Fam­ily Teh Time

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

Fa long time I’ve been want­ing to write about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween moth­ers-in-law and daugh­ters-in-law. I have con­stantly put it off be­cause it’s a dif­fi­cult sub­ject to write.

But I re­cently stum­bled upon some­thing that just made ev­ery­thing click into place. It was a ar­ti­cle writ­ten by a per­son writ­ing un­der the pseu­do­nym of El­iz­a­beth Gra­ham en­ti­tled The Other Woman: Your In­law.

She wrote: “Un­con­di­tional love comes nat­u­rally be­tween a par­ent and child. But such a foun­da­tion isn’t there be­tween in-laws.

“What mildly ir­ri­tates a daugh­ter might deeply wound a daugh­ter-in-law (DIL). What only frus­trates a mother can in­fu­ri­ate a mother-in-law (MIL).

“Be­cause un­con­di­tional love doesn’t nat­u­rally ex­ist be­tween in­laws, it’s a de­ci­sion that must be made and then acted on daily.”

The writer re­ally hit the nail on the head. Let me il­lus­trate:

Let’s say your mother tell you: “You should cook more of­ten for the fam­ily, let them eat healthy food.”

Your re­sponse might be: “Yeah lah. I wish I could but I’m too busy.” Then you just let it slide.

Now if your MIL were to tell you those ex­act words, your re­sponse might still be the same but you feel as if a knife had plunged into your heart.

You think: “My MIL thinks I’m lazy and don’t care for my fam­ily.”

Then you seethe about it and com­plain to your hus­band.

Let’s look at the other side now. If you are a mother-in­law, let’s say you visit your son’s house and find the place in a mess.

You gripe to your daugh­ter-in­law: “Your house is so messy. Why

Ly­dia Teh is a mother of four and author of nine books, in­clud­ing the lat­est, Cow Sense for Young Peo­ple. Send com­ments to life­style.ly­dia@ the­sundaily.com.

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