MIL - What Is Appropriate? | Giftie Etcetera: MIL - What Is Appropriate?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

MIL - What Is Appropriate?

For Burnell, MIL means "mother in law." :)

I believe that the commandment to honor one's father and mother is a good one. I include MIL in my interpretation of the commandment. That said, I don't believe that honor means obey or do things only their way. But, oy, it's been a long weekend of balancing that commandment with raising my kids, because, man, do those two things clash.

MIL basically things that drive me crazy. One is to ignore me. If Alan isn't around, she doesn't speak to me. If I try to maintain a conversation, she gives a brief answer and then shuts down. (Imagine, if you will, having a phone conversation with Alan. It's just like that, only in person.) If Alan is around, she talks to me just fine, even if he's not talking, so I really wonder if it's personal. I want to believe she is shy or something, but if Alan is on the couch, even snoring, she talks to me just fine. That's not shyness.

She also ignores us. Last night, I asked her to wait one moment for Alan to get her bags out of the baby's closet because the room had little toys (aka tripping hazards) all over the dark floor and because I didn't want her to wake the baby. She said, "no, it's no problem for me to get them." And promptly tripped and woke the baby. It is CLEAR that her problem is that she would rather disturb anyone else, including the baby, than inconvenience Alan. Sigh. I also asked her to keep stuff off the island in the kitchen for two hours, while I got ready for Ander's party. Nope. She kept putting stuff there, and when I would move the stuff and say, "look, I'm moving your water over next to you on the coffee table because I'm using the island to cook on," she would roll her eyes and say, "oh, Kristy" as if I am rediculous for needing space in which to cook and serve food.

She brings tons of leftovers with her, for us to eat?!? or serve ?!? It confuses me. No, we don't need bananas, stale half-eaten cake, or rotting fruit. We NEVER eat it. So why do you keep bringing it, even after we say, "please stop bringing all your leftovers over here. We don't have room in the frig for it."

Oh, and her gifts were extra special. A THIRD toy that laughs and giggles without pause when you throw it across the room. And this despite us asking her not to give loud toys like that anymore.

Plus, she gives Ander too many rules (don't touch the syrup or you'll get sticky, pull your chair to the table, sit down, come over here and hug grandma, but don't touch grandma with your sticky hands...and on and on). He can't follow them all, but no worries. THERE IS NO CONSEQUENCE. Instead, there is constant begging and nagging for him to follow the rules.

She won't make a decision to save her life, but when we go ahead and choose for her after asking three or four times, if we make the wrong call, we get the silent treatment...or worse, the dreaded dramatic sigh.

But the MOST annoying thing...the one that I feel undermines my parenting and leaves a lasting impression in the form of a whiney, stressed out when she REPEATS everything I say to Ander. Ever watch Galaxy Quest? It's a movie where they mock Star Trek. There is a character, a woman in a short skirt, who repeats whatever the computer says, even though everyone in the room can hear the computer.

Captain: Are the Vulcans coming?
Annoying Character: Computer, are the Vulcans approaching?
Computer: The Vulcans are 2 lightyears away and approaching at 20 knots.
Annoying Character: The Vulcans are approaching, Captain.

This is my MIL.

Kristy: Ander, sit on your knees or bootie.
MIL: Ander, please sit down. Your mommy wants you to sit down. Please sit down for Grandma.
Ander (uncharacteristally, as he usually just politely sits then): No, I want stand.

Kristy: Ander, you have to pick up the blocks before you get another toy.
MIL: Ander, please please pick up your toys or mommy will be mad at you. I don't want her to punish you. Come on, Ander, pick up your toys.
Ander (again, unlike his usual self, because he sees a break and thinks he will get away with it): NOOOO, I want all my toys.

Now, I'm sure you are thinking...just tell her to let you discipline Ander. I do! I'm very blunt. "[MIL], I will take care of this. Let me deal with it. Ander, mommy is not going to tell you again...pick up the toys or no more toys allowed." But NOW I have to be the heavy. Now I have to be the meanie, when, before, I was just the mommy.

I don't have a ton of rules for Ander. I don't believe in micromanaging my children. I do believe in some important rules (knees or bootie on chairs so you don't fall, for exmaple), and I am nonnegotiable on those. But since I am so strict and nonyielding on the rules I do have, I am very easy-going about everything else, figuring that Ander needs to learn to cope and experience natural consequences. But MIL constantly makes up new rules and then begs him to follow them. UGH! First, we don't just make up a rule (like her favorite, "eat your second serving of bacon" - even though he is full and it's bacon and not broccoli...sheesh). We teach a rule, we have a good reason for it, and we follow-through. Second, if there is a rule, there is no begging for Ander to follow it. Rules are there for a reason, and when Ander is 18 and out own his own, he can make whatever rules for himself he wants. And we will love him and accept him, even if we disagree with his choices. That's WHY we let him have so many choices now - so he can learn to make good choices. BUT...rules we make now are nonegotiable. Sigh, sigh, sigh.

Oh, and she volunteered me to play Playdoh with Ander, when I had to nurse the baby. NOT COOL. I told her to stop promising him that I would do things without checking with me first, and she just repeated, "Oh, I'm sure you were planning to play with him." Um, no. AND I JUST SAID I WASN'T, SO WHY ARE YOU DELUSIONAL?!?

Is it passive-aggressive? Is she just thoughtless? Or unintelligent? I cannot tell if it is intentional or not. But I have to deal with the fallout and it's miserable.

Why can't I just be the good DIL and let it go? But I can't, because I feel like my family suffers from it.

And, no, the kids will not pose for one more damn picture.

Karma is going to bite me so hard, isn't it? Or maybe this is karma, biting.



Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Let's promise ourselves right now that we will NOT treat our children's spouses like this no matter how much we dislike them.

Maybe we should write a collection of MIL stories together. We could title it: 'Nag From The Hag'. :)

Lacey Tackett said...

I can contribute to the Nag From the Hag book.