Querida Suegra

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is below!

Image adapted from image by: Max Stanworth

Querida Suegra,

Ya ha pasado un año desde la ultima vez que hablé con usted, o mejor dicho, desde usted me habló. Tal vez piensas que todo que usted hizo y dicho, aquí y en El Salvador, es un gran secreto – que no sabemos todo que usted está haciendo – pero sabemos toditito. Ya que le gusta tanto el chisme, usted debe saber cómo habla la gente. Ni tenemos que preguntar a ninguna persona sobre usted, porque la gente nos hablan por telefono y nos cuentan todo – oh sí!

No voy a revelar que sé sobre qué pasó con usted este año al todo el mundo, porque no soy como usted, pero sí hay unas cositas que quiero aclarar. Usted corrió por todos partes diciendo mentiras sobre Carlos y yo – y bien sabe usted que mentiras son. Por una mujer que siempre le gusta citar la Biblia a “los pecadores”, me parece bien hipócrita hacer lo que estás haciendo, pero BUENO.

Las mentiras que quiero aclarar son:

MENTIRA #1. Tracy mangonea a Carlos.

Si mangoneo a Carlos, ¿Cómo fue que usted vivía con nosotros por una década, aunque no lo quería yo?

MENTIRA #2. Tracy es perezosa y pasa todo el día jugando en la computadora.

Si estoy jugando, ¿Qué es este papel en mi declaración de impuestos federales que me muestra como escritora?

Uno no paga impuestos por jugar, señora.

MENTIRA #3. Carlos tiene que trabajar en dos trabajos por cuidar a Tracy.

Ah, ¿de veras? Yo no sabía eso. ¿Qué es este segundo trabajo del que usted habla? Yo sé que Carlos trabaja bien duro durante el día pero en la noche, aquí lo puede encontrar.

Carlos en su “segundo trabajo”

Si alguien está pagando a Carlos por caer dormido mientras mira El Chavo del Ocho, digame dónde puedo aplicar, (ya que soy perezosa, ¿recuerda?)

Esto es todo que quiero decir, y lo digo sin una papita de malicia. Tus cuentos me parecen bien creativos. Por favor, siga contandole a la gente para que ellos sigan contandonos.

Su nuera


Dear Mother-in-Law,

It’s been a year since the last time I spoke to you, or rather, since you last spoke to me. Maybe you think everything you did and said, here and in El Salvador is a big secret – that we don’t know everything you’re doing – but we know everything. Since you like gossip so much, you should know better how people talk. We don’t even have to ask anyone about you, because people call on the phone and tell us everything – oh yes!

I will not reveal all that I know about what happened to you this past year to everyone, I am not like you, but I do want to clarify a few things. You ran all over the place telling lies about Carlos and I – and you know you are lying. For a woman who likes to quote the Bible to “sinners” it seems rather hypocritical to do what you’re doing, but anyway.

The lies I want to clear up are:

LIE #1. Tracy bosses around Carlos.

If I boss around Carlos, how is it that you lived with us for a decade, which I never wanted?

LIE #2. Tracy is lazy and spends all day playing computer games.

If I’m playing, what is this part of my federal tax return that shows me as a writer?

One doesn’t pay taxes for playing, ma’am.

LIE #3. Carlos has to work two jobs to take care of Tracy.

Is that right? I didn’t know that. What is this second job of which you speak? I know that Carlos works very hard during the day but at night, here is where you can find him.

If someone is paying Carlos to fall asleep while watching El Chavo del Ocho, tell me where I can apply, (since I’m lazy, remember?)

That’s all I want to say, and I say this without an ounce of malice. Your stories seem rather creative. Please, keep telling people these stories so that they can keep telling them to us.

Your daughter-in-law

58 thoughts on “Querida Suegra

  1. You tell her Tracy! I always wondered what happened to your suegra since she stayed in Salvi… Yo por eso a la mia tengo 7 meses que no le hablo, ni la visito, ni nada… y soy tan feliz!! :P My suegra and my cuñadas got mad because I would only take Julian to their house once a month, and i got mad because they never go to any of Julian’s events (birthdays, baby showers, not even when he was born) we always had to go to their house because the macho of the house doesn’t allow them to go out. So yes, my suegra choses her man over her kids and grandkids… They swore and promised they loved Julian and would visit him, but until now, nada! My kid doesn’t really know them pero pues alla ellas!! Ay, que suegras!! :P

    • MJ – She hasn’t stayed in ES, she’s been back and forth causing mayhem.

