Tuesday, April 2, 2013

If Ever I'm A Mother In Law....

If ever I'm a mother-in-law, I vow to....

1. Be happy for my son because he is happy, even if his 'happy life' looks different than I expected or perhaps secretly hoped for.

2. Respect his choice of partner.

3. Dedicate time, love, and interest to his children, which will mean automatically helping him and his wife have time for themselves.

4. Support him and his wife in the way they raise their children, including methods and choices different from those I made.

5. Keep an open line of communication with his wife, and let her know that she is like a daughter to me.

6. Pay attention to the needs and wants of him and his wife, being there when they need me and giving them space when they need space.

7. Make sure my husband is included in the time we spend with our grandkids.

8. Be careful not to favor any grandchildren, and be sure to spread my time and attention evenly. 

9. Only give advice if I am asked for my advice. 

10. Only give my opinion when I am asked for my opinion.

Can you guess the things I've been frustrated with lately?



  1. Oh dear... you have my sympathy as I am in exactly the same boat :o(
    Is it safe to assume that your MIL doesn't read your blog? Or perhaps she does, which may be rather useful in imparting some wisdom in her general direction ... ;)

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  3. You realize, Dawn, that if you were able to accomplish all 10 of items in your vow, you would be the perfect person. It's a wonderful and admirable goal to have, but it's not reasonable. Sorry you're having trouble with your MIL. Hopefully you can have a heart to heart with her and come to some sort of middle ground.

  4. I am a Mother in Law who has held her tongue many times, loved the other woman like a daughter and made myself available, sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't and I wish I had said something. But all you can really do is give your son roots and wings and accept the choices he makes and try to live with them. Good lucK!

  5. Bless you, Dawn! Hang in there! We have no sons, but two of our three daughters have made me a "mother-in-law." I do try to be a good one. We really do like our sons-in-law.


  6. Great aims...It seems to be curse of the mother in law no matter how cool and great a woman she is, inevitably, there is an edge.

  7. I think those are fantastic things to keep in mind in the future! To the person who said that is not reasonable - I disagree - I have that wonderul MIL and thank my lucky stars. Thank you for writing this post to remind me of that. Hope things are looking up soon for you! :)

    1. What I meant, Jen, is that all of us are flawed. We will give advice when it's not asked for, or be opinionated about something and express it, or feel disappointment and not be able to hide it. The goal is to be aware of our behavior and work toward bettering ourselves. Live and let live. But we're just human and we all slip up now and then.

  8. Peace begins with ourselves. Please be kind....if anyone ever wrote these things about me or my Mom (no matter what she did or didn't do) i would be devastated.

  9. When you get advice/opinions that aren't asked for..... just think, water off a duck. It slides right off! LOL:)

    And it really depends who is giving the "unsolicited" advice/opinions. My sister and I say things to each other that, if coming from someone else, we would be offended. But from each other, it is OK.

    My advice (unsolicited, of course) is to focus on what you both agree on or like and enjoy, and expand on it from there. Don't take offense to everything she says. Have patience. I'm sorry you have to go through this.

    My parents' families were very different and never "meshed". It is very hard to grow up that way. Everything was polar opposites, everything. It was very hard on my Mom and us as kids.

    Maybe you could make a list of things you would want in a daughter-in-law and see if that helps. Is there anything you could change yourself? I come from a family with a lot of conflict and it is no fun at all. I also know that sometimes, no matter what, some people will never "mesh".

    I think of your FIL's comments regarding your weight and if that's anything like your MIL, yikes!


  10. Hang in there Dawn, it will get better.

  11. Hi Dawn,

    I'm so sorry for the conflict and hurt you are experiencing. Trouble with in-laws is one of the top three things about which couples fight. (Finances and sex are the other two.) From the past posts in your blog, though, it seems as though your husband stands by your side. I hope that is still true, and good for him if it is. I will pray for change to happen. You have trusted us by sharing your troubles. May we lift you up. Do not be discouraged.

    Best wishes,

  12. I wish so much that I could say something magical that would make a difference, Dawn, but of course, that's not very realistic. You seem like such a warm, tender-hearted, nurturing woman, it's a shame that your MIL doesn't appreciate you. Maybe she's jealous of you and the role you play in her son's life?.... I hope your husband is supportive of you. You deserve to be treasured! I'm sending good wishes that somehow the sharp edges can be softened.
    Judy xxx in So. CAL

  13. Oh Dawn - I really feel for you!! Wishing I could help. If you ever feel lending you my ear could be useful... i'm here for you. (skype or otherwise) Wishing you peace of mind and a full heart and a wonderfully centered Self,
    Barbara Leytus

  14. Oh Dawn..I am so sorry! Why does this happen? Maybe this is what makes future..great mother in laws! smile... I will pray for your family.


