Posted by: birdsandsquirrels | January 22, 2010

now we’ve done it

My MIL (S’s stepmom) is one of the hardest people to piss off that I know. I don’t know that I’ve ever really seen her mad before. Passive aggressive, perhaps, but I think we have finally managed to piss her off. Unintentionally of course.

She is a very calm, quiet, soft spoken lady who is always doing things for other people. She is so sweet that you can’t ever really get mad at her. I have to say that I am pretty lucky as far as in laws go. They are very nice people, they generally respect our boundaries, and they are far more “normal” than my family. My family is nuts. We are full of drama. It’s all there out in the open. But S’s family seems so normal on the surface that it takes a while for the crazy to finally seep out from the pores. I have another post to write about FIL being weird since the baby was born, but I still need to get to the bottom of that before I can even figure out what his deal is. Basically he won’t come over to our house to see the baby – he only wants us to bring the baby to see him. Fuck that.

Anyhow, the in laws have been friends with this one particular couple for a very long time. They are lovely people who originally came from another country, so there is a little bit of a language barrier. Over the summer, this couple traveled to a foreign country and returned with some mysterious gastrointestinal illness, which the wife has been suffering from ever since. Every time we hear about them it’s “Mrs. R is sick again, terrible diarrhea. The doctors keep testing for different things and they don’t know what’s wrong.”

So fast forward to this week, when MIL tells us that Mrs. R brought over some food, it’s vegetarian, we should take some home. Um, no thanks. Who knows what this lady has, but if she’s had diarrhea for six months, I don’t want any sort of food that she’s made! S feels the same way. We both tried to decline to MIL politely, but she’s been pushing this food on us for days. Well finally over the weekend, S blows up and tells her why we don’t want it. MIL keeps at it, suggesting that we just microwave the hell out of it to “kill” anything in the food! Oh, and that she ate some of it and she’s okay.

What the fuck? I think I have mentioned before that I am concerned about her food safety habits. I admit, sometimes I can be a bit paranoid and overly cautious in general, but does it make sense to ANYONE to have this ill friend of the family preparing food for a family with a newborn baby? Who knows what kind of parasite or virus she could have picked up on her travels.

We were worried that people might try to bring us food after the baby was born. I know that it is traditional to bring food to new parents, sick people, after a death, etc, especially in this midwestern polite town that I now find myself living in. I don’t want to sound ungrateful or bitchy, but S and I really tried to discourage that whenever people offered, being that we are vegetarian, somewhat picky eaters, and both have sensitive stomachs. The vegetarian part is the main thing. Plenty of people have no qualms about saying “Oh, yeah it’s vegetarian” after making something with chicken stock, for example. Even in the hospital, after we explained that we are vegetarian, one of the nurses suggested I have some beef or chicken broth. She honestly thought that since it was broth and didn’t have any chunks of meat in it that it was vegetarian! We’ve been doing just fine with a combination of S cooking fresh food, using frozen foods, and some takeout.

S tried to explain all of this to his parents before the baby came, to head off these sorts of issues. Mrs. R apparently asked MIL what she could make for us, and instead of politely declining the offer, MIL suggested she make a vegetarian pasta or soup for us! Again, wtf?! Then, MIL offers it to us as if Mrs. R just brought it over for them or something. She didn’t make it sound like it was prepared specifically for S and I.

So today, MIL comes over to the house alone and brings it up again, saying that she knows that S didn’t want the food, but won’t I eat some of it? I really thought S made it clear that we didn’t want anything to do with diarrhea lady’s soup, but MIL is still pushing it! I basically said, “No, I agree with S, we really don’t want to take any chances of getting sick with the baby and all.”

Then MIL tells me “Okaaaay, but I’m going to need you to write them a thank you card. I can help you draft it. It really was nice of her to make this food for you.” Wow. She can help me write the thank you? I feel like I’m being punished for being a bad girl or something. Is she going to make me explain that we wouldn’t eat her food? This is ridiculous. I’m a grown 35 year old woman and she is not MY mom or even S’s mom.

MIL then left the house rather quickly, without even holding the baby (who was sleeping at the time). I called S and told him what happened and that he needs to deal with this horse shit. I have far more important things to do than get guilt tripped by his stepmom. At the same time, I can’t stop thinking about it and analyzing the situation in my head. It is so not worth stressing about, yet here I am, up at 5am mulling it over while Birdie has fallen asleep next to me.



  1. I with you! Although it’s unlikely that you’d catch something from their food, infections like c-diff are really hard to cure (poop transplant, FOR REAL) and the spores have to be scrubbed off surfaces, you can’t just spray some bleach on it and have it clean. So I would have done the same thing.

    I hate explaining vegetarian food to non vegetarians… I feel like it’s a waste of my time. I’m worried about being in my podunk hospital, because they won’t have a clue. I’m actually hoping the vegetarian thing scares off the food bringers, because I won’t eat things unless I’m 100% sure, and the broth issue is such a common problem. I hate that turning down food for legitimate reasons only makes me look like a bad guy.