      I’m sorry your suegra and cuñadas haven’t visited Julian :( … My suegra didn’t even so much as make a phone call for either of my boys’ birthdays this past year so I understand how that feels. Hopefully Julian is young enough that it doesn’t bother him or he’s unaware. It sucks to have your kids ask you why abuela is mad at them >:(

    • I’m the mean-spirited one for defending my and my husband’s reputations which she has been dragging through the mud in our local community and with family and friends in El Salvador? I don’t think so. (By the way, I had Carlos’s permission to post this and he has been just as unhappy about his mother’s lies.)

      I have over a dozen interesting stories I could have shared about her – things that happened to her this past year, ways she has attempted to instigate and torment us, and all the nonsense she’s been up to and I haven’t shared ANY of it, even while readers E-mailed me begging for a Suegra update.

      You have no idea what has gone on behind the scenes and I won’t be shamed for standing up for myself.

      What my Suegra has been doing is legally called “defamation of character” and I could take her to court for it. She’s lucky she’s only getting a silly blog post.

    • It used to break my heart, but I can’t allow it to anymore. Would I have liked for there to have been a happy ending? Of course – but I’m not naive enough to keep hoping for that and ultimately I can’t control her behavior. I have to let go.

      The truth is that some people are toxic and they never change.

  2. Ay la Suegra!!! Mejor que no está con ustedes y nomás les llegan los cuentos que inventa, no amiga? Yay for Carlos for putting his foot down and listening to you!!! Un abrazote amiga linda!

  3. I would hate to have a mil like that. I am so thankful my mil is great with me. Or at least I do not think she talks about me behind my back? So glad that you can have a great sense of humor about it and do not let it bother you. Like my husband tells me all the time, they do not live with us and they do not know. They being all the gossipers in our lives.

    • You’re lucky to get along with your MIL. I really wish that had been the case with mine.

      Your husband is right about the gossipers – but it’s even worse when people do know the truth but purposefully spread lies.

  4. Hay Tracy! Your suegra sounds like a bitter viejita that needs a buena p*t*ada, like us Salvadoran colloquial say. I’m very impressed by your handling of this. I’ve had the displeasure of having a huge blow up with my MIL, so I know how straining it can be in a family and specially in a marriage. Good luck chica!

  5. Has it been a year, really? I remember the fallout after or rather during your trip.

    Well, the woman clearly has issues beyond the usual MIL pattern. I think you are better off without her…

    • I can’t believe it’s been a year either, but sure enough, we left for El Salvador in July last year.

      Agree that we’re better off.

  6. People are in your life for a reason…and not in your life for a reason. Trying to force something that never will be the way you want it is futile, better to accept, move on, and be happy.
    And you are.
    And that’s what’s most important.

    • Exactly. My sentiments exactly — move on. Venting in public is demeaning, and always gets backlash. I’ve gotten it twice here (of all places!), and have observed that happening to others elsewhere. Someday I’ll learn not to post here, but that’s not today. : )

      • RLB, I don’t understand why you continue to read my blog if you have such a problem with what I write. (And don’t try to drag “Heart in Hand” into it. She’s a good friend of mine and when she’s saying “move on” – she isn’t saying it in the nasty way you are.)

        While I’m not a celebrity – I’ll use this example: Let’s say a celebrity has been trashed in the tabloids. People are telling outright lies about the celebrity… Now, the celebrity, (being a celebrity), has a very public place to denounce the lies and spread the truth to the masses. Is it “demeaning” of her to say “I’m aware of what’s being said about me in this or that tabloid magazine and it’s all absolutely not true. They are lying about me.”? — Seriously, is that demeaning RLB? No, it’s not… So why is it any different when a blogger defends herself publicly?

        I really don’t know why you think you can judge and shame me into writing my blog content the way you want it – it’s not going to happen, and if you’ve failed to notice, you’re the only one bringing negativity in here. Instead of judging me and telling me to “move on”, why are you obsessing about a random stranger’s relationship with her suegra? You, move on.

