Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Mother-in-law from hell!

Why is it that so many mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships are rocky? I can only imagine that there might be an element of tug-of-war between the two biggest female loves in his life. The mother, the woman who has loved him from infancy to adulthood and knows every detail of his past as he grew into the man he is today. And then the woman who has fallen in love with the adult man and feels she knows the "real" him inside out, shares his dreams and fears, has seen his adult soul in a way that no-one else will have been let in. 

In this way I know that Byron's mother knows all the details of his childhood. What he was like as he grew up. The funny characteristics he had through all the stages of his babyhood, toddler tantrums, teenage angst until he went away to Uni. What he loved to laugh at, what he loved to eat, his favourite home cooked dinners and treats. 

Equally I think I know the current Mr B pretty well. After 17 years of marriage I'd like to think I know what makes him laugh now, what way he likes his coffee, what foods he enjoys. Many of these things will be the same and some will have changed over the years. Essentially though we both love the same man. We both know that he holds a huge place in our hearts and we know that we have a place in his too. There is room for both. If only every bride could know that on her wedding day. If only she could view her Mother-in-law not as competition but as a team mate. 

My own Mother told me a story as I counted down the days to my wedding. She talked about how her Mother-in-law used to come to Sunday dinner and would stand outside the front window and tap on the glass and rattle a box of smarties at myself and my brother. We were very young, pre-school age and obviously after a few smarties we didn't want to eat our veggies. It bugged my mum at the time but little did any of us know that my Granny wasn't going to be around for very much longer. In the scheme of the things my wise mother told me "Did it really matter?" 

And so I find myself sharing my house, my kitchen with my Mother-in-law. I am quite stubbornly independent. I don't share my kitchen well. Even though I am regularly offered help I just as regularly turn it down. But I know that I have a wonderful opportunity to stand back sometimes and let Byron's mother have my space, wear my apron and let her make treats for Byron and the kids that don't require weighing scales, that require wisdom and patience, the feel of a hand and the judgement of an eye. I have been taught by my own wise Mum that life is fragile and we need to appreciate the time we have with each other. 

And so I share with you a photo of the Mother-in-law from hell. My husbands Mother Myan. Busy in my kitchen preparing Welsh treats for all to scoff later. Are you shocked with the name I give her? Have you looked closely at her head? Yes, there, can you see it now? The little diamante horns? Let me present to you the woman who made Byron the character that he is today. The woman who can wear her teenage grand-daughters silly headband and can have my kitchen filled with the sound of howls of laughter. The woman who pulled her silliest face and happily let me take a photo. The lady who said "Put it anywhere love, Facebook, Blog, Inter-web, I don't care!"

This is the woman that I can view as competition for the rest of my marriage. Or the woman I can take my hat off to and say Thank You. 

Thank You for making and moulding the man I love today. 

I will never be able to make Welsh Cakes like you, or bread pudding with whiskey. I will never be able to pull off quite such a wicked look as you but I promise you this. I will love him. As much as you loved him all those years you raised him. As much as you love him still. I will love him that much and more. 


I promise. 

3 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. You are a darling mrs b and I'm glad. Know you xxxxx hope you're having fun xxxxx

  2. I always told my MIL that she "raised in love a little boy then gave to me a man!" I loved my Mother in Law so much! Yours looks like a lot of fun~ now we know where Mr. B. got his sense of humor! Enjoy each other~ you are both lucky women!

  3. Your sweet post made me teary and well done you for recognizing what does and doesn't matter.