Someone might be musing on the relevance of this question, especially when the person comes from a place where such is not practised. This indispensable factor is actually the main cause of breakup in some families. The argument starts the moment one of the parties puts on the hat that believes it MUST be a particular mother-in-law that should be present to assist the wife take care of the baby. This becomes a bone of contention if the other party feels more comfortable with his/her own parent. To a large extent, this is more rampant among wives than among the husbands.
Whenever the debate arises on whose mother should be the one to come around, I think you should also ask where exactly it was written that it must be a particular mother-in-law. The fact that you grew up with the culture of who assists the wife with the baby does not necessarily rule out the possibility of the other mother in-law coming around as well.
This article is not intended to take a position on whose mother should it be. It is intended to create a balance and correct some mindsets that hold a strong belief about the particular person to the extent that they allow it to impact their homes negatively. Here are a few questions to ask you:
How did you come to the point of having this belief that it MUST be this particular in-law that should come?
What is wrong if either of them decided to come?
What is wrong if both mother-in-laws decided to be around?
What do you stand to lose if both mother in-laws are present to take care of your child?
What are your reasons for insisting on your mother-in-law?
If you are very objective and sincere about your answers, you will realize that it’s just an imbibed mindset. The best reason you could ever give to such trend is that “It is culture induced”. Things are done in a certain way that upcoming generation grows up to see things done by the antecedents and naturally continue the trend. You need to bear it in mind that overtime culture evolves due to innovations and developments. The fact that it used to happen doesn’t mean it MUST continue to happen. And the fact that changes happen over time doesn’t necessarily mean that your culture is being undermined.
I have seen a true life experience where the husband insisted that it must be his mother that should come around to take care of the wife and baby. The wife on the other hand said she is more comfortable with having her own mother around. The reasons stated on the part of the wife are:
My mother knows my peculiar circumstances.
I feel more comfortable with her.
Communication is easier for me, whether we speak the same dialect or not.
I can easily send her on “errand” with her not misinterpreting it as being rude and spoilt.
The reasons stated on the part of the husband are:
It is the culture in my place
How do you want my parents to accept this?
I am protecting you by allowing my mum come over.
It will be an opportunity for bonding.
When individual views are not accommodated, quarrel becomes inevitable.
There is also a true story of a family that the husband allowed the mum to have undue access and decision in their home. He grew up from a family where they do things together and are well bonded. He has busy schedules and practically gets back home late consistently. The time he got married, he finds it difficult to separate single lifestyle from married lifestyle. He allowed the same approach with his immediate family creep into the new home he was starting. This didn’t go down well with the wife. It got to a stage where she started reacting because vital things were done without her knowledge and her place in the house as a wife was taken for granted. Hence, this created a huge strife which also involved the two parents. Things got so messed up that the two in-laws had to take their leave, and left the couple and baby in such a difficult situation. The situation aggravated to the point where it became a serious conflict between husband and wife.
It took the intervention of a counsellor to abate the tension to a large extent.
What lessons can be drawn from these scenario? I will really advise that:
You are husband and wife. You are not two different organizations who are in a competitive edge to get the same customers. You are a product of each other’s parents. Without the parents,there would not have been reason for your existence not to talk of meeting and marrying each other. The fact that there are difficult and unreasonable in-laws should not push you to the point where you lose sight of the big picture of your home; “Your spouse and the children as well as the responsibility of raising them to become responsible citizens in the society they live”.
Where spouses jointly agree who comes irrespective of what is traditionally believed, please go ahead with it. You should not allow the way it runs in another family dictate to you how you will run yours. The important thing is that both of you have agreed and that takes priority over how it is done elsewhere.
If it gets to the point of contention where you both disagreed, please before the day of delivery, seek for the help of a professional counsellor to guide you in your decision. And in the event that you already had your baby and you are going through this contention at the moment, still seek for professional counselling.
Apply wisdom and maturity. The situation where your wife insists that it must be her mother due to stated reasons above, allow her while you manage the kind of mindset your mother has by making her to understand. If she is the type that believes strongly that she should be the one, discussing this way-ahead of time will help tremendously. Initially, your mother might react and feel that you are compromising the culture but I can guarantee you that implications from this approach are less severe than waiting until the day of delivery. You have a more complicated case to deal with if this was never discussed and your mother was notified of this decision when your wife had already put to bed. Come to think of it, it will really not be fair on her because she most likely must have made plans. And if she is a working mother and a pro-active person, it’s possible she might have taken leave ahead of time before hearing the BREAKING NEWS! that arrangements had been made only for the wife’s mother or she will be there with the other mother-in-law.
Where both mother-in-laws are present, you must work hard to ensure that you and your wife speak with one voice. Do not project contrary opinions to them. It has a way of suggesting to them that one party is in support while the other is not. This I pray you don’t find yourself in. It will pull you in different directions while trying to settle case with your obligation as the husband and head of the home.
I believe trying this out will go a long way in building your relationship with your in-laws. Instead of experiencing horror, you will enjoy the cooperation and sincere love of a mother-in-law. Ultimately, it helps your bonding together with your husband, mother-in-law and spare you time to have quality time with your spouse.
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