Okay so my father in law is coming out of state to visit me, my husband, and my 5 month old daughter tomorrow. He's that sort of person with very strong opinions, and comes off a bit rude and overbearing sometimes. He means well most of the time, but he can also be sort of disrespectful to my wishes if he doesn't think it's a big deal. When she was a newborn, several times she would be making hungry signs and no matter how many times I tried to politely hint I need to feed her now, he kept insisting she would cry if she was hungry and didn't hand her over for another 30 minutes when she started to cry. We'll be spending the day with them at a camp ground, and I really need some suggestions on how to be politely assertive, or examples of how you as a mother (or father) would handle this. For example, if she's hungry, or unhappy, or if I feel he shouldn't be holding because he had a few drinks. My husband assures me hold his alcohol well, but I'm not convinced that makes it okay. I will admit I'm very overly protective...but it's my kid and I have the right to be, ya know? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Honestly, I'm pretty conflict-avoidant, so most of my techniques involve asserting my will while avoiding an all-out brawl! But this is what I do....
Instead of offering hints and waiting for FIL to react in the polite way, assume that he will not. Don't get into arguments about things that are debatable (whether or not the baby is hungry) or discuss possible future outcomes/past events Just announce the decisions that you've made as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Time for baby to eat? Swoop into the room, walk up to FIL and reach for the baby, announcing in a confident, cheerful voice. "Time for Baby to eat!!" If he protests, try phrases like:
* Actually, right now is a really convenient time for me to feed her!
* Oh, FIL, we have a schedule that's working great for us, and it's time to eat now!
* Actually I'm just going to go ahead and offer her something right now, but I'll get her back to you as soon as she's finished!
* I can see how much fun Baby is having with Grandpa! It's time for her nap now, but when she wakes up, why don't you take her for a walk to look at the ducks?"
You might also try asserting your own desire or need instead of trying to frame it through the baby's need(s). "Hey guys, I need a little cuddle time with Baby" takes the argument away from how much FIL has been drinking and how well he's doing with the alcohol and makes it about something that he can graciously accede to.
At the end of the day, what you said at the close of your post is the truth. Avoiding confrontation is ok. But if you want your child with you because you want to meet her needs or protect her, which is your job, at some point, you may have to assert what you want. "FIL, please give me Baby now." If he does not, at that point, I really think it's your husband's job to step in and deal with the matter.