My Husband and His Mother Devoured All the Meals I Had Prepared for Myself and Our Children

Recognizing and asserting your self-worth is a lesson I had to learn hard way after the birth of my fourth child. Although it was a costly lesson, the repercussions of not standing up for myself would have been much graver.

Life has been exceptionally hectic in recent months. Four months ago, I welcomed a wonderful little boy, Dylan, adding to our bustling household that already included three children under the age of eight. As you can imagine, managing a newborn along with three other young kids is not only exhausting but also rewarding in ways that are difficult to express.

Embracing motherhood has defined my existence in profound ways. When I was pregnant with our first child, Tray, my husband George and I had long discussions about whether I should resume my career post childbirth. We initially agreed that I would take a year off and then return to work. However, as the year drew to a close, I felt a strong pull towards dedicating myself entirely to motherhood.

This sense of deep responsibility only intensified with each new addition to our family: first Tray, then our daughter Lily, followed by Justin, and finally, Dylan. Each child’s arrival further solidified my decision to remain at home and dedicate myself to raising them.

However, the dynamic at home started shifting shortly after Dylan’s arrival. My mother-in-law began to visit our home unannounced, not to lend a helping hand with the kids or the household chores.

She would enter with a casual greeting, then make her way to the kitchen to help herself to whatever was available, invariably leaving a mess in her wake. This behavior became a frequent source of irritation for me.

One particularly stressful morning, after a challenging doctor’s appointment where Dylan had been vaccinated, all I wanted was a moment of solace with a soothing cup of coffee. We had just returned home, and as I was settling Dylan into his crib, my mother-in-law appeared, cheerily announcing her presence. By the time I made it to the kitchen, craving my much-needed coffee, I found the pot empty and no filters left—she had taken the last cup without a second thought.

Watching her casually enjoy what was supposed to be my respite, I felt a wave of frustration wash over me. Just then, Lily came bursting into the kitchen, momentarily distracting me with her request to watch “Peppa Pig.”

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