Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Marriage and Mother-in-Laws

Mother-in-laws get a lot of stick and are the butt of many jokes; but they're not all the same, are they?

According to research four out of ten women do not have a great relationship with their mother-in-laws. These women will endure their mother-in-laws criticising the way they run their homes, the way they treat their sons or how they are bringing up the children. All of which causing a massive strain on a marriage and causing a lot of friction within the family.


Out of my own circle of friends there are only two of us who like our mothers-in-law, most of my friends cannot stand theirs, have nothing to do with them, get very angry with their constant interfering and would not even spare them a smile if they walked past them in a street. I have listened to many horrifying stories about friends' run-ins with their husband's matriarch.

Mother-in-laws can really affect a marriage though. I would say there are three types of the unfavourable mother-in-law:

1. The meddling mother-in-law
2. The condescending mother-in-law
3. And still-wish-i-was-breastfeeding-him mother-in law.

I know of friends who frequently argue with their husbands because of the mother-in-law and it is awful to think one woman can have so much effect on somebody else's relationship. Do these mothers know which buttons to press when it comes to daughter-in-laws?

Making snide comments such as, "Have you put on more weight?" or wiping a finger across the mantlepiece in search of dust is one sure way of upsetting your son's wife. So why do these women do it? Do they feel they are in competition with you for their son's love and attention and there can only be one woman in their little boy's life?

I do think that maybe some of these sons should speak up, no matter how much they are intimidated by their own mothers. They are men who chose to spend the rest of their lives with a woman who they claim to love so they should not allow their mothers to insult their wives. Or do these men like being a Mummy's boy?

I know of men who go running to their mummies every time they have had an argument with their wives because they know their mums will take their side. This will just intensify the whole situation and will cause even more arguments, so why do these "Mummys' boys" do it? Probably because it is more important for these men to know that nothing is their fault because Mummy said so.

I can only talk from my own experience of having two mother-in-laws (two marriages), one I disliked the other one I absolutely adore. During my first marriage I never liked my mother-in-law. For quite a while, this did trouble me and at times I got upset, until a close friend pointed out - Why get stressed by someone who you do not even like or respect? And my friend was so right. I did struggle to respect my mother-in-law and some of the things she got up to, it was not what I expected of a mother, a grandmother or of a woman in her fifties. So, yeah, why should I care what she thought?

As soon as I accepted this I was fine about the whole mother-in-law thing. I stopped trying to please her, I stopped trying to get her to like me and I stopped being bothered about her. And since I divorced her son (first husband couldn't keep it in his pants) I never have to see her ever again.

I now have a wonderful husband and I have a very nice mother-in-law too. For the last two and a half years I have enjoyed having an amazing mother-in-law, she is thoughtful, caring and we get on incredibly well. I really like her and I have a lot of respect for her. I do think of her as another mother to me who I can always pay a visit and have a good old chat over a nice hot cuppa with. She is one very special lady to me and I know my children adore their "Nanna" too and share lots of hugs together. I am truly grateful for the relationship I have with my mother-in-law.

So, what kind of mother-in-law am I going to be?

Could I sit back and do nothing if either of my sons were to marry a woman/man I did not like? Probably not, but I would have to. 

I have to remember my job as a mother is NOW whilst my sons are 11 and 13 years of age. I am raising them to the best of my ability and nurturing them towards a life enriched with happiness. Yes, they will make mistakes along the way but that is all part of growing up and I can only pray to God that they both grow up into nice, caring, young gentlemen who make wise decisions. 

I know one day they will leave the nest and make their own way in life (yep, feels like someone has ripped my heart out just thinking about this) but if I want my sons to be happy then there will come a time where I have to take a step back, no matter how painful it will be. If I am not keen on my future daughter-in-law or son-in-law then I will have to keep it to myself because I could not bear to push either of my two sons away.

So, what kind of mother-in-law do you think you will be?? I want to hear your thoughts on this.

Teresa x

P.S. Did you know that 'Mother-In-Law' is actually an anagram of 'Woman Hitler'?