Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wah Wah Wah Part II: Literally, She Made Me Cry

You know when you're so furious that you feel like your blood is actually simmering inside you, your face is flaming, tears are shooting out of the corners of your eyes, a scream is rising in your throat? That feeling?

That was me not an hour ago, trapped in the minivan with the whole family, the MIL, and extras. Me, at the last bitter end of my tether after suffering endless digs about my parenting for the last three days.

Well, I blew. But it wasn't righteous fire and articulate take-down, it was the most shameful angry girl-weeping. I am so mad at myself for giving in like that.

The comment that did it was so mild really. MIL commented that I let my daughter have too many sweets. This from a woman who gives me the hoodoo eye if I say no to an ice cream sundae. This from a woman who stocks her house to the gunwales with cake, cookies, chocolate, lollies etc etc till it seriously resembles the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel. It's like her house is fucking made of sweets. Hedgie wouldn't eat a piece of fruit or eat a carrot for ten days if it wasn't for me interceding. But that's neither here nor there--it is a visit to grandma's after all, and what's a visit to grandma's without a nice round of sugar shock. So the comment was unfair, but who gives a shit?

For me, though, it was the limit. I started out all dignified by saying, "Now it's on, lady!" Seriously, I said that. It promised to be a real fun little round, except that immediately I started crying. No battle, just tears of defeat and an inchoate "I do the best I can--sobsob--Hedgie's awesome--sobsob--stop picking on me--sobsob" I mean it wasn't loud sobbing or anything, just the pitiful wimpy kind of silent bereft sobbing like you do when you've lost all your dignity and you know you ain't getting it back so you might as well go out with a whimper.

Anyway, Sarge defended me (good ole Sarge) and MIL patted my arm placatingly and it all blew over. But not for me, of course.

I hate like heck that poor Hedgie was trapped in the van for this, but I literally couldn't help it. Eh, she's seen me crying before. Afterwards she and I composed ourselves in Target in the tampon aisle (I knew MIL wouldn't be coming there again in this lifetime) and Hedgie just rolled her eyes and said "well, grandma was picking on you!" I still wish I'd been a better role model and just said something mild like "quit picking on me old woman." But hey, there's always tomorrow.


Baino said...

Oh poor Leah've shattered my Jewish stereotpe! Get all Striesand and feisty . . then again, have a good cry . .it'll all seem better in the morning! Then there's always chocolate!

Leah said...

Baino, I shattered my own Jewish stereotype! lol

kylie said...

i feel soooooo defeated and pathetic and ashamed when something like that happens.
and when it's my MIL (who admittedly doesnt speak english but does get her point across) my hubby just says put up with it, it's inly a couple of weeks

3 down, 7 to go

hang in

Anonymous said...

So la matrona had her "victory", made her daughter in law cry in front of the family, something to be proud of, yeah.
I'd use it one time.
You did not explode into her face, this time, is that what you expected from yourself? Nobody knows what one does under emotional duress before, one can train to get along with the oncoming feelings, but that means to life through such situations a lot and who wants that?
My own reaction would be a total block: A friendly surface, even smiles, not a millimeter sympathy and no entrance, that's it. Then you can even have a good time there.

just bob said...

OK everyone... group hug for Leah!

I don't (and won't) ever have a MIL so I can't give you any other advice other than:

There are 355 other days in the year that you don't have to spend with her. You see each and every day what great parents you and the Sarge are. Hedgie is flourishing and turning into the girl/woman you want her to become. If your MIL can't or won't see that, then that's her loss.

Be confident Leah... and if that doesn't work spit into her morning coffee.

Auntie, aka cagny said...

I agree with Just deserve a group hug.

Tomorrow go ahead and spit in the dragon's coffee.
Oh shit, I can't beleive I just said that.

just bob said...

I just realized that I used "other" twice in the same sentence. Sorry about that.

merelyme said...

Pop tarts for breakfast anyone? ;)
Looks like a very typical MIL. Why not just ask her when you get the chance, "And why do you say that?" Put it on HER. It's not about you Leah...

CSI Seattle said...

Okay, so I'm gonna get all Dr. Phil on you. Ready?

"Are you nuts? Why in God's name if going to your MIL's house is such a miserable experience do you do it? Do you just hate yourself or what?"

I hope I have the Texas accent just right.

"Who benefits from these visits anyway. You? Sarge? Hedgie? Find out whose getting a kick out of visiting the MIL and send them. From the sound of things, you obviously don't like MIL and she don't like you, so what's the point in going?"

I should be paid millions for this.

