Monday, October 6, 2008

MIL Monday: Don't Fucking Smoke Next to My Kid

One of the main stressors of our trip to Sweden is the fact that my mother-in-law smokes. A lot.

She smokes "outside" on the balcony. Which is smoker-speak for standing in the kitchen with her lit cigarette outside the door. Or, to actually stand on the balcony with the door open.

Needless to say, their entire house reeks of smoke.

In the back of the apartment in the children's bedroom with the door completely shut, I could smell when she lit a cigarette.

It was disgusting.

What made me most upset were the physical indicators. LittleBird had black boogers for the two weeks we were there. All from second-hand smoke.

I had a headache every night.

The incident that made me the most angry was at the zoo. We had lunch in a cafe area with picnic tables. We were still eating, MIL was finished. She lit a cigarette at the table.

At the fucking table. Right next to LittleBird.

As I ate my lunch, the smoke blew directly in my face. Between puffs, her solution of keeping the cigarette "away" from the table was to hold it behind LittleBird's back.

I was in such a terrible position. I wanted to asked her to leave the table for so many reasons, but I knew that if I did our entire trip would be blown. That she would pout and ignore us and make life a living hell.

I am very ashamed to say that I said nothing. She finished her cigarette, all the while surrounding us with her vile smoke as I did and said nothing. I placed her "fragile" feelings above the health of my family. I justified it a million different ways, and it is not a decision I am proud of.

I caved for the peace of the family.

When a grandmother loves her cigarettes more than her grandchildren, it makes me want to scream. Kill yourself with your cancer sticks, but don't fucking smoke next to my kid.

13 comments:

Crystal said...

I'm sure the decision you made was a difficult one. My grandparents used to smoke around us all the time. It's a nasty habit and a million times worse when you subject little kids to it. But I think it was a good decision to "keep the peace" so Little Bird and all of you for that matter could have a good time with family and avoid the "pouting". So don't beat yourself up too much for the decision.

Also, I wanted to tell you that I LOVED reading your story about the fertility issues you had. I actually looked forward to the posts so I could read what happened next. I am so glad everything worked out.

RiverPoet said...

I grew up with my Dad smoking in the house and with me playing in the smoke curls. Back then, everyone did it, but I'm sure it contributed to the fact I developed asthma.

It was hard on you, I know, to keep your mouth shut, but sometimes that's what we have to do. It was for a short period of time, but it gives you a launchpad for telling your kids that smoking is nasty.

Love that you did a MIL Monday!

Peace - D

Patois said...

I understand why you kept the peace. I would have done the same thing. It doesn't make us feel better about ourselves, but there you have it.

Gypsy said...

Oh man, do I understand this. Lancelot's entire family smokes, and it about kills me when we go visit them. Lancelot smokes, too, but he does it outside.

Rachel said...

People that are inconsiderate like that really piss me off.

I do smoke. However, I am an extremely polite smoker. I do not smoke in my house. Ever. I smoke outside. Completely outside. No doors or windows open. Nothing.

If I am around people that do not smoke, I will move away to have a cigarette. I never smoke around anyone when they are eating and I do not smoke around my kids.

I can understand this was a hard decision for you. We all have to make them sometimes.

hollystar said...

yes. dont fucking smoke next to my kid! (or me for that matter) its not the 50s anymore. there are way too many reason not to smoke for anyone to be ignorant enough to do it in the presence/vacinty of small children. its disgusting. i understand why you didnt say something to the MIL. maybe next time you encounter her you'll be on your turf and you can say there is a city ordinace that you can only smoke like a block away from your house (blame some nieghbor kid who will DIE if he inhales smoke...) bonus, she's guaranteed to be far away from you for at least 15minutes at a time...

A Free Man said...

Don't get me started on relatives, smoking and kids. I'll just get myself in trouble.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Crystal: Thank you! I am glad you liked reading it so much! It was hard to write, but I am glad I did it.

@RiverPoet: There is video of Hubbie standing at the coffee table at Xmas as the curls of smoke wind round and round his head. No wonder he has asthma issues, as well.

@Patois: I am sure I will do it again. Once the kids can speak for themselves it will be a whole other ballgame.

@Gypsy: That has got to be hard on you, but good for you for still going to visit them.

@Rachel: And that's the thing. My grandmother was an extremely polite smoker. She NEVER smoked in front of us grandchildren until we were adults. I know there are many polite smokers out there, which makes me even more pissy about the subject. The fact that total strangers will be more respectful of my children than their own grandmother. Grrrrr.

@HollyStar: On my turf it is SO much easier, though she does her damnest to pretend she doesn't understand. When LittleMan was 3 weeks old she left the door open to smoke with his bassinet right next to the door. I slammed it in her face.

@AFreeMan: You post about vaccines, Palin and artificial sweeteners but don't want to get "in trouble" for remarks on smoking? LOL I love you, man.

Joe said...

I would *LIKE* to say that I would have said something, but I have the feeling that I would have done the same thing as you. Luckily, only 2 people that we currently know (one friend, one family member) smoke, and they both either know better than to smoke around Tyler, or just have more respect for the little one than your MIL. Maybe a little bit of both.

buddha_girl said...

Amen.

My MIL smokes as well. Like a chimney. She thinks it's completely a non-issue even though I've explain MULTIPLE times that I know first-hand what smoke does. Hello? My Dad is dead. Buried. Being eaten by worms as we speak.

Does she care? Nah.

She's a fuck. Not unlike your MIL. Perhaps they should move in together.

I understand keeping the peace even when the smoke is such danger. I do, I do, I do.

K-Mom said...

I agree with this post completely, but I also agree that it would have done absolutely no good to say anything about it.

People are strange that way. Have you ever known someone to say, "You're absolutely right. I was rude and reckless to smoke in front of your children. Thank you for pointing out my obvious lack of manners. I will make every effort to change my ways."

Never gonna happen. Humans don't work that way.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Thank God you see her infrequently. Maybe the next visit should be the in-laws coming to the states. Then you can kick her out of the house while she smokes. :) Sorry hon. Wish I could have been there with you so that I could have been the bad guy. I'm married to an asthmatic. I could have faked it. :)

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