Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who Is The Mother?

When a child is conceived, the identity of the father is sometimes questioned.  But in my mixed-up world, there seems to be some question as to the identity of the MOTHER!  My husband tries to help me understand his mother's behavior. He says, “Growing up with 10 younger siblings, she has been a stand in mother since she was very young. She has always been a mother. She knows no other way to interact with people, so she mothers everyone.” The problem is that she thinks she is going to be a mother to my baby. The other day I asked her what she prefers to be called. Grandma? Grammy? Grandmother? Grams? She said, “I want to be called NahNah, because it sounds like Momma.” Even my husband's mouth dropped on hearing that! Since then, I've been having nightmares every night of my child being stolen and renamed. I can only hope that she will embrace the office of Grandmother. Mother is taken.

Friday, October 25, 2013

How Many Baby Showers?

My sister is going to throw me a baby shower. And so she is quietly brainstorming, organizing, collecting, and planning. My sister had seen a crib that I'd posted to and my family was looking into getting that one for me.

My mother-in-law picked up my husband, and took him crib shopping. He asked me which one I'd prefer and she purchased it. That is when I found out about my sister's plan regarding the pinterest crib. So, I suggested that my family go in on a special wool crib mattress that I'd seen that is organic and has all kinds of health claims (my family loves this kind of stuff). My mother-in-law freaked out when she found out. She already bought a mattress too and feels like my family is stealing her thunder. Well, they feel the same way over the crib itself. The crib is kinda the Cadillac of baby gifts, but honestly I'm way more excited about a wool mattress.

Following this little hiccup, my mother-in-law told me that she wants to plan her own baby shower for her side of the family. My husband had already told her that my sister was going to do it, so I was a little upset that she was trying to get around him by approaching me. I said firmly, “No, my sister is doing the shower and she is going to need your help.” She pouted, and whined that my sister doesn't know her side of the family and key people are going to be left out. Then she said that she didn't think my sister had any business doing the shower. She could stand taking a back seat to my mother, but not my sister! I reminded her that it is not a competition. And she asked me to make sure my sister got in touch with her.

Knowing that my mother-in-law will next be trying to get her way with my sister, I decided to prepare my sister for the conversation. I suggested that she make a quick phone call on her way to work, thanking my mother-in-law for volunteering to help with the shower and have her start putting together a guest list complete with mailing addresses, and then end the call promptly. Then I coached her not to ask for suggestions unless she really wanted input, because my mother-in-law will try to take over everything if she thinks there is an opportunity to do so. I also suggested that she always have another specific task ready to assign for each phone call she receives after that.

Well, my sister isn't ready for executing plans; she's still brainstorming. So, she is too freaked out to call my mother-in-law. And the longer it takes her to make that call, the more anxiety mother-in-law is having thinking that she's not going to be included in the event. This is also allowing time for my sister-in-law to involve herself and then things will really get complicated.

My husband is convinced that his mother will completely ignore our wishes and just take her own shower underground and make it into a surprise party. And we will come for family dinner and be ambushed! But, if my sister keeps her occupied with the official shower, maybe she won't feel the need or at least won't have the resources to plan a separate party.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who Gets To Raise My Child?

Cultural differences are already causing tension and I've barely started my 2nd trimester. In my family, your children are your responsibility. Grandma may babysit occasionally, and will form a tight bond through frequent visits, but ultimately, you need privacy to raise your family.

In my husband's family, every member's life revolves around the matriarch, and her house is always jam-packed with family and food. My mother-in-law has been tormented by her sisters for 19 years. About 3 times a week, one of them asks her if there is any word of grandchildren. Of course, she says no. Then they proceed to tell her of how full their lives are surrounded by grandchildren (many of whom live with them), and basically rub her nose in the fact that she is missing out on the blessings they're enjoying to the full.

I feel very deeply for my mother-in-law because of this cruel treatment that she's received from her own flesh and blood. It has been hard enough for her to accept that my husband and I are so independent. Her other son lived with her until he married in his 30s. The relationship with his wife and mother is very strained, because their marriage took place after her husband died. She felt it as a deep loss because it was the first time that her nest was empty.

My mother-in-law and my husband's sister fully expect that I will continue to work after giving birth, and they know that my mother and sister have full-time jobs. Since neither of them work, they think that they are going to be the primary caretakers of my baby. They're going to be very disappointed because I have my heart set on being a full-time mom. Financially, I haven't figured out how, but my husband is in full agreement with my decision.