First Prev
of 2
Next Last

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Jan 7, 2013
DEAR AMY: I'm a 23-year-old married college student who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. My husband and I have been married for three years. My marriage is great, but my problem is my mother-in-law. We've always had a rocky relationship, but since giving birth to my son it has sunk to a new low.

She bad-mouths me to my husband and other people. She snoops in our belongings, thinks my husband should value her opinion/feelings more than mine, and simply doesn't understand boundaries or her role in our lives. She calls my husband childish nicknames even though he has asked her repeatedly to stop and treats both of us like children. Now that we have our son she continues to ignore our boundaries. She thinks she has every right to literally pull my son out of my arms without asking.

I'm not sure what to do anymore since I don't want my son around this kind of toxic behavior, and her ignoring our wishes just makes me avoid her as much as I can. I'm so angry and resentful that I'm ready to cut off all communication with her, which means cutting her off from my son as well. My husband understands my feelings and is frustrated with her. Please let me know what I should do.-- Completely Drained

DEAR DRAINED: Don't use your son as a tool with which to punish your mother-in-law. Start this process by building a very short "fence" between you.

You and your husband must state -- calmly and rationally and out of your child's presence -- your reasonable expectations and the consequences for not meeting them.

You two should work out (and even rehearse) this conversation together before speaking with her. He should start by saying, "Mom, I'm disappointed in how you've been behaving. You are simply going to have to start treating us like the adults we are. If we tell you something, we expect you to hear us and respect our wishes. Do you understand that?" Give her concrete examples of what you would like her to do differently.

Your mother-in-law might try to bully or emotionally manipulate both of you. You simply cannot let her. Make eye contact with her and act as if you are in charge of your life. If you and your husband are consistently firm, you should be able to "retrain" her. If not, you'll have to build a higher fence.

DEAR AMY: I can't stand it when kids, teenagers, young adults and older male adults wear baseball caps into homes, restaurants and other buildings. When I invite family members to my home for dinner, I expect them not to wear a baseball cap at the dining room table.

When I enter a restaurant, I don't want to see any men (whatever their age) at a dining table with a baseball cap on. It upsets me to pay for a nice dinner when I see attire that belongs at a fast food restaurant.

Needless to say, in my house I must keep the family peace, and so I can't say anything. In restaurants, I obviously can't speak up. Your opinion please?-- Cranky Dad

DEAR CRANKY: A quibble, fine sir. Your home is your castle and of course you can -- and should -- ask men to please remove their hats (certainly if they are younger than you are. This would be tougher if you were trying to correct a contemporary).

Pretend you are a host at a fine restaurant and say, "Gentlemen, please remove your hats in the house." If they don't comply, you have my permission to judge them harshly.

DEAR AMY: Regarding "Flustered's" frustration with a husband who constantly interrupted to correct her, I had the same problem for years. I tried talking to my husband about it to no avail.

Finally I simply interrupted him. It took two conversations in which I made several corrections. He quickly got the point, and that was that. Subsequently I have used that tactic several times with different things and have found it to be most effective.-- Wised-up Wife

DEAR WISED-UP: Thank you for the tip.
PEllen

Chicago, IL

#2 Jan 7, 2013
L1.Lots of people have smartphones. Smartphones have recording functions.Next time MIL comes over, leave the phone in a conspicuous place with the recorder on.

A day or two later, listen to the recording. The first thing that will happen is that you will learn whether the words and tone she uses is as offensive when the emotional impact is not as immediate. If it is not as bad as you recall through the bias of immediacy, take a step back yourself and think about differnt ways you can react to her "in the moment".

If , on the other hand, it is as bad as you recalled, play it for her. Some people think they are being funny or ironic and don't understand how they are perceived. A good way to encourage them to change is to hold up a mirror. It also is a mirror for you to hear what your own role is in the interaction, an often eye opening experience.

Then move on to Amy's suggestion about articulating the issue and specifying boundaries.

L2- Unless it is a yamulke, or something else religious, just say Hey take your hat off in the house, please.

