Mommy Wants Vodka

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Classic One-Uppence


“Gah, these shoes don’t fit.”

“Well, at least you HAVE shoes. Some people don’t even have shoes, Becky!”

“I know this, but MY feet hurt NOW.”

“Becky, some people don’t even have FEET. They just have worn down bloody stumps of legs that they have to walk on to go to work every day. Can you imagine how THAT feels?”

I knew someone who was more than willing to remind you of how good you have it while other people suffered unimaginable and unspeakable tragedies. I’d call him a friend, but it’s really not what he was, and his purpose was valiant: sometimes it *is* important to remember how fortunate you really are and be reminded of how crappy things can be.

Other times, you just want some freaking sympathy.

I’m fortunate, I suppose, that I have two leading ladies in my life (my mother and my mother-in-law) who will both stop at nothing to remind me, while I whinge on and on about something as trivial as sleeping properly (I have insomnia while pregnant), that there are always people who are worse off than I happen to be.

Those people happen to be: THEM.

Most of the time I can ignore this, although after years of being +1 as a child, I’m particularly sensitive to it. A childhood riddled with illness (on my part, I was a sickly kid) only punctuated by a mother who often would take to her own bed whenever the puke began a-spewing, because she was “afraid she would get it, too,” tends to make one overreact to this as an adult. (She never got the stomach flu, ever).

Nowhere is this more evident than when I have a baby.

Because both my mother and my mother-in-law have had children (obviously) and because those children who married (The Daver and myself) began to produce heinous babies (much like our baby selves, if legend is to be believed), babies do happen to be something that they do have experience in.

No sooner do I exclaim that I’m “having a hard time walking” after delivery because “my son’s head gave me 4th degree tears and I nearly bled out,” than does one, then the other chime in with one of these two nuggets:

1)”Well, *I* didn’t have an epidural when I delivered YOU.”


2) “Well, *I* had a C-section. I didn’t walk for DAYS afterward because I had a HUGE ABDOMINAL INCISION.”

Not really the “Okay, honey, I’ll have the nurse bring you your pain pills now” I was hoping for.

Even more frustrating comes months later, after having had no more than 2 consecutive hours of sleep a night for the preceding (pick a number, any number) months. Without bothering to take into account the tears that are spouting from my eyes (without being punched!), the puffy black circles under my eyes, and the fact that I look pretty much like I was run over by a truck named Alex, the moment I say, “I’m so tired,” before bursting into hysterical tears, it’s time to play Whose Pain Was Worse again.

I’m met with any number of response, none of which happens to involve what I want to hear, “Yeah, Alex is quite a handful. You look like ass. I’m sorry you’re struggling so very much. Do you want to give him back now?” Or really what I needed to hear: “It will get better soon, I promise.”

No, what I hear are things like this:

“Well, (insert YOU or Dave here) were AWFUL BABIES. You cried ALL THE TIME. I almost went INSANE.”

Then they look back smugly at my puffy, tear-stained face and wait for me to say…I’m not sure what they want me to say, but I have a feeling that what they really want is some sort of apology or recognition for the horrors of infant hood that they experienced with Dave and I.

Problem is, have you ever tried to feel sympathy for someone who has gone through something similar to what you’re going through while your wracked with such terrible PPD that you are honestly thinking suicide is probably the best bet for a good night’s sleep? Especially when that sympathy is for something that happened 28 or more YEARS AGO?

It’s damn near impossible.

Were I to have this same conversation now, after Alex has been sleeping through the night pretty regularly since about 11 months of age, I could try and at least PRETEND to feel sorry for them. We could cluck, commiserate, and move the hell on with our days.

With (crosses fingers furiously) a new baby on the horizon come January, I know that this is bound to spring up again, and while I’ve tried to steel myself for it, I think it’s high time for me to mention my quandary to them.

I don’t expect that it will lead to tearful apologies or hugs or anything remotely maternal from either of them, as that’s not the way either of them happen to behave, but I want them to realize that what they are doing is NOT helpful. If it’s infuriated me so very much that I’m already dreading it, I think that the adult thing to do is not to look the other way (like The Daver suggested) and change the subject. If they’re not going to change what they do (and I sincerely doubt they would) and are going to continue to look for sympathy from me during this time, they should, at the very least, know that they’re upsetting me.

But I don’t really know how to handle the situation and to diffuse it without screaming at them, which is simply Not Done in my family. I’d love to yell, “If you’re looking for sympathy, you can find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis,” but I do like my familial gatherings sans drama.

