Apr 27 2009

Aaand Back Down Again

I was starting to feel so good, so in-place, so content over the weekend. Then I had dinner last night with my father, during which my mother called (him, not me), and my peaceful mood was shaken. Then I came in to work this morning and it was shattered.

Part of why I am so freaked out about having only 12 weeks left until Roo’s birth is that it also means I have only 12 weeks left to figure out what I am going to do about my mother. My mother wants to “help out” after Roo is born, which is something she did for us after Cole was born. And, after Cole was born, she really was a big help. I’m not sure how I could have gotten through those weeks without her, really. John was still in grad school and I knew next to nobody else in the whole state, so I was kind of stranded. My mom helped me keep up the house, feed myself, go grocery shopping, and provided much needed adult conversation.

But this time, we have a much different relationship- one that has not gotten better with age. I am also in a very different situation, what with having other family (and friends that might as well be family) in town and John working about a minute away. I don’t feel stranded this time, and I don’t have worries about being able to take care of myself and Roo.

I have HUGE worries about having my mother in my home with just me and Roo for 9 hours a day, for who knows how many weeks. I am so worried about it that I have isolated it to that place of “Maybe if I ignore it long enough it will go away,” which is totally non-fuctional as well as being just plain NOT TRUE. It’s not going away. I have to deal with this, I just don’t know how.

And I can hear someone saying “Why don’t you just talk to your mother and tell her how you feel?” HAHAHAHAHAHA! No. Not that easy. My mother gets defensive and hurt over IMAGINARY SLIGHTS. Can you imagine what would happen over a REAL slight?! I could send her into a suicide spiral! YAY, ME! Responsible for my own mother’s death!

I am also imagining someone else saying “Well, your mother can’t be THAT bad. Just suck it up for a couple of weeks.” No. I don’t think I can. And yes, she really is that bad. She has already started giving me guilt trips about the work that she WILL be doing while helping me. It hasn’t even happened and ALREADY I SHOULD FEEL GUILT AND EXTREME GRATITUDE! I have suspicions that my mother is border-line bi-polar and getting worse as time goes on. I have trouble spending even 10 minutes with her without wanting to tear my own eyeballs out and stab my eardrums. I don’t want to spend the few weeks after Roo’s birth feeling this way. I want to enjoy my baby! I want to bond! The last thing I need is to feel this kind of stress when I’m trying to do that, especially because it was stress that was partly to blame for my failure to breastfeed Cole.

So here I am- I can’t do it, I can’t tell her that I can’t. Where to go from here?

And then last night came parental drama. And this morning came knowledge of the fact that she has been badmouthing people that I care about all over town. And all of this conundrum STUFF that I had been repressing came boiling back up. And I can’t concentrate on anything and I just want to go somewhere dark by myself and cry. And I just don’t know how to move ahead.

So if somebody could come and tell me what to do, I’d really appreciate it. I’m out of ideas. I’m out of energy. I’m running out of time.


  • By Sizzle, April 27, 2009 @ 11:25 am

    And here I am trying NOT to tell people what to do. . . :-)

    I know it’s way easier said than done but I think it’s better to bite the bullet and tell her you don’t need her to help this time around OR give her a very short period of time where she can help. But it sounds like being around her is very difficult and it will negatively impact your first weeks with your baby which, honestly, you can’t get back. It’s time to be selfish and think of you and your family and your children. She seems the type that won’t get over it but she’s also the type that makes things up and there are a lot of things happening besides this isolated situation. She probably needs therapy, possibly medication.

    But you have to focus on you and the baby. As much as it is going to SUCK to tell her, you have to tell her. Put your foot down.

  • By annenahm, April 27, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

    I wish I had a good answer – that sounds really tough. *hugs*

  • By ticknart, April 27, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

    Wait, is you mother planning on LIVING at your house during this time, or will she be spending the nights at her place?

    It’s not like her place is 2000 miles away like it was last time.

  • By heels, April 27, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

    She HAD been planning on living there, but I told her that we didn’t feel like that would work. Now the plan is that she would spend all day there with us, and only leave after John got home at night. Still- that’s a good 9-10 hours of “The MOM Show,” for which I have yet to find the mute button.

  • By Elizabeth, April 27, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

    Elizabeth’s crazy mother manuel.

    1. In order to avoid a crazy mother one should Lock their door, and not answer their phone.

    2. Date rape drug does work on crazy mothers. Slipping it into morning coffee will ensure a quiet afternoon alone.

    3. Don’t pay attention to them. If you ignore a crazy mother there is a slight chance they will look for attention elsewhere.

    4. Stock your fridge with alcohol. Crazy moms tend to drink a lot. There might be some crying, but eventually they WILL pass out.

    5. Keep company around. Crazy mothers tend to behave a little better when there are other people around. Be advised: This will not work if the company is family.

    * Always remember when dealing with a crazy mother that everything is about her. You must stroke her ego constantly. The example below is a sample dialogue between a daughter who does not need help from crazy mother with her second child.

    Daughter: ” Ya know Mom, you taught me so much when I had my first child, and did such a good job helping me that I don’t want to burden you again. I think I can manage the second time. I am going to try my hardest, but in case I can’t, can I call you?

    Crazy Mother: ” I did do a pretty good job helping you the first time. I was such a great mother to you. You have so much to learn about being a parent, and I know you will call me because you can’t manage without me. I suppose I did have that new bottle of vodka to attend to. Well darling..I will be expecting your call.”

    It may not sound like it, but you have gotten what you wanted. She isn’t in your house, and she is attending to other matters for the time being.

  • By heels, April 27, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    Elizabeth, you made me laugh about this for the first time in a LONG time. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’re wonderful.

  • By Johnny Logic, April 27, 2009 @ 2:51 pm


    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • By heels, April 27, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

    John- I’m thinking that maybe a good “New Grandmother” gift to your mother-in-law might be a gift certificate to the wine store and a really big glass.

    (Just kidding, I guess.)

  • By Beth Fish, April 27, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

    Here’s my, likely very bad, suggestion. “Hey, Mom. You were such a big help after Cole was born and I don’t know how I would have managed without you. But I am a little worried how Cole will adjust to the new baby, and I think it would be best if we had some time at the beginning to just be together and let him get used to our new family.”

    Or – if you trust her with Cole, which you may not, ask her to focus on him and take him on special outings, etc., so that he doesn’t feel like the baby gets all the attention.

  • By heels, April 27, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

    Beth- I wish I DID trust her with Cole, but I don’t entirely. Mostly I don’t like the habits he comes home with after he’s been around her. It’s unsettling. No, making Cole feel like a special big boy is a job that my dad has already asked for, and I think he’s one of the best people for it.

    I like the idea of asking for time. And then asking for more. And more. And then we’ll just get to the point where I don’t need help anymore, right?

  • By heels, April 27, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

    Sizzle- So far, I know that your suggestion is probably the best, but it’s also the hardest which is why I’m the most reluctant to try it! I’m bad about being avoidant. Unfortunately, I tend to look for “solutions” that are temporary and allow me to prolong having to deal with whatever is making me so uncomfortable. But I know- you’re right.

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