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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dear Mom . . .

Dear Mom,

This is to let you know that you no longer need concern yourself with my son's education. I will never again ask you to attend any function of his homeschool group or any other group. I know your extreme self-absorption probably makes you incapable of understanding why I am angry, so I will explain it to you.

I asked you over a month ago whether you wanted to attend C's talent show with his homeschool group. First you said yes, and C was very happy to hear it. Then you decided you could not drive to the location of the homeschool group, so I would have to drive an hour out of my way each way to go pick you up and drop you off. I really should not have agreed to that, but I did. In spite of the fact that I worked extremely lat last night and did not get to bed until almost 5 a.m., I was still up at 8:30. I could have gotten at least an hour and a half more of precious sleep, had I not had to go get you. I also could have had breakfast.

Of course I was late meeting you, so I got the cold shoulder for that. I would have called and let you know I was running late, only I already know you refuse to turn on your cell phone unless you want to make a call. So even if I had tried to call you, I would not have been able to, and I still would have gotten punished for something unavoidable.

By the time we got to the McDonald's drive-thru, I was already tired, highly caffeinated, and actually trembling from the need to eat. I admit I yelled at C when he repeatedly kept me from hearing what the server was saying to me. However, it is not your place to question my discipline in front of my son.

Your displeasure at the homeschool group meeting was actually palpable. Although Ted and I made repeated efforts to engage you in conversation, you stayed hunched in your chair, arms and legs crossed, and resisted all our attempts at being pleasant. You stared around at the other home school families as if we were all a colony of child pornographers, committing the most heinous crimes against our children by opting not to send them to traditional school. And the rude way you responded to Ted, when he asked how you liked the talent show, was absolutely indefensible.

Actually, you hit it right on the head when you said "[Your wife] already knows how I feel about home schooling." I do know. I had hoped you would behave as a grown up and put C's needs and feelings first.
I have asked and even begged for your help and support in many small things. I have tried to include you in field trips and activities. I have offered to design a unit for you to teach him. I have even just asked you to help him finish a simple assignment or review a poem he is memorizing. But time and again, you have subtly attempted to undermine me. This was totally the last straw. Rest assured, I will never again ask you to so much as supervise C finishing a worksheet, or to read him a story.

As long as we are on the subject, don't think I didn't notice your attempts to manipulate us into spending the rest of the day with you, and the childish way you calmmed up when we refused your offer of lunch, but only if we drove all the way to Plainfield to get it. Ditto on your insistence that C needs a new winter coat, and he needs it now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with his old one. I'd rather have that money for his college fund, if you want to know the truth. He certainly can wait until after Christmas.

I want you to know, I will no longer be tolerating this behavior. I have attempted to be polite in declining your Trojan horses, but I'm afraid I have to resort to being more direct. I have some new rules, and I intend to apply them.

1. Our visits will have an definite ending time. Whatever can't get done by the time I need to leave, won't get done. If it didn't get done first, it must not have been all that important.

2. My first loyalty is to my husband. We see little enough of each other. I will no longer be spending long Sundays with you while Ted is sitting home waiting for me. See rule # 1. And while we are at it, I will no longer be listening to your veiled criticism of Ted. He is a good man and treats me well, and that is all you need to know.

3. My son is my and Ted's responsibility. I will no longer tolerate you questioning my parenting, discipline, or judgment in front of him. I am raising my son to my own standards, not yours. I can choose whatever standards of behavior I deem appropriate. Because I am the mother, that's why.

I'm sorry it has come to this. If you continue to disregard my boundaries, my time, and my rules for my son, then I will be forced to see you less and less often.

Your daughter


Heather said...

Good for you for setting firm boundaries. The idea of disliking homeschooling, then agreeing to go to a homeschool event just baffles me. It sucks to have to take such a seemingly aggressive approach to family, but I think sometimes it's completely warranted - even necessary. Hang in there. You are only doing what is best for you and your little family.

Lisa said...

It takes guts to stand up for yourself like that. Hard with our mothers, we love them, are grateful to them for many things, but they can push your buttons like no one else.

Holly said...

Good for you. What a witch for not being supportive of her grandchild even if she isn't supportive of hsing.