I'm hiding in my bathroom writing you on my iPhone because mis suegros are ruining my marriage. I love them but I have to point out they are also locos when it comes to expecting ALL the respect without having to give it back. Mi suegra has always had an issue with me—we've had a few screaming matches in the five years I've been married to my husband—and I'm tired of always being on guard when she's around. It doesn't help that he caves on most things just to keep mami happy. I get it, but it's killing our marriage. I do my best to keep my mouth shut and deal while they visit in the name of family peace, but if she looks the other way when her dogs s---s on my new carpet one more time and waits for me to clean it up, I'm going to blow. Ayudame! Me voy a volver loca!
Drama in Spanglish
Welcome to the Crazy Suegra Club! At five years, you're eligible for free subscriptions to Universal Truths and Funny Because its True, a 50 percent discount on the Wine of the Month Club membership, and a lifetime supply of superlong bendy straws, convenient for getting those last stubborn drops of your sanity-flavored Chardonnay from the bottom of the bottle. Not only will save time by avoiding the classic tilt-and-maneuver move, but you'll look less desperate, too. Signed, (Almost) Every Woman that Has Ever Been Married in the Entire History of the World.
Feeling better yet? I hope so. Sometimes knowing you aren't the only one makes a frustrating situation a whole lot less lonely. But then again, knowing you've got company doesn't take away any of the crazy you're dealing with, either. Or the dog s--- your suegra's little pooch so lovingly left for you to clean up on that pretty new carpet of yours.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume your father-in-law isn't the one driving you to pretend you had to pee so you could email me for advice (nice move, by the way). Me and my Nancy Drew-like skills are going to point out the fact that you never mention him. It's your husband's mamacita who’s driving you up the wall, and you're torn between telling him to duck because you're gonna blow—spewing out every comeback you've ever wanted to snap back but didn't because that's not how you were raised—and just drinking another bottle of wine to make it through this visit without losing your cool because you aren't looking to start the next world war.
I've had this conversation with Anglo and Latina friends and I can't tell you how many times I've heard "But why not just stand your ground?" in response to a Latina sharing a story just like yours. You already know that we are raised to always show respect to our elders and put the good of la familia before our own needs, which, quite frankly, is the perfect set-up for the lot of us ending up looking for the closest AA meeting and a sponsor.
Yes, you could put your foot down and demand los suegros to drop the drama or find a hotel when they visit, but we both know you'd have already done that if it was going to be done. Instead, let's shoot for plans B or C. The first involves a major talk with your husband because something has to change (and I'm betting he knows it). The last option is you sucking it up, grabbing the carpet cleaner and the paper towel from the kitchen, and handing them to your mother-in-law before walking back out of the room. That should do the trick. -- Just don't forget the smile.
Pauline Campos is Latina Magazine's #DIMELO advice columnist. Email her your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with her on her blog, www.aspiringmama.com, facebook ,instagram, and follow her on twitter: @pauline_campos.