The movie Monster-in-Law, starring Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez, depicts hysterical antics that each woman’s character plays on the other, the desperate attempts of the pathetic mother-in-law, and a situation that may be shockingly close to reality. Most mother-in-law tales are not as frightening as those in the movie, but some are. According to experts, women have a much harder time getting along with their mothers-in-law than men do. But why?
Dr. Sylvia L. Mikucki-Enyart, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, says that mothers tend to worry more about their sons than their daughters when it comes to marriage. They are afraid that their sons may not be happy with their wives, or that the wives may not be good homemakers or cooks. As silly as this sounds; it is true.
In fact, Mikucki-Enyart surveyed 89 mothers and found that mothers worried about their sons’ well-being. They also worried that their sons would not spend as much time with them. Mikucki-Enyart believes that the two women, mother and wife, are basically put in positions to vie for the attention of the son, which creates a sense of friction for each woman.
“Don’t make it a competition,” she says. “You both love this man in completely different ways.” Rather than trying to outdo one another, as Jane Fonda repeatedly tries in the movie, accept that you both have different roles. Recognize that it is an adjustment for the mother to come to terms with the new dynamics of the relationship she will now have with her son.
For wives, Mikucki-Enyart suggests trying to make the mother-in-law feel included by keeping her involved in what’s going on with your family. Mothers, on the other hand, must learn to give the couple space. And if tensions arise, sons have a responsibility to let their mothers know that although they will still have their mothers in their lives, their wives come first.
Linda. (2013). In-Law Troubles: When Wife and Mother Vy for His Affection. (n.d.): n. pag. http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/05/25/in-law-troubles-when-wife-and-mother-vy-for-his-affection/
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