Friday, 4 October 2013

Mother-in-laws - they've got a bad rep

Mother-in-laws - they've got a bad rep
4 October 2013

Look, going into it, you’ve gotta know that the dice is loaded.  Cause mother-in-laws come with a lot of bad press.  If common lore is to be believed, you’re not going to be liked in any rate.  You pretty much might not even bother trying.  Popularity is not on your side.

You’re stereotyped as the arch enemy.  The meanest of meanies.  Mother-in-law jokes belittle you and humiliate your role.  Worst of all – most of them are funny.  About this one cannot lie.

And I somehow think this whole bad press idea, is worse for the mother of a son.  Moms and daughters are usually always close.  It’s a given and assumed as such.  That bond will stay strong.  And so, usually what happens is that married couples, gravitate towards the family of the wife.  Because wives naturally stay emotionally close to their moms.

Whereas, things are not quite as simple for the mother of a son.  There is also a special bond between moms and their boys.  However, given the fact that your son is a heterosexual, chances are he’ll marry a woman.  Which naturally means, that he’ll spend a fair amount of time with his wife’s family.  Because of her bond with her mom.  Right?  Makes kind of sense, hey?

I’ve often pondered what type of Mother-in-law I would make.  And I’ve come to the conclusion, that I will try and emulate my mom.  My Grantie is particularly fond of her.  As are my brother and sister’s significant others.  Grant has the deepest respect for her, loves her and will take anyone down who tries to harm her. 

She doesn’t interfere.  She doesn’t make unnecessary comments.  She doesn’t meddle.  She doesn’t judge.  She is just a calming and fun presence.  Involved in our lives.  Familiar with that which is important to us.  And for our kids too.  Patient and kind.  Unconditionally loving towards all five of us.  She doesn’t prescribe how we should live our lives.  Or raise our kids.  She praises us for all that we do right.  She takes the time to listen when one talks.  She is interesting and entertaining.  Most definitely not dull.  Accepting of those that her three children have chosen.  Loving our partners for who they really are.

And that is exactly the kind of Mother-in-law I would like to be.

I can imagine though, that it must be quite hard for a mother, to relinquish her very prominent role in her child’s life, once they get married.  Particularly for the mother of a son.  And a bumpy ride might well ensue.

However, of this I am sure.  If you have a dodgy relationship with your Mom-in-law, remember this.  She is partly responsible for the awesome person that you are with.  And a huge amount of gratitude is therefore her due.

And as for another thing – once you have kids, it is very hard not to love someone who adores your kids.  And grandmothers generally do just that.

But, as a daughter-in-law, I also feel that you have a certain responsibility too.  To encourage a closeness with your husband’s family.  To include them in your family life.  To make them feel valued and special.  To be accepting of them.  To cut them some slack.  To be respectful and encouraging of their relationship with their child.  To be mindful of the role they have to play in your family.

Because at the end of it all, you love the same people.

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1 comment:

  1. A very fine son-in-law I have!
    And personally I think you must be an awesome daughter-in-law!