My 12-year-old niece was coming to visit her cousins at the end of the month and my sister-in-law, who the family has nicknamed Smother, recently called and told me that the only way she would feel comfortable letting her daughter stay with us for two days is if she comes along to “watch.”
Before you think we are a bunch of freaks or something and that’s the reason why she wants to “watch” I need to tell you that I’m a registered nurse and my husband is a freaking pediatrician! We have twin girls – also 12 and I would call us a normal and safe family. So yes, I’m insulted and I’m mad enough to tell her to take a hike. Should I suck it up and tell Smother that, of course, she’s welcome?
Signed, Not Happy
Dear Not Happy,
First, do not feel insulted. This is not about you. It’s all about Smother. I find these kind of mothers that keep their kids in a philosophical hammer lock from birth on have their own set of problems including some abandonment and pathological control issues.
They also believe, with all their heart, that constantly clutching their child to their breast, in the mother of all bear hugs, makes them a better parent than 99.9% of the population. Nothing you do or say is going to make your sister-in-law release the death grip on her child.
So, yes, for the sake of cousin love you do, indeed, have to suck it up and welcome Smother into your home for two days. Good luck and I hope you have wine, lots and lots of wine.
If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at firstname.lastname@example.org