The battle of the biscuits
What's your relationship like with your Mother-in-law? It's a notoriously tricky one and can have such an effect on your happiness. MIL's have a vested interest in what you do - your closest relationships with your children and husband. It's the stuff of nightmares really.
Now my MIL is alright. Mostly. She doesn't come round very often. We go to hers a lot but she spends most of the time in the kitchen. We were very lucky when my eldest was born as she was busy with her social life and while we didn't get much help at least she didn't interfere. In fact she was so disinterested that when we rang her to tell her we had some exciting news and could we come round to tell her? She said no she was going out to the bingo and are you pregnant? Well yes we said, can we come round to celebrate? Um.... no, she knows now and the phone call has already made her late for the bingo.
She's more interested now and has actually had the children long enough to learn their names and sit and talk to them for more than five minutes. I am grateful because she will babysit and they can be a handful. The only problem is that every single time we goes round we have to have the battle of the biscuit. Now I can be a bit of a food fascist. I care about what the children eat and while I let them have a few treats - the emphasis is on a few. My MIL has no such restraint. She has given some of the children in her care so many treats they have been sick. She has no idea of a healthy diet. When she cooks most things are fried and her dinner for the children is chicken nuggets and chips - with no vegetables in sight.
Then the biscuits come out. If she gave them one biscuit or even two then I wouldn't complain. If biscuits were the only treat then I wouldn't complain. What happens is that the children will go off to the kitchen and come back with a whole packet of biscuits - A WHOLE PACKET! When questioned she just says "well they asked for it." Children have no concept of eating healthily - they will eat a whole packet of biscuits. This is usually after we have already said no and when it is an hour before dinner - or just after dinner when she has already given them mammoth adult sized portions and ice cream for pudding.
So why don't I do anything about it? Well families are tricky, aren't they. For a start I have a deep seated politeness. She is my elder and my husband's mother, she deserves my respect. Secondly it is always when I'm feeling grateful to her. She has just done me a favour - how can I then turn around and throw it back in her face? Finally we've tried, repeatedly. She doesn't listen. She thinks she knows best.
The thing is she doesn't. Three of her children have serious weight problems. That isn't being mean, they are morbidly obese and it is a real concern to me. My husband and I try really hard to keep our children from this but it's tricky. I could deliver an ultimatum except that it would be pointless. So instead we battle on. Every time the same. The sad thing is my daughter is trying to make sense of it. She knows we get cross at her grandparents. When we go round she says "nanny gives us too many biscuits because she's trying to be nice." That is the thing, she is trying to be nice, but over feeding someone isn't nice - providing children with unhealthy role models isn't nice, teaching them that food is to be stuffed into your faces isn't nice.
So any ideas how I can win the MIL war? Or is it a losing battle