As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,
I am sorry to hear of the problems you have concerning your mother. While I am not sure of your living arrangement (in regards to whether you, your husband and daughter live with her), you should chose to have someone other than your mother watch your child, such as placing her in daycare which is not cutting off relations as you are only choosing another caretaker for your children. You are not cutting off your mother from your life, and if your mother chooses to cut off relations because of that, it would be sad.
While I am not an Islamic scholar, I do know that many families choose others rather than the grandmothers to watch their children for various reasons. Sometimes, and especially in your situation, having a child in daycare instead of a grandparent caring for the child has helped many families to have a better relationship with each other.
While it is Islamically the ultimate choice to have a child being taken care of by the grandparent, sometimes if there is friction or disputes among family members, other alternatives to childcare is usually in the best interest for the child if the child is being affected by family disputes and disagreements. While it is your duty to treat your mother with utmost respect, it is also your duty to ensure your child is raised with good Islamic values, respect for you and others, and brought up in a peaceful, drama free environment.
Often times, our parents mean well, but in actuality they are doing more harm than good. It seems you have had a troubled relationship with your mom most of your life. While I do not know her background or the things that occurred in your childhood and growing up, it is evident that this situation is now hurting you beyond what you can bear as you have a child.
You stated that your husband has also had several confrontations with your mom in regards to the issues going on. Dear sister, I would suggest sitting down with your husband and asking for his guidance for a solution. Perhaps you each can write a list of the benefits and deficits of having your mom watch your daughter. Pray on it and in sha’ Allah perhaps you both can come to a solution regarding the care of your child. Abouislam states “The responsibilities of a married woman towards her parents are like those of any other woman. The rights a woman owes her parents remain intact and sacred, both before and after marriage. But obedience to the husband takes precedence over obedience to the parents if there is a conflict. Having said this, the Muslim couple must strive to avoid the occurrence of such conflict. They should do their best to let the atmosphere of love and harmony prevail in their relations with their in-laws.”
Sister, based on what you wrote and how both you and your husband feel, it is incumbent upon you to work together to find a suitable solution, for in the end it will be your daughter who suffers from this discord. You stated he asked you to obey your mom which is very honorable, however, when actions occur which are in conflict with Islam (such as teaching a child to disobey or disrespect his/her mother), then things must be re-discussed.
Again, I am not a scholar, so you may want to consult with our “Ask the Scholar” section regarding obedience to parents who are misguiding grandchildren.
Sister, no one is perfect. It is quite possible your mom suffers from depression or some other psychological manifestation that seems to have occurred even when you were growing up. She appears to be afraid of something as she is seeking to control a lot. You mentioned her wishes for Janazah which in itself illustrates that there is something wrong, that somewhere in her life she has experienced possibly a loss, abuse or other traumatic event which may be causing her to act the way she does.
Often times, when our parents, who are so close to us, act in ways which are abusive or hurtful towards us on a consistent basis, it is because they themselves have been injured along life’s path, and it really has nothing to do with us.
I encourage you in sha’ Allah to show her loving kindness, say nice things, do not react to her negativity as hard as it may be. You can avoid negative conversations as they arise by excusing yourself from the situation, such as saying “I am sorry, I love you mom, but I need to leave this conversation as it hurts me” or however you chose to phrase it. In sha’ Allah, with this different method of communication and boundaries, you may see a decrease of certain behaviors that were once tolerated and fought against. Aboutislam states “Often times, what a person really needs is attention and to feel loved, but they lash out and scream so the attention that they get is negative. For example, the attention that your mother gets from you when she says mean things or becomes controlling is your negative reaction of upset. So, the trick is to ignore her when she is controlling by not reacting to it, and ignore her when she says mean things. Then, later, when she is not being mean or controlling, remind her that you love her very much and give her some positive attention when she is not being mean or controlling.”
I also suggest dear sister that you keep in prayer, read Qur’an, make du’aa’ for your m+om and family. I suggest that you focus on your immediate family, your husband, your daughter and yourself. Try to enjoy family time together, plan fun times with other families, go out for lunch with friends, and begin to distance yourself from all the drama with your mom. Don’t cut her off! Show loving support, but keep just a little distance so you can have some peace, enjoy your married life, and begin to heal yourself from the pain and sadness that you have been through.
Please let us know how you are doing sister; you are in our prayers!
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