"Now the way I see it, you got two choices; You can either step up to the plate and let the MIL know that she can't can suck the chrome off a bumper and stand aside, or you can just stay away and not subject yourself to this madness."

I'm tied now, but that was a really good Dr. Phil impression.

Leah said...

CSI/Dr. Phil--omigod. I just had such a revelation: after giggling at your apt dr. phil imitation, I then stop giggling at the aptness of your comment. It has just hit me. MIL doesn't like me. All these years I've struggled to get her to like me cause, well, who doesn't like to be liked. But you know what? She totally doesn't like me and she never will. Whether it's because of some odd reverse Oedipal complex or what, she just doesn't. With that in mind, I can stop working on getting her to like me. Perhaps this will be truly liberating!!!

Brian Miller said...

wow. couple deep breaths you are doing great, you made it 3 days! sorry your visit has reached new levels of excitement. hang in there!

Leah said...

Kylie--I'm not sure even a language barrier can stop some of 'em, right?

Leah said...

mago, you are so very very right. I'm going to try very hard for the smile with not an inch of an "in." Really, you're right. Thanks.

Megan said...

I'm totally in for a group hug!

Sarah said...

Oh Leah. All happy thoughts are going out to you!

May tomorrow be better... automatically it will be, as you are one day closer to home!

Happy Passover!!

Ronda Laveen said...

I'm sure you weren't happy with the whimpring in front of MIL but a good cry is such a great release. Like Baino said, there is always chocolate or wine or, in my case, great whiskey. Kind of takes the edge off, you know. Maybe MIL needs a stiff one to mellow her out. A drink wouldn't hurt either.

Once you quit trying to get her to like you, the energy will shift and she will no longer have power over you. I think you're a smart cookie. Figured that out when you were bright enough to hide in the Tampax aisle. We menopausal women are repelled by those things like Kryptonite to Superman or a silver cross to a vampire. Good survival skills, you have.

Leah said...

Bob--I am so in for the group hug. Thank you! Thank you thank you for your kind words. I'll have to share them with poor Sarge too. xo

Leah said...

Auntie, lol you naughty gal! I couldn't spit in anyone's coffee only because, well, she doesn't drink coffee, haha...but also I would be too grossed out. It's a wonderful naughty thought though!

merelyme--you're right. Pop tarts for breakfast, it's too quintessential isn't it! I will try to take your advice, it's good.

Brian, new levels of excitement, you cracked me up! I'm up at 6 taking many nice deep breaths in preparation for the day ahead...

Megan--*gives the big squeeze* thanks sweetie--

Sarah--thanks so much for the Passover wishes--it's weird not to be home for the holiday--we're having a last-night seder instead.

Leah said...

Ronda--how 'bout wine, chocolate, and whiskey?!

As for the tampon aisle, it actually distracted Hedgie into asking some very pointed questions, so we got into a whole tampax discussion. First she was horrified, then curious, then just fascinated. Another woman even got into the discussion! It really was a "teaching moment," haha.

donncoppens said...

Sadly, the MIL views your relationship as a competition. She is not willing to concede that she isn't the most important woman in Sarge's life...which is not that uncommon. Who is ever good enuff for your little boy eh?

Put yourself in her shoes for a moment...walk a metre in her shoes.
Now, someone, prolly Sarge, needs to say Mom I'll always love you your my Mom and Leah is a completely different type of love. Nobody can ever replace you blah blah blah blah and you need to start accepting that you hurt me and your grand-daughter when you criticize Leah.

If you want to have a relationship with Hedgie then you need to start acting like a grownup...because Hedgie is going to start resenting you and defend her Mom. You need to make the most of whatever time you have left on this Earth..always, always, always add the do you want to die alone in the deafening silence of your exile.

So then your MIL has two choices, start a kvetchfest and never speak to him again, the time honoured "you are dead to me strategy...or start acting like a real Gramma.

faycat said...

This sounds awful, but I have to say that your "Now it's on, Lady!" has me rolling.

savannah said...

sweetheart, even miss daisy who loves me makes me cry! xoxo

(glad you found the conditioner and are you carrying your flask?) ;)

(super glad y'all found the catwalk!! they also have a curl enhancer)

Karen ^..^ said...

I'm sorry Leah... She's a nasty old bat who gets her kicks by kicking good mothers when they are down. She's so obviously jealous of you.

She's a mean old hypocrite, and that is all she will EVER be. You are so much more than that, and always will be, and I'm glad you cried, you didn't lose your dignity at all. You have something she'll never have, true real emotion and love.

Fuck 'er. We all know how much you rock.

