Suzi comes from a business trip to find her belongings on the doorway. She just wanted to shower and then get into the kitchen to cook for her hubby. However, he was at work when she returned home, and when she attempted to enter, her mother-in-law opened the door. Why did she do this? You know how after a three-hour flight — for work, not leisure — all you want to do is go home, shower, and put on your most comfortable pajamas? So that did not happen to me. Instead, I returned home to find my possessions in garbage bags on my porch.
Seeing everything on my front porch, I just stood there, completely perplexed and more puzzled than before. All of my clothes, crates of shoes, and even a stack of hardcover, first edition novels are gathering dust. I recall tossing my suitcase to the side and rummaging through my bag for my keys, hoping there was some rational explanation for this madness.
Before I could insert my key, the door opened, and who did I see?
Anna, my mother-in-law, appears to be as calm and controlled as possible. Except for the sneer on her face, which I had grown to expect when she had her way. I figured my husband, Daniel, was at work because it was still early. I just wanted to get home early and surprise him with dinner. However, the surprise was on me. “What is going on?” “Why are all my belongings in trash bags?” I asked Anna, hoping there was more to this than just gibberish.
My mother-in-law came out of the house with a casual demeanor—always a nice lady—and kicked one of the garbage bags containing my clothing. “You left Daniel to hunger, and I couldn’t take it. So I came over to visit and cook. I noticed there was some garbage in the house, so I needed to clean it up.” It’s fantastic to have all of your clothes taken away and called junk. It’s also ideal for your mother-in-law to come and babysit your husband while you’re on a business trip. Unfortunately, Anna discovered that I am a hothead.
“This is my stuff,” I explained. “You can’t just toss my things because you feel like it.” “I’m just helping out, Suzi,” she explained, leaning against the doorframe. “You should feel grateful. Now I’m heading upstairs to recover before making dinner for my son.”
Grateful? I was about to lose it. I wanted to scream out my rage. But then I understood there was more to the story. And I could do anything as long as my hubby was around. But I realized it was time for a chat about boundaries. My mother-in-law needed to be reminded that I was the main lady in her son’s life. Or so I thought. When I confronted Daniel about it later that evening, I raced to him, expecting him to be pleased to see me but also outraged by his mother’s actions.
“Ma’s just trying to help, Su,” he explained, sitting at the table as she filled his plate. I looked up at her, and she replied with another smirk. After that, I grabbed a bread roll and went for a walk down the street. I needed to relieve my rage. Later that night, I waited until Daniel and his mother were sleeping before carrying my still-unpacked luggage out of the house. But, before I left, I removed my wedding ring and placed it on the table where all the keys were.
I scrawled on a single piece of paper, “Please throw this away with the rest of the trash.” Then I dashed out of the door to find the cab waiting for me, ready to take me to my sister’s place for the night. The next day, I was in the kitchen with my sister, eating cookies and telling her what had happened, when my phone started ringing with Daniel’s calls — I ignored the first six before finally answering.
I could sense the desperation in his voice as he asked me to return and discuss everything. I accepted. I did not want to leave him. I loved him. I just wanted him to understand how serious the issue was . When I walked through the door, there was no indication of Anna, and my possessions were nicely organized. I assumed he’d also put my clothing back in the closet. Daniel apologized sincerely, finally realizing the breach of my personal space and his mother’s extremely improper actions.
After an hour of heartfelt conversation, he told me that it would never happen again. My husband, who had previously overlooked the chaos, hurt, and rage, suddenly recognized the significance of setting boundaries and ensuring that our home remained a haven for us only.
There’s still one more unpleasant talk to have: one with the mother in law. I need her to understand the importance of respecting our boundaries and not meddling in our personal lives. Sure, it will be uncomfortable, but having Daniel with me will make all the difference.It’s been almost a month, and the conversation with Anna has yet to occur. I’m not sure what Daniel told her, but it separates her from us. However, our home is now much healthier, and we have moved on from the turmoil.
Until the mother-in-law returns. Thank heavens Daniel did not lose my wedding band.What would you have done? What if you arrived home and found all of your belongings waiting for you outside? What would you say to your mother-in-law if she did that?