Throughout history and culture, a common yet complicated thread has been woven between the relationship of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. A genuinely friendly or understanding mother-in-law seems to be as rare as a unicorn and you should cherish her if you have been blessed with such a gift. In Trinidad and Tobago we even have a pepper-based dish named after a mother-in-law’s ‘hotness’. I understand that not all daughters-in-law have this plight and in some instances the daughters-in-law are indeed the negative factor and create drama/problems. My aim for today, however, is to highlight in-laws that seem to lack emotion and understanding. It appears some daughters-in-law within society want to voice their concerns. Last week, I received three messages seeking advice about this particular issue so I hope this helps. This is the letter that should be sent containing a message that needs to be heard.
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to read this. It warms my heart that you care about my concerns and needs. I always wished that having a mother-in-law would be like having a second mother. After all you are the person that created and raised the love of my life. Before he was mine, he was yours and I respect that fact with all of my heart. Wouldn’t it be perfect if he could be ours in different ways? You will always be his mother and the first woman he ever truly loved holding a special place that can be taken by no one.
I ask that you try to accept his decisions and if I am one of them please accept me as a person and not just an idea of what you expect I should sound like, of how you expect me to act and of what kind of family you expected me to come from. Regardless of the colour of my skin, my cooking skills, the job I have and the religion I practice, your son chose me to build a future with, so there must be something worthwhile that he saw to make such a big decision. If you love him, allow him to paint his own perfect picture of his wife and family.
I know you fear he does not know what’s best for himself but please put yourself in my shoes before you critique everything we do and inquire about every move we make. I promise I will try my best to learn his likes and dislikes the same way he is trying to learn mine. Please don’t forget I am someone’s daughter. I know you view your son as a prince but it hurts when you forget I am my parents’ little princess as well. As a woman I hope you can sympathise with me...remember how you want to be treated, accepted and loved by your in-laws?
Our marriage, regardless if it is old or new, requires space and attention. When you constantly enter our arguments, how will we learn to resolve them as a couple on our own? If you ask your son to place you before our marriage what will happen when you are not around to care for him? He should not have to choose between us. If you call endlessly when we are spending a little quality time, how can we learn to spend time alone in comfort? If you tell me how to cook, clean and tend to the needs of my children, how can I create a household of my own successfully? It can be hurtful and embarrassing when these things are done in excess.
Your son and I need to learn how to fix problems ourselves and build our marriage as a couple following, not only, old traditions, but, creating our new traditions and memories of which you are sure to be a part. I think balance is key and believe me, we will ask for your advice. We will visit you and ask you to visit us. The children will always spend time with their grandparents in a healthier, happier environment.
I am happy to be a part of your family and I hope we can learn and form a special bond genuinely learning to create a warm, considerate and close relationship. After all, we have a very special man in both of our lives...your amazing son.
Your Daughter not only in LAW, but in LOVE.