Your mother-in-law is just a regular mum with regular issues like everyone one of us. She’s got hopes and ambitions for her sons and will get frustrated if those aren’t met. Like every relationship, the people involved have to learn to understand and manage their expectations for a healthy relationship to thrive. When conflicts arise, let’s try to get to the bottom of matter and define the root cause, it will help us identify the triggers and manage the symptoms in a better way. So next time, a conflict ensues, these are the five secrets she wish you knew.
You Didn’t Quite Fit The Mental Image of the lady she thought her son should get married to – Every mum has a mental image of who their son’s wife should be. They think about it every now and then especially when it’s that time when they expect them to share the ‘good news’ they are seeing someone. They even try to suggest to their kids the characteristics of who that person should be by citing examples and looking down on others who chose differently. Most times, those from very wealthy or educated background are under immense pressure to marry those who have similar status. When someone that doesn’t quite fit this mental image comes along, the mother-in-law war begins and for no just cause, conflicts ensue, hatred degenerates to bitterness and resentment and an innocent relationship which could have flourished becomes the worst of its kind.
She’s Insecure And Still Wants To Be In Control of her son and his family – Most domineering parents are very insecure. They do not think their kids will ever be responsible. From the day the baby is in the cradle to the day he walks down the aisle they want to make every decision for them. Their suggestions are instructions, they are critical and always think their idea is the best. So even after their son leaves home and tries to cleave to his wife, they delay the cleaving process because they get in the way. They not only plan the wedding, they want to pick them up at the airport when they return from honeymoon, they want to hire a maid for them and the list goes on. On the other hand, a bride who went to a boarding school, lived overseas on her own while in university and has grown to be responsible will see these control freaks as a threat and then trouble begins. Many parents don’t prepare their sons for the challenges of life and still want to continue to ‘help’ them manage life after they are grown.
She Can’t Bear The Shame Of Your Infertility and miss the opportunity of being called a grandma – Many more ladies are struggling with infertility issues compared to a half a century ago. Even after all the medical interventions, there are still unexplained issues. It’s even worse when your mother-in-law doesn’t like you and you’ve got no children, the relationship just takes another awful dimension. Especially if she’s the outgoing, extroverted, party-going lady, she can’t seem to explain to her buddies what’s going on considering she’s harassed others or attended their naming ceremonies. You won’t be in her good books and she’ll be on your case till that baby drops. In our society, when a woman can’t have kids, the older generations is already shortlisting in their minds probable causes or people who might have inflicted this irrespective of what your gynaecologist says.
She’s Had Her Fair Share Of Raising Her Kids and not interested in having sleeping nights while you do your business – When you think of a woman who’s raised her eight kids with little or no hands-on-support from her husband, she’s exhausted and probably didn’t enjoy it. When her son has a baby and his wife is getting agitated why his mum can’t come over to help, she picks a fight not knowing her mother-in-law has had her fair share of sleepless nights and washing reusable nappies for years and doesn’t want to go that route again not even in her dreams. Even if she’s available, she wants to do others things. It’s better to hire and pay a nanny than expect free service from a bitter and exhausted mother-in-law. She might just come around to play with the kids but expect her to raise your kids, stop dreaming and wake up!
She’s Expecting Her Dividends In Old Age – Every parent is investing in their kids by giving them a good education hoping they will develop skills that will earn them a job but many more have high expectations that like every investment, their kids will also pay their bills when they can no longer work. So when your mother-in-law calls her son every now and then asking for money to pay her house rent or buy a new car, his wife gets upsets especially when they’ve got a mortgage to repay and school fees to pay. Some couples don’t even have a house of their own but are sending large sums of cash to their parents monthly without thinking of the consequences. While engaged just before you walk down the aisle, it would have been great to discuss these money issues regarding supporting both parents so no conflicts pop up down the line. It’s never too late to draw a line on this financial exposure.