8/15/2008 08:00:00 PM

Things could be worse

Things have definitely changed since my last post. Before now it was practically impossible to find time to write because of the following:

I am having the typical reaction of daughter-in-laws, and I am super paranoid. I feel like everything I am doing is being judged. I am very tired, emotionally and physically. I just want to relax, sit down, go back to my old schedule.

There are many things that I let my children do that I considered normal, such as crawling around on the kitchen floor when I am cooking, or going without a diaper for potty-training. Unfortunately, according to Ma, these things are not acceptable. When I try to explain why, or tell her it is okay, she does not understand, and will not stop telling me to do something until I do it. And the list of things that she does not like is very, very long. Not only that, the minute that she finds some use for me, she will call my name, and continue calling it (frantically) until I come to her, even if I say please hold on one second. I know these things are cultural differences. The only problem is that I was overwhelmed taking care of 2 children. Now I have another person to care for, who happens to be diabetic and very different from myself, with different expectations.

A few days after she arrived, we went to walk at the local garden. It was very beautiful and fun. I really wanted to take her to a restaurant so that she could try some food other than Bangladeshi food. My friend offered to take us out to Mexican Village. Very good food, interesting decorations, I thought it would be a fun experience, maybe a little exciting for her. I asked my husband what to order for her and we waited for her food. She even munched on the chips & salsa and ordered a diet soda, and that made me feel confident she was enjoying herself. Well, her food came out, she took one bite, and then promptly pushed her plate away from her. I felt so sad. This is the big shocker though:

I actually started crying. In the middle of the restaurant. In front of my friend, the waitress and everyone. I was so horrified, but I couldn't stop. I felt so upset that I was trying so hard, and yet nothing was right. All I have wanted to do for the past few weeks is crawl into a hole and hide. I want to sleep. I want to relax. But I also want to make her happy, and I cannot even do that. I took my diabetic mother, who needed to eat, to a restaurant where she didn't even like the rice. I felt so selfish.

Well, now some time has passed. I actually wrote all of the above the day that it happened, but it has been 3 weeks since then. Things are pretty good when my husband is home, but the second he leaves I think that Shaytan takes a hold of me or something. I feel so angry. I found out that she really is only understanding about 10% of what I say, if that. And she never tells me that she doesn't understand. She just say "ha" and then continues what she is doing. The other day we were walking around the neighborhood, and my husband was on the phone. She asked me "What is this?" and she pointed across the road at some orange fencing which appeared to be a construction site. "Construction," I said, very slowly. She said "Ahhh," like she understood. I felt satisfied that we had communicated. The second my husband finished his phone call, she asked him what it was. He said "construction." She understood him.

Things like that are really getting to me. According to her, I cut the onion wrong, I stir things wrong, I grab the wrong pan, I hang her clothes to dry wrong, I cut the lime wrong, etc.... Everything that I do she does over or comes and at least takes a very close look at it, inspecting for any flaws. I know that she is not a bad person, in fact when my husband can translate for us, I feel very warm and toasty feelings towards her. But our inability to communicate on our own is making my life miserable. I guess I just feel like my husband did not bother to warn me about any of these things. I have been hearing about this woman for 3 years. For 3 years I have been hearing about how she is very independent, very sweet, and soft. How she will come here and help me with the children. How she will be a big relief to me. But instead I feel like another person walked off of that plane, a person that I have never heard of.

She calls me to come from the other side of the apartment to turn on the stove for her. She also calls me to turn it down or up. Every time! (by the way it is an electric stove) If I am in the middle of a task that she gave me, she will start asking for something frantically, so that I have to stop what I am doing to get that thing for her, and then she will just set it down and wont even use it for 10 minutes. Very frustrating. This happens all day long. She will tell me to do one thing, and then tell me to do another thing right in the middle of that thing, all the while I cannot sit down except to feed my daughter a bottle. She refuses to eat dinner before 9 o'clock, and most of the time it is closer to 11 before she will eat. My children's schedule is completely messed up because now they stay up until after she is done eating because I cannot get them to bed while I am busy cooking her dinner for her. A is no longer potty training because the week that my husband was gone, Ma made me put a diaper on her all of the time. After he returned, he explained to her what we were doing, but now A just pees all over the floor. She is not even interested in going potty on the toilet. By the way, we were pretty much done with daytime training before Ma came. So many things are so frustrating.

I could go on and on and on and on, but I will stop here for the sake of my soul. But please do not get me wrong, I do have good feelings for her, it is just hard to be alone with her. My husband is trying to work on these things with her, and I am trying to be very patient.

If anyone has any advice on my situation, please let me know.

By the way, (although it should be my first line) Ramadan Kareem!!!!


P.S. Does anyone know about diabetics and fasting? My husband has said that Ma is determined to fast, but I feel like it is very dangerous.


Umm Travis said...

assalamu alaykum sister.. I have recently come across your blog... ma shaa Allah, it seems you have a lot going on! May Allah guide you and make it easy for you, and I pray that this blog will prove to be a useful outlet for you, and an aid to other muslimahs, like me, who read it in shaa Allah, Ameen. Looking forward to more.... wa salam alaykum xx

Anonymous said...

Hey honey. I miss you! Sorry things are going so hard for you, its super hard having a mother in law from another culture and I feel your pain and frustration. Especially desi mother in laws, they seem like the worst of the bunch when it comes to bossing the daughter in law around. It doesn't necessarily mean that she is a bad person, its just how it is culturally. On the indian subcontinent (religion not a factor) daughter in laws move into the husband's family house and begins to serve the mother in law. Thats how it is. I wouldn't like it and would have a really hard time with it, so I really really really do feel your pain. I hope you're doing ok.

As for having diabetes and fasting it is actually not allowed because it does harm her and you are not supposed to fast if it will harm you. Again I have found that most desi women, especially those who have diabetes, become stubborn and continue to fast. Maybe a direct order from her son to not fast would help? Not sure. But she shouldn't.

I miss you tons, I got the pics you emailed me and I almost started crying. A is so big! mashAllah. She looks like she has such a personality and I miss her tons. She became a tiny little woman in the time since I've seen her. And Z, look at her cute little face mashAllah. They have grown up so much!

Gah I miss you. I can't wait to be back in Minn to come visit.

Kisses to you and the kids.


Aayesha said...

Salam Molly! Nice to hear from you! Thank you for your support and understanding. Alhamdulillah, my husband is starting to help Ma understand things better,a dn although there is still a lot of things that really bother me, things are getting better with the passing of time. I miss you too! Can't wait til you return as well. Hope that all is well for you and that you are enjoying your new home!

Love ya

Aayesha said...

Umm Travis! Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah! Thank you so much for your support and I hope that you are well. I will make dua'a for you and I hope that you will make dua'a for me!