      • Tracy, I read your blog because most of the time you make me smile, and teach me lots. I read it because you are Latina-ISH, which is the word that drew me to you on Twitter. I read it to learn better Spanish, and to follow the fun times your family experiences, and the good things you introduce me to, through recipes. However, your defensiveness when I post anything that doesn’t stroke your cozy view of the world, shows me I’m wasting my time here. You say, “don’t drag Heart in Hand into this” but that was certainly not what I did. I was agreeing with her that some moderation on your part would have been more in keeping with someone who indeed has “moved on.” You also say “Is it “demeaning” of her to say “I’m aware of what’s being said about me in this or that tabloid magazine and it’s all absolutely not true. They are lying about me.”?” But that is NOT what you said, you said a great deal more, specific and petty things about someone who appears to be extremely lonely and in need of –if not understanding, at least being left to stew in her own juices. Apparently the only way you could let go of your anger was to post what you did, but I can’t help wondering if Carlos really is as OK with your trashing his mother in public as you seem to think. If you want me to stop reading this is as good a time as any, but to read such dirty laundry and not post was beyond me. So, have your friends enable you by their remarks. I know many of them have bad relationships with mother in laws, but do they post such details on their blogs? If so, I’m glad I’m not reading them.

      • I’m not asking anyone to stroke my ego or agree with me – I have had people disagree with me in comments before and that’s fine – but there’s a way to do it. You were rude to call me mean-spirited, (and in all caps, by the way, which is the equivalent of yelling.) … As a writer you know how to choose your words more wisely.

        Am I defensive? Yes, because I don’t see why you feel the need to chide me like I’m a little girl who isn’t minding her manners. You have absolutely no clue how much restraint I showed in writing this – no clue at all what has gone on this past year. These three lies I set straight are a very small taste of what has been going on.

        This blog began in 2009, in part, as a place for me to vent my frustrations about my suegra so I don’t understand why suddenly you’re shocked to see this kind of content. What you call “airing dirty laundry”, I call having a voice. Maybe it’s not “proper” to you, but I’m not ashamed of what goes on in my family and feel no need to hide it away. I receive a lot of E-mails from people who are deeply depressed, on the verge of divorce and just really in the depths of struggling with their mother-in-law, and seeing my posts on my blog have given them strength to just keep going, knowing they aren’t alone. THAT is the beauty of blogging and online communities. This isn’t some upper class neighborhood where I feel the need to keep up appearances lest the neighbors think less of me. That isn’t authentic – that isn’t me, and as someone who has read my blog for as long as you have, you should know that. I won’t change just because you don’t approve.

        If you want to sympathize with my suegra, that’s your prerogative, but I think that before you do so, you should at least experience living with her because you have never been in my shoes.

        Some of the phone calls I mention getting in this blog post are from people that Suegra ended up living with when she moved out of our house. Ultimately she moved out of their houses too on very bad terms. She doesn’t get along with anyone because of the type of individual she is. Those people called Carlos and I to APOLOGIZE because they had previously believed all her lies about us and they had assumed we were cold-hearted for not putting up with her – in the end, they couldn’t put up with her either.

        As for wondering whether Carlos is really okay with this post – Wow, so now you’re either calling me a liar or you’re presuming to know my husband better than I do. Do you not realize how your words are coming across? … Anyway, since you felt the need to call this into question, yes, Carlos really is okay with it. Of course he would rather there not be any issues at all with his mother, but there are and he’s angry that his mother is making him out to look like a wimp who caters to a bitchy American wife. She knows that insulting his machismo is what really hurts and she knows how to push his buttons. I did ask Carlos if I could write about this before I typed a single word and he agreed. I then even asked him to read the post before I scheduled it to publish. (He even corrected a verb tense in Spanish for me.) — So yes, he’s more than okay with it and he knows I’ve shown incredible strength and patience with his mother all these years and that ultimately, when someone is trashing my reputation, I deserve to have a chance to set the record straight and call that person out.

      • You make good points, and I respect that. The single thing I must respond to is “someone who has read my blog for as long as you have” because I haven’t been reading it since 2009, only for a few months, and not every post. It just seemed excessive to berate someone who will never see what you posted and has no chance to stick up for herself. If I HAD been reading since 2009, perhaps I would have chosen my words differently, but that this one was over the edge is still my sentiment.

  7. ¡Qué chistoso! Me encantó lo de ‘pasársela jugando todo el día en la computadora.’ Claro que para nosotras que somos escritoras, el trabajo es un juego de niños, no? Gracias por hacerme reír y te felicito por haber usado tu don de escritora para desfogar!

