Archive for the ‘mother-in-law’ Tag

Hoarding and divorce. Oh my!   2 comments

Wow, I’ve had a lot going on the past week or so.  I thought that with each passing day, being back at work would be a bit easier, but it in fact has been more difficult.  Work itself has been good.  In fact, work is probably the best thing I had going for me this past week.

It is no secret that my mother-in-law watches my children while the husband and I work.  She’s great with the kids and my toddler truly loves being with her and granddaddy.  When I was pregnant with my first son, she called and asked us if she could babysit.  She practically interviewed for the job.  It was very sweet and my husband and I agreed that she would be the best person to take care of our child.  When we found out we were pregnant with the second, we practically told her before I had finished peeing on the stick.  We needed to know if she wanted to watch both (because not only does she have our two children but she also babysits one of her other grandchildren).  She of course was ecstatic about the pregnancy and the new grandchild on the way and said she wanted to watch our two and the other grandchild – no problem!  She told us if she ever decided not to continue babysitting, she would give us at least six months to a year of notice.  She would not and still will not take any money for it either, but we buy her nice things and help her and my father-in-law out with things around the house as much as possible.

I must also mention that my MIL is a borderline hoarder.  If you’ve watched TLC’s Hoarding, think about one of the lesser cases they portray.  That’s her.  There are a number of reasons as to why she holds onto things.  She’s been in the antique business for a number of years.  When she initially started to collect, it was all supposed to be for the business.  But, all of the stuff she bought kept coming into the house…and it got worse and worse.  So bad that there was barely anywhere to sit when we went to her house to visit.  We had to crawl over things to get to the kitchen table for family dinners, and we would trip over things in the foyer when walking in the house.  My husband and his siblings would talk to her and help her clean up a bit and for a short while, the house would look nice again.  Sadly, it wouldn’t take long to become a mess again.  But, it was supposedly all for the business.

Another reason we believe she holds onto things is because she does not own her own home.  She lives in her deceased mother in law’s home.  She was the primary caretaker for her own MIL for many years.  She did everything for her.  She did things for her that no one else would do.  Her MIL passed away last year, and at first, my MIL cleaned up the house, painted, put in some new carpet, and appeared to be making it her own.  It was starting to look good.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was livable.  The bedrooms, the attic, corners of the main rooms, and the garage were all still full of stuff.  But, the main rooms (den, living room, and kitchen) were usable and looked decent.  Here recently however, things took a turn for the worse.

My MIL has decided to leave the antique business, and instead of getting rid of the merchandise, she brought most of it back to her house.  I’m not talking about old tables and chairs.  I’m talking about boxes of stuff.  Random, mostly non-useful stuff.  Small things.  Things not suitable when you have toddlers running around.  Over the past couple of weeks, the three rooms she used have become full of stuff.  It’s everywhere.  It’s on tables, chairs, it’s teetering off of the edge of old furniture, it’s piled so high that if you touch one part of it, a domino effect of falling stuff would happen.  It’s on the changing table we gave her for the kids.  It’s covering up the toys, exersaucer, and pack n plays.  It’s on the kitchen table, counters, in the bathroom.  It’s on the stairs.  It’s on the front porch.  It’s everywhere.  It’s impossible to get in the door of the house without tripping over or stepping around stuff.  I hate it.

I have tried not to judge.  I have tried not to complain but I hit my breaking point this week.  She is watching my children-the two most precious things in my life.  She brought so much shit in the house that the two toddlers had a five foot by five foot area to play in in the the living room (a circle of space completely surrounded by stuff) and a few feet of space to play in in the kitchen.  That’s it.  The huge den they used to play in (the room that has the baby gates and was actually somewhat baby proof) was so full you couldn’t walk in it.  There were a couple of days that I found my toddler playing in the kitchen trash can because that’s the only area he had to be in.  The trash can!!!  WTF.

