Friday, May 6, 2011

A Month Of MIL

Being a mother is a truly difficult job. One that you can mentally prepare for all you like and it is still not nearly enough when you become one. But learning how to handle Raelynn, though at times stressful, is infinitely rewarding. However, handling my MIL has been nothing but stress for my husband and me.

In Chinese culture, the MIL must come help for a month. Whether you like it or not. My husband is in the middle of this, insisting that if we just let her do SOMETHING, she'll feel useful and 30 days after Raelynn's birth, she'll stop coming over every day and just visit us a few times a week. I agree, she should do something useful, but it seems every attempt she makes is a massive bungle and it is hard to hold my tongue and keep my temper. She started driving me nuts, not surprisingly, the morning after Raelynn was born and she has been irritating me further ever since.

My husband and I were trying to sleep at 7am, after being up most of the night trying to get used to our newborn daughter. On top of that, I was recovering from my c-section and couldn't even get out of bed. We started to doze back off after the first nurse arrived to take my temperature and check me out. But that was short lived as his mother barged into our room. 7am. Ugh. Xiaolong yelled at her. My Chinese is not the best but I did understand him very clearly when he told her it was too early and we had plenty of doctors and nurses to look after me. But it fell on deaf ears. She shuffled around the room, making a royal ton of unnecessary noise and kept trying to bring me food. I wasn't allowed solids but that didn't stop her from trying to make me eat them. Only my husband could make her cut it out and even after her told her the doctor said I can't eat solids, she still kept pushing the issue. Since I couldn't get out of bed, every time the baby needed to be fed, someone would bring her to me so I could breastfeed her. Imagine my horror when my MIL would try to help me get Raelynn to latch on! Augh! I kept yelling at her to just hand me the baby and get away from me. The moment she left our room (at night, mind you) I wanted to throw a party.

The next day, my husband had to return to work. He told his mother not to come so early in the morning. He explained to her that I needed my rest and if I needed any help, the doctors and nurses would help me. But no. Five minutes after my husband left (which was 7:15am), I start dozing off and in she comes. I wanted to choke her with my IV. I yelled at her to go away, in English and Chinese, but she would only disappear for a couple minutes. Then she'd come back in, tapping her feet and doing everything under the sun to annoy a person who is in pain, sleep deprived and desperately trying to fall back to sleep despite the circumstances. My only reprieve was thanks to one nurse who spoke English well. I begged her to get MIL out of my room. I was overjoyed when MIL took her purse and left. I thought she would be gone for good but the woman clearly is a glutton for punishment because she came back later and didn't leave until after her son had eaten his dinner.

After 5 days in the hospital, I was finally able to go home. I was so happy I cried. Now my husband and I could take Raelynn home and start living our lives as a family. And I wouldn't be trapped in one room with my annoying MIL. Of course, this is when I learned that MIL would be helping us out for a few weeks until I had recovered some more. I cried this time, out of sheer frustration. My in-laws had stayed in our home while we were at the hospital since their home is so far. I wasn't surprised to walk into my home and discover an unholy mess inside. I swear she knows nothing about cleaning and hygiene. I try to push these things out of my mind and just focus on my precious daughter.

We had set a room up just for Raelynn. It was a happy time for me since that meant we could decorate it with cute baby stuff and toss the extra twin bed in there to make room for the crib, thus resulting in my in-laws never being able to stay over in our home again. But Raelynn wasn't happy when we put her in the crib and left the room. She was downright miserable. We temporarily moved the crib to our room and have been working on getting Raelynn accustomed to it. Of course, my MIL asks my husband if she can move the extra bed back in to stay over. No. No. NO NO NO NO!!!! Thankfully, Xiaolong likes spending the evenings with just Raelynn and me because he told her no too.

Now, I hate that this woman has been in my face for one whole week. I just want my privacy. But I don't want to hurt her feelings, or, even more importantly, upset my husband. I love him and I don't want him to stress. Still, I am left to wonder how her being around is supposed to help me. Especially since she keeps making more of a mess in my home. Shouldn't she be cleaning something? She wants to hold the baby but I tell her no, not until she washes her hands. I tell her I don't need help with the baby. I need help with the house. I'll figure out how to handle my baby. I ask her to please clean up the mess she made while we were in the hospital. She fetches the mop and just starts pushing it around the room. Um, could you maybe dip it in some clean water with floor cleaner? And how about vacuuming or sweeping first? I shouldn't have been surprised at all when she refused to use the vacuum. This woman had a perfectly good vacuum shoved under our kitchen sink! Cleaning comedy hour continues as I show her how to clean right. I point out the cleaning products we use. They are all in Chinese, yet she seems surprised at how to use them. I can't even read the bottles and I know what to do with them. After all this, I just cry. I am so beyond frustrated that I have to deal with this woman who clearly is a few chopsticks short of a set, learn how to handle my newborn baby and try to restore my house to some order.

These last few weeks have been filled with shit like this and then some. She cooks for us which should be a huge help when you can't set down your infant daughter who is crying her eyes out, right? But no. She cooks something awful and insists it is good for producing more milk. I should add that I had to express some of my milk because I didn't just have enough. I had too much! That would also be her fault for insisting that the baby was hungry even after I fed her. I also blame her for when Raelynn somehow ingested bacteria. Xiaolong and I had to rush her to the hospital late one night after she kept crying. It was a weird cry too. It was even worse than the night I was in labor all night. Nothing is more painful than when your child hurts. Fortunately, treatment was easy and Raelynn was soon better. The doctor told us we needed to make sure everything that came into contact with her was clean. My husband explained to his mother that she needed to make sure she washed her hands with soap and water before ever touching our child again. I still cringe every time she picks up Raelynn.

