I’ve heard people talk about meeting their future mother-in-law with great dread. I can’t blame them because one hears all sorts of strange advice about what to do or not do. “Make sure she meets you in the kitchen cooking and sweating when she gets to the house.” Or if you are going to hers “Make sure you take over from what she was cooking, cook the food yourself, show her you know your way around the kitchen.”
On the other hand, your fiance could probably go to see your mother, relax on the couch all day and no one would bat an eyelid. But that’s a story for another day. In our society, the woman must prove that she is a worthy wife(worthy meaning ‘domestic’). Also, she also has to win the approval of her future mother-in-law. Not considering the fact that women aren’t born with a cooking and cleaning gene and both men and women should ideally be ‘domestic’ because these are basic survival skills.
Now, I’m not saying don’t put your best foot forward. It would be wise of you to do so but some things are a bit excessive and not sustainable. So, if you about to meet your future mother-in-law, here are a few things you should not do.
Pretend to be who you are not
This may not be popular advice because a lot of people do this. But it’s the most sustainable thing to do because you can’t pretend forever. Don’t pretend to be a ‘caterer’ when you know in your heart you hate cooking.
Don’t try too hard to be her ‘favourite daughter-in-law. ’ You’ve only just met her. Get to know and understand her first, so that you can then decide on what is appropriate to do or say and what is not.
Here are a few things you should do
As you would to your mother and other older people. Also, be genuine. Curtseying ten times when one time alone passes across the message can come across as pretentious.
There’s no law that you have to be the best friends. These things take time. You will most likely not interact with her as her own daughter would in the beginning but aim to be polite and gracious.
Offer to help within the boundaries of what you’re comfortable with
People are different and are comfortable doing different things. Some are happy to sweep and cook while others are not. If you’re happy with e.g. helping her carry her shopping bag, then do that. Don’t feel the need to carry the bag, then offload and arrange everything in the kitchen.
For the sake of your partner, extend the same courtesy to his mother, that you would expect him to extend to your mother. Be on your best behaviour but don’t lose yourself in the process. And if you’re yet to meet your future mother-in-law, good luck! *wink*