Every day leading up to this past week as I pulled out of the driveway, I prayed that my toddler would not get into a box of stuff and choke on something or accidentally knock into something that would create an avalanche of falling stuff that would hurt my little baby.  Each morning when I dropped the kids off, my MIL would make an excuse as to why the house is a mess.  I’ve heard these same excuses now for years.  I don’t buy them.  I’m not a fool.

Finally, on Wednesday, I arrive to pick up the kids, and my MIL makes the comment that taking care of 3 is trying her patience.  She said she constantly has to watch them.  WTF.  Are you serious???  She said she has to watch them because they try to get in all of her stuff.  You put the stuff there lady!!!  You removed the children from the one room that was sort of baby proof that had all of their toys in it and have them playing in a five by five space that is surrounded by junk.  All they have is that space and the f-ing trash can to play in.  OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO WATCH THEM!!!

This is not the first time I’ve heard this.  She has made a few snarky comments to me about babysitting 3 kids over the past year.  Please remember that we asked her immediately upon finding out we were pregnant with number 2 if she was willing to watch the baby or if we needed to find another sitter…and she told us she absolutely wanted to.  We gave her an out.

So, back to Wednesday night.  I didn’t say anything and packed up my kids and left.  I arrived home and told my husband about her comment and that we needed to find an alternative.  I was not about to allow my two precious babies to be in that environment anymore.  My MIL was evidently overwhelmed and frustrated with her house, and watching the three children was too much.  I was pissed.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  We were supposed to be given ample time to figure out a new situation if we needed one.

My husband believes his mother is a few steps away from crazy, so he understands my frustration and he too feels my pain.  However, he doesn’t want to hear me talk about it.  I asked him to do something about it and talk to his mother as she is not my own mother and I do not feel comfortable having that type of conversation with her.  It was time to ask her how she truly felt and if she honestly wanted to continue watching the children.  It was time to find out if she wanted to watch the three she is currently watching…as well as the fourth that is on the way! No, it’s not me.  My sister in law is preggo with number 2 and her first is the other grandchild my MIL watches.

I asked my husband not to yell at his mom or argue with her about all of the stuff.  I asked him to have a dialogue with her and find out what is going on with her, all of the stuff, and if she even wants to continue watching the kids.  I beg him not to yell at her.  Nothing is accomplished that way and she is already extremely defensive about all of her stuff to begin with…no matter how you talk to her.  On Thursday night, he tells me he went over to his mom’s that morning and blasted her.  I was so upset.  What would that solve??  I then become angry at him because it seems the whole situation is spiraling out of control.  All I wanted to do was to figure out what is going on in his mother’s head and find out if she truly wants to continue watching the kids.  I didn’t want to create a family argument.  I try to explain this to my husband, who then tells me it’s none of my business what he said to her and that I don’t know what he said.  Then I remind him that he told me he went over to her house and “blasted her” and he then basically lets me know he lied about that and doesn’t have to tell me what they talked about.

This, I do not agree with.  My children are over there.  They spend more time over there during the week than they do with me.  I have every right to know what is going on.  I completely understand that I asked my husband to talk to his mother, but that’s only because she doesn’t listen to me and I don’t feel comfortable talking to her about those things.  Before my husband talked to her, I even told him I would be a part of the conversation if he wanted me to be, and he said he would handle it.  All I wanted to do was find out if she was ok and do the right thing for our children.

Unfortunately, the situation turned into a yelling match between my husband and I.  The arguing ran all the way into Friday morning.  I was so frustrated because I didn’t know if there was a solution to the situation.  Does she still want to babysit?  Is she going to clean up her house and actually provide a safe environment for my children?  What are we going to do about finding the money to pay for a daycare or another sitter?  How will my kids adjust to a new place?  How in the hell am I going to find a new sitter with such short notice?  I had all of these thoughts running around in my head and I was upset.  My husband was no longer listening to me and did not want to deal with it.  I tried to explain to him that he was just like his mom when it came to that stuff – not listening, thinking he is right no matter what, etc.  He doesn’t think he’s like her at all, but the reason the two of them do not see eye to eye is because they are so much alike.  But that’s a whole other topic.

