Monday, November 11, 2013

Advice? Help? Anyone have a difficult parent or in-law?

Hi friends.  I could use some advice, counseling, a kind ear to listen, or maybe just some words of understanding.  I am in such a difficult place with my mother, and it's really hard right now.

I've written about my mother before, and I probably will again.  She is an incredibly difficult woman.  She's manipulative, controlling, melodramatic, and very egocentric.  On top of that, she is incredibly oversensitive and arrogant.  She's difficult to be around for long periods of time (well, even for short periods of time), and she's impossible to talk to about anything except what she absolutely agrees with.  She is great at dishing out opinions and criticism, but can't take even the slightest bit of disagreement or criticism herself, no matter how constructive.  Even when someone with a golden tongue seems to get through to her in the moment, the next time I talk to her, after she's had time to mull over what they've said, she's turned it all around and made herself the righteous winner and the other person the jerk.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

To make matters worse, she doesn't eat well or take care of herself physically, and is in extremely poor physical health, which makes her believe everyone owes it to her to come over and take care of anything and everything - cleaning litter boxes, basic housecleaning, big projects - you name it, she believes someone else should do it.

My brother and sister-in-law moved away primarily to get away from her.  All of her friends are ten years older than she is and just as opinionated and difficult as she is (I don't know how they all get along!).  She was an only child, my father passed away 8 years ago, her parents are both gone, and she is basically estranged from most of her extended family, none of whom live anywhere nearby in any case.  So she has attached herself to me, and now especially my children, digging in her fingernails as hard as she can for fear of being set adrift.  Unfortunately, the neediness is really starting to get me down, since I have two 3-year-olds who legitimately need me.  The tighter she squeezes, the more I feel like I'm being strangled.

I could go on and on.  I could tell you stories of how she would buy gifts for me to give my friends for Christmas when I was in high school, and she'd wrap them first so even I wouldn't know what they were (?!?!).  How when I got my first bank account with an ATM card before leaving for college, she watched me enter my pin, then announced in the car that she knew what my secret code was - like she wanted to make SURE that I knew she was the one in control.  How when I worked at a movie theater for a summer during college and an old high school friend asked if she and her mom could come to a free movie, my mother told me she would never speak to me again if I allowed it, since she didn't like my friend's mom.  How she was so angry after my half-sister didn't come to my father's funeral (it's a long complicated story with a lot of misunderstandings), she asked my husband to not allow my sister to visit his family in Italy when she took a European trip YEARS LATER.

Every once in a while, my mom goes on a depressive binge and calls me constantly (well, even more constantly than usual), saying that she doesn't know if she'll make it another day, etc. etc. (I've heard it all before), and sometimes, like now, she accuses me of keeping my kids from her (when I don't want to visit more than once a week) and says that the kids are the only thing that makes her happy.  She says a lot of other accusatory things as well.  And trust me, I DO know that her problems and unhappiness are not my fault, but the constant bombardment is just getting me down (she called 5 times today, and that is relatively tame).

When my husband and I were first dating, she left a note that seemed suspiciously like a suicide note (it was vague enough that it could be interpreted in other ways, she later claimed she was just leaving to go on vacation) and disappeared, so my brother called the police, who caught up with her at my dad's nursing home and took her for psychiatric evaluation.  They let her go a few hours later, according to her because nothing was wrong with her.  I was terrified my now-husband would drop me like a hot potato after seeing the crazy he was marrying into.  My mom has seen a psychologist, too, who apparently (according to her, I've never spoken to him) says that there is nothing wrong with her, but that the real problem is her children.  I don't doubt that she has some depression, but I can't stand the way she uses it, threatening suicide when she doesn't get her way or when she feels like she's not getting enough attention, but then claiming nothing is wrong when I say she needs psychiatric help.

Basically, I'm tired of dealing with an extra toddler.  (Like I just said to my husband, if I had a dollar for every time my mother has said she has a big favor to ask of me, well, he could quit his job).

