Are Mother-in-Laws Just Misunderstood?

A beautiful girl. A beautiful dress. Vows lovingly declared in a lush garden by a tranquil lagoon.

Then a lunch Reception on the water. Words are spoken into a microphone, toasting the Bridesmaids, reminiscing with the groomsmen… but as the groom thanked his mother, a thousand unspoken words passed between them. A gentle ‘nod’ and they both knew. There was so much more said in that moment than just a polite ‘thanks a bunch for feeding me and waking me up for school.’

Holding my own tiny little boy in my arms for the very first time. There were no words. Just so. Much. Love. I swaddled him snuggly and then suddenly felt overwhelmingly sad; warm tears flooded my eyes. ‘What’s the matter?’ My husband asked. And it was difficult to answer. In just a few seconds, I loved this little boy more than I’d loved anything in my entire life and through my tears all I said was: ‘One day, he’s going to love another woman more than he’s ever going to love me.’

My husband looked at me. Bemused… ‘That’s right… if you’ve done your job right, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.’

Am I already the mother-in-law from hell? Even before my boys know about girls?

I watch ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ now and suddenly I ‘get’ his annoying, intrusive mother. Like me, she loves her boys more than anything in the whole world and she’s watched them fall in love with someone else.

According to this study from the University of Cambridge, two thirds of women believe their partner’s mother is guilty of “unreasonably jealous maternal love.”

Reading this article by Michelle Law proves that it’s not just mothers who feel a sense of loss at weddings. With every marriage there’s a small sense of loss to someone. In her case, she watched her sister get married and realised their relationship would never be the same.

Every day, my boys teach me a little about letting go. Watching them do more and more for themselves until one day, they won’t need me at all. At least, not in the way they do now. I’m learning to let go. In the meantime, I want to tell them…

I can’t believe I get to keep you. For a little while. Just a little while.

I wish. I hope. I pray… That one day you WILL love another woman more than you love me. Maybe not more… but different. And I will love her too. I promise. And when she holds her little baby boy, she’ll understand.

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