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Mothers' Hideaway: Mother-in-Law School

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mother-in-Law School

Have you ever had to acknowledge your limitations when it felt like the world was falling apart?? I have.

I have lupus. People know it. I know it. Yet, some internal mechanism in me says "Don't let anyone see it." I hurt most days. I'm tired every day. Yet, I won't ask for help unless I really need it or my husband gives me no other alternative (aka harasses me until I give in). Even then I'm dragging my swollen feet and it's rare I'll explain that my lupus is the cause.

On Sunday night I had to rush my four month old to the ER. After a series of tests on the poor baby, he was admitted to the hospital for further observation. Monday my husband didn't have to go to work (woohoo for holidays!) so he was able to watch our older son. We knew that, regardless of when I got home, with only two hours of sleep I would be rendered useless and my lupus would start to rear its ugly head even more than normal. So after going through our list of options for help, I did the unthinkable....I asked for help from *DUN Dun dun* my monster...err...mother-in-law.

Now I will give her credit where credit is due. She did help with my older son and I did get to sleep in. Of course, she didn't or wasn't able to do this without making me feel like a lazy mother. Many times she purposefully dismissed me. She made it seem as if the trip to the ER was because I was nothing more than a neurotic over protective mother and that the baby was "just fine". (He was diagnosed with GERDs so go ahead and tell him that the burning in his throat and chest is "just fine".) She wouldn't talk to me, wouldn't be more than polite (if that), and when all I needed was some validation that I was a good mother and some rest she made me feel worse. What hurts the most was when I finally acknowledge my own weakness and my own painful limitations (which is extremely difficult for me), I was made to feel subpar.

So here's the point of this blog....

After talking to quite a few of the women on Mothers' Hideaway, I began to realize that mother-in-laws must take some course in "How to Torture Your Daughter-In-Law 101". I've scoured the internet and have yet to find an accredited school that provides this course. I'm starting to suspect that maybe the pediatricians sneak it to them when the mother-in-law's son hits puberty. I have yet to test this theory out seeing as my kids are under 3 years old, but I anxiously await the results.

Until then I have created my own draft of what that syllabus must look like. It has been created from my own experiences or the experiences of others that I have spoken to about this issue. I decided to make this public so that every one of us daughter-in-laws will be able to fight the monster if we know what they've learned!

How to Torture Your Daughter-In-Law 101

Step 1: As soon as your son begins to date a girl worth of bearing your grandchildren act normal. It is essential that you do not show any signs of insanity that may scare her away because you need those grandchildren!

Step 2: Once your son has chosen the aforementioned girl and has solidified plans with a proposal make sure you support her in most, if not all, of her wedding plans. Make sure you include plenty of "Girls Trips" or loving "Thinking of You" cards during this time. This will ensure that she won't notice you sticking your claws into her back.

Step 3: After the wedding begin to drop not so subtle "it's time to have kids" hints.

Step 4: Once she is pregnant slowly let the insanity slip into view. Overbuy, overbear, and overwhelm the new mother-to-be. Make plenty of "you just wait" comments and talk about all the things you're going to do with that grandbaby. Do not ask her what her opinion is and if you must, ask in a passive aggressive way so she can not disagree with your wishes.

Step 5: As soon as that child is born you are given the right to act insane. Your daughter-in-law can never rid of you (even through divorce) so there is nothing for you to hide! Make sure you call constantly the first few weeks to see if she has more pictures, buy more newborn and 0-3 month clothing the child will never wear because "it was too cute!", and drop by the new parents' house frequently. You must be capable of vocalizing your opinion on everything she does from changing a diaper to how and what she feeds the baby, from how she lets the baby to sleep to how she bathes the baby. Tell your friends how horrible a mother your daughter-in-law is and bask in their nods of agreement. Whisper poisoned suggestions into your son's ear and revel in the knowledge that, at the end of the day, he will choose you if you act pitiful enough. Enjoy the fights between the young couple.

Step 6: Continue Step 5 for the Make sure to passive aggressively add insults to your daughter-in-law when your son is not around. 

Now that we have their rules. I want to make sure to encourage every mother, especially those with sons, to make sure to never ever follow these steps. It will only lead to  heartache, frustration, and inevitably...insanity. Then again if you're into those sorts of things....I just gave you a cheat sheet.

Do you have a great mother-in-law story?? Share with us here at Mothers' Hideaway!


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