My Mother-In-Law Is Stalking M.E. And It’s Hilariously Traumatic

It isn’t uncommon for moms everywhere to be on top of their kids like, “flies on shit,” as my mom would so eloquently say and Italian moms are no different. Italy is famous for the food, the beauty, and the tight-knit families which naturally include Italian moms who are known for being great moms. They’re sometimes teased for being crazy moms that occasionally try to re-womb their adult children like in this ad from Norway. Apparently, that ever-present helicopter mothering can go on until their kids are elderly. I once saw an old Italian mom clad in widow black lecture her elderly daughter on a street corner, passionately waving her cane around. The daughter who was also wearing widow black and looked to be in her seventies or eighties argued back indignantly until eventually teetering away with her mom yelling in hot pursuit.

Sometimes the helicopter mothering can be crazy, other times sweet, and every once in a while it’s downright comical in a “holy shit,” kind of way. F isn’t Mammoni, but when my MIL is around she takes full advantage of her time by being ever-present, kind of like a stealth ninja. Over the past week my MIL has been stalking us while we stay at her home. Somehow, no matter what we do or where we go she’s there. Almost magically like she materializes out of thin air. She’s given me so many heart-attacks I’m worried about my cardiovascular health AND it’s made me a little paranoid. I actually checked under my bed and behind the bedroom door the other day. Yes, seriously.

One night, after being surrounded by people for a long ass time, were desperate enough to “be marital,” in my in-law’s guest room because we are idiots. It was 2 a.m. so we thought we were safe to make the boom-boom. After, I tip-toed to the bathroom (ain’t nobody got time for a UTI) through the pitch-black hall, passed my in-laws room. I reached out for the light switch on the outside of the bathroom door and right as my finger felt the plastic nub, I heard the thundering voice of my MIL from her doorway scream for my husband “FRANCHEH!” I reeled back, totally scared shitless. I stood motionless in the dark hallway, listening to her breathe only a few feet from me. Francesco responded from the guest room where he’s drifting off to sleep (how typical?) “Yeah Mom?” I opened the bathroom door and closed it quietly wondering if she’d somehow managed to hear us doing the nasty despite our attempt to be absolutely silent, like two corpses in love, silent. Had she seen me standing in front of her in the hallway or did she just hear me and assume it was F?  She continued to Francesco, “Turn on the fan on in your room and don’t open the window too much! You’ll get sick or someone will sneak into your room at night!”

“Okay mamma,” he replied.

I waited in the bathroom for a minute, hoping she’d go back to bed so I didn’t have to face her. Finally, I snuck back to the bedroom. I whispered to F, “Holy, shit. Do you think she heard something?” while crawling back into bed.

“Oh, gross! Ugh! I don’t want to think about it, honestly.”

We both stared at each other for a minute and drifted off to sleep feeling like we needed to take bleach showers with a scrubby brush.


It was Sunday morning so Francesco and I woke up a little bit late and slowly got ready to head over to my Sister-In-Laws house for our nieces birthday party. I teetered into the bathroom, noticing that the house was quiet and seemingly empty. I piled my hair on top of my head and secured it with a few bobbi pins, brushed my teeth with my electronic toothbrush that sounds suspiciously like a vibrator, and rubbed some creme de viso face wash into my cheeks. I rinsed my face and reached my arm out into the air to feel around for a towel, burying my face into it to pat it dry. I removed it and opened my eyes to find my MIL Standing in the bathroom with me, her hands on her hips, her face two inches away from mine.”CLOSE THE WINDOW,” she barked, gesturing to the window behind me. I jumped back, nearly tripping over the bidet and screamed, “WHAT THE MOTHER FUCK!” in English (which she can’t understand) because for a second I thought I was about to get ax murdered. She shook her head at me like I was insane, rolled her eyes and pivoted out of the bathroom.


“It will make you incredibly sick! You’ll hurt your stomach!” My MIL explained to my three year old niece who was begging for water. “No! NO! It’s too COLD!” My MIL held the bottle of chilled water above her head, out of my niece’s reach. “Ma DAI! NONNA!” my niece pleaded, desperate after running in circles in the ninety degree heat.

“No! NO! You’ll get sick!” She said. My niece opened her mouth and let out a shrill scream of frustration, wondering why she was not able to drink water when she was thirsty. I watched, equally as perplexed. What the fuck?

My MIL has decided that along with wind chill, cold water will basically kill you. Drinking cold water on a hot day will destroy your stomach, causing unbearable pain and ruining your life with gastric discomfort. I’d spent my entire life guzzling ice water during the summer and wondered what made me genetically capable of downing the liquid poison? Cold water had yet to make me sick. No matter, I was still forbidden from drinking it, instead we were told that we were only allowed to drink cups of liquid the temperature of fresh urine. Mmmm. Every time someone would raise a cold bottle of water to their lips to alleviate the hot, hot heat she’d burst into the room, pop out behind a door, or spring up behind them, scream, and take their water away. It became a sort of family joke where we’d hide our cold bottles, or sneak away to drink out of them. But once after being outside in the sticky heat, and returning inside to the apartment without air conditioning, Francesco forgot that his mother was lurking. He grabbed a bottle from the fridge, an extra cold one with condensation beads, and started guzzling away. His mom magically appeared in the kitchen like she’d jet-packed in from the balcony upon hearing him swallow, slapped him hard in the back of his head with a massive “THACK.” forcing water to spurt out of his mouth onto the cabinets like a sprinkler. “MOM!” he choked and gagged.