  2. I am with you. if she tries this again, take it and throw it out on the way home. I can’t imagine who all would think it was reasonable to expect you to eat that.

    I am very picky about food safety. After culinary school and working in restaurants I have boundaries that are uncrossable.

  3. Oh, yeah. I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole. My MIL pulled the same stuff with thank you notes for food after Grace died. I would have gotten around to it, but it wasn’t exactly a top priority.

    Just try not to let her bug you. You’re doing the right thing.

    I’m glad I know how you feel about food! I almost made some cookies to send up to you last week! (Before I realized that I’m on bedrest and can’t do things like that). I definitely would have brought you a meal – but when someone I know is a vegetarian I use only vegetable stock/veggie broth and the like!

  4. What crap. They should at least understand that, I don’t understand people. Germs may not be a big thing to them, but they should respect that it is to you both and your new child. Craziness. Hope things get sorted out.

  5. Honestly, what is wrong with people?? As if you need to be even thinking about this food for one second. This just confirms to me that some people just can’t do something purely for someone else — there’s always some sort of personal agenda attached to it. My mother is like this…anyway, I totally understand your feelings about the food — I would have done *the exact* same thing. And I understand the situation irritating you too. But stand your ground! You’ve done nothing wrong here, obviously. She will have to get over it!

  6. hmmmm…..why are they pushing the food. that is the weirdest thing. maybe SHE should write the thank you note since they are her friends anyway.

    we used a meal prep place for awhile. only a few people actually made us food. one meal was even prepared for us at our house. it was nice. i could just sit there and watch, then eat. 🙂 i totally get you about questioning how people prepare things. and people are TOTALLY retarded about veggie stuff. like they don’t even know why there are veggie refried beans. oh, lard isn’t vegetarian? i didn’t know that. whatever.

    hopefully S deals with it and you can all move past it! lol.


  7. Ok that’s weird. How many ways can you say no? And what’s up with the FIL not coming over? HMMMMMMMMM

  8. This sounds like MY M.I.L. who often handwrites the gift givers address on my husband and I’s gifts and reminds me numerous times to send thank you cards. Um, thank you, Emily Post, but I am NOT so inclined.

    I am glad you stood your ground! People are gross. I’m just saying.

  9. […] that I would, since S has to work and I really don’t want to leave her with my mother in law, given our current awkwardness. When dealing with infertility and going to the ob/gyn waiting room, you always see new moms with […]

  10. Hi, I came across your blog when googling about breastfeeding for 2nd time moms. Yeah, I’m a veteran – bfed my first son for 2.3 years till I was 4 months preg with with 2nd kid and he naturally weaned off. Hang in there, I never thought I’d get to 4 weeks… then 3 months…. and suddenly it was 2 years! I’m due in 3 days time with No. 2, and feel far more relaxed now I know what to expect.

    Just wanted to give you courage about your in-laws and the other “well-meaning” people around you. I too had a lot of problems with my own mother after giving birth to my first kid. She also came from a canned food, microwave, “frozen-food-never-spoils” generation and would eat food past expiry, scrape of the “spoiled bits” of cheese, etc! It drove me nuts. Her fridge looked like a morgue/wasteland just like your inlaw’s fridge. She would also buy grown-in-China veggies and fruit which I’m dead against and no amount of gentle hinting would stop her until a full-blown family discussion/conference about the issue arose!

    When my baby was 8 weeks old, she prepared a dish of baked scallops for me and I had terrible diarrhoea and my baby broke out in hives and was rushed to the ER for antihistamines and steroids. I guess it was mu fault for eating shellfish at all, but later I found out that she had used deep-frozen scallops from China and not the fresh variety. I was really mad.

    But since then, mom’s come to see the light. I think seeing her only grandson in hives at the ER finally switched on all the warning lights in brain.

    But the next issue was TOYS. She kept buying cheap, suspect, China-made low-quality toys with little parts like magnets and sticks that would fall off. Especially little plastic cars. Again, gentle hints didn’t work. Her logic was that they were “fine for you Jane, when you were little”. By the grace of god I did not choke to death or get lead poisoning. Finally had another big row/family conference with her and she now buys only from approved brands and everyone is much happier.

    The thing is, you will discover so many things about yourself, your baby and your relationship with your in laws/ own parents when you become a parent. Old wounds will open again, hidden ones will surface, but good things will happen too. I sometimes get all teary when I see how much time my mum spends with my son compared to how much time she spent with me when I was young. Basically, she was a full-time mom and I had a nanny so I never had her full attention. But now, since my mom is retired, she’s volunteered to look after my kid practically full-time so he’s never had to go to day care. Aren’t I lucky?

    Congratulations on your beautiful little girl after your yours of trying. She’s really lovely! Welcome to parenthood, and remember… IT DOES GET BETTER AND BETTER!

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