If your (potential) Mother in Law doesn’t like you – don’t even bother marrying him.
Those are the immortal words of advice my Mother doled out to her children from the ripe old age of ‘adequate aural comprehension‘. She explained that the bond between Mother and Son is so vital that when Ecclesiastes states ‘a cord of three stands is not easily broken’, one may question whether the third strand represents God in your marriage or your Mother in Law. If you get the braid right you will have a blissful marriage. Not only will said Mother-in-law respect, appreciate and trust you with the care of your children, but she will trust you with the care of her child. Yes, in that order. If the balance isn’t quite right and Mummy cord and Bride-to-be-cord are chafing against one another, then it spells catastrophe. Your toast will never be perfect, even if you both own the same toaster. You do not know how to feed your own baby even after all those pre and ante-natal classes and the fact that its your breasts that are overflowing with milk. The way in which you sweep your carpet…well, that just says it all.
Although there are a myriad of stock Mother-in-Law phrases, scenarios and experiences that have the magical ability to elicit a simultaneous grimace and smile, a conflation of sadness and humour, I have never truly considered how difficult it is for a Mother to let go. To look at the child she has raised, loved, disciplined and had hopes and visions for and to see them leave her. Because in truth, I don’t believe any potential Mother-in-law innately dislikes the woman their son brings home; yes there are those times which are often either passed off as complete disapproval or jealousy. Yet for me, I feel more certain that it stems from a lack of confidence or faith in the sons. I think each Mother-in-Law to be struggles to let go because they are questioning – will my son forget me? Will my son cease to care about me and my needs? Will I fade into insignificance now he doesn’t need me?
It’s a heart-braking thought. Yet when marriages disintegrate or spouses become friends and not lovers there can be a chasm of loneliness that is fed by the presence of children. There’s the fear that once your children have left you have to make your spouse like you again, you have to find out about them again, or even more terrifying – you have to begin finding out and liking the person you have become.
Is it that Mother’s don’t want their sons to have their own lives and move on? Possibly not, I know my mother was only far too happy for my brother to move out of home, and at every ample opportunity she does question why I and my sister aren’t in relationships. She wants us to grow, yet, I wonder whether she, along with many other Mothers, also wants the security that our growth and adventure into life does not signify her demise into insignificance and unimportance.
Sons, as Mother’s struggle to let go why don’t you strive to hold on.