I broke up with my mother-in-law after twenty years of marriage to her son.
This past Monday she left my house with not even a good-bye. This was after she mumbled under her breath that she guessed she was done having a relationship with us and her grandchildren. All this took place when Mr. K and I decided it was time to set some boundaries when it came to our children, who she had judged, ridiculed, and hurt emotionally while we were out of town. For one child, who was the brunt of her judgment, I had to text a friend to go and get him so he would not have to endure it another minute while I sat on a mountain road.
She asked before grabbing her bags and huffing out the door “Do you feel better?”
I am committing a major taboo just by writing this blog post and I am about to commit another one by saying “Yes I do.”
The biggest reason I feel better is because of my children. It is not strangers or acquaintances that end up hurting our children or crossing boundaries it is those close to them, family friends and relatives. Without getting into the details (to protect the privacy of my children) I have no reason to not believe them when they tell me their grandmother was condescending, judgmental and hurtful. And even though she is “old” and has her own beliefs this doesn’t give her the right to use her status, age or religious beliefs to hurt her grandchildren. While I believe in respecting your elders, and I do tend to give some leeway to the elderly when they run their mouth, respect is earned. Also my mother in law is not stupid, she knew that what she was saying and doing was passive aggressive, hurtful and against our family values.
I want my children to have a relationship with their grandmother. However the relationship, as long as they are minors and under my care and supervision, has to be on mine and Mr. K’s terms and our beliefs. The same standard has been set for my own father. It has been made clear that his racism, sexism, and certain religious beliefs are not welcome in our home or around our children. He chooses to have a relationship with his grandchildren and respects those boundaries and us as parents. What we asked of my mother in law was not any different but instead of recognizing or acknowledging that this was about the children and their well being, she saw this as a personal attack and began to verbally assault me and redirect the conversation about our children’s “bad” behavior and implying they were liars.
For 20 years I have never measured up. It was obvious from the first time I met my mother in law that she did not like me. First of all, I was not Mr. K’s sweet, demure, innocent acting ex-fiancee from the country. I was a thief who stole her sweet, innocent boy and turned him into a sex crazed atheist. (something he was before he ever met me!) I was under the illusion that over time things would get better. That his mother would grow to like me, that I would do something to gain her appreciation and respect. I thought giving her grandbabies, especially the first grand daughter would earn her approval. It didn’t.
I should have known from the beginning, but in like most my relationships with women, I ignored the red flags. Even when Mr. K himself said I would never win his mother’s approval and all the reasons why, I didn’t listen. Time after time I tried and repeatedly failed. I endured the eye rolling, the condescending remarks, and the passive aggressive behavior indicating I was a bad wife and mother even in front of my children because that was Mr. K’s mother and my children’s grandmother. There were plenty of times I lost my cool, spoke my mind and bluntly went where no daughter in law should go with my opinions on marriage, parenting, sex, politics, and women issues. I crossed the line when she made a remark about my nasty mouth I kissed her grandchildren with when I quickly retorted “And I suck your son’s dick with it too.” (she never commented about my cussing again) I let her bad mouth every relative and tell tall tales that were more like lies about this person and that person. Most of all I thought if I listened to her rants and dislike about her other daughter in laws, all the while shaking my head in agreement, that I would somehow rise in the ranks and be accepted. (I’m sorry ladies) It never happened and it is never going to happen.
And let me be honest, I feel relieved. I am no longer going to worry about what she thinks or what she is going to do. She is an adult. She can either abide by our wishes and keep her bigoted beliefs that do not coincide with our family values to herself and have a relationship with her grandchildren or not. It is totally up to her. The ball is in her court. I am sure I will be bad mouthed to anyone who will listen and they will believe whatever gossip or half truths that come out of her mouth. I’m sure we will be at the top of the prayer request list come Sunday and for a long time to come.
The best thing about this breakup is the fact that Mr. K gave me the best gift he could have given me and that is he told his mother “I CHOOSE KIM, everyday” and “I CHOOSE THESE KIDS” over HER. He told her that for twenty years he had heard mutterings under her breath that were derogatory about me and comments that were straight out disrespectful as his wife and as the children’s mother and he wanted it to end. Of course this pissed her off, which led to her verbally attacking me, but instead of getting defensive I couldn’t contain the smile that came across my face. My husband had finally after 20 years cut the cord.
Am I happy now? Yes.
Am I done? Absolutely.