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Why Mother-in-law Can Never Be Your Mother

By: Pooja Kaushal
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“Mother-in-law”, the term surely arouses different feelings in different people. Be it a male or female, for everyone a mother-in-law holds a very confusing position in life.

On one hand, she is the mother of your spouse and hence equivalent to your mother. On the other hand, since she is your spouse’s mother you have reasons to think why your mother-in-law can never be your mother.

This relationship of a mother-in-law is quite a complicated one, especially when seen in relation to daughter-in-laws.

This is mostly because of the patriarchal system that we follow, where a woman moves into her husband’s house after marriage.

She has to leave behind her mother’s home and move to a whole new world to live with a whole new set of relatives. This is mostly what happens in an extended family.

Now that families are going nuclear, there might not be new relatives to stay with; however, priorities do change.

You might have reasons why your mother is the best; but, at the same time, so does your spouse. It is a balancing act that both of you have to play. But once again, you wonder why your mother-in-law can never be your mother. Well, here are the possible reasons, have a look:


Not your mother:

Your mother-in-law is what the term states. The ‘in-law' is there for a reason and that makes it pretty clear that your mother remains your mother.

She is the one who gave birth to you and took care of you. It is only after you are ‘legally' married that your mother-in-law steps into your life.


Secondary relationship:

Why your mother-in-law can never be your mother is because you have a secondary relationship with her. You are only related to her because she happens to be the mother of your spouse.


Does not know you:

Your childhood days, your habits, likes, dislikes, preferences, tastes and many other personal details are only known to your mother. Your mother has seen you since your childhood and knows you in and out.

The same cannot be said about your mother-in-law. Reasons why your mother is the best for you is because she knows you very well, maybe better than you know yourself.


You come from different backgrounds:

After marriage, a girl moves into a new home to begin a family with a new set of relatives. Among all other relatives, the mother-in-law is looked upon with great doubt, suspicion and apprehension.

This is mostly because the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law have totally different backgrounds. Both inherit beliefs from their families and get married into a family to adopt its beliefs.

When there is a mix of backgrounds, effort has to be taken to bring about a balance. You would not have to do this with your mother.


Your thought process can differ:

What you think, the way you think and the thought process that you follow is bound to be different from that of your mother-in-law's.

With your mother, you could assert your own thoughts and do as per your desire to a great extent; but with your mother-in-law, the situation becomes a bit sensitive.

You need to take into consideration her views and thoughts and, many a time, also do as per her wish for her happiness.


Priorities may differ:

Another reason why your mother-in-law can never be your mother is the different priorities that you two have. When with your mother, you are free to do as you wish. For your mother, you are her priority.

In the case of your mother-in-law, the situation becomes very different. Here, your mother-in-law and her wishes become your priority.

You need to see to it that she is happy and satisfied. After all, she is the mother of your husband and you can't annoy your husband's mother.


Lifestyles vary:

The way you lived at your mother's place can be different from the way you live at your mother-in-law's place. It could be your dressing, your meals, your daily routine, etc.

Here, you have to adopt to a different lifestyle set-up of your mother-in-law's, which is bound to be different from the one you have been brought up in at your mother's place.


Need to adjust with each other:

Between mother and daughter, there is nothing like adjusting to one another. It is a bond that cannot be defined, and there are no conditions. With a mother-in-law, the situation is slightly different.

It is a matter of how well balanced each one is and with what skill both daughter-in-law and mother-in-law devise a middle path to follow, which is congenial to both and the rest of the family members.

Read more about: marriage and beyond, mother
Story first published: Sunday, February 7, 2016, 6:30 [IST]
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