Do we really hate Mother-in-Laws?

Let’s start with a confession: I have a cleaner. Now that’s out in the open, we can continue…..

My cleaners come once a week; they come as a pair. I’m not sure if they spend more time drinking coffee and chatting than mopping the floor and dusting but either way, I always return to a house that smells of Flash and kitchen surfaces that gleam. Bliss.

I usually try to be out of the house when they’re here but today, I felt it necessary to stay in. Why? Because tomorrow my Mother-in-Law arrives for the weekend (cue dramatic music).

I told them that I would be upstairs cleaning bathrooms if they needed me and went on to explain that my mother-in-law was paying us a visit so I needed to make sure that the place was suitably spick and span.

“You should have booked us in every day this week” they said.

“Is she one of those mothers that wipes the skirting boards with her finger to check that the place is clean?”.

I couldn’t decide whether to be offended (they clearly thought my house was so dirty that it would take all week to clean it properly) or to get straight down to a deep clean of all rooms as soon as they left the building.

Bowing to peer pressure, I dutifully filled the bucket with detergent and set about wiping down the “really dirty walls” (thanks ladies) on the landing and stairs. I actually quite enjoy cleaning when I put my mind to it but as I circled the cloth for the umpteenth time, I began to question what all this was for. If I’m happy with the way my house is 363 days of the year, why pretend the place is immaculate for the other two? And more importantly, when did my mother-in-law ever give me the impression that she is less than satisfied with her son’s choice of wife?

Never. Is the answer. In fact my mother-in-law breaks all the rules when it comes to fitting the stereotype. This is probably the second time she has visited in as many years and each time, she catches the train here, brings her own tea bags and generally does everything she can to fit in with our schedule.

Being a mum to seven boys, perhaps she was just thankful every time a good woman took one of those boys off her hands but whatever the reason, I have her to thank for teaching her son to do all these things and more….

  • spot when something needs doing without being told
  • show consideration towards others
  • put his wife first without exception
  • change the bed sheets using the inside-out duvet cover method (nothing less will do)
  • work hard and never rarely moan about it
  • iron until he reaches the bottom of the basket
  • make sacrifices for the sake of his children
  • not take life too seriously

and most importantly…

  • cook an incredible roast dinner!

Somebody somewhere, once upon a time, took it upon themselves to give mother-in-laws a bad name. I have no idea where or when this started but it seems rather unjust. Do us mums who are currently bringing up sons, need to start practising the death stare already? I’m not sure that I’m prepared to do that. Instead of jumping on the ‘we-hate-mother-in-laws’ band wagon, I would like to publicly thank mine, without whom my life would not be what it is today.

So now it’s your turn….do you really hate your MIL or are you secretly quite fond of her?

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3 Comments

  1. Mum3boys
    October 5, 2016 / 12:53 am

    My MIL is lovely too. It’s the step-siblings in-law who are odd / clash-worthy…
    As a mother of 3 young boys I do ponder my future as a MIL. I am testing out my death stare (rather unsuccessfully) on Mr 7 as a parenting tool while trapped breastfeeding the baby. I hope that the evil MIL notion has been quashed over the next decade or so. And I hope that I can teach my boys all that your husband knows and more.

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