How to waste your day….

Go here.

Seriously, I have no clue what kind of crazy genius it has taken to come up with these nuggets of complete wisdom EVERY DAY, but I salute it. Particularly this one…

Paul Rudd

Be him.

Indeed. But amongst all the hilarity, vaguely-disguised affection and downright grossness (not a word, you say? I don’t care.) there are some points of serious relevance to my life. And, maybe, some of your lives? Number 1 on that list, this…

If we spend the holidays with your mother

I’m allowed to kill myself in front of her if she mentions I’m not jewish one more time.

There are several amendments I need to make to truly make this statement relevant to me, by ‘holidays’, we mean ‘this weekend’, by ‘jewish’ we actually mean ‘just generally not good enough for my son in any way’ and the ‘kill myself’ is really more like ‘whinge about how hard I’m trying and how much she OBVIOUSLY hates me’. So…

‘If we are going to spend this weekend with your mother, I’m allowed to whinge about how much effort I’m making and how it’s obviously all HER fault, every time she makes a thinly veiled dig about how I’m clearly not good enough for you’.

Do I sound irrational? Because I really feel it. I’m an adult. A married adult, with my own home, a job. I cook chicken in a STEAMER, people. I’m a big girl. And yet, this woman manages to make me feel like I’m 17 again, meeting her for the first time and realising that she had very definitely preferred the previous petite, blonde, quiet girlfriend. (This theory was confirmed by Phil later that day-cue 2 years of my being convinced that HE preferred her too…then I grew up.) I could sit here and tell you earnestly about all the mean things she says that only I hear as mean, and no-one else really notices, but that would be borderline crazygravy. (Thanks Naomi!) Actually, sod it, I’m going to tell you my all-time favourite. We were discussing the wedding, I sounded something like this…

‘And we’re going to have the party in our garden, with BUNTING and STREAMERS and GARDEN GAMES! With a HOG ROAST and LOTS OF CAKE! And a VINTAGE DRESS!’

You understand, I was excited.

Her response? After what was, no word of a lie, 30 seconds of silence with one eyebrow raised so high I thought it might fall off the top of her head….

‘Don’t your parents want you to have a PROPER wedding?’

Nice. She reminds me a little bit of Miranda Priestly from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Sh*t scary for reasons you can’t quite pin down. And not someone you’d choose to spend the weekend with. ‘Cept you don’t have a choice. Bah.

I know, in my sensible, sort-of-wise, self-aware brain that a) you NEVER come between a man and his mother and b) I need to just get over it. It’s not as if she lives with us, she’s never openly rude (which would probably be embarrassing for all concerned) and she lives far enough away that this weekend is a 3 or 4 time a year thing. We don’t even stay in her home anymore, thanks to the only argument that’s ever caused Phil to sleep on the sofa. And, if he was honest, Phil would admit that he doesn’t even really enjoy these weekends.

So I know what I should do; keep my mouth closed, smile, only speak when spoken to and only then if I’m sure I can be polite. It’s only one weekend. But can anyone tell me how I can make sure I do these things?! And I can’t be the only person to have Mother-In-Law issues, can I?! How have you dealt with them?

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Wedding Planning
10 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    'So I know what I should do; keep my mouth closed, smile, only speak when spoken to and only then if I'm sure I can be polite. It's only one weekend. But can anyone tell me how I can make sure I do these things?! '

    Valium. Whisky. Valium. And repeat.

  2. Posted January 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I really do feel for you because this is me and my mother-in-law to be but we live with her… In her house, It's better than it used to be but still i'm so no where near good enough.

    Sending you lots of happy thoughts

  3. Katie
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Personally, this couldn't have come at a better time. I hear you. It's the story of my life and I feel your pain… right down to the blonde ex girlfriend preference.

    I'm sorry to say that my situation has become worse recently – I overheard MIL-to-be saying some truly HORRENDOUS things about my dear mum. What she says about me I can handle but not unjustified things about my family.

    Ho hum.

    Just try to rise above it all and be the better, more mature person – that's what I keep telling myself anyway!


  4. Posted January 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Bless you,it sounds like a drama and i can just so totally picture her as she sounds just like my sisters MiL who used to disguise her thinly veiled insults in her 'eccentricity'. My sister's husband is a Major in the army and after meeting one of his colleagues wife she said to my sister 'oh if only he had married her, he'd be a full Colonel by now, she has such class!' my sister used to put up and shut up but after one such insult too many they now no longer speak.Good luck with your MiL i hope it doesnt come to that.

  5. Posted January 26, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    At risk of rubbing it in, I am one of the lucky ones – my mother in law loves EVERYBODY.No really, EVERYBODY. So I am loved. Therefore I have no experience in this case, so I'm going to fall back on little mama's advice with the valium and whisky. And if that fails…ummm… you obviously haven't had enough whisky and valium.


  6. Posted January 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    and @ katie and Pointy Pix – wow – you guys make me feel so lucky that I don't have to deal with this type of thing. Being rude has no excuse, and these people are without doubt being RUDE.

  7. Sara
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I have similar issues, in fact it might be worse as she didn't even come to the wedding.

    Basically, when I see her , I try to see it as me offering up something. As in, to make things easier for my husband, I will give in, swallow it, deal with it, because in the grand scheme of things, her petty digs at me can only be conquered by me appearing completely unruffled in front of her.

    The ONLY response she won't be able to handle, is one where she sees all her petty needling hasn't touched you. She's insignificant. She doesn't matter. You are stoically polite, no matter what happens. She can't touch you and it will drive her crazy.

    What lies underneath it is this – you have married her son. As in, you are numero uno now. Not her. You have your mitts on him in a way she never will again. She knows that. She cannot handle that. And so she will make it as difficult for you as she can, because in her own pathetic way, she needs to know she still matters. I bet she didn't like the blonde girlfriend either. But any old girlfriend is better than a WIFE. God, you're never going away. She is going to lose him, she has already lost him.

    And damn it she can't seem to ruffle you! THAT is the way you go about making her crazy. It's in the dignified, friendly but distant dealings with her. It takes a lot of skill, but try to train yourself to distance yourself from those digs. I literally think to myself "oh, the poor dear's acting up again, she's having a bad day". Works a treat, makes her seem like an old granny who hasn't had her meds! Disables all her power over me.

    This has taken me six years though Aisling so it's not like I didn't have my trials with it at the start. But it's the most effective way I know to a) not get angry and b) keep things smooth for my husband, who is the most important person to me. He's no fool, he knows I hate her. But to tell him serves nothing.

    To win in the battle of daughter-in-law v mother-in-law serves everything. And you won't do it by showing her she gets to you.

  8. Posted January 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Sound advice above there, and I agree with the whiskey and valium combo!

  9. Posted January 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Sara – you sound like you know what you are talking about – we can all learn something from that, so let's take heed. Aisling – nap a LOT before you go, so you'll be all fresh and ready to deal with anything. And breathe x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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