Factoring bad inlaws into your child's life
My boyfriend and I, after seven years together, have decided to finally try for a baby. I have been incredibly happy about this, and then last night we argued about something that made me stop in my tracks, and has me seriously questioning whether we shouldn't have a child together, because he won't be swayed on this. He wants his mother to have unsupervised access to our child from time to time and he says that he won't have me deny her rights as a grand parent.
My boyfriend was neglected as a child. His mother had him at eighteen, and his two siblings a year and two years later. She was young and stupid for her age, and a hell raiser too. Simply put, she was not ready to be a mother, but also she took drugs and drank. I don't know how to put it, but she was incredibly dense too. She drank and smoke throughout her pregnancies. My boyfriend remembers being left in a flat downstairs, away from his mum and her then-boyfriend, for days on end. He would be bored and hungry. When he was with his mum, she wasn't a good mother at all. She would do things like make fun of his appearance, and saw nothing wrong in letting him and his siblings do the things she did, like drink bacardi and WKD (bright colours made it suitable for kids I guess), and use sunbeds, as young as five (although the cancer link with them hadn't been known back then) She gave him cola to drink as a tiny baby. When he was older, she would even slather him in cooking oil and let him play out in the sun to get rid of his paleness. He has physical and mental health issues that still heavily trouble him today because of her.
Fast forward to now, and in the last few years she has been improving and acting more mature, and since one of her other kids had a baby and made her a grandma, she has significantly changed. We found out that one of the reasons she was so awful when she was younger was that she is bipolar. Add in drugs and alcohol and a general lack of good sense, I suppose I can see why she used to act to crazy. I have seen her take care of her baby grand daughter, and she (on her own volition) will not smoke, or let others smoke, in the same room as the baby. For years now she has been responsible with alcohol, to the point where I would consider that it's not an issue at all. She does not touch drugs apart from she still smokes weed, but as I say, not around the baby, and not even when the baby is under her care or in the house at all. She is great with children, and the type of person who wouldn't do anything she knows would be against the parents wishes - for instance, my own grandma would cut my hair because she didn't like how my mum had it, and buy me clothes that she approved of, and let other people take care of me. My boyfriends mother follows her daughters wishes to the letter, when it comes to the baby, and I know she loves and respects me. She does still have bipolar episodes as bad as she might even cut her wrists as a cry for attention though, but I don't see her harming the baby.
My boyfriend insists that at the least his mother should be allowed to take our child on trips to the zoo or whatever, and the kid be allowed overnight stays at her house when it's older. He also suggested her coming to our house to baby sit while we are out. Up until recent months, he has agreed with me that someone with a past like hers should only have supervised access to our baby, but now he says she has changed, and she would be offended and upset if I don't let her baby sit from time to time. In my heart, I am uneasy about it, because of her past. If I didn't know her past, if I only met her now and had to ba
The thing is, allowing my child to grow up with her as a mother figure (ie put it in peril of having the awful childhood my boyfriend did) is completely different from letting her babysit for an afternoon. I THINK I can trust her for short periods of time like that, but I don't think I can stretch to overnight stays. Then again, I think that's because I wouldn't want my kid staying overnight unnecessarily anywhere. (Sleepovers at friends once they're ten or so is normal though, and I would be cool with that, if I knew the parents).
What do I do? Its her past actions that make me feel that I would be a bad parent if I left my kid with her, but she has changes, and is it wrong for me to hold her past against her? When it comes to grandparents, do you have to just make allowances as it would be wrong to bar access to them? Please help, I don't have anyone to ask advice from.