real life

Reader confession: "My mother-in-law hates me."

By ANONYMOUS I know the tensions between daughter and mother-in-laws are as old as time… but I really felt it would be different for me. With my easy-going, friendly nature and good background, I think I am not a bad prospect. I imagined I would have another supportive motherly elder in my life with long kitchen-table conversations and quick catch-ups over the phone.

It was a rocky start, my now hubby gushingly declared in an email to her that he had ‘found the one’. Mother-in-law curtly replied I was too young and for him to move on – not even waiting for the introduction. Regardless the relationship persevered and the first meeting went smoothly.
While it is always civil, there have been moments where I feel insulted to the core. The time when she knocked on our apartment door and unashamedly invited hubby to come along with her to have coffee with his ex – adding comments of disbelief that he ever left such a lovely woman.
The remarks on the cleanliness of the flat– okay, I’m not a clean freak, but really it wasn’t that bad. Silently and ominously watching me at family dinners. Blatantly ignoring me – complete with eyes up and to the side while I am mid-sentence. And the times when I have felt like I was getting closer to her – only to get the cold shoulder or nothing at all.
I know hubby doesn’t expect miracles with his Mother, but that mother-son bond is a special one. He does want me to love and be loved by his Mother. I want that very much too. I go out of my way to lend any of my skills to help her, compliment her cooking, and enquire about her work.
When my daughter came along it was another story. My motherly instincts kicked in and when Mother-in-law initially showed favouritism for the other grandchild – I stopped caring for her love. I felt indignant that I was doing all I could to not mess up my child, only for her grandmother to do it for me.
After tears and long conversations with my hubby, I started to reconcile to not being loved like I felt I deserved. I had always been loved. Feeling unloved was very new and took a while for me to accept.
Amazingly it was my daughter that broke through, claiming her as “my Nonna” and demanding the love and attention that only little people can. You can’t help but love her and Mother-in-Law does and dearly. I started to not mind vicariously experiencing my Mother-in-law’s love through my daughter. I even feel I am given respect for being her Mother. Seeing that she can love and can love fiercely is warming to me. I harbour hope that one day I will have a little place in her heart too.

 This Author is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain Anonymous.