    • Thanks Eliana! Well, there has always been the possibility that one of our younger computer-literate cousins or another friend or in-law might stumble upon my blog, recognize us and tell it all to suegra, but she would never find it on her own since she doesn’t use computers at all.

      Anyway, I wrote this post knowing that someday someone might find it and read it to her, and that’s fine with me. I would have no problem telling this to her in person but we’re not on speaking terms – besides, I think it’s better to clear up these lies publicly so that people in our community and family, should they find my blog, will know the truth. (Already many people have called to tell us they know these are lies though because they know us better – that’s reassuring.)

  8. Tracy, You have been such a wonderful DIL to this woman you don’t deserve this treatment. You have put up with her insults, her miradas, her innuendo, her gossip and her hoarding. You love and care for her son and for her grandsons. You have been respectful to her to the point where it hurt. You have hosted her and dealt with her disgraceful treatment of you when you were her “guest” on her territory. Enough is enough. You have gone above and beyond. You have even shown restraint writing this. You’re the best! I don’t blame you for writing this.

    • Thank you amiga, that really means a lot to me. I feel very justified in writing this for all the reasons you stated. I waited a whole year to give a carefully measured response so this wasn’t something I wrote in the heat of the moment. I wanted to put the truth out there and set things straight and I’ve done that. I chose my words carefully and I mean every single one. No regrets.

      I’m not angry with her because holding onto anger is a waste of energy. I have always been willing to put differences aside, to forgive even though she has never apologized, to give her a second chance (again and again and again) even though she has harmed me and my family more than anyone ever has – yet she is the one that refuses to have a civil relationship.

      This blog post is not any sort of “revenge” — it’s simply a result of my intolerance for injustice, whether done to me or to others — nothing more, nothing less. I had to set the record straight and tell the other side of the story for those who are only hearing suegra’s side. Mission accomplished. This is closure for me.

  9. Tracy, not all Salvadoran MIL are this bad. LOL. My mom makes a grrrrreat MIL.

    But my mom’s mother in aw… AKA My dads mom… HELL!!!!! My mom went through tough moments with my grandma… (to say the least)… Pero como tu, ya dejo todo eso atras.

    Ni modo, they miss out on family times, the beauty of seeing grand kids grow up….

    Aun que le hiciste escebache y leche poleada para Carlos, la suegra no se fija lo feliz que haces a Carlos… lol (bueno, aparte de todo lo demas lo que le has dado, 2 KIDSSS!)

    Ten un buen fin de semana!

    • I know Dev! (Not all Salvadoran MILs are this bad.) … I think that it’s 50/50 throughout all cultures. I have had people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds tell me that my suegra reminds them of theirs… Some things are just universal.

      You make a good point about how the suegra is the one who misses out. I truly believe that and even feel bad for her, that she’s incapable of controlling her behavior and acting right. She is one of the unhappiest people I know and she is missing out on everything, including her grandchildren. (By her own choice and not because we’re keeping them from her. If she acted right and was willing to have a civil relationship with us, we’d be more than happy for the kids to have contact with her on a regular basis… As it is, she didn’t call for either of their birthdays.)

      As for making Carlos happy – Unfortunately she doesn’t like for another woman to make her son happy – she has too many jealousy issues – it has been like that for longer than I was even in the picture, (story for another day.)

      Abrazos! Feliz fin de semana!

  10. Tracy, I just discover your blog and I already fall in love! Felicidades por ser tan valiente!! En Mexico decimos, “Mal de muchas consuelo de ….. (tontas)” Tontas significa -gente que ignora- asi que yo soy BIEN TONTA cuando se trata de mi suegra y sus rabietas. Enjoy your husband and your kids. Now you have a family with her son and that really pissed her off. You are not alone my dear! Un abrazo. Carmen.

    • Hola Carmen! Bienvenida and thanks so much for your comment. You made me happy :)

      Sorry you struggle with a difficult suegra as well. Deseandote mucha fuerza. Es realmente una de las situaciones más difíciles en la vida. Abrazos!

  11. I love the way you put your thoughts into words. I know you feel better getting it all out there and taking the high road. They say that I people are talking about you, you’re doing something right. I personally think you ROCK! Never mind the haters. She’s lucky to have a DIL like you. :-)

  12. Tracy, I found the 3 mentiras you detail as a keen observation of Latina MILs. I don’t know the specifics nor is it my business but I will note a pattern I have observed: Latina mothers can be very protective and territorial of their “sons” which is why people say Latinos are “machistas”–because their mothers make them that way! An anxiety seems to set in when she “loses” him to his wife and depending on the suegra and nuera dynamics, it can take on different incarnations. I’m not a psychologist or anthropologist but I’ve observed this time and time again (and wonder if it “translates” across cultures), not that it helps your particular situation. Hang in there!