I just don't know what to do anymore.  I dread spending time with her, I dread talking on the phone with her.  It's impossible to have a reasonable conversation since I disagree with almost everything that comes out of her mouth, but she takes my silence as acceptance.  If I don't answer the phone, she calls again and again and again, but she refuses to leave a message with any real information about why she's calling.  I'm so tired of dealing with it all, and I feel like it's never going to stop.  I'm tempted to move farther away just so I don't have to keep making up excuses to not visit.

And here's the thing, all the reasonable-sounding things you'll suggest won't work.  She cannot be changed, this I know, and there is no way to talk to her rationally about any of this.  Trust me, I've tried, and many people in my life who originally advocated trying to work things out with her have admitted defeat.  It's more like how do I train myself to handle it better?  I would love, in some ways, to just cut her out of my life, but I don't think my conscience can handle it, so what else can I do?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Still dreaming, wishing for a third

I am having a bit of a rough week, although I am not feeling too down about it, surprisingly.  I had some bad coughing fits earlier this week which seems to have caused some rib pain - muscle spasms?  Not sure.  It hurts to cough, and it hurts to lie on my right side.  I'm also having insomnia.  Again.  The rib pain makes it worse, so I took ny.quil last night, but while that helps with the coughing, pain, and insomnia, it makes me super groggy in the morning, and I sleep in when I should really be getting up and doing stuff.

Anyway.  A friend of mine went through infertility around the same time as I did (had an actual diagnosis of MFI) and went through 3 IUIs before conceiving naturally during a break cycle right before starting IVF.  Her daughter is a few months younger than my kids, she turned 3 in September.  My friend just had baby #2 last week, and I went to see him today.  He was precious, beautiful.  I was there for hours and didn't hear him cry.  I asked my friend to tell me all the crappy stuff, to remind me of the bad things, too, so I wouldn't want another baby so badly, but nothing she said sounded that bad to me.

My friend had her tubes tied, so she knows she's not having more kids, and she said that this time she's relaxed and enjoying it.  She lets him nap on her, sits for hours holding him, doesn't worry if the house is messy.  She looks wonderful.  She had an emergency c-section the first time (just like me), so she opted not to try for a VBAC but instead had a scheduled c-section again, and seems to be handling the recovery just fine.

It sounds like the biggest problem is her first child, her daughter, who is having regression and jealousy issues and has become really difficult to handle.  My friend said they've been trying really hard to give her attention and not have her feel left out but I guess it's not working that well.  I can totally understand, though - my kids are both three, and they are already super jealous of each other.  I can't even imagine having a baby right now, they would be horrified.

And yet, I can't help wanting one.  Just one more.  A family of five.  Another little one to hold and cuddle and snuggle, to watch grow up with his or her brother and sister.  I am so incredibly happy and blessed with my two sweetie pies, I know I wouldn't be heartbroken not to have another, not even close.  But that doesn't stop me from wanting another one anyway ... sigh.

P.S. I've mentioned it before, and I'm mentioning it again - I would not do fertility treatments again.  If I were to have another one, it would have to happen naturally.  So who knows if there's even a chance, anyway?

Monday, November 4, 2013

November goals

1. Bike more when the weather permits.  And my physical health.
2. Go to the gym!  Any weekday that I don't exercise at home (i.e. run in the greenbelt). 
3. Get the paperwork under control.  Clean out and organize the file drawers.
4. Finish up winter garden.  All that's left at this point is to plant turnips, carrots, beets, and radishes.  And broccoli, but that will take 5 minutes.  I'll have to clean out the rest of the summer garden more slowly.
5. No St.arb.ucks.  Pee.ts once a week at most.  It's to be considered a treat.  Tea and coffee at home are fine.  Still needs work.
6. Try to lose 5 pounds by Thanksgiving?
7. Get to bed at 10, lights out at 10:30 on weeknights.  Exceptions on Sundays if we are hanging out with friends.
8. Sunday family evening - movie with the kids, and talk about the week ahead with hubby.
9. Get lunches packed for the kids at night.  No excuses.
10. Clean out my closet - not the clothes (although I might do that soon), but all the other random stuff stored in there.
11. Combine this blog with my other blog and port it to a better site - working on it hopefully with my husband's help.
12. Hopefully work on some crafting.  Primarily, I need to make the kids' sleeping bags.  A few other small projects before Thanksgiving would be nice.
13. Practice piano once a week.
14. Get trundle situation in Tadpole's room fixed - I have a frame that goes with the beds, and I did get a foam mattress, but I need some sort of box-spring-like support for it.  Will try to get either plywood or pegboard cut to size and nail it on there.
15. Clean out Turtle's closet
16. Take loads of stuff to thrift store.
17. Clean out kids toys, get rid of obsolete stuff, package up some other stuff, organize in general.
18. Order Christmas cards
19. Order TURKEY!
20. Try to do one load of laundry per day (as necessary) instead of letting it all pile up until it's overwhelming.

