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Please just let me rant about my mother in law

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Old 03-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #1
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Default Please just let me rant about my mother in law

I need a place to rant everyone once in awhile and right now if I don't rant, I think my head might explode.

So, my mother in law lives with us. There is no getting out of the situation and it's about as good as you can make it. She has her own living room, bedroom, and bathroom and we share a kitchen/dining area. I do all the cooking.

Problem is, I have never liked her, but I knew when I married my husband that this day would come. We've been living together for the last two years.

For the most part we have settled into a pattern, but recently some new stuff is irking me. The first has to do with my younger son. My 6 year old is high functioning autistic. He is a very easy going kid for the most part and very loving. But, he also doesn't 'push' to grow up or change. We have to push him. I think if he had a choice he would still be in diapers and breastfeeding. So, it doesn't bother him that his grandmother treats him like he's two.

I know, I know... all grandparents treat their grandkids like they are younger than they are, but we are talking about REALLLLLY treating him like a baby. Doing equivalents of patty cake with an almost 7 year old? It drives me crazy how she treats him, but for now I bite my tongue because I'm afraid if I tell her to stop, that she'll not interact with him at all - which is what she used to do.

Then there is our summer vacation. This summer we are going to vacation together in Croatia. That is where my husband is from and we haven't been in 6 years. It is well past time. My mother in law has never been with us in the 19 years we have been married and she's afraid that she won't ever see her grandkids at the seaside if we don't go this year.

OK, I can grin and bear it. I think. I mean it's a European seaside vacation - but with my mother in law. What is worse, is that she will treat me as if I don't know anything and will be all "expert" on me. I've been to Croatia 4 times. I understand the language and can speak enough to get by. I will hate being treated as "Oh, she doesn't know. She's american." I can hear her saying that to people now. And that just is so not me to be the ignorant American!

But... my new worry... my younger son understands Croatian. He's heard it his whole life, but he doesn't speak it and today I put two and two together why my mother in law has been spending more time with him over the last year. She wants him to speak in Croatian. Today she told him, "When we go to Croatia you will have to speak Croatian. The little boys and girls you can play with won't understand you if you don't speak Croatian." Then later to my older son (who does speak Croatian) Isn't that right Adrian, henry will have to speak Croatian when he goes to Croatia this summer.

My stomach just sank right there and I did tell her to stop pressuring him that if she insists, he will dig in and refuse.

My son is high functioning autistic. Play with other children? Talk with other children in a foreign language? Is she NUTS???? And then I got to thinking, "What other unrealistic expectations does she have?" He doesn't eat a lot of foods - is she going to expect he'll magically eat everything once we get there (and we are working on more foods and specifically on foods we know he'll encounter there to prepare him, but we also realize there is only so much we can do).

I'm afraid she has this whole fantasy of what the 3 weeks will be like and I can tell you now - it's not going to be like that. She'll want our 15 year old to talk with the girls - he won't. he'll want the then 7 year old to play with other little kids - he won't. and she'll want us to hang out with her 24/7 when she can't keep up with what we want to do because she's an out of shape 77 year old - we will probably do some side trips separately - it's too expensive a trip to just sit and watch old people.

We already had to convince her that a house on a beach with no night life or evening activities was ok for a few days but nor for 3 weeks like she wanted.

We were supposed to go last year, but couldn't afford it. I was so relieved when we had to postpone. We HAVE to go this year and I should be looking forward to it, but I'm not...

OK... rant is over... I know... I'm spoiled, but it's not easy dealing with an unreasonable mother in law day in and day out and vacationing with her seems like a nightmare. The only postive thing for me right now is that I will (hopefully) be at goal weight and will be thinner than my mother in law (which I am now). Every time I've gone I've been fat and unfit. i can't wait to go there as an active, fit, much thinner Melissa. As yes, I was always the fattest woman on the beach, but besides that... I'm worried about the vacation. My mother in law tends to get all "daydreamy" of plans and is so unrealistic and me being a people pleaser find it hard to make her happy, my husband happy, my kids happy and me happy when it's nearly impossible as we all have different ideas/things taht make us happy.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:31 PM   #2
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Can you arrange those side trips to come every three days or so - then you are always looking toward a bit of a break? It sounds like it will be a big challenge, and I can understand your trepidation a bit at the whole other dimension traveling there with your mother-in-law brings...

