I love my mother-in-law dearly. She raised my husband, and he’s the man I love — and I love and thank her for that. But, there are a few things I wish I could tell her and wish she knew. Some good, some not so good. (Am I the only one?)
What I Wish I Could Tell My Mother-In-Law
- I really do thank you for raising my husband. If he’s anything like my children, I tip my hat and raise my glass to you.
- I love you, but sometimes I really don’t like you. Your pouting when you don’t get your way may work on your husband or your children, but it just annoys me.
- When you call my husband, please ask how your grandchildren and I are doing, too, not just him. I know and understand he’s your son, but we are part of his family (and yours), too. Just a simple, “How are the kids? How’s your wife? Is everyone doing okay?” would really make an impact on your son.
- Don’t tell me all of the other family’s business that will make it awkward for me to be around them later. I don’t need to know that my sister- and brother-in-law are fighting, or that my niece is having behavioral issues, or that my brother- and sister-in-law are having monetary issues. And disguising the gossip as a prayer request isn’t cool.
- On that note, don’t take sides. It doesn’t ever turn out well. Ever.
- I want you to respect my wishes. If I tell you that my kids take a nap from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., please don’t question me. If I tell you my child can’t have cake, please don’t feed my child a piece of cake. I know you’ve walked this motherhood road before, but I am their mother