There Can Only Be One First Lady
As much as I try to be a patient, understanding and overall über-cool daughter-in-law, I must admit that there are limits to my abilities in this area. If my mother-in-law were, for example, to try and publicly contest the position for First Lady in my husband’s heart, I may morph into a vaguely psychotic and paranoid jealous female and vehemently stake my claim to such rights. But surely, you gasp, such an abomination would never occur. Alas, in the crazy world of mother/daughter-in-law relations, such madness seems to be an everyday occurrence.
So here’s how it went down: It was a quiet, unassuming day and we were taking a stroll back to our car when my husband asked, “Do you have the car keys, love?” Before I could even wrap my porridge brains around the question, SHE pipes up, “Are you talking to me?” An awkward silence ensued until I stated what I thought was blindingly obvious: “I think he’s talking to me, mom.”
Ha! Apparently not so obvious because the next statement stopped me dead in my tracks, “Well, love refers to me clearly.” Now I’m not often rendered speechless (considering how I’ve often been handed down the prognosis of having untreatable verbal diarrhea) but even I was stumped by this one.
If that isn’t enough to stop you cold in your tracks, this should give you pause for thought. My ever-charming, 100% politically-correct husband decides to melt the dense frostiness that suddenly seemed to permeate the air with the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard him say, “No fighting ladies – you’re BOTH the loves of my life.” Hmmm…
Now perhaps you’re thinking that isn’t so bad. Give the guy props for using a cheesy line to defuse a ticking time bomb. Except that I forgot to mention that I was six months pregnant at the time, essentially the emotional and physical equivalent of a raging female elephant under attack. At this point in the game, mental stability had long since escaped my tenuous grasp on it, and my only claim to human-like behaviour came in the aftermath of a chocolate binge (which I consumed as a mood-altering substance to try and play nice from time to time). Needless to say, I was NOT in the mood to have the instigator of my current whale-shaped physique start comparing our relationship to the one he has with his mommy!
But I have long since learnt that arguing with my mother-in-law is akin to trying beat Chuck Norris. In other words, you don’t. Basically, there is NO way to out-argue this woman. And in the unlikely event that my pregnancy-addled mind could come up with a witty repartee, she would simply swan right over it.
So I did what any intelligent woman would do under these circumstances. I had a righteously indignant go at the hapless victim of the man-territory wars, my husband himself. Poor guy! He honestly thought that he’d found an all-round winner in his clever comeback, but he forgot to account for the fact that his wife was essentially eating hormones for breakfast, lunch and supper. I’m happy to report that he’s learnt his lesson and won’t ever consider placing me on the same rung as ANY other human being EVER again.
So in conclusion, let’s extract the moral truths from this gem of a story:
1. Husbands, considering that you now live with your mate and not your mother, choose carefully when you find yourself in a checkmate situation. Your mother has limited access in terms of making your life miserable whilst your wife now has infinite powers. Remember: a happy wife = a happy home.
2. Mother-in-laws: yes, we understand that some uppity miss has usurped your place as numero uno in your baby boy’s life, but for goodness sake! We provide you with grandchildren to ease your strife. Surely that’s gotta count for something???
3. Daughter-in-laws and wives: Tough as it is to swallow, this is a package deal. You’ve got the man of your dreams so just suck it up and thank God that you’re not still with that loser whose idea of a hot date included a football match and cooler of beers. (Please note: if you are pregnant, none of the above applies to you. Feel free to make up the rules as and when they suit you).
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