Sorry this is going to be very long but I need to start from the beginning.
When my first son was born, my mil started to dictate to me what I should and shouldn't be doing with my baby, for example, "don't pick him up like that or wrap him in the blanket like that". She told me I was neglecting him because I hadn't given him a dummy. I could just about tolerate this but then when he was about 4 weeks old she asked to take him back home with her. I said no and gave her the reason that I was breastfeeding. Instead of taking no for an answer she told me to make sure he had been fed just before she took him and then she would bring him back when he needs feeding. I kept saying, no, but she still kept asking. On top of this, when she did come round or we went round hers she would take my son in another room even when I was the only other person in the house and it wasn't as if she had a genuine reason to walk in another room because she even did it in my house. If my baby was asleep, she would ask to go upstairs and watch him sleep and she would be up there for ages. She would find any excuse to take him away and one excuse which she used alot was that he needed his nappy changed when I knew I'd only just changed him. I began to feel very uncomfortable with the way she was behaving and I didn't want to answer the phone in case it was her asking to take him again. I tried to organise to go out together with my son but then she told me that she doesn't need me to chaperone her everywhere she goes with my baby. She was not happy to go out with me and the baby, it was always can I take him without me being there.
When he was 6 months old I had to return to work and my mum had him for 3 days a week. She came round and I was playing with my son in the garden and she said, I thought I could take him back to mine and you can come round later. I said he's quite happy playing here and I work 3 days a week so my time with him is important. She then said she would take him when my mum has him. I said that wasn't fair on my mum and that if she wanted to see him more that we could go out on Fridays together. She said that she didn't want to have to book a time and date to see my son and that I needed counselling because I didn't want to leave him alone with other people and that she wanted my husband to take my son round without me. Despite this, we still met on Fridays but her behaviour didn't change. She kept picking him up all the time and he used to struggle out of her arms. She would stop him coming over to me. She kept ringing up my husband crying saying she didn't know my son because she hasn't had him on her own. It would be ok for her not to see our son for a while because she was busy but if we were busy on the day and at the specific time she had decided to see him, she would cry.When I was pregnant with our second son she cried and said you're having another baby and I don't even know your first son and I can't wait for my other sons to have babies so I can look after them.
She used to take my son away at parties when other relatives were there and say things to him like if you don't kiss and cuddle me then I won't play and I'll cry and go home. She cried at our Christmas Eve party when he was occupied with other people and didn't want to cuddle her and say bye.
On her birthday about 3 years ago she wanted to take the children for a walk and my oldest son who was nearly 3 said he didn't want to go. She phoned up and blamed me for my son not wanting to go for a walk because he had walked to the shops with me that morning. She told me I was insensitive and told me next time not to take the children for a walk before she was going to. Well I had taken alot from her because she was my husband's mum but that was my boiling point and I put the phone down on her. Next thing I knew she was downstairs shouting in front of my husband and son, where is she, where's that spoilt brat, is she too chicken to come down and speak to me, I want an apology now. She then walked out and slammed the door and came back 5 mins later saying she was ill and couldn't breathe. I heard my husband telling her that we do want her involved but I want her to have a relationship with me and the children and her reply was I don't have to go out with her I should be able to take them children without her being there and I'm a nanny and that's what nannies do. She apologised for shouting through an e-mail to my husband but still expected an apology from me which she didn't get. I wrote her a letter explaining how she had made me feel over the years which my husband read before I sent it. We then didn't speak for about 3 months until my husband went round and said we want to start again and forget everything that's happened. We started to see her again but needless to say things were very tense. About a year and a half after I wrote that letter, we were all set to go round her house and just out of the blue she rang up my husband and said if I don't apologise for the letter then I am not welcome in her house and said my husband can bring the boys round without me. He said 'no'. Then my mil rang up a few weeks later and began asking me how I was and how the children were? Unbelievable. I said how can you act as if a few weeks ago you didn't tell me I wasn't welcome in your house. She only went on to say that it wasn't her and that it was her husband (who isn't my husbands dad) that said it and she didn't know anything about it. She said you'd upset my husband because of your reaction when I tried to cuddle you and he wanted you to apologise for it. What? Ok so I have to apologise for the letter that I wrote a year and a half ago and now I have to apologise for not wanting to cuddle her after what she has put me through. I told her that she should stop blaming other people and take responsibility for what she has done. I was very unsympathetic and quite shocked at myself for what I was throwing back at her. I said that I am not going to be forced to cuddle someone and pretend that everything is fine, it's false emotions. She said that you've got to understand (this is how she speaks - 'you need to', 'you've got to') that your close to your sister and you've got her to speak to. One of her sisters died 20 years ago and I'm probably going to sound really horrible but I said what has that got to do with anything. It's almost as if I'm supposed to give her sympathy and apologise for being close to my sister. Then she went back to when my son was 6 months which is when she told me I needed counselling. She said, all I said was I'm going to take your son back to my house and you can come round later and I said that's exactly where your going wrong, you don't tell me where your going to take my son and where I'm going to go later. I said you constantly told me to stay at home when we'd organised to go out together. You just tried to control what I did. She said she wasn't controlling and she's not like that. I said well you've just proved it by still thinking it is perfectly acceptable to tell me when and where you're taking my son and telling me where I'm going later. She blamed it on her mother in law who I know as my husbands nan, saying her mil is all she's got to go by. I said there is a big difference between asking me if I need help and telling me what to do.
