In-law overload

19 Jan

My suegra (mother-in-law) is simply more than I can take at times. She watches z-baby once a week, which is a welcome reprieve. But I cringe leaving the baby there sometimes because I don’t fully trust that she feeds him what I ask, etc… Last week when I picked the baby up, she was showing z-baby her bare breast, asking him if he wanted to eat, taunting him offering it to him and laughing. Not only is this cruel, in my opinion, it’s inappropriate. She and my cunada (sister-in-law) were laughing about how z-baby grabbed it and was pinching it and then bit it. Good for him. Bite the damn thing off. Only now he sometimes thinks nursing is a big game and bites me. So I told her to stop doing it because of the biting (she would NEVER have gotten the inappropriate part) and she had no problem with that. But really? How is that funny? Why the F does she think this is ok? I originally asked my sig-o to talk to her about it, but he didn’t get that it was inappropriate either. Crisis averted…for now.

Z-baby will be 1 in a month. Hard to believe, but true. So we’ve started planning a birthday party for him, which is essentially a birthday party for us. I mean, he’ll never remember this and will probably have as much fun at the party as when we go to the grocery store. Nevertheless, we’re planning a Sesame Street themed shin-dig. Enter la suegra and la cunada. They already have all these ideas for the party and while they say they’re not pushing anything on us, I feel like crap when I or we tell them no. No to the bizarro party favor containers that are Mickey Mouse and not Sesame Street. No to the bizarro menu ideas. (I mean, they’re both great cooks, but where are they coming up with some of this junk?) No to 15 locations they have picked out that are all better than ours. No, no, NO.  They ask what we’re planning and when we tell them, the response is a lack-luster “Hmm” which basically means “Oh that’s such a shitty idea, what’s wrong with you, you crazy gringa? ” I finally lost it today. Maybe because I forgot to take all my meds yesterday. Maybe because I’m tired and stressing about work and possibly moving, etc… But maybe, just maybe, it’s because as much as I love them, they sometimes get on my ever-lovin’ nerves in a way no one else can.

There are cultural dynamics at play here, no doubt — they’re Mexican, I’m a crazy gringa. There are those classic mother-in-law / daughter-in-law relationship dynamics that are so complex and iconic. And then there’s just the simple fact that we’re very different people even beyond the cultural differences. Different sense of humor, different taste in nearly everything, different worldview, different parenting styles, different, different, different. Which is usually ok and keeps things interesting (how’s that for an optimistic perspective — I’m trying not to gag on the words as I write them), but is sometimes downright exhausting.

And right now I’m in in-law overload mode and exhausted. I can smell my circuits smoldering as my mind slowly grinds to a halt. …At least I have a full week to recuperate before we have to repeat it all over again.


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