The subject of mothers-in-law has got some publicity recently, what with the viral emails and comedians picking it up and running with it, but I guess I just wanted to add my tuppence worth, not to the email specific debate, but to the question of mothers-in-law.
I have one, so I can comment first hand. I goad her mercilessly about everything from her height to the size of her nose to the fact that she is getting old, and she gives as good as she gets, but it has never been malicious, and we do actually get on very well.
She bemoans the fact that she does not have "M-i-L power" over either me, or her other son-in-law, and we allow her to think she might have done at one stage, although to be honest, I was always more worried about my father-in-law to begin with.
But when it matters, it is great to know that she is there to help out when we need it. Recently, when my wife was ill and struggling with our 17 month old son, and I was unable to be as much help as I wanted to be because of my work schedule, she immediately hopped on a bus and travelled for 4+ hours next to an extremely smelly man to come and help out. She stayed for a week and nearly drove me bananas (!!!!) but I was very happy that we were close enough to my mother in law to ask for help, knowing that she would be up like a shot.
(I should add that my mother was very helpful too, and will be just as forthcoming when we need help, but sometimes a girl just wants her Mum around)
Anyway, whatever the perceived wisdom is about Mothers-in-Law, I wouldn't swap mine for all the tea in China. Irish whiskey might be a different matter, but that's another story.