Friday, July 11, 2008

Another In-Law Related Dilemma

DH and I are going away for our first child-free vacation to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. We are going to the same very posh, exclusive resort on a small Carribbean Island that we went to for our honeymoon (when we could afford it a lot more than we can now, with three kids and after spending a crapload of our savings on IVF). Most of my friends are envious and keep saying, "Oh, my gosh- you must be so excited. Are you counting down the days?" Call me crazy, but I'm not. For a number of reasons.

First, I am scared out of my mind to leave our kids. I'm not so much worried about them-- Smiley will be staying with my in-laws, and MIL is a pediatrician. Can't get any safer than that. The twins will be staying with my parents and I know they will be fine. All of our parents are local and live within 7 miles of each other so this isn't a huge deal to split up the kids, and it just made more sense than to leave all three with one set. I am more worried about the fact that DH and I are going to be on an airplane together. As in if anything (G-d forbid) happens, it happens to both of us. I get sick even writing that.

Second, and this may be a totally unnecessary, irrational worry, but I worry that my MIL is going to let my SIL have "alone time" with Smiley while we're away. The thought only came to me after MIL suggested I leave Smiley with SIL while MIL and I take the twins to a doctor's appointment (another long story- MIL the pediatrician wants our twin daughter to see an orthopedic surgeon at her practice because she thinks she's walking funny...) As my previous posts indicate, I will be leaving my children in SIL's care WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER. And not even then. My major concern is SIL's temper-- she frequently loses it with her own children and has been known to scream at them to the point of making them cry, and even handling them roughly when she gets mad (although I would never say she's abusive). She can fly off the handle and be totally irrational. And while I know chances are she wouldn't do that to one of my kids (oh- wait- she already has...), I don't want to take that chance. SIL also has some larger emotional/psychological issues (that I won't get into) that make me not trust her judgment around my children.

So I can totally see MIL bringing Smiley over to SIL's house (she lives a mile away because she can't be without her Mommy) and leaving her there to "play with her cousins." MIL is constantly pushing for the kids to play together and has even gone so far as to do it behind my back (another long story) because she knows that other than Friday night dinners, I am not enthusiastic about everyone getting together. I can tell for a fact that she WILL have our neice and nephew over to play with Smiley at least once a day while we are gone. And I am having a hard time with that but as long as I know that MIL and/or is there supervising, I can live with it. But what I cannot live with is her leaving Smiley with SIL.

Now the question is how do I deal with this? I can't go away and worry the entire time that Smiley has been left with SIL. I don't know if I can leave without saying something to MIL, but how do I tell MIL that I don't trust her daughter with Smiley? Although MIL knows about SIL's issues, it's still her daughter and I think she would be highly offended if I said something. And DH isn't going to be of any help. Against my "speak no evil" rule, last night I brought up this concern- as diplomatically as possible- with him. His response was to ask me if his sister lost her temper with her kids when they were Smiley's age, implying that she only flies off the handle now that they're older. First of all, I do remember her losing her cool when they were younger and were crying inconsolably (she'd shove them off to her mother or husband and tell them to deal with them) or when they did something totally appropriate for a young toddler (her daughter ripped the page in a book by accident and she flipped out). Second, I don't care-- the fact that she flips out and loses her cool bothers me, period. It doesn't matter that she does it because her kids are older or not. He also asked me why I even think that MIL would leave Smiley with SIL. I understand- there's really no reason for her to do so- but I want to cover my basis just in case so that she can't play dumb and say "well I didn't think you'd mind" when we come back.

I asked my sister, who's opinion I really respect, what she'd do in my situation. She said that if I could live with the fact that Smiley might spend some alone time with SIL while we're on vacation, recognizing that in all likelihood nothing would happen or if it did (like SIL yelled or lost her cool), Smiley would never remember and it wouldn't affect her, then I shouldn't say anything. Take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach, recognizing that SIL isn't dangerous and I don't fear for Smiley's physical well being if she was with her. But she said if I was going to worry about it the entire time, I probably need to say something at the risk that it's going to piss MIL off.

