I hate the word in-law. However, I really do not think that there was any other way for the higher powers to be in society to tack onto to these special family members another name. The name in-laws is the name designated for those relatives of the bride now related to the groom and of the groom now related to the bride after they say, “I do”. My son in law will always be a son and my daughter in law our daughter, strike the in law attachment. I never liked the word.
It seems as though out of all the members of the bride and groom’s family there is one person whom has gotten a bad rap for centuries. That is the mother. Granted some mother in laws are downright nasty and there is no excuse for their behaviors. Not all mother in laws are like this, some are simply misunderstood or falsely accused of wrongdoing.
Father-in-laws may suffer somewhat because of the image they also portrayed throughout the years; however, fathers suffer nowhere near, what the mother-in-law endures. Some husbands and wives love their mother in law almost as much as they love their own mother. Other husbands and wives can take or leave their mother in law and yet others feel their mother in law is the epitome of evil.
Mothers find that they become frequently misunderstood in what they say, how they say it and what they do that affects their in-law daughter or son. I never realized this when I married my husband. My mother (for as long as I had her in my life, she died when I was 18-years old), and my father brought me up to show respect to all parents. Thus, I found myself in a dilemma of what to call my husband’s mother when I got married.
During the 1960’s, adult children started calling their spouse’s mother and father by their first name as they continue to do in today’s society. However, I just could not bring myself to call my husband’s mother and father, Doris and Glen. In my thinking, this seemed to be a disrespectful thing to do. After all, they were the mother and father of my husband. It was of my opinion that they deserved better.
After much thought I decided not to call my mother in law what I generally called my own mother who had, by this time passed away. I called my mother mom. I asked my mother in law if I could call her ma like all her other kids did and she was happy with my decision. As I got much older and my “ma”, became ill I called her mom also as I had grown to love her as much as my own mother. Absolutely, no disrespect to my own mother.
As far as my father in law was concerned, I called him dad, pop, or pa. I called my own father, dad. The correct address to my father in law did not seem as big of a deal to me, and since it made no difference to either dad, this is what I felt comfortable calling my husband’s father and he was happy with this. As for my four sisters in law, they told me, “You are a sister to us as much as we are to each other”. This made me swell with pride. They dropped the in law attachment many years ago.
It was my understanding from my four sisters in laws, one brother in law and husband that ma and dad were far from perfect parents when the kids were growing up. They made many bad decisions and had many faults, but what parent does not have faults. No one is perfect except for God above.
As parent’s age and they start to have grandchildren, they begin to recognize their own faults. They realize they could have and should have done many things differently. Since no, one can turn the hands of time back a lot of forgiveness must take place in the hearts of parents, children and later spouses.
The one good piece of advice I can give to mothers and fathers in law is to attempt to keep communication lines open. Adult children need to do the same, and never forget the wonderful gift of communication and the place that mom holds in the family. Good communication helps to clear up misunderstandings, false feelings, negative feelings, and much more.
In laws should never say, “I do not understand my mother in law”, “I have no relationship with my mother in law”, or some other denouncement of mother in law status in the family. In order for a husband and wife to have a good marriage, there must be good communication between them and their mother in laws.
Never should a parent, in law, husband or wife “tread lightly”, “beat around the bush”, “roll their eyes” or have to “Bite their tongue”. These new in laws of the bride and groom may be more understanding, patient, loving, kind and communicative then a new bride or groom thinks.
No parent or child, in law or biological should be too prideful to say, “I’m sorry”, “I was wrong” or not be able to talk to the other person about what is eating at him or her. No parent or child, in law or biological should have to walk on eggshells around the other person.
On the Lighter Side
Throughout the years, I have had a habit of jotting down in my computer good stories and jokes. I have a few mothers in law jokes I have stored away. However, maybe some mothers in law deserve every joke ever written; only you know. It is only a good mother in law that can take a mother in law joke in stride.
- 1. What is the difference between outlaws and in-laws?
* Outlaws are wanted
- 2. Happiness is grabbing a new milk carton at the breakfast table and your mother in law’s picture is on the carton, announced as missing.
- 3. If you find you missed your mother in law, what can you do?
* Reload the gun and try again
- 4. What do a vicious dog and a mother in law have in common?
*Both bite into a thing and never want to let go
- 5. What are the two things about your mother in law that is the very worse?
* Her two faces
- 6. When mothers in law pass away why do they bury them 18 feet under, instead of 6 feet?
* Deep, deep down they really are very nice people
Remember to be kind to everyone, including your in laws, until you have walked a mile in their shoes.