Friday, March 03, 2006

A selfish mother

Friday, March 3:

Last night, it all hit the fan.

My husband comes home and tells me about a call he got at work from a friend of his mother’s. She congratulated us about the baby.

“What?!” I explode. “No one is supposed to know yet. We expressly told your parents not to tell anyone!”

To make matters worse, my husband greatly dislikes this particular friend of his mother’s for various reasons. He was once friends with her youngest son. And I was friends with the son’s wife. But now my husband has dismissed the whole lot of them. The idea these people who have ignored us for several years now call up to talk really gets him steamed. The fact these people know and yet some of our friends don’t even know . . . . that’s what gets to him.

Heck, the last parent I have left to tell -- which I have alluded to in my posts -- is my own mother. My own mother doesn’t even know, and these people know. It just hasn’t been a good time. It’s complicated.

What gets to me, though, is my husband’s parents’ disregard for our wishes. I provided a specific example for them of why we wanted to keep the baby news in the family on the night we told them -- the night we took his dad out for his birthday. But they obviously ignored me.

How many people know? How many people have we been robbed of the chance to share the good news with?

My husband tells me to forget about it. But I am too upset.

I “forgot about it” when my mother-in-law added things to our wedding registry behind our backs -- even though I promptly deleted every item she added.

I “forgot about it” when I was the only woman in his family not invited to a little party they had for my husband’s grandfather’s second wife when they got married a year after my husband and I did. (I found out about it later only by looking through photos in a family album.)

I “forgot about it” when my m-i-l came along for the closing on our house and the final walk-through -- when she jumped right in and acted as though she were the owner of the house, asking the sellers all the questions before I had the chance, interrupting me, chatting it up with Mrs. Seller (her own age) and making me feel I was a 3-year-old who didn’t fit into the “big girls” club, cheerfully feeding the stray cats outside whom the sellers left behind (which we are still taking care of to this day because of her actions) and taking over the moving process.

I “forgot about it” every time my m-i-l asked us to change our plans to fit around the schedule of our adorable nephew, whom she watches often.

But now I am going to be a parent. And I refuse to be steamrolled by anyone.

“And if that makes me unpopular with your family,” I told my husband, “then that’s what it’s going to take. I don’t want this to set a precedent for things to come, where your parents think they can ignore our wishes and tell us what to do when it comes to our child.”

My side of the family doesn’t live nearby. But I am not shy about talking to my mothers when they do things that aren’t cool.

I am trying hard not to cry. My husband hugs me.

“I’ll just go far away somewhere and have the kid where nobody knows me,” I say. It’s a spiteful, stupid thing to say.

My husband says he can’t have a stressful job and then come home to more stress.

“What do you want me to do?” he asks.

“There’s nothing to do,” I say. “We can’t untell people about the pregnancy.”

My husband calls his parents without telling me that’s what he’s doing. He talks on the phone for two hours. I don’t know everything he is saying to them. But I hear him raise his voice a couple times.

I take the energy from my anger and use it to empty the dishwasher, fold clean laundry and put new sheets on the bed. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe pregnancy hormones are making me crazy. Or maybe my feelings are right. Maybe I shouldn’t go soft this time.

A picture of my m-i-l comes to mind. I imagine her telling my husband she’s sorry, but she had to tell somebody. But I imagine she doesn’t really mean it. She was just going to go right on telling people anyway, wasn’t she? It doesn’t matter what we want.

My m-i-l is used to getting her way, see.

But then I soften again. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

And then I toughen up. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Finally my husband is off the phone. He is drained. He says his parents didn’t realize they weren’t supposed to tell people.

What a load.

Even my husband doesn’t buy that story.

He tells me some things he said to his mother -- I don’t know if he talked to his dad -- and it just seems like a blur now. Whatever.

Today, my m-i-l calls and leaves a message on the answering machine while I am out. The answering machine cut her off, so I don’t hear everything she says. I hear her say, “I’m sorry,” and then I start singing so I can’t hear the rest of the message.

I’m still too angry now. I’ll listen to her message later. I need time to cool off.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Whitney said...

I hear you. Someone asked me to post a "Deal with your Mother in Law" activity on rookiemoms.com. I had no advice!

7:04 PM  
Blogger Gunner said...

I had to backtrack a bit to find the story you mentioned in the March 10th post about your in-laws. Sadly there is little you can do. Some people have the mentality that bulldozing over people is their right. What your husband did was the correct act. You need to stop them the second they step over the proper bounderies(?). I sadly had some troubles with my step MIL and had to call her on a few comments as they happened. She know sadly acts like I'm about to jump down her throat. Instead of seeing her mis-steps, she focuses on my calm reactions.

By the way. congratulations on the baby

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, i'm sorry! (i'll only say I can relate. TOTALLY. but i'm leaving this as anonymous, and you can figure it out. since i'm clogging your inbox with comments right now. BUT YEAH, BEEN THERE.)

6:51 PM  

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