Question: Dear Luise: I don’t even know where to start, as I don’t want to complain but I need to get it off my chest. My mother in law is a strange person in a way that she’s not a motherly type and I feel that her ego-centric behavior has been transferred and imprinted into her only child. She lives in DC now, and prior to that NY metro area. When we first dating, I found out that my mother in law dissappeared for a month to go to Russia, only to finally resurfaced as a married woman. My husband was in shock when he heard the news over the long distance call. Then when we were building our dream house and discussing about the possibility of having children, she made a comment (which she later retracted under the reason of not remembering) that she had done her duty as a mother and would not help out. Right after that comment, she packed up and moved to DC. Now that we have a child and that she’s no longer a married woman, she wants to spend more time with our child alone. Her time with him is so exclusive to the point that I, the mother, can’t be around when she’s around (or risk our son to be over stimulated). When my sister comes to visit whenever she’s around, my mother in law hushes her and tells her to go upstairs to talk to me because we haven’t seen each other for a while (meaning so that she can spend more time with our son). I think she’s trying to have a second chance with our child as her own child? There are occasions when we would come by and visit her in DC, and she would ask questions like are you guys going to eat on the road? And my reply would be why the question? She would respond, well it’s 11PM and are you expecting me to cook at this hour? Hmm…. my mom would be cooking up a storm at the first thought that we were coming to visit. Another thing that I think is odd is the fact that she would only have 6 eggs in the fridge knowing fully aware that we were coming to visit. My husband eats 3 eggs for breakfast, her boyfriend would eat at minimum 2 eggs… I don’t know if I’m asking for too much, or she’s just.? Just an FYI on my background: I’m a successful career minded person (6 figure salary) and very family oriented. My husband and I each contribute 50% toward building our own home. I cooked fresh food daily, clean and does laundry for everyone including when her royal highness comes to visit (pre and post visit). I grew up watching my mother and grandmother being the “old fashioned” women who waited on their husbands on hands and feet. And I’m actually happy doing it. My son is on the 90th percentile of height, weight and IQ for his age (thank God!!) I totally feel that my mother in law hit a jackpot with me. I know that I would if I had a daughter in law like myself…. I’m just wondering why can my mother in law realize this? She goes around telling my husband and my mother that I spend so much, that I force feed my son. She double checks on the vitamins that I give my son and then replace it. Sorry for rambling on… I’m about at the edge of my nerves. H.
Answer: Dear H.: I think you need more than I have to offer here. Several years ago I created a Web-forum for women who have issues with adult children and extended families. When you are up against the kind of thing you are coping with, you need more than a question and answer format. You need the caring and sharing a community can offer and the sense of an extended family. You need to be heard and understood. There are no easy answers but the experiences of others can help and your loneliness can be a thing of the past. Please come to www.WiseWomenUnite.com with what you have just written to me. I will be there, too. Blessings, Luise