I am a frequent listener of your program and always hear folks ask about their mother/daughter-in-law relationships so I wanted to tell you about mine. Whenever I mention to someone that my mother-in-law is coming for a visit they say, “Oh, aren’t you lucky” with sarcasm dripping. I always respond, “Yes, I really am” and mean every word of it.
As you give advice about what mother-in-laws SHOULD do, I think to myself – yes, that’s exactly right – because that’s how my mother-in-law acts. One could say that I’m blessed with a husband who has a lovely woman as a mother, someone who is sweet and thoughtful and lots of other good things. All that is true, but she can choose how she acts towards me and I am SO lucky for those choices she makes.
As an example, when I was pregnant with my first child she came for a visit. I was transitioning my job to someone else and was frequently sequestered away. She asked how she could help and I told her I was behind in getting the clothes, diapers, etc. into the nursery. I showed her where they were and then my phone rang. I emerged from the other room several hours later and found her in the nursery with all the clothes laid out in neat little piles in the crib. She said, “I’m so glad to see you. I finished getting them organized but didn’t know where you wanted everything so wanted to ask to see what you wanted." When I told her I didn’t know, she gave some suggestions and then just waited for me to make decisions so that it would be the way I wanted it even though I hadn’t had a clue what I should do until she suggested it!. Even my own mother tries to tell me how to do something and then makes her opinion clear if I choose a different approach.
My mother-in-law’s lovely way of offering to help AND demonstrating respect for it being my home/children/marriage, has made me feel so loved. In return I have always tried to honor her. She calls when she is arranging a visit and asks if the timing of when she comes/leaves and how long she stays will be convenient for us. This last time I said, “We’ll take you for as long as we can possibly have you” and I meant every word of it.
Thanks for letting me share her story with you.