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Sunday 10 May 2015

Mothers and Mothers-In-Law: Mother's Day 'Rights' When You're A Mother

This has to be the most insensitive, self centred opinion piece I have read. Smack bang in the middle of Mother's Day. But just the point, right?

It's an article about Mother's Day and how this particular writer - and mother - wants Mother's Day to be all about her. And only her. Not about her mother, and definitely not about her mother in law. NOT about the MIL AT ALL.

Read the whole piece here - originally posted on iVillage - and let me know what you think.

Me? Well, I am a firm believer that you reap what you sow. And your husband or partner is on the planet because of his mother. And she never stops being his mother.

And one day, YOU will be a mother in law.

This is my first Mother's Day without my mother and it hurts. A lot. But, I have found comfort in remembering all of the good times, the countless super fun times we had together.

And then, when I met my husband, I LOVED taking out my mum, my husband, and my mother in law. Dinners, and shows, and more dinners, and New Year's Eve in the city, and more dinners and fun.

Here were these two vulnerable women, alone, and not by choice. My mum, a widow. My boyfriend's (and later fiancé, and later husband) mum a divorcee.

My motto in life: NEVER take advantage of the vulnerable, the person with little 'status' in the family hierarchy. You know who I mean. The person without much 'pull'. Often the women without a husband, in the old school days, were considered 'down' a few notches. Not able to have the same status as those with both sets of parents when it came to decision making around days of significance.

And my mother in law and I: we've had a long and varied relationship. There were some years in between she lived overseas. When she came back, I gave her a place to stay, and she later became a carer for my mother. They way she cared for her meant that - even more than I would have cared for her anyway one day - she was now recognised in my eyes as someone who I could never repay for all she did for me and my family, immediate and extended. She made my life, our lives, MUCH easier.

And, I was the one who sometimes nudged my husband when we were newly married: "We haven't  seen your mum… hello, let's go over!" Or: "Your mum is on the phone. You're never too busy to say hi. Gosh, what's wrong with you!"

Again, I will say: you reap what you sow.

And: love your mother in law wholeheartedly, do things for her, and with her, and respect her and treat her well, and if she's vulnerable, care for her, and your husband will love you all the more for it. And you will teach your kids that love and respect is for BOTH sides on the family, not just for you, not just for your mother.

The comments on this post's Facebook page say it all, really.

Read on, here's what some people had to say. Right on the money:

Karma will come when your son marries a woman just like you!

Wow I didn't know that the term "mother" had an expiry date. 
ALL mothers should be celebrated on this day, ALL single fathers doing both jobs should get a shout out, ALL new mothers, old mothers, step-mothers and grandmothers should get celebrated.

You're right. You are selfish. Fast forward your life and think about YOUR child's spouse behaving so appallingly... The fact you think your mother should get a 'look in' just because your MIL did speaks volumes to your character... Geez, a birthday, Mother's Day and Christmas, your obligations are OUTRAGEOUS. Fool.

Gosh aren't you just a ray of sunshine? I hope you still feel the same when you are the grandmother-in-law.As long as you're happy for your daughter-in-law in to have the same attitude one day!

One commenter, Sonia Smart, hit the nail on the head not one, but three times:

Don't worry. When all those inconvenient people die you can have Mother's Day all to your self.

Be interesting if you still think this in twenty years time when you are the 'pain in the arse mother in law' who wants the day to be all about herself. Did you ever think that your MIL wants her turn at Mother's Day because when she was your age she was spending the day running around her MIL/mother. Payback is a bitch. Hope your kids repay your kindness

There are so many people who wished they got one more mothers day with their mum / grandmother etc.

And this, agreeing with the writer:

Sorry I agree with the writer. I'm a mother-in-law and a grandmother and I've had my turn. I'm more than happy with a call and I would hate to think I was centre stage in my son's life, that's where my daughter-in-law (who I love dearly) should be.

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