she was born and daughter never came back with earrings, so I assumed we were safe and that maybe she was respecting our parenting,” she added. But boy was she wrong.
The mom wrote that they had gone to run some errands “child-free” and left their daughter with her MIL, which is when grandma made her move.
Last week the mom allowed her MIL to take her kids while they ran some errands, and “when she returned … my daughter had pierced ears.”
The MIL told her that she had allowed her sister-in-law to pierce them. “She’s done them for all the babies in the family and it was tradition,” she explained. But the mom was livid. “I felt so violated, took my kids and told her to leave. My husband was equally as (expletive) and they argued outside, in their native language, for quite a bit, before mother-in-law left,” she continued.
Since the traumatic incident, the mom has decided that her MIL is not allowed to be left alone with her kids. “My husband is on the fence, but says he’ll back me up either way,” she continued.
The mom added that “as soon it’s safe to, I’m removing the earrings.”
But there was still one lingering problem. “My husband’s family is saying I’m being so disrespectful and I’ve said that I just don’t trust her, since she’s continuously disrespected my parenting,” she wrote. So now she’s wondering, is she wrong for telling her MIL to back off?
People online seemed to agree: This MIL was being the shadiest.
One person wrote that they couldn’t care less if the mom pierced her daughter’s ears or not, but “It’s the simple fact that you told MIL no on something and she took a giant (expletive) all over that and stomped it right into the carpet than turns around and tells you that you’re the disrespectful one here,” the commenter explained. “You and husband together need to have a conversation on this with her, tell her feel disrespected and that you’ll be making other babysitting arrangements in the meantime until you guys can see eye to eye with us on this.”
“That is absolutely NOT OKAY,” chimed in another person. “It’s not like, oh, she painted your kids nails and that washes off. No, she put HOLES in YOUR BABY’s ears. (Expletive) that, I’d also not let SIL be alone with my kids after that, but thats just me.”
“The mother-in-law went behind your back when you explicitly said you don’t want your kid’s ears pierced which is not ok,” someone else commented. “If she can’t be trusted to follow your simple instructions she shouldn’t be allowed to watch your children.”
But someone else pointed out that when it comes to cultural norms, the mom needed to try and be more understanding.
“I have a little different opinion here,” one commenter explained. “She is definitely wrong for doing this behind your back and you should have a discussion about boundaries. Here’s the thing, traditions have a really huge effect on people’s lives especially the older generation, and she does seem to really love the kids. I’m not saying your reasoning is wrong. I am just saying it would be really easier and less drama for you to let them have it their way every once in a while especially with things that don’t really have a huge effect on your kids’ lives .That will make it easier for you to refuse the bigger issues and traditions.”
Later in the thread, the mom shared that her main concern is that her daughter has the freedom to choose what she does with her ears and doesn’t feel bad it she doesn’t fit her MIL’s cultural expectations.
“If she comes to me and says ‘Hey, I want to get them done,’ then we’ll go and get them done as soon as we can. If she never wants them, that’s up to her. All I care about is her consenting to it. But I am going to make sure it’s what she wants and not my husband’s family buzzing in her ear telling her that she has to do this in order to be truly Mexican,” she wrote.
“I’m African American. I get that there are cultures and traditions. I have also rejected some of these as well. However, as her mother, I also have a right to say that she is going to wait. So does her father.”