The Big School
There’s too much drama with the in-laws (at least in my head). It needs to stop. I have realised that I tend to bitch a lot about two groups of people; the people I love the most (hubby, siblings, parents, old school friends who have turned siblings – even if they don’t know this) and the people whose love and acceptance I crave (in laws, would be friends). For category 1; I am not sure why but I expect them to fit into a mould created by me perfectly and I mean PERFECTLY. For category 2; I expect them to love me and accept me unconditionally notwithstanding any failings or differences. They should think I am perfect or I begin to feel bad. Failure to do and be all I want results in me bitching so horrendously that any listener would think of them badly. Don’t get me started about my imperfections, I know I have them just remind me that everyone else is allowed them too. What?!! Like that’s news to me….
So what do you expect? Coming from the African background, you know a mamas going to be looking at everything and critiquing. Hard enough when it’s yours and even more painful if another’s. When you did not pay my fees ………. Marriage is the school where you learn to shape up or ship out. You will continue to carry over until you pass. Pick and choose your battles and with time adjust. I think that when you get to the point of acceptance and affection, the people don’t really change but the relationship gets easier. ‘I know that grandma will complain it I don’t do A, B C, D….’; ‘That my daughter in law (who cannot even speak the language ni tori Olorun) does not know to do E, F, G H…’ kind of continues but without bitterness and anger hopefully. You know what you have to do and what you can get away with not doing to keep things moving.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder. The further you live the less drama. Maybe it is because the sheer burden of being married and being maybe a mum and doing so much for everyone whilst doing so much less for yourself compared to before makes one less open to criticism. Make room. Enjoy the benefit and allow your children to enjoy the benefit of having grandma close – as and when you can because the time is coming when all you have will be pictures and the memories. Don’t waste each other’s lives sweating the small stuff; grin and bear it sometimes. Go the extra mile. Compromise.
- Cook 3 square meals all the time; not everybody likes cereal for breakfast. Fry the eggs.
- Reduce your make up and stop chewing gum.
- Lock up any cupboards you don’t want her to rummage in (keeping an innocent face J ‘like I did not know you’ve been looking but now you know I am not actually bleaching, just toning…)
- Don’t complain to your hubby unless you absolutely have to.
- Don’t complain to anybody if you don’t have to.
- Engage in positive team building activities like prayer and bible studies, at home. Allow the spirit of God to calm everybody down and lead the way. All mothers love to pray, at that age, they know what it means to live by faith.
- You might be having it easier than them. Sometimes, they look at you and think, if you had married his fada …..
- Take extra care to be respectful, loving and obedient to her son whilst she is there (it’s just easier).
- If your husband is alright, she can’t be that bad.
- Remember she is allowed to have her issues as you are allowed yours. Free her!
Don’t expect any support from your hubby. Seriously! What! His mum! If you have a son you already understand. Sometimes, husbands don’t make it easier. When you show your wife you prefer your mum rather than showing love to both. You know that wife can come and go but mama will remain the same – she? Some husbands are OK. Some get better with time. Some will put mama and her family first to the detriment of his new family. Then one day you realise your priorities did not change when they should have and you pay the price when the time is right. All your siblings and their families have moved on pitying you with your own family in tatters. You poured your life into them so they took your investment plus their investment to get to their destination whilst your family is still marking time.
Marriage teaches you that the best love of all is God’s love. That being secure in Him keeps you centred and able to cope with the idiosyncrasies of His creation. He can keep you loving through it all. Marriage teaches you that you have to love and let go so people can be themselves, make their own mistakes. In marriage you see that people might not change but you can still walk in love. Marriage teaches who you really are, makes you appreciate the husband who loves you in spite of your issues, even though you;
- Complain a lot!
- Let rip into him that morning cos something else was making you upset.
- Let yourself go and now you are fat and that’s not what he had in mind (don’t mind him, his mother is fat but he doesn’t know that one!!)
- Can’t stop watching reality TV, won’t let him watch football.
- Need to be more respectful.
- Need to call his mother more
He allows you to do you! – to a very large extent.
The average African mama scolds, complains and moves on. Don’t keep it in your head or heart (trust me they have moved on most of the time) otherwise it will bring you down. Take note of what you need to and keep moving. Once she feels the love she will let her guard down.
There is no perfect man or woman. HIS love is enough.
Can’t believe I used to feel irritated when people say marriage is an institution or a school. It is! And usually your mother in law is the head teacher.
Have a great Bank Holiday Weekend.