Anyway, it just went on and then her husband rang and he said, we need you to trust my mil so she can take those children out and do the activities she wants to do. He said you do have some degree of say but she is their grandparent. He has never had children but to say I do have SOME degree of say where my children are concerned. Make that 100%. What planet are they from? The thing is they make me question myself because they are so confident and so sure they are right when they speak and it wasn't just her now, it was him aswell. Everything I talked about, their answer was it's in the past but they were aloud to bring it up if it was about me. Everything I said about my mil was nonsense or it was misinterpreted but everything they said about me I had to apologise for. It's almost as if I have to apologise for wanting to be a mum to my own children and that I'm in the wrong for not handing my children over to her. She honestly believes she has the right that a parent has over my children. For once though, I actually retaliated and I said that she is not accepting my feelings and opinions and that it is always about her. I also didn't come away thinking I wish I had said that or I wish I hadn't just let them get away with saying that to me. Anyway I said that we are never going to agree on what's happened. Let's try and start again. My mil's husband said well because your not going to apologise, our relationship is going to be cordial and it is a strength to apologise not a weakness. He said it was something I had to live with. I told him that I didn't need to live with it and if I felt that I had anything to apologise for I wouldn't think twice about doing it whether it made me feel weak or strong. He said we need you to take some responsiblity and that my mil needs to feel that you trust her and that she can do the things that she wants to do with them. I wouldn't back down and I said when I see with my own eyes that she can build a relationship with my children with me in the room without having to take them upstairs or away to give them birthday presents and goodness knows what else and without telling them that she is going to cry because they don't do as she says, then I may begin to feel more comfortable but we will have to take it a step at a time and I hope that if I don't agree with something I am able to say so and not have you demanding an apology. I said that when they ring up to see the children, can you make sure it's not just before they're going to bed or if we have already made plans you cry and try to make us feel guilty. You say you haven't seen them for weeks but that's your choice and then expect to see them on the day and time when you feel like it. I also said, don't expect me to kiss and cuddle her my mil.
Before I told my husband everything that was said I told him to be prepared to be shocked about what I said back but he seemed quite happy that he didn't have to deal with it and I think deep down he agreed with everything I said but it's hard for him to say it as it is still his mum. He couldn't believe she brought her sister's death into it and said she's got other sisters.
Once again we went back to her seeing the children again and then something didn't go her own way and we were back to square one.
The children were playing on the climbing frame and my mil said 'I've got to go now', so my children said 'bye' and then went back to playing. She then starts with 'can I have a kiss' and my youngest son gave her a kiss but my oldest son just said 'bye' but that wasn't good enough. My mil starts saying 'youngest son is lovely, he's given me a kiss and now I'm going to cry'. She then pretends to cry. I could sense my oldest son felt uneasy and didn't know what to do, so I couldn't hold my tongue any longer and said to my son 'as long as you're polite and say goodbye, you don't need to kiss if you dont want to'.
