Bridal Shower and the Clueless MIL

Last Saturday, Piglet and I made the trek over to the MIL’s house for my Sister-in-Law (Travel Girl)’s bridal shower. Before facing the MIL stressball, we made a pit stop at Geeky’s house for a quick visit. I had coffee, Piglet got to play with their Great Dane, aka Horse, and I got to vent a little to Geeky.

You see, I was helping out with the shower, and was in charge of games. But I was also told by my MIL that I had to bring Piglet, so that she could “show him off” as she put it. She told me that of course I’d have lots of help with him at the shower, and I’d still have time to do the games and enjoy myself. Well…as you mamas know, running around after a crawling, wiggly 9 month old= absolutely no time to do much else! Also, the bridal shower was smack dab in the middle of Piglet’s nap time, and with all those people and the noise, there was no putting him down for a nap during the party. Geeky had so kindly offered to babysit, and she doesn’t live far from the in-laws, and I would have gladly accepted, but I was expected to bring little man to the shower.

While I do understand everyone wanted to see Piglet, and I was glad that MIL was showing interest in him, I was also frustrated, because I knew when she offered to “help” she didn’t really mean it. Not in the sense that most grandmothers do anyways. I’ll show the good highlights of the day, and then I’m going to vent. I apologize in advance, but I’m still a little bent out of shape about it. I should have known it would happen, and stood my ground and had Geeky babysit. I think Piglet would have had a lot more fun, and I would have too!

Doesn’t my little man just completely steal the spotlight in this picture? He is so handsome!

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Ok, here is my vent:

1. The pack n’ play, which I’d bought for their house, was not set up. It was stuffed in the closet, and I had to dig for it, and attempt to set it up, all while dealing with a wiggly, let’s go play with the electrical outlets, and pull on everything breakable in sight little baby.  Their house is full of breakables, and in no way baby proof, so I wanted him to have a place where he could play safely. Luckily, one of Match’s aunts helped me set it up. She was such a big help, and I was so grateful!

2. MIL held Piglet for all of 5 seconds, before quickly passing him off to someone else, and going back to being her socialite self. Again, I get it, it’s her daughter’s bridal shower, but she couldn’t hold him and talk to people? I’m just saying. I didn’t need her to hold him for me, but I thought it’d be nice if she, I don’t know, acted like a loving grandmother. Sometimes I think she thinks of Piglet as more of an accessory, rather than a person. Also, if she wanted him there so badly, why didn’t she act like it? I would have been so happy to let him spend the day with Geeky, where he could crawl around and play, and spend time with his loving godmother who adores him! Urgh!

3. When we finally got said pack n’ play put together, put some toys in it, and had a happy little man playing in there, I fixed myself a plate of food and finally sat down.

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The MINUTE I took a bite and was relaxing a little, the MIL scoops up Piglet and brings him over to the open living room area (his pack n play with not even 2 feet from where I was sitting) and plops him down on the living room area rug, right in front of the coffee table, where little hands could get into everything. I told her it wouldn’t last long, and she said, “Oh, we’ll all watch him.” And then she just goes back to HER plate, and drinks her wine, and then helpfully points out that he’s crawling towards someone’s wine glass, and that I better grab him.  I just looked at her completely shocked, because he hadn’t been crying and was perfectly happy in his pack n play with his toys. One of Match’s cousins saw the whole thing go down, and she just looked at me and said, “I can’t believe she just did that to you.” She then offered to hold him and help me out so I could finish my food. I was so grateful to her, and to Match’s aunts, who were all great about scooping him up and helping, so I could at least do the games.

Another funny thing: my FIL is also a bit standoffish as well. He can be great with Piglet, when my MIL isn’t around. When she is, he avoids him, and won’t pick him up. I think he’s afraid of being criticized by my MIL, which she does to him often. So even though he was at the bridal shower, he didn’t once pick Piglet up either. But the father of the groom was there, and even though he’d just met us, he gladly picked up Piglet and played with him! It was so sweet, and Piglet instantly adored him. Now why can’t his own grandparents be like that?!

