They’re YOUR Parents!

I’ve been close with my in-laws since I was 13.
I’ve called them Mom and Dad since maybe 14 or 15.
They’re those kinds of people. Many people think of them as second parents or at the least, as people you can always turn to for support.
I love them.
They love me.
MIL likes me more than FIL and that’s okay, because I like her better, too. Some people just get on better with one another. When I do connect to FIL it feels wonderful, so there is that.

But they’re not my parents.
They’re The Mister’s parents.

My parents don’t do obligation.
I don’t do obligation.
MIL is big into obligation.
I don’t do obligation.
The Mister doesn’t do obligation.

Generally, we don’t feel obligated. But sometimes, when the stars are all out of order and nothing makes sense, MIL can tell we’re disconnected and this bothers her, she worries, and she begins the inquiry. Her soul can only be soothed by the knowledge of what is keeping us distant.
10% of the time, it’s just us. We are busy. We are caught up in our own lives.
90% of the time, that woman has sniffed out an actual issue and someone is sick, stressed-out, something has gone wrong.
As an empath, I can never fault her for saying she knew something was wrong, and as a mother, I can’t fault her for asking, “Why didn’t you tell us?”
We didn’t want to worry her?
We didn’t think she’d understand?
What’re we, twelve?


All this goes straight out the window when it comes to The Mister’s work. Particularly when he was military and deployed.
I know very little about my husband’s jobs.
We have never talked a lot about work.
Do you think The Mister could tell you what I’ve been planting, or how my novel’s comin along, or what paint color I’ve chosen for the powder room?
I know it sounds strange, but we just have a lot of other, more interesting things to talk about.


As a brand new Army wife on post, I learned quickly that people expected you to know what your husband did, his rank, his company, platoon, hell, even now I can’t remember all that crap.
I had no idea.
Me? “Um, mechanical stuff. On like, big stuff with whooshy things, not wheels, like tanks, but not just tanks, people carriers and stuff.”
(If you are knowledgeable in this area, then you know exactly how my ignorance was received.)
Eventually, I was able to say, “E company BSB FSC 3/69 AR” without missin a beat. Seriously, I have no idea.
When I finally got the track mechanic bit down, he told me he was actually working in personnel. Who knew?
It didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter when he worked claims or ran an auto center, and it doesn’t matter now that he’s in finance.


But to my MIL, these things matter. Especially when he deployed.
As deployments dragged on, I began to dread the calls from her, because she would ask me stuff that I couldn’t possibly answer, and sometimes, things he wasn’t even at liberty to tell me, not that I thought to ask.

See, I’d say stupid things like, “He’s good. He’s been runnin a lot lately.” And she’d ask me with whom and I’d be all, “Uhhh…I dunno.”
“He didn’t say?”
“I don’t know. It seemed irrelevant.”
“Where does he run? On the base there?”
“I’m guessin so. I dunno.”

But this would go on and on.

“He got his own room and it has its own bath, so he’s pretty happy.”
“How big is it?”
“I don’t know. Small.”
“Does it have a shower, or a sink, or just a stool?”
“I don’t know.”
“Does he have a bed or a cot?”
“I dunno. He did tell me he bought some new sheets.”
“What kind? What color are they?”
“I don’t know.”

I was the most disappointing daughter-in-law that ever there was.
The Mister would email his father about stuff another soldier would understand, but that wasn’t stuff you could tell my MIL any more than it was stuff I wanted to know.

She was upset that she couldn’t find his base on her world map. Of course, I found this positively hysterical. She asked me for longitude and latitude and I was all, “Where the Tigris meets the Euphrates, so I guess The Garden of Eden.”

Awful, awful time.
I begged The Mister to call his parents. He should cover the never ending interrogation, I said. They’re HIS parents, I said.
Which is why, the other day, I alluded to this post’s origin.

Cause this kinda still happens now.
Have I heard from Bubba or Sissy? Guess what? Bubba and Sissy do not reside in a war zone and they have cell phones! She can call them! Isn’t that amazing?!? But I hafta tell her that every single time, because, “Yes, they’re okay” is not enough information. And a lot of what they tell me is too much information for MIL, ya know?


A few weeks ago, I asked, “When’s the last time you talked to your parents?”

