Today, I chose selflessness.   1 comment

Today I am watching my little nephew again for a couple of hours while my mother-in-law runs some errands.  This was a last-minute request of her and I found out she wanted to drop him off at my house only about a half hour before she actually did.  For anyone who knows me, I don’t do last-minute.  I am a planner and organizer, and I need to know at least several hours in advance before anyone comes to my house.  Further, I had already planned my day with my two boys and the things I need to get done…like pay bills, laundry, and vacuum.  So, I felt highly inconvenienced and annoyed.  If you read one of my earlier posts about my nephew, he is also a very needy child, so I also felt exhausted at the sheer thought of spending another day with him.  I almost told my mother-in-law I just didn’t have time to watch my nephew and had too many things going on, but that would have been a lie.  I do have time and can certainly take a few hours out of my day to help her out.

My mother-in-law watches my children while I am working, and asked if she could be our primary baby-sitter when I was pregnant with my first son.  She is truly a saint.  She has taken care of her elderly parents for years, and practically provided full-time hospice services to both her own mother and mother-in-law before they died, all the while taking care of my son and his cousin all day Monday through Friday…oh, and she runs her own business!  One would think why I even hesitated for a second to help her out today and why I was annoyed by it considering what she does for me and others.  These negative, conflicting thoughts are ones that I need help getting rid of.  These remind me of my mother.

See, my mother would have been completely annoyed this morning as well, but would have called her husband to bitch about the situation and his mother, and then say yes she could baby-sit with a smile on her face.  However, she would then bitch to everyone about it later and talk negatively about the person that inconvenienced her to everyone she knew.  She would then try to get others on “her side” and agree with her that she suffered some sort of injustice for being asked to baby-sit last-minute.  You may be wondering how I know exactly how this situation would have played out…  I’ve seen it all before…many many times.

My mother has one friend…a friend she has had since childhood…a friend that does not live near her and does not see her or hear from her on a daily basis.  A naive friend that truly believes my mother has been wronged by everyone else she has ever known.  She used to have several friends, but by talking about them behind their backs and accusing them of doing wrong to her, they are no more.  She and my step-dad used to have good jobs for a business my step-dad helped start up and run for more than 20 years, but her negativity and big mouth ruined that and they were fired from their own business.  She used to have in-laws and my step-dad used to have a brother, but they are no more.  She single-handedly destroyed the relationships in the family she married into.

My mother does not like other women.  She could not stand my dad’s mother or my dad’s sister.  She is insanely jealous of all other women but she’ll never admit it.  She critiqued everything they did and swore they were trying to influence my dad into leaving her.  She drove a wedge between my dad and his sister that to this day has still not been completely repaired…and my parents have been divorced for 16 years.  She even had the audacity to talk bad about them to my brother and I when we were young children. C’mom lady, this was my sweet grandmother and the only aunt I had!  I am annoyed now remembering all the things she used to accuse my grandmother and aunt of doing.  She was so full of lies.

When she married into her new family, she started doing the same thing.  She critiqued the parenting style of my step-dad’s brother and his wife, specifically his wife.  She found every opportunity to bash her that she could. She was too fat, let her kids eat whatever they wanted, didn’t love them, gave them too much, gave them too little, didn’t bathe them, on and on and on…  I remember when we first started hanging out with my step-dad’s family, my mother would try her very best to bash her sister-in-law to me and to get me on her “side” and agree that my sister-in-law was a bad mother.  WTF.  My mother, the one who beat the shit out of me, called me every name in the book, treated me like her and my brother’s servant, and let a dog attack me, was critiquing someone else’s parenting style!!  Pure insanity.  Even on Christmas Day…they day we celebrate selflessness, kindness, acceptance, etc., my mother had the nerve to whisper things to me about her sister-in-law at the breakfast table…while she was in the very next room!  She tried to get me to agree with her that her sister-in-law had her daughter’s hair pulled too tight in a bow and a bunch of other crap about the children’s’ clothes.  I was so embarrassed and sad that I had brought my soon-to-be husband around that.

My mother’s sister-in-law did a fine job with her kids.  Everyone has their own parenting style.  Sure, she lets her kids eat junk food and run around like crazy people out in public, but she loves them and they know it, and that’s what it all boils down to in my book.  My mother talked so bad about my sister-in-law that over a period of a decade,  she drove a wedge so big between my step-dad and his brother that it will be never be repaired.  She convinced my step-dad that his brother and his wife were out to get them and that they are terrible people.  She used her words to ruin the relationship to the point that my step-dad actually faced legal action because his brother accused him of attempted murder about two years ago.

You’ll love it…a great story that made the papers of the small town they live in (note – I grew up there and everyone knows they are my family – can you say embarrassing?). My step-dad’s family all live on what I call the compound in a small, rural county…about 500 acres.  There are three houses – my step-dad’s, his brother’s, and their parents.  My step-dad and mom were out in the yard one day doing whatever they do, and they noticed that my step-dad’s brother was out in the woods behind their house.  Evidently he was hunting.  My step-dad and mother decided that my step-dad’s brother should not be anywhere near their house and had no right to hunt near it, so they turned on the music in their big redneck truck very loudly and blared it in the direction of my step-dad’s brother.  He didn’t leave his post, so my step-dad decided to get a gun out and shoot toward the woods in the direction of his brother.  He told the court he was shooting at a groundhog and did not know his brother was in the woods, but I know the real story and they do not know that I do.  See, my brother was there with them at the time, and he told me the truth about what happened.  They however think I believe their ridiculous story about that my innocent step-dad was just shooting at a little groundhog and how dare his brother accuse him of trying to kill him.  Do they think I’m an f-ing idiot??  Do they think my brother wouldn’t tell me what really happened?  They have no idea that my brother is not loyal to them at all.

