Brought up by parents, who never attempted to control my life choices, I was shocked to see how my mother-in-law had this undying desire to control each and every aspect of her son’s life. From food to clothes, my mother-in-law controlled every aspect of my husband’s life. From telling him what he should do on weekends to seeking permission from her about his weekend plans, my mother-in-law wanted to keep a tap on everything that her son does.
And, what shook me the most was how conveniently she labelled her controlling nature as mother’s love!
She would make my husband cancel our vacation plans so that he could go out with her to some random relatives’ place; she would make my husband cancel our dinner plans because she doesn’t feel like staying alone at home. She would have issues when my husband would help me out in the kitchen. She would make sure that every decision that her son takes, she is made aware of.
My mother-in-law gave her views on everything – from my job to my role as a wife to my relationship with my own parents.
My husband too attended every little whim his mother had. One day when my husband was going out wearing a certain colour shirt, she made him change it because she didn’t like the colour. At that time, my husband was a 29-year-old man. Can you imagine a man taking permission from his mother for everything – from clothes to taking his wife out on dinner to going out on vacation!
It was quite amazing how my husband and my mother-in-law justified the control over her son’s life in the name of motherhood. I tried hard to make peace with it. But things got worse when I embarked on the journey of motherhood.
My mother-in-law would complain about – why was her son changing the baby’s diapers? Why was he getting up late at night to make the baby sleep? Why am I not taking baby’s full responsibility, as her son had to go to work in the morning?
In the past, I had never criticized my mother-in-law for intruding into our marriage. I thought with time, she will understand that she needs to step back. I thought she will understand that her son is a grown-up man and can make his own decisions. But, when she started criticizing me because her son was taking some responsibility for raising his own son, I was infuriated!
Since my marriage, I had overlooked how my mother-in-law controlled everything in my husband’s life under the name of motherhood. I refrained from saying anything because I just wanted my mental peace. But, now it was too much. She wanted to control how her son would play his fatherly duties as well.
So after struggling for so many years, I finally took a stand for myself! I spoke up! I fought for my space and privacy. And I made sure that I never let myself be fooled into the emotion that Motherhood is about control. Motherhood isn’t about owning your kids; It isn’t about controlling them and holding them back. Rather it is about setting them free, letting them fly!