Dear Sasha, My mother-in-law drives me nuts. She lives on the other side of the country but she comes to stay at our house about twice a year for a week each time. Ostensibly these visits are to spend time with her grandchildren, but she doesn't play with them or spend much time interacting with them. Instead, she sits around reading magazines or going shopping, even when I have invited her to do kid activities with them. She talks constantly and interrupts everyone, mostly about her favorite brands and what she wants to buy for the kids. She buys them excessive amounts of gifts, even when it's not a birthday or holiday, and even though I've asked her to tone it down, she does not. I've tried hard to connect with her but we really have nothing in common, except my husband and even he doesn't really enjoy spending time with her. I recognize she's going to be a part of my life so is there any way I can make this more tolerable?
If you’ve been reading this column long enough then you know my stance when it comes to <insert annoying adjective here> mother-in-laws. But J, just in case you’re new to the site, here’s the refresher: put that sh-t on your man.
No matter what the problem is, he should be the one to step up and set the boundaries. So J, if the problem is that she’s not spending enough QT with the kids then it’s on him to have that talk with her. Bow the f-ck out.
But here’s the reality J, and I think you know what I’m going to say: she is who she is, and chances are she’ll keep doing what she’s doing, which is basically, a whole lotta nothin'.
The hard fact is she's not the best grandma, and maybe just isn't particularly interested in this stage in your kid’s lives. Maybe she doesn’t want to get on her hands and knees and play with all their bacteria infested toys, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love them.
So aside from asking your husband to say something, there’s not much you can do about it – you can’t make someone care more than they do. You know? So if I were you I’d accept her for what she is and carry on.
J, in the scheme of all the nightmare stories I’ve read, you have it pretty easy. If all she does is breeze in, chill on your couch, and then bounce after a few days, I mean, that’s not too shabby.
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