Dr. Laura Is Wrong

Unless this is your MIL, she isn't a Queen.

Unless this is your MIL, she isn’t a Queen.


Recently, across my news feed, there was a cartoon from Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s Facebook page, with the caption, “The Mother and Daughter in law can never be equal, nor should they strive to be”. Dr. Laura went on to say that there’s a hierarchy, and that the MIL is the Queen, and the DIL the princess, and the problems arise when the Princess attempts to dethrone the Queen. That’s my summation, anyways. (You can find it here and let me know if you read it differently).

Honestly, reading that made me wonder how close Dr. Laura is to becoming a MIL herself, because I just can’t imagine why else she’d be spouting such crap.

The idea that when a woman marries, she should accept, and bow to, her MIL being a higher rank than her?

No. Just…no.

I find it wholly repugnant that Dr. Laura would encourage young women to view their MILs as having power over them like this. MIL may be Queen of her own castle, and that’s all well and good. But her son’s home ISN’T her castle. She doesn’t, and shouldn’t reign there. That’s for her son, and his wife. They are in control of their lives, and the very idea that simply because the MIL is older, and therefore assumed to be wiser and more mature, is ridiculous at best, and downright damaging at worst.

First of all, everyone involved is an adult. This makes them peers. No longer is the parent-child dynamic in play…or at least, it shouldn’t be. Adults are presumed to be independent, capable of decision-making, and no longer in need of active, hands on parenting.

If your adult child still needs you to be able to manage, then I would suggest that something is very wrong. It’s one thing for someone to seek advice from another adult. That’s totally normal, be it a parent, a best friend, boss or co-worker. When someone is unable to make decisions without hand holding, there’s a problem. When turning to parents before, or instead of, their spouse, there’s a MASSIVE problem.

Second, why on EARTH would any woman believe that she must give up her power, her independence, to be a second fiddle in her own family? Who the heck would want to sign up for a lifetime of that? Of someone else having the ultimate authority in their home, that doesn’t even live there?!

Third, to what extent does the Queen in this situation reign? Does she get final decision in career choices, moving, children, parenting? I was under the impression that adults had the freedom, and the right, to make those choices for themselves. The idea that someone else gets a vote in how another couple runs their home, their marriage, their family gives me the flat-out willies.

I do agree on one thing, however…

MIL and DIL are not equal. They each have very different roles, and that is how it should be. MIL had her years as the primary female in her son’s life. That time ends when a DIL comes along. Never again should the MIL be the primary female in his life, when he has a spouse.

A man who’s unable, or unwilling to make that switch of loyalty, from his family of origin (FOO) to his family of creation, that of his spouse and children, is not being a good husband nor father. The role of being a ‘son’ should no longer be the top priority.

Any Mother who has not encouraged that growth in her son, during her raising of him, has willingly attempted to damage him, to stunt him for his adulthood, and ought to be ashamed of herself. She’s put her concerns, or fears of losing her primary role in her son’s life ahead of his well-being and happiness. Her selfish concerns are damaging to her adult child, and any relationship he may have in the future, unless he’s able to make these changes on his own, despite her interference.

And, any mother who attempts to keep her adult child hobbled, and in need of her, should be prepared for him, and his family, to completely cut ties, away from someone who would so willingly put their own selfish wants over what is healthy and right for those around them. She will be the agent of her own worst fears coming to fruition.

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Dr. Laura Is Wrong — 17 Comments

  1. My MIL and I have not had an easy time. She is far too blunt and sometimes mean. But my husband is respectful and loving to her, so I keep calm and carry on, like any good queen would do 🙂

    • I dislike the very idea that somehow, something is owed to someone b/c of their family ranking. Some folks are good, some are bad, regardless of what role they’re in. Some are worthy of respect and honour, some are worthy of running from like your butt’s on fire and your head is catching.

  2. Thank god my MIL is pretty easy going and usually will even side with me against her son if need be. But still I am with you and wouldn’t be bowing to my MIL any day of the week now either!

  3. For me, the problem is my FIL. He thinks he should still have some influence on his son and detests the fact the he doesn’t anymore. And guess what? He blames me and treats me like crap. He acts as though I’m leading his son down paths he doesn’t want to go, when in fact I just encourage my husband (who luckily ignores his dad and his B.S.). I agree with you 100% on this. When you marry, the roles change. A spouse needs to stand by his or her partner in life even if it means going against his or her parents. Disagreements with your spouse can be had in private, but you also stand as a united front. Otherwise, I feel the marriage is destined to fail.

  4. I never worried about my mother being difficult but there was a point in time where my wife and mom banged heads a bit.

    I made a point to politely but firmly tell my mom my wife came first and I did it in front of both. I think it saved years of aggravation because everyone knew where my head was and what to expect.

  5. Ha! I think Dr. Laura is wrong about ALOT of stuff but I still find her entertaining.
    My hubby and I married later…he was in his forties had never been married before. While I wouldn’t say he was a “mama’s boy” my MIL didn’t deal with the dynamic well at all…still doesn’t. I prefer to avoid her.
    If you want to bring the pecking order into the argument, I agree with you and say the wife should rank higher. I think older people need to be treated with deference (and sometimes kid gloves) but dayum…sometimes cutting those apron strings can be ROUGH!

