It’s the 5th weeks since I got married, and this Shabbos we will be spending time with my husband’s family. It is exciting but also a bit nerve wracking. My husband has told me lots of different things about his siblings and parents, I just hope I remember all the ins and outs.
My sisters-in-law, who have been very friendly, have said on many occasions that my Mother-in- law is really nice, but I shouldn’t get upset if she says anything derogatory, as that’s just a mother-in-law’s way. My mother and grandma had an uneasy relationship so I really don’t want that to happen to me.
We pack and are on the way, me wearing my nicest sheitel, dress and the jewelry that I received from my husband and his family.
When we arrive, the house is spick and span with a beautiful welcome sign on the door. My mother-in-law shows me to our room and explains where everything is. It’s all so nice, yet it feels so cold. Everyone on their best behaviour, nothing out of place, best dishes on the table and everyone talking in their softest voice. I understand that it’s my first time and we are all suffering from nerves, Yet I see that in my husband’s childhood home there is an atmosphere that I have never experienced before.
I get dressed to come down for the Friday night meal but wait until the last moment as I really feel uncomfortable. As I enter the room all conversation stops and my husband smiles at me, but at the same time I notice a frown on my Mother-in-law’s face. She says with a sweet smile, that doesn’t quite reach her eyes “in this house the women wear robes on Friday night,” and now I am really on edge.
I am shown to my seat at the table, and the meal begins. My new husband seems so at ease and he’s eating so much more than he’s ever eaten at home. My mother-in-law serves her soup and yes, it’s good, but when she says to my husband “I made it especially the way you like it”, and my husband answers “mommy you need to give the recipe to my wife,” my stomach goes into a knot. So the reason that he hasn’t been eating is that he doesn’t like my food! Why does keep on saying that he loves everything I prepare? I hope my mother-in-law doesn’t think I need her recipes – I have lots of my own family recipes.
When we get home, I mention this to my husband who says, “She didn’t mean anything bad, she really tried to make you feel welcomed and I told her to give you the recipe because I was trying to make you happy”
But now I understand all the warnings about mothers-in-law. I will need to keep an eye on things and make sure that my Mother-in-law doesn’t interfere with our lives, it starts small but, as I have seen from my family, things soon get out of hand.