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4. Since we were 3 hours past poor Piglet’s nap, I had to make a hasty get away. My MIL couldn’t figure out why I was possibly leaving so early, even though her grandson was moaning in my arms, rubbing his eyes, and generally looking flat out exhausted. I looked at her, looked at my baby and just sighed and said, “Because my son needs to get some rest or he will scream all night.” She then launched into a speech about how her kids slept in the car, blah blah blah. I just said, “Well that’s great for some babies. He on the other hand, will wake up after an hour and then scream for the remainder of the car ride, because he’s overtired. He did it the last time we visited, and I pretty much guarantee he’ll do it again.” She just rolled her eyes at me, like I couldn’t possibly know what I’m talking about. Sigh.

As predicted, he woke up exactly at the 1 hour mark, and screamed for the rest of the ride home. I felt so bad for him! That night my overtired munchkin had a heck of a time settling down for the evening. When his nap schedules are off by that much, and with all the stimulation, he has a tough time.

I’m just relieved that the shower is over, and that Piglet is back on schedule and much happier. Next time I may try MilWife’s suggestion, and just let Piglet run amuck, and if MIL gives me grief, I’ll say, “Oh, but I thought you were watching him, since YOU took him out of the pack n play!” I just can’t in good conscious do it though. I’m not that kind of mom, and I’m not that kind of daughter in law. I’m a people pleaser, and around her, frankly, I think I’m a bit of a coward. I really need to learn to stand up to her better, and express myself. The challenge is doing it while maintaining a decent relationship as well. I suppose that’s the challenge many people face with their in-laws. I also feel like this is more of Match’s issue to deal with, rather than mine. Match is so beyond frustrated with his parents and their lack of connection to Piglet. It makes him so sad that after all the pressure she put on us to have children, she has turned out to be a real crap grandmother. Hopefully he will have a heart to heart with them about it at some point.

I did receive a very sweet phone message from both my MIL and SIL the next day. They both thanked me for my help with the party (I hand painted the wine glasses, and did the games).

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I’m so glad that my SIL enjoyed her special day, and of course I’m glad everyone got a chance to visit with Piglet. I know that some of this is all part of being a mom, and if this were an isolated incident, I wouldn’t mind too much. But my MIL is like this at every family function and holiday, and has never been helpful in the way that my mom is, or really any other family member for that matter. It is just maddening, because she probably has no idea that she is the way she is.

Care to share your MIL vents? I’d love to commiserate with you!

 

9 Comments

    Jen

    Oh sweetie, that really sucks. I know what you mean about the “pushing for grandchildren and then not really being involved”. I found the same thing. My own mother is “not a baby person” so she pretty much ignored my kids until they were toddlers. And my MIL didn’t MEET my second until he was two!! They live IN THE SAME CITY so there is NO excuse!! My other major gripe is that my mother ADORES my second son so she dotes on him and pretty much ignores his brother. That’s not heartbreaking at all. He talks to her and she completely blows him off as she is so focused on his brother. Last night my in-laws hosted a birthday party for my brother in law. The dinner reservation was for 7:30 at one of those Japanese restaurants where you sit around a hot griddle and they juggle knives and light things on fire. Great place to take a 3 and 6 year old!! Then they all proceeded to be half an hour late! So we waited all that time and then it was drinks and appetizers and chatting. At 8:30 my 3 year old had a giant meltdown and demanded to go home. They SCOLDED him and told him to apologize to everyone for being rude!!! He (bless him) told them to SHUT UP, burst into tears and tried to run away. So I grabbed my boys and left. My husband took a cab home. I’m sure this helpful or reassuring, but I can at least say you aren’t alone!

    emmymom2

    Oh girl that just totally sucks! I can’t believe she pulled him out then said that you had better watch him! Ugh I would have been so pissed! My mom is good with my kids but her house is definitely not kid proof anymore so it always made it a little anxious going there. I can definitely see the family resemblance with your SIL and your husband.

