My MIL is in a league all by herself. She walked out on my FIL out of blue one day, but refused to divorce him for 8 years. My husband has two older sisters and a younger brother. She took the boys with her, and they've never gotten over it. They all idolize their dad, all four of the kids, and with good reason, for the most part the man is the most loving individual on the planet, and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He's gone above and beyond for all of us more times than we can count. That's probably what started my MIL's problem in the first place.
Out of her three offspring, my husband is her clear favorite. He is the oldest boy, he is the prince of the whole family. She can't fart crossways without calling him and getting his input on it. He's given her money before, but after we started seeing a pattern we stopped giving her cash. She is one of those people that goes on and on and on all the time.... about NOTHING. She talks non stop no matter where we are and it's always about NOTHING. She'll start a conversation in the middle and expects everyone to keep up with her.
Her relationship with her kids is very strained, stemming from the seperation years. Almost immediatly after she walked out, she accepted the marriage proposal of her high school boyfriend. It's never been confirmed, but I think she probably left FIL with this guy in mind. She openly trashed my FIL and tried her hardest to damage his good reputation in our community, for no reason other than she wanted to come out on top, and in the end it did nothing but hurt her. When I first met my husband, I seriously thought that there was no "mom" in the picture period. I didn't know if she had maybe passed on or if he just didnt see her or what. It was nearly 6 months before I even heard him mention her and before I met her. In her 50's she failed miserably, after her third marriage did the same, at trying to be a country music singer. Nashville wasn't interested in a grandmother. But don't call her a Grandma, that makes her sound old. Never mind the fact that her oldest grandchild is 19 and she is about to have her 5th grandchild.
There have been several instances where she's overstepped. Like the time before our wedding when she wanted to wear a backless, slit up to the hip, plunging neckline, red, sequined party dress to my little church wedding. My husband was mortified and quickly told her it was inappropriate. She then made us wait until two days before our wedding to find a replacement. We were engaged for a year and a half, it's not like she was in a time crunch. There was the time when I was home alone, doing my housewifely chores and without a warning phone call, or a hello, she just walks through the front door like she owns the place. I was in my nightgown, I hadn't brushed my teeth. She hadn't called to ask if I was busy or to say she was stopping by, she just walked in. As soon as she left I called my husband infuriated. He advised that maybe next time she should give me a little heads up before just waltzing in uninvited. There was the time she drug me to my SIL's house for a day at the pool and insisted that her 95 pound 65 year old self wear a string bikini. Not to forget about the time that she stuck her nose in during an argument that my husband and I were having (which was actually a problem caused by her) and told us to kiss and make up, like we were three. I politely told her that it was none of her business and so she should mind her own. Or the time that she invited herself over for dinner, then invited herself to spend the night, then invited herself to clean and rearrange my kitchen to suit her own tastes while I was at work that day. I was livid when I got home (and she was STILL THERE, I was like what? is she moving IN!?) and so I made no bones about loudly changing everything in the kitchen back to the way I had it.
She's been on a roll of selfishness recently. My husband and I are expecting our first child after a long infertility struggle. 3 years of every kind of test you can imagine, at least 72 negative pregnancy tests and a miscarriage later, we have a healthy baby girl on the way. I think that has thrown my MIL's selfish nature into overdrive. Looking back on the past near-decade that I've spent with her oldest son, I'm seeing a pattern develop.
2 years ago, my husband was in an accident playing football at a friends home. His elbow was severely dislocated and we spent most of the night in the emergency room 2 hours from home. Thank God for good friends, they let us stay the rest of the night with them and then made the trip home later that morning. While I was doing damage control, still at the hospital, I called MIL to update her on what was happening. If his elbow hadn't gone back into place manually, they would have to do surgery in a town another two hours away. I made it clear that this was NOT happening, but my MIL heard nothing but surgery and the towns name. So she calls me an hour later, halfway there and asks is we are in the chopper yet. I tell her no and that we aren't going to need the chopper. I explain to her again the situation and tell her that NOW his elbow is back in place and everything is fine. She doesn't like it and hangs up on me. The next day I get my husband home, cleaned up, in fresh pj's and prop his poor banged up arm up on some throw pillows. He is comfortable and he is happy. Until she gets there and starts yanking the pillows out from under his arm. He's screaming that she's hurting him and she keeps saying "I'm your mother, I know what you need." And she treks back to our bedroom and jerks the sleeping pillows off the bed. He complains non stop that she's hurting him but she won't stop. When she finally sits down, I go and gentle remove the other pillows and put the throw pillows back. When I ask him how that feels he looks at me with the most helpless pitiful look and says "so much better, thanks babe." There's more to this particular story, and I will share it soon....