What would you do, if you were me? Any and all suggestions (besides telling me what a trite bitch I am being) are welcome. Would you pull a The Daver (it doesn’t bother him, mainly because it has nothing to do with him) and ignore and redirect or would you make mention that this is bothering you?

And then dish, lovers. Tell me what kind of +1 people do to YOU.

60 Comments to

“Classic One-Uppence”

  1. On September 23rd, 2008 at 11:33 am Ginger Magnolia Says:

    I, too, have a mother who is a one upper. No matter how busy, stressed, tired, whatever I am, she always has a worse problem. It is completely frustrating, and it makes you feel worse about whatever you were complaining about/looking for sympathy for. I wonder if part of it is that they are part of the “me” generation? I am really looking forward to hearing what others have to say, since yelling/screaming/throwing a fit won’t work for me, either. I think the only thing worse is someone telling you they know how you feel if there is no way they possibly can.

  2. On September 23rd, 2008 at 11:34 am swirl girl Says:

    From my mom, her classic line is “been there , done that” and I just say to her – well, I say nothing TO her, but I mutter shit under my breath. I don’t want to even go there with her because I think it’s kinda her ‘right’ to do that …and I need her for stuff and she is a big grudge harborer. Plus- I reserve the right to do the same thing to my kids when the time comes.

    I do have a one upping sister – it drives me crazy! I don’t even tell her things because she doesn’t know how to symathize or empathize. Or she tells me about a friend who blah, blah, blah….

    Unfortuneately, what goes around – comes around!

    Gotta find some relief somewhere. I like Pinot Noir personally.

  3. On September 23rd, 2008 at 11:34 am Rachel Says:

    I have only one comment for these people, and that is ‘fuck off!’

  4. On September 23rd, 2008 at 11:47 am SciFi Dad Says:

    Oh that’s nothing, you should see my mother and MIL! 😉

    In all seriousness, that really, really sucks. I can empathize more than I care to admit; it’s difficult to be at such a low point and have the people who you’re supposed to be able to depend on, the people who are, above all others, supposed to put you first and make sure you’re feeling OK (or as OK as they can make you feel given the circumstances), not fulfill their role. I’m sorry you have to deal with that.

  5. On September 23rd, 2008 at 11:48 am Deb Says:

    Ugh!! It bothers me to no end Aunt Becky. I used to say how hard it was after a particularly bad day/week/month/year and my mom would almost always come back with something like “well you wanted to have kids” or “at least you have a husband to help you. I had to do it all by myself” instead of something comforting.
    i dont think your being trite at all and if i weren’t such a big baby i would have said something to my mother at the time.
    hell i’m still a big baby now and dont want to confront her. but thats another story for another time.

  6. On September 23rd, 2008 at 11:57 am Andy (echaos) Says:

    I would print your post and mail it to them, with a “I found this and thought of you ” sticky note attached!

    Good luck!!!

  7. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:00 pm Kyddryn Says:

    Hmm…how about:

    “My dear (insert name or title of family member here),

    While I have the utmost empathy AND sympathy for what you went through more than two decades ago in the dark and barbarous times you lived in, when child-rearing was fraught with danger and you had not only to contend with lack of sleep and your chapped nipples falling off but also saber-toothed tigers and Amway salesmen, I am not talking about YOUR pain, suffering, or misery at the moment;

    What you mistook for an invitation to regale me with tales of the horrors of raising (insert name of self or beloved here) single-handedly while also defeating Nazi Germany and finding a cure for Polio when you’d been torn in half with the birth and hadn’t slept in fifteen years was, in actuality, a plea for some sympathy and/or empathy for what I am experiencing NOW.

    I am not interested in discovering how well you can one-up me (I already know that, should I lose an arm in an accident you will tell me about how you lost both arms to Pigmy cannibals while rescuing orphans from the Congo and had to sew them on with threads made up from your nylons using needles carved from Acacia trees that you held in your toes,all while wrestling alligators and without mussing your hair) – I am interested in someone saying ‘Oh, dear, I remember those days – can I take the baby for an hour or two while you shower, brush your teeth for the first time this month, and perhaps have a bite to eat and a nap?’