    Kenzie

    Oh that is so frustrating! I would have been beyond irritated when she pulled him out of the pack n’ play and then told you that you better watch him. When my son was that age and in the pack n’ play I would let my friends and family know that if they took him out they had to deal with him. I put him in there because I needed a break and he was content. Luckily my soon to be one day MIL is pretty awesome, even though she has an opinion about everything. I’m sorry that you have to deal with your MIL, and at least it was just for that day.. well until the next family function comes up.

    llama06

    I feel like we are living the same life! My mil was so excited when she found out we were expecting her first grandchild, and now that my daughter is 15 months, she barely shows any interest in her. She maybe sees her a couple times a month for 20 minutes at a time, and we live less than 2 miles away from her. When she does see her, she gives her all kinds of junk to eat, and lets her drink coffee. Yes, I said coffee! I have told her several times that she is only to drink water, but my mil continues to do whatever the hell she wants, and all but rolls her eyes at me for feeding my daughter a mainly organic diet. It is so frustrating. I also feel like it is my husband’s issue to deal with, but he chooses to ignore it, and deal with it by not asking his mom for help with the baby. It makes me feel a little better to know I am not the only one who has to go through this! I feel your pain girl! And like you said, they probably have no idea how they are being.

    Barbara

    That is so frustrating! I would have been upset too.

    jennyinarizona

    A few months ago, MIL was looking at our wedding photos and complained about my husbands uncle being in the family picture (uncle from fathers side – his parent’s divorced when he was young and his dad passed away a few years later). So she made some remark about how mad she was that someone called him into the picture (um, it was me!) and that SHE wanted a picture of HER family. I told her flat out that I called him into it because he is husbands family. I was quite rude to her because she was so rude about it! I thought I handled myself ok but that still irritates me!

    I’m generally a people pleaser as well, but the older I get, the less I care. I’m sure if/when we ever have a child I’ll have some issues with her then also! (I know SIL(married to husbands brother) definitely does…I’ve defended her to MIL about parenting issues before too.) UGH. 🙂

    Janette @ www.thejohansonjourney.com

    Holy Moly I miss you and our chats and am finally able to stop for a second to read/comment.
    I totally relate. The one thing you said above about the grandchild being an accessory is what I live each and every time we are invited places. If the kids are invited with my inlaws, its always “to show them off”… you know b/c they had a hand in making them and dressing them and all. I am sorry you have to deal with this… and I wish I could say it goes away or will get better but for me it hasn’t. I have toughened up a bit to say what I think which I am sure is not the best decision but I sure do feel better. Nothing sucks more than when kids get out of their routine and lose control… and its you that has to deal with it. The good news is HE IS ADORABLE and you look so happy so screw MIL!! I think its tacky about FIL too by the way. My kids are almost scared of my FIL… he weirds them out.

    Janette @ www.thejohansonjourney.com

    ps. I”m so jealous you have a place to vent this and get feedback! I wish I could do that on my blog!

    jessica

    My first suggestion was to let him run amuck, too! But then I thought about how the poor little guy might accidentally hurt himself with all those breakables, so maybe that’s not the best plan, satisfying though it may seem!

    Honestly, I avoid confrontation unless it’s absolutely necessary but it sounds like this situation deserves a phone call to the MIL. In a very sweet, kill-her-with-kindness kind of way explain that you’re new to this whole raising-a-toddler thing and you’ve found that the only way to keep your sanity is to keep Piglet on a strict schedule and in the future you’ll have to do just that, even if it means missing out on an opportunity to share his presence with her guests. Just phrase it like “we will all enjoy the event a lot more without him there, but I promise to bring him by another time soon.”

    Oh girl, I could bend your ear for hours with MIL complaints. Since we don’t have kids it’s mostly about how she treats my husband, but still.

Your comments make my day!