“No. 1 Stunna”

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#3 Jan 7, 2013
LW1: What Amy's intern said. After that, if she doesn't abide when at your home, ask her to leave or leave yourself if a place other than you home.

LW2: I agree one shouldn't wear a hat at a dinner table, but I find it odd that it troubles you so. At your home you can ask folks to remove them. Out in public, you'll just have to deal.
pde

Homer Glen, IL

#4 Jan 7, 2013
LW1: right after you've finished up your college degree would be a GREAT time to find that you and your husband need to relocate half-way across the country.

LW2: what's your idea of a nice meal? I don't overly concern myself with taking off a cap (when I'm wearing one) at a basic chain restaurant. More upscale and I will.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#5 Jan 7, 2013
1- I agree the baby shouldn't be used as a bargaining chip. She's walking all over you because you're not assertive enough when you call her out on her behavior.

2- It's rude and you can tell people to remove them at your dinner table, but in a restaurant, you should probably MYOB and deal. People just love having things to btch about.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#6 Jan 7, 2013
LW2: At least you signed your letter accurately. You worry way too much about this.

"Your home is your castle and of course you can -- and should -- ask men to please remove their hats"
I agree

"certainly if they are younger than you are. This would be tougher if you were trying to correct a contemporary"

F that. Age got nothing to do with it. If someone asks me to take my hat off, age has no bearing on how I'll feel or act upon the request. This idea that the aged can take more liberties simply because of their age is annoying bs.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#7 Jan 7, 2013
LW1: I'm sorry, but Amy's answer sounds like a bunch of crap. I bet they've tried most of those things already; they are in graduate school so they have to be sorta smart. Sometimes the only thing to do is say "Until you start respecting us and what we're asking of you, we're going to have to stay away." Grandbabies are a great lever.

LW2: "Needless to say, in my house I must keep the family peace, and so I can't say anything."

What kind of pansyass man are you? If you don't like it in your house, then you say so. In a restaurant, if the management doesn't have a problem with it, then you shouldn't either.

LW3: I'd like to interrup this rehash.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#8 Jan 7, 2013
pde wrote:
what's your idea of a nice meal?
This is a very important detail. Local radio guy that I listen to likes to go on and on about what bother's him when he's having a nice dinner out and most of it was stuff that would not bother me at all. Then after many rehashings of this topic, someone got him to clarify, and of course, he was talking about upscale fine dining high end restaurants, not Red Lobster and the like. Problem being, for many people, myself included, "a nice dinner" is an accurate description of a night at Red Lobster.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#9 Jan 7, 2013
squishymama wrote:
they are in graduate school so they have to be sorta smart.
.
Who said anything about graduate school? Only the lw said she was in college. 23 is not an uncommon age to still be an undergrad.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#10 Jan 7, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
Who said anything about graduate school? Only the lw said she was in college. 23 is not an uncommon age to still be an undergrad.
???

Unless you get a late start on going to college, 23 seems pretty late.

Assuming a pretty normal trajectory, you start kindergarten at age 5, therefore you start college at 18.

23 would be year 6 of a college career under that premise. While Its certainly not unheard of, I'd hardly call it common.
Sam I Am

Knoxville, TN

#11 Jan 7, 2013
1. You and your husband have a joint discussion with your MIL and lay out clear boundaries and STICK TO THEM. Her conduct is inexcusable. And who cares what she is saying? I am guessing others recognize what a PITA she is and they probably feel sorry for you and wish you'd stick up for yourself more aggressively.

2. And this is your concern? You must lead an otherwise charmed life.

3. How do couples like that stay together in the first place?

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#12 Jan 7, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
???
Unless you get a late start on going to college, 23 seems pretty late.
Assuming a pretty normal trajectory, you start kindergarten at age 5, therefore you start college at 18.
23 would be year 6 of a college career under that premise. While Its certainly not unheard of, I'd hardly call it common.
18 to 23 is six years?? Assuming you start college at 18 and it's a four year university, at best that will put you at 22. Depending on when your birthday is, you could be 23 before you're done, does not seem late to me at all. And the husband could be a mechanic for all we know. I was just challenging Squishy's summation that THEY must be smart because THEY are grad students. There is nothing to indicate that's the case.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#13 Jan 7, 2013
Regardless, even if they're in grad school they could be dumb/clueless when it comes to practical or social stuff. Or just dumb in general. You guys would cringe at some of the written work that Jasper's classmates sometimes turn in AT THE PHD LEVEL. It's appalling.
pde

