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!