attitude adjustment

Here comes a MiL vent! My FiL died in January of 08 after a 2 year battle with leukemia. It was awful and sad and terrible. DW and I decided (after several years of discussions) we wanted to try for a baby in March of 08. MiL was very pro-grandbaby, as you can imagine. We thought that it would be a great focus for her after years of illness and death. It has not quite turned out that way, however.

Since FiL died, MiL has been understandably depressed. The way that it manifests itself is that she is always in crisis – health crisis (not to be mean, but often these are either minor [crowns for her teeth] or seemingly imagined [phantom pains that have no diagnosis/treatment]), pet crisis, extended family crisis, money crisis. You name it, she has it. So we have a LOT of extra drama in our lives at a time that we just don’t have the reserves or patience for it. The latest is a surgery for sleep apnea, which she had last Friday. She wanted DW to take care of her during/post surgery, which she thought would be a week or two. DW had to say no since she has a full-time job that can’t be put on hold – raising our kid! I work full-time and she is the SAHM. There is no respect at all for that from MiL. She never acknowledges how difficult it is to be a new parent; how much work it is, the sleep-deprivation, etc., etc. She is very demanding of our time and offers very little in the way of help to us with the baby. Naturally this situation leads to resentment toward her from both of us as well as to disagreements between DW and I on how it should be handled. DW is an only child – there is no one else to share the burden.

MiL got another family member to drive cross-country to help her post-surgery and it has been a nightmare. Not only are they not helpful, but they are actively causing more stress. They let out both of MiL’s indoor-only cats the first night they were there. One showed up the next morning, but the other was missing for 24 hours. Thank God it finally showed up, so that drama is resolved. The family member brought her grown son who is an alcoholic and an asshole. He is causing trouble constantly. DW is wishing she had just agreed to care for her mother in addition to baby. We had an argument about it, as we usually do when MiL comes up. It comes down to me saying that our family, our son is our top priority. We can not be the support that MiL needs. DW says what can she do? There is no one else to help, she lost her husband, etc. I go between feeling guilty and full of rage at the situation. Why can’t we raise our family the way MiL got to? Why do we have to have the additional burden of MiL’s drama – much of it self-created? Not to mention MiL is only 60-ish. It’s not like she’s old and should need so much support.

All that said, I’m trying really hard to alter my attitude and the way I respond to the situation. I need to realize that there is nothing I can do to change MiL or to get DW to relinquish her daughterly duties (not that I want that, really – just a reduction in the amount of support needed). I’m trying to focus on the fact that I have a great DW and I finally have the baby I wanted so so badly. Even if the worst happens and we end up having to care for MiL, I will still have these gifts. MiL loves S and accepts our relationship. See what I’m doing here? Trying to focus on the positives? Yeah, I need to do more of that because the situation looks unlikely to change. The only thing I have control over is my response and I need to figure out a way to deal with it. It all comes down to this: It is really just so unfair that FiL is gone. Totally and completely and wholly shitty on so many levels.

1 Comment

Filed under family, grief

One response to “attitude adjustment

  1. >Don't you wish family life were like it is in the movies?? All happy and supportive. Cause in real life- I find that Joey and I often have our most heated arguements about extended family issues. The situation you guys are in is very tough. As a SAHM, mil sees your DW as open for duty at all times (since she's just sitting at home eating bob-bons anyway- lol). The tough thing is to be able to set limits for your sanity and your son while doing enough to allow DWs daughterly guilt to remain mostly quieted. Let me know when you figure out the balance because we suck at this!! I suppose what I am trying to say is that you aren't being mean– we all go thru this family stuff. Breathe. Relax. Repeat and medicate. 😉

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