Anyway, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I was trying to eat my breakfast and give my toddler his breakfast.  I was crying.  I was just so mad that my MIL had let her house turn into a pile of shit again, that my husband was purposely lying to me about whatever conversation he had with her, and that my kids were caught in the middle of the craziness.

If I’m crying during an argument, my voice gets louder.  I can’t help it.  I am not trying to yell.  Well, on Friday morning, my husband apparently thinks I’m trying to yell at him, so he mocks me and begins yelling back.  And, this makes my toddler cry.  He looks at his dad yelling at me and begins crying.  I console him and he hugs me.  I try to finish his breakfast and my husband yells again because he thinks I’m yelling at him, and my toddler starts crying AGAIN.  Shit.  We have turned into my parents.  Our actions are causing our son to be afraid and cry.  At that moment, I feel like a failure.

My husband and I were doing the exact thing I never wanted us to do.  We were fighting in front of our son and he was crying because of it.  I went through an entire childhood of this.  I told myself I’d never let this happen to my own children.  I’d never put them through the pure hell I experienced as I kid.

I sat in the kitchen beside my son and consoled him.  I looked out the window and sobbed.  I told my husband I couldn’t be with him if it was going to be like this.  We’d already thrown out the big D word several times during the argument.  But, this time, I meant it.  I was willing to get divorced rather than put my kids through hell.  It is not fair to them.  I will NOT live this way.

I couldn’t deal with it anymore so I went upstairs and took a shower.  We had to be at the doctor for checkups for our sons and I needed to get ready.  I cried in the shower.  I couldn’t understand why things had spiraled so out of control.  Why can’t my MIL understand that her house is unsafe for my kids?  Why does she think it’s ok to have piles of shit laying around every square inch of her house?  Why won’t she listen to us about cleaning it up and ensuring it is safe for the kids?  Why isn’t my husband able to have a meaningful conversation with her about it?  Why do I not have the fortitude to talk to her myself?  Why can’t my husband just listen to me and let me vent without accusing me of being a bitch and nagging?  Why is all of this so hard?

But, then I realize, life is hard.  Nothing worth doing is easy.  Having kids is not easy.  Dealing with the in-laws is not easy.  A marriage is not easy…at all.  All we can do is make the most of it.  I take my shower and much like the water rinses the dirt off my body and down the drain, I let all of the emotions of the past week go down the drain too.  There’s nothing else I can do.  My MIL is going to continue to collect crap and do what she wants with it.  My husband will be combative with her because they are so much alike.  We will continue to argue throughout our entire marriage because we are completely different people who rarely see eye to eye on anything.  All I can do is love my kids, respect my husband and his opinions, and do what I can to keep the peace.  I will do my best to ensure my kids have a safe and loving environment no matter where they are.  They are my priority.

I don’t want a divorce.  I love my husband.  He’s got his faults, but I do too.  He takes care of me and he loves the boys more than anyone.  He has stuck by me through a lot and he’s a good man.  I never want to not be with him.  But, in the heat of arguments, I feel differently.  All I can do is ensure we do not argue in front of the kids.  They deserve the best life we can give them, and unlike my parents, I must choose a different path…  A path not filled with fighting, arguing, and name-calling.  It was selfish of my parents to not protect my brother and I from that.  Remember, my family told me to “break the cycle” and this is another step in that journey.  I will break the cycle of arguing in front of my children.  I will not allow my marriage to end in divorce.

*Disclaimer – Since this was written, my MIL has actually made some big strides in making sure the house is in suitable condition for the children.  I believe my husband may have given her an ultimatum when he spoke with her – clean up or we are taking the kids elsewhere.  There’s a long way to go, but she’s making an effort.  She’s working with another family member who is much more patient with her than any of the rest of us.  The other family member is willing to have a conversation with my MIL about each item before they decide what to do with it, whereas the rest of us just want to light a match to the place.  We will see how it all turns out.

