Managing a Harsh and Mean Mother-in-law
"Vroooooooo.....m" came from the exotic kitchen
of the Sampsons's. Clara is in a suit trouser and
shirt, she has the sleeves from her purple shirt
folded and her right hand on the blender to keep
it tight, the juice from the blending squirted in her
face to form lots of 'red pimples'.
she throws her face left and right to keep her
long braids from blinding her.
Barefooted, she paces hurry on the marbled floor
to get lunch fixed for the family.
The old wrinkled feet carrying the 63 years old
body steps into the kitchen ares, hands folded
behind, body slightly bend forward, a glasses
sitting on the pointed nose to help the deep old
green eye balls see well. Mama, is tying a lace
wrapper around her chest which flags down to her
shins as she wore this 'irritated' look on her face.
"OH! Mama? You'r up? I sent chidinma to check
you when I arrived and told me you were asleep"
Clara said with a big smile that exposed her deep
"I yam up, sebi is the noise from your blendi
bulendi that woke me, "
"OH my!! Mama am sorry, but I just have to fix
things up before Michael returns from work
"Why he won't return hungry bikonu, ehn? When
all you can cooku is maggots and long ropes"
"Mama, they are his favorites o Michael loves
"Gree me hear word abegi!! Gbo!!! You mother
didn't train you? She didn't put you in between
her laps in the kitchen to learn?"
"Mama E ma binu (don't be pissed) its just
"Go back and suck your mothers breast properly
and let me give mai chaid(child) good foodu"...
...Mama retorted as she brushes Clara off the
way with her shoulder and goes out through the
back door leaving Clara with hot tears on her
In Nigeria, data shows that 65%married women
complain of having a harsh and mean mother-in-
law like Mama up there in their lives. Some of
these women curse these MIL's(mother-in-law)
some want them dead and some don't even
wanna see them.
Majority of these women claims that they have
done all they could to please their MIL's but all
to know avail.
Okay, how do I manage my mean MIL ?
The first thing we MUST consider firstly is why
are these MIL's like this?
This is it....
The one and only reason why your MIL tends to
act that way and tries to get between you and
your husband is because THEY ARE JEALOUS!
Yeah! That may sound funny but its the hard
truth about it.
They are bound to be jealous because you see,
majority of MIL's don't get the luxury their DIL's
(daughter-in-law) are getting.
Some on the other end can't stand to see another
woman taking proper care of their son. These
MIL's are very observant, they look at other
families and say to their sons. "Your wife is the
reason why you don't have time to takia of me"
These MIL's mean no harm dearest reader, they
are only being jealous and envious.
On another end are those MIL's who tell lies to
their sons to frame the wife up probably to send
her packing or something else.
The husband who believes such lies is to blame.
Because many married men claiming to be grown
are still mama's boy and need to break up from
their mothers chains of "come here and sit
These MIL's see the wife of their son as taking
their place and want to get back in. They feel you
can't do it as good as they would and that you
cannot know their son better than they do.
Hence, outta love and fear for their son, they try to step
Another point you should note is the fact that
these MIL's are growing older and nearer to the
grave daily, hence, psychologically, their thinking
and reasoning faculties tend to diminish and they
begin to act like children they nag, shout, wail
and all manners sort of that children do. They are
These and many more are the reasons why MIL's
end up acting weird.
HOW DO I MANAGE HER THEN?
1. Before you can take on your parents-in-law,
especially your MIL, you need to give yourself a
time out (and on more than one occasion) to
evaluate the situation and develop a game plan
that’s right for you. Find a quiet space, free of
distractions, where you can note everything that
has taken place to date.
Allow yourself to process the list, mulling and
fuming over it—getting all feelings out—until you
can revisit it with a calmer frame of mind. This
will enable you to constructively take on the
situation, coming from a more rationale versus
emotional space, in moving forward.
2. Consider where your MIL is coming from.
With or without empathyor sympathy, try to see
your MIL’s side of the story and how her
behavior may be a symptom of larger issues she
has with herself and her relationship with her son
—and not you. In some cases, his mother’s
hostility towards you is an act of frustration over
being disconnected from him. If this is the case,
this is something that your husband needs to
work on with his mother.(Probably he is being
distant from her and she needs attention)
While challenging, try to be objective as you
evaluate the situation. Honestly ask yourself if
she has a valid opinion about matters. Consider if
her actions and words are coming from a place of
love, and if this needs to be acknowledged in
managing her. Consider, too, if she’s struggling
with feelings of having been dethroned as the
family’s powerful matriarch, and if there are ways
you can still make her feel important and needed
in her own way.
3. Ask yourself what role you’re playing in this
situation and its maintenance.
There are situations where a person has done
nothing to cause the relationship with in-laws to
become strained. Yet there are also situations
where the DIL is doing, or not doing, something
that is causing the in-laws to treat her the way
they are (whether or not it’s warranted).
So think back to how you’ve been engaging your
in-laws and honestly ask yourself if a third party
could possibly find fault with that. Are you a total
victim in this scenario or do you do or say things
to instigate a negative response? If so, consider
how you can change the way you’re handling the
situation, or reacting to it, as not to invite any
4.Be okay with not having in-law approval.
You don’t need anyone’s approval to live your life
the way you want to. Don’t drive yourself crazy
trying to get the thumb’s up from your in-laws.
Not having a care in the world as to what they
think about you will be incredibly freeing and
HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR MIL.
1.Don’t try to fake a relationship that isn’t there.
Yes, they’re legally your parents-in-law, but are
they really family with the way they’re treating
you? Don’t refer to your in-laws as “Dad” or
“Mother,” as neither is your parent and there is
no intimacy or warmth that warrants use of the
terms. Too, using these words adds to the power
dynamic of these elders being the ones on top. By
calling your parents-in-law by their first names,
you create a more level playing field.
2. Be assertive.
This needs to be central in your tactics, no matter
what you’re communicating. While initial attempts
to engage your in-laws should be courteous, the
problem with being too polite, for fear of coming
across as rude or pushy, is that you don’t
establish necessary boundaries. Thus, you aren’t
able to communicate how deep the problems are,
and how troubled you are by them.
Remember, you’re not necessarily dealing with a
person or people who are nice. You don’t need to
always play nice in getting your points across.
Be you, be alive and natural.
3. Avoid stooping to her level.
It is tempting to fight fire with fire, taking digs at
your MIL or calling her names or being equally
rude. But don’t go there. In having discussions,
no matter how heated, stick with the facts.
Interact using mindfulness, and in taking the
higher road without compromising how you will
allow yourself to be treated.
Mother-in-laws are suppose to be blessing and
guardian angels to wives. Unfortunately, its the
other way around for most married women
especially young wives in their 20's.
Try as much
as possible to apply the tips and hints above.
Never forget prayers too. Don't hate on your MIL.
If the issue is more critical, contact me. Let's sort it out by His Grace.