  13. Wow! Wow! Wow! I have to tell you, Tracy, tienes cojones! Pero, it seems she deserves the tongue lashing. I am not married but I know many married women who struggle with a suegra que es metiche. Good for you for standing up for yourself! Oh, and that pic of your husband? Classic lol.

  14. pobre de Carlos, y que bueno que te tiene a ti en su rincon. yo antes siempre decia, el problema siempre viene que la mama del hombre quiere que sea mama y mujer para su hijo o que la mujer trata de ser como mama a su esposo, de igual manera todo ba bien si la mama es la mama y la mujer es la mujer. mi hijo me pregunta por que yo tengo que recoger mis tenis y echarlos en el closet mientras mi papa deja sus zapatos por todos lados y tu los recoges, le digo pues yo no soy mama de el y no le voy a educar, pero a ti si! pero he cambiado mi opinion, con conocer a mi suegra, no es como la tua, pero aveces veo que a mi esposo le hace mucha falta tener que su mama se porta como mama… en el primero y en el ultimo una mama debe de pensar en el bien de su hijo, y que lastima dan si no lo hacen… que fuerte que tiene que ser un hombrecito joven para enfrentar la vida no teniendo a alguien en la casa para darle apoyo y socorro y consuelo. asi que yo creo valora aun mas tener a una mujer que es buena mama para sus hijos y quien le quiere cuidar a el tambien como pueda. no nunca puedo ser su mami pero talvez le ayuda saber que por lo menos yo siempre estare en su rincon. lastima que tus hijos tambien tienen que sufrir, pero tambien yo se nunca se olvidaran del ejemplo que estan viendo, tu con tu amor y Carlos con su fortaleza.

  15. I do not know how to feel about this. Yo sé que hay dos historias y me gustaría escuchar la de tu suegra. También sé que hay mucha gente chismosa que le gusta instigar. Mi mamá me esnseñó a respetar a mis mayores, como buena latina.
    Don’t get me wrong, me gusta tu blog y lo que escribes, pero no me parece una buena idea haber publicado una carta así, claro que entiendo tu derecho a defenderte, pero hay cosas que tienen un límite y es mejor quedarse callado pues así pruebas que eres mejor persona que la que te hace daño. Al fin y al cabo a quien le importa lo que los demás creende lo que tu suegra dice, si son tus amigos no te lo dirían para no hacerte sufrir.

    • Hola Anonymous,

      Solo quiero decirte gracias por tu comentario y a pesar de que no estás de acuerdo conmigo, yo respeto tu opinión y la manera en que lo compartiste.

      Hace un año desde que escribí este blog post y estoy contenta dejar el pasado en el pasado. No puedo decir que me arrepiento de escribir este blog post porque todavia me siento que era más que justificado y necesario en dejar saber a los demás que los rumores eran falsos. Mi reputación es muy importante para mi y acepto la culpa por mis actos, pero lo que nunca puedo aceptar es la culpa por cosas que no hice.

      Sobre respetar a mis mayores – en eso definitivamente, no estamos de acuerdo. Tal vez es mi cultura gringa, pero les doy respeto a los que me respetan – no me importa si uno es anciano o niño. A los que no me respetan, que me maltratan, que me abusan, que me maldicen – no merecen mi respeto – Esta es mi opinion.

      Ni modo – gracias otra vez por tu comentario y por leer mi blog. Te agradezco mucho.


  16. Haha. It’s good to say it to someone! Hispanic ‘suegras’ are not easy to deal with. I got lucky with mine. But I have heard numerous stories like yours. They will never be satisfied. It’s not you, it’s her.

  17. Bravo, Tracy! *slow clap* You handled/are handling this messiness so well. I can’t say I’d do the same. I’ve been in your chanclas (haha) and lived with a “delightful” Mex MIL.
    Also I’ve been reading your blog casually for the last couple of years and your wit and literary talents are amazing! Thank you for sharing so that others may relate & not feel alone.
    Abrazote :)

Note: You are not required to sign in to leave a comment. Please feel free to leave the email and/or website fields blank for an easier commenting experience.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s