My mil then said to me 'I didn't ask for a kiss' and I said 'but you pretended to cry and was implying that my youngest son is lovely and that my oldest son isn't because he didn't kiss you. She then shouted repeatedly at me in front of the children - 'for gods sake, you are absurd' and stormed off. Well straight away my oldest son said mil is horrible. A few days later my mil sent her other son round with a present for my children and a note to my husband saying 'I enjoyed my time there the other day'. This is enough to drive you insane - it's like saying 'yes I enjoyed my time there shouting at your wife'. A few weeks later, it was my husband's birthday. My mil e-mails to say my husband can go and get his birthday present if he wants it, so he goes round, my mil takes him out for lunch, she brings up that I can't go round telling the children not to kiss people and that she only shouted to defend herself. She then went on to say that her counsellor has told her to stay away from us.
Well that was the best thing she's said for the five years that this had been going on. I didn't see her for about a month and I felt great. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could finally enjoy everything to the full without her in the back of mind. Then she e-mailed my husband saying 'I haven't seen you for a while and why haven't you brought the boys round to see me'. She has the nerve to say this after she chose to stay away and has asked my husband to do the one thing (bring the children round without me) that I said was wrong in the first place.
Both children kept blurting out what my mil did quite alot. I didn't discourage it because after all, they saw what they saw and they are dealing with it in their own ways and trying to make sense of it and as much as I want to agree with what they say, I have to try very hard not to express my opinions as I don't want any opinion they have to be influenced by my feelings about my mil, not that she deserves it.
I can't beleive that my mil thinks the children are going to be completely ok with her after she shouted at me in front of them - she honestly cannot have a conscience and seems to be so blind to the fact that this is affecting her relationship with the children and my husband. We hadn't seen her since the beginning of August last year and then In December, she rang my husband to say she would like to come round and I said well she hasn't seen the children for 4 months and hasn't said a word to me about shouting at me in front of the children and expects to just walk in this house. I said before anything else happens i think me and your mum need to talk. I said I needed to talk to her and I needed to tell her that we do want her in our lives and that if she disagrees with something that the children or I have said, then she discusses it when the children are not around and discusses it with me, not to my husband behind my back in an e-mail. I also wanted to explain that my children will kiss and cuddle if they wish to and that way is much more rewarding than forcing them to. I also wanted to say that if she behaves that way in front of the children again then I will be forced to cut contact. I plucked up the courage to ring her, which I know may sound stupid but it was a big effort after everything. We planned where to go, what time, it was all sorted and I was absolutely dreading it but part of me thought well we might get somewhere this time. I wrote down what I was going to say because I didn't want it to come across the worng way or for me to say it nastily and I showed my husband and he was quite pleased that I was making this effort for him and my children and hopefully it was going to make my life less stressful. Anyway, the next day I get home and she has rang my husband asking if my husband and her husband can go aswell. My husband said it will be better if it's just me and her. She then said can she do it in two weeks time which was getting too near Christmas and what difference would two weeks make? She then got angry with my husband and put the phone down. Later she rang back and told my husband that she would do it the day after from which we'd planned, in a differen t place. When my husband told me, I said that I had organiused childcare, I've physched myself up for it and what can be more important that sorting out this issue between your son and his family. So I plucked up the courage to ring her back and said would she mind keeping it to the day we'd oragnised as the children have a party the day after. Well that was the last word I said because she shouted on the phone for about 20 mins -  'how dare you', I've already arranged this with my son, Are you saying that I can't speak to my own son, you're making me ill, you put my back up as soon as you got on this phone, you're being confrontational, go to hell, just go to hell and she put the phone down.  That was it for me, that was my final bit of effort to make things ok between us. I had a lovely Christmas and I've got my life back, I've founbd myself again and had three months feeling very content. We're now in March and I get a letter through the door from my mil. The letter is typed with her address at the top and dated. It said, sorry for those harsh words but I was going through depression and it caused me to act out of character (errm I think you'll find, that is your character). It said In my defence I was new to the role of being an mil and somehow I was perceived by you as being an intruder. My love for you has always been genuine and I only want to resolve this. Well I think you can imagine my thoughts about this letter. My husband read it and said well it's a step forward and I said a step forward to what? I said if I have your mum back in my life, I will live my life in misery. I love you and don't want to lose you but if I do it to make you happy, it's not going to make me happy which in turn will affect our relationship and our children. He said as long as I'm in his life, then that's all that matters but I'm worried that in time he will resent me for it. It also becomes difficult when there are family get-togethers or do I accept presents and cards for our children from her, what will our children make of it when their older and also my husband still goes to see her occasionally so he is always going to get hassle from her.   Sorry If you got this far is there anyone out there going through anything similar.   
