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Mother-in-Law 'MD' Must Be Stopped!

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Guest blogger Maggie: My mother-in-law and I have an iffy relationship. On the one hand, she doesn't get in my personal business, doesn't tell me how to raise my kids and never takes sides whenever my husband and I have a disagreement. But on the other hand, she does have things about her that make me bananas -- namely, the fact that she "diagnoses" my children with ridiculous things, as if she were a psychologist and an MD rolled into one.

It would almost be funny if it didn't irk me so much. She just left this morning after a ten-day visit. Every time she comes (this time being no exception), she reminds me how ADHD runs in her family. She says she has it (now, there's one diagnosis I do believe), and that she's pretty sure our daughter has it, too. Oh, you mean the daughter who sits for hours reading a book and who makes straight-A's in school? That one? Sure, she's talkative and she asks a lot of questions, but how does that make her ADHD, as opposed to just an inquisitive 9-year-old? I look at my daughter, how strong and healthy she is -- how she's so clearly NOT hyperactive or attention-deficit -- and the thought of her grandmother playing doctor makes me crazy.

This visit produced two more "diagnoses" as well. My son slipped on the cement by our pool and skinned his shoulder. The wound was just a scrape, but it was perfectly round in shape, about the size of a dime. When his grandmother saw it, she whispered (as if it were something shameful), "He's got ringworm." No matter what I told her -- even when I explained that I'dseenthe scrape happen and that it most certainly wasn't ringworm -- she was offended that I was contradicting her. "I was a nurse for 25 years," she said. "I think I know what ringworm looks like." Yeah, and I've been a mother for ten years. So do I.

Then I was cleaning out my kids' closet, and my mother-in-law commented on how a couple of my son's shirts in the throw-out pile had "moth damage" around the collars. I explained that, no, that was where he had chewed on them. (Strange habit, I know, but he had kicked it months before.) I told her it was a common oral fixation; I'd Googled it and found that lots of kids did it and that they usually grew out of it, just like our son had. "No, no, no, it sounds like that disorder tricho-something-or-other to me," she said, pulling this medical tidbit from I don't know where. "It's a form of OCD, which also runs in our family ...." (Please, what doesn't?) Not that I gave her stupid diagnosis any merit, but after she left, I found the disorder she was referring to online, and while it is an "OCD thing," it's an illness where people pull out their own HAIR.

Please God, make it stop -- at least until the next visit from Dr. Grammy. Can't wait to hear about the new crop of diseases she'll come up with then.

next: Vacationing with a Smartphone Not So Smart
29 comments so far | Post a comment now
Been there, kinda August 19, 2010, 8:48 AM

I would say you two need to sit down with dear ol’ MIL and set her straight on this. My husband and I were in the positiion of an intrusive MIL (his mom) and ended up in a very bad situation until it was dealt with. Which put her out of our lives for 10 months (not that I’m complaining). But Nipping this in the butt now before it damages your children or infuriates you further would be a very good idea! Of course, it is up to you and you have your reason’s for doing what you do and how you do it. would just like to use my experience to save others from the same downward spiral we went through. hope everything works out!!

ABCfibi August 19, 2010, 9:11 AM

Sounds familiar, except that I have two, yes count them, two MILs. My husbands step mom did billing and was the receptionist in a doctor’s office and a dental office. She knows everything about everything medical and dental. You can’t argue or disagree because she is crazy and mean. The other MIL is an ex-drug addict and knows how to milk the system and has her 17 year old son receiving disability for Oppositional Defiance Disorder. She is constantly looking for some way to receive disability or to tell you what is wrong with you so you can get free money.

My opinion, if she is nice and reasonable, talk to her and let her know she is upsetting your kids, but don’t make it about you.

The Family B Word August 19, 2010, 9:21 AM

Unfortunately my MIL is also an expert on everything and anything. When she was told of my fibromyalgia diagnosis she immediately started telling me how to handle the condition.

And when I was diagnosed with diabetes, she became the world’s most preeminent source of knowledge on that topic as well.

I can’t wait til we get posted so we can move FAR, FAR away from her!

Amanda August 19, 2010, 3:58 PM

Whats worse is having a MIL who IS a psychologist. She also tends to think she’s a medical Dr., but she can actually pull the ‘I’m a Dr.’ If it’s something about his behavior I’m concerned about, I’m more than willing to listen, because that’s what she does, and people pay her quite a bit to do it for them. That doesn’t mean she knows the difference between a mole and a scrape.

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