If you find yourself on an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond...
Note: This blog reflects stories I heard at prenatal class. It does not, in any way, reflect how I feel about my mother-in-law who is one of the most considerate people I know.
At prenatal class this week, the nurse discussed various "new parent" situations that could cause stress in a marriage and we brainstormed coping strategies. One of the situations involved an overly-present mother-in-law who would arrive unannounced into the house of the new parents. She would look around disapprovingly at the mess and chaos and at the recently devoured bucket of KFC chicken and say, "I had FIVE children and WE never had to resort to take-out."
This brought about a story of a friend of the nurse's. The new parents were an Italian couple (this already sounds a bit like Everybody Loves Raymond) who had parents living just a few doors down from them. Apparently the wife found her mother-in-law would show up unannounced for very frequent visits once the baby was born, which began to get exhausting.
One day the wife phoned our prenatal nurse and said, "Well, I finally did it!"
She had been in the living room and she'd seen her mother-in-law coming up the driveway. So she removed all of her clothing and stood naked in the front entranceway. The mother-in-law opened the door to find her as bare as the day she was born. And she never showed up unannounced again.