Mam, Bangladesh is the other way…

May 6, 2009

It is the “duty” of the daughter-in-law to look after the house, nurse and care for the elderly, cook, clean, entertain, and hold up the family status without a word of protest. In other words, her only function in life is to obey the tyranny of her in-laws.     The Daily Sun

This quote is from the May 4th, 2009 C. E. article in The Daily Sun. No, I have not mistyped the date.  The article refers to the current situation of daughters-in-law in Bangladesh.  Can you imagine the lifetime of undignified servitude?  Apparently, most abusive MILs were also mistreated by their MILs.  Until Bangladeshi brides unite in a bra-swinging street protest against the tyranny of their MILs, until they call for a national “no sex week” to draw attention of their complacent husbands to the despotism of their mothers, they will  continue to perpetuate the abusive customs.

Unfortunately, some Bangladeshi mothers-in-law were reincarnated overseas.  These vixens often quote one of the Ten Commandments to support their domineering attitude towards their daughters-in-law – “Honor your parents”.  One response to their Bible / Torah thumping could be “Do unto others…”  The trouble is that abusive parents most likely truncated the “Ten Commandments” to the first five. Let’s remember that the Ten Commandments were written 3,500 years ago, when “to honor” somebody meant to extend hospitality, provide food, shelter, and safety.  Aging parents could not survive on their own, so it was mandatory for children to take care of their elders.

Times changed.  In our society, here and now, many MILs live in their own tents, have a five years supply of Weight Watcher’s dinners, and are in no danger of being devoured by wild beasts.  The old commandment does not apply.  The updated version mandates mutual respect, the keyword being mutual.  So, if your mother-in-law does not treat you with respect, google directions to Bangladesh, turn her facing the glorious sunrise, and send her where she will feel a home.  By the way, last week, women in Kenya vowed to go on a week-long sex strike to protest violence.  Their septuagenarian First Lady joined in. The wisdom of tribal women…


If Your Mother-in-law is Mean… Tootsy her.

May 3, 2009

Since we cannot invent extra pronouns, we can invent nicknames. “What’s in a name?” A bit of humor can set a tone for the future. One remarkable MIL wrote the following:

I’m a MIL to three amazing twentysomethings. Josh calls me Suzie. Stephen calls me mom or Snuzorama/Snuzarootskie. Kristin calls me Suz or Snuz. I think it’s kind of like the whole gramma/grandma/nana/GiGi thing. It emerges from the relationship. : )  (T.S.E.)

Please note, that Snuzarootskie refers to her children-in-law by their names.  Sense of humor and tact.  This MIL should be cloned.  Here is an account about a MIL who was an army wife:

We all call her the Sarge because she has a time and a place for everything. She also is a die hard fan of Rush Limbaugh and Republican all her life.  There is no changing her mind at all. We don’t even try.  She never watches any news channel except Fox. She is a character but she is our character and she has always treated me great. I have been in her life 20 years.I love her. (Glenda Briley, Dubuque, Iowa)

Another woman wrote me a 20,000 word email, a tribute to a beautiful friendship with her DIL.  When her Korean DIL arrived to the USA, she knew only a couple of words in English.  Complementing a photo of her MIL, she said “Mom young…Mom so pretty.”  Hence the nickname Mom-Young. (Joan Schweighardt)

Have you came across a bossy, manipulative, greedy woman by the name Tootsy? My friend, although she is not dating, already has a nickname for her future MIL… Tootsy. I think Dustin Hoffman has something to do with this.  My friend claims that no one nicknamed Tootsy can be seriously aggressive.

“Please call me ‘Dr. Mengele‘”.

“Would you mind if I call you Tootsy?”

“Oh, go ahead Dear.  How do you take your tea?”

Is your MIL mean?  If she is a mean tap dancer, or a mean rapper,  I’d like to be invited to recitals.  But if she is truly mean and hostile, give it a try.  Maybe the name Tootsy has some rehabilitative vibe to it.   Then we will tootsie all federal and state prisons, mafia, Taliban…  I think I am going to call Obama now.

p.s.  Obama told me that he knew about Tootsy magic all along.  He nicknamed  his saintly grandmother “Toot,” a derivative from the Hawaiian “tutu”, which means  “grandmother”.

…I declare you Umm.. Mother-in-Law. You may kiss the bride.

April 26, 2009

Many brides are ambivalent about how to address their mother-in-law.  Despite the fact that in our society we dropped most formalities between family members, names and titles matter when it comes to HIS mother.  Maybe your freshly minted mother-in-law spelled it out  loud and clear that she wants to be addressed as “mom”.  What are your choices? Although the best selling book ” The Daughter-in-Law Rules” recommends straight forward “Call your MIL ‘mom'”, I disagree.

I already have my mother (or mom, mommy, mama – depending on the situation I can call her any other derivative of “mother” in several languages.  But these words, uttered by me, conjure in my mind one and only image, that of my mother. When my MIL asked me to address her as “mama”, I shrank.  I could not enjoy the wedding feast from that moment on, and for the next day  I agonized, not being able to stand up to her tactless demand.  I was very young, and therefore, I yielded.  I started to address her as “mama”, but only when it was absolutely impossible to avoid talking to her.  So what are the other options?

The following came from our contributors:

She told me to call her “mom”.  Ha-ha-ha.  Instead I resolved to call her Mrs….   I would have called her by her first name, if she would not be so disrespectful to my own mother.   (Anonymous)

My MIL asked me right away to call her “mother”. I have already my mother, and I am loyal to her.  I feel  that I would betray my mommy if I call someone else by this dear name.  I do address my MIL by her first name.  She does not like it. (Anonymous)

When my MIL asked me to call her “mother”, I could not bare it.  Who did she think she was?  Did she give birth to me?  I call her “Ummm.., like in ‘Ummm… this is for you.’ (Anonymous)

My MIL never brought up the subject, and I asked her myself how I should address her.  She said that It was up to me.  I call her Mumsy.  We all think that it is funny. (D.E. Arizona)

What do you call your MIL?