**To my husband – I love you and do not want us to argue like we did this past week.  Let’s not allow the choices our family members make interfere in our lives like this again.  You are my rock and even though you may not think so, you do keep me sane 😉

Same epic poo, different kid, different attitude.   Leave a comment

We had a long day yesterday.  We traveled to another city to do a little outlet shopping  (LOVE Carter’s and Motherhood Maternity outlets!) and for a family reunion.  Shopping was quick and chaotic.  I bought a few nursing shirts at Motherhood and then took my little man in there to nurse him.  Love that they are a nursing friendly story.  Their fitting rooms are nice and big with benches, but they have curtains for doors, so the rooms are not quite as private as I would like.  While I was nursing my little man, he had an epic poo.  A very noisy, large amount of poo.  It went EVERYWHERE.  I was a bit embarrassed because I know the people right outside my waiting room heard as I heard giggles from them.  I tried to stifle some of my own laughter as I’m not quite sure how the Motherhood people feel about me changing a poopy diaper in their fitting room.  So, the little man got a fresh diaper, full tummy, and outfit change.

The crazy thing about the situation is that the exact same thing happened when I was nursing my firstborn in that same Motherhood, in the same fitting room, at the same age.  What are the odds of that?  What’s more, the weather here yesterday was chilly, very rainy, and very windy…SAME weather as the day of the first epic poo…two totally different seasons…

Yesterday was different though.  I laughed at the epic poo instead of freaking out.  I did what I had to do and was much more prepared.  The first time it happened with my firstborn, I accidentally smeared poo all over the fitting room bench, and had nothing to put the nasty diaper in.  I had just one clean outfit with me for my firstborn and got a little poo on that so the poor little fella had to wear a poopy outfit all day.  Yesterday, I had a plastic bag ready for that poo diaper, several outfit changes, some sanitary wipes to help remove the poo from the soiled outfit, and a much different attitude.  It’s amazing to me how much more relaxed we can be with the second child.  It is even more amazing how much more love we have in our hearts.  Like the Grinch, I think my heart grew three sizes the day that my second son was born.

Sure, I still worry just as much (probably more) and I’m not always laid back about things.  I still have a lot of anxiety.  But yesterday, I realized that I was able to laugh at a situation that I couldn’t laugh at when I was a new mom.  I suppose I’m just more confident and prepared these days for situations like epic poos and I think I’m making a little progress toward becoming more optimistic and happy too…

The epic poo wasn’t the only crazy thing that happened yesterday.  The family reunion we went to was at the world’s WORST restaurant.  It was awful.  The food was some of the worst we have had and the service was even worse.  We got there a few minutes later than the rest of the party and we were told by the waitress we needed to order immediately or our food would not come out with the others.  Who cares??  But, she made us order right away.  I hadn’t even sat down yet.  I mean, we were still getting the high chair set up.  So, the husband and I each ordered a steak…and we were so hungry and SO disappointed.  I had trouble getting the steak knife through mine.  😦  Before we could finish our meal, the waitress had already come and taken away the bread and cracker baskets, the butter, and several other condiments from the table.  Now, this place was 4 to 5 hours away from closing time and not busy at all…no need for them to be clearing our stuff before we were finished. Oh well.  My husband and I had a great time laughing about it all while we were finishing dinner.  We joked about hitting up a burger joint we saw on the way in and a Ben & Jerry’s to get my Late Night Snack once the reunion was over.

We finish dinner and head out to leave, pack the kids up in the car, turn the key, and nothing.  My car will not start.  Yay!!  Luckily my resourceful husband and brother we were able to roll it down a hill, pop the clutch and get it to start.  That sounds easy enough, but my husband did get hit square in the forehead with the back of my car during all this…not quite sure how that happened…  I did freak out for a second wondering what we were going to do with the kids, how much was this going to cost,  blah blah.  But, then I realized, I could choose my own attitude about it.  So, I laughed…and it felt pretty good to laugh about it!  I knew that it would all work out no matter what.  And, it did.  The car started, we got it home, and it started right up this morning.  Fingers crossed it was just a small glitch in the matrix 😉  In the past, I would have bitched the entire way home and talked about how we can’t afford to fix it, why does this happen to me, blah blah.  I’m pretty proud of myself for not letting that kind of word vomit escape from my mouth yesterday.

