They all of course vary in nature, some are very sweet and helpful and respect who you are and your wishes. Some like mine live far enough away and they don’t bother you to often but still they manage to cause trouble and then there are those that live close by or with you that drive you nearly insane.
First of all I think men who have married into a Turkish family will do much better and may perhaps suffer more with the Father in law but in general terms (and I am only guessing) it’s easier on the guys.
For us women married to a Turkish Prince, the Turkish Mother in Law can seem like a dragon protecting her precious son, who also looks at his Mum with adoring eyes and can hear no wrong about his Valide (Mother of the Sultan!)
I think some of the problems with the Turkish Mother in Laws are much the same as any Mother in Law protecting her son. I think it’s harder for women to give up their son to another woman, to watch them take care of their son, cook, clean and love their son. For none can do it better than them! Where as giving up a daughter to her husband, means she is off to looking after the man, cook, clean and love him, which is ingrained in every culture like or not it is the natural order of things.
But then we get into Turkish culture, where you may think the man is the head of the house, you most likely find they think they are but really it’s the Mother who runs the ship, she is the one who looks after the family, it is her they go to with their problems and it is her who will find the solution. She is the matriarch!
So when it’s time for her boy (and god help you if he is the only boy!) to marry his chosen lady, the fiery protective dragon and perhaps a little of the green eyed monster appears. But then she finds out this women is a Yabanci (foreigner) with different ways and speaks a different language who she can’t not communicate with and perhaps doesn’t do things as good as a Turkish Housewife should!
She thinks to herself why couldn’t he find a good Turkish girl, who knows how to cook and clean and does as she is told, why did he find this strange women who doesn’t know our ways and what about my grandchildren will she raise them in the correct way.
At first she smiles and makes you feel welcome, she is sweet and wonderful. You think what a lovely lady, I am lucky to have found such a great Mother in Law.
The wedding goes without to much drama, just the normal family problems and besides you do it the way they want and how it should be because you like the idea and tradition of a Turkish wedding.
But then reality strikes, you either live with your Turkish Mother in Law or she comes to stay……… They do say you don’t know someone till you live with them. And that really is true for the Turkish Mother in Law.
They undermine you at every stage, they rearrange your cupboards, move stuff around, tell you the house is to cold, its to hot. You don’t wear the right clothes or act the right way. They invite their friends or even your neighbours you don’t really know for endless cups of tea and food. Which you have to make.
Then comes the hardest part, they want money, constantly they ask for this and that and your husband shrugs his shoulders and gives, its his Mummy his Valide.
If your Turkish Mother in Law has done her job right, your darling husband will be an impossible Mummy’s boy, he will not and can not cut the apron strings, even if you think he has because you are living at a distance to your Mother in Law as soon as you go to visit you will see him turn straight back into a 16 year old boy being petted and fed by his Mother.
When you try to tell your darling husband and mummy’s boy the issues that you have with your Mother in law you will get one of two reactions, first is “leave her, she means well and trying to help you” or second “you can’t speak about my mother that way, she isn’t doing anything wrong, it is you that is wrong!”.
And god forbid you tackle the money and the giving of stuff to his Mum, because it is his job, he has to help and protect his poor mother and make sure she never wants for anything, after all she has done so much for him and you…..
It doesn’t really matter if you are struggling to pay the bills yourself!
Then you have a child, and you will be told a million and one things that you are doing wrong, you aren’t feeding them right, or you don’t have enough clothes on that child in 40c+!! You must shave off all the hair doesn’t matter girl or boy or it won’t grow in strong enough and so on.
And your darling husband shrugs and says she raised us up right and she knows best!
But despite all of this ladies, it is important that we cut the apron strings and release our husbands. You have to stand up for yourself and your family. It is your home, your child and your savings.
Do not back down but do not go in for the direct approach. Quietly and subtly speak with your darling husband, point out the situation and supply him with a solution to the problem. But don’t tell him what to do.
Keep smiling always, never take her head on she will beat you down with her spiky tail. Slowly and surely your husband will begin to understand he has his own family now and that he must take care of you. It takes time, but I have learned the hard way the direct approach never works.
It’s a tricky tightrope your husband walks between keeping you happy and his mother happy. In the early years of marriage he is only learning how to walk this tightrope but as the years go by he learns how to perform this trick blind folded.
Us women are tricky monsters, we are hard to please and when one women sets up against another it can be dangerous time. Whatever you do, never let your Mother in Law know she is getting to you and stick to your guns, don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ but do it with a smile.
But never let any of the problems get between you and your husband, never make him choose between you and his mother, for its an impossible thing for him to do.
Helping his mother out and giving things to her within reason, is normal and good. It is a nice thing that he cares for his mother and family, its the right and proper order of life, but he must remember he also has his own little family to care about (which often the forget)
But remember this, a true Turkish housewife will not put up with any rubbish, she knows that there has to be give and take but she knows when to put her foot down and she makes sure her husband listens.
Do not get sucked into this is the culture, this is the way it is. This is your home, your family and you will do it your way and make sure she understands that.
I have had a rocky road with my Mother in Law sweet as she is, we have grown to an understanding and a love for each other, she never questions my ways to my face anyway and understands we are not made of money. Its taken sometime and some heartache but we have a good working relationship, she knows her son is happy and her grandson is healthy. And she knows that when I say No I meant it!
I hope I will remember the lessons I have learned from my Mother in Law to be a good Mother in Law when my Son marries and to remember that his partner loves and cares for him the same way I do and to not on interfere but be there to help, when my help is needed!
Don’t be to hard on your Mother in Law she is who she is, she in her mind thinks she is doing right by her Son and by her family. We all want the best for our kids. But be firm but nice about everything and set the rules in your home and family from the early days and make sure she understands. And above all never let her know she is getting you down, keep on smiling and be pleasant, for this is the woman that raised your husband and made him who he is today and it is only normal for a child to love their mother…….
© 2014 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.