Do you think her "pushing" the language is her pushing him along a bit and not babying that aspect? Or just her ignorance at his interactions in social situations.

I can feel for you with the whole "she doesn't know" makes you want to just smile sweetly, roll your eyes and say, no, i don't know a THING - i'm just American as you say. You know everything, right? That seems to be the way I deal with teens. Hm.

What are your chances of getting away on side trips by yourself or with a child so you get the experience of doing some things on your OWN - only what YOU want to do, where you want to eat, what you want to see, etc.? Good public transit near where you'll be?

Sounds like fun - the time will either fly, or d-r-a-g. Hopefully the former if you have those trips planned. But keep forefront in your mind that you're going there as FIT, THIN, ACTIVE MELISSA - you GO, Girl!!
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:03 PM   #3
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Wow. Has she been around your son for long periods of time? Because it sounds like she hasn't a clue about him, or autism in general. I can somewhat relate...I knew someone whose brother was autistic. He wasn't high-functioning (actually he was very low, and MR), but he was a lot more capable than they gave him credit for. He was also incredibly lazy lol. He used to raid the fridge at night, and crank up the music at 3 in the morning haha. He liked being treated like a child, which included being fed with a spoon during dinner. Once, everyone had left the table for a minute (but was still in the kitchen), and being impatient as he was, I turned around and saw him feeding himself! The second he saw me, he dropped the spoon and grinned the cheesiest grin I've ever seen.

One of the most clever, most lazy people I've ever met! He was a hoot. Great guy.

I can somewhat relate...somewhat. I too have a house guest--have, for several months now--and the plan won't be changing any time soon, so I've just got to grin and bear it. It's irritating having someone come into your living space and start changing things (whether how things are arranged, run, or whatever else.) You're lucky she has her own room and bathroom and such--my guest doesn't. We're on top of each other nearly all the time, which has resulted in me living in my room most of the time (as well as keeping my food here so it isn't eaten.)

Little by little, things start to change--maybe they like to keep bread in the fridge. Maybe they make their tea in a strange way, or stay up too late and make too much noise, or run the dishwasher or do laundry every freaking day.

Wouldn' t it just be awesome to say, "look, this isn't working. GTFO."

Ahhh. Music to my ears.

I second what nationalparker said, about setting aside time for yourself or your family without her. It might sound rude, or awkward, but she can't possibly expect to spend the entire time with you and have it her way. It's your trip.

I wish I knew a special set of words to make everything better--trust me I know what it's like sharing your home with someone you dislike. It's frustrating, and I don't know about you, but it depresses me, too.

Unrelated, but is your son on a special diet or anything? Just curious because the guy I knew was on a gluten and...oh what was it...caisen? free diet, I guess it's thought to be good for autism.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:25 PM   #4
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Your situation sounds difficult- I think it's incredibly generous of you to have your MIL living with you when you don't get along, and it definitely sounds like you are doing all you can.

My only suggestion is to adopt a "Qué sera, sera" attitude- what happens, happens. If you're religious, pray about it and give it over to God. If not, just try to stay as positive as you can about it. You might ask your DH to talk to your MIL about it. I wouldn't hesitate (and it doesn't sound like you do) to defend your children from her if she places unreasonable demands on them. But if you can keep the peace, that would be best. If your MIL is unable to live independently now, than it's likely she won't be around for that many more years. These are good opportunities for your husband and your children to be with her.

I think it must be hard for an elderly parent to move in with a child and the roles become reversed because now they live in the child's house - there must be a constant struggle for control in that situation. That would be very hard. My mom is welcome to come live with me should the need arise but I do hope the need does not arise because my mother is a very controlling person and I'm a very independent person. She would be constantly trying to tell me, my DH and his children what to do...and I'd be constantly telling her to butt out. We get along great living apart. I know it would be a nightmare if we lived together.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:55 PM   #5
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Extending my sympathy. No words of wisdom, just a hug.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:26 PM   #6
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Thank you guys. It helps sometimes just to let it all out.

