The 2013 guide to loving a controlling prospective mother in law (MIL)
Text: Karen Khng
Photos: Getty Images
So you love him, want to call the same roof home and can’t wait to swap “I do-s.” Who doesn’t! But perhaps unbeknownst to the most incurable romantics, life after the altar isn’t always a walk in the park. Some obligations are nice - having a big sister to play dress up and make-up with, more pressies during Santa’s gift exchange, more people to love your kids when you have them but others can be a real challenge - like monster in laws!
Monsters in laws
There’s a lot of truth in venerable mother in laws (Check out J Lo in Monster in Law!) In ancient days, it was typical for MILs to run and control the house. Daughters in law weren’t always “good enough.” Touted as “extra help,” they usually helped with the laundry (by hand, of course!), household chores, and were basically “instructed” by their MIL to do as told. In those days, a new woman in the household usually meant a challenge to the status quo. Barely a few decades ago and even now, an MIL would buy a daughter in law a pair of earrings in a symbolic gesture of hope and expectation that she would evolve into an obedient daughter in law, who listens without question or animosity, and who’d be healthy and fertile enough to birth the entire next generation on demand.
To corroborate the horror stories, in an internet poll of some 2,000 mothers by UK’s Netmums.com , some 24 percent said their MILs were bad or terrible. Some 16 percent say she’s mean, 22 percent label her rude, 25 percent controlling, 35 percent judgmental and 32 percent interfering. Almost all of them said they were sick of the classic “mother knows best!” syndrome when it came to parenting, judging their prospective parenting skills, and undermining them in front of their partner and kids. Almost 30 percent said their MILs branded them “not good enough,” 24 percent found their MILs worse than moving, 21 percent worse than potty training, 14 percent worse than morning sickness and 13 percent worse than breastfeeding. Ten percent moved to be physically further and 5 percent blame their MILs for the marriage breakdown. How do you even begin to love someone like that?
Keep in mind the following aspects of being a mother-in-law before you judge her too harshly.