Even as I searched for the picture to use for this blog post, I came across several naughty (I'm putting it mildly, believe me) jokes referring to mothers-in-law. So, I just gave away one of the nominees. Yes, the mother-in-law.
Coming in close for this competition is the sister-in-law. I know some people may have nominated their brothers, sisters, cousins, and even parents for this. But, hands down, the most popular complaint (especially from women) about relatives they would rather have nothing to do with, revolves around one person: the mother-in-law. I think she should win that award. Now, let's talk.
It is common to hear stories of mothers-in-law not getting along with their daughters-in-law. At the heart of the war is of course the son/husband. Some women are so apprehensive about having a "wicked" mother-in-law that they pray that their husband-to-be's mother has passed away before they get married. Can you imagine? Just for the sake of peace.
I know not all mothers-in-law are wicked, selfish, meddling diabolic creatures (though Nollywood and even Hollywood would have you believe otherwise) who capitalize on the problems that their married children have to push their own agenda, e.g. a wife from a particular tribe, a certain gender of grandchildren (boys, usually, though sometimes oddly enough, they want girls), etc. However, they certainly exist, and we hear more stories of wicked mothers-in-law than the understanding, caring and supportive ones.
The whole mother-daughter-in-law thing reminds me of senior girls and junior girls in secondary school. Many of us have memories of wicked seniors mistreating us when we were junior girls (or boys). But what I found very fascinating was that many of my mates kept saying that they could not wait to become senior girls so that they could do the same thing, i.e. punish / bully junior girls. And believe me, when they became seniors, they kept their word. Can you imagine?
You would imagine that the ones who had tasted oppression would not want anyone else to experience that kind of torture. But apparently, that was not the plan. Rather, punishing junior girls (or boys) became some sort of rite of passage, something that was passed on from one generation to the other.
I think it's the same thing with mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. The daughters-in-law complain about the oppression that they suffer from their mothers-in-law. Yet, as soon as they become mothers, and their own children get married, they turn around and do the same thing to their own daughters-in-law. Isn't that crazy?
In a perfect world, each person should treat the other as s/he would want to be treated. But we don't live in a perfect world. As long as there is life, this cycle will continue.
Would you say that mothers-in-law are the most despised relatives? Kindly share your thoughts.