Day 228 -- Got those Mother-in-law blues
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
My #1 eating trigger? Stress.
My husband just called and informed me that his mother will be arriving this evening, and staying through the month of August.
She was supposed to stay in Albuquerque until the 14th, and then with us for a couple of weeks. But her plans in NM fell through, and she left there this morning.
I love my husband, and he loves his mother. My kids love Grandma.
But she and I have.... differences ... let's call them.
I am the breadwinner in my household. My husband works, but mine is the primary income. She doesn't get that. She thinks my role is to support my husband's ambitions, while I take care of things on the home front. I mean, if I have to take some small, unimportant job to make ends meet, that's OK, but she cannot get the concept of my career having a higher priority than Jon's job or the housework. I'm sorry, but I just don't care too much if that last load of laundry gets folded when I've got billing to do. I LIKE my job. I HATE cleaning. That's why I have a cleaning service twice a month.
Which is another bone of contention with her. Not the cleaning service per se, but the things I spend money on. Cleaning service, manicures, pedicures, my hairstylist. I get it. I really do. She was widowed at a young age. Just keeping a roof over her son's head and feeding him was hard. She didn't have luxuries. But I'm not taking food out of my children's mouths by getting my hair done. The boys have everything they need, and most of the things they want. They have their own allowance money to spend on things. They have more toys than they can play with, music lessons, martial arts, good schools -- I don't need someone to give me the skunk eye because I dared to go to the nail salon.
Top top it all off, she's crazy. She makes these crazy choices - like living in her car for a year because her roommate got a girlfriend. See, she was renting a room from a friend of the family, but when his girlfriend moved in, she "couldn't live in a house where people were living in sin" so she left. In the middle of the night. Without leaving a note or a forwarding address. Left most of her stuff behind. We invited her to stay with us. Her nephew offered his spare room. My parents offered to let her move into their basement. Instead, she slept in her car and showered at 24-Hour Fitness.
She also pretended to have cancer for almost three years. That's a sore spot with just about everyone in the family. She spent three years going on about how she was dying, and showing everyone how brave she was. And then it was over. She never mentioned it again, and everyone pretends it never happened. We all know she was faking - especially now that my mom and best friend have both now gone through chemo treatments and KNOW she was lying - but she will never admit it, and no one will confront her with their knowledge. It just sits there under the surface - the elephant in the room in any family gathering.
I respect that she raised a good son. I realize that her life has been hard, and I understand that she's from a completely different background from me. I realize our difference are more than just generational. She was raised on the Reservation. I was raised in a middle class, white-bread small town. Her way of life is based on growing up poor, surrounded by poor people. I felt poor growing up, but compared to her life, mine has been a cake-walk. I can understand her lonliness, but I hate being around her.
So, here goes an entire month of stress. Living with my mostly crazy mother-in-law. Fake smile, plastered across my face, spending lots of time at the gym and locked in my room, catching up on my reading.
It's only a month, right?