Mother-In-Law, May I?

In Breakups/Divorce on December 20, 2009 at 12:21 am

Dear Yenta,

My husband left me and my son 6 months ago. His mother was a great
help to me and friend during and after the divorce. However, I found
out about 2 months ago that all her help was covered by lies. She was
trying to take my child away from me and telling people who live in
our small town that I am an abusive, neglectful mother who is ruining
my son. I confronted her about this and she did not deny any of it.
Since the confrontation, I haven’t seen her, or her husband. We
haven’t spoken, but she still tells people that I am a horrible
mother. Her son, my ex-husband, finally stood up to her and told her
to stop, but it hasn’t.
I feel like my son is going to miss out getting to know that side of
his family, but every time I try to mend the bridge between us, it
blows up in my face. I have quit trying, but feel like I should do
something. I am not a bad mom. I am neither neglectful or abusive. She
has not seen my son in 2 months, and I feel guilty for it every day.

-Mother-In-Law Mayhem

Dear MILM,

In Judaism there are strict laws about preserving life and health. I would apply those laws here, and be mindful of your own well-being. While it is sad for your son to lose his grandmother’s attention, it would be even sadder to lose the balance of his mommy.

Your mental and physical health are what should come first, so that in truth, you can put your son above yourself. If some woman is lying and cutting you down and trying to take you from your baby, and if you really are not neglectful nor abusive, then she is not a good human to keep near you or your son.

What happens now does not have to dictate what happens later. Perhaps after solidifying your role as mother in the midst of this divorce, and with time, this psycho mother-in-law will turn a corner and learn to re-enter your life with respect and self-control. Until then, maybe focus on the good figures in your son’s life.

When I was little and my grandparents couldn’t come to school, my mother’s cousin always came with me for grandparent’s day. Having an older woman who loves your child is the next best thing, and having your own dignity is priceless. Use all that wasted guilt energy on locating and luring in the many women in your life who I am sure adore your kid. Grandmothers come in all shapes and sizes. In these early years of your son’s life what is important is returning to the preservation of love and security in your home. That includes working hard to maintain your own mental health.

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