    Or at the very least offering to pick up some Chinese Takeout before they run like hell for the hills. If you can’t manage a slightly more human and humane response to my tears and hormone-and-sleep-deprivation fueled emotional surges, then you are not welcome to call, visit, or otherwise thrust your rude, callous, and clueless person in my home until I feel I am in control enough to NOT stab you in the uterus with a rusty chopstick. I love you, now be nice or fuck off.”

    I think there’s a Hallmark card for that. If there’s not, there should be.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (who feels ya…really…)

  8. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:12 pm amy Says:

    *hugs and a note to let you know, it really DOES get easier*

    With that being said… I was completely exhausted and reduced to tears at my daughter’s second birthday party with her new little brother on my lap suffering from colic and up for nearly 4 days straight when my ex’s sister proceeded to tell me that I had no idea what tired was…

    After mentally strangling her to the point where she could no longer speak, my eyes welled up with tears and just barely managed to mutter… “Look. I get that YOU have such a hard life ok, but at the moment I am focusing on MY problems, and frankly if you want to have this contest, then I don’t have time for you.”

    It’s not necessarily right in this situation, but maybe you could ask your husband to mention to his mother, or yours for that matter that it’s been particularly upsetting for you to have this one up-man ship while your emotions and hormones are so raw…

    My second husband flat out told his mother that we all understood that she had a hard life, but for the time being my situation was our main concern and if she could help us find some way to ease my exhaustion (by now I had #3 and was preggo with #4 and on that infernal bedrest AGAIN) that would be awesome, because if SHE could make it through things like this, then she should have some useful tips for me…

    Just a thought dear. Otherwise e-mail me and I will spend all day telling you it gets easier and encouraging you through the exhaustion… I sooo get it…

  9. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:27 pm Sandy Says:

    If I were you, at this point, I would begin retreating into my cave of despair and avoid contact with them as often as possible – but that’s me, and I am not a healthy role model! I loathe confrontation, particularly with my mother and therefore, I unhealthfully usually just avoid her as much as possible for a while until my own mood clears enough for me to take it from her again.

    Yeah, don’t do that!

    My mom is not a one-upper like yours, so I can’t fully relate- but she is a martyr. She carries wooden planks, huge nails and a hammer in the trunk of her car for random martyring no matter where she is. She can turn ANYTHING into being about her and how no one appreciates her sacrifices and on and on and on and on. Tiresome, but not directly hurtful like what you are experiencing.

  10. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:30 pm The Mommy Says:

    Um, I got nothing. I tend to just ignore as well (I think I’m a lot like the Daver). I have a SIL who tends to be a constant one-upper as well. Everyone complains about it but no one DOES anything. Mostly, they just curtail contact with her. And I honestly don’t think the one-uppers even realize they’re doing it. They just like to make every situation about them.

    I REALLY like the idea of printing this post and handing it to them, note attached. That would be excellent!

  11. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:33 pm Badass Geek Says:

    Ugh. My brother-in-law is a one-upper. It disgusts me so much, I can’t talk any more about it.

  12. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:48 pm Marie Says:

    I would probably bitch about it on my blog and then not tell them how I feel cause I am a chicken.

  13. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:54 pm Lola Says:

    Oh, honey, that just sucks hairy donkey balls! My mom is so completely opposite that I can’t even imagine having her do that to me. My mother was down here every day after my son was born trying to get him to stop crying all day for four months, because I was a useless pile of crap.

    I wish you had a mom like that, especially with two/three kids. If I were you, I would just snap at them when it happens, not yell, but snap something like, “Do you really think that’s helping? I realize that you’ve been through this many, many years ago, but I’m living it NOW, and I could really use a bit of sympathy.”

    Then, depending on their response, you can maybe get some help or you can kick them out of your house while screaming “Thanks-a-fucking-lot, MOM!”

  14. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:56 pm Kristine Says:

    I like sarcasm. Sacharin sarcasm – sounds like sympathy, but just enough punch to make them go “huh?” As a bonus, both my mother and MIL read my blog, so I tend to put things in my blog that hint at issues. But generally I am chicken and end up only bitching to Clint…one day I hope he gets really tired of it and does the classic male problem solving, but that hasn’t seemed to happen yet.

  15. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:57 pm guilty noodles Says:

    I pay my therapist a hefty sum to get some sympathy. Sympathy isn’t even a part of Asian vocabulary, except anger and stone cold.

    I generally stay as far away from my family (both sides) as possible.

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this… it really sucks you can’t sleep. You’re a real trooper.

    No worries, I’ve upped the quantity of liquor I’m sending you after you deliver.

