By Bunmi Sofola

Dear Bunmi,

I have a lovely mother-in-law who helps us all the time, especially financially. As a widow and the only wife, she inherited most of her husband’s property though provisions were also made for the two children of the family. My husband is the eldest and his sister lives abroad. Because my mother-in-law retired a few years ago, she’s always around our place almost every day! She even grumbles of being neglected whenever my mum comes to visit, which isn’t often.

We got married four years ago and a second child is on the way. In spite of my full-time job, this woman still pops in bringing with her pots of stews and presents we don’t really need. I’ve hinted we needed more privacy but I might as well be talking to a wall. My husband won’t take my side in insisting she needs to back off, especially when the new baby arrives and I could be lumbered with her.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but if she goes on the way she now does, I’ll pack up my bags when the baby’s here and go and stay with my mum!
Jade,

by e-mail.

Dear Jade,

A lot of wives have one problem or the other with their mother-in-law, and may feel unsupported by their partners over the issue. The bond between mother and son can be very strong, and a man can feel torn between the one he loves as a partner, and the one he loves as a parent.

Your case becomes a bit complicated with a new baby on the way because you dread your mother-in-law taking total control. You obviously don’t want your child to be born into such a stressful situation but would it be fair on your husband and your child if you did a runner? Becoming a dad for the second time may mean your husband feels more bound to you and starts to loosen the ties with his mum. Subtly, she may come to realize that her son’s loyalty is shifting.

However, you need to tell your husband how you feel, I bet he doesn’t realise how at risk your marriage is. Once he does, he would want to support you more.

You need to involve your mother-in-law from time to time, though. You could agree for her to visit once or twice a week and when she does, make her welcome and let her really enjoy time with her grand children.

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