esprit esprit
9 Responses Mar 27, 2009

OMG I think we have the same mil, which is impossible as DH is an only child (which unfortunately makes it so much worse, no one to take the heat off us). <br />
My eldest son is 2 1/2 now, but i remember her walking off into other rooms with him when he was a baby, didn't get to do that with our youngest son, i was well prepared by then. She still tries to get him on his own, trying to get him to come upstairs to play, despite me telling him stay downstairs (she pretends she can't hear me and is deaf) She is always trying to get dh to take the boys round without me, and telling me to work fulltime and leave the boys with her fulltime. It scares me, and when dh asked why i don't like the il's having the kids without us there, i couldn't quite express it. DH now thinks that I think she is a paedophile or something, which I don't, but im pretty sure her intentions arn't good and no matter what, i can't shake this feeling. Why doesn't she want us, the parents around? Maybe its because i will tell her off if she does something stupid (like getting my son to shove pencils up his nose ffs!) whereas dh lets her do her own thing so she has complete control over them. My il's also do the "we are taking him out" trick, in my head i'm like "oh are you now! over my dead body!"<br />
Until I can trust them to care for and look after our children how we want and not try and undermine me and go behind my back at any oppurtunity, then they lose the right to any unrestricted access, the fact they are so desperate for them to be alone worries me in itself. <br />
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Obviously im sorry your going through the same, but i feel a bit better that im not alone, i was starting to think i was going crazy and it was me with the problem, i've even half a mind to show dh this to prove to him its not just me who thinks mil's acting like this is just downright weird...<br />
Does anyone know why they act like this?

am in the same situation infact mine(mil) is coming to visit in a few days and am dreading it already. i dont know what trouble she will bring with her this time.<br />
Id be happy if i didnt have to see her because she just brings misery in our lives.

I really felt so sorry for you and I do understand your feelings as I am also suffering from the same syndrome from my wicked mil. Everywhere I take my son(who is 1) I will have to let her know. What time will I be back and etc etc etc....<br />
I often wonder what big deal about it when I leave him at home to go work but you never home to attend some retiree meeting from morning till night. Would someone please tell me what time of meeting or big conference is that which will take up 1 whole day????<br />
I could not escape the fact that I might die in a few years cause I might just die from high blood pressure and heart attack. What is the problem after all its my son and when I wanted to breastfeed my son she would just sit down on the bed and act or bother to ask if she should come backa nd give me some privacy. She is so damn good at acting when friends and relatives that comes to the house and started to parade my son around when at the first place she couldn't come to fact that I was pregnant. I widh to have more children but at this state of mind, I do hope that I do not and I should take contraceptive pills without my husband's knowledge.<br />
Will all the hell that I am going through right now, I just hope that you just tell her that she have crossed the border. We as mother's will try to give as much as we could to protect our children.Its up to us where we want to go and you do not need to inform her in advance. At the end of the day,its still MY CHILDREN AND I AM THEIR MOTHER'S and who are you to tell me what to do???<br />
I just think that you should just tell her what you think and hope that she would just come back to the reality world.She is the one that should call and ask for permission to take the lil one out no matter where. If she is really a GOOD NANNY she should know that. Even when my mom wants to take my son out for a short trip she would always acknowledge me.At least I know where my son is. I just hope that my advise works and my mother in law is still expecting to have heart to heart talk with me. I just told my husband that if she only wants to clarify things with me bout my son, please to do not waste your time and I have not talk to her much since I gave birth to my son.

