Friday, 24 September 2010

In praise of mothers-in-law

The horrible mother-in-law is the stuff of legends. I even have a plant in my garden called "mother-in-law's tongue." It is flourishing by the way.

On the other hand, I cannot praise my mother-in-law highly enough. She is competent, calm, totally unfazed by my children (after all she brought up five of her own) and never openly critical (of me at least). She plays endless games of Scrabble and Uno with the children when even one game is enough to drive me to distraction.

When she comes to stay I stagger out of bed at what I consider an early hour to find her sipping her morning tea and calmly playing round two or three of Scrabble with Blithe Boy. She squashes the children when necessary, defends them and cuddles them, makes dolls clothes, tackles my mending pile, rearranges my garden and folds my laundry.

Lest this all seem one-sided, she tells me that she enjoys not having to make any decisions, or meals or work out when she has to be at places. I try to believe her and make her frequent cups of tea. And she loves being with the kids who return the affection wholeheartedly.

I have yet to be scolded for the demolition job I did on her precious rose bushes that she consigned to my care. How was I to know that I used the herbicide container to spray the roses with white oil (and herbicide as it turned out)? I did however, get three iceberg rosebushes for my upcoming birthday, with the comment that they are "quite hardy."

I try not to cry with joy when she announces that she'd like to come stay for the school holidays. Thanks to her I may not have blogged this week but I have spent three full days at work and broken the back of the current research project. Somehow research projects tend to drag out forever when you spend a maximum of three hours at one time on them. I've also spent the equivalent of a day working on Folly's Antidote. I feel as if my working life is vaguely on track and I'm almost at a point where I remember that I like my children.

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