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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

desperately seeking sound advice

Dear friends of this blog,

Help! I just don't know what to do. I need advice and direction, and I'm hoping that you all, being such kindred spirits, will know what to do.

It's my mother-in-law. She's driving me batty. And I'm really questioning my ability to cope with her once Liam arrives on the scene. Unless you adore your MIL, then you've probably nominated her at least once for the C(raziest)MIL award. Well, I'm no different. In fact, I've got a fair amount of cred to establish that she is in the Lifetime Achievement category.

First, let's begin with the good. My MIL is not mean or cruel. She is not an unhappy person. She is not condescending or holier-than-thou. She is generous. She is eager to please. She loves her family.

That being said, here are my stumbling blocks. My MIL is tactless. She is hyperactive. She is high-maintenance. She is attention-seeking and impulsive. She must relate things directly to herself in order to digest them. She is Loud. She is single-minded and determined to get her way. She often gets her way by talking louder and longer than the other person. She lacks that filter that make most people keep inappropriate comments to themselves. She has the same reaction to a Happy Meal toy that she has to a one-of-a-kind, handmade keepsake from FAO Schwartz. Her enthusiasm often borders on frenzy and consequently inhibits the quieter reactions of those around her. She fishes for compliments. She talks and talks and talks and talks and talks.

I see my MIL every day at work. This is challenging, but not insurmountable. I have a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. It wasn't much of a problem, at least, until I got pregnant. She told my coworkers I was pregnant before I could. She has been in raptures for nine months. She told people Liam's name before I had the chance. She relates everything about my pregnancy to her own thirty years before. Liam is always her grandson, and not my baby. She talks about me and Liam on the telephone in volumes loud enough to hear two rooms away. She is excited. She is going to drive me to drink. I feel like she is going to consume this poor baby, and quite possibly myself as well.

As we approach the birth, her proprietary behavior is escalating. I love that word, don't you? Once of my nicest, and least snarky friends recently used it to describe my MIL's attitutude towards Liam:

Proprietary: one that possesses, owns, or holds exclusive right to something

That's the rub. This baby, our son's birth, it's still really all about her. Sigh.

I'm desperately afraid of what is going to happen. Either I continue to bottle all this angst up inside and simmer while I should be celebrating, or I speak up and risk a confrontation. Blecch. Neither is very appealing.

To complicate matters, she keeps talking about being at the hospital with me. I would rather put toothpicks in my eyes than go through birthing a baby in her company. I've made my decision about who will be there with me: Glenn and my mother. My mom is soothing, quiet, knowlegable, and most importantly, she's attended births before, for my aunts. My MIL knows my wishes, but keeps dropping hints. She's already planning her schedule at the hospital, and I don't know what to do. She just about drove me nuts while Glenn was having back surgery and recovering, and I wasn't even in pain then. I cannot, cannot, cannot be around her and have a baby at the same time.

Someone please help me figure this out. Just discussing my feelings with her, emmm, is not going to do it. She isn't capable of understanding that this baby is about me, and has nothing to do with her. She'll say she understands; she'll nod, and then she'll promptly forget it all and I might as well not have wasted my breath.

Mostly, I want this time to be about Glenn and Liam and me. I want us to be a family first. I don't want my emotions and joys overshadowed by her all-consuming three-ring-circus of behavior and emotional wackiness. I want peace.

So how the hell do I get it?

Email me with anything you feel might be constructive.
ferriotvtATgmail.com


love,
m

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