Tag Archives: relationships

Life is full or surprises

I have two mother in laws. And both of them have played an important role in how I have developed as a mother. Until recently I was mostly defending myself to them. And yet, I have come to appreciate both of them in different was and for different reasons.

One of them has just been diagnosed with cancer. Hence my absense from the blog. It has been an emotionally draining time as we waited for news and results from tests. It is looking good. It looks like she will not even need chemo now after the surgery. And this is the MIL with whom I have a strained relationship to say the least. And yet we were able to talk honestly and openly about life and about me loosing my mother and her being diagnosed with cancer. It is a cliche, but such life changing experiences really do put things into perspective. And I have gotten over my anger that my SIL did not have to deal with loosing her mother unexpectedly. The reality of loosing my mother was brought home to me when I saw the panic around me with my SIL thinking she *might* loose her mother.

My 2nd MIL is a woman with whom I have had my differences with regards to parenting choices. Yet, essentially she has tried to be supportive, even when she has called me extreme.

And it is this MIL who took the time to tell me how admiring she is of how I have chosen to mother my son. How I inform myself on the importance of nutrition, preventative measures for health, discipline that empowers my son, not belittles him etc. She really spoke from the heart about how much she admires me for doing what I feel is best for my family. We also spoke about my relationship with her son. And how much DH and I have learned and grown from each other and from being parents together. She respects our relationship so much and appreciates me in a way that I did not know. It felt so good to know that I am so appreciated and respected.

In turn I could be more open with her and explain why I am concered about plastic in my sons environment and that I am still trying to decide where ‘the line’ is that will inform me on decisions regarding having plastic in his life. And to share a bit more about why I chose organic foods where possible. We actually had a non threatening conversation on such charged issues.

Today is Yom Kippur. I still have not decided how I want to observe Yom Kippur. I’ll get there. This year is not the year for me to honestly consider what this day means for me.

But I did want to share my experience of a softening in relations between myself and two women who are significant in my life, even if we don’t see eye to eye.

I look forward to posting more frequently again. I am sewing a wonder box and look forward to posting pics and experiences.


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Respect and ridicule

Is it that hard?

Is it that hard?

Another post-therapy post.

And the understanding of the fear both DH and I live in. The fear of his family.

On the one hand his mother is friendly towards me, making me clothes and voicing her support for me doing what works for me as a mother. On the other hand, she went and bought plastic toys for DS after numerous conversations about why I do not want DS playing with plastic toys. While this is not the only example of what I find difficult in her behavior – it does illustrate just where the difficulty lies. My values are foreign to her and therefore not worthy of her respect. I think in her experience I am just being difficult and I should compromise for the sake of family unity and good feeling. It seems that she has a fundamental issue with respecting my choices. Sneaking plastic toys into DS’s toy box is not exactly open communication.

And on the other family front, while on holiday in South Africa I had the strong sense that I need an apology from FIL. It is almost a year now since him and his wife laid into me for not vaccinating my son. When it became clear that I was not giving into their pressure  Рthey kept attacking my intelligence, reasoning and choice from any angle they could Рdespite me having broken down in tears as I tried to breastfeed my son. They kept attacking me through my tears. And for that I am not sure I can forgive them, unless they were to ask for an apology. The last year has shown this general lack of respect for my choices to be pervasive and all inclusive. Our choices are constantly questioned and ridiculed.

Now, neither with my MIL nor my FIL would I expect a fundamental change in their personal beliefs or values. I could not. I do however expect my choices to be respected. And I expect to be given the space to be the best mother I know how to be.

An observation made by our therapist today was that our therapy has not been so much about dynamics in our relationship, as much as finding a way to manage our relationship with DH’s family. I think that is true.

So, our way forward – regardless of whether we choose to move away from the family or not, is to talk to both MIL and FIL. This is a big big deal. Both need to at least know that I have been hurt by them and that I am asking them to respect me and my choices, even if it goes against their beliefs/expectations. At best I might actually get some of the support I need, at worst I will have faced off a ‘demon’ and DH and I will be freer to move on.

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