Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Worst. Christmas. Ever. Part 1

Warning. This is really really long. I just need to get it out of my system because I really can't think straight.

Ugh. Just....ugh. My MIL is seriously mentally unstable and managed to completely ruin Christmas and Big Brother's (B's) birthday with her craziness. I've been trying to be nice to her since our big blowup a couple of weeks ago, without becoming a total doormat, yet I guess doormat is what she wants in a daughter-in-law.

So to back up, the reason we fought in the first place was that I felt she wasn't letting me spend any time with B. They had just come back from a 2 week trip (she, G, and B had gone overseas for G's cousins wedding...I stayed home with L), and I had a few days before going back to work that I had hoped to spend soaking him up. Yet, she constantly had him with her, on her lap, in her room, such that I didn't really have a chance. Of course, being the toddler that he is, the more time he spent with her, the more attached he got and the more  he didn't want to come to me...and so it perpetuated.  I was trying to explain to her that I missed him when they were gone & he kind of grew apart from me, and I really just wanted some time to re-establish our relationship, yet I felt like she wasn't allowing that....she said I was being crazy, that she isn't doing anything wrong, and that I should WANT her to spend time with him as his grandmother (which of course I do! I never said otherwise!) and then she went on to say that I was ALWAYS rude to her and a terrible daughter-in-law, and breaking up the family (?). Anyways, I had to apologize.

Then the daycare wars began. My husband (G) wanted B to go to daycare to get back into the routine---he'd been out most of the fall, with my parents being here for 3 weeks, then MIL again for 3 weeks around Little Brother's (L's) birth (she insisted he stay home then & I capitulated because I didn't want him bringing germs home when L was so young), and then the 2 week trip. She insisted that B stay home with her and L at least a few days because she wants to spend time with him. I thought that was fine, so I convinced G to have him stay home a couple of days each week. I thought she'd be happy with that, but no. Every daycare day she huffs and puffs and sulks. However, even on NON-daycare days, she sulks in the evening that she didn't get enough time with B because she had to take care of L. Ummm. yeah. That's the reality of having more than one kid.

She continued the naptime/bedtime battles, too. She hates that we have strict nap and bedtimes, and always complains when we try to put him down for naps or take him up for bathtime after dinner. Its EVERY time..."oh poor thing, mom and dad are making you go." "Oh, I wanted to play with you but THEY say you need to go" And the ugly ugly faces at us when we insist.

Sunday (Christmas) evening she flipped. We are all home all day, didn't go anywhere, she had every opportunity to hang out with B, yet she was being sulky because we insisted he stay in his crib from 1-3 and TRY to nap (he didn't). She kept making these little digs "Oh, I wanted to come see you baby but mom & dad said NO. They make you a prisoner in that crib". By the evening, G & I just wanted to get away, so we planned to go take the dog on a long walk with L in the Ergo. We were going to leave B with MIL so she could have some one-on-one time & we could walk quickly without bringing the stroller and snacks and entertainment for B. She said no, she wanted to get some cooking done, and we should take B. We were gone for an hour or so, and when we got home, she grabbed him and had him help her cook. We all had dinner soon, but B was insisting on grandma reading a book for him. She told him she'd do it after she finished eating, but it was already 7:20 (we TRY for a 7:30 bedtime, and the potty/bath/brushing/stories takes more than 30 minutes, so we were already late). G said "No, its getting late, maybe tomorrow". I was planning on taking B up for his bath but I started feeling uncomfortable and told G to take him, while I grabbed the baby. I had just left the kitchen, G & B were on the stairs going up, when I heard a crash 2 feet behind me. The crazy bitch had thrown her plate full of food on the ground and it shattered. I shouted "HEY WHY DID YOU DO THAT?", and she started yelling at me "Don't ever yell at me that way! Don't talk to me like that!" G & B came back down to see what happened and then we all left. I went up to the 3rd floor, and G & B to the bath.

I was livid. Shaking. Wanted to vomit. I just sat there with L and tried to calm down. After the bath, G brought B upstairs and insisted we come down to his room for the 4 of us to do bedtime stories and try to have a nice family moment. We were at the end of one book, and B was giggling and happy when she stormed up to his room and asked to read him stories. G hesistated but we really didn't want shouting in front of B so we said OK and left her with him.

We hoped she'd just hide in her room but she apparently wanted to say something to G so she just kept coming up to him to talk, and he told her he didn't want to listen to her, so she parked herself on the couch and STARED at us while we cleaned up the kitchen & did our thing. We retreated to the basement but she was still SITTING there so I told him to go deal with her then or else he'd have to deal with it later and we were tired. So he went up to "talk" (i.e. listen to her explain how everything is our fault, and we drove her to it). I could hear them talking from the basement. The gist of it was that she felt like she had no time to spend with B, that I acted like they were "just my children" (um yeah. they are) and that SHE should get priority to spend with them, since she is the grandmother and is only here for a few days (um. like FORTY DAYS, I AM F&&ING COUNTING THEM DOWN). She complained that I'd come home and swoop up B saying "Oh I haven't seen you all day I missed you!" (yeah.) She hinted that she was "more important" than me, but wouldn't come out and say it when G asked her "WHO are you more important than?" The daycare stuff came up again and she complained that we didn't respect her opinion in how to raise the kids. G listened to her, and then told her that I am their mother and I do get priority over her and that the two of us make the rules for the kids, not her, and that was the way it was and if she didn't like it she could leave (yeah, we should be so lucky). So that was that and we went to bed while she stayed on the couch watching TV.

I was so anxious I barely slept that night, and had terrible dreams. B woke up crying once and G went down quickly but not quickly enough, she had already gone in & we didn't want to create a fuss. We both heard B wake up the next morning (his birthday) but knew that she'd get there first, so we let her. Finally we decided to go down and see him....

Part 2 will go over B's birthday. If you think THIS was bad, just WAIT.


  1. So stressful!!! My heart goes out to you. I am pretty sure that there are some deep underlying issues to all of this that make it an incredible uphill battle for you. Some of your MIL's behavior is totally unacceptable (refusing to accept the routines that you have set for him). Perhaps I should thank you for putting my own MIL's behavior in perspective (she is coming to stay with us in just a few days) but really I wish I had useful advice for you. The one thing that I will suggest is that you let G set things straight with her (hopefully in the least confrontational way possible). It really needs to be up to him to lay down ground rules and he needs to make it clear that, while her role as grandma is appreciated, you and he (united front) are the parents and she needs to respect that as well.

    I think that you have published other parts to this story but I can't see them. Either way, I'm wishing you a mountain of strength to deal with this situation.

  2. I second what slowmamma says, and want to say also that it makes me happy that your husband is backing you up and has at least tried to talk with her. I admire your restraint. Honestly.

    I mean really, what kind of adult throws her plate on the ground! That's insane!

  3. Thank you both. "Mountain of strength"---yes, that is what I need. G has talked to her and talked to her, but she's not one to listen. Its literally like bashing your head against a wall---you're the one that gets hurt and she doesn't give an inch. I've got part 2 & 3 written but not published. I didn't think the internet could stand such an onslaught of insanity in one day.