We’ve all seen the tropes of the dreaded “monster-in-law.” You fall in love, get married and all of a sudden have to deal with a whole host of crazy characters, the main villain being the mother-in-law. Although there’s no question that some mother-in-laws’s are probably awful (family, amirite?), there are some good apples out there that deserve our love and appreciation. I personally love my mother-in-law, and am grateful to have her in my life.
I’m not sure where the idea of the awful mother-in-law originated, but it can make sense to some degree. As a mother of sons myself, I feel like there may be a day when I may have feelings toward their future partners, and perhaps may take those feelings and convert them into some overbearing behavior. As parents, we all want what is best for our kids, and the person they choose to co-habitate and build a family with seems like an easy place to lay criticism. However, all humans have this neat thing called free will which can mess with the best laid plans of all of us- including mothers. But not all moms are this way.
My own mother-in-law is a very loving and generous person. She is a mama bear for sure, and would do anything for her kids. However, this includes accepting the partners they chose. She has been a huge source of support for me personally, and is a kind and devoted grandmother to our kids. Although we all can find reasons to be annoyed by our family members, she doesn’t usually elicit this reaction in me because overall I feel so grateful for all her support and involvement.
Understanding the dynamic of any other family and how their members interact with one another is challenging in any circumstances. When you meet an in-law, you are brought together by a large commitment that makes you “family,” however you are all kind of thrown in there together. Relationships develop over time, and it can be hard on both sides to accept an “outsider.” My own mother-in-law made me feel welcome and cared for right away, which I needed at the time.
My own family has never been close, and I was grateful to have someone who cared so much as to devote her time and energy to me and my children. I think what a lot of people might see as over-involvement might in some cases just be a genuine desire to help. I believe it is always important to recognize how lucky we are when we have people willing to give us their time and love.
So although I can appreciate the jokes and the experience some people have with an awful mother-in-law, I must say that I love mine and am so happy to have her. Some family you are born into, and some you pick up along the way. I am grateful to have found not only a good partner to marry, but an extended family that I love so much too.