How to Say No When Your Mother-in-Law Wants to Babysit

Being married with children can be demanding, but it's also a highly rewarding experience. When you add the stress of a meddling mother-in-law into the mix, it can make your life even more stressful. When your mother-in-law became a grandma, it was likely one of the highlights of her life. She probably loves to dote on your child and spoil her, but there will be times that you don't see eye to eye on things. You'll need to learn how to tell her no when this happens, such as when she asks to babysit but you don't want her to.

Speak with your partner, sharing how your feel about your mother-in-law babysitting your child. Explain to him why you would rather she didn't babysit and ask him his opinion on the matter. You don't want conflicts with your mother-in-law to harm the relationship you have with your spouse. Your husband also needs to keep his relationship with his mother healthy. You don't want your partner to side with your mother-in-law, but you also don't want him to be stuck in the middle. Work together as a team and stand united in decisions you make about your child.

Remember that you and your partner are responsible for the health and well-being of your child, as well as for making decisions regarding your child. It can be easy to let your mother-in-law make you feel like you're still a child and unable to make the best decisions for your child. Stand firm on your beliefs and draw the line when necessary to ensure your mother-in-law respects your authority.

Explain your feelings to your mother-in-law. Be open and honest with her about why you aren't comfortable allowing her to babysit your child. If your child is still a baby, tell her you're simply not ready to leave him yet. If you're still breastfeeding, express to her how important nursing is to you. Perhaps your baby isn't taking a bottle yet or you just don't want your baby to take a bottle. If your child is older, break it to her gently, and point out why you don't like leaving your child in her care. List your reasons, whether it's that you don't agree with her way of disciplining, you don't feel she's capable of keeping up with him or that you just prefer not leaving him.

Reveal to your mother-in-law that you and your spouse have decided to enroll your child in day care, if you've chosen to do so. Fill her in on your reasons for choosing day care instead of allowing her to babysit. Lay out all of the benefits of day care, such as giving your child the opportunity to socialize with other children, having a routine, giving your child some independence and helping him get a jump start on learning, notes

Avoid saying things in the heat of the moment or something you'll later regret. When your mother-in-law tries to change your mind, listen to what she has to say, thank her for her advice and move on, doing what you feel is in the best interest of your child. After all, you don't want to hurt her feelings or harm the relationship your mother-in-law has with you, your spouse or your child.

Encourage your mother-in-law to come over and spend quality time with her grandchild at your home. Ask her if she can come over and give you a hand during busy times, such as while you're preparing dinner, getting caught up on laundry or when you need to work out. She will still be getting her grandma time in, and you'll be there to ensure she's following your rules and wishes.

Tips & Warnings

Invite your mother-in-law along on some of the outings you have planned for your child to make her feel like she's more a part of her grandchild's life.
Show your mother-in-law the respect you wish for your son-in-law or daughter-in-law to show you some day.