I’ve often said that it’s just common sense that you do not, under any circumstances, talk crap about your husband to your mother-in-law.
I don’t care how wrong you think he was or how well the two of you get along, she is still his mother. I have a son and two little brothers that I feel very maternal towards; believe me when I tell you that mothers will choose their sons over some girl any day. And that’s as it should be, in my opinion. If my husband ever called up my mother to bitch about me – well, let’s just agree that it would be dumb.
My point is, you don’t talk smack about your husband to his mom.
Unless, you know, you’re just kidding around.
Like, it is totally acceptable to join in if your husband’s entire family starts teasing him about that time he got his hand stuck in a gumball machine at the grocery store. Or about how he’s always been weird about eating soup. This is, obviously, not so much bitching as gentle teasing and shouldn’t cause a problem at all.
Unless you’re me.
During our recent trip back home, I found myself talking with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law about laundry. I don’t know why or how, because certainly we have not spent months waiting to get together so we could swap stain removing tips. And yet… laundry. And I started talking about how much damn laundry I had to do when Jared and I first got married because of his absolutely ridiculous habit of washing his jeans every single time he wore them.
I mean, really. Who does that? Who in the hell washes a pair of jeans after one wearing? It’s craziness! It’s unheard of! It’s clearly the sign of a man who has never had to deal with the realities of laundry!
His mother said nothing, but awkwardly turned around and started picking up lint balls off the kitchen floor.
“Oh my God. Mary, do you wash your jeans every time you wear them?” I asked. And I asked in what was supposed to be a voice that reflected my absolute horror at having put my foot in my mouth, but was probably more accurately resembling something along the lines of YOU ARE RIDICULOUS TOO! SHAME ON YOU!
If you’ve met me, you will know that I am very capable of turning a conversation about laundry into the intensity of OMG YOU ARE RIDICULOUS AND SHAME ON YOU. If you have not met, you can imagine what it’d be like if he did. My mother-in-law has, obviously, met me, but continues to be a little taken aback by my – well – volume, to be quite honest.
She looked uncomfortable and continued searching for wayward lint balls.
“I… well… I’m really messy and spill on myself,” she conceded.
I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen this woman spill so much as beans. She is, without a doubt, the cleanest person I know. SO I TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE PREDICTED THE CONSTANT DENIM WASHING! DUH! Point is, you could take one look at the two of us and know that I am much more likely to be wearing bits of my breakfast, lunch and yesterday’s dinner.
“It’s not weird!” I tried to reassure her. “Really! Not at all!” (Nevermind all those words like insane I used just two minutes earlier!) “I just never knew anyone who did that before. I mean, my jeans don’t even fit until the third time I wear them. YES! THAT’S IT! It’s probably because YOU ARE SO SKINNY that you wash your jeans every time! I can’t wash my jeans because I’m chubby!”
I am fucking brilliant.
Except – well –
I turn to my sister-in-law to drive home my point, “Brandy! You don’t wash your jeans every time you wear them, right?”
Because the best way to soften the blow of calling your mother-in-law crazy is to insinuate that your sister-in-law is fat.
Oh you have got to be fucking kidding me.
It should be noted here that my sister-in-law is married to Jared’s brother, meaning she was raised and trained in the ways of laundry by a completely different woman who was not my mother-in-law. Meaning, it was a perfectly logical assumption that she wore her jeans more than once between washings – because, DOESN’T EVERYONE!?!?
“I, I probably have to because of the kids wiping their faces on me,” she said. And, yes. She has children. And, you know, SO DO I.
I was baffled. Not only had I inadvertently called them both nuts and implied that my sister-in-law was fat (which she is not), but I had also apparently outed myself as someone who wears dirtier than normal clothes.
And that is really the most astonishing part of this whole exchange. Two women from two different upbringings say that they wash every pair of jeans every single time they wear them. I don’t know if I just hang around with dirtballs or something, but I have honestly never met another woman who does this.
Which brings me to my point. (Which I just realized is basically asking the internet to back me up on the “my in-laws are crazy” claim. Shit. But I really want to know! So I’m sorry! It’s just that I found out from the Internet once that I was really wrong about how I did dishes, too! Please don’t take us off the Christmas card list!)