So my mother-in-law is supposed to be arriving on Thursday for a week-long visit, while the Sober Husband and I are barely coexisting.
I'm contemplating making a run for it and leaving her and the Sober Husband here to supervise the children, and I actually looked up flights to Barcelona on the internet, but it was all too expensive (and seemed to require lengthy layovers in Cleveland, of all places). I found a really great fare to London, a place I adore, but I've been to London in late March before, and it's not really the best time of year to visit, to say the least. I've seen an English "spring", and I'm not interested that much in seeing another one, thank you. I also contemplated going to L.A. or Washington state to visit friends (er, impose myself at very short notice).
The first problem with me leaving is that I'd be leaving the children behind, and I feel adverse to that. It's not that I don't trust the Sober Husband to keep them alive, but I don't feel good about leaving them with my mother-in-law without me, particularly when the reason for my absence is marital discord. I don't want them crying for me and having my mother-in-law storing up anecdotes to torture me with for the rest of my life. (Way back in the early days of my relationship with the Sober Husband, his mother was visiting us, back when we lived in my old rent-controlled apartment, and the Sober Husband was doing this annoying thing he used to do where he tore out all the ads from the New Yorker right after it arrived. I like looking at the ads. He tore right through part of that issue's long article, and, without losing my temper, raising my voice, or swearing, I told him to be more careful with my New Yorker in the future. Years later the MIL was visiting and saw a New Yorker and said in a sprightly manner to me, "Remember that time he tore your New Yorker and you got SO MAD at him?" She stores this kind of thing up for ammo, even a trivial thing).
I also contemplated emailing her and telling her that her son and I are on the brink of a separation and that it's a terribly bad time for her to visit, but I really just don't want to go there. I don't want to feed her negative information.
Additionally, I have three classes while she's here ("Family Clay Day" with Iris, collage, and pottery), and I'd like to attend those classes, which militates against leaving town. Sigh. I'm also considering checking into a nice hotel here in town, which feels depressing to me because I'd probably just be reading and playing World of Warcraft, whereas if I left town, I'd be exploring and having fun.
I know this doesn't sound fun, but maybe you could do a couple of emergency counseling sessions with you, Anton and your MIL. Just to air some stuff and write up a sort of "contract" or game plan for how you will all be together. I know that doesn't sound fun. :(
My vote is MIL stays in a hotel (OBVIOUS -- that is the only way we can have any sort of relationship with my MIL) and A. take a leadership role in dealing with MIL. Seven days is TOO LONG. My attitude is figure out upfront just how much (if any) you can take and stick with that. Make sure A. does not underfunction here -- and keep MIL the hell out of your marriage counseling. Tight boundaries are the only way to navigate tough relationships like this and you need to keep your marriage very much protected from divisive elements like this. Enjoy your classes -- Make sure you get some breaks. Hang in there, C. Maybe I can send you those demented marrionettes and you and A. can roleplay with them. HA! Janet
Invite your mother out at the same time!! Might be nteresting observing the dynamics.
I say stay at home, and explore the city. Go while the girls are in school, or take them with you.
I say the day before she leaves tell her you are having the mother (in law) of all run ins with the stomach flu or that the cats are toxomplasmosic (?) and your doc says it is HIGHLY contagious to outsiders. Maybe she'll stay away.
Or - do what J9 says.
Dont give her ammo. Please. 7 days is TOO long.
Have you forgotten you were going to work at the animal shelter that week? Too bad SH didn't check with your busy schedule.
As painful as I am sure that it will be, I'm voting for you staying because of the children. If you leave now, at the beginning of what is obviously a serious rift (and kids KNOW), then I think they will feel like you are abandoning them. What you need to do is to spend all the time you can out of the house with THEM. Leaving SH and MIL to enjoy their infantile relationship all by their lonesome. As much as I know you're angry and you want to escape, this is one of those instances where I think you need to dredge up those super mommy genes. If this episode (and you have to wonder about the timing--your husband chooses NOW to completely disparage and undermine you) hadn't happened, then your jetting off to Spain wouldn't matter. Unfortunately, it did happen and the children, I would imagine, are feeling uber vulnerable and scared.
You get some ammo out of this visit. Every time MIL does something nasty or passive-aggressive, write it down with the time and date. Write down anything nice she does as well. Review your lists before the next therapy session and be prepared to explain why X offended or pleased you. It may be the case that you only notice when she's wicked and he only notices when she's nice.
If you really want to get some insight (instead of just ammo), get SH to also keep notes on the visit.
I read your blog cuz mombo/beth schwartz told me to and now I like you so very much. I instantly called her to tell her of your plight! I am stuck in bed with a bad back and too much norco, hence my over involvement today in all things internet-ey!
Just bring the kids down to the High Desert, an hour N of LA. I shall wait on you, we will go to LA constantly and have much fun. Promise.
Seven days is far too long for a visit for even lovers.
Dang. that is so harsh. :(
forced to stop lurking,
Many year ago as a new mother at the age of 24 years, I read a statement which I have never forgotten. "Not everyone in the family can be a star." I took it to heart, and understood at that moment that it was my child's turn. I'd had my turn at childhood. Time for all three of you to take the high ground. That said, the only one you have control of is yourself. You can only request as much from SH and MIL.
I don't know how you do it. I'd have been gone a loooong time ago!
My two cents - take the girls with you and check into a hotel! I know you can't pull them out of school for the week (or I'd be suggesting the 3 of you take a girl's vacation!!) but you can stay at the hotel and carry on as usual with classes, etc. Why should SH and the MIL from Hell be rewarded by you taking off and letting them play house with YOUR home and children for a week?
I'd take the girls, have some fun, and when they ask what's going on you tell them "Daddy and Granny have some things to work out together, so we're giving them space and privacy." They don't need to know that what Daddy and Granny are working out is
1) Whether Daddy can handle Granny on his own with no wife and children to focus on.
2) That Daddy needs to decide which woman he wants to share his life with.
Does your MC ever call him out on his incredibly selfish behaviors? I realize that I only know what you choose to share, and it's from your point of view, but SH really seems to *enjoy* upsetting you (the magazine thing is a perfect example!). It bothers me a lot.
Because I'm mildly hateful...I would consider taking the girls on a hotel adventure and leave the SH to deal with his beloved mother on his own for the seven days he sees fit to bestow her upon you despite your feelings.
You can't do anything about the fact that she is his mother but you can do something about how much time you have to spend with her.
My MIL moved in after our son was born. My DH didn't tell me this was going to happen. After a few hellish days we asked for one day alone, and invited her back the following day. She stormed out - calling me a little bitch to boot. I tried to make amends, at which point she told me all the things she hates about me. She had 5 years to do this, but chose to do it 3 days after my baby was born. So now we have a separate arrangement for her - DH takes our son to her place without me. They can have a relationship - just keep me out of it. She should not step foot in your home. Let DH bring the kids to her.
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