The dynamics between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law can be quite complicated. In fact, it can get quite tricky for the man who needs to ensure his loyalty towards both the women in his life.
I recently met a friend who shared an interesting story about his mother and his wife.
He is a writer too and keeps sharing his real-life instances on his social media handles. He shared a conversation he had with his mother on one of the accounts, a few months back. Like most concerned mothers, she had asked if it doesn’t bother him that his wife does not keep the house clean.
To this, he had promptly replied that he did not marry her for how well she’ll keep the house clean. Rather, he married her because he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. On hearing this, his mom simply replied that this was indeed more important than keeping the house clean and left it at that.
While recollecting the incident on social media, he obviously appreciated his mom’s homemaking skills. But, he stood by his wife and appreciated her qualities as well. While going through her social media feeds, his mom came across this post and was slightly disappointed.
Next time they talked, his mom first took a minute to appreciate his success as a writer. But then discussed how she didn’t appreciate him discussing their personal conversations online. She justified herself by saying that it wasn’t her intention to be rude.
My friend did know that his mother didn’t have any bad intention for pointing out the flaw. He realized it was more to do with the curiosity of how priorities have changed since her time. His mom elaborated on how she appreciated his wife and absolutely loved the way she was with the kids.
He really appreciated that she expressed this, albeit a little awkwardly, as it usually is when such sensitive matters are being discussed. However, he also felt that his mother should have had this conversation with his wife directly. It would have meant so much more!
They were having this conversation over the phone. To break that awkward silence, my friend asked his mother whether she would like to talk to her grandkids. But, to his surprise, his mom said that she would want to talk to her daughter-in-law instead.
He called his wife and told her his mom was on the phone. His wife began gathering the kids assuming that his mom wanted to talk to everyone. It was here that my friend realized that this had never happened before, in all these years. He caught his wife’s attention and emphasized that his mother specifically wanted to talk to her. He immediately saw the look of panic on his wife’s face. No matter how many years of marriage pass by, one-on-one interactions with the in-laws can scare you.
Though he couldn’t hear clearly, he gauged that his mother uttered words like ‘appreciated’, ‘loved’, and ‘sorry’. His wife responded by saying that it’s alright and she shouldn’t worry so much.
I was genuinely surprised when I heard this story. With all the negative connotations around a relationship between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law, this does come as a pleasant change. This interaction was important, really important!
Whether or not she owed an apology to my friend’s wife, I don’t know. But, my friend’s mom could have also chosen to react in a million other ways. She could have gotten offended, distanced herself from them, or she could have just chosen the emotional-rage route. But, his mother actually took a minute to reflect on what my friend shared on his social media handle. She chose to bring the entire family together rather than breaking them apart.
This story just makes you realize how a single sincere effort is enough to bridge the gap between two hearts. And, it does not always have to be the way it has been for generations. I am truly inspired, aren’t you?