When it comes to raising her daughter Jayden, Shannon is growing concerned with the liberties her mother-in-law Sharon is taking. "I love her very much," she says, "but sometimes she can be a little overbearing. We kind of butt heads on some of the views that we have about the way I should raise my daughter." Sharon sees her role as a grandmother a bit differently. "I tend to go with the flow," she says, "and I think there's a lot of concern on Shannon's part to do things a certain way -- what Jayden eats, how she dresses." And Shannon's husband Randy is caught in the middle. "It's kind of awkward for me," he admits, "because when I'm having to solve a conflict it forces me to take sides."
Life coach Harriette Cole tries to find some common ground between the women, and asks each one what the root of the problem is. "I want her to like me," Shannon says of her mother-in-law, "but sometimes I feel I have to be a certain way for her to like me." Sharon feels that she's doing nothing wrong. "I just try my best to do what I can for my grandkids, what I would have done with my own children."
Harriette says, "The key, Sharon, is when you say 'I would have done this for my children.' What happens between mother time and grandmother time is so different. All the things you didn't get to do for your kids, you want to shower that stuff on your grandkids. The challenge is, mom is trying to learn how to be a mom, to establish her rules, to establish her guidelines. It sounds like there's so much love, but there's no boundaries on how to express that love."
Shannon explains that her major concern is the attention Sharon pays to Jayden's appearance. "It's the focus and emphasis that your hair has to be perfect all the time, your nails have to be perfect all the time. Jayden's already going to have to come across that soon enough in life. She's two years old and I don't want her to have an obsession with that."
Harriette senses that there's an issue with perfection that's rearing its head, and digs deeper into what's eating away at Shannon. After taking a deep breath, Shannon tearfully admits to her mother-in-law, "I just I feel like I always have to be perfect all the time. I love you and I care about your opinion and that's probably why I feel that way." She says that before her mother-in-law came along, she used to not put so much time into her appearance, but since Sharon was so put-together all time, that put pressure on her to always look her best.
Harriette tells Shannon, "If you have made it your intention to be like your mother-in-law in one way or another, she might not have said it to you, but you feel that she said that to you. The trick is, until you stop believing that, your child is going to want to do it because your child does what she sees. That's probably why you do it because you do what she does. But you have to realize that she loved you before you did that. Your husband loved you exactly the way you were, whether it was with no makeup, or wearing flip flops."
Rach sums it up, "This is pretty good news -- all you have to do is go home, wash your face and put your sweat pants on!"
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