The part that has become blatantly obvious about my MIL lately is that she is JEALOUS of our relationship with my Mom. Let me preface this by saying my Mom is all I've got. My Dad passed away 9 years ago from Cancer, my half brother lives 5 hours away and my cousins and I don't speak because I prefer to NOT to be around drug dealers and users... call me crazy. My Mom is such a pleasant person to be around. Her home is a nice peaceful place to be. She goes to church with us, so we see her on Sundays, now that we are expecting she is helping me to get ready for baby girl, and we try to include her in a lot of things because otherwise she simply wouldn't leave the house, she's very lonesome without my Dad. One sunday a month, she cooks a big sunday dinner for us after church and we spend the whole day being lazy at her house, and we love it. We look forward to that sunday dinner all month long because it obviously brings her so much joy to be able to do it for us and because we can check out of the drama for a day, because my Mama ain't got no time for no drama.
And then there is MIL. She works third shift at a factory. She leaves for work at 9pm, gets home at 7am, and sleeps until 6pm Sunday through Friday. She spends her entire Saturdays sleeping. It's impossible to spend any real time with her. It takes her literally hours to "wake up." She goes through two pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes before she's awake enough to do anything. She was given the option to take first shift because of her age when she was hired but she insisted she wasn't as breakable as people thought and that third was fine. She'd worked thirds as a temp at a different factory and had gotten so stressed she'd dropped down to 95 pounds and stayed bruised from the shoulders down. She said her body was "used to thirds" so she didn't want to disrupt it's natural schedule. So it is impossible to coordinate a time to be with her because she's either sleeping, or still waking up (I'm telling ya it's a process) or gone to work.
I've tried in the past to give her the benefit of the doubt. She's flighty, ok, fine, it's a personality quirk. But as the years go on and I become more settled in the family, things become much more clear to me. My MIL is SELFISH. And she always wants to be the center of the universe to her kids. She hurt them by leaving their Dad, she alienated them and kept them at arms length for years and years and now suddenly she's hurt because they don't want much to do with her. And now she's so green eyed jealous of the good relationship my husband has with my mother. Looking back I can see that it's been brewing for a long time. Since the elbow accident. The morning I got him home, I was overwhelmed. I needed backup. My Mom and I are a great team. When I called her from the hospital she dropped everything, drove the ten minutes to our house, shut everything down in case we were going to be gone for longer than a night, packed a little suitcase for us for that just in case, picked up our dog and made sure everything was ready for us whenever we got to come home. When we finally did get home, he was in agony and needed his pain killers that we hadn't been able to get filled. So I called my Mom. She brought back the dog, took the RX's and got them filled for us and then brought us home lunch cause she knew we were probably starving. After we got him settled in, I called my in laws to let each of them know we were home and he was fine. My MIL lives 5 minutes in the opposite direction as my Mom. Barely 5 minutes had passed after I got off the phone with her when I see her car crash into my driveway on two wheels and come to a complete stop in my yard at my front door. She jumps out barely dressed and comes banging on the door shouting for us to let her in. My Mom answers the door and just as soon as MIL sees her she freaks. She starts shouting "THAT'S MY KID! MY KID! LET ME IN THAT IS MY SON IN THERE!" Very possessive, almost as if she felt like my Mom being there was taking away from the fact that she was my husbands mother. I explained to her that Mama was here to help ME out and not because my husband had specifically asked for her, but I'm pretty sure it all went in one ear and out the other. I chalked that experience up to trauma and let it go. I have no time to dwell on drama, I've got enough going on in my life that i have to deal with.
