The Myth of the Scary Mother-in-law

In the spirit of Halloween, I want to write about a spooky and downright terrifying subject. The word mother-in-law. A word associated for centuries with ancient creatures of darkness. I believe that there is nothing scary about the word, mother-in-law. Through history and over time it seems like we have created this negative stereotype of the scary mother-in-law. 

Stories for pure horror

I have witnessed countless conversations of women sharing so-called horror stories about their scary mother-in-law. In one particular occasion, a mom shared how her mother-in-law uses ALL their shampoo when she visits (insert question mark here folks). Another mom disclosed how her scary mother-in-law places the diaper cream on the opposite side of the diaper changing station. The HORROR of it all!

As I sat there hearing the interchange of stories all I could think was, how grateful I was to my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law offered to change my boy’s diapers with a smile on her face. Many of those diapers were full of the scariest goblins known to man. I am still very grateful for the act of kindness. 

A real-life goosebumps story

My Grandmother provided a wide range of unprovoked unpleasantries toward my mother growing up. It did not discourage my mother. Repeatedly she attempted to let her kids have a “healthy” relationship with their grandmother. She was a determined woman. Despite it all, Mom would drive us regularly to my Grandmother’s house. Grandmother would express no genuine interest in spending quality time with us. My mother did her very best not to say anything disparaging about her to others or us. Due to my mother’s diplomacy in those situations, I learned a very important life lesson. Don’t let your feelings get in the way of doing the right thing for your kids. 

Focus on the positive and say goodbye to all that hocus-pocus

Gratefulness is hard sometimes. It is tough to look at the good in someone when you are busy being annoyed at them. Everyone has been there in life. Be joyful to have a person that wants to actively participate in your child’s life. Choose not to bring sand into your heart over petty matters. If not for you, then for your children. They deserve to have a healthy relationship with their grandparents aside from your own feelings towards a person. Do not allow yourself to waste negative energy on minuscule issues. If you have a mother-in-law that wants to be on active diaper duty rotation and wants to be available for your children, be grateful. Let the little things roll off your back and not accumulate. 

Be frightened of the silence

There are plenty of things to be scared of in this world. Scarier than a mother-in-law that uses too much shampoo and misplaces items around the house; is a mother-in-law that does not want to be involved with your children and is not willing to be an integral member of the village. That my friend is truly horrific. 

 

Helen Pastrana Tomko
Helen Pastrana was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She completed her undergrad degree at the University of Central Florida in Psychology and received her master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Villanova University. She has been married to her husband Chris for 9 years. They have two very energetic and handsome boys; ages 4 (Noah) and 5 (Christian). They have been living in the Tampa Bay area since 2014 and are always searching for fun places and things to do. Helen is a full-time mommy and full-time employee for a professional services firm. She believes you can have your cake and eat it too; this is why she is a big proponent of work-life balance. Helen is a Gemini and in true Gemini fashion, she has an eclectic array of interests and is open to everything and anything. GAME ON!