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Ode to the Mother-in-laws

So often women in families are portrayed as evil. Our childhood fairy tales have the evil step mother in Cinderella and Snow White. Old women are seen as witches in Hansel and Gretel, and Sleeping Beauty. While the Wizard of Oz took a more balance view the older witches were the "wicked" ones. Somewhere along the line the "mother-in-law"got a bad rap too, and as such is almost automatically considered to be a negative relationship, while the father-in-law seems to get a by.

I became a mother-in-law last year when my son Andrew (pictured here with my late mother-in-law Gaie) married the lovely Miss Harriet Jones in the UK last May. Rather than being congratulated, I was teased by others in a way that suggested that this new handle was less than positive. I have also been saddened by the experiences of some of my friends who have felt more disenfranchised in their children's lives rather than being enriched by an ever extending family. The common social expression that capture this sentiment is that you lose your son when he marries and gain a "son" when your daughter marries. How and why does this happen? Just because we become "family" doesn't mean we have to like or love each other, however the very title of "X-in-law" suggests that we should embrace the concept and do our best to do so.

So what is it about being the "mother-in-law" that makes it challenging to adapt to the relationships that our children create for us? Its a complicated enough issue that I will make this a series in an attempt to do it justice. I will start with "Our Roots" and move on from there. I hope you will join me in this journey and provide your thoughts and experiences. Fundamentally, I believe that as women we need to be the love and peacemakers in this world so lets prove our mettle at home.

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