Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Tale of Two Mothers-In-Law

Rob and I are very, very fortunate to have two of the best mothers on this planet! They take turns keeping the kids for us so that we don't have to use daycare. Since they keep the kids at OUR house, they also pitch in with laundry, dishes and cleaning. We are truly lucky that they choose to help us and enjoy being with our children so much.

But we are still trying to figure out how these women can be so wonderful... and yet could not be more opposite.

My mother cannot cook. Baking she does beautifully.... but cooking is pretty much a disaster. At Sunday Dinner (a weekly tradition) a few weeks ago we feasted on boneless, skinless chicken breasts in orange juice. Rob put his chicken on my plate when my mother wasn't looking.

Rob's mother is a genius in the kitchen. She makes a pot roast that is just delicious. Occasionally she tries off-the-wall things..... like adding stir fry vegetables to her beef stew, which don't work. But for the most part, her meals are yummy!

Minimalist might be too extravagant a word to describe my mother's taste in decorating. She hasn't done any landscaping around her house because she's afraid it will look too cluttered. She doesn't like clutter. She always cautions me to rein in my Christmas decorating in case it gets "too cluttered looking." My mother-in-law on the other hand, buys new plants, flowers and shrubs every few weeks (guess who gets to water them when the in-laws are out of town). She is a sucker for "pretties". She bought Abby a Christmas skirt last year that looked like something a dance hall girl would consider flashy. Rob made her take that back to the store.

The concept of "Sales" were invented with my mother-in-law in mind. She will buy it if it is on sale, doesn't matter if she needs it or not. Which is why I have a pair of lime green warm-up pants in my closet and Rob has a plaid shirt that Liberace would think was too feminine. My mother will not buy things on sale unless she absolutely needs it. "You don't save any money if it is not something you would have bought even if it weren't on sale".

My mother makes extensive lists for everything from chores to grocery shopping and party planning. She has everything organized from A - Z. All her kitchen utensils have permanent homes in certain cabinets or drawers and it upsets her if they are not put where they are supposed to be. Rob's Mom doesn't care where they go, so long as they are put away (I will admit that I subscribe to her theory... much to my mother's dismay).

Rob's mother delivered the "sex talk" to him during puberty and used all the appropriate terminology (he swears she was close to pulling out models) while my mother never even gave me "the talk". My sister did.

If we can't find something we blame the mothers, one puts things in one place and the other somewhere completely different. My mother doesn't like the way Rob has some of his figurines arranged and keeps putting them in size order.... tallest at the back and smallest at the front. Which causes Rob deep angst. He puts them back the way he had them. She changes them again. Every week. Rob's mother needs to do a load of laundry, even if I have everything washed up. She will wash the bathroom rugs if she can't find anything else to launder.

My mother loves to read, particularly mysteries. My mother's favorite thing to read is the newspaper. Which is fine.... except she spends most of her time reading the police blotter to see if she recognizes anyone's name. Her second favorite thing to read is the National Inquirer (a tabloid). She swears they always scoop the "real" newspapers.

Rob's mother, I have mentioned in other posts is a hypochondriac. If you've had it, she's had it and it was much worse than yours. She had a nose-bleed after a fall last year and didn't want to take tylenol in case it thinned her blood and she bled out. Rob took me to the emergency room when J.T. was little for heart palpitations... my mother thought it could have waited until the morning when I could see my regular doctor.

Since Rob is an only child and our children are the only grandchildren, they make out like bandits on Birthdays and Christmas with presents from his parents. On my side of the family, the kids are grandchildren number 10 and 11..... they get$15 for their savings accounts each birthday and $25 on Christmas.

They are as different as night and day, these two mothers-in-law. But their love for us is great and they show it in many, many ways. When they aren't driving us absolutely crazy!


crafty said...

Oooh, trying not to be jealous.

I loved your descriptions of your Mothers! It's so funny how your Mother rearranges the figurines!

I have two mothers-in-law (courtesy of divorce and re-marriage) neither of them are any use to me, and my Mother lives too far away to help out.

Aunty Evil said...

Yep, mothers are invented to drive us all crazy.

I struggle with which of mine drives me mad the most and most frequently. It's a balancing act between my mother and my MIL.

But I love them both.

Gotta ask though....does Rob really have "figurines"? *snicker*

Stomper Girl said...

Your hypochondriac MIL makes me laugh so much.

Team SAK said...

While very different they both sound devine and a perfect partnership with opposite characteristics. You are so lucky to have such great childcare help close by with bonus housework thrown in too!

M said...

Love that comparison of two lovely ladies.

My Mothers-in-law are two different ladies from two different backgrounds. Like yours, between them they bring a balanced life outlook to our chidren.

Mind you, they are both 3000km away so not available for babysitting (or the many weekends away my brothers & their wives seem to get....grrr).

Melinda said...

Oh yes Aunty. We have Lord of the Rings figures, Star Wars figures.... I'm proud to say I married a geek!

Fairlie said...

I got to the line, "They take turns keeping the kids for us so that we don't have to use daycare," and found it difficult to read further through my eyes which had suddenly turned emerald green.

Living a very long way from both our mothers, we don't get that opportunity! You are very lucky.

I loved your comparison of the mothers - how fortunate are your kids to have such diverse influences around them?

I'm so glad you clarified about the figurines...I was imagining Lladro porcelain shepherdesses and swans...! (Sorry, Rob)

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