When a little girl envisions her wedding, she thinks about being a beautiful princess in a dreamy dress preparing to live happily ever after with her Prince Charming. What she rarely remembers is that there is a woman in this scenario who raised her handsome prince and who believes that he belongs to her. UH OH! The fairy tale is fractured! … or is it!?
The Mother-in-Law (MIL)/Daughter-in-Law (DIL) relationship is often very complex for a variety of reasons. My own experience has been great, though it wasn't always easy. My Mother-in-Law, Terry, is wonderful! She warmly welcomed me into the family, she has always been supportive, fairly undemanding (I'll have to explain that one to her!), and has worked harder than anyone I have ever seen to develop and maintain relationships with me, her oldest son's wife, her daughter's husband and all of her grandchildren. She is truly an inspiration and I have often told her that she should write a "how-to" book for other Mothers-in-Law. (We're actually considering working on one together!)
The road started out a bit bumpy between us with some misunderstandings and some minor disagreements, but through communication and even some limit-setting on both of our parts, like telling each other when we have crossed the line, our relationship is in a great place 26 years later!
Q: How many mothers-in-law does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One. She just holds it up there and waits for the world to revolve around her.
Mothers-in-law have gotten a bad rap, historically. Jokes like this one have long been part of our society and the challenges don't seem to be letting up. Think about the MIL's on television. On the old show Everybody Loves Raymond, Raymond's wife and mother struggle on a daily basis – mostly because the MIL is critical, intrusive and over-bearing. How about the movie Monster-In-Law starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda? Hollywood showed an extreme example that even came to blows!
The Key is Accepting One Another As-Is!
One DIL lamented to me that though their MIL is a lovely woman, she doesn't understand why she doesn't want to spend time with her grandchildren. This brings up a very important point. Not all grandmothers are doting, adoring and looking to shower love and attention on their grandchildren. For whatever reason, it simply isn't her style. Perhaps more MIL's and DIL's would have better relationships if they simply accepted each other, as is, and not try to change one another. We all have hopes and expectations, but they may not be shared by others.