We are pretty used to writing about all that goes into feeding a child. There are the struggles — physically and emotionally — surrounding breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Then there’s the work that goes into teaching a child how to self-feed. There are the constant negotiations with a picky toddler. The stress that goes into getting them to both eat and behave when eating in public. And there’s the question of how much food is “right” for a kid.
It. Never. Ends.
But that’s just an exaggeration, right? “It never ends.” Because of course at some point, it does end. Right? At some point, parents stop worrying about what, when, and where their children eat. Right?!
Nope. Apparently, we were wrong on that one. We never thought we would write about a 68-year-old mother who has decided it’s her job to dictate when her son-in-law eats, but we should have seen this coming. Because there are a lot of things we never thought we would write about, but then the Reddit “Am I the A—hole” subreddit serves it up on a silver platter.
One man posted on Reddit yesterday to talk about an incident that happened weeks ago with his mother-in-law. He only just found out she is still “carrying a little bit of a grudge.”
This man started his story with a respectful disclaimer, telling the internet that his MIL is not “some horrible hellion from whatever weird place they spawn terrible mothers in law.”
“She’s generally kind to me,” he said. “We come from different cultural backgrounds — I am from a liberal coastal city, she is from The Heartland — but it’s fine, usually.”
As per usual, things were “fine” when this man and his wife went to visit his MIL in late March. It was a “Normal Day” until around 2:30 p.m. It was then that this 33-year-old man realized he didn’t eat enough lunch. Or, hear us out, he just got hungry again. It’s not the point, but it is what humans do.
“I have always had full access to her pantry, so I went to find something to tide me over,” he said. “And that’s when it started.”
Not In Her House
You see, this MIL was making a “surprise dinner” that she promised her son-in-law would like. In the comments he shared that it was “a genuinely tasty grilled meal. The midwest knows how to meat.”
This surprise grilled meal was going to be served around 6 p.m. And — wait for it — MIL didn’t want him to ruin his dinner. Yup, she didn’t want this grown man to make an immature decision and lose his appetite.
“I know my body,” the original poster (OP) wrote. Well duh!
“And I know I’d be grumpy waiting 3.5 hours for dinner,” he continued. “So I promised I wouldn’t ruin my dinner…She said, ‘No, I’m serious, you’re gonna like it.’ I agreed that I would like it, told her that I was hungry now, and kept walking.”
Well, that just wasn’t going to fly with this helicopter cook, and so she “flatly told [him] not to eat anything from HER pantry.”
Taking Matters In His Own Hands
*Jaw drop* What?! It’s not that serious, mom. And this special dinner is hours away.
“Finally I just told her ‘fine’ and I walked a mile to the gas station to get some snacks,” OP wrote. It’s a walk he did on his own because his wife “doesn’t want to disturb the peace.”
“Dinner was fine,” OP said. “[My MIL] was kinda cool to me, but I figured she was just working through her feelings because we all have feelings.”
We know OPs always make themselves out to be sympathetic (because why wouldn’t they?) but wow, this guy seems especially gracious. Even when he was on the verge of being hangry.
Reddit insists that 3.5 hours is a long time for this man to be hungry. It’s also plenty of time for him to digest a snack and then be ready for dinner. Like he said, he knows his body! He’s in his 30s!
We can’t believe we even have to justify this.
“A piece or two of ants on a log is a hella lot fewer calories than any snack I’m going to grab at a convenience store,” one Redditor wrote. “I’m over here rolling my eyes at your MIL.”
Well…sure…they’re not wrong…but is that really the point?
Her Way Or The Gas Station
The fact that she would rather he walk 2 miles for food than give him access to her pantry is incredibly telling and toxic. And yet, Reddit is more focused on the snacks themselves and the timeline than on the nearly-70-year-old “control freak.”
“Your MIL is a controlling you-know-what,” one person finally said. “She doesn’t get to mandate when you eat; ordering you not to have a snack and denying food from her pantry was so far over the line.”
“She is prioritizing the ‘experience’ of eating her meal over the physical discomfort of her guest,” another said.
“She wanted to be The Matriarch and wants respect in a role that doesn’t exist within the family,” a Redditor wrote. “You’re her son-in-law, not Oliver Twist begging for a bowl of food.”
And we have to believe this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her overbearing behavior. If this is how she treats a 33-year-old, how will she treat a grandchild? If this is how she handles eating, does she think she can manage her son-in-law’s bathroom breaks and bedtime? Unfortunately, it seems like this is just the start.
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