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I Don’t Want to Be THAT Mother in Law!

mother in law

I Don’t Want to Be THAT Mother in Law!

Q: What do you do if you see your mother in law rolling around on the ground in pain?
A: Shoot her again.

Mother-in-law jokes. There’s hundreds of thousands of them because mothers-in-law are traditionally seen as annoying, overbearing, aggravating, interfering bitches. Why? Because no woman is good enough for our sons!

Kidding…. (sort of).

Having had a mother-in-law and now that I am one myself I realise it is one of the trickiest roles women face in their lives.

I wanted to be close to my mother-in-law while she was alive but it was a struggle. She was a strict Catholic who did not believe in divorce and I was wife number two. It took me years to convince her I wasn’t evil incarnate and upcoming visits to see her caused vague bouts of nausea, heart palpitations and anxiety. I get that she wanted the very best for her baby boy but did she have to view me through those narrowed, judging eyes making me feel stupid and inadequate?  Everything I did and everything I said was examined under a microscope. How clean was my home, how well did I look after him, what sort of cook was I? Probably never as dust-free as hers, not good enough and when I did manage to rock up to family events with a knock-out potato salad she got mad when mine was eaten before hers. Damned if I did, damned if I didn’t.

And now that I’m a mother-in-law myself I find that it’s an equally tricky role to navigate. I am fiercely protective of my babies. They’re ALWAYS going to be my babies even if they’re now in the hands of another. I want what’s best for them and I want them to be above all else, happy. I want them waking up happy and I want them going to bed happy. Happy and healthy and loved.

And dammit I want to be a great mother-in-law. I really do. I don’t want my kid’s partners to feel the way I felt. Because whether they believe it or not, I’m not secretly glancing around their homes judging the cleanliness, or worrying that their meals aren’t perfect. And I sure as hell don’t want to be like Marie Barone barging in the front door without invitation so I try not to pop over unannounced either for the very fact I don’t want them feeling unprepared and uncomfortable. As far as I’m concerned, my kid’s partners have their own mothers and don’t need a second one. If they want advice I am more than happy to help but I know they probably have their own mums on speed dial as their first go-to. And I’d prefer to just be their friend thank you very much so no calling me Mum, call me Carolyn. And when Mother’s Day rolls around each year, I get it – you have to spend time with your mums  (let alone when the day comes when you’re a mother and endure burnt toast in bed PLUS see your mums)  before I get a look-in.

And if I do overstep the bounds I hope I’m wise enough to recognise it and gracious enough to apologise. But it’s an on-going learning curve and when grandbabies arrive I guess I will have to accept that their kids will be raised the way they see fit and not in accordance with what I think.

If my kids love you, then that’s good enough for me. But…….. just so you know………. if you hurt my babies, all bets are off and I will take you down. xxx

How’s your relationship with YOUR MIL?




Carolyn Murphy

Carolyn Murphy

Carolyn Murphy is a married mother of three and regularly provides us with recipes and strange but true stories about her life. When she’s not here, she can also be found on her website where all her other recipes are located!

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