When we found out in March that we were expecting a baby girl, we were over the moon thrilled. We'd wanted this baby for so so long, and to know that our little miracle was a girl was all the more exciting. So we decided to do a little gender reveal party, just for our family, just to make it special and fun. We found out late on a friday afternoon and knew we couldn't keep the secret for very long, so we decided to throw a party together the next day at my Mom's house. She has a new house, on an acre and a half of land, she's always kept a spotless house and loves to entertain. Plus she has a better parking situation of 15 people than we do at our house. So it was a pretty easy choice to have it there. We planned it for 4pm. That would allow the family (his family, again, I have none to speak of) time during the morning and early afternoon to do whatever they had to do, it would still be daylight so that we could take some cute photos and so it was settled. We started calling people and they all said ok, 4pm works great. My MIL was so excited she could barely stand it over the phone. So the next morning at 9:30, she calls my Mom. She asks about the "food situation." We live in the South, any "get together" requires food. My hubby and I decided to get Little Ceasars Pizza, it's quick, inexpensive and tasty and would please a large crowd. And that was it. My Mom suggested my MIL maybe bring ice and soft drinks or dessert maybe. MIL insisted she bring sandwich stuff so that we could have a "sandwich making station." Ok. Fine. If she's paying, bring it on. She says she will hop in the shower, get ready and go get the stuff and be at the house by 4. We get to my Mom's around 3 and get everything set up. Family starts trickling in around 3:30.... but at 4:30 there is still no sign of my MIL. My sisters in law are getting antsy, my FIL is used to this and my husband is getting angry. So he calls her to find out where she is. To our horror, she has not showered, not gotten ready, not gone to the store and is currently putting together a piece of furniture for her bathroom and says she has one more to go. "Time must have gotten away from me." She tries to cover. My husband calls her bluff. "From 9:30 to 4:30?!" He tells her to forget the sandwich stuff, the pizza is enough. He doesn't care what she looks like she needs to brush her teeth and get over to my Mom's so that we can get the party started, we obviously can't start without her. She doesn't come rolling in, slowly, until 15 minutes till 6pm. She went to the store anyway, bought $100 worth of stuff that no one ate and had even gone to a different store to get a bag full of baby essentials for us as a "smooth it over" gift. We didn't even let her get inside the house, we drug her to the back yard and opened the box with the pink balloons in it immediately. She absolutely ruined that party for us, and she did it, I believe, on purpose, because it wasn't about HER.
That was when it occoured to me how much the center of attention she has to be at all times. She knew. Without a shadow of a doubt she knew she had somewhere to be at 4pm, and chose to dilly dally and put together a piece of furniture instead of doing what she needed to do.
It came to a head this past weekend.
We had just gotten out of Church on Sunday afternoon. We like going out to eat on Sunday's as a family because it's the only time we all are ever together long enough to do it. My Mom goes to church with us and being that she is my only family she is always invited to come along. Apparently my MIL and husband had talked that morning and he asked her if she wanted to come along with us that afternoon. She turned him down, but said she wanted to see him (not any of the other kids, just him, mind you) so he said he'd come spend the afternoon w her afterwards. But on our way home from the restaurant my cell phone rings and it's her. I hand the phone to my husband cause I don't want to talk to her. When he answers I can hear her screaming on the other end of the line. Apparently she changed her mind and wanted to come, but she'd never let my husband know, so we went without her. She was hostile, and when she found out that my Mom had gone with us, she got even more upset. She basically demanded that he come pick her up and take her out somewhere to eat. Even though we'd just stuffed ourselves she told him he was going to go eat with her. She said "you can eat again." He told her no. That he was full and he didn't want to go eat and that he didn't want to sit in the little local diner and watch her eat. He'd rather be someplace where he could rest. He offered to pick up a to go order for her and bring it to her house. But she wouldn't hear of it. He finally told her no, if she wanted him to pay for her food she'd take it the way he gave it. She started in then that she never got to see her kids. Hubby reminded her that it was her choice to work thirds and to basically not have a life. He finally got frustrated with her and hung up. I decided to skip the "fun" at her house and instead went to my Mom's where I could sit in peace and enjoy a sunday. But he's forgotten his cell phone, and he has to have it in case I need him for