I think this is a very emotive subject for most relationships. Very very real for any couple but I’m going to talk about it from a woman’s perspective.
When you start dating someone the last thing on your mind I suppose is “Will I get on with his family”, and even as you get more serious and therefore spend more time with his family, it’s only in short bursts so therefore all very amicable!
So at what point do you think we start thinking about the family that we’ll be “adopting”. When do we think “can I live the rest of my life with them being part of my family”?
Since getting married 6 years ago and now being a parent I have spent many many many hours with friends discussing their in-laws (or in some cases out-laws) and I have to say in more cases than not it’s a negative conversation.
Starting with marriage, the mother-in-law can get too involved with wedding plans and makes decisions that the bride doesn’t want. Then onto children where there can always be a view on what to do and how to do it.
Then, another real issue, does the husband stick up for his wife in front of his parents or take what he feels is the easy ride and lets it go only to have it in the back from his wife when behind closed doors?
I will always remember the first time I met Mr P’s parents. I was feeling absolutely awful, I had a really really bad cold but I had to go to theirs to stay for the weekend. We arrived mid evening on the Friday night and had supper straight away. I kept on having to excuse myself to leave the room to blow my nose or sneeze and found it really really difficult to make conversation. Anyway, after supper I went upstairs on the pre tense of going to the loo but in fact I locked myself into the bathroom to phone my Mummy to have a cry about how awful I was feeling. When I opened the door to go back downstairs my darling mother-in-law was standing there with her arms open and just gave me the most wonderful cuddle, she then took me to my bedroom and put me to bed. She came back up with a hot toddy and kept on coming to check on me throughout the evening. I will never forget this to this day.
I won’t say it’s always been absolutely perfect. We had the discussions after we got engaged as to numbers and which family and friends they could invite. I had to take a deep breath a few times and let my husband sort out the situation. But none of these issues were major just a bit annoying at the time.
I would love to be able to sit here now and say that I’ve also had some difficulty with her since I’ve had kids but unfortunately I can’t as very sadly she died 3 weeks before my eldest was born having struggled with cancer for the previous 18 months. She would have made the most phenomenal Granny and there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not sad about what she’s missing out on.
However, I am now left with an amazing father-in-law (he was always great but I think maybe a bit more amazing now). If she was alive I’m not sure he would have stepped up to the mark with the Grandkids as much as he has. But here is a man who never changed his own children’s nappies let alone looked after them on his own and who is now on his own with no help. However he regularly has our two for the weekend to allow us to go to weddings etc. He’s never ever tried to advise me on how to parent, he’s just been there to congratulate me on the job i’m doing with them and to be there to support me when I need help with the kids or a glass of wine to be poured etc.
So when I sit with my friends who are quite often talking about annoying things their in-laws have done I just have to sit back and offer sympathy but thank my lucky stars for being blessed with mine.
Are you lucky enough to have in-laws or do you have to put up with the out-laws? And if out-laws do you find yourself fighting with your partner as they’re not sticking up for you like you would expect?