On Sunday, I posted a hasty rant over at getborn about my mother-in-law bathing N and K. While I was complaining about her and an incident that took place three years and a lifetime ago, I was the only one who sounded like a complete bitch. Publicly trashing my husband’s mother was a pretty nasty move, and I’m not proud of that blog post.
But, of course we always learn something looking backward with focused eyes, don’t we?
Here are some facts:
1) My MIL has never like me, which just plain hurts my feelings. She fails to see me as a good wife to her son, but I think she sees me as a good mother to her grandsons. She does a lot of things that make me cringe, and some that make me sad. I don’t have a ton of respect for her parenting style and its effects on my husband. However, she must have done some things right, because she raised two sons who are kind, mature, open-minded men.
2) She loves my children. A lot. She may show it like an idiot sometimes, and I wouldn’t trust her for long periods of time with them because of our past, but allowing her to babysit them for a couple of hours isn’t something to regret. Unless you’re
a jerk who holds on to things that no one else even thinks of any longer sensitive about unsolicited opinions. Clearly I am kind of both.
3) My own mother would be disappointed in my public display of annoyance with someone else’s mother. Even if she agrees with my perspectives, she wouldn’t want me airing it out on the internet – she raised me much differently than that, and I would hope to raise my sons to show others the respect I am not currently showing my MIL.
I could write a long list of my grievances, and many of them are real, but I also need to acknowledge that being a mother-in-law must be hard. I’m jealous at heart (not my favorite quality), and I imagine that when the time comes I will hate knowing someone else is taking care of one of my babies. Hopefully I will be able to build a solid relationship with my sons’ partners so that I don’t drive a wedge between us all, but I do think it will take a lot of tongue-biting on my part and some serious spiritual work!
So, Mother-In-Law, I apologize to you for my harsh treatment of your weekend visit. Yeah, I wish you wouldn’t have bathed my kids, but they, and I, seem to have survived it. I won’t object to you babysitting again, even if you decide they need baths. I realize you were probably too busy keeping the water in the tub, the baby from drowning, and the big kid from running around soaking and naked to even consider what anyone’s bodies looked like. And if you did consider it, hopefully I’m raising them to be entirely unconcerned with the appearance of their foreskins, and they didn’t know one way or the other. But I’m betting, in hindsight, that none of it even crossed your mind. While you’ll probably always annoy the hell out of me, I’ll do my best to practice what I preach: a little tolerance. I’ll work on having a sense of humor about your opposing opinions and accepting your relationship with my boys for what it is, limitations and all. At the end of the day, the kids love you, and I know you do the best you can do with them.
*Disclaimer: My MIL doesn’t actually read my blog. I’m not sure she even knows what a blog is. So she doesn’t know I’ve bitched about her in the first place, but hopefully I can apologize via my future perspective on her actions!