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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Evil Mother-In-Law that Makes ALL In-Laws From Hell...


“Yes, life could be better. But it could also be worse. Don’t believe me? Allow me introduce you to my mother-in-law.
~Jarod Kintz

                                            

Say what you will about in-laws; there hasn’t been a joke or horror story that hasn’t been told. But why does that automatically give all in-laws a bad reputation? Okay, granted - they are not all bad, but boy when they are bad…. it’s full blown! All of us (when we are potential brides) are so apprehensive about that moment when you have to meet the family of “the hubby.” On top of the anxiety you are already feeling, to hear of and know about the many horror stories floating around out there doesn’t help…
But in all honesty, what are we most anxious and fearful of? It’s meeting the heart of every family. We dread meeting the “one” that holds everything together; meeting the “one” who without your consent knows your life will be miserable… Let’s call it what it is – it’s meeting the mother of your man that makes the meeting with the in-laws a frightful process!

Some mother-in-laws deserve every single bit of the bad rap they get.
From thinking you are not good enough for her son…
From thinking you are a bad influence on her son…
From feeling excluded from conversation or decisions when she is involved…
From jealousy of the relationship with her son…
Have you ever heard the story of this British mother-in-law Carolyn Bourne, whose nasty email to her soon to be daughter-in-law went viral (click here for the full The Full Letter)? Well well well, that story is the perfect reason why we fear meeting our in-laws (the mother in-law, more specifically). The conflict often arises from an assumption that each is criticising or undermining the other woman. But this mutual unease may have less to do with actual attitudes and far more to do with persistent female stereotypes that few of us manage to keep in the back of our mind and not shake off completely. 

I had hoped that my in-laws would be loving, but I knew that their love wouldn’t be unconditional. A parent's obvious evaluation of a son's spouse, combined with the vulnerability of how “they” may change the special relationship they have with their child, is a fear strong enough to cast doubt on the new relationship they are being introduced to. And I (as a daughter-in-law) had to find a way to present myself as a team member and not as an intruder, so I didn’t shake their family unit or my upcoming marriage down to its brand new roots!

I started imagining the meeting and picturing every scenarios possible…I came to the conclusion that when I’ll finally meet his sister she would be overprotective of her brother. In being much younger than me, if I could just be the big sister (at the right moments) and find things to relate (with her), I knew I would be able to find my way to being liked. As for Dad…well, I knew that no matter what; at the end of the day, even if dad did like me, I would never have his open approval unless I won “mom’s” heart first! After all, who wants to argue with their spouse about this new person trying to infiltrate their family circle? A wise man knows the battles he should engage himself in and it’s definitely not one involving his son’s potential wife and whether or not she’s “worthy” of him. Let’s let mom be the judge!
There is a saying that goes, “You can always tell how a man will treat his wife by the way he treats his mother.” That has certainly been my biggest challenge; thinking I had to step up and compete against the amazing relationship he has with his mother.

The first time I went to Detroit to meet “the hubby’s” family, I was so scared. Here I am, this girl from God knows where, who has been having this long distance relationship with their only son. Even better, I was coming to mark my territory.  And who do I meet? I’m facing this beautiful woman (who looks more like his sister than his mother), full of class and poise. I witness an unbelievable bond between them that makes me feel that not only will she never feel I’m good enough for him - but at this point I’m starting to wonder if I even want to attempt getting involved and becoming the third wheel!?
I was conscious of everything I was saying and doing. Seeing me in his environment made “the hubby” laugh. To me, it was an exercise in making a good impression. Don’t complain about a thing, don’t curse, and don’t be fazed by any situation… I knew every time I would turn around (or leave the room), the conversation would be about me, what I said, did or did not do; and I wanted all talk to be positive. I wanted her to like me and see how good I was for her one and only son. And even though there is another quote that says, “A son is a son until he gets a wife,” I wanted to make sure she didn’t feel I was coming to take him away from them. Instead, I would be adding to his life… to my life… and to their lives.

But what happens when you meet the mother-in-law from heaven…

I feared the meeting. I feared not being good enough. I feared “the hubby” not wanting to be with me if they didn’t like me. And although all my fears were well founded, they were all put to rest quickly. The beautiful, poised, classy woman I met welcomed me with open arms and an open mind. Even though I knew I was in the trial period for her, she eased the process of us getting to know each other by making me feel welcome and comfortable. She proudly introduced me to the family. She allowed bonding time between us to happen and she opened up to the different culture I was from; to the different person I was and showed me love. She embraced my family - she showed concern toward my friends’ painful circumstances and included me and mine, not as part of her extended family but as part of her family!

There isn’t a day that I speak with her when she does not tell me how much she loves me; and means it.
There isn’t a holiday, anniversary or birthday that gets overlooked by her, especially when I’m the recipient…
There isn’t a situation when she doesn’t remind me that, “No matter what, he is your husband above all.” As a matter a fact, her favourite thing to say to me is, “I brought him into the world and brought him this far and now it’s in your hands to take him all the way.”
There isn’t a situation where she doesn’t keep a bi-partisan hat on, when she is needed in helping us in our personal mess…
And even though we all know who she birthed, her attitude could never give away which one of us her child is…
She has time and time again, showed and overwhelmed me with love. For that reason, I have this standing joke that between her son and me, I’m her favourite… and this might just be the case…

My MIL is my mom away from my mom. Because of this, God sent a gift to my life. I have gained a man (the “hubby’s father), that I proudly call dad as he holds proudly the role my father can no longer hold in today’s world.  My actual father is looking down upon me from the heavens…. Through my MIL, I also gained another baby sister to whom I have a bond that I can describe mostly as a gift that is irreplaceable. A gift almost as special as the one she is to her grandkids - there is no love that can replace the one she has for them and the one they have for her.
When I met her and saw the bond she had with her son, I could only hope that the love and respect he was showering her with was going to be what I would receive. Not only that, but I also wished that I would experience that one day with my own son…

And this is what happens when you are blessed with a mother-in-law who is a gift from heaven…you get accepted into the in-law family we all dream of…

"You are the mother I received the day I wed your son. And I just want to thank you, Mom, for the things that you have done. You have given me a gracious man with whom I share my life. You are his lovely mother and I his lucky wife. You used to pat his little head and now I hold his hand. You raised in love a little boy, then gave me a man"

What about you? What has your experience been with your in-law? has it been one from Hell or one from Heaven?

To the lucky daughter (in-law) that I am… Love you Iris Williams...
 RosieSandz

Picture courtesy of Getty Image

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