Monday, February 09, 2009

Kinda Melancholy Monday: The Eternally Out-numbered Mom Makes a Stand

I spent the weekend packing up all kinds of things as my husband and I prepare to put our house on the market next month. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions as items that disappeared years ago are unearthed from the detritus of our basement.... Sometimes exhilaration: "OMG, I KNEW I had a set of those when we moved ten years ago!!" Sometimes frustration: "You gotta be kidding me, why do I have three drawers of these things?!?" Or even worse: "Oh, no I di'in't!!! I did NOT wear this! Did I?"

More than the shock of how much STUFF we have accumulated over the years (and then sent to our basement where we could deny its existence more easily), I getting increasingly upset by my husband's off-hand comments about the future of said stuff. He is ready to fire-sale anything and everything. I keep asking him where he thinks we are going to live when we get back to the States in a couple years, an apartment? We'll just have to buy all new stuff; why don't we just pack up all this stuff and put it in storage for the two years we are in England?

I reached my breaking point today when he asked me if we could send the oak highchair (that my parents bought for our first-born 9 and a half years ago) down the road. I told him, NO, we need to keep it so that we have it for our grandkids to use someday.

And then all the pieces of many conversations over the years all clicked into place. And I realized that maybe he and I didn't see eye to eye on what our life would look like when we are 65.

So I said, "Honey, I think we need to revisit our mutual life goals and where we think we're going to be at 65 or 70. I see us in a big old house, a house big enough for everyone to come back home for Christmas or a visit, where everyone can be comfortable." And he starts going on about how much work a big house will be for us to clean and how we're not the greatest housekeepers, anyway, and why would we want all that work blah, blah, blah....

And I say, "Well, I doubt I can say this without bursting into tears, so I don't know if you want to hear it."

And, of course, he wants to hear it.

"We HAVE to have a big house because if we make our house too small and uninviting, then the boys will never come home for the holidays with their wives and kids! We'll be the mean in-laws that no one wants to come see because they have to get a hotel room to be even moderately comfortable...." And I cried like a baby. To the point that Daddy-007 almost lost it. "I HAVE to have a place where they'll want to come back. I don't have a daughter that I KNOW will want to be with me for her babies someday, that I know will be comfortable enough around us. I know it sounds ridiculous to have this conversation when CC hasn't even hit puberty, but it's not ridiculous!" Argh... I am crying right now just writing this. It absolutely kills me to think that I might not have the same kind of relationship with my sons (or at least one of them) that I have with my mom.

I know that some women have wonderful relationships with their MIL's. It's possible. I guess.

But more likely their wives will see me as the woman who mommied their husband and will try and compete with me and I won't be able to help myself when I school their little asses in whatever they choose to take me on in.

OR: I suppose I could learn some humility and just be thankful that there are potential daughters out there, for me, that my boys will bring home someday and I should love them like they were my own, just because my son does.

That seems like a stretch, though, right?

I'm trying to pull out of the funk. I love my little guys so much, but I still need to do a bit more grieving for the daughter I'll never have, I guess.

P.S. Oh, one thing to help turn my funk to funky is the fact that I bought tickets to BlogHer '09 which is happening in Chicago, July 23-35! It should be a blast and I am looking forward to meeting some of these amazing women that I have been lucky enough to run into in Blogland. Let me know if you're going to be there!!


  1. It's just all the anxiety from moving. Trust me on that.
    The biggest fights me and mah man had happened right before the move.

  2. Oh John and I just fought this past weekend moving...i hate to move and so does isn't pretty...but all is well now!! Hang on will all work out in teh end!!

  3. First, I LOVE your new look.

    Second, I'd personally get rid of everything and sell. Or leave it in your house and rent it if you're going to be back in 2 years. We didn't do either one... we got rid of everything (or shipped it) and then tried to sell our house but then, after 8 months on the market, decided to rent it. In retrospect, it would be nice to have all that suff ... like beds, sofas, my piano :( since we have the house anyway.

    And I'm sure your kids will come visit you no matter where you live.

  4. There was a young man that I was in an intense relationship with for mose of my college career. His mother and I became very close. He was an only child and he was adopted. He was very doted on and loved. He was their life, their universe, their everything.

    This woman embraced me as the daughter she'd never had. I'd go to visit over summer or winter breaks and she and I would spend time together- shopping, lunch out, just watching a movie while she brushed my hair and set it in rollers.

    I never had that kind of a fun and friendly relationship with my mom- it just isn't how she is (and my relationship with my mom is great).

    So we fulfilled each other.

    My point is that your sons may well bring home someone who fulfills you and who also needs you. Someone you will love who will also love you. Someone you may end up being very close with.

    Maybe they will live close by. Maybe they will be your next door neighbor. Maybe they will live 2 hours away. Maybe on the other side of the country. You have no way of knowing where they will be, what kind of lives they will choose, or where life will have taken you!

    Focus on the NOW. Live with what you have at this moment. Because it is all that you have. Why fret and worry and mourn about a future that only exists in your head?

    And if you are really sad about the daughter thing, I'll send my almost 4-year-old your way when she's having one of her dramatic meltdown screaming fits. :) Or you can have her when she turns 13. That might be good.

  5. Meh, ferget it...I'd visit you anywhere and you're not even my mum :)

  6. Please goddamn flush this word verification crap down the drain... AAAGGGGGHH.

  7. Oh Amy - it's stressful just moving around the block, but across the ocean? Hugs.

    Men are meatheads when it comes to sentimentality. I found out this weekend that an aunt of mine is sending me an heirloom pin that was my great grandmothers.