  16. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:57 pm momumo Says:

    I would probably never develop the balls to tell them in advance, regardless of how much planning I put into it — I would have 40million imaginary conversations to that effect and then, in the throws of my emotional weakness, I would probably pop off with something like — “oh that’s real fuckin sympathetic of you — thanks” — in my super snot voice, and then I would retire to the bathroom for a long, private sob – and neither of them would bother knocking on the door to interrupt, cuz they would either a. feel victimized by me or b. actually figure out that if I popped off like that I needed the cry — and the whole time I would know that secretly, I had planned this all the time, knowing they couldn’t stay mad forever because they have to understand my stress.

  17. On September 23rd, 2008 at 12:57 pm Ms. Moon Says:

    I’ve always said that someone else’s cancer does not cure my broken leg.
    However, having said that, I know that it’s hard to remember exactly how difficult things can be, even if you’ve been through it. Whatever “it” is. And I guess the reason is- we do live through things. The pain of those hard times fades. It becomes part of our history, and probably not a part we put the most emphasis on in our memories.
    Which doesn’t help you in your situation.
    I do remember those times, though, and how hard they were and here’s something I wrote on the subject a while back:

    And one thing you CAN do, Becky, is to remember these times yourself and when your daughter or daughter-in-law is going through similar times, be compassionate. Call the nurse, make a casserole, give a shoulder massage, take the baby for a walk.
    It’ll be a better world and your grandchildren will have better mothers.

  18. On September 23rd, 2008 at 1:05 pm Painted Maypole Says:

    Maybe you could try saying “since you understand how hard it is, could you please walk with the baby up and down the hall tonight so that I could get some sleep, and when this child has children of it’s own I can say ‘oh, when you were born I was SO tired, until your dear beloved grandmother came to help, and I was SO lucky, and so now I will pass on the help to you'”

  19. On September 23rd, 2008 at 1:06 pm T Says:

    I would figure out a way to tell them each a story about the other one who caused you all this stress the last time you gave birth by regaling you with her personal horror stories. And then get them to agree how inconsiderate that is…
    But I am entirely passive aggressive. and a little sneaky.

    And in the case of the MIL – I would so have The Daver talk to her on your behalf. He can even pretend that you didn’t say anything but that your noted it about your mom and he wanted to make sure she didn’t make the same mistake.

    This might bring out the one uppedness (clearly not a word) spirit to your benefit. They might try to outdo each other in kindness and helpfulness.

  20. On September 23rd, 2008 at 1:07 pm Em Says:

    I just had an aha moment – I think I’m a one-upper. Good Lord. I’m so sorry, to you, and to all people I have ever been in contact with.

    I think the advice for telling them like it is, “I’m sorry about XYZ, but this is about me for this moment,” is excellent. I’m betting they don’t even realize they’re doing it. Just trying to be empathetic – notice the “pathetic” in there?

    If you shoot it to them straight, they can’t possibly hold it against a post partum, hormonally charged, sleepless woman, can they?

    I guess they will just tell you that they never (wanted to) talked to their mothers that way! even when they blah, blah, blah…OK, just tune them out.


  21. On September 23rd, 2008 at 1:39 pm kim Says:

    shade and sweetwater nailed it, I concur:

    I Love You, now be nice or fuck off. that should do it!

  22. On September 23rd, 2008 at 1:50 pm Karen Says:

    I have a friend like that. Ultra-annoying. And my step mom does it to me also….except it is her kids who are more miserable than me.

  23. On September 23rd, 2008 at 2:16 pm Five Husbands Says:

    With my people I call this the “you have a headache, I have a brain tumor” phenomenon. After achieving the ripe old age of 55, acquiring several degrees and professional accolades I like to think I have learned how to handle these situations with grace and aplomb.

    I wait until they are finished and looking way from me, then I stick out tongue and flip them off with both hands. This technique works well with telephone conversations and blog comments.

  24. On September 23rd, 2008 at 2:25 pm heather Says:

    Clearly, you are not alone. Personally, if I have another child (and maybe even if I don’t), I’d like to have Kyddryn drive on over this way and smack around some smug ass.

    My MIL, for eight LONG months, would cluck her tongue and tell me to just think about “all those poor people with diabetes when you give yourself a shot” (in my pregnant gut nonetheless) chased down with a “IT’S WORTH IT … I hope it’s a GIRL!” WTF.

