11 Things a Non-Yoruba Daughter-in-Law Needs to Know to Win the Heart of her Yoruba Mother-in-Law

  1. Call her whatever name her son calls her e.g “Maami”, “Momee”, ”Mama”, ”Momo”.
  2. By now your husband would have let you know what his Mum’s idiosyncrasies are. You should know whether she likes being greeted with the 2 knees on the floor, or she is okay with courtesy. Keep at the form of greeting she prefers. It was not your culture yes, but it is now.
  3. When you get to her house, try to be a little animated. Show concern. Ask her about her health, her leg, her arthritis (depends on what her complaints are).
  4. When you visit her ,always make an attempt to assist her with chores
  5. Always respond with a “Yes Ma”
  6. If you are invited to a family gathering and you are the youngest wife, it will be in your best interest to get to the venue earlier than most to help with supervising/helping with the cooking, arranging or cleaning or take your maid(s) to do it. Whatever you do, be visible.
  7. From her outlook, you will know what she likes. Is she the dressy type? Is she the church type? Does she love to cook? Does she like outings? Make out time to give her a treat, every now and then to forge a relationship with her.
  8. Avoid “this is how we do it in my family” discussions. If she insists you do things for her son in a particular way, never argue. Chances are that you will only have to put up with her for a few hours. If you are living with your in-laws, apply the wisdom of avoiding things that spark off quarrels. It will only be for a while. Choose peace over being right.
  9. Always take the side of your mother-in-law when she is having a disagreement with her son. Even your husband will respect you for this. He may not show it but you win both ways.
  10. Be the one to give her gifts/money even if it was your husband that bought it.
  11. If you don’t speak Yoruba, at the least learn a few of the greetings. This will tickle her and show her that you are keen on integrating with the family. Always use the “Eku” e.g Eku-ijoko Ma, Ekabo Ma.


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