I Sleep Instead of Cooking Breakfasts for My Kids and Everyone Shames Me

Family & kids
7 months ago

My husband’s sister has a low opinion of me and my parenting skills. She never tells me directly, but she drops subtle hints, like sighing and gasping: “Oh dear, I don’t know how you can be having a rest when your kids are starving.” The whole problem is that I don’t make breakfast in the morning, and I don’t fuss over food as much as she and my mother-in-law do.

For me, getting up early is a real torture. I feel angry, hysterical, and heavy-headed. I am usually a calm and friendly person, but rising at the crack of dawn is not my thing. I purposely picked a job that let me show up at ten, and then I moved to working from home. My husband knew even before we got married that I was a night owl, and he didn’t have any illusions. But my mother-in-law kept saying, “Let’s see how you cope with it when you have kids.”

Of course, I used to wake up early when the children were very little. I remember going to the kitchen at seven in the morning to put the porridge in the multicooker, then showering and feeling exhausted for the rest of the morning. And then one day, I realized that no one wanted this porridge at all.

The children have grown up, they have their own tastes. One likes granola, another one wants cheese, and the third one doesn’t eat anything in the morning. So why should I suffer?

Our oldest child is 9 years old, and our youngest ones are 6 and 4. My husband knows that I’m not a morning person, so he gets the kids up. And he leaves for work right away. In the fridge, we always have cheese and sausage (already sliced), cottage cheese and yogurt, milk.

Sometimes I make cheesecakes and pancakes in the evening — they just need to be warmed up in the microwave. There is always cereal in the pantry. Everyone can pick what they want to eat.

So I don’t make breakfast for my children — they do it themselves. I get up when they have already cleaned up, dressed in clothes, and eaten. I do the girls’ hair, check that everything is fine, and all that’s left is to take them to school and kindergarten.

One morning, when my mother-in-law was staying with us, she burst into our bedroom and yelled, “Get up! Have you seen what’s happening in your kitchen?” I leaped out of bed, dashed down the hall in my underpants, throwing on my robe as I went, sniffing for any signs of fire. I raced into the kitchen and found that my children were sitting at the table, eating fried eggs and drinking tea.

Turns out, she was yelling because I was sleeping while the kids were cooking breakfast. According to her, an almost 10-year-old kid shouldn’t be frying eggs themselves. A “normal” mother must get up earlier than others, cook food, lay the table, etc. This is how it should be.

Here is how she and her husband do it. My mother-in-law gets up at 5 AM to make breakfast and pack her husband’s bags for work. Her husband wakes up at 7 AM. And he won’t eat any leftovers. I don’t get that. Why can’t they get up together and share the cooking?

Once we went to their house to fix the computer. My father-in-law was angry and hungry. It turned out that my mother-in-law was delayed at the clinic, and he was waiting for her to feed him. Ok, he can’t cook anything himself, but they have soup, mashed potatoes and cutlets in the fridge — he just needs to heat them up.

My sister-in-law is the same — she goes to work by 10 AM, but her mother taught her to wake up at 7 AM to make breakfast for her two boys, who are ten and seven years old. We once stayed together in the country house — I thought I would lose my mind. The kids were very picky. One wanted cheesecakes for breakfast, the other one wanted an omelet.

If I made an omelet, they would change their mind and say they wanted a hard-boiled egg. And it had to be presented nicely, like in a restaurant. Their grandmother was always around offering pancakes with jam or condensed milk. If she runs out of either, she is ready to run to the store and buy some. My kids were amazed by this.

And my mother-in-law was making things worse, telling my children: “Oh, how pale you are! Oh, mommy doesn’t feed you at all!” I snapped once and said, “They will open the fridge and take what they want when they are hungry.” After a week of living like that, I packed the kids and moved back to the city.

But I can’t stop my mother-in-law and sister-in-law from coming over. And we have to put up with their lectures. They even prohibit my kids from loading the dishwasher. According to them, if kids wash a cup, they will drop it. The vacuum cleaner is too heavy for children. Setting the table is also not a task for kids — what if they trip and injure themselves?

Still, most of our arguments are about breakfasts. I try to explain that they are not hungry in the morning, they are not fully awake yet. They can snack and will eat breakfast in the kindergarten or at school. But my MIL doesn’t listen to me.

One day I had a conversation with my sister-in-law. I said to her, “Look, my mother made me independent from a young age. I would come back from school and make my own lunch. When I grew up a bit, I could help with dinner by peeling potatoes, while ironing clothes was always my responsibility.” She replied to me, “Times have changed since then.” Really?

Now all household tasks are much simpler to do. We have a microwave, a washing machine, and even a steamer instead of an iron. You’re bringing up kids who can’t look after themselves. How will they cope later? The sister-in-law said, “My boys will marry good wives.”

Yeah, good wives are women like her. They will pamper their adult sons and serve them hot breakfast every morning. I don’t want to raise disabled people. I sleep in the morning, while the children eat breakfast, and I am not embarrassed by it.

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Seriously? I was a single mom in the '70's my kids learned to cook and cleanup after themselves at an early age (starting at 6 yrs old). By the time they were 9 they were doing their own laundry. If I were the OP, her MIL and SIL would both get a piece of my mind and told to mind their own business.

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