Crying isn't weak. Crying is strong, girl. It is. Someone like her will never show true emotion because she's a COWARD.

Good for Sarge. Send the old bat out for a facial tomorrow, and reward Sarge by having monkey sex in the old bitch's bed. Hahahahaha!!!

Mrsupole said...

I am joining in the group hug.

Yes, the MIL has problems and I am not sure if you read back in the comments about mine. Good news is you will be a great one like me.

Back to the Biatch MIL, I agree she will never like you as long as she knows she has you trying to like her. That is just saying to her "Treat me like shit and I will still try to be nice to you." Yes, take the "It's on" biatch attitude and Fu*k U MIL. When you just treat her like she is not good enough for you then she will try so hard to win you over. I used to send Hubby and the girls over to visit my MIL and would hand hubby the phone and say "Your mom wants to talk to you." Took a few years, but just before she died she came to. Good news is the girls never liked her and I had to force them to go there. But they appreciated that she came to her senses in the end. So I hope it does not take you as long and maybe next year or the years after, just get too sick to travel there. Stay home, have fun, pretend to barf a lot. Do all those knitting projects you never get to. And if you cannot do that then stick the Ipod earpieces in whenever you are near the biatch MIL and nod your head when she looks at you. Never smile. Just laugh with others and pretend to listen, she knows you are not. Who gives a shit. Let her know that too. Hug her still and say I luvs you. Not I love you. She will notice the difference too.

Okay, I am the Mrs and I will send you my bill. Oh okay I did this for free. I do hope some of it helps. Oh I forgot go for long, long, long, long walks, leave in the morning and come back when it is dark. Bring lots of water. Just say you got lost or you were enjoying the view so much, then you were visiting with the 'neaburrs' and ya'll got the bestess people down heere. Throw a few Yeeha's in there. Then do it again, until you are on your way to the airport.

Okay I am really gonna go now.

God bless.

Mrsupole said...

Sorry I wrote so much.

Old Knudsen said...

Try this one, " Ok I'm a terrible mom you've made yer point"

let the stunned silence or back pedaling begin.

I know why you had to go doon there, you have to follow the MIL's rules but she also has to treat you like a guest.

I know you want her to like you but the fact is some never will and its doon to their issues nothing to do with you.

It could be religion, living far away, or lack of importance now she is doon to grandma mode. Grandparents often go against the parents but they should never do it in front of them.

Leah said...

There is some actually really helpful advice here along with the lovely support.

Donn--you are so incredibly on-target with your comment. In fact Hedgie has already started to resent her, no question. I mean, a little girl who loves her mother just cannot tolerate a grandma who criticizes that mother openly. Sarge actually plans to have The Talk with MIL, relating it to Hedgie's feelings.

Thank you so much for your comment.

Faycat--it's funny, right?! I was so glad I got it in there before I started with the weeping...

savannah--yes, it's true, Catwalk is my lifeline to sanity. How pathetic is that? But just being able to have control over that one little thing makes a big difference! I'm not kidding!!!

Karen, you SOOOO cracked me up--monkey sex in the old bitch's bed--perish the thought for Sarge, he'd probably be impotent for ever after--but I'd do it in a heartbeat!!!!

You know, I honestly think that you're right and she's jealous of me. Today at lunch, Sarge was telling his aunt that I'm a really good cook and I make great lasagna. MIL said "I hate lasagna." I mean, c'mon!

Leah said...

Mrsupole--of course you didn't write too much! I loved your comment and read every word. I took two pieces of your advice today--IPOD, what a lifesaver in the minivan, and a long two-hour walk to get my shit together. It REALLY helped. And you know, I might not do this again next year. For real. Well...I say that now, but who knows...


Leah said...

Old Knudsen--you good old knudsen. Thanks so much for your comment. I am not shitting you when I say that I am going to use that line next time she slags off on me about my parenting. It actually gives me something to look forward to!


Mrsupole said...

Hi Leah,
I hope I helped. I have been sorry all day that I called her a biatch MIL and said F**k U MIL. I think I just wish someone had told me this when I was going through it and that she would never like me no matter how hard I tried.

So I am apologizing again for doing that. After all she is Sarge's mom and Hedgie's grandma. Plus FIL must of loved her. But everything else I said, I meant and truly hope that all of our advice helps. You are not alone. We will support you, so complain all you want. I really hope she never reads any of this. Well in a way I wish she could because she might realize that not loving you is her loss. And so sad she is missing all the love you could really give her. I would be happy to have you as a DIL if I had a son. I hope my grandsons marry someone like you.

God bless.