My mother never asked me that question but I can sympathise with Jim Brown for the predicament that he found himself in, as this is a question many mothers ask their sons after the latter gets married.
My mother had different ways of getting the same message across to her daughters in law. Very subtle she was too about it but her daughters in law were were clever too and knew how to manage the situations. I do not know much about quite how the Scottish daughter in law managed, but the two Indian ones had very effective strategies and tactics to outwit the mother in law. When the intended effect was not achieved within a reasonable amount of time, my mother would simply shift her theater of operation from one son’s home to another’s or to her daughter’s to retreat and fight another day.
There were other mothers in law in her circle where notes were exchanged and acceptable strategies were discussed. Occasionally, one particularly gentle father in law, my mother’s brother, would chip in and suggest that perhaps the time has come for the mothers in law to retire and leave the daughters in law alone, only to be told in no uncertain terms to keep quiet.
From those days I always believed that the eternal triangle was not the great romances that were much written about, but the triangle of son, caught between the wife and the mother.
I have also seen a change in the scene among my generation mothers in law. I suppose having seen the other in action, my sister, my late wife and my sister in law, all three studiously kept themselves out of their daughters in law’s hairs. So the triangles may have to be the other type if at all.
Okay, this may be more in the case of India and the situation at least as I understand it, is different in the West where the mother in law is actually the wife’s mother who tries to run the son in law’s affairs! Correct me if I am wrong, but in any case, surely this should also qualify for the eternal triangle tag rather than the romantic one?
Do please read the linked to article in full. It is very informative and quite amusing in a droll way.