‘MY FIRST TWO HOURS OF MARRIED LIFE WERE SPENT HUSBANDLESS AS HE CONSOLED HIS MOTHER’
Family can be tricky at the best of times, but there seems to be a particular set of tensions when it comes to women and their mothers-in-law. They’re not all bad, we know that. But in the interest of having a good vent (and getting some wellearned sympat
& 25 other motherin-law stories that will make you feel better about yours!
MY MOTHER-IN-LAW (MIL) IS
A VERY GOOD COOK, but I’m also a bit of a Jamie Oliver wannabe in my own right, and people love my cooking. They often come back for second helpings. But when she comes over for dinner, she loves pretending that she’s almost too scared to taste my food, even going as far as trembling slightly when she brings the fork up to her mouth.
MY HUSBAND HADN’T SEEN
HIS MOM IN QUITE A WHILE, and during that time he’d picked up a few kilos, which is normal – life happens. His brother, meanwhile, had lost weight. So they met her for lunch and without batting an eye, she said to his poor brother, ‘Oh, I always thought YOU were meant to be the fat one!’
I GOT MARRIED ON FRIDAY THE 13TH AT THE MAGISTRATES’
COURT – you’d think that would have been enough of a subtle warning as to what would transpire that day. As my husband (now ex) finished saying our vows in front of our nearest and dearest, I heard a yowl, then a howl, then a clatter of footsteps down the corridor – it was my mother-in-law, fleeing the scene, sobbing in horror at the fate of her son. That was pretty much to be expected of her – what I didn’t expect was to see my husband go running after her. The first two hours of my married life were spent husbandless as he consoled his mother in the car park of the magistrates’ court. Needless to say it didn’t last. SHE’S OBSESSED WITH PHOTOS, and spends hours trying to set up the perfect moment. The problem is, she insists on doing this just as your overly tired child is screaming to go to bed. She had five hours to capture the moment and the perfectly behaved child… but it’s better to wait until the awful daughter-in-law wants to go home. Then the tired children are dragged out of the car, clothes have to be put back on and hair combed for the perfect picture.
EVERY TIME WE VISIT MY MIL, SHE ASKS: ‘When are you giving me grandchildren?’ I’m getting tired of biting my tongue!
AFTER DATING FOR A YEAR, MY THEN-BOYFRIEND PROPOSED TO ME, and a week later we had dinner with his folks. His mother: ‘You know, I had visions of my son’s wedding and the wife I saw looked just like you. Except her hair was longer than yours, she wasn’t as dark as you and she was thinner.’ Me: …
I HAD SPENT MONTHS LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT SWIMMING COSTUME, and spent a fair amount of money on the one I eventually settled on. When we went on holiday, my MIL kept begging me to let her try it on. First of all, I hadn’t even worn it yet. Secondly, hygiene?! Every time she asked, I changed the subject, but she didn’t take the hint. After the fifth time, my husband had to step in. He said, ‘Mom, it’s gross. You can’t try on her costume, get your own!’ To this day, she still doesn’t think there’s a problem with trying on your daughter-in-law’s swimsuit. Did I mention we’re not even the same size?
SHE LIKES TO PUT HER FEET up on my husband’s lap after a long day! Is that normal?
IN MY FAMILY, WE HAVE TEATIME AT 4PM ON A SUNDAY – we gather in the living room to drink tea, eat cake or koeksisters and chat. After we got married, my husband encouraged me to prepare some teatime treats for the Sunday we visited his family, so I went all out: I made peppermint tart and even laid the table. But when I called him for teatime, he’d made a plate for himself and his mother, and they sat in her bedroom and watched a movie (which they’d already seen a gazillion times) while I sat at the table having tea by myself. My husband’s reasoning? ‘You must remember, we do things differently in my family.’
MOST PEOPLE TAKE ABOUT SIX WEEKS TO RECOVER FROM A BACK OPERATION. (In fact, according to some sources, you can have sex six weeks after a back op.) My mother-in-law, however, was still lying in bed after four months. The family had to draw up a visiting roster to make sure that she had at least one visitor every day, and for those four months, every family event centred on her. Her bed was moved into the TV room and we all had to sit around her and eat lunch on our laps, and rush over to help her take an occasional sip of water through a straw.
EVERY STORY MY MOTHERIN-LAW TELLS ME STARTS WITH A MENTION OF HER OWN DAUGHTER – in her eyes, my sisterin-law is basically Martha Stewart and [childcare author] Gina Ford rolled into one. My children are also constantly compared to her daughters’ kids and, of course, they’re just not as clever, pretty or gifted. My momin-law makes it very clear that she has a preference – all you have to do is look at her Whatsapp profile picture: it’s always of my sister-inlaw’s kids.
I RECENTLY TOOK MY DAUGHTER FOR HER MONTHLY VISIT TO MY MOTHER-IN-LAW – a ritual my MIL absolutely insists on. When we arrived, she told me that they’d already eaten lunch and there was no food left for us. It was quite cold in the house, so I sat outside in the sun with great-gran and we watched the children playing in the garden. My mother-in-law, meanwhile, sat inside in her room. Then, at around 4pm, she came outside and told me it was time for me to get going.