I'm not sure whether to beleive that my mil is having or has had counselling. She told my husband that I was making her so ill that she had to have counselling, which I think was her way of making him feel guilty that I had driven her to this. I think that even if she did have a counsellor she wouldn't be truthful about what has happened because even to this day, she apologises each time for shouting or for what she has said but then goes on to argue her point and backs it up with a reason or an excuse. So in one breath she is apologising but in her next breath she says she did it because I gave her reason to and because of her menopause, sister's death, depression, etc. I know I probably sound very unsympathetic and I understand that these things affect people in different ways and obviously play a big part in the way you deal with a situation but I think everyone has things going on in their lives that causes you to say and do things that hurt the ones you love but you face that person and genuinely feel sorry. I just wished she would genuinely say I'm very sorry, I can understand why you are upset about what I said or did. After I sent her my letter, I wanted her to face me and say I am truly sorry that I am responsible for putting my son's wife or any other person for that matter through such misery. I really didn't mean to. I really want to have another chance to build our relationship and I am more than happy to build a relationship with my grandson with you being there. In her recent letter, she begins by apologising that she told me to go to hell, etc. but then implies that she was acting perfectly normal and I was in the wrong because I saw her as an intruder and that's her excuse for acting the way she has. She said, in her defence she was new to the role. Fair enough, we all make mistakes, but when I tried to address the things that she had done that were bothering me, she wasn't willing to take it on board, so in my opinion, if you're going to blame it on being new to something, you need to show that you're trying to correct your mistakes because you have learnt from your mistakes. If someone tactfully tried to point out what those mistakes were - wouldn't you try your hardest to not do it for the sake of your relationship with your son and grandchildren, not defend yourself and argue your point. I also don't think that a counsellor would have said to stay away from us - her son and his family. Surely they wouldn't express such an opinion and wouldn't their aim be to help her better the relationship between her son and his family. I may be wrong here because I don't know much about counselling.

I hate to say it because I do think child/grandparent relationships are important but I would keep them away from her or seriously limit the visits until she gets some help. She's admitted going to counseling and if she would be willing you could offer for you or your husband to attend a few sessions with her and discuss the relationship with your children. If she's not up for that you could ask if she would be willing to let you send a letter to her counselor explaining your feelings and concerns about what has been going on. That topic will have to be approached delicately but it could end up being beneficial to everyone involved. <br />
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To her benefit I am going to say she needs help and sought it, for most people that's not easy to do. Right now though, if her counselor does not know what the end goal is or the full extent of the problem they're not going to be as effective at helping her as they could. If you or your husband can be involved with the process, at least in discussing your children, it would give her counselor some goals to work towards.

Honestly, I think the way your children have acted towards her should tell you they don't want to be around her. Mainly your oldest. Let them decide. If your husband goes, ask them if they would like to go also. If it were me I wouldn't let my children around her. She has serious problems. She almost sounds bi-polar. It also makes me wonder just what she is doing when you aren't in the room with her. She sounds like she would try to take over your role as mother which my mil did do with 1 out of 4 of my children. At least for the first 10 months of his life. Good luck. Keep us posted.

The thing I have to decide now is do I let my husband take the children to see her on his own which is the main thing I have been against because of her odd behaviour and I don't have any doubts that she would use my children to hurt me if I allowed them to see her. I think I would be physically sick to allow my children to be in her company without me there but is it right for me to decide to cut her out of their lives aswell?

Thank you for your comment. It is so nice to hear from someone who can relate to what I have been through, although you have suffered longer. I think you're right when you say that whatever happens, at least you know you did what was best for your children and for your sanity. I certainly have felt that I was going insane over and over again where my mil was concerned.<br />
I also used to listen to the phone calls and read her e-mails and I just wound myself up about it and only got angry with my husband so I have also decided that I no longer want to know anything about them and what they say. I think it is a good idea to tell him not to say anything about me. <br />
I had let the whole situation take over my life and it's amazing how lovely our marriage is when we are not constantly dealing with my mil and how much we have come together as a family unit since she hasn't been part of our lives. I have actually been shocked at how much happier I am and how much I let it bog me down. This is the first time I have fully enjoyed Christmas, my children's birthdays, my weekends, getting up in the morning in nearly six years. Everything seems so much freer, lighter and happier and for this reason I cannot waste anymore effort and time and my life on her so unecessarily. Life is too short. I want to enjoy my children and being their mum to the full and your comment has made my mind up. Thank you

