The rivalry between mother-in-laws and their daughter-in-laws has been from time immemorial.
Men will never understand why their mothers and wives are always at loggerheads and find it very hard to get along.
In Nigeria, you often hear some ladies say they don’t want to get married to a man whose mother is still alive because of the many horrible mother-in-law stories they have heard.
Some of these ladies have seen their sisters, friends and other family members go through some very harsh treatments in the hands of their mother-in-laws and therefore wish the mother of the man they want to marry dead.
Even before marriage, some ladies are already prepared for war with their husband’s mothers and every one related to the man the moment she enters his house. They already have plans of how they will deal with her and put her in her rightful place.
The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law war could get really messy sometimes, to the point of scattering the marriage. Most marriages have failed because of some very troublesome mother who decided to make the life of her son’s wife, a living hell or because of some very troublesome wife, who has refused to accept her husband’s mother and family.
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Most of the time, the men are caught in between as they do not know who to support. If they take sides with their wives, they will get in trouble with their family and if they decide to support their mother, there will be trouble from the wives.
The mother is the first woman a man comes in contact with. A man is first his mother’s son and as it is said, no matter your age, you remain a child to your mother. Some mothers find it difficult to accept the fact that their son or daughter has grown and should be allowed some independence.
The wife on the other hand feels like she has left her parents, friends, old life and sometimes country to be a part of yours and thus has high expectations. She wants to be the number 1 woman in your life.
Not all mother-in-laws are evil but some ladies have grown up with this notion that all of them are monsters.
It is expected for some daughter-in-laws not to like their mother-in-laws and to expect them to be meddlesome. As a result, both women may tread carefully around each other from the start, reacting defensively to almost everything.
The mother-in-law has her way of doing things, the wife being from a different family background has her own different way of doing things. This often causes friction between both women as both of them want to have their way. The wife feels it is her house and can do as she pleases while the mother feels it is her son’s house and she also has a right.
Sometimes, both parties may want to please each other but don’t know how to go about it as some people are very hard to please.
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There is uncertainty on both sides. The uncertainty itself can lead to jealousy, anger or sadness. The more uncertainty there is, the more each woman is likely to keep the other at arm's length. This can sometimes destabilize the marriage.
Most mother-in-laws want to help out, but don’t always feel welcome enough by their son’s wife. Also some daughter-in-laws would want their mother-in-laws to help but don’t know how to ask them.
Mothers- and daughters-in-law are supposed to be family, yet they don't know each other well. There’s always this friction between them and they seem to be walking on eggshells around each other.
There is no script or manual on how to cope with your mother-in-law or how to treat your daughter-in-law.
Ladies should learn to cope with their husband’s mothers, no matter how hard it is. In life, there are different people and they all have their unique characters and behaviours. I believe if we learn to study people, with time, you will learn how to live and cope with them. No one is perfect, we all have our imperfections.
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The same applies to the mothers. Learn to treat your son’s wives like you would treat your own daughters.
Every woman was, is, and would be a daughter-in-law. The mother-in-law was at some time a daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law will someday become a mother-in-law. This is life, what goes around, comes around. When you understand this, you will be careful how you go through it.