Other things she's done include pestering me while I am breastfeeding Raelynn. She had made me food (and I was actually so hungry I didn't care what it was...I was ready to eat it) but I was busy feeding my daughter. As she pokes her head into our room, I tell her I am feeding the baby and I will come eat when she's done eating. A few minutes later, she comes into the room again and again, I tell her I will be there when Raelynn is done eating. And then, a few more minutes go by and she comes in tapping a bowl of food. This time I scream at her. Get the fuck out of my room! She might not understand a word of English but now she knew I was pissed. The sad thing? I had spoken to her in HER language the other 2 times she'd come into the room. That annoys me too. That she tells my husband how she wishes I would speak to her in Chinese so she could understand me and when I speak to her in Chinese, she doesn't understand her own language.

She did it again later that same day when my dear friend Genesis was on her way over to cook something edible for my husband and me, bless her heart. I didn't know our address in Chinese so I handed my phone to MIL and told her that it was my friend on the phone and she needed the address to our home because she was coming over. MIL suddenly has no idea what is going on. I explain again and again and Genesis puts her on with the taxi driver. But she's too stupid to understand her own language I suppose. After every annoying thing she'd done that day, I lost it. And I actually do feel badly for how mean I was. I could have been nicer. It is a good thing she doesn't understand any English because the tirade I launched into was one of my most vitriolic yet. I would give a sampling here but for my husband's sake, I beg you to use your imagination. Think super-mega-bitch and you've got it. My husband coincidentally arrived home 5 minutes after this verbal lashing. I thought he'd be furious. He wasn't pleased but he understood why I'd completely lost my temper. And thankfully, he was able to help Genesis find our home with no trouble whatsoever.

I was happy to let Genesis in my kitchen. Not only can she cook, but she also cleans up after herself. Genesis was also witness to some of the odd things my MIL did to my kitchen as you can see from the following photos:
 This is our cabinet for dishes. If you look to the bottom right corner, you'll see a prime example of something disgusting MIL does when she visits. She puts random foods, or in this case, a bowl of oil, into this cabinet for storage. Instead of the refrigerator. Nice, huh?

And what do we have here in one of my other kitchen cabinets? Eggs! A ton of eggs! More than I need, honestly and not refrigerated. Oh yum! And We also have some more oil and a cut piece of ginger. Lovely!

Here is another view that Genesis was kind enough to capture for me since at the time, I couldn't bend over (it was just a day or two after I left the hospital). We can clearly see perishable vegetables shoved into this cabinet too.

My list of MIL grievances continues with the following:

1. Giving out illogical advice.
Just as she'll make me some disgusting soup and insist I eat it because it will give me more breast milk, she'll offer unsolicited advice like telling me not to eat any cold food and that it's bad for the baby. Gee, that's funny, because one of the gross dishes you just served me and are insisting I eat is cold.

2. Telling me the baby is hungry when I fed her 5 minutes before.
She's lucky I even let her hold my kid anymore after the bacteria incident, which may or may not be her fault but she is so not off the hook for it. One thing she does that will surely put me into a rage is to tell me that the baby is crying because she's hungry.  Um, what the fuck did she think that was when my nipple was in the baby's mouth? Sheesh. My husband told her to mind her own business and that I'm not going to hand her a hungry baby since I'm the one that feeds it. Yet, she's said this to me several times. It's not like she'd know...she didn't breastfeed her son. Babies cry for several other reasons besides being hungry. Be a good grandma and fucking figure it out.

3. Buying even more stuff for the baby that we can't use at this point.
She's done this before but in an effort to feel useful, she's gone overboard. She bought some very cute outfits for Raelynn. Very girlie and adorable! BUT way too large, meaning Raelynn won't be able to fit into them any time soon. The worst is the stroller. It was a wonderful gesture, however, she didn't consider that we'd have to carry it up and down 6 flights of stairs in our elevator-less building. Add to that how to unfold it when you're with Raelynn and have a diaper bag to in hell are we to use this thing? She got angry with my husband when he told her although we liked it we would prefer to exchange it for one we could use. Seriously, this thing weighs a ton. The store won't take it back since the tread on the tires was used so we're stuck with a giant stroller that we can only use in our home (wheeling her to sleep around the apartment or to keep her by us while we eat a meal) or when we go out together. Good thing I have the baby carrier already!

4. Leaving these scary food creations on my kitchen counter for days.
Here, we have scary pigeon thing. She cooked this and left it unrefrigerated for 5 days. I couldn't have fit it in our refrigerator if I wanted to, and I didn't want it there mingling with the proper food. Thankfully, I wasn't offered this item to eat because I would have refused.

Would you eat this unfriendly-looking fish dish? Yeah, me neither. I like fish but I couldn't bring myself to eat this thing. It also smelled like low tide at the pier, another reason to steer clear.

For the last 2 days, I have been grateful that MIL has not come over. I was finally able to restore my kitchen to the clean and orderly kitchen it was the day my water broke. It's amazing how much more sane I feel now that I've managed to complete that task. Now, off to cook something fabulous for my husband...that is, if Raelynn keeps napping!

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog! Can't wait for when years from now... you and MIL are on great terms and completely understand each other. Yeah... I said years for a reason. - Scott the Photographer