It’s funny how the mother-in-law is never, ever given a chance. More often than not, she is assumed the villain whilst her daughter-in-law is made out to be the victim. As in even on TV, we see the mother-in-law portrayed as the scheming, plotting woman, on a ruthless mission to bring down her poor, helpless daughter-in-law.

She is painted as the old, chameloen lady with a multiple personality disorder that alternates somewhere between…

                           AND                         

…depending on who and who is in the room.

Now, for this story line to have stood the test of time, I won’t bother disputing the fact that there are indeed some mothers-in-law from hell (AKA Monsters-in-law) and guess what? That’s fine! Everyone cannot be good.

However the moment we begin to believe that all mothers-in-law are monsters-in-law, we then begin to move from the ‘fine’ to the ‘not-so-fine’.

Before you argue with me, let’s do this analysis…

Your own mom is a mother-in-law (MIL) and I bet you believe she’s none other than one of heaven’s best angels, on some kind of long-term loan to earth. The same probably goes for some (if not all) of your aunties and older friends.

One day you too will be a MIL and God forbid, if there be any clash between you and your ‘son’s wife’, I’m sure you can hardly imagine you will be the one at fault, because after months and months of hard ‘labour’ under ‘hubby’s mom’, you have made up your mind to do better when it’s your own turn. As in, you have pledged that when the time comes, you will love your daughter-in-law ‘with all your might’ and ‘with all your heart’. This is an oath which you and your many other victimised girlfriends have solemnly and repeatedly taken during several of your numerous secret parties.

You know those self-pity types where you help each other make mountains out of molehills and then, bigger mountains out of existing mountains. The types where you second-guess every of MIL’s move and help each other see faults in her which had previously been missed out. The types where you come up with strategic, innovative ways of dealing with MIL. The types you come away from, feeling like the sharp ‘chairman’, but return back to, feeling frustrated and defeated.

Now if we are to be fair, considering the fact that we have the ‘supposed’ example of the perfect MIL in your mom and several aunties, all MILs cannot be bad. As in, there are actually a few good ones out there and guess what? They are NOT all related to you by blood! Actually, yours may even be one of the good ones but because your mind set has been long since twisted, even before you ever set eyes on her son, you just can’t see any jot of good in her. You compare her to your mom, question her every move and judge her if she ever dares to have an opinion different from yours.

Now, to those of you who unfortunately do have monsters-in-law on your hands…You know those types that act like they just jumped out of the horror movie scene…

Let me ask you this –

‘Who said you can’t charm your ‘wicked’ MIL into falling hopelessly and desperately in love with you, as you did with her son? Yeah, I’m a woman and I  know women have a special kind of ‘wahala’, but still have you even tried at all before giving yours a label?

Now I hear you ask, ‘why bother trying?’

Well, for starters, you should because every child needs a grandmom!…

Someone who will give him a sense of history, using both pictures and stories

Someone who will act like she has been waiting to see him all day and like he is the only person that matters in the whole wide world

Someone who will occasionally spoil him silly without boring his young, carefree mind with the imaginary (or maybe real) consequencies of say, an extra biscuit and a second 1/2 cup of juice every other Sunday

Someone who will watch him for a few hours in order to give mommy the much needed break she needs and deserves.

Definitely your kid needs his grandmoms. Notice the ‘S’? Also, you may not realize it but there is a lot to be gained from a good relationship between you and her. If for now you cannot achieve ‘good’, at least try ‘cordial’ and you’ll be surprised at what actually blossoms as you try. I know for those who started on a bad foot, all ‘this’ is easier said than done. But don’t worry! Here we are all about practicality! So watch out for the next post where real, workable tips will be shared…

(To be continued…)

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