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Mother and son eating pizza. For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock
Mother and son eating pizza. For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

My Husband and His Mom Ate All the Food I Cooked for Me and the Kids

Odette Odendaal
Jun 21, 2024
09:20 A.M.

Sometimes you have to remember your worth and stand up for yourself — this is what I learned after giving birth to my fourth child. Although the lesson came at a cost, I realized the alternative would have had far worse consequences.

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Life has been overwhelmingly busy lately. Four months ago, I gave birth to a beautiful boy, Dylan, who joined his three siblings, all under eight. As you can imagine, managing a newborn, along with three other young children is exhausting but fulfilling in a way that's hard to describe.

A mother and her newborn. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

A mother and her newborn. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Becoming a mother has been the most significant role of my life. While pregnant with our first child, Tray, my husband George and I discussed whether I should return to work. We initially agreed that I would stay home for a year before resuming my career. However, when the time came, I realized I wanted to be a full-time mom.

This feeling of profound responsibility towards our children grew stronger with the arrival of each new family member. First Tray, then our daughter Lily, followed by Justin, and finally Dylan. Each addition reinforced my decision to focus on raising them.

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A mother spending tim with her kids. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

A mother spending tim with her kids. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

However, things at home began to change with Dylan's birth. My mother-in-law started showing up at our house unannounced. She wasn't coming to help with the children or the household.

She would say hello, then disappear into the kitchen to help herself to whatever she found, leaving dirty dishes behind. This happened several times, and each instance chipped away at my patience.

A woman sitting in the kitchen enjoying a meal and looking at her phone. For illustration purposes only | Source: Freepik

A woman sitting in the kitchen enjoying a meal and looking at her phone. For illustration purposes only | Source: Freepik

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The situation escalated one morning after a particularly trying doctor's visit with Dylan, who had just received his vaccinations. He was fussy, and I was running on little sleep.

All I craved was a soothing cup of coffee when we returned home. As I settled Dylan in his crib and finally headed to the kitchen, I heard the front door open and the familiar cheer, "Hi, dear! Just came to check on all of you!"

A cup of coffee. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

A cup of coffee. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

It took a while to soothe Dylan, and by the time I reached the kitchen for my much-needed coffee, I discovered not only was the pot empty, but I also had no coffee filter left. My mother-in-law, oblivious to my need, casually took the last cup.

Watching her take that last sip, I felt a surge of frustration. Just then, Lily burst into the kitchen, her presence a brief distraction from my brewing anger. "Mommy, can we watch 'Peppa Pig'?" she asked.

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Young girl with her mother in the kitchen. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Young girl with her mother in the kitchen. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Masking my irritation, I smiled and nodded, asking if her brothers wanted to watch too. Once she scampered off, I turned back to face my mother-in-law, who, sensing the tension, quickly left.

When George came home, I told him about the ongoing issues and asked him to speak with his mother. He acknowledged that she had overstepped boundaries but failed to address it with her. That weekend, the unresolved tensions came to a head.

A couple discuss an issue in their relationship. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

A couple discuss an issue in their relationship. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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After a night of little rest, overwhelmed by the unending demands of parenting, I managed to gather enough energy to make homemade pizzas with the kids.

They were thrilled with the activity, eagerly anticipating eating their creations for dinner. I put Dylan down for his nap right as dinner time approached, hoping for a peaceful end to the day.

A sliced pizzza. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

A sliced pizzza. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

To my dismay, when I returned to the kitchen, I found the pizzas gone. George and his mother were in the lounge, nonchalantly enjoying the last slices.

My exhaustion turned to anger, and I confronted them loudly, asking why they had eaten the children's dinner. Their shocked faces only increased my frustration. George tried to calm me, but it was too late; I was too upset to listen.

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An angry woman. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

An angry woman. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

I retreated to our bedroom, slammed the door, and broke down. Why was I the only one trying? Why couldn't they see how hard I was struggling? Lily's soft knock on the door pulled me from my despair. "Mommy, where is our pizza?" she asked innocently.

That moment crystallized my resolve. I had to stand up for my children and myself. After reassuring Lily, I confronted George and my mother-in-law again. They attempted to justify their actions by implying concern about my weight. That was the last straw.

A woman confronts her husband and mother-in-law. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

A woman confronts her husband and mother-in-law. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Get out, both of you," I said calmly, my voice firm. They left, and George spent the night at his mother's house. The relief I felt after they left was palpable.

I ordered pizza for the kids and myself, and as we ate, I made my decision. The next morning, I asked my sister to watch the kids while I filed for divorce. I placed the divorce papers in an empty pizza box on the coffee table for George to discover.

Divorce documentation. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Divorce documentation. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

After informing my parents of the situation, they offered unconditional support. Staying with them allowed me to focus on healing and planning for the future. Within a short time, I regained my strength and prepared to face whatever came my way.

Now, I'm proud of standing up for what's right for myself and my children. I've shown them what strength looks like and taught them the importance of self-respect and making tough decisions for the betterment of one's future.

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A woman enjoying life. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

A woman enjoying life. For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Had I not come to this realization, my kids would have grown up thinking it's okay not to get support, care, or real love from those who claim to love you. Now they know their worth, and I will ensure they never forget it.

Like me, Lanie had a similar experience, but at least my husband didn't insist I wash the dishes without leaving me anything to eat after tending to our newborn.

Five weeks after Lanie became a first-time mom, her mother-in-law also turned her life upside down. MIL made herself a constant fixture in their home, and it didn't take long for things to unravel since she wasn't really there to help Lanie and her husband acclimatize to their new responsibility.

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This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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