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MOTHERS-IN-LAW AND DAUGHTERS- IN- LAW

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I want to believe that the way I have lived my life has been  to go with the flow and let the current of God’s love carry me where He wants me to go. Well most of the time anyhow!  

I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wasn’t exposed to too many jobs  to choose from but I knew for sure that  I didn’t want to be a teacher, a nurse, a doctor or  a farmer.
I especially didn’t want to be a farmer and a teacher because everyone around me was one of those two, but at the same time I didn’t know what I wanted to be, so I believe that God put me at the right place at the right time for me to have ended up as a journalist because it was totally unplanned.

I also want to believe it was for a purpose although I am somehow convinced I haven’t yet fulfilled that purpose fully somehow.Before I digress from the topic however , I must mention that  I am saying all that to say this: Although I didn’t know many things about how I wanted my life to turn out when I was young, which I wish I did at times,  the one thing that I knew for sure was that I wasn’t going to be married to a man whose mother didn’t like me.

The reason why could be a subject for another day but suffice to say that I knew plenty of  daughters -in law- who suffered under immense pressure trying to please their difficult mothers- in- law, and I was sure I didn’t want my children to grow up in a messed up  family set up whereby their  grandmother  liked them but hated their mother.

It is universally expected that mothers- in- law and daughters- in -law are cut out to be eternal enemies. In many cultures mothers in law are more like monsters- in law -and their relationship with their daughters in law is expected to be filled with tension and fights if not open hatred and hostility over the husband/ son’s attention.

Not long ago a friend posted a question on social media asking for suggestions on what could be done to improve mother- in -law-daughter in law relationships.
The suggestions were wide and varied and to my disappointment many if not most of then leaned towards suggesting that the honours lay with the  daughter in law to obey her mom in law. But being a Christian that I am, I have always had a clear answer to that one. The husband must leave his parents and cleave to his wife, I maintain and if his family interferes it is entirely his problem I insist. A mother- in- law cannot walk in and out of a daughter- in- law’s house as and when she pleases.

She has her own husband or boyfriend  or if she doesn’t, then she must get  a life, a hobby or something to keep her busy and not worried about her son’s attention. She had him for most of his life anyhow so why should she be so selfish as to want to hold onto him forever.

For that reason I have decided that as a  mother I don’t have to lose sight of the fact that I am nothing but  an instrument fortunate enough to be used by God to look after my boys until  one day they grow their own wings and leave me to go and cleave to someone else and would therefore want to raise them in such a way that they would know that once they have a family of their own, their responsibility would be primarily to their wife and children.

Of course that doesn’t mean I would stop caring for them or I would want them to stop caring about me but simply that if I have to care from a distance then so be it. That is why when a friend of mine suggested recently that now that she has three kids she has come to accept that life is no longer about her but about the children, I didn’t object but I quietly pitied her for setting herself up for frustration and depression later on when her nest gets empty and she is left with a huge task of getting a new life! What do you think.For any comments and suggestions on this topic please write to [email protected]