anything. So instead of immedaitely going to my Mom's, I pack up the dog and go to my MIL's house, praying she isn't there when I get there. But she is. So I pull up in the driveway, honk the horn, get my husbands attention and give him his phone. I can tell he's mad, so I put the car in reverse and start to back out. That's when MIL runs out the back door waving her arms and screaming for me to come inside. I politely tell her I have somewhere else to be, and I've got the dog with me and I need to get gas etc etc, so maybe some other time. She won't hear of it. She basically comes and drags me out of the car and into her house. I didn't realize it until that day, but I think my MIL is trying to copy my house. I recently took my house from dark pottery colored walls to white/grey walls. I painted all my black picture frames on my gallery wall white and painted my kitchen cabinets white and the base of my coffee and end tables white to lighten everything up. She is doing the exact same thing, and she didn't start until after I did mine. I guess imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but a MIL copying the DIL? Does that seem weird to you? It does me. Her kitchen table has a white base now, her walls are white now, every picture frame on her walls is white now. She is splashing aqua blue around everywhere just like I've done. It makes me uncomfortable, because I'm wondering the motivation behind it. Anyway, I go in, take a 30 second look around, fake a smile, tell her its all so cute, and then apologize again and say I really have to get a move on, Mom is waiting for me I should have already been there.
Later that night after we both get home, my husband tells me that his mom expressed to him how she thinks it is UNFAIR the amount of time we spend with the other parents as opposed to the time we spend with her. And I say "WE" as in my husband and me in particular, not the three other adult kids she has. Just us. It isn't UNFAIR because we do all we can to include her in our day to day, but she won't let us. We invited her out three weeks ago to have dinner with us and she refused, saying she couldn't get ready in time. 5 hours later when we stopped by her house she had barely gotten out of the shower when she answered the back door. She just didn't want to go because we were taking out my Mom and my MIL's mom that same trip. I go out of my way to invite her over for supper and she will always refuse saying she'd rather not come at all as opposed to coming and then having to get up and leave for work. So, she decreed that from now on, the third Saturday of the month is HER day. (My Mom's day is the third SUNDAY of the month.) She gets to be first. She said "I can't cook for you like [my mom] does." She can, she just won't. As if cooking would be the only reason we would come see her.
It occoured to me then, that all these years she has been pea green with envy over the good relationship my husband has with my Mom. She is jealous now because she knows that this baby will have more to do with my Mom than with her. She is jealous because I don't need her for anything. IDK what she expects? Am I supposed to say sorry Mom, you can't help me pick out baby clothes every because my MIL wants to be the one to do that? Who am I gonna call in the middle of the night when my baby won't stop screaming and I'm at my whits end? MY MOM, that's who. Cause she is MY MOTHER. In reality my MIL and I are complete polar opposites in spite of our similarities. She is jealous because she isn't the kind of mother anyone would ever be proud to have, and my Mom is. I hate to sound like "My Mom is better than His Mom," but what kind of woman walks out on her kids and then expects them to not resent her for it? What kind of Mom insists that when she broke up the family, nothing was different? She claimed her boys never even knew there was a divorce happening, that they didn't see a difference at all, and when my husband called her bs on that, she wouldn't have it. She got so mad she could have spit fire, but my husband stood his ground. Everything was different and she can lie to herself all she wants to but it IS ALL HER FAULT. Whatever reasons her kids have to not want to be around her are HER FAULT. She only started trying to be a Mom again a few years ago. All of a sudden everything she was doing was for her kids. Buying a house she to this day struggles to afford was for her kids. None of her kids NEED a house, we all own our own homes. She can't be told she is wrong about anything, even when she outright LIES about things and we catch her in her own web, she claims we are wrong. She tells a story about something I said during our wedding and it's a flat out LIE, and I have the whole thing on video to prove its a lie, and I've shown it to her and she keeps telling the same lie! What kind of Mother is JEALOUS of the relationship her son has with his mother in law. A GUILTY mother. That's who... one who KNOWS she screwed up a sure thing, one who knows she scarred her children far more deeply than she could ever even imagine. One who tries too hard to be the example of a perfect mother and fails miserably every time. That's who. And she is that woman.