“It’s TOO COLD! DIO MIO!” She grabbed the water out of his hand and slammed the bottle onto the table on her way out of the room.

Francesco turned to me, “ouch!” and we burst out laughing.


We went out drinking with friends and returned to my in-laws home around midnight. We crawled into bed and Francesco dozed off right away but I couldn’t sleep because I was hungry and my blood sugar was too low. I tossed and turned, counted sheep, and eventually accepted that I needed to find food. I pulled on my pajamas before padding down the hallway towards the kitchen. I slowly made my way past the office which I assumed was empty since it was the middle of the night. Suddenly, the office light flipped on and my MIL sat up on the office couch, “What are you doing?” She demanded.

I jumped, “Holy shit! Uhm, I’m hungry?”

“There is cheese and bread in the kitchen.” She looked me up and down. Then, while still looking at me, she switched off the light. I stood in the dark hallway for a minute pondering whether or not it was possible that she had super powers. How else could she possibly be EVERYWHERE at every second of the day, always? I pulled some bread and scamorza from the fridge and walked back to the room on-guard yet feeling somewhat safe. Maybe we couldn’t drink cold water, make the boom-boom, or sneak a midnight snack, but least it would be impossible for someone to sneak into our house and murder us.

8 thoughts on “My Mother-In-Law Is Stalking M.E. And It’s Hilariously Traumatic

  1. I’ve mentioned this before, but you are a very brave woman to put up with an Italian MIL with such grace. I’d’ve committed matricide long ago. Thank god F. isn’t a Mamma’s Boy – he’d not have lasted very long with me!

    And the ad – though I didn’t understand the language, it was hilarious!

  2. OMG, that is hilarious. She could be related to my Australian MIL who is nasty and full of weird rules. Like, don’t ever sleep under the bedspread, that is COMMON…it must be taken off, folded precisely and placed right there! Do not move it back to the bed!

  3. How funny! When I was in Korea, you’d hear of “fan” death, but I’d blast my fan in defiance all summer long while I slept. Your posts always crack me up!

  4. I can relate so much! I live for your in law posts if only to find some comfort knowing that “che fai?” and don’t drink cold beverages happens to others ( how any of us foreign people are alive and haven’t died from cold water stomach cramps or from ‘taking cold’ from wind or AC is beyond me!) my boyfriend’s father in all seriousness told us about this ex calciatore who died of a heart attack recently….because he drank a cold iced tea shortly before! Since he’s been extra vigilant not to drink anything remotely chilled, preventing the same fate!😉

  5. Of all your posts about your MIL, this one may be my favorite…absolutely hilarious and well written. I can easily picture myself in every one of these situations with my own M…I swear she and your MIL may be the same person. And like F, I am not a mammoni, much to her disappointment.🙂

  6. This post is inspiring me to write an entire page on what has happened this month between myself, my italian BF and his Mother . M.E your blog has really saved my life, my sanity, everything. It’s like my friend, my guide and cures all bouts of frustration, loneliness, sadness and makes me laugh the entire time. The potential italian MIL ( I don’t know what they are for girlfriends?) are so unpredictable and batshit crazy. I met her for the first time a few weeks ago, we get on straight away, she tells me I’m “bellissima” and seems to love me it’s all great blahblah. Then all of a sudden our holiday that was just meant to be US is suddenly actually with her ” honey, even I didn’t know we were going with her until today”- really, dude? (FYI: sadly the Father passed away a few months ago so she’s understandably sad and needs some support). SO we go and it’s hard because she’s not coping but it’s still fine. I embrace the role of a girlfriend of at least 12 months not two weeks (we met once a year before, talked every day for 12 months now I’m back… shit moves fast in Italy..kind’ve), I comfort her when BF can’t cope and needs his own support seeing as he’s grieving too, and totally supported him supporting his mum. The day before we’re due to come home, he apparently tells “Ally is the only one I want in my life, so we’re all compromised now”… then we’re not even back at the family apartment for 10 minutes and she’s having another emotional breakdown and I hear her screaming at him to get me out of the house “ADESSOOOOOO” and so that makes me feel really awkward and really shit. Anyway in a fit of anger I unfriended her from facebook (I KNOWWWW it’s so immature) but I feel like I was thrown into the deep end, tried my best to fill that role, to help, then I’m used as a scapegoat/kicked out house because she thinks doing that will make me magically disappear/ our relationship end and ensures she has a live-in son until she dies.
    So, now I’m trying to deal with that hurt (because we became close then she was a bitch about it /has depression + huge loss so I can’t be too bitter etc..) but also build a relationship and immigrate/integrate.

    I know (and I’m sorry) I’ve turned this comment section into like a therapy/agony aunt page but I had to share this and express so much gratitude for this blog.❤

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