When I hear the word “mother-in-law” I shudder. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard many positive stories of daughter-in-laws having a great relationship with their mother-in-laws! Why is that?
Well for me, my mil makes a lot of assumptions (on my behalf) instead of communicating with me. For example, she assumes that just because we have an extra bedroom in our apartment, which is in fact a study, that we have a big enough place for 5 people to come and stay with us. And that if we convinced her that we don’t have enough space, she would assume that we know ‘rich’ people with big houses who would be happy to take her as a guest. She did not communicate any of this to us, but we heard this after she told everyone else! We have to confront her after we hear these stories.
She also has a lot of expectations of me according to her set of values and beliefs. For example, that as a daughter-in-law I should cook and clean after her son. She thinks that as a daughter-in-law marrying into her family, I should spend special events like New Year with my husband’s family. Also, she thinks that as a mother, she knows her son best and therefore, I don’t know my husband as well as she does. I am totally shocked she would think that! If she knew the things that her son keeps silent from her she would probably faint!
That is why we are never on the same page. She crosses the line a lot. Obviously I’m often in tears as I don’t have my husband’s full support. I think that he is afraid to stand up for me in fear that it may hurt her feelings. She is frequently the cause of our arguments. I have to push her back into place, somehow. But I can’t do it advertently, only subtly to keep things non-confrontational. Sometimes I just avoid the issue altogether as that seems like the easier option. I feel like I’m always treading on water.
I think the world is changing. If I have a son and when I become a mil one day, I will surely not have so many expectations of my daughter-in-law. All I expect is normal courtesy, but other than that, she is an equal with my son and as long as she loves him and makes him happy, I am happy. In fact, she can be messy, doesn’t cook, etc (I’m not saying I am these things), those petty things don’t matter at all. I wouldn’t expect her to do the dishes when she comes over for dinner. All that matters is that their marriage is strong. I will not interfere and do not want to be the cause of their arguments. They are adults and can take care of themselves and live their lives as they wish.