Amanda Brunker shares her rules for a happy home moving in with her mother-in-law
I’m in love with a woman.
We’re now living together. And I want to shout my happiness from the rooftops!
She is in fact my mother-in-law. I idolise her. And the world is a better place because of her patience and generosity.
Okay, before you all think I’ve lost the plot, I’m currently getting some work done on my house. We couldn’t afford to rent in the same area, so Nana McLaughlin stepped up and opened her home to us.
It was a charitable move on her part. While she’s crazy about her two grandsons, having them storm about the place at silly hours of the morning isn’t ideal for a person who is not a great sleeper.
Mrs Mac is understandably a woman of routine. She is a creature of habit from how she likes to eat her breakfast, watch her soaps, to keeping her home neat. As you can’t imagine life as she knows it has been turned upside down, shook about and then dragged through a bush backwards!
With that said, we are coping much better than expected. So much so, that I’ll hate to leave this cosy set-up!
So, what’s the secret you ask? Well, two months in, I think the key factors to our peaceful cohabitation is respecting each others space and setting achievable boundaries.
Obviously I was blessed with a wonderful mammy-in-law… there have been a few witches attached to previous boyfriends but the less said about them the better.
But whether you have pleasant in-laws or not, harmony can be achieved if you find yourself sharing a space you wouldn’t ideally dream of entertaining.
Firstly, and probably most importantly, RESPECT TOILET TIME. Nobody should ever have to use the shower or loo while others hover on the landing outside. So even if it’ll make us late, all guests must remain downstairs while the mammy uses the loo.
Secondly, handing the mammy-in-law a hot meal at the end of the day while she sits in front of the TV watching Corrie or Fair City has proven a great sweetener. It’s a treat for a woman who has spent her whole life cooking meals for others, so get rustling those pots and pans folks.
Lastly, while general housekeeping is important, as is a surprise cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit; extra jobs, like cutting the grass, putting out the bins and the occasional cleaning of her car is required if you really want to win over the mammy-in-law’s heart.
OK, so I’m lucky I have an eager nine-year-old who loves hoovering cars and pushing a lawnmower about. Bless his mild ADHD.
But its these chores that will buy you much needed Brownie points, for when stains magically appear on the beige carpet. For when open milk cartons splash as the fridge door is opened and when favourite wine glasses get chipped.
With another couple of months to go, I’m hoping we all survive this experience. Indeed carpets will need to be steamed, walls repainted and a few rooms fumigated… but fingers crossed the only broken hearts at the end of it all will be from sad goodbyes, instead of angry ones!