Being a new wife, mother, and daughter-in-law is enough of a handful, but adding in an entitled father-in-law with absolutely no patience nor compassion for his own grand baby? Makes for one heck of a road trip.
Being young, newly married, and new to parenting can be a handful. Surely, we can all look back at the way our past selves handled some delicate situations and wish we could have acted differently. Some people are able to brush it off and forget but when it comes to being told what to do with your body, however, things get a little dicey. For our new-mom OP, holding a grudge against her entitled father-in-law is totally understandable.
There is a lot to juggle while being brand-spanking new to parenthood. OP was a new wife and mother at 23 and her husband was similarly youthful and naive. They hadn't figured out what kind of entitled monster the father-in-law was yet. Heck, they hadn't figured out being adults and a family of their own yet.
The tea kettle starts to get hot when OP’s father-in-law requested she and her husband take some leave and come visit him and then travel to see his family with the new baby in a city 3 hours away. This was all so that his mother could meet his first grandson.
“My father-in-law’s mother was doing poorly, so we pair agreed and took a train across the country to visit everyone.” OP prefaces, “At the time I was quiet, meek, intimidated by him and still in that oh-my-god-another-human's-life-literally-depends-on-me-not-messing-it-up phase of motherhood.”
The baby, being only a few months old, was exclusively breastfed. He was also one of those babies who nursed every 30-60 minutes, refused bottles, and refused pacifiers.
“I told my father-in-law that for the drive down, we'd likely need to stop a few times so I could feed the baby,” OP mentioned he said he understood. “We all piled in the car, with my father-in-law driving of course, and set off on a multi-hour drive.
It only took about 30 minutes into the carride before the baby needed to eat.
“There I am, back of car, fighting motion-sickness, because my father-in-law isn't a smooth driver,” OP recalls, “I spoke up and tell the whole car, ‘hey, we'll need to pull over soon, I need to feed the baby.’”
But the father-in-law replied, "Oh, you JUST fed him at the house, he can't be hungry yet, just distract him."
Current OP looks back at this moment in shame at this, because current OP would never be stupid enough to get in the car her father-in-law was driving in the first place, let alone allow my him to tell her about HER baby's needs.
However - past OP, new bewildered mom, thought maybe he was right, he helped raise 3 kids and maybe the baby could be distracted...
Yeah, that worked for like 10 minutes, before the crew had to pull off at a gas station so she could feed the now-screaming baby.
OP’s father-in-law got out of the car grumbling. Her mother-in-law had enough tact to get out of the car too so she could have a modicum of privacy. This was good because, on top of still figuring out the nursing thing, OP was super car-sick from trying to distract the baby so that her father-in-law wouldn't need to be inconvenienced by pulling over.
As the baby finished up, OP had her hand on the car door to get out and walk around to try to shake off nausea when everyone piled back in the car. She was astounded that everyone else was able to get out, except for herself.
“My father-in-law declared we simply MUST get on the road again after stopping for so long!” OP mentions they had been stopped for like 7 minutes tops. “Predictably my baby needed to nurse again 30 minutes later.”
The father-in-law was NOT pleased. "Can't you just nurse him in the car?"
OP was beyond shocked. “I mean, I TOLD him we would need to stop, the baby was only a few months old, babies eat frequently.”
So, OP asked him how she was supposed to do that.
His response was to "just lean your chest over the car seat and feed him so we can keep going."
Yep. He basically said, "I cannot be inconvenienced to stop again and allow my grandson to be fed, instead, why don't you whip one out, perch yourself in a precarious, revealing and also dangerous position so I don't have to stop the car."
To OP’s ever-lasting shame… she did. Can you blame her, though? The baby is desperate for food, OP's father-in-law is desperate to keep moving. Still being new to the family, OP was doing all that she could to make everyone happy. She didn't realize how messed up it was until looking back.
“I fed the baby in his car seat. It was humiliating to be hanging out like that, and painful because of how I can to position myself, on my knees, leaning over the car seat, it's plastic digging into my side, to reach the baby.”
OP felt so alone. She could not believe that her father-in-law had the audacity to ask this of her. She was exposed and vulnerable and in a lot of physical and emotional pain. Her husband didn't come to her rescue, mother-in-law didn’t speak up and she couldn't find her own voice to express her disbelief and the situation.
“I had to do this multiple times during the trip there so that my father-in-law didn't need to stop the dang car! Looking back, I cannot believe I allowed this to happen.” OP closes out. “I can't believe I didn't dig my heels in and tell my father-in-law off. It's probably the moment I look back at with the most shame since I allowed it to even happen.”
OP wishes that her husband had said something, but noted that he had also found out about his parents divorcing during this trip, and he didn’t remember much else. He has since become a great shield for her and their children from their crazy, entitled father-in-law. How dare he have the audacity to tell a new mother how to nurse her child simply because he couldn't be bothered to stop the car! Glad your husband has stepped up to be the shield you need, OP.