The whole thing went to court and my step-dad was charged with reckless handling of a firearm.  It almost went to trial but his brother put on some big boy pants and made the decision not to go to trial and to revoke the accusation that my step-dad was trying to kill him.  At the end of the day, my step-dad pleaded guilty to recklessly handling a firearm and was sentenced to a year of anger management courses and no contact with his brother’s family. The deteriorating relationship between the two brothers all started when my mom starting hating on her sister-in-law, and escalated so far out of control that the entire family does not speak.  My step-dad does not even have a good relationship with his own parents anymore because of the situation between he and his brother.  Kind of awkward considering they could all throw rocks at each other’s houses too…and there’s only one driveway…but I digress.

It is all so sad.  My step-dad (aside from having an open affair with a married woman while supposedly being a man of God) is a kind man.  He has always done everything he could to help out my brother and I  in any way.  He took my brother under his wing for several years and helped him find his own way in the world.  He gave of his time and money…when he had money.  After spending a few years with my mother, he has become a spiteful, sad person with no friends and now no family to lean on.  He is flat ass broke and on the verge of losing everything because my mom’s influence over him.  She has driven away any family and friends that he did have (because she hated their wives), and had a huge hand in getting them both fired from the business he had put many years and hard work into.  (In the type of business they ran – attempting to shoot your brother doesn’t really go over very well – ooops.)  He has been badly embarrassed in the community – to the point where an online discussion was created to talk about their family, the trial, the business they were fired from, etc.   He now works six days a week for a little over minimum wage and no benefits.  My mother sits at home.  Sure, I think she takes care of the house and the animals, but she doesn’t work.  However, she complains constantly about the fact that they don’t have money, that they need a new tv or new cell phones to keep up with the Jones’, that she wants to take trips around the world…but she is the biggest reason why they have no money!  My step-dad is a different man than I first met years ago.  He used to be very happy and optimistic about life and his business.  He had all of these great plans to keep the family business going and have my brother and I involved in it.  He wanted to buy a boat and a new house and do all of these great things, and now he is one more missed payment away from being in financial ruin.  When I do see him, he barely talks and there is a deep sadness in his eyes.  When he does talk, he’s basically telling my mom that “no, we are not getting a new tv because we can’t pay any of our bills.”  I feel really bad for him because if he had never met my mother, his life would be completely different.

Despite ruining their family relationships and financial situation, my mother still talks bad about the family when I see her.  Over the past year, I’ve counted how many minutes it takes her before she says something bad about somebody when I visit her.  It is always less than 30 minutes – always.  It’s almost like a game for my husband and I now to guess how many minutes it will take.  However, one thing has changed from years ago when she tried to get me involved.  I do not engage in the conversation.  I will listen, but never say anything back.  I will change the subject, even walk away.  I’ve been doing this for over a year, and yet she still talks about people to me.  Perhaps she has realized that she has lost a connection with me and is desperately pulling at anything she can to get it back.  I don’t know, but I refuse to engage her in negative talk.  It’s my little way of trying to get her to stop.  So far, it’s not working, but then again, I suppose that’s not my problem.

The crazy thing is, this sort of situation also rings true for anyone who happens to marry my dad – their lives are turned completely upside down, their credit is ruined, and their family relationships are strained.  Poor, unfortunate souls.  Seems like my parents were in fact meant for each other?  Too bad they didn’t stay together and just ruin each other’s lives instead of bringing others down with them.

Anyway, now that I’ve set all that up for you, back to my conflicting thoughts this morning.  See, I wanted to be angry and think “how could my mother-in-law ask such a thing of me so last-minute.”  I wanted to tell her no and I wanted to call my husband and bitch about her.  But, I didn’t, and I suppressed those thoughts.  You know how some people have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other?  I have an optimistic, selfless, kind, and loving version of myself on one shoulder, and my mother and father both standing on the other.  I am CONSTANTLY evaluating my thoughts and actions to ensure I am not being like either one of them.  This morning, I fought the urge to be a bitch and to act like my mother would have acted.

I will NOT ruin mine or my husband’s relationship with my in-laws.  They are wonderful people.  His sisters are two of my best friends and his mother loves me and treats me like her own daughter.  They have taken me in from day one and treated me like a family member…and even took me back over the years when my husband and I broke up because I acted like an idiot…and I will not let them go.  I certainly do not want my own kids to blog about me in the future and how I ruined their dad’s relationship with his family and ended up in some small town courtroom defending my actions against his family.

In my world, today was a small success for me.  I’m giving my mother-in-law a few hours to herself to get some things done, and my son the opportunity to hang out with his best bud.  I did it without acting like a bitch or telling my husband that his mom is intentionally trying to use me and inconvenience me.  I ignored my mom standing on my shoulder.  Today, I chose selflessness.

All the best,

Someone’s mom

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One response to “Today, I chose selflessness.

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  1. Thanks for joining Good Friends Just Click. I’m following you via GFC! Hope to see you next week- http://www.mamalovesherbargains.com

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