I got through mother's day virtually unscathed. Virtually. I must say that Wacky P, my SIL, was not too bad yesterday. Perhaps it was because I felt empowered by all of your encouragement and comments, and I leaped in and said what I thought without waiting for her to deride me.
Reflecting on the day, and discussing it with my hubby, this is the kernel of what bothers me about my in-laws: (1) They don't understand boundaries, and (2) They are disrepectful of other people's time and schedules.
First, let me introduce you to my MIL, Madame Firing Squad. I call her this because every interaction with her makes me feel like I am backed up against a wall and being riddled incessantly - not with bullets - but with questions. From the moment we greet each other until the moment we shut the car door to drive home, she asks questions non-stop.
How did your interview go? When will they contact you? Are you applying anywhere else? Is your mom coming to visit this year? What are you doing with all the spare time you have? Are your dogs any better behaved? Did you take them for any training? Did you put in your garden? How is your back yard coming along? Is it done yet? Are you planning to take any trips this year? (Plus all the "Why don't you's"....Why don't you try doing it this way? Why don't you use that product? Why don't you try teaching your dogs to play fetch?).
I end up with a headache. This non-stop questioning is part of what I mean by not having boundaries. People (me) don't necessarily want to explain every facet of their lives and every reason behind their actions. She has no boundaries and just asks whatever question pops into her head.
Wacky P's kids also have no social boundaries. It's exhausting to be around those kids. They interrupt whenever they want. Last night at Wacky P's house, The Boy went over and started playing the piano - which sits 3 feet from the dinner table. He banged away while the adults were trying to carry on conversation. Meanwhile, The Girl sat down on the floor and launched into a repititous chant of "I want someone to tickle my feet!" until her mother paid attention to her. The Boy ate with the manners of an animal, licking his fork and licking the plate and chewing with his mouth open. It's frenetic and chaotic and definitely not the makings of a relaxing, enjoyable visit.
The boundary thing essentially goes to having no sense that their behavior grossly encroaches into the comfort zone of other people. They are oblivious.
As far as being disrespectful, here are some examples:
* They say they're going to call and then don't. My MIL called my DH mid-morning on mother's day to say she'd be arriving by train, and that Wacky P was picking her up from the station. MIL wanted to stop by our house on the way to Wacky P's.
Oh, crap, no warning! I had an hour to jump in the shower, tidy up the house and put all my meds, syringes, sharps container, refrigerator notes and everything else FET related away. My DH had been getting some work done in his home office, which he had to stop. Well, we got everything set....and then she never called. We sat here waiting for more than 2 hours. When he finally called her at 1 pm, she was already at Wacky P's house and just said, "There was a change in plans." Uh, thanks for the call? My DH grumbled about the work he could have gotten done during that time.
* This morning my MIL called my DH and said she and Wacky P were out shopping and that afterward she wanted to stop by our house. My DH told her that this is a work day for him, so it would be best if they came over during the noon hour since it would be lunch time. They did eventually call, and came over - not during the noon hour - but around 2:20 in the afternoon and stayed for an hour. (So I had another round of stashing my drugs and needles, although this time I waited to get the call first).
I just think these behaviors show complete lack of respect for the other person's time, schedule and plans. They are very "play it by ear" kind of people. I am not. But again, they don't respect my perspective about these things and they perceive me as being "difficult."
The only real "ugh" moment last night was when we were getting ready to leave Wacky P's house. As we stood to go, The Girl (she's 5) said to me, "Happy Mother's Day!" Well, you know, you can't fault a 5 year old, so I just said, "Thanks, sweetie." She quickly responded by saying, "You're not a mother!" Yeah, babe, thanks for that.
So, um, what's the next holiday and when do I have to see these people again?
7 months ago