I have been going through something similar. The circumstances are a little different, my children aren't the center of least this time, but some of the emotions and feelings are the same. Our MIL's sound very similar, both use emotions and guilt to get what they want and think the world should revolve around them while they give zero respect to us as their DIL's or the mother of their grandchildren. At times my MIL has also thrown temper tantrums because my husband and I wouldn't let her take our children, she's accused me of everything yours has accused you of, and she behaves similarly with our children. Your MIL sounds more extreme where the children are concerned but I can relate. The situation that put me over the top was not 100% about our children, it was more a general lack of respect for my marriage and my husband and I as parents/indviduals. <br />
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Anyhow, I also questioned what would be best for us to do where my IL's are concerned. I do not want them in my life at all, there were 11 years of these drama episodes and she's tried causing me harm to get her way. I feel the same way, that if I let them in my life I will live in misery and I've done that long enough, put more effort into the relationship than most would have, and I'm done. You are very correct that it will affect your relationship with your husband if you do let her back in your life just to make him happy. You WILL eventually become resentful and he will be at the center of it. <br />
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We had to seek the help of a marriage counselor to figure all of it out and come to some agreements that we could both live with. Family gatherings are going to be the most difficult. Nothing has come up yet but there is one planned for this summer and I'm dreading it. I will not be there and I DO NOT want him and our children to go. He's aware of that but I also feel that it's not right of me to keep them from seeing his family so I'm not doing anything to prevent it. My biggest concern is that my MIL has used our children to hurt me and I cannot let that happen again so one of our agreements is they do not under any circumstances what so ever spend time alone with her and overnight stays (even with my husband there) are out of the question. If he thinks they need to stay overnight it will be in a hotel not in her home. I know that sounds harsh and extreme, it goes against some of my own personal beliefs, but my children are my priority and protecting them is more important to me than hurting my MIL's feelings. My husband is on board with it but I've wondered if he will resent me later and the best I can say is if he decides later in life to resent me I will at least know I did what was best for our children and for my sanity so I could be my best as a mother. I hope that does not happen, he was actively involved in making the decisions and we both had to give a little but if it does I will never regret doing what was best for my children. <br />
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I have never seen a problem with her giving our children presents or talking to our children on the phone. Like it or not she is their grandmother and as long as she discontinues using them to hurt me I will allow as healthy of a relationship as possible under the circumstances. She does send me presents as well and that's where things are very awkward for me. I do not feel comfortable accepting gifts from his family and it was another issue I brought up with our counselor. His thoughts on it were that it's rude to return a gift to the gifter. Mine usually gives me $25.00 on my B Day and $50.00 for Christmas and it's very uncomfortable for me to take those checks to the bank. I don't want to be rude and cause more problems but I also don't want to take their money and have nothing to do with them so what we decided would be best is to give the money to our kids and let his parents know that's what we were doing. It's fine with me if she stops sending them, I would actually prefer it, but if she continues our children will get it. <br />
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We haven't put all of this in place long enough to know if she will continue badgering my husband or not. It was November when all of it happened for us and there have been some obvious attempts on hers and my SIL's parts to cause problems. My husband shut it down, normally he would have just rolled his eyes and let it go but he's started telling them it's inappropriate so the instances of it happening are becoming fewer and fewer. I worry that they are building up and will eventually explode like volcanos but another thing we decided during our ordeal was that when he talks to them he gives them zero details about me. Not even the smallest of daily nonsense where I am concerned is discussed so they have nothing to use as fuel. That's where they are trying the hardest. He says it's driving them crazy that he's so vague about me when he talks to them and they ask him a lot if I'm sitting right there listening....I guess they think he wants to complain or something and can't. What they don't know is I've asked him to stay as far away from me as possible when he talks to them because if he's too close, whether I'm trying or not, I can hear bits and pieces through his cell phone and I don't want to know what they are talking about. I want nothing to do with them, I don't want to know what is going on in their lives, and I don't want to know what he discusses with them. <br />
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Only time will tell how it all plays out but I know I am 100% happier, my marriage is stronger, and my children are not being hurt. That was my goal and it's been accomplished. I never asked my husband to completely cut his family out of his life, I just asked that they stay the hell out of mine and it's working. <br />
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I also want to say, do not doubt your instincts as a mother. Your MIL has issues and she is using guilt to make you doubt yourself. Don't let her do that. From reading what you said, I don't see an instance where you have done the wrong thing. Kids are kids, sometimes they will cuddle and give kisses sometimes they won't and using manipulation techniques to try making them is shallow. There is also no reason at all why she should think she ALWAYS has to spend time with them alone when you have been open and willing to be there as well and build a relationship with her in the process. She should be welcoming that! I have a theory that when someone doesn't want a parent or caregiver around it's because they are doing something they know that person would not approve of and I would watch her like a hawk.