    • Maybe it’s b/c my family history has warped me a bit, or from working in health care, but I have a problem w/’respect your elders’.

      Just b/c someone’s older doesn’t make them nice, or worthy of respect/deference. Folks who are rotten at 40 are still rotten at 80.

  6. There’s a reason monarchies have largely gone out of fashion. It reminds me of something Kurt Vonnegut once said about his books being burned: “It shows how civilized we’ve become. Four hundred years ago they would have been burning me.” There was a time when monarchs were sometimes beheaded. Cutting off heads is barbaric; cutting ties is sometimes necessary, and the civilized thing to do.

    • Absolutely. It’s heart rending when it has to happen, but sometimes, it’s the only safe option.

      I really, truly believe that any parent who thinks that they should remain an authority figure in their adult children’s lives is setting themselves up for misery.

  7. I really loved this and agree completely. However,I listen to Dr. Laura here and there and have heard her say on numerous occasions to MIL that the DIL has the power and to back off. I was also surprised to read her latest missive which seemed to contradict that. Oh well. Can you imagine having Dr. Laura as your MIL? Thank God for small favors.

    • That’s why I questioned how close she is to Mother-in-Law-hood herself. Seems to be a bit of an abrupt change in attitude, from what I’d been able to find about her before.

      Usually when someone seems to to an abrupt turn, there’s a reason for it.

      You know what would be worse than having Dr. Laura as my MIL? Dr. L having ME as a DIL. Can you freaking IMAGINE?! If her DIL has a strong sense of self, independence, and self esteem, Dr. L is in for a rough ride…and if this is her attitude, the hierachy crapola, she deserves every moment of it.

  8. First off, in the interest of fairness I must admit I have never been a fan of Dr L, I have always found her condescending in the extreme and borderline abusive. That said this opinion does not surprise me. I myself deal with this exact situation, my MIL believes that she is “Queen” of the family and believes both her daughter and son and their families should have her on a pedestal and give in to her every whim and desire. It has been a long uphill battle full of temper tantrums and demands, but we are finally beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel as my husband is finally starting to realize that not only is it “OK” but it is the right thing to do to put his own family first. As we progress it is starting to get easier, but having a MIL who believes she should be in charge nearly destroyed us

  9. A friend of mine showed me this, and I 100% agree with you and love this. My MIL thinks she is the queen that lords over all of us. She tries to get overly involved in every aspect of her kids and my life when no one has asked for her help or opinion. I married her son who is in her mid-thirties, last year, and my relationship with her changed once we became engaged. It all started over her middle son and his wife upset that we were looking at their wedding venue to get married in, even though they voluntarily gave us the information and contacts. The middle son cried to his mommy instead of talking to my husband, and she’s been a raging bitch about everything every since, especially since my husband and I won’t kow-tow to her and the rest of her dickish family’s demands. She especially has not been able to handle that her son got married and won’t drop everything to help them. She expected him to be single and always take care of her. She treats us like shit over things like not taking her to Dr appointments because she is afraid of driving because, to not texting Happy Thanksgiving to my husband’s sister even though the little bitch didn’t send a text to us either. She will never ask this of her other children. Just my husband. For some reason, he is the one that must take care of her even though she has a husband. She spent a whole year blaming me to her son for him not wanting to be around her and their fights. He told her to cut the crap and in conversations and even an email that she is not the #1 woman in his life, and that when you get married your spouse and children become your top priority. It freaked her the f*** out! She can’t handle her placement. Most recently she flipped out on my husband over him not sending his little sister a card congratulating her on getting engaged. First off no where in the wedding ettiquette are you supposed to expect that. Secondly the day after his mom (not his sister) told us that the sister was engaged, I miscarried our baby and spent weeks after in and out of the hospital due to complications from the surgery to remove what was left of my baby. Obviously we didn’t have any time to even thing about frilly things like engagement. Lastly, my MIL really needs to STFU as this is really not her battle. If her stupid daughter has an issue then she should reach out to her brother. However, I do think she should tell her stupid daughter that it’s rather disgusting she’s bitching about a card when we lost a baby. Also we went on vacation recently, and my husband didn’t tell her we were going because she goes on rants about how we spend our money, and told my mom that we don’t have the money and then will ask her for money to buy a house. My mom’s response to that was we do have money and it wasn’t her damn business. No one was going to ask her for money and if we did just say no. Apparently this crazy bitch is stalking us because she found out we went on vacation, and told my husband she knew. We didn’t tell very many people, and actually found out one of two friends he told blurted it out to my husband’s brother who in turn ran crying to his mom. We’re highly considering moving away and not telling them where we live. She’s upset now that my husband doesn’t want to speak to her. I wish she would read the last two paragraphs of your blog entry and understand what she herself is doing.I used to try to tell my husband to try to get along with her, but I give up. If he wants to cut his mom out of his life that’s totally fine by me.

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