Homer Glen, IL

#14 Jan 7, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>This is a very important detail. Local radio guy that I listen to likes to go on and on about what bother's him when he's having a nice dinner out and most of it was stuff that would not bother me at all. Then after many rehashings of this topic, someone got him to clarify, and of course, he was talking about upscale fine dining high end restaurants, not Red Lobster and the like. Problem being, for many people, myself included, "a nice dinner" is an accurate description of a night at Red Lobster.
I just came back from a long trip, and a chain is a place you hit when you're on the road and not caring that you're in jeans and a t-shirt and maybe forgot about the baseball cap on your head. An upscale place, you tend to plan to go to and put more thought into your attire. I wouldn't wear a baseball cap at dinner at an upscale restaurant because I probably wouldn't even be in an outfit which a baseball cap would match.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#15 Jan 7, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
18 to 23 is six years?? Assuming you start college at 18 and it's a four year university, at best that will put you at 22. Depending on when your birthday is, you could be 23 before you're done, does not seem late to me at all. And the husband could be a mechanic for all we know. I was just challenging Squishy's summation that THEY must be smart because THEY are grad students. There is nothing to indicate that's the case.
I qualified it with "sorta".

I realize that they may be on the 6-year plan, but the LW was articulate enough that I'm going to assume not.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#16 Jan 7, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
18 to 23 is six years??
Yup
18 - yr1
19 - yr2
20 - yr3
21 - yr4
22 - yr5
23 - yr6

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#17 Jan 7, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>
Yup
18 - yr1
19 - yr2
20 - yr3
21 - yr4
22 - yr5
23 - yr6
Tonka, if you start college at 18 and go for four years, you are not 21 when you graduate. You are at least 22.
18 to 19= 1 year
19 to 20= 2 years
20 to 21= 3 years
21 to 22= 4 years.
Got it now?

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#18 Jan 7, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>
Yup
18 - yr1
19 - yr2
20 - yr3
21 - yr4
22 - yr5
23 - yr6
It's not uncommon for someone to graduate HS at age 18. Some parents even hold back a kid a year.

Some people even take a year or two off school before starting college to get some money to pay for it.

23 isn't all that late in my view.
Timmy

United States

#19 Jan 7, 2013
So Edog bested Tonka at math. Are we sure the Mayans weren't off by a couple of weeks about the end of the world?
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
Tonka, if you start college at 18 and go for four years, you are not 21 when you graduate. You are at least 22.
18 to 19= 1 year
19 to 20= 2 years
20 to 21= 3 years
21 to 22= 4 years.
Got it now?

Since: Nov 10

Bronx, NY

#20 Jan 7, 2013
I was 23, almost 24 when I got my undergraduate degree. But, I changed majors my senior year and continued going to school for another two years.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Chicago Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Israeli troops begin Gaza pullout as Hamas decl... (Jan '09) 4 min TRD 68,655
Barack Obama, our next President (Nov '08) 6 min forks_make_us_fat 1,126,434
Abby 10-23-14 36 min pde 2
Messianic Jews say they are persecuted in Israel (Jun '08) 58 min J RULES 70,087
Topix Chitown Regulars (Aug '09) 1 hr Stina2 98,502
last post wins! (Apr '13) 2 hr Concerned_American 352
Hoffa tells Chicago Teamsters they play pivotal... 2 hr reality is a crutch 1
BARACK OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE: Suit contesting... (Jan '09) 2 hr Grand Birther 179,351
Chicago Dating
Find my Match

Chicago Jobs

Chicago People Search

Addresses and phone numbers for FREE

Chicago News, Events & Info

Click for news, events and info in Chicago

Personal Finance

Mortgages [ See current mortgage rates ]