Thursday, March 18, 2010

My mother in law, or why DH really is a son of a bitch

The daffodils are blooming in front of my office building.

And now, a mother in law story.

I suppose everyone has mother in law stories. I used to hear these MIL jokes and think, oh surely not, these are just jokes. And some are that - just jokes. But then there are the ones that have some basis in fact....

My MIL is not a bad person. I don't dislike her. She means well.  But sometimes she really gets under my skin.

I need to preface all of this by telling what DH says about his mother. He claims she has a congenital defect. She doesn't edit what she says. Her defect is not having that little something in your head that says "maybe I shouldn't say that". She lacks this.

Toads have been known to fall from her mouth.

An example: I'm not trim and fit. I'm fat, and have been since forever, from infancy in fact. (The largest baby in the nursery that week, for real.) My MIL is about 5'2" and athletic. When we were first married, I remember sitting in her living room with many guests present and having her berate me about why don't I get breast reduction surgery.

Really. Not that it's her business, and not as an aside, but in front of the assembled hordes. I was speechless.  And she did it on other occasions, too.  She used to call me at work and ream me out about when were we going to provide her with grandchildren.  I finally told her off on that one.

She can be helpful. Really, she can. When I had my craniotomy in 2005, she came and stayed for 10 days, keeping the house in order and managing things until I could return. And usually when she stays with us, she'll cook. And she's a good cook. Plus, last summer she voluntarily took Curly off our hand for over 2 weeks. Which was a huge help.

But oh, those toads.

She lives over 6 hours drive away and is very cheap, so she doesn't fly to see us and seldom drives. We see her about once a year. She's a gifted seamstress. She makes quilts for us, and clothes for DH's necees. And these are much appreciated.

But she has been known to show up with NO warning and expect to have housing for a week. (And she does have a working cell phone.)  And sometimes she will have extra guests with her, ones she didn't tell us about.

Another time I'll tell you about the presents she gives. As I said, she's cheap.  And her taste is, um, questionable.

So why bring her up?

As I said, those toads can be awful. And large. And sometimes, there are a LOT of them.

Recently, I was letting her know about Curly's legal issues via email. I included her on the email I sent to family members giving updates. And my MIL initially responded in a supportive fashion, which I really appreciated.

But then the toads needed to get OUT.

I got a diatribe from her saying that Curly's issues were all the result of our poor parenting. DH and I were lenient, reckless, we let kids get away with anything, we defended everything they did to their teachers, on and on and on. Why didn't we suck it up and send him to military school or those camps for "troubled youth"? We were awful from day one with Curly and we are reaping that now. Yadda yadda yadda.

I was horrified. And absolutely furious.

(Back story on my MIL - she got pregnant with DH at 16. I don't know if she graduated from high school. None of her kids went to college, though they were certainly smart enough. DH is the only one of her 4 children who did not get pregnant out of wedlock. She tossed DH's brother out of the house before he was 18 - he's now an alcoholic. And she's on husband number four.  My back story?  I have the least amount of education in my family, with only a BA.  My dad and a sister each received a doctorate. No divorces anywhere in my family.  No surprise children.)

Anywho, I was so mad about this - because I have spent an unbelievable amount of time and effort on Curly, and my MIL is totally absent from the kids' lives - that I lost it.

And I emailed her this response. Verbatim.

In this case, you are clueless.

I'll let you know if anything major comes up, like we die.
I haven't heard from her since.


  1. Oh how I can relate. The ex-MIL was just as bad... and for a short time the ex and i lived with her. That was the begining of the "ex" status. She also had some sort of "brain defect" but I couldnt help chalking it up to her just being mean. Outright mean.
    Its obvious to me, someone who just reads your blog and doesnt know you, that you love your family, and are doing everything you can think of to work through, and FOR your family.
    Just remember that when she starts going on, and if she can't see it, it's her loss.
    Much luck to you!

  2. The only hope is that she will someday have Alzheimers like my mil and forget that she doesn't like you, etc.. Mine used to hate me. She was actually pretty cruel to me at times, enough so that my young daughters picked up on it. She had ADHD that was never diagnosed or treated. One of her sisters beat her up because she was so mean to her. She made fun of me and one of our daughters. I finally told one of her daughters how mean she was to me. She was shocked. Anyway, she has forgotten that she doesn't like me and she is so sweet to me. I really have trouble being as nice as I should be to her, though. I guess it sounds me of me to feel this way but I do.

  3. Oh how I can relate, except that it isn't my MIL, but my MOTHER! Toads is a very Southernly graceful way to describe it.

    I am filing your note away for future use. I know I will need it.

    HUGE HUGS to you!

  4. Mine used to invite hubby's ex-girlfriend over every time I came to her house, then she committed credit card fraud against us. She was so excited to finally have her very own, real shrink...I voted for prison guards. Hugs to you!

  5. I saw you last year at Winnsboro and you do NOT look fat to me. There is a difference between large-size and fat. People like that you try to ignore the toads as much as possible.