Well, I’m officially a mother-in-law now. As much as the jokes and groans and often negative one-liners describe this delicate position, I am thrilled to join the ranks.
I love the fact that this very special young woman (my daughter-in-law) loves my son and shares his life. And that her parents (the other in-laws) genuinely care about our son and so graciously welcome him and our whole family into their lives.
Through the years, both with friends and parents that I’ve worked with, the subject of mothers-in-law often comes up. Frequently this conversation is a rant against perceived injustices, complaints, insecurities, misunderstandings that over-shadow the real relationship.
I can’t imagine this happening with us. The couple themselves don’t need to be managed or directed or worried about. I anticipate just enjoying, respecting, supporting and admiring their choices and the life they create together.
I encourage all moms out there who cringe at the thought of dealing with in-laws to reconsider. This mom of your husband/partner was once like you are – loving, struggling, caring deeply, doing the best that she was able for her child.
Take the opportunity to see this person so central in your partner’s young life as she might have been then. Appreciate what her life has been like, what she has brought to your mate’s life, and what you can offer to and gain from hers.
Take the time to hear her story.
Your partner is often the one trapped in the middle. It’s hard to hear criticism about a loved one even if it rings a bit true. Better to listen and look for positive solutions versus jumping on the bandwagon of attack.
Children pick up on all the vibes and those negative ones lurk around often bringing confusion, insecurities,misunderstandings and mistrust.
Now that I am a mother-in-law and my son has one too (fortunately that he respects and cares for already), I declare a “celebration” of mothers-in law – a new look at perhaps an old way of seeing things. The relationship is not a rivalry, a contest or does it need to feel judgmental.
For all of you out there, whose children grow up and choose to marry, you will one day become the mother-in-law yourself. Practice now how to embrace your own relationship, with your mother-in-law. Listen more and judge less. Motherhood is a universal shared experience. There is sure to be more commonality than differences in your lives.
Remember, you both have love in common here .
What a great place to start.
If any of you are thinking, “she doesn’t know my mother-in-law”, give me a call at The Parenting Place, 784-8125. Perhaps together, we can find some positive ground on which to begin.