Posts Tagged ‘mother-in-law’

My husband is out of town.  I can say this because by the time you read this, he will be back.  He has also been uber-busy at work lately.  He generally works a lot, but the last couple of weeks have been exceptionally crazy.  So, it didn’t surprise me at all when last night, at about 10 o’clock, he says casually, “Hey, did I tell you I’m going to Vegas tomorrow?”.

Um, nope.  No, you didn’t.  He’s not so much into the details sometimes.

At least this is only a one night trip.  Not at all like the time I found out he was going to Brussels, Belgium because of some flight times I saw scribbled on the back of a grocery receipt he left sitting next to the laptop on the kitchen counter.  I know, I know, his communication skills are positively astounding.  In the end, his trip got cancelled anyway.  But, I’m getting a little off topic.

It just so happens that I had already made plans with some girlfriends to go out tonight.  I planned it carefully, so that the baby would already be asleep, and the boys would be fed, and in their jammies.

So, now I’m faced with a dilemma.  I could a) scrap my plans for a Girls Night Out (which honestly only happens every six months or so for me.  I know, I know, I need to work on that), or b) call my Mother-in-Law.  I do have a couple babysitters that I use, but now that school is in, they are busy with sports, boyfriends, part-time jobs, and oh, yes, school.

I decided it was important enough to me to give her a call, last-minute.  Turns out she was available and happy to do it.  I am a lucky woman.  Side note:  She also watched the kids one other time this week, and has plans to help me out twice next week.  Am I taking advantage? I hope not. But, possibly a little.

Not everyone has a great relationship with their Mother-in-Law, but after 14 years of marriage, here are a few secrets I will share with you about your Mother-in-Law:

1.  She really does want to help.

So, let her.  Let her hold the baby.  Let  her do a load of laundry.  Let her take the kids to the park.  She wants to do it, and it’s really okay.  Really.

2.  She has the best of intentions.

Yes, she may feed the baby at the wrong time.  Or not warm up the bottle enough.  She might even (gasp!) stop for an ice cream treat before dinner. She is not you.  She will not do things exactly as you do.  But, if you give her instructions, she’ll do her best.  She doesn’t intentionally sabotage your children’s sleep schedule.  She’s finding her way in this whole Grandmother thing, just like you’re finding out who you are as a Mom.  And, she’s waited her whole life to be a Grandmother, so cut her a little slack.  Even if it’s a really, really small amount of slack.

3.  She loves her son and her grandchildren.  But, she loves you, too.

She loves you in a different way, and that love may change and grow over the years.  But, she loves you in a way that says “thank you for sharing your life with my son, and for letting me be a part of my grandchildren’s lives, too”.

4.  She appreciates a Thank You.

It’s easy to take anyone for granted.  I think it’s especially easy to take your Mother-in-Law for granted.  So, remember to appreciate the good things she does.  Even if it’s sandwiched in between things that frustrate you.  She’s a good person.  See Numbers 1 and 2, above.

5.  She has more life experience than you.

This one might be hard to swallow for some, especially if your Mother-in-Law is one who is constantly offering up advice, or insinuating that her way is better.  But, it is true.  She’s been married longer, and even though her children aren’t little any more, she’s been a Mom longer, too.  So, listen to her advice, and allow it to sink in a little.  No one says you have to follow it.  But, you never know what you might learn if you’re open to it.

I mean, maybe she really does have a terrific chicken recipe that’s easy and delicious (and if your husband likes it, you can just wink and say, “I know, yum, right?! It’s just a new recipe I’ve been wanting to try”). Or you can give her credit, if you’re feeling generous.  Men usually don’t care too much about that kind of thing anyway.  Either way, it’s a win-win.  Or, if you’re Michael Scott, a win-win-win.

6.  She knows you hold the cards.  And, she appreciates that you put up with her son.

It’s true.  You have a lot of power in this relationship.  And, he is the boy she raised: the good, and all.the.faults.  See paragraph 3, above.

Anyone else want to chime in?? Come on, put me in my place. 🙂


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