Has anyone ever heard any jokes about fathers-in-law? Because I haven't. (If you know a good one, please do share.) All the dramedy (mixture of drama and comedy) seems to be isolated to mothers-in-law.
Every Wednesday on CHONJ, I attempt to best provide solutions to a challenge one of my dear reader friends is experiencing. I received the email below from Deanna:
Please help! My mother-in-law is too nosy! She's basically nice, but asks me a million questions every time she calls, about me and my husband and our three little kids and everything we are doing. My husband just laughs it off but it drives me crazy.
Lovely Deanna, before I suggest an answer to your dilemma, let me give you an example of what my daily phone conversation sounds like with my father, David, and my mother, Nadia.
Let's begin with the male parent.
David: How is everything with you and with Charles? When are you two free for lunch?
Now let us transfer to the female parent.
Nadia: How are you doing? How is Charles doing? How was your day? Did you go skiing? Were there a lot of other skiers? How were the conditions on the mountain? Did you get cold? Did you remember to wear your warm hat? What did you eat today? Did you bake anything new? Did you have any accidental cooking disasters? Why do you think the kitchen is such an intimidating place for you? How are all your plants doing? How are things with your website going? What are you going to write about tomorrow? What are you going to wear when we get together this Saturday?
You get the idea. :-)
There are always exceptions, however, generally male minds think in terms of the big picture. When David asks me if everything is fine and I say yes, that's enough for him to be certain that his child is perfectly alright. So there is no need for him to ask me the specifics.
But most mothers think differently. Yes, there are exceptions to this as well, but I am referring to the average female mind which thinks in terms of details. When Nadia asks me if everything is fine and I say yes, she wants to be certain and therefore is more inquisitive.
Deanna, you describe your mother-in-law as being "basically nice." She is not doing anything immoral or inappropriate by asking about her family members and their well-being. She is trying to love you, her son, and her grandchildren.
Please try to show your mother-in-law some grace and understanding. We ALL need to show grace to others when their behavior is tedious or annoying (but not immoral).
Next time she calls, after a few minutes hand the phone to your husband. Then let her speak with all three of your children. With the natural curiosity of kids, they'll probably ask her even more questions than she will ask them.