  15. I am so sorry you're having a rough go of it with your mother-in-law right now. I'm lucky to have an excellent relationship with my mother (I better - she lives four houses away!) and a very easy relationship with my mother-in-law. One time I complimented my mother-in-law on the fact that she's always managed to just be...well, awesome, really. Even though our choices don't always look like the choices she might have made (or did make) with her own children, she is always supportive, never gives a sign of irritation or disappointment or spouts off opinions or advice, just accepts us and supports our family and loves our children abundantly. Anyway, so I complimented her on this and thanked her. She was so proud =) She said that she had such a rocky relationship with her own mother-in-law that she had made up her mind to never be that person when her own children chose partners - she made a list of things she wanted to do right by her children, their chosen partners, and their children, AND SHE KEPT TO IT, even though sometimes it was hard at first because she'd never had someone model it for her.

    I can tell you right here and right now that of all the things I appreciate about my husband's mother, the fact that she wanted change and achieved it so that she could have better relationships with me, her son, and her grandbabies absolutely tops the list. And I know that one day someone will say the exact same thing about you and this list =) You can totally make it happen!

  16. Very well put, Country Girl! This is exactly the list I've made for myself mentally and I will be there decades earlier than you. However, I'm seeing challenges ahead as my son's current girlfriend seems to keep such control over their life there is little space for his parents. She is so young - in her mid-20s - that I'm hoping this will change if they ever decide to marry and have children. Whatever the case, I'm determined to be there for my son's family. I will not intrude but I will not consent to be kept away either.

    As for my own mother-in-laws (I remarred at 50), I have had the best of luck and I still have a good relationship with my ex-mother-in-law, too. My mother, on the other hand always intruded in the lives of all her children to some extent poisoning her relationship with all of us. And yes, she was especially critical in all things relating to her only daughter-in-law.

    I certainly hope your situation will improve. Not getting provoked even if you were being provoked might get you there in the end.

  17. I always thought I would be a great MIL, but sometimes my DILs don't like me. It's crushing, but I do work hard at not rubbing them the wrong way. Now that I have a grandchild I have noticed a distinct thawing on DIL's part - especially because I tell her all the time what a wonderful mother she is. I get beautiful smiles, my son makes his daughter laugh, but when she smiles at her mom she gets a very special glow. she loves her mommy so much. My other DIL is so good to her husband and is madly in love with him. For that I am so grateful and I tell her that all the time. I'm not telling them anything that is not absolutely true and it's what I feel. Maybe take a different view of your MIL and tell her what you admire about her. Sometimes, in order to be understood, one must try to understand the other.

  18. She is the Luckiest person in the world to have you, such a caring, thoughtful creative, and LOVING woman, for her daughter-in-law. We should do something about her. Little joint prayer of healing. She's probably doing what her mom did to her. Breathe Dawn. Maybe you could take her aside and mention how you always wanted to live in New England. (evil thinking) xoxo

  19. Sometimes mother-in-laws are difficult. Mine was an alcoholic. She was also a heavy smoker and did not care that others were not happy about her smoke in their faces. I was always kind and gentle with her, but she always treated me badly. She ended up driving her son, my husband, to sever his relationship with her forever.
    I am glad you have made the list of what kidn of mother-in-law you will be! So wise.

  20. I agree---M-I-L's can sometimes be difficult; parents can, too. It's difficult, as a parent, to see our children choose different paths from our own. Sometimes, in our opinions, they are better paths and sometimes not so much.

    These are all wonderful things to aspire too, and I'm absolutely positive you will do your very best....and still, I promise you, there will be challenges. Such is life. Count your blessings....
    You often say how very much you have fallen in love with your son. The day that another woman falls in love with him, too....shall be one of great change and challenge, no matter how wonderful she is.

    YOU ARE AMAZING............hang in there!!

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  31. Wow this post sums up my exact feelings, I cry over my son not having grandparents in his life as much as they should be and me n my poor hubby never getting to go on a date, it's been very hard on us! Probably had someone watch our son 5 times in the four years we've had him!! We've realized we are pretty alone but at least we have each other, I always say when my son gets married and has kids I hope to watch them at least once a week so they can go on a date!! It will be such a blessing to be a grandmother!



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