    In addition to this nugget, when she saw me two days postpartum, she told me I was lucky they gave me “the gasses (you know? A SPINAL for my C-SECTION) because back when I was having babies (vaginally and without incident), I just had to SUFFER THROUGH.” Hormonal me + harbored hatred + dumb fuck comment = not good.

    Run away, Becky! Run as fast as you can! Or squirrel away some heavy narcotics so that all of your comments to them are completely unfiltered. That’ll teach them.

  25. On September 23rd, 2008 at 2:33 pm melanie Says:

    mostly i am a lurker but I enjoy reading your blog….. after just having my second baby i feel your pain, but surprisingly I find myself doing it to other people! I get so damn annoyed with myself. I dont think I try to one-up them per se’ but I certainly say “I know what you mean, or i know whats that like” but in reality I dont. When my second came out with GERD and a hemangioma I was almost mad when people gave me the “my new baby is so easy” stories, when I WAS THAT PERSON with my first born (I thought this baby thing is so easy, i must be really good LOL— got knocked on my ass for those thoughts the second time around)

    I think its natural to share our experiences, and probably when our spawn have their own spawn we will look at all the cool gadgets and gizmos and wonder how the hell we ever raised our kidlets in the dark ages. In our eyes they will have it WAY easier than we did. So I try to keep this sort of thing in perspective, when I hear the 100th time how hard things were back then (and coupled with the always lovely advice like “You slept on your tummy from day one and never died of SIDS”, etc etc) I try to remember that one day my kids will likely roll their eyes at me, wonder how they survived, and hopefully put up with my shit. It will truly be a full circle moment then wont it! LOL

  26. On September 23rd, 2008 at 3:00 pm Stephanie C Reiniche Says:

    I like Andy’s answer. 🙂 It does get better a little. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.


  27. On September 23rd, 2008 at 3:05 pm baseballmom Says:

    I think I’d say something. My mom is more of the ‘suck it up’ variety, that will listen and say, “Hm, Uh-huh” and then make suggestions as to what I should do to improve things. I hate that shit, and I have told her that sometimes I just want someone to LISTEN to me and make me feel better. I don’t care if she gets offended, moms are supposed to commiserate and make you feel better sometimes, no matter how old you are! I also hate when any pregnancy woe you have is translated into, ” Hello, my name is baseballmom, please tell me your horrific birth story, I want to hear every last terrifying detail.”

  28. On September 23rd, 2008 at 3:21 pm Stacey Says:

    I’m a bit on the sarcastic side when I am suffering and want help or sympathy and instead get one upped. I usually say “Well,then I guess you win. Congratulations.” or “Let me rephrase that. I NEED SOME SYMPATHY HERE!” or “How, exactly, is that supposed to help?” Sometimes I throw in inane one up comments myself “Yeah, well Kate Gosslin had to do it with 6 kids at once. You’ve got nothing compared to her.” or whatever is appropriate at the time.

    Sure people sometimes get offended the first time, but they remember & there very rarely needs to be a second.

  29. On September 23rd, 2008 at 3:25 pm kbrients Says:

    More than one upping me… I hate it when people try to make me feel better by blaming *it* on something… like a bad mood on Flo, or being sad on depression…. My god… Can i not just have a bad day and leave it at that??


  30. On September 23rd, 2008 at 4:25 pm erin Says:

    i have had friends in the past that were bad 1 uppers…..not so close with them any more…..sometimes you just get tired of “guess what i got a new car” and their response is “well my car is better because”…..i am really good at avoidance, and DH refers to it as my ability to tune out whatever i don’t like……unfortunately most people don’t have said ability so i have no advice!! best of luck…..i don’t think saying something to them will make a difference, unfortuantely selfish people will always be selfish/self centered people!!

  31. On September 23rd, 2008 at 4:34 pm foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) Says:

    My mom is more the competitive one. Everything I do, she’s been up and doing since dawn. Her tally sheet absolutely must be longer than mine, no matter the event or the circumstance. So she’s too busy being 38 projects ahead of me to be a one-upper. My MIL is just too busy talking to take a breath and one-up; HOWEVER, she gave birth to my husband, and that man is the king of the one-up! No matter what I do, or how I feel, if I complain or just vent about it, he finds some example to ignore what I just said or did and one-ups me. I used to just ignore him and continue to talk about me, or I’d fall silent. Finally, I just couldn’t take it any longer and when he does it now, I interrupt him and ask him when he became me, and since he’s me now, can he get me something to eat and pay the bills and make sure the kids get to all their appointments. I say that when I’m feeling bitchy. Don’t ask him how often that is, because I’ll probably one-up his response! The bulk of the time, I quietly inject and ask if he realizes what he’s doing hurts me. Usually he then goes quiet. Sometimes he asks what it was I needed to say again.

