Future queen Kate Middleton is spending her hols with the present queen at Balmoral. The Queen it is said, wants to get to know her better, now that she's officially part of the family. Good for Her Majesty, smoothing the way on what can be a difficult path - getting on with the in-laws.
Future mother in law Carolyn Bourne made the news recently when she emailed her daughter-in-law to be, Heidi Withers her thoughts on a recent visit she made to the Bourne household. She criticised her for getting up much later than the rest of the house, her fussiness about what she would eat, her table manners and her choice of wedding venue.
Big mistake Mrs Bourne! The golden rule of being an in law is to keep on the right side of the daughter in law. The old saying 'A son's a son, 'til he takes a wife, but a daughter's a daughter all her life.' says it all. However devoted a 'mummy's boy' a man is, once he gets married he shifts his allegiance. In fact I suspect that the more a man is a mummy's boy the more likely he is to transfer all that feeling to his wife.
It's not a good idea to ask a son to choose between his mother and his wife or to take sides in any disagreements they may have. It's no choice for him; wife first, every time - if he knows what's good for him!
When the children come along then the odds are even more in daughter-in-law's favour. A mother-in-law may not like her daughter-in-law very much, but she will probably dote on her grandchildren. How much she sees them and under what circumstances will be controlled by her daughter-in-law, especially if there is a divorce and the mother has custody of the children.
Of course it's not always mothers in laws who are to blame. There are women who are so possessive of their husbands they resent the relationship with his parents, especially 'the other woman' -his mother. In my own family, a daughter-in-law drove a wedge between her husband and his parents when they were married. When they divorced she made it almost impossible for them to have a relationship with their grandchildren.
So in-laws,- like puppies, are not just for Christmas. Like it or lump it, they're here to stay and (note to Mrs Bourne) unlike puppies they won't respond well to attempts at house training.