Mother-in-laws, whether you have a great one or not, we can all agree that once grandchildren come along – the dynamic quickly changes. MILs somehow emerge as expert parenting know-it-alls and you become the clueless, incompetent mother. There’s an unspoken rule with moms that is somehow lost in the MIL-DIL translation and that is: when someone insults our parenting skills or our kids – we lose our shit. Period. No one is more defensive than a mom, and a mother-in-law should know this! In fact, they tell us about their wicked MILs, yet turnaround and pull the same shenanigans on us.
I have to admit, I lucked out in the MIL department. My MIL tends to make suggestions versus ramming unsolicited advice down my throat. And she knows when I’ve hit my ‘I can’t take anymore’ limit, at which point she’ll offer me a cocktail, so I really can’t complain. Plus, she’s just as crazy as me, so I guess I can’t fault her. But most everyone else would move thousands of miles away to escape their MILs.
The paradox is that our MILs raised great kids, or we wouldn’t have fallen in love with their precious boys. Some of their actions also prove their hearts are in the right place, and even some of their advice may be valuable, but most of their advice just grates. Here are ten ways that some MILs blow it by going too far:
• They buy the loudest, most obnoxious, battery-sucking toys they can find that take weeks to put all the million pieces together, only to have our kids play with them for a few days – and then move on. We don’t want that stuff nor do we have space for it!
• They do the complete opposite of what we ask them to do. If we ask them not to give our kids too much sugar, they take them out for the largest ice cream brownie fudge Sunday known to man right before dinner. Awesome, thanks.
• They tell our kids they can’t do something because “Mommy said no” to make us look like the bad guys.
• They finish every sentence with, “Well I raised three kids, and they turned out fine.” We know that, and we are trying to do the same.
• They are fixated on your weight. Both, pre-baby and post-baby. The obsession with your weight is only because, “she loves you,” or so your brainwashed husband likes to tell you. And then the fixation starts to include the baby. “She needs to eat more, she’s too skinny.” “What are you feeding her?” Ugh.
• Not only is it your post-pregnancy weight, but they comment on your appearance. Non-stop. And never in a flattering way. “Yes, perhaps I should get a nose job but…hey, maybe I’ll get a discount when you go in for your liposuction procedure?”
• They are always shouting. On the phone, in the car, over Skype. We effing hear you! This is cute the first time – not the 50th.
• They question everything you do with your child. “Why daycare?” Or “Why not daycare?” Or they tell you what your child likes. I know what they like, I’m with them every day!
• They buy the most horrendous outfits and expect you to dress your child in them. My advice? Put them in the hideous puke-colored dress and snap a few pictures with different scenery so it looks like you actually let your child be seen in it.
• They spoil your kids rotten, break all the rules, and then send them back to you to deal with the consequences while evil-laughing inside (this has not been proven yet, but we are pretty sure it’s true).
There are few things that quickly bond women together – talk of work, marriage, the weather, and what brand of jeans makes your ass look best. But absolutely nothing bonds two women together like bitching about their MIL – then deciding whose is worse.
Let’s all make the promise now that we won’t be like this and if we do, let’s be honest… traditions are very important when raising your children; let us not forgo the crazy MIL tradition of micro-managing mania.
Sara Sadik, a Palestinian/Lebanese energetic mom of 3 puzzle pieces who delivers her distinct brand of warm candid humor with an extra dose of sass in a traditional Arabic coffee cup. Her first book, Finding the Magic in Mommyhood: How to Create the Illusion of Sanity amid Raging Hormones, Sleep Deprivation, and Diaper Rash was released in October 2018 and she is currently working on her first children's series. She has been previously worked for/been employed by The Daily Star newspaper, the U.N. Follow Sara's journey on her blog: www.sarasadik.com