    It’s perhaps an easier situation to deal with since he’s married to me than what it might be in dealing with your MIL and your mom, but maybe it’s a possibility?

  32. On September 23rd, 2008 at 4:37 pm How to Party with an Infant Says:

    Can’t stand that. You say you’ve seen a shark they say they’ve been bitten by one. Then you say, “Wish it bit your mouth off so you’d shut up.”

  33. On September 23rd, 2008 at 4:58 pm Susan Says:

    “My gosh, Mom, you’re so right. I’m such a whiner. It’s just that I KNEW that doing it doggy-style on the church steps was going to come back to bite me on the ass.” Put it on a loop; use it as your comeback EVERY SINGLE TIME. They’ll shut up.

  34. On September 23rd, 2008 at 5:21 pm Madame Yu See Says:

    The birth of a baby is not about the grandmothers – they had their time in the sun, whether filled with pain or not. This is about you and your babies. Some women don’t realize when it’s time to give up being the leading lady and take a suporting role.

  35. On September 23rd, 2008 at 5:37 pm birdpress Says:

    Sorry your feet hurt, Becky. I hope you get some comfy shoes, and could you maybe get that nice hubby of yours to massage them for you? Try your best to get some sleep, and don’t let the bitches get you down. 🙂

  36. On September 23rd, 2008 at 5:52 pm giggleblue Says:

    see, you are better than i. i would just say “shut the hell up” and then blame it on the hormones after the fact.

    as a matter of fact, make sure they are there for the labor and take advantage of cussing them out. then just play the i don’t remember card after the babe is born.


  37. On September 23rd, 2008 at 6:18 pm kate Says:

    a) daver redirect and ignore
    b) make mention
    c) eat brie
    d) leave the baby, alex, the daver and a can of formula and make haste to san diego
    e) c while preparing for d, and then d

  38. On September 23rd, 2008 at 6:23 pm Queen-sized funny bone Says:

    I had a few people like that in my life and I decided everytime they would go into their speel I say;;;;;
    FOCUS PEOPLE THIS IS ABOUT ME NOT YOU! is seems to work. its kinda like a nice way of saying shut up already.

  39. On September 23rd, 2008 at 6:45 pm -seraphimred Says:

    My favorite thing to use?

    ‘while we all know you’re better/faster/awesom-er at , I would really appreciate it if you would help me by ‘

    you can still can get your snark on, and get whatever your need is met.


  40. On September 23rd, 2008 at 6:47 pm Kelly D Says:

    No matter what you say they are probably not going to hear you. I didn’t get a chance to read all of the comments so I apologize if I repeat something already said (have to leave for my class).

    I found that getting irritated or angry doesn’t work. Responses to let them know their feedback isn’t welcome is sometimes the better option, even if it hurts their feelings. At some point they’ll get it and quite saying things that are hurtful or inconsiderate. I’ve had luck with giving doses of acceptance, patience (mainly mine), and pleasantries as a way to manage those conversations. Good luck.

  41. On September 23rd, 2008 at 7:06 pm tash Says:

    Julia at one point mentioned printing up t-shirts with: “Check your shit at the door.” I might print up one of those, maybe also put it on a onesie, and operate normally.

    I’m lucky: far as I know, me, sibling, husband, sibling, all napped. My child? Did not. I have them all down.

  42. On September 23rd, 2008 at 7:06 pm kccat Says:

    Sorry to hear about your situation. I can’t understand completely as I don’t have kids but can sympathize as I have an annoying mother-in-law. My tactics for the last 9 months have been to completely ignore them. So far its working. I have only seen them 3 times this year. Obviously you can’t and don’t want to do that. I guess your best option would be to sit them down together or seperately and let them know what they are saying and doing aren’t helping the situation at all and that it is hurtful. Good luck.