    Hubs wanted to know how much I thought it would go for on Ebay. Meathead.

    And the whole daughter/MIL thing, you know I hear you with two boys of my own. My MIL is desperate to make me the daughter she never had, which honestly just pushes me further away. I think this is one worry you (we) will have to put on the shelf until that day comes, and then figure it out as it goes.

    Take care of yourself!!! Em

  8. Amy,

    It will all work out. 007 will one day come to his senses and understand. Men are meatheads is a bit rough, but Eudea-Mamia is entitled to her stance. I think what you all are ding is exciting. I have always contended that it would be a great experience for me and my kids to have the chance to grow up if even for a few years in another country. No not Canada. But the chance to embrace a new culture and mix that into the melting pot of whom these great little boys will become is invaluable.
    What do I know though? I am a meathead. :-) -- You just have to promise to stay in touch.

  9. BTW thank you for visiting my blog, I may have forgotten to say so earlier -- my first blog gaffe - oops this is probablyy another.
    Anyway regarding up there post, my eyes watered a little. I am deeply in love with my house, although it seems to be unrequited love. I hope you get to have your dream house. Now I will go listen to Crosby/Stills sing "Our House" and boo-hoo to get this out of my system.

  10. you had me laughing with this "Oh, no I di'in't!!! I did NOT wear this! Did I?"

    I never even thought about the big house so the kids want to visit thing. You are so right. And so now I have that to worry about. How am I going to make enough money to buy a big old house? And after reading this post for the first time ever in my life I was like WOW I hope maybe we do end end up having a daughter for Cole. This has been a productive and emotional visit.

  11. I have a great relationship with my MIL. It will be OK!!

  12. HMMMMM....well....I have an evil I can't help you there....but my grandmother was a great MIL...she and my mother get along fabulously and we still spend every holiday at her it's possible! My oldest is 11 and we are already planting trees and doing things in the yard that we know our grandchildren will enjoy. Good luck on the move.

  13. *hehe* they better be nice...or that hubby and future daughter in law's just might end up at the flea market! *lol* Just kidd'in! Hope your feeling better!

  14. AH you're going to BlogHer, I need to get that bloghership to volunteer or i'll be living vicariously through your tweets!

  15. MEN!!!
    Sometimes they need to just keep their yaps shut!!!

  16. Oh Amy - I'm with you on the stuff. The stuff of our life - it's so hard to part with...I like the whole idea of renting your house and keeping some of your stuff - why not? And the big old house for everyone to come hang out in? I'm with you....that's what growing old is all about. A house for family to hang out in when they want.

    I feel for you with the daughter thing but no need to predict into the future about what kind of relationship you will have with your daughter-in-laws. You will have one and those relationships may turn out better than you ever expected. I absolutely adore my MIL - she is such a special woman.

    And you are too. :-) They'll see that. I know they will.

    Hang in there - this is an emotional time for you guys....

    And this BlogHer? I kinda want to go but I don't know why. Hmmmm....shed some light on it for me when you get a chance. Is it mainly for a social thing?

    Enough rambling...

  17. I also ruminate (amongst many other things) about someday being a MIL and possibly being rejected or forgotten entirely! I feel that I am preparing myself ahead of time to soften the potential blow :-)
    Maybe we'll both get lucky and have daughters-in-law who fully realize our "coolness"

  18. I have FEMALE friends that love their MIL'S more than their husbands. It is not always the way it was with me and my MIL. Trust me. You're under a lot of pressure. You are leaving the country to live across an ocean, that is a huge deal. That being said, I am so so so happy you are coming to BlogHer. Good for you for doing something for just you.

  19. Lee has a good idea. Try not to worry about the MIL bonding until the time comes because you have no control over that. HOWEVER, you can control the heck out of the house idea so DON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER from 007 and get you a big 'ole house when you come back. And invite us too along with the kiddies because I think hangin' with ya'll would be a hoot and a half.

  20. My husband and I split time between his parents and my parents equally. I have a good relationship with his step-mom and his dad. My parents may as well be his parents. I am sure that your boys will want to come home to visit their mom when they get all married.

    Just take everything in stride when moving here. If you get overwhelmed, you can always email me to vent. I know how this whole moving to another country thing can be.

  21. I adore my MIL. She has two sons and calls me the daughter she never had. She lives less than one mile away and I wished she lived next door. She even teases my husband that she loves me more than him : ). So yes, it is possible to have a good relationship with a future DIL.

  22. The process of moving and setting up a new home nearly killed my relationship with E-Boy. It was the most trying time ever.
    And for what it's worth, my mom is an awesome MIL - my actual MIL, not so much, but 90% of that was her choice because she's so mad her baby married her polar opposite. I personally didn't really care, but she was offended. I guess I'm just saying you can do a lot to make sure you get that relationship... I guess I have a lot of energy around this, but mostly just want you to know it's possible.

    But the moving... oy the moving.

  23. Aaaawwww....Amy.... :( You are a sweetie...not a bitch, at all! :(

    Now snap out of it! lol


  24. When my eldest son got his live-in sometime-soon girlfriend, she took all the aggression she had built up against her mother and grandmother and applied them to me. She wrote me a letter about how she felt I was manipulating and had issues. I knew she was having troubles coming to grips with finally being "free" of her family and patiently waited. I continued to treat her the same way I treated my children and she started to come around when she realized she really was 'part of the family'. Now she calls me Mom and encourages my son to bring me flowers. Stiff upper lip there Amy, it's not always as bleak as it can seem at times!


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.