Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My in-laws arrived this past Sunday. I've been looking foward to their visit with slight ambivalence (sp?). On the one hand, my mother-in-law could be really helpful with the cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. On the other hand, she can talk too much and is very different in personality from my husband and myself. My father-in-law is the parent who my husband and I can least relate to. He also is a very different personality. He's always on the go and can't sit still. He's very quiet. When he's not quiet he's riling up the kids. How much help could he possibly be? Well he can take the kids to the park and do dishes.

I was hoping that they would come and take care of the house and the two big ones so I can rest with the baby. So they came on Sunday night. On Monday, my father-in-law cleaned up the yard all day. He's been taking out the thorns and cleaing up the weeds. He literally did that all day with just some small breaks in between (although he didn't finish). My MIL sat and talked. About what? Everything. She's good at that. We made a menu for the week and a shopping list. We discussed the schedule for the week also. Sunday night I went to bed late because that was the day they arrived. My hubby went to bed even later. My MIL kept him up talking and then he had to learn some. Yesterday I barely got to rest. This is because they don't like to rest and don't really anticipate all of my needs as a mother who has just given birth. When Uri went to sleep at 12 PM I asked if I could go rest. Then Uri woke up at 12:15 to eat. Oh well. At least I got to eat lunch before picking the kiddies up. I can't deal well with their on the go style. They always need to be doing something. I on the other hand am content to just rest. After all, I don't sleep very well at night.

Now I'm exhausted and wondering if I would be less tired if they weren't here. One thing that really really gets to me is the fact that when they come, they make themselves feel at home. Now I know that most normal people would love for their guests to feel at home but I am not normal I guess. I like to be in control. I like my own space (their sleeping in my office). I don't like when others intrude. They came to our house. Within minutes they started openning up their suitcases and taking things out. Some were presents for the kids. Some were for other people. Then they unpacked, on our dining room table. Then my FIL started going through our cabinets for snacks. Luckily we still had some pretzels left and we had bought cinnamon grahm crackers. He really likes those. After that he just had to make coffee. Can't live without it. So he started to look for the milchigs dishes. Not once did he ask for help finding anything. He was perfectly happy being on his own. I meanwhile was watching from the sidelines and was going nuts inside.

After all, this isn't his house. He's never been here since we just moved a few months ago. Why does he think it's okay to go looking through someone's cabinets? Would it be better to ask where something is? Maybe he's not used to being dependent on someone else. Maybe he just doesn't want to bother us. Maybe AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Maybe I need to calm down and work on my middos and this is what Hashem has thrown my way. After this week I should have most excellent middos. Hooray!

So they unpacked. Now the room they are in can fit two beds and has some hanging space. Well they have a need to unpack and place their clothes anywhere but their suitcase. So they reorganized the room. Everything that was on top of the closet was neatly moved aside so that they could have room for their clothes. Where there was space on the bookshelves they also placed their stuff. Why does this bother me? I don't know. I'm very territorial. I like my space like I said and I don't like when others come to my space and do something else with it.

It's very hard for me to sit back and let someone else take charge. I like things done my way. That's probably why I don't have cleaning help. Onto another related subject, what do you call your in-laws. When we got married my husband and I both agreed that it was weird to call them mom and dad. Neither of us felt comfy calling the other one's parents by that. We wouldn't dare call them by their first name. So, we didn't call them anything. Then one year later our son was born and we could call them Sabba, Savta, Grandma, Grandpa. That was a relief. But I still feel that it's weird. It's also weird not to call them anything. What I have learned from this is that the best things for a mother-in-law to do is to say, you can call me ____(mom, ima etc.) if you'd like.

I've spoken to friends about what they do. One friend calls her MIL mom and her mother Ima. One friend has a sister-in-law who calls her MIL by her first name. Some people just don't have this problem. I can't see calling someone other than the parents who raised me mom and dad. Why should they deserve that title if they didn't earn it?

So I guess the bottom line is that I'm a chutzpadik, irrespectful little immature person who can't get over her pet peeves. Wow, that felt a lot better. Sorry for the vent-a-thon. Have a nice day!


mother in israel said...

BB!!! You are okay! Who doesn't get stressed out by houseguests? No one I know. Even the most helpful houseguests add stress to your life, even when you don't have a new baby. It's one of the trials of making aliyah.

Can you be more proactive about what you need? It sounds like your MIL wants to be helpful. If you know the baby is about to sleep, ask her to watch the others and suggest what she can do with them. You won't like everything she does, but the kids will have spent time with their grandmother.
Hang in there.

Commenter Abbi said...

i'm with MII, it's ok to be frustrated.

OTOH, independent ILs are really a blessing, though it might be frustrating. You might want to make a mental note to keep coffee things within easy access for FIL if you know their coming. Maybe keep it all on the counter for the rest of their visit, so you can limit the rummaging. My in laws are also coffee fiends and I got in trouble one time for not offering coffee when they came- when my husband was sick with pneumonia and was trying to juggle him/work and the kids. Fun times!

It's also good that they like to be active. My fiend's parents come and she doesn't have a TV and her parents are used to spending their life in front of the TV. They just sit in the living room and watch the paint peel. They don't even read.

Commenter Abbi said...

I call my ILs by their first name. We established that the night my husband and I got engaged. Much easier!

mother in israel said...

My MIL a"h did not want me to call her by her first name. It was awkward for me.