I’ve been avoiding going over to my in-laws home for a while now. MIL caused some family turbulence with some dramatic behavior just three days after Bella was born and has been treating me like I’m the invisible girl ever since. I wasn’t the direct cause of her drama, Hal was, but she’s got to take her anger out on someone. She’s not really outright mean, no, she’s too passive aggressive for that. She just gives me the silent treatment.
At first I didn’t mind but then she brought a friend of hers into it – indirectly, of-course. So this friend of hers acts sort of like a protective shield for MIL’s ego. Her friend is outright disrespectful, antagonizing, and condescending to me (well to everyone but I’m just talking about me right now). This is the same woman who actually had the nerve to tell me that because I was raised an only child I can’t possibly know how to raise my own kids and books won’t help me. Yep, she said this right to my face about five months ago. I was so shocked and taken aback by her ideas about motherhood that I couldn’t even muster up a decent retort. She went on to tell me that I really *should* be asking MIL for advice more often because she raised three kids of her own.
Yeah, this scene happened a few days after MIL got upset with Hal and I because we are “know it alls” who act like we don’t need her advice. See, Hal and I don’t ask for her advice (but she gives it anyway) because we are pretty resourceful people. Duh, a librarian and an ex-bookstore manager – of-course we are going to consult the books first! Then, secondly we go to my friends. I never begrudge MIL the space to give me advice but for her, it is the fact that I don’t see her as my beacon of parenting information that is upsetting.
I feel bad for MIL because she has some serious insecurities and an extremely low self esteem. When she behaves like an ass towards me I let it ride. I’m not interested in pointing out her painfully obvious character flaws and I don’t expect her to change. My modus operandi for the past year and a half has been to accept her just as she is and complain if need be on the drive home.
I just recently learned from watching Land Before Time, that you should NEVER begrudge anyone of their dignity – that everyone needs to feel like they have something to offer. Little Foot’s grandpa is so wise! Hal is great at doing this and it is something I have been working on for almost two years now: not feeling the need to point out other people’s flaws to them. However, MIL’s friend really gets to me. She’s coming really close to being told off. Postpartum is NOT a time to be fucking with me.
Last Sunday, against my better judgment, I went over there for dinner. MIL’s friend was present and felt like challenging my knowledge about… gelatin. She did this because I said that my son couldn’t have pudding (but he could have the pie) because boxed pudding usually has gelatin in it.
Just so you know… gelatin is usually made from ground up animal bones. Not something a vegetarian wants to eat. It can also be made with a veggie source but unless the packaging specifies it, you have no way of really knowing. When I have called a company to ask what source their gelatin came from, the typical response is, “what-ever source is cheaper that day.” So, the no-brainer standard rule for vegetarians is to just avoid it all together.
Anyway, I’m not going to go into the boring details of the altercation here but I will tell you that it ended quickly and abruptly with me just turning around and walking away – while MIL’s friend was in mid-sentence. That was my way of slapping her in the face. Talk to the back, bitch, as I disappear.
TAke a deep breath. Breath, Rosa.
I came to the realization that during these very special weeks postpartum I need to protect myself from situations that seem overwhelming. That is why I have been avoiding the in-law’s homestead. Oh, well, another VERY important reason is that when Hal takes Bossman out I get some much needed bonding time with BellaGrace. I really love the time I get alone with her.
Not to knock having one child but for me… I think about when Max was an infant and wonder why on earth did I ever think THAT was hard??? When it is just Bella and I, I pop in the Buffy DVD, sit my ass on the couch, and watch hours of TV uninterrupted and totally relaxed. She just nurses and sleeps in my arms the entire time. And this is hard how??? Okay, I know, the first baby IS hard and it was for me for about the first year and a half. I think it is just that having two has made me appreciate this infant time differently – especially when Bella and I are alone.
So, Hal is going back to work next Monday. My mom will be in town next Wednesday until the following week then she’ll be leaving on Thursday. After that, I will be on my own. I’m actually feeling ready for Hal to go back to work – in a way. I’m ready to be alone with the kids. I like when it is just me at home because there is a certain amount of consistency in managing/guiding Max’s behavior that just doesn’t happen when both Hal and I are present. We parent differently and respond to situations differently.
I’m actually proud of Hal and I. We managed to spend this entire month together without getting into one fight. We barked at one another (mostly me at him) a couple times but nothing to cry home about. I think this month has been a real testament to how compatible we are with one another – especially considering my elevated hormone levels, the amount of stress we both have felt with having a newborn in the house again, and the lack of sleep we have both experience. Go us.
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