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Dear Mother-in-Law

by Oluseye Igbafe

It seems just like yesterday you brought him from the hospital, your sweet baby boy. As a young boy, he never left your side, he clung to your every word, always came to you for advice and without a doubt you were the apple of his eyes. When your husband had little time for you, he was the love of your life, his jokes made you laugh no matter how down you were. That you love your son cannot be disputed and his love for you was never in question until...

Until now, your boy seems hoodwinked by another woman, its like you are no longer the center of his life. You don’t even know what is happening with him, his calls have really decreased all because of HER! She reminds you of that trash that stole your husband’s heart, now her clone has come to steal your son’s heart.
But you will have none of that, you will not be pushed aside a second time, he’s your boy and that is what he will always be first. If she resists you will... Hmmmm!

Dear Mama, please note the following things:

1. He is NO longer a Baby or a Boy. He is now a man, a full grown man. You have succeeded, you have raised a man. To continue with your plan is to ruin all you have done. He was never meant to be under your thumb forever so allow him to be a man.

2. He Chose HER! You have raised him to be a man and he knows what he wants. He knows the kind of woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and out of millions of others he chose HER! Accept and respect his choice. Believe that he is mature enough to know what he wants and give him the best support possible. He will love you more for that.

3. She is NOT an ENEMY: She is not your enemy, she is an extension of your son, the bone of his bones and the flesh of his flesh. If you hate her then you never really loved your son. He is merely a possession like a toy that you want to keep for selfish reasons. If you love him, then love his wife.

4. Let them make their decisions: He appreciates all the help you gave him over the years but it’s time for him to stand as a man. Encourage him to make independent decisions, push him to discuss first with his wife and if they both need your counsel let them come. You will not always be there, let him start making decisions with his wife.

5. Resist the temptation to interfere:  It’s very hard to let go. You unconsciously crave the right to control all his affairs but now he has a wife. Refuse to meddle or interfere, try swallowing some of your opinions. Let them find their own way, let them chart their own course and cook their own way. Stay out of their kitchen, stay out of their finances and more importantly stay out of their bedroom.

6. Don’t Go Fault-finding: You know you aren’t perfect yourself so why not give her a chance? Stop finding fault with everything about her or how she does things. Give her the love you wished your mother-in-lawh gave you. Isn’t it sad how you have now become like your own mother-in-law that you hated so much? Be quick to forgive.

7. Don’t Badmouth Her: Don’t say nasty things about her, don’t give her degrading nicknames or call her bad names. Speak well about her in her absence.

8. Let Her Enjoy Her Marriage: It’s not her fault you had a bad marriage, nothing that happened to you is her fault so don’t take it out on her. Do your best to ensure she enjoys her marriage because if she is then your son is too. Don’t cut your nose to spite your face.
The truth is, the key to sealing your place in your son’s heart is your love for his wife, your support for her and your help in building a good marriage.

Talking of places, do you know your place in his heart is very different from his wife’s place in his heart? Yes, he is capable of loving you both because the types of love are different. You will however lose that place when you begin to tamper with his love for his wife. He will begin to see you in a different light, no longer as the loving and fun mum but as a bitter and vindictive woman.

Even if he listens to you and his marriage ends, know that in his heart he will always blame you and will never really forgive you, he will wonder if things could have worked without your negative input. He may end up hating you though he may never show it.

Dear Mother-in-law, your son’s marriage is an opportunity to gain a daughter, to show the world that mothers-in-law are not evil ogres. It’s an opportunity to right every wrong ever done to you as a daughter-in-law. Don’t mess it up!

Thank you Ma!

PS: I am aware this does not apply to every mother in-law and in no way am I perpetuating the “wicked mother-in-law” myth. This is for those MILs who yet to catch up with the new wave of Mothers-in –love!

So, do you have any words of wisdom for Mothers-in-law? Or a personal experience? Please share in the comments.


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