07 November 2009

When Do I Get to Be the Mom?

I thought that I had worked out my irritation with the MIL, but this weekend I feel like I am about to blow my stack. The incidents that are bothering me are minor, but having them all happen in the space of a week has caused a "straw-camel-broken back" situation.

--On Halloween, I wanted to give the kids a little independence by having them trick-or-treat without me. My oldest kid is 16 and our subdivision is pretty safe, so ABM and I didn't have a problem with it. However, as soon as the MIL hears that they are going out alone, she decides that it would be fun to go trick-or-treating with them. This may be the last year that they do this, so why couldn't she let them do it on their own?

--I've been teaching the kids to perform tasks like cooking dinner and doing their own laundry because ABM and I can't do it all with full-time jobs. C2 and DJ in particular are enthusiastic about learning to cook. Yesterday, C2 was preparing a meal that she had cooked a few times before, so I went upstairs and left her to it. The MIL sees her cooking on her own and comments, "I bet your mama is gonna sit on her fat butt and let you cook all by yourself." I politely told her that the kids need to learn how to cook, but clearly she thought I was being a slave driver.

--The kids only get to watch TV and play video games on the weekends. DJ excitedly finished his chores today, only to find that he couldn't switch the TV to game mode because the MIL had switched remotes with us. She thought she was helping because our remote doesn't have a battery cover. However, her TV is a slightly older model than ours so her remote doesn't have a button to switch video inputs. So my Saturday plans have been derailed because I am trying to find another way to give DJ the video game time that he earned.

--She continues to give my kids orders that countermand mine, such as they MUST wear undershirts. ABM says to throw her a bone, but I refuse to enforce rules that I didn't make and that don't make any sense to me.

I am struggling to remember that the MIL lives alone and unlike her siblings, she doesn't have tons of children and grandchildren. We are pretty much it, and under all her complaining and gruffness beats a heart that wants the best for us. However, the way she undermines my authority with the kids shakes up my already fragile identity as a mom.
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