Work Life Balance

This Is What Mother-In-Laws Look Like, According to Stock Photography

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Mothers are wonderful people, especially according to stock photography. If you look up “mother” in a database of stock photos–which is where blogs, magazines, newspapers, and advertisers get most of their images–the images are almost universally benign. Shiny-haired, conventionally attractive young women do domestic activities with adorable moppets, or just cuddle babies on very clean white blankets and sofas. According to stock photos, mothers are wonderful, beautiful, kind people.

This is what a mother looks like, according to stock photography:

mother reading a book

(Choreograph/iStockPhoto)

Mothers-in-law, however, are monsters.

At some point in the lifecycle of a woman, at least according to stock photography, a switch flips in the brain of a woman whose child has reached a certain age, and then we switch from the delightful “mother” to the “mother-in-law,” and suddenly we are terrible, terrifying people, with terrible, terrifying fashion sense.

Here’s what is in our futures when we become mothers in law, according to stock photography.

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Lots of finger-pointing and scolding

Scolded the old woman

(TatyanaGl/iStockPhoto)

This photo is also stored under the title “anger grandmother.” Somewhere in all of us is an anger grandmother just waiting to get out.

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Confusing fashion choices

Woman in blue wearing a pink vintage hat

(CREATISTA/iStockPhoto)

Is this a hat, or an old-timey beauty product? I’m not sure. I also can’t tell if this outfit is supposed to be awful or cute, because she looks very unhappy, but I’m pretty sure I saw Zooey Deschanel wear this to play ukulele at the farmers market.

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Lots of the same arguments you’ve been having since your kid was two

Conflict between mother and daughter

(TatyanaGl/iStockPhoto)

“Noses are not for picking! For the love of God, Chanterelle, we’ve been doing this for 23 years! Stop doing that, it’s not nice!”

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Lots of people faking headaches around you

Sad young woman watching husband and mother having fight

(JackF/iStockPhoto)

“Oh my God, mom. A hospital gown is not a new fashion trend, I don’t care if you saw Anne Hathaway wearing one in US Weekly.”

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Off-Brand Kris Jenner

mother feeling helpless when caught in between

(michaeljung/iStockPhoto)

All the drama, none of the business acumen.

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More faking headaches in the kitchen

Conflict between mum and daughter. Series

(TatyanaGl/iStockPhoto)

You’re not really a mother-in-law until a young person clutches their skull and groans at your kitchen table.

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Hey, this one looks happy!

Happy mother-in-law

(KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStockPhoto)

Aw! Her little baby is all grown up and has found a person to share their life with! Her heart bursts with love and happiness.

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Oh no, I spoke too soon

Loving couple and mother-in-law

(KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStockPhoto)

Run, lady! She wants to turn you into a coat!

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Duggar-esque fashion choices

family quarrels with the husbands mother

(JackF/iStockPhoto)

If you’re going to join this family, you’re going to wear plaid button-downs and denim like a proper wife.

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This life looks pretty wonderful

Family cheering with whiskey and wine in kitchen

(Zinkevych/iStockPhoto)

Apparently the secret to graceful aging and familial bliss is to just make sure to turn into Ina Garten.

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Hey, these people are having a great time too. 

Family members at the dinner

(KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStockPhoto)

What do all these happy families have in common?

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What is their secret? 

Family Toasting with Champagne

(IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStockPhoto)

Wine. The secret is wine.

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