I'll probably need to add to this, but it's a good start.

October goals? Yikes

OMG, I don't think I did very well here.  There's a LOT of red. Let's see:

1. Bike more when the weather permits.  And my physical health. - Nope!  Almost nothing!
2. Run - this one is temporarily on hold for a week because of hip pain and I'm experimenting to see if I can get it to go away.  But started next week, I hope to run 2-3 times per week. - Nope again!  Dang hip pain.
3. Go to the gym!  Any weekday that I don't exercise at home (i.e. run in the greenbelt).  I just joined this morning and I'm going this afternoon for a swim.  Yay! - Yes!  Did a pretty good job with this one.
4. Get the paperwork under control.  Clean out and organize the file drawers. - Nope!  Dang it!
5. Get summer garden pulled out and fall/winter garden planted.  I've already gotten started, not too much more to do! - Yes!  I'm almost done with this.
6. No St.arb.ucks.  Pee.ts once a week at most.  It's to be considered a treat.  Tea and coffee at home are fine.  I'm doing pretty well with this one so far. - Let's say yes!  I wasn't perfect, but I was MUCH better.
7. I'm trying to lose 10 pounds by Thanksgiving, so 5 pounds during the month of October.  My husband lent our scale to a friend, so I will have to weigh myself at the gym today to get a starting weight. - Nope!  Haven't lost a pound.
8. Get to bed at 10, lights out at 10:30 on weeknights.  Exceptions on Sundays if we are hanging out with friends. - Gah!  Nope!
9. Get lunches packed for the kids at night.  No excuses. - This one was a sorta.  Still needs work.
10. Clean out my closet - not the clothes (although I might do that soon), but all the other random stuff stored in there. - Nope!
11. Clean out the garage - this may go to November, because the garage is actually pretty clean, but I am storing a ton of stuff that I don't even know what it is and I can probably get rid of.  But sorting through it all is going to be slow work, not a half-day job, so I need to be realistic about it. - Nope!
12. Get my substitute teaching application mailed off - still need to find my CBEST scores and get fingerprinted. - YES!  Thank goodness, I did something on this list.
13. Start volunteering at our local Shriner's hospital for children - mailed the application today! - Still waiting to hear from them =(
14. Combine this blog with my other blog and port it to a better site - working on it hopefully with my husband's help. - Nope!
15. Hopefully work on some crafting.  A couple small projects at least.  This will probably require getting a bit more organized. - Another maybe.  Still needs a lot of work.
16. Practice piano once a week. - Nope!
17. Get the kids' Halloween costumes together.  Tadpole wants to be a pink fairy, and Turtle wants to be a firefighter.  I think.  I'm not so sure about him.  He wants to be something red, because he likes fire trucks.  He's a bit wishy washy about what that actually means, though. - YES.  Thank goodness.  Since Halloween has come and gone.

MAN, I was not good this month.  To be fair, we were sick.  A lot.  And it sucked.  And the kids were therefore home from school a lot.  So I didn't have much time.

Luckily, I have some motivation to get some of this stuff done this month because my in-laws and an aunt and uncle are coming from Italy for Thanksgiving!  Yay!  I have lots of cleaning and organizing to do, not to mention the usual Thanksgiving planning since I am typically the one who hosts and cooks and cleans.  So whew, a lot to do.  I'm going to get my November goals up shortly ...