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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Amusing and Sometimes Horrifying Mother-In-Law Stories

With Mother’s Day so near, I decided to resurrect this article, previously published on Yahoo Contributor Network, December 22, 2010, as Mother-In-Law Stories, and later published on, then removed from Persona Paper. If you have children, even if you are no longer married to your spouse, chances are you have a mother-in-law. 

I am a mother-in-law. I hate even saying those three frightening, mashed-together-into-one dreaded words. Repeat them. Mother-in-Law.

Most people who hear the words, immediately chant, "Noooooo! Noooooo! Noooooo!" or tell mother-in-law jokes, and laugh uproariously.

What? You haven't heard them? Well, here are some...

Typical Mother-In-Law Jokes
"I used to not get on with my mother-in-law, but over the last few months I've developed quite an attachment for her. It goes over her head and a strap comes down under her chin to keep her mouth shut! "
"A person receives a telegram informing him about his mother-in-law's death. It also inquires whether she should be buried or burnt. He replies, 'Don't take chances. Burn the body and bury the ashes.'"
"My mother-in-law is banned internationally from playing poker, as she keeps all the chips on her shoulder."
"Fred and Rick were in a pub. Fred says to his mate, 'My mother-in-law is an angel.' Rick replies, 'You're lucky. Mine is still alive.'"
"The doorbell rang this morning. When I opened the door, there was my mother-in-law on the front step. She said, 'Can I stay here for a few days?' I said, 'Sure you can.' I then shut the door in her face."
"Last night the local peeping Tom knocked on my mother-in-law's door and asked her to shut her blinds."
"I find it interesting that if you rearrange the letters in the words, 'mother in law,' you get the words 'woman hitler'."
See what I'm working against?
In all honesty, I never wanted to be a mother-in-law. Not that I never wanted my kids to marry - I just never wanted the title of mother-in-law. I wasn't too crazy about having a mother-in-law either, but I have been a daughter-in-law - twice.
When I shared one of my mother-in-law stories with another writer, she suggested I write an article about mother-in-laws. So here they are, a couple of true mother-in-law stories. I refer to my mother-in-law as MIL, by the way.
My Wedding
When I told my future MIL that I wasn't going to have a traditional wedding, that I wanted one like my sister had where both parents escorted their son or daughter down the aisle, MIL was ecstatic. She had already arranged the entire rest of the wedding and this part of the ceremony was my only contribution.
"That's great!" she exclaimed. "Here's how we'll do it: My son and my husband will escort me down the aisle while you and your mother will escort your dad down the aisle!"
As that part of the ceremony was my only contribution to the entire wedding, I adamantly put my foot down. She was flabbergasted that I would complain about this one tiny little suggestion.
Like Frank Sinatra, though, I did it MY way.
My Feet
MIL was fascinated with my feet. Conversations frequently turned to - my feet. Why? Because she couldn't believe that anybody as tall as I am (5'6.5") would have feet so small (I wear a 4.5 in adults, a 3 in children's).
Every single time we went to the mall, which was often, MIL would drag me into shoe stores and have the clerks measure my feet. And every single time they came up with the same shoe size, she would complain that something must be wrong with their measurement system.
Our frequent shoe store excursions ended when I accidentally (subconsciously maybe not so accidentally) left a pair of my shoes at her house. I assume she tried them on, because we never again visited another shoe store.
My First Christmas As MIL's Daughter-In-Law
We sat in the living room, my MIL, my FIL, my husband, my daughter from a previous marriage, and the dog. Everybody, including the dog, had several presents to open. I had one. Most of the gifts were for my husband (now ex) who had them stacked so high I couldn't see him. Most of his gifts were shirts, pants, underwear, a winter coat, cologne (I'd need another twenty pages to list them all, so I'll stop).
"Go ahead. Open yours," my MIL suggested while we waited for my husband to continue opening his.
It looked like a garbage can. And it was. But what's this inside? A box of tissue! (I was allergic to their dog.)
My Baby
When I would nurse my babies, I always went into a private room and closed the door. After a while, MIL would race down the hall, fling open the door, rush over to where I was sitting, and wash the baby's face with a warm wet wash cloth WHILE I WAS NURSING MY BABY.
My husband had no explanation for her need to bathe the baby while I was nursing him or her. I found this habit of hers exceedingly strange. Looking back, I still find it to be very weird.
My Cabinets
For several months, every time my MIL walked into my kitchen, she rearranged my cabinets. Every time she left, I put the glasses, the pots and pans, and the food back where I had previously placed them.
This ritual went on for several months until one day she announced, "Nothing makes sense in here."
So I said, "I drink a lot of water. I want my glasses by the sink. When I cook, I want my pots and pans near the stove. And when I'm preparing food, I want my food near the preparation area."
Maybe she was hoping I would give up. I never did. She eventually gave up. And my husband, without ever saying a word, watched me perform the ritual of rearranging my cabinets every time she left.
Lost In The Mall
At around the time Adam Walsh was abducted from a shopping mall, and shortly after the movie about him aired on television, my MIL came back from the mall with two of my toddlers. She was laughing so hard, she was crying.
"You'll never guess what happened! We lost Greg at the mall for about fifteen minutes! Who'd have guessed he knew how to go up an escalator all by himself! Isn't that funny?"
Greg was twenty months old.
The color drained from my face. My mouth dropped to the floor. I broke out in a cold sweat.
She looked at me, expecting me to laugh along with her, but I was incapable of speaking. After a short time she whined, "You have absolutely no sense of humor."
My Kids' Shoes
Every year, at the beginning of school, shortly after I divorced and was penniless, I put new shoes for my kids on my credit card. Every year, after I purchased the new shoes, my MIL would complain to the kids about my horrible choice in shoes and buy them different shoes.
When I realized a pattern forming, I decided one year to wait a week after school started to purchase the shoes. She waited for me to buy the shoes and bought new ones the following week. And so it went for years until one year I decided not to buy them shoes. She never did either.
My Poor Kids
MIL would come over unannounced all the time. She never checked to see if I had any plans. And she would assume that she could take the kids with her even when I had invited other kids over to play with them.
One day, when she once again came over unannounced, fully expecting I would allow the kids to go with her, then discovering I wouldn't, she pulled the kids aside and said, "You poor kids. What a shame that you have to spend the whole day with your mother."
Believe it or not, I actually grew to love this woman. Quirky as she was, she was also very creative and though she had an unusual sense of humor, above everything else, she loved my kids. And for that reason alone, I learned to love her.
In Closing
I leave you with one more mother-in-law joke:
The wife phoned her husband in the office and said, "Darling, come home early, we are going to have my mother for dinner." "Good," replied the husband. "Make sure she's well done."
Sources: (this site must have moved, because I couldn’t find it anywhere when I updated this post)

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