Raise your hands, those of you who have a mother-in-law. Now, raise your hands, those folks who are a mother-in-law. Are you anything like your own mother-in-law? Well, if you were, you probably wouldn't admit it, would you? Unless, of course, your mother-in-law was one of those rare women, perfect and well-loved by her daughter/son-in-law. Who are you kidding?
It seems to me that the worst mothers-in-law are the mothers of
"Those children don't look healthy. I'll buy them some vitamins and they'll be much better..."
The children, of course, were as healthy as horses.
I know a woman who used to iron her adult son's blue jeans. When he moved into an apartment of his own with a couple of his 22 year-old friends, his mother baked him casseroles and took them to his house, much to his embarrassment. When he moved 2,670 miles to the other side of the country, and got married and started a family, his mother moved there too -- right . next . door. Her daughter-in-law finally barred her from visiting their house.
I remember when I got married and my daughter was about three months old, there was a very heavy snowfall and our sidewalk was covered in deep snow. I had to struggle carrying a squirming infant, trudging through the snow. My mother-in-law called my husband and asked him if he would go to her place and shovel her sidewalk. She had a husband and two grown sons living at home at the time, but my husband went and shovelled her sidewalk, and ours didn't get done. I'll never forget the comment my father made when he heard of this. I can't repeat it here, but I think you get the idea.
Mothers of men are not doing them any favours by over-mothering them. They truly give their sons a false impression of what and who women are. I heard a woman on The Joy Behar Show say something interesting tonight. She said, "When I marry a man, I want to be his life partner and his equal..." I think most women would agree with that. No woman wants to marry a man who is really looking for a mother, or worse, a replacement for his mother. Most women want to marry a man who is looking for a wife.
There is something a little bit creepy about a woman who wants to continue to wield power over her son, even after he has a home and family of his own. It's sort of like the Oedipus complex in reverse, and the damage it does is devastating. Everyone loses, and the person who loses most of all is the son, because he will never be able to see a woman except through his mother's eyes. And unfortunately, his mother will make sure that no woman ever measures up to her. Ever.