The drive home was another crazy adventure.  We had terrible storms through our state yesterday.  We drove through the worst downpour we have ever been in.  My husband was fighting the 30 to 40 mile per hour wind gusts that were trying to blow us all over the road.  It was extremely scary and all I could think about were my two little boys sleeping peacefully in the back seat.  We were under a tornado watch too so had our eyes peeled.  If you read one of my earlier posts, you’ll know I’m terrified of storms and tornadoes, so this situation was extremely stressful for me.  I was so tense my shoulders were hurting.  It was quite an adventure to get home…  We dodged branches and fallen power lines in the road.  We passed several neighborhoods without power.  Surprisingly, everything was fine in our neighborhood.  What a relief!

A few minutes after we get home (and it’s late at this point, 9:30ish) my mother-in-law calls and tells me her house does not have power and that she, my father-in-law, sister- and brother-in-law and their child, have not eaten supper.  Then she asks if we’ve had supper.  I reply yes.  Then she says, “Well we need to eat supper” in a very stressed out crazy way.  All I said was “ok…”  I had no idea where she was going with all of it until she then said, “well we need to eat supper and if you have power we would like to come there.”  Wow.  Ok.  At first, I did freak a little.  The house was a mess because we didn’t clean up before we left that morning, we had just come in from our long-ass day and were trying to get the boys to sleep, and I was exhausted.  But then, I remembered that I could choose my attitude, so I chose to joke with my husband and laugh about it.  And then it became funny…fun even.  I actually had a great time with our little impromptu dinner party.  In the past, I would have bitched, saved face with the company here, and then bitched some more.  I’m proud of myself.

Overall, the husband and I laughed about the whole day when we finally made it to bed at midnight.  Between the epic poo, terrible service and food at the restaurant, the car not starting, the worst storm we’ve ever driven through, and the crazy-ass surprise dinner party at 9:30 at night, it was a day for the books.

As I type this, I’m 50 minutes away from being officially done with my maternity leave.  Although I know it’s for the best for so many reasons, I am still very sad to be heading back to work tomorrow.  I am going to miss my little men more than I can even put into words.  My toddler is my buddy.  He’s been my little best friend these past 12 weeks.  He’s grown up so much right before my eyes.  He is an amazing little man.  Not even 18 months yet and he knows about 200 words, he can tell me what he needs – “I pood, hungy, thirsty, brush my teeth…”  (No hungy is not a misspelling, that’s how he says it – so cute!).  As I type this, he is spending his third night in his toddler bed in his new big boy room.  It is a bit early to be putting him in a toddler bed according to some doctors and books I’ve read…the recommended age is around 2.   He has done absolutely wonderful though and has slept almost the entire night without a sound the past two nights.  Anyway, back to leaving them tomorrow…  I can’t say that I will not enjoy adult interaction and my me time in my car like I’ve mentioned before, and I won’t miss some of the frustrating days I’ve had when they both have been a little grumpy and needy, but I will miss the hell out of them.  I’m so jealous of my mother-in-law because she now gets to see them for the 40 to 50 hours per week that I’ve had them.  She may be the one to see my little baby roll over for the first time, to see my toddler learn a new word or say his first sentence, and she’ll be the one having breakfast with my little buddy.  And, missing those moments sucks ass.  Instead of enjoying my coffee and oatmeal with my little men, I’ll probably be eating on the run while commuting to work.  It sound very depressing as I sit here and type this.

It’ll be ok though.  It has to be.  I have no choice…a) I have to work to pay the bills, and b) if I were a permanent SAHM, I may go crazy and end up like my mother.  It’s just going to take me a few days to accept that everything will be ok.

For now, I’m just going to keep sitting here with my little baby on my lap fast asleep, and listen to my toddler sleeping on the monitor.  I know I am so lucky to have had these past 12 weeks with them, and I am truly grateful.

Tomorrow, a new chapter begins…  Time to turn the page.

Goodnight.

All the best,

Someone’s mom