What is part of my worry is that of the four other times we have gone, the last two were disastrous. 10 years ago my husband,s aunt made all the plans. We wanted to help, but she had it all under control. Well, we were staying in an awful place, too small, not enough beds, disconnected from the city and they were acting weird the entire time. It was a very horrible 3 weeks. 6 years we went and my mother in law had promised my husband,s former step dad that we would stay with him at his house. He ordered new furniture, remodeled a bathroom - all in anticipation of us coming. Well, we were trapped in this country home with a turning senile old man. A horrible 10 days. Fortunately we had planned for half the vacation to be in Italy and that part was great.

So, the last two times family have hijacked us and being it's family, it's not like you can say "see ya!" but this trip is very, very expensive and why we only go every so often. We don't take any other big vacations because we have to save for this one. (we have done a few small ones). So basically in a decade we haven't had a good family vacation or family has totally ruined it. So I'm a bit nervous about this one.

I think if we plan it very, very well - including the side trips away from my mother in law for sanity breaks, I'll be ok.

And with mil pushing my younger son, well just have to remind her to not push and maybe get her to see him around others kids so she can burst here bubble now instead of bursting it on vacation ( him not really playing with other kids). Now, he likes others kids and such, but he doesn't give and take play or do creative play, but I can see him looking for seashells or something with other kids. And IF he isn't pushed, he might say hi and bye in Croatian, but there is no way he'll turn on a full language. Might make him curious for more vocabulary - seashells - skoljke, etc, but conversations? Nope.

My older son will tell her to bug off (in a nice way) if she starts pushing about girls, so he can take care of himself. I'm sure she'll find lots of time to embarrass him. Good thing we parents don't tend to do much of that. (even he would agree with that).

Ok... Off to get more buff so I'm a hot 42 year old wife and won't feel ashamed.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:43 PM   #7
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Wow, I could never live with my MIL. She has dreamed of moving in with my husband and living a weird, ridiculous life (apparently her still living husband has died off in this fantasy...), which was dashed when we got married. To be fair, my mom is really unhealthy and would be the first to need boarding if we were letting the parents move in with us. My MIL had been campaigning against me until last year when she finally crossed the line and now my husband doesn't make me deal with her anymore.

I hope that you work it out. I guess that my family troubles growing up have at least relieved me of my desire to please family at my expense. Hey, I found a silver lining!
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:42 AM   #8
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First of all, I give you credit for living that long with the MIL. I would be homicidal. I lived with mine for a month and I swear it was going to come to that soon. Let her bum around the room and the beach. Tell her unless she can wave a magic wand and cure your autistic son, leave him alone. (BTW, if she finds that magic wand, all the parents of the autistic children I've worked with in the 5 plus years would love a go with it.) You're going to have to get hubby on board with putting her in her place bc otherwise, you and the kids are going to be miserable. That's not fair. Much luck to you
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:46 AM   #9
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Oh, for the love of God, I could never have lived with my MIL..the MIL from ****! I would have had to either kill myself or her...Nobody liked her. She's lucky to have you...someone who puts up with her. I would never EVER live with my MIL or vacation with her. My God. Vacations are suppose to be for getting away from all the daily crap and go have some fun. You're a saint. I wish you luck. I couldn't do it. I'm getting all worked up at just the thought...and my MIL is dead.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:55 AM   #10
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While I love my MIL,I'm glad she has a daughter We've had a few vacations like that,but luckily they were cheap vacations compared to yours...and it wasn't my MIL or FIL that ruined it...it was my SIL.I can only offer a and a good luck.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:02 AM   #11
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Oh, I'm sorry Melissa... I have no words of advice, but I can offer a hug and sympathy, as I also have a bad MIL. She isn't intentionally mean, I dont think.. I hope not... lol.. but it always ends up that way with me being hurt.

I wish you luck... and I agree with the PP that said to plan small side trips every 3 days or so, to give you something to always look forward to.

Good luck!
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:42 AM   #12
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It's not so much that she is mean, but she has a narcissistic personality - she is a controlling person and I'm a very strong-willed person (as is my husband) so it can be tough.

There was an NPR show on once that did a segment on the dysfunctionally shy personality and they were describing my mother in law to the T. It's not shy as you would think of shy - afraid of talking to people. She does talk to people, but she is very 'awkward' about it. She never got over the teen mentality of "everyone is looking at me". She really believes that everyone looks her over head to toe (and therefore she looks everyone over head to toe). She won't step out of the house unless she looks perfect. She won't invite anyone into the house unless it looks perfect and guess what, my side of the house that I keep up is NOT perfect. We always have water glasses out or the mixer on the counter, or drying dishes to be put away - something as we are a busy family. It's not DIRTY, but in her eye it is because stuff isn't perfectly in order. She's one who lines up her pens/pencils on the table.