So what do I do? Part of me thinks the "don't ask, don't tell" is probably a good approach because I know nothing bad is going to happen to Smiley and the chance is that MIL will be there the entire time anyway. Heck, for all I know, SIL may be out of town that week (she has a big work trip coming up but I haven't felt like asking her when it is). I don't want to make MIL upset. But the other part of me feels like I am the mother and I should be able to tell the person taking care of her that I don't want her left with anyone else while we're gone. And I REALLY don't want SIL spending time alone with her.

DH's lack of support in the matter isn't helping and I feel like it's creating tension between us again, like every time something comes up with his sister (that's why I have stopped saying anything about her to him). I really just don't know what to do.

And in the meantime, I'm still sick with worry about leaving at all. This wasn't my idea. DH is the one who really wanted to go back to where we went for our Honeymoon and bless his heart for being so romantic and splurging on this vacation. I can't crush his heart by saying I don't want to go (plus everything is now non-refundable) so we're going whether I like it or not, but that doesn't mean it's not keeping me awake every night.

I thought vacations were supposed to be relaxing!?!!

5 comments:

theycallmebobby said...

Wow. First of all, I am completely envious of your upcoming vacation and especially the location. We too went to the Caribbean on our honeymoon. I am not, however, envious of this pickle of a situation you have. I think before you lose any more sleep, find out if in fact SIL will be out of town. What if you are worrying about absolutely nothing? Find that out first. If she will, in fact, be home during your vacation then I think you just have to tell your DH to grow some marbles and tell his mother your wishes. It is HIS mother and this should NOT be your responsibility to tell her. Or if nothing else he can be with you when you ask/tell her that you would prefer Smiley not be left alone with SIL. Hope you figure something out so you can enjoy this WONDERFUL vacation with your husband (oh and maybe you'll get another BFP when you get home! LOL LOL just kidding - kindof).

theycallmebobby said...

Wow. First of all, I am completely envious of your upcoming vacation and especially the location. We too went to the Caribbean on our honeymoon. I am not, however, envious of this pickle of a situation you have. I think before you lose any more sleep, find out if in fact SIL will be out of town. What if you are worrying about absolutely nothing? Find that out first. If she will, in fact, be home during your vacation then I think you just have to tell your DH to grow some marbles and tell his mother your wishes. It is HIS mother and this should NOT be your responsibility to tell her. Or if nothing else he can be with you when you ask/tell her that you would prefer Smiley not be left alone with SIL. Hope you figure something out so you can enjoy this WONDERFUL vacation with your husband (oh and maybe you'll get another BFP when you get home! LOL LOL just kidding - kindof).

Meg said...

Relax and have a great time... you deserve it...but just a little advise ask your sis if she can watch Smiley then you dont have to worry. But anyway like your sis said right now its out of your control so have fun and relax.... call and hope that they are ok... by the way dont forget my # or email either friend.....love ya

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I have this compulsion to say things just to ensure things so I understand :-)

I think you can go multiple routes if you do want to say something. I think you can say to your husband, "I love you and we need to be on the same page with others even when we're not on the same page with each other behind closed doors. I know you trust your sister, but I'm uncomfortable with a few of the incidents and I really need to know that your mum isn't leaving the kids with anyone." And ask him to speak with his mum because I think it's always a little easier to speak to your own parent.

Or, put the blame on yourself and say something to your MIL. Tell her that you had a terrible dream last night and it has been freaking you out all day and you know you're being irrational, but you need to ask her not to leave Smiley with anyone while you're away. And that saying that was the only way you were going to be able to let go of the dream and relax while you're away.

Call me if you want to vent/brainstorm.

LJ said...

Ugh - how stressful. I wish I had some assvice on the SIL issue. Families - grr.