    *ICLW* Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog. Glad you like my blog. Stop back soon 🙂

  43. On September 23rd, 2008 at 7:17 pm echloe Says:

    My advice is get used to it because in my experience people (including our mothers) will always try to one up you even if you ask nicely for them to stop. Then in order to make myself feel better with the constant “my experiences were worse then yours” I would keep complaining and retelling those annoying stories to the husband until he is suffering almost as much as you are and can’t say that it doesn’t bother him because now it will. Tee hee. Then when your son is older and he has a baby you can tell him how he made you tear and was a terrible child and just repeat the cycle. It is inevitable. O.K. I’m evil!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. Nice to virtually meet you too. ICLW

  44. On September 23rd, 2008 at 7:37 pm Holli Says:

    I have a friend who I’ve known since middle school. She always has been a little bit of a one upper, but nothing I couldn’t live with. We stopped being friends when I called her from the hospital to tell her that my uterus has ruptured, I nearly died, and my baby was stillborn. Her response, “Well, I guess everyone is having a bad week…” and then went on to tell me how her boyfriend’s ex-step-dad died from a heart attack. Seriously. I wish I was making that up. Even as I write it, I still find it so unbelievable.

    We are not friends anymore.

  45. On September 23rd, 2008 at 7:40 pm mumma boo Says:

    I hate confrontation. I usually just shut up and deal in the moment, but then it spills out in conversations with the hubby. Most of the time it’s about his family, so he has to listen, right?

    Before the baby is born, take them aside and tell them that you know that you and Daver are demon spawn who tore them from throat to anus, without drugs, in the dark, in an unsterilized room with mutant zombies for healthcare personnel, and that, while the story is entertaining, you really don’t need to hear it again after Link/Patty is born. You got the picture the first time, so could they please keep it to themselves as you don’t want the older kids to hear it? If that doesn’t work, give them a list of what you need. Tell them if it ain’t on the list, you don’t need it, so thanks very much. Make it specific – food, taking care of the older kids, holding the baby while you shower, alcohol, etc.. Sometimes direct is best, even if it does cause some drama. Hey, at the worst, they could start avoiding you, and would that be such a bad thing?

  46. On September 23rd, 2008 at 7:53 pm Io Says:

    I want to leave a comment about how much worse my mom is, but she’s not. So my hopes for one upping are dashed.

    Thank god I was such a good baby. When I get to be a teenager though, I expect my mother to play this game.
    Maybe you quickly acknowledge and apologize, and then tell them you are still the evil baby you once were and you want some pain pills/food/sympathy NOW.

  47. On September 23rd, 2008 at 7:54 pm Io Says:

    Er, not get to *be*, rater when i *have* a teenager. How great it would be to be a teenager again. Oh the angst.

  48. On September 23rd, 2008 at 8:29 pm honeywine Says:

    It seems to be old-people-itis. I too have listened to this same crap, and I don’t have anything nearly as bad as you to combat them with! I need ammo! Literally…MIL…watch out!

  49. On September 24th, 2008 at 12:18 am Mrs Woggie Says:

    I don’t know what to do, I have the same problem but kind of the opposite problem. I get “Well your cousin has endo and she got pregnant on her first month trying” Well that is great for me but 18 months down the track that does not make ME feel better.

    Anyway I’d be inclined to say something, like “I’m sorry that those things that happened to you x amount of years ago are still upsetting you, how about some sympathy” but I’m a bit of a bitch so that may not be your style!

    I hope you can at least tell them that their comments are unwanted and inappropriate!

    Here from ICLW.

  50. On September 24th, 2008 at 9:53 am apathetic bliss Says:

    both my ex husband and his mother were one-uppers. She took the cake after I had my babies. Evidently anything I may have been feeling was insignificant compared to what SHE had had to deal with. I think your best course of action is to pull a Daver….these peops never get it even when you tell them how it bothers you….they will probably tell you how much YOU are bothering them with your feelings! Hang in there and avoidance always lessens the annoyance.

  51. On September 24th, 2008 at 10:27 am Carmen Says:

    Wow that would royally piss me off. And I’m so sorry you had such a hard delivery with Alex. They should have been running to your every beck and call with 4th degree tears. If it was me, and I wasn’t the shy not wanting to cause problem self that I am I would say “If you don’t want to f’in help then just don’t” and I would surround myself with friends that would want to be supportive. A little hard when they are your Mom & MIL, but, I do think it is fair to tell them that their comments aren’t welcome. What was that line? If you don’t have anything nice to say, perhaps say nothing at all!

  52. On September 24th, 2008 at 10:34 am TSM Says:

    I almost didn’t respond when I saw you had so many great pieces of advice.

