The Untold Story of Mothers-in-Law

Pedro Odubayo Thompson
4 min readNov 11, 2020

Imagine how heavenly our homes would have been if not for the strained and toxic figures some mothers-in-law represent. Yes, the poisonous atmosphere almost arises when the family’s sons decide to say goodbye to the spinster life.

When a mother-in-law takes over
When a mother-in-law takes over daughter-in-law’s duty.

Are Mothers Marriage Stumbling Blocks for Sons?

I don’t know why this toxic home phenomenon affects the male children more than the girls. From my perspective, and speaking from experience, this poisonous atmosphere also occurs in many African marriages. After all, the reason may not be far-fetched. The truth is that the relationship between sons and their mothers used to be so close and tight that some mothers may not easily let go of their sons. Hence, they may become a stumbling block in their sons marriage.

When the Home Becomes a “Hell” for Mothers-in-Law

These moms appear to consider themselves the “first wife” in the shadow. Therefore the daughters-in-law must be facing an unseen competitor. Mothers do this a lot.

Mothers-in-law may want to see how the wife speaks to her husband; how she relates to the husband’s sisters, the brothers-in-law, and the family as a whole. They may also take note of how the husband spends his money on his wife and his wife’s relations, in contrast to what he spends on his siblings whenever there need arises in the family. Without a doubt, the war must have started; besides, many wives do not tolerate or take such an attitude lightly without reacting. The ultimate result would be to draw a boundary for the real battle by making their homes a hell for their mothers-in-law.

An inquisitive and angry mother-in-law taking her stand.
An inquisitive and angry mother-in-law taking her stand.

The Bitterness and Internal Fighting

This family war may spread to the whole family tree — son vs. mother, husband vs. wife, wife vs. mother-in-law, brothers-in-law to sisters-in-law, sons vs. sisters just because of the existing toxic relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. As a result, that poisonous atmosphere can metamorphose into an intense hatred that could be difficult or impossible to correct and manage.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

The funny part of it all is that these daughters-in-law, who fought tooth and nail to show their mothers-in-law hell in their homes, also may become mothers-in-law!
At this stage, one would have thought they must have learned their lessons from the havoc they suffered, and which they condemned bitterly. Surprisingly, they tend to repeat and have the gut to control their own son’s home in the same way or even worse.
Wow! No wonder they say, “What goes around, comes around.” Such is life!

The Unforeseen Tragedies

Sincerely speaking, this type of relationship may vary from continents to continents. In Africa, it might be more or less pronounced in some countries, regions, or tribes than in others. However, the bottom line is that the problem that emanates from this kind of relationship sometimes leads to unforeseen tragedies and even causes death within families. Groups and individuals sometimes seek spiritual help from unknown quarters. The origin of such help is no other than from an evil source that might further endanger the harmonious family tree.

The Giving and the Receiving End of Mothers-in-law and Daughters-in-law

It’s interesting to note that the mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law affairs, like it or not, affect both sides of the coin. When you belong to the mothers’ side, the (giving side), you may feel that everything is okay as long as mom has the upper-hand. But things might drastically and dramatically change when you’re on the receiving side of the coin, more so when it carries the day! Because sons can join their wives in the battle and throw their moms and the whole family through the window. Yes, through the window!

A mother-in-law doing her stuff.

That notwithstanding, nature knows how to do its magic. The only thing that could save such troublesome mothers-in-law is if she doesn’t have daughters because some of her daughters may end up getting married to someone. When that happens, they could meet the worse of mothers-in-law. And the coin must have flipped to the other side, the (receiving side) given room to conclude that the equation is balanced.

To conclude, mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law issues could be a direct parallel to a polygamous home or worse than its numerous and insurmountable problems. This is not to say that some mothers-in-law do not constitute a healthy family coexistence with their daughters-in-law, but the real truth is that some of them are monsters in-laws.

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Pedro Odubayo Thompson

Pedro is a man of few days who strives to encourage critical thinking, promotes social justice, and endeavors to leave a lasting legacy behind.