Is your mother-in-law on this list?

The saying ‘You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’ is especially true when it comes to mothers-in-law.

See, when you fall in love, you aren’t necessarily wondering whether or not you’ll like your partner’s mother. At least you shouldn’t be. Yet, at some point, you will more than likely have a lot to do with this lady, so it’s always handy you know, if she’s not totally crazy.

And hey, you might get super lucky and have a great mother-in-law. I’m sure 8 times out of 10 (completely made up statistic), mothers-in-law are just tops. I for one hope that if my children get married one day, I’ll be helpful, open and not intrusive. But who knows, maybe by the time that happens I’ll be bored out of my mind and take pleasure in passive aggressively destroying their lives.

Very Important Disclaimer: I have a very generous and lovely MIL. One who lives 2,000kms away and doesn’t know how to use the internet.

So how does one identify a Monster in Law? They come in the following categories:

1. The one who thinks you are a shit mother

This one is easy to spot by her candid accusations. For instance, I have three children. One larger than she should be, one smaller than he should be and one that is in proportion for his age. My mother-in-law has accused me of over feeding one, under feeding the other and ‘obviously working out how cook healthy meals’ by the time the third one came along. Apparently she thinks I’m fucking Goldilocks.

Yeah... have fun with that.

This mother-in-law will also insinuate that you aren’t looking after your child correctly if they fail a subject, get a cold or generally just live under your roof. This is where you point out to her that her son parents these children as well. The son she raised. So, you know…

2. The ignorant racist and/or bigot

Look, generally this MIL is lovely enough, would do anything for you but jeez, can she waffle on about how all those New Zealanders are taking our jobs. OH, and don’t get her started on those “bloody boat people who are really just terrorists waiting to take over Australia”. Same sex marriage? Unnatural she’ll say.

Your attempts at gently explaining persecution and acceptance will go one of two ways. She will either hate you forever or you will simply learn to block her out when she starts spouting ignorant, uneducated views. Good luck.

Real Life Example: We adopted a baby girl from Korea and my MIL asked, “Couldn’t you get her eyes fixed?

3. The Critical Neat Freak.

Not the worst kind of mother-in-law you can end up with but she is certainly up there. You know the ones. Judging you and your dirty window tracks. Snidely making comments about how you “Mustn’t get much time to clean out the fridge being a working mother’. No. No I don’t. Because unlike you, I am more interested in spending the time that I do have with my children, playing with them, rather than following them around and dust-busting around their ankles as they walk.


4. The Passive Aggressive Martyr

A typical scenario sees a Sunday lunch with the family and the MIL in charge of the food preparation. You are not allowed to help her because that will interfere with her portrayal of Mother Teresa. There are the cries of “NO, no, I’ll do it. You sit there and have your wine (heavy emphasis on wine)”.

She doesn’t really mean this of course. What she means is that “I will do it and I will make a big deal out of how I am doing everything and not even getting to sit down and eat my dinner when it’s hot because I’m still running around doing EVERYTHING while you all drink wine and laugh and chat and look I’m still doing EVERYTHING but oh no it’s fine, please enjoy.

5. The reluctant grandmother

There is an expectation that when you have children, your MIL will help out in whatever way she can.  There are some that might offer to babysit and this may be a little or a lot. There may be others who come over and just hang out because they love spending time with their grandchildren which also gives you a little bit of time out. Then there are the ones who really want nothing to do with the pesky little humans you have bred. When you (reluctantly) ask for some help because you’ve got no one left to ask, they will tell you that they’ll “have to check their calendar and get back to you”. Not surprisingly, they seem to always have something they can’t get out of that day.

As far as tricky mothers-in-law go, Sex & The City's Charlotte had a doozy on her hands

6. The one who has no boundaries

Physically or verbally. She will call you at 7:30 on a Sunday morning to ask you for the 11th time that week, when she can expect for lunch the following day.

She will arrive unannounced when you have friends over and stay until your friends feel uncomfortable and leave.  She will say whatever is in her head. Things like, “You both work, how come you don’t have a better car” or ,“Jesus, you’re putting on some weight around your belly Louise, ever heard of a diet?”.

7. The one that thinks you’re not good enough for her son

It’s okay, don’t take it personally. No one was ever going to be good enough for her son and you are simply the unfortunate winner of her unjustified scorn. Ironically, a big part of her wants to see her son married, reproduce and be happy but she is conflicted because see, SHE is supposed to be the one making her baby boy happy.  The apron strings are going to have to be cut. With the good scissors. Best if this is done by him because you’re going to be the bad guy either way.

Maybe the reason mothers turn into monsters when their children marry is because before then, they were in charge. Now their children are starting their own family, their own unit and maybe she just feels left out and lost and doesn’t know how to express herself or deal with the situation. Or maybe she’s just a really cruel, mean and vindictive person.

Have you got a Mother In law who has made your life unbearable? Or did you get lucky?