Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Need to vent a little...or maybe a lot

I called my MIL today at 3:45 pm to check on my boy. She said that she was waiting for him to wake up from his nap. She informed me that she hadn't gotten him dressed yet, because she didn't want him to cry. He's really giving everyone a hard time about the shorts/pants thing. But I asked her to tough it out and try (he was dressed in shorts and t-shirt when I arrived home - better late than never I guess). Then she said that she did a load of towels for me and put them away - I told her that she didn't have to do that, but she said that she didn't have anything to do while Cooper was asleep. Then she said that she did a load of Joseph's laundry. I said, "I really wish you wouldn't have done that" to which she replied, "I don't mind". I told her that wasn't the point. The point that I am trying to make is to teach Joseph some responsibility and consequences. She responded that she did it because Joseph is only here every other weekend and he shouldn't have to work when he comes over here. I almost lost it. I told her that I wish she would respect my wishes - since it is my house.

I'm going to side bar here - being a step mom isn't easy - and typically step kids aren't easy on them either. My step mom and I get along great now - but in my teen years, we didn't. I wasn't exactly a dream child. My step mom and I weren't always kind to each other back then, and we have both acknowledged that to each other - all has been forgiven and we don't bring it up - unless we are joking around. We have a love for each other as family - and a respect for each other as women. Having said that, the "tough love" she (and my own mother) taught me growing up made me the person I am today. Carol (my step mom) taught me to do my own laundry at the age of 12, and I've done it ever since. That also taught me some responsibility and consequences. For example, if I didn't do my own laundry, magic fairies we not going to fly in while I slept and do it for me. If I didn't do it - it wasn't going to be done. I learned quickly, that if I wanted to wear my favorite Outback Red shirt to school, I needed to make sure it was clean. This also taught me responsibility and consequences in other areas as well. Both my mom and my step mom did a great job of helping me learn these life lessons on my own. I'm sure it wasn't easy on any of my parents to sit back and watch me make mistakes, but they were mistakes that I learned from and usually never made again. I've made such a big deal about this because Joseph's mom does everything for him - but not in a good way. She tells him what to wear, what to eat, how to cut his hair, she doesn't let him do laundry or even load/unload the dishwasher by himself - hell, I tought him how to use the microwave a couple of years ago! Because she does all of this for him, he can hardly form an opinion on his own!

Which is why I decided to give him ONE task - his own laundry - while he's with us. He would have to learn that if he didn't have any clean socks, it was nobody's fault but his own. I really felt I was right about this - but my husband sided with his mom. He's only here for a short time, blah, blah, blah. This upsets me three ways: 1. My MIL thoughtlessly did something I specifically asked her not to do, without talking to me about it first - in my own house, mind you 2. It underminded any authority I thought I might have where Joseph is concerned and 3. My husband sided with his mother against me. The first one hurts - but number three really stings.

This is why I think that being a step mom is harder than being a mom. I want to teach Joseph to be a responsible member of society, but because he isn't my kid - I can't do it the way I would like.

I realize that this all came about because of some laundry - that I didn't even have to do - but that's not the point. My point is that this is my house. I would like my house run a certain way and my kids raised a certain way. There is one too many adults in my house!!

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