Becoming a newlywed, you are never quite sure what you are getting into when it comes your spouse’s family. Sure, you spend some time with them prior to the big day, but you still aren’t 100 percent exposed to all of their quirks. Luckily for me, I had no huge surprises after we said our vows and returned home from the honeymoon. Unluckily for a friend of mine, she had quite a few unfortunate surprises.
This friend shall remain anonymous for the sake of all involved, but she is a very close friend of mine, so I know all of the dirty details. I never know whether to laugh, cry or freak out along with her at some of the things her very own real-life monster-in-law has done.
The comments my sweet friend has had to tolerate shock me. They range from, “I have always wanted a daughter, that is why I got a dog,” to “I want to frame a picture of the family, but you’re making a weird face in every picture.” Oh and I can’t forget, “I tried to encourage my son to buy you a moissanite ring. It looks just like a real diamond, and is much cheaper.”
I can’t help but wonder what happened to the typical motherly advice of “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Maybe she didn’t get that lesson from her mother, but most people I know surely did.
The competitive nature of the said mother-in-law has driven those around her – mainly her own son and daughter-in-law – absolutely berserk. The most recent occurrence really left me fuming, and this isn’t even my mother-in-law!
It began when my friend and her husband were out shopping for a birthday present for his mother. They had searched high and low to find something special. They settled on a white sweater after debating for quite a while. White is such a classic and timeless color, they assumed it was the best bet and would surely please her. On the evening of the birthday celebration, the families gathered together at one of their homes. When it came time to open gifts and the sweater was presented, my friend’s mother-in-law opened it and immediately a scowl came upon her face. She declared that she didn’t care for the sweater very much and suggested returning it. Once she learned that it was purchased at Target, even more nasty comments followed including calling the brand “cheap.”
In tears, my friend confided in her husband and shared her frustration and dismay at how his mother had handled the situation and those prior. Stuck in between a rock (his mother) and a hard place (an unhappy wife), he had to somehow strike a happy medium of pleasing his wife and carefully addressing this with his mother, who is clearly insensitive to other’s feelings.
It’s such an unfortunate situation and as bad as it may sound, it makes me truly grateful for my own in-laws. I try and encourage my friend to let the comments roll off and to ignore them, but I can only imagine it isn’t as easy as it sounds. In this sort of situation, I ponder whether it’s up to the son to handle the situation and address his outlandish mother, or if they should both turn a deaf ear to her negativity. Life is entirely too short to put up with unruly conversations and hurtful remarks. What would you do?