I haven’t done a mother in law update in a while, and I was reminded of this last night when I read a blog I follow. (You should go read Dave’s stuff on a daily basis, so very very good.) The woman he talks about is a lot like my mother in law, without the chatterboxyness. One phrase really sticks out at me, ‘It was the smell of hope, dead and mouldering on the floor.’. That’s pretty much the way my mother in law is.
She has had a hard life. She was old enough to remember when the Germans came into her home country and killed her father and grandfather in front of her family during WWII, and dealing with all the troubles after the war as well. She has never had a loving marriage having had two arranged marriages, both of which she pushed for. So she doesn’t believe in a loving marriage, she just brushes that aside. Also has has lost a daughter to cancer and that has effected her deeply. She goes to the grave every day, and has turned part of the house into a shrine.
I also understand her frustrations with me, to a point. When I came here I was not able to work until I got a green card, and that took 3 years because we could not afford an immigration lawyer right away. So I understand her complaints about me not working during that time. I’m not to happy about it myself. However when I did start working she just switched complaining topics about me. I wasn’t doing enough around the house, I wasn’t cooking enough, I didn’t care, etc… She has said some pretty vile things about me to my wife, which is also pretty unacceptable.
Now that my back is worse than ever and am not working she starts complaining about that again. I am looking for work, but its difficult to find a job here in California when you have a disability, and there are not many jobs for healthy people. The Department of Rehabilitation here says not to tell prospective employers you have a disability. Which I just think is so wrong, not only on an ethical level, but also on a shame level. They make it seem as though having a disability is a shameful thing. I really do not like that attitude. I’ve actually gotten more responses from employers when I mention it, and how its not going to keep me down but only motivate me to do better, than do when I don’t mention it.
Ok, back to the mother in law…When she complains about me not doing anything around the house, she’s right. I don’t. Not when she is around anyway. In the past when I have done things she has just complained nonstop about the mess or the length of time its taking or that I’ll never do what I set out to do, etc… I went through that a bit with my father, where nothing I did was good enough, I’m certainly not going to take it from my mother in law. I’ve removed two tree stumps from our yard and both times she has said that I’d never be able to do it, yet when I did do it she just shrugs. I installed plywood in the rafters of the garage for more storage space, then painted the rafters and plywood a bright white to bounce back light at night. She complained the entire time I did it, said it was a waste of time and I should not be bothering. When I was finished at what I set out to do worked very well, the single bulb lit the entire garage nicely, she just shrugged. I’ve mentioned painting the living room and hallway before, where I did a professional job, not the hack job of painting she does. But she complained the entire time I did that too.
Lately she has been better, sort of. The garage door opener broke, so she’s been unhappy we can’t afford to get it fixed yet, she’ll keep mentioning it as if we can miraculously get it fixed. If she’s upset at one of her sons or grandchildren she takes stuff like this out on us. We may have nothing to do with it, but we have to pay. This is fun…
Her church puts on a festival each year and she’s out baking for it right now. The house has a completely different feel to it when she’s out. Its a horrible thing to say, but its the truth. When she’s goes away for a month or two my wife have so much less stress. We are far more relaxed, our relationship is much better, we laugh more and we have sex more. All in all we are a much better couple when her mother is not around. Can you wonder why we need to get out of here?