    I agree that saying something is a good idea. Something simple like,

    “Have you ever had a friend that always had to have things just a little worse than you?” And when they nod and start to tell the story of how bad they had it, say,

    “I realize you probably don’t mean to, but did you know you do that to me? I feel really small when you do that. Would you please try not to do that with me? What I really need is support and understanding. Mmmkay?”

    My 2 cents.

  53. On September 24th, 2008 at 1:04 pm Fancy Schmancy Says:

    I totally understand, we have very similar mothers. However, I’m not going to tell you any stories, because I feel like you might already be feeling one-upped today! maybe they really don’t know what they are doing, or how they are making you feel. Maybe you need to sit down with your mother and explain it to her – not while you are upset, but in adance. And the Daver needs to get your back and sit down with his mother and explain it. Good luck. It didn’t work with my mother, but she’s bat-shit crazy 😉

  54. On September 24th, 2008 at 3:56 pm trish Says:

    Hell, I don’t even know what to say. I have two people in my life who are always one upping…and I don’t even know what to say to them…though there’s some really good comments here. I’m constantly wondering why I can’t have a friend like me. Seriously. I don’t try to one up. I LISTEN. And SYMPATHIZE. And yet, there seems to be people who don’t get this.

    Okay, I guess I’m blabbering ’cause I have nothing to add. I’m going back to reading other people’s comments.

  55. On September 24th, 2008 at 4:00 pm Nicole Says:

    Hey! At least you have a mother and a mother-in-law! I would give my left arm to have someone around to give me such loving support! 🙂

    It does get easier…both with handling the kids and tuning out the a**holes.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.


  56. On September 24th, 2008 at 4:15 pm trish Says:

    I like Stacy’s comment. You should do what she says. 🙂

  57. On September 24th, 2008 at 4:25 pm Sarah Says:

    Dude. You just gave me a reason to be thankful for not only my mom, but my mother-in-law. Nicely done.

    They tend to go overboard in the opposite way, wanting to baby us when I just want them to go away.

    BUT… I think if it’s possible, I’d probably smile (cynically), and say “I suppose you’re right. Damn, I’m tired, with all this BS going on. Since you’re here, and since you know even more than I do how hard this is, I’m just going to go ahead and go lay down now. Thanks!!”

    Actually, that’s what I should do. We’re all about drama, so I’d probably tell them to pack sand and get out.

  58. On September 25th, 2008 at 3:38 pm Dot Says:

    Wow, lots of messages of understanding! I just dropped by after seeing your link somewhere, and saw the title of this post. I agree with BaseballMom’s response. It’s gentle, it’s very honest, it’s not an attack, and it’s not passive-aggressive. Once you try that, you’ll find out whether these women can adapt. Not that you won’t have to remind them constantly.

    If they can’t adapt, get away from them. They are not respecting you and your needs.

    Just my 2 cents (or is it pence).

  59. On September 26th, 2008 at 7:52 am Jenn Says:

    My family DOES yell so I’ve tucked away the “between shit and syphilis” comment for future use there. As for Kent’s family, when they pull crap it’s time for the old shut and stuff. In his family you can’t say ANYTHING without his Dad getting pissed off at you (and staying that way for, literally, months). Most of them also happen to be pretty self-centered so even if I do mention something they have done that bothers me, THEY just get mad at me for being upset with them “for no reason.” It’s a pisser but oh well.

    In your situation I would probably just sigh exaggeratedly (I’m the queen of that, according to Kent) and then say something sarcastic like, “I KNOW! What you went through is soooo horrible, much worse than anything I will ever go through I’m sure. I bet you even had to walk 6 miles through 4 feet of snow to get to school everyday – in BARE FEET.” But I’m a bitch like that and I’m over caring what my mother and my in-laws think (most of the time).

    I’m not much help, I know. However, I will gladly pass the bottle back and forth with you and commiserate. (I’ll try not to one-up you, haha.) And if all else fails, I’ve got the number for a great kid-loving gypsy. 😉

  60. On September 28th, 2008 at 5:47 am Emily (Apron Strings) Says:

    Ugh. My mom is just like that, too. Oh, and totally a SIL thing as well. And then add the whole cultural/family thing? Oy vey.

    Me? While I totally don’t think it’s always a good thing … I just don’t say anything in front of them anymore. Bad for stress (read: keeping things in), but much better for more stress/increasing anxiety (read: having to deal with such shitty people).

    We’re here for you if you need to “complain.” Besides, we’re all that matters! 🙂

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