They went on to describe these people as not being good in relationships because it's all about them. OMG!!!! She's been married three times and had several 'friends'. Anyway, she has a very difficult personality. My husband is an only child and thank goodness is extremely independent and strong willed - so he's not a Mama's boy, but still. It's difficult.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:56 PM   #13
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As someone with a son that is also high functioning autistic--I totally understand the frustrations of in laws pushing something.

I feel like my in laws feel like Im the problem and that my son isn't autistic. It infuriates me to no end. Im the only one that has researched and talked to doctors. My husband doesn't even research it. Their way of thinking and pushing makes things so much harder on me and causes a regression.

I don't think i could handle it on a daily basis.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
It's not so much that she is mean, but she has a narcissistic personality - she is a controlling person and I'm a very strong-willed person (as is my husband) so it can be tough.

There was an NPR show on once that did a segment on the dysfunctionally shy personality and they were describing my mother in law to the T. It's not shy as you would think of shy - afraid of talking to people. She does talk to people, but she is very 'awkward' about it. She never got over the teen mentality of "everyone is looking at me". She really believes that everyone looks her over head to toe (and therefore she looks everyone over head to toe). She won't step out of the house unless she looks perfect. She won't invite anyone into the house unless it looks perfect and guess what, my side of the house that I keep up is NOT perfect. We always have water glasses out or the mixer on the counter, or drying dishes to be put away - something as we are a busy family. It's not DIRTY, but in her eye it is because stuff isn't perfectly in order. She's one who lines up her pens/pencils on the table.
They went on to describe these people as not being good in relationships because it's all about them. OMG!!!! She's been married three times and had several 'friends'. Anyway, she has a very difficult personality. My husband is an only child and thank goodness is extremely independent and strong willed - so he's not a Mama's boy, but still. It's difficult.
OMG. We have the same mother in law!! and

And, I'm way way WAY (way!) more independent and strong willed than she is, but my DH is not... unfortunately. I have a side business and sometimes I don't have time to clean up before I go to bed, because I have to get sleep to go to my real job the next day. (I bake and sell cupcakes on the side, and work in an office during the day.) Some days, I'm up at 5, working till 4pm, baking/making dinner till 9 ro 10 and I'm totally ready to shower and go to bed. Cleaning up is something that can wait till tomorrow after work for me, but to her (and to my DH when we first were married) it was THE MOST IMPORTANT. I'm sorry, no.. my health/sanity/well being will not be sacrificed for a clean kitchen. I'm good. My grandmother used to say "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life." and I completely agree. Those dishes will not kill anyone sitting on the counter in a nice little pile overnight. But she HARPS on it. OMG. Lordy. Sigh... lol.


ETA: I'm an only child and so is DH's dad. They spent EVERY HOLIDAY with DH's dad's family and the reasoning was that it was because he was an only child. Now... since I am, when we split holidays, she makes a HUGE DEAL about DH and I going out with my family... I've had to - more than once - tell her, well, hey.. you never went out with your family, what does it matter?.. its very hypocritical of her. BOO. Ugh.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kateleestar View Post
OMG. We have the same mother in law!! and

... My grandmother used to say "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life." and I completely agree. Those dishes will not kill anyone sitting on the counter in a nice little pile overnight. But she HARPS on it. OMG. Lordy. Sigh... lol.
I'm a baker too (used to do a little business - can't in Maryland) and I bake all our bread and goodies for home. Which is why my kitchen is always in a state of flux. We have lived together for 2.5 years and she has made a meal ONE time (my husband's birthday over a year ago) and dessert a handful of times.

She has no hobbies. She has no life. And why? Because all those things make a mess, so to avoid cleaning up messes, just don't create them.

I actually feel sorry for her. When she dies what will her grandkids remember by? That she liked to keep things clean? She doesn't take them anywhere or play do anything with them and doesn't even cook or make things. She watches TV, walks the mall and reads about art and music. She's not even that old and isn't in bad health.
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