“You need to call them.”
“You call them.”
“They’re your parents. I call my parents. Hell, I call your parents more than you do. They want to talk to YOU.”

For days and days, I said, “Call your parents.” I said, “You should get off the phone with me and call your parents.”
For days and days, he did not.


Y’all know what happened, don’t you?

MIL called.
“How is he?”
“Has he finished with his schooling?”
“How are his grades?”
“When are his finals?”
“When does his work class start?”
“Will he get special hours for that?”
“Is that at his work?”

Guess how many answers I had?

“Now our friend X from church, her son works there, and he works crazy hours and I don’t know if he’s taking this class…”
“Well tell him we’ve been thinkin about him and prayin for him.”
“Have you heard from Bubba or Sissy lately?”
“Not lately, Mom, but you can always call them and let them know you miss them.”

Now imagine my MIL texting the big’uns on her fucking flip phone.


So The Mister arrived home, probably well past dark, and I said, “You know how I kept telling you to call your mother? Well guess what? She called.”
Then he laughed and laughed, hearty, nearly maniacal laughter that had his whole body shaking.

Are you the go-between, or does someone else do your dirty work?

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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48 Responses to They’re YOUR Parents!

  1. Norm 2.0 says:

    I do my own dirty work but I can identify with your frustration about being grilled for details you don’t know or care to know because they just don’t seem that important.
    We have a few of those in our family and they’re always flabbergasted with my “I dunno, I didn’t even think to ask” answers to their really unimportant questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Norm. It means a lot to me to know I am not alone.


  3. Anxious Mom says:

    I am always on my husband’s case about calling his mom too. She lives 5 minutes away.

    I thought it was funny that you didn’t know your husbands title. When people ask about my husband I say he’s a financial analyst, and then he informed me a few months ago that hadn’t been his title for years. The new role has like 10 words, so as far as I’m concerned, he’s still a financial analyst.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan Antion says:

    I do my own dirty work, eventually. My mom doesn’t call. Not me and not the Mrs. My wife will ask “have you called you mother lately?” “Did you get her a Mother’s Day card?” “What are you getting her for her birthday?” Like I said, I get it eventually. Mom always thanks me for remembering. My mom doesn’t know what I do for a living. I’ve done it for almost 40 years. I’ve worked at the same company for 27 years – no clue but I understand it’s my burden. Just remind me every now and then 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think it’s awesome that your mom doesn’t know what you do! I wonder what’s special about her that she only cares you remember her? Gosh, that sounds nice, a lot like my mother! LOL

      I’ll never underestimate the value of a daughter-in-law, I’ll tell you that! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan Antion says:

        She writes it off under the “computer stuff” umbrella. My brother was a teacher (easy to understand) he taught history (even easier since she lived a lot of that). Yeah, without my wife, my mom would never hear from me.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I completely understand this post. My kids never call me, and I have to ask my wife what they’re up to.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. meANXIETYme says:

    Hub talks to him Mom on the phone, but I very rarely do. I used to have to remind him to call her but since his mother’s RV accident, he’s been staying on top of the phone calls on his own.
    I talk to my mom all the time. Hub chats with her when they see each other outside and she’ll ask him questions about his work and stuff. But she also asks me when we talk. If I know, I’ll answer…if not, I’ll tell her to ask him herself (and she does). But it’s a weird situation because we live so close to each other and see each other A LOT. When my mother was working, she and Hub would chat EVERY weekday morning on instant messenger. Short little convos, but she tells me she misses that communication a lot. He’s like her favorite kid (even though there are four of her BIRTH children around). 🙂
    I tell people that Hub “works with computers” (sometimes I says TECH GEEK) because explaining his job would be futile. It’s generally over people’s heads and their eyes start to glaze over when I try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s kinda sweet! I talk to MIL a lot. As long as she stays on pleasant topics I do enjoy it.
      I used to IM my friend True as our kids got ready in the morning and I do miss it. Schedules are different now.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sammy D. says:

    My Mom is still the go between in our family. We all hate talking on the phone. I often wonder once she’s gone who will be the FamCommOp ( that’s my imaginary military speak for Family Communucations Center). Definitely not me.

    I had an OCD friend who told her Hub every little detail of every little thing and was always SHOCKED that I had NOT discussed every little detail with my Hub. Uh, because it’s not need-to-know and not even interesting ?!?

    Great post, Joey. Love your topics and tone 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This really made me laugh, I can imagine your face when you pick up the phone and it’s MIL n the other end waiting for answers you don’t have!! . The Mister gets out of it nicely, by the sounds of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Angie Mc says:

    How you made this topic hilarious to me is miraculous. Honestly, in real life, I don’t find any of this funny! Dear Lord I can’t remember the details of my life, never mind my husband’s life! Yep, I’m the gal who forgets birthdays and, well, dates. So pretty early into my marriage I got sick of failing at such quizzing and handed my husband’s family over to him! But I wasn’t just tangled up in one relationship triangle, they seemed endless. So I figured out how I would stay out of them for everyone’s sake. I wrote about it at my blog if interested. Thanks for the laugh, I need to laugh about such matters 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nagzilla says:

    Thankfully, hubs calls his mom and dad all the time. To the point that if I get a text from my MIL, it’s usually a question about Andrea. If I get a phone call from either the MIL or FIL, I worry that someone is either sick or dead.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. cardamone5 says:

    This made me laugh. I don’t really know what my husband does either. Used to ask him a million questions, but you know what happened, he got annoyed and then I got annoyed he got annoyed. So, now, I ask no questions, and if he volunteers something, I listen with half an ear because it is usually about some travel that may or may not happen at the date he tells me. When it happens, I help him, but until then, I keep my questions to myself. Our marriage is much stronger for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sherry says:

    we trade pushing stuff off on each other…I guess it depends on who looks able to handle it at the moment…honestly…we’re quite fair about it without even trying.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. hollie says:

    How IS your novel coming along?


  14. markbialczak says:

    Wow. He’s cold in that particular situation, Joey. He knows it, too. The Mister lets you wiggle on the line for him. And you do it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The phone would ring. It would be his mother. She’d say “Is Barb there?” Sigh. What’s this about a novel?

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m getting to the point where I don’t tell my hubby everything because he is one of those that act like he is listening and then I find out later that he didn’t listen at all. But I love him. As for parents on both sides, neither pair are active in our lives. It is a bummer. Both our dads are now passed. We hope to be a big pain like your MIL when our kids are grown. LOL Enjoyed reading this, funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Prajakta says:

    I am guilty here – not about the husband part but the rest. I am not big on regular phone calls and nitty gritties. My elder sister is the exact opposite when it comes to the details. But she does expect me to do HER dirty work as she is not much into calling either.
    Confusing I know… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. rachelwhims says:

    Ugh! I feel your pain. I am the go-between with my brother and the rest of the family. He’s in the navy (and I have no idea what his title is or what he does. something with water, I guess…) and he texts and calls me maybe once a week, if that. But apparently that’s more than he contacts anyone else because everyone is constantly asking, “have you heard from Geoffrey? What’s going on with Geoffrey? Why does Geoffrey only call you?” I tell him to call them and he says, “But I’m telling you everything so I don’t have to call them.” He doesn’t understand it doesn’t work that way. Maybe this is a man-issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL @ something with water!
      Yes, I do think it’s a man issue. I’ve yet for a man to come forward and tell me he’s a go-between!
      It’s a rotten place, sometimes, isn’t it?!


  19. My MIL has 2 sons and 3 grandchildren. I am ALWAYS passing messages. They call me the Social Calendar & Admin. Funny. Not.

    Liked by 1 person

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  21. Susan says:

    I’m not married, but I’m the go-between for my family. My Mom says “Call your sister for me”. My sister says, “Maybe you should run my idea by Mom and Dad”. In our family, it is established that their is a lack of sensitivity when speaking to each other, or, in my opinion, too much emotional baggage that somehow gets brought up – stuff from years ago. Yes, my family ( father not included) is in a constant state of arrested development.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Samara says:

    I always was the go between for my Ex and his family. He hated them and found talking to them excruciating. And through some archaic pre-suffragette set of rules his sisters felt it was my job to stay in touch with them

    Liked by 1 person

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  24. This is hilarious! I’m always nagging my husband to call his parents or remember a birthday, etc. It does get a little tiresome.

    Liked by 1 person

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