Thursday, May 28, 2009

I have 3 Mothers-in-Law

OK, I have only been married once, but I have somehow ended up with, in effect, 3 mothers-in-law. (Mother-in-laws? Anyone out there a grammar fetishist?)

There is my ex-wife's mother, and my girlfriend's mother, and then there is my daughter's grandmother. Got that?

They have surprisingly similar characters: they are all tough and fiercely opinionated, stubborn and direct, even though the backgrounds couldn't be more different-- one upper class English, one East German, one West German but lived mostly in Africa. They are all capable of powerful charm, but all bully their husbands and feel no compunction about insulting strangers.

They will never meet, none of them would want that either. I have locked horns on multiple occasions with them, but fortunately none of them hate me. I would love to see them interacting with each other, although due to the stubborn opinionated character traits they are sure to despise each other. The insults would soon be flying.

How come I have ended up with women whose mothers are like this? My own mother is gentle and self-effacing, her toughness is expressed in other ways.

How do you deal with the in-law problems? OK, I know not all in-laws cause big difficulties, but there is always friction of some kind. How do you define the line between accepting their experienced judgement and insisting on your own identity and ability to forge your own life?



MakingChanges said...

Good luck with that one. When you know please post the secret. I have NO idea. The one and only time I stood up to my MIL it took quite a while for her to talk to me again. Of course, since then I think that we have had a better relationship. I just don't have any clue as to how it happened. The FIL is just a jerk, so I avoid him at all costs. Maybe that is the trick in some cases.

wendy said...

Yikes ---sounds like my mother.
I don't know if you DO handle them, just smile and do what you please anyway.
I have 5 married kids --and I have made it a goal of mine to NOT BE ONE OF THOSE KINDS of mothers-in-law (mother-in-laws??)
They think I am awesome
that's what I tell myself

Missty said...

Yikes! My husband has it easy - we don't speak to my mother, so no issues. lol For me, his mom is ok, but as time goes on, she and my SIL are being pains in the ass. I now just choose to tolerate them, good thing we don't live close. I am done trying.

TisforTonya said...

I have lucked out with having the best mother in law you could hope for... really.

Of course, I am constantly running interference between ManOfTheHouse and my own mother to avoid conflict... I think I develop an ulcer every time we have an extended visit :)

Unknown said...

I plead the fifth as my mil is sitting at my kitchen table behind me at the moment. lol

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Its impossible unless you don't care about what they think about you.

My husband finally had to tell my FIL and MIL to back off.

But I love them now cause we only see them once in a while.

I would say appreciate them for their differences... but then do and say what you want... or what keeps you most real to yourself!

vailian said...

@Youngblood: My usual defence is appearing to be deferent, but I try to present a moving target. By the time they realize I haven't done their bidding, I am in a completely different space.
@wendy: sounds like you have the game down perfectly. Let me know your secrets!
@Missty: I don't like to cut off communication completely, otherwise I wouldn't have a sparring partner! But it is true that not living nearby can make things easier.
@T: You are lucky with the MIL; treasure her!
@Andrea: Send me the dirt when your MIL is not looking! You have my email address..
@Shelle: FIL and MIL realize that their position is weakening by the day, and they have no choice but to watch helplessly as you ruin their son's life. Enjoy!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

wait... are you being serious???

But I guess if I'm ruining it... I will ENJOY, thanks for the advice! :)