Saturday, January 15, 2011

Monster In Law

When I first met Shaw I was in Nova Scotia and he was in Florida. He spoke with his mom (who was also in Nova Scotia) on a weekly basis. On one particular Sunday conversation he happened to mention that he was in love. His mom, Isabel, laughed and said, "How can you be in love? I talked to you last weekend and you didn't even have a girlfriend!" When she found out I was a waitress at the restaurant and a local gal she was instantly in love...with the fact that I had ties to the area and that I wasn't from some remote village in Kazakhstan. I was a bit nervous meeting her the first time at the restaurant but turned out she was a sweetheart and I had nothing to worry about. YET.

As the story goes, I moved to Florida with Shaw and she was still in NS so our contact was over the phone during his weekly calls home. Fast forward a few months......I find myself pregnant and illegally in the USA. To make a really long story short...I have to move back home with my parents in NS so that I can take advantage of the free health care system. This move also puts me back in my old bedroom at my parents home and closer to my in laws to be. Lose Lose situation...for me.

Here is where things quickly start swirling down the toilet. I'm back to working at the restaurant...which isn't so bad really. I enjoy having my own spending money again. But I am now 3 hours away from the closest maternity clothing store, and now that a belly is popping out my low cut jeans and tight tees aren't going to cut it. Plus it's really cold there...and I was really starting to like Florida's warm weather. But all that I can handle. It's my mother in law to be...that I'm not sure I can handle for the next 7 months. She has decided that baby can hear her when she sings to it. Which may be true and may be fine for some people. But for me...hardly knowing this woman crooning away to my belly was a bit weird. She also took every opportunity to rub my baby bump. Which also may be fine for some woman...but I enjoy my personal space and unless I invite you into it, stay back.

So lets fast forward 7 months and I'm as big as a whale...this is no joke..and getting my birthing plan in place. I have decided nobody but Shaw and I and my Lamaze coach and friend Vanessa will be in the delivery room. M-i-L (to be) keeps telling me at every opportunity that she will be in that room....even if she has to wear a mask, disguise herself and pretend to be a nurse. So not funny. Contractions start...we make it to the hospital, and we're all there including now my mother who I also swore wouldn't be anywhere near that room when delivery time came...but when when children are hurt or sick...who's the first person they call for? Mommy. I crawled into her room, waking her up at 2:30am begging her to come with me to the hospital. Well things happened quickly and we didn't get a chance to call anyone until I was pushing baby out and by the time everyone arrived, I already had baby in my arms.

So now I am settling down into motherhood...but still at my parents home in NS. Looking back I wish I could have been there afterwards for each birth because the support I received not only from my mom and dad but also from Isabel was so very helpful to my sleep deprived sanity. But I was a new mom and surprisingly I knew EVERYTHING about newborns and didn't need any unsolicited advice.

2 months into mommy hood I move back to Florida so we can be together as a family. Me, Shaw and Brooklyn. During the next 3 years I seriously have a love/hate relationship with my mother in law. I feel that she is pushy, overbearing, demanding, bossy.....wait, am I describing her or me? Ah ha! Light bulb moment! We are peas in a pod. All my strong characteristics are being revealed to me in the form of my mother in law. There is no room for the both of us.

Fast forward again and Dallas is born. I deliver him 10 days early so my mom, unfortunately, is not in Florida yet. She is getting ready to leave Nova Scotia to drive down for the winter. I leave the hospital with Dallas and head home to be mommy extraordinaire, now of 2 kiddos. Day 6 or 7 home and knock, knock...someones at my door. Last time that happened (read this blog post: I was in for a good surprise. This time, not so much. WOW. It's my mother in law, with all her bags. She's come to stay with me and help. Now for some that may be a great surprise, but for a mom extraordinaire like me, I didn't need any help! I was devastated.

My mom shows up a day or two later and I'm so so so happy to see her. Relationships with moms are one in a million. I finally have a nervous breakdown, spilling to my mom that I can't continue to pretend to be pleasant to Isabel. In her words of wisdom, she tells me how selfish I am....among many other things. I listen. I contemplate. I start to understand. Shaw is so tired of hearing bickering from both sides as well that he adds his two cents. I think. I think some more. Time for a serious law chit chat.

It starts off calmly enough, voices start to rise, some sighing and eye rolling, a bit of blaming each did this and I didn't appreciate it, well I did that and you didn't acknowledge it, tears, more sighing, beer break, more tears. This continued for over an hour. When the conversation finally started to near the end, I had the most amazing feeling of being free. Everything was off my chest, I laid it all out there on the table and there was a chance for us to start all over.

I realized a lot that day. Everybody has their own ideas and views of family and how members of a family should interact. It's not always going to be my way, as much as I would love it to be. By giving these two families a grand baby we were now linked together as one family. I realized that I may not always see eye to eye with everything my m-i-l is going to say and do, but that I will listen, seriously consider her opinion and then shoot it down.

That was 7 years ago. Today we have a great camaraderie. I value her input and ideas. I appreciate all the time she dedicates to watching my children. I understand that the relationship she is building between herself and her grandchildren is priceless. I love how she finds everything my children do and say to be funny...whether is it or not is to be decided. I'm in awe that she was able to raise 4 great sons...well 3 I'm still not so sure about! I have grown to love my mother in law and now that I no longer have my own mother around shes a wonderful stand in.

Moral of the story...when Dallas and Madden grow up, get married and start having babies...I'm going to be the most FABULOUS mother in law...ever! I'll know when to be there, when to give them their space and when to not croon lullabies to my daughter in laws belly!  Ha ha...who am I kidding. I'm going to be the most annoying, in your face, overbearing, bossy monster in law...ever!!

1 comment:

  1. Really mature post Rachelle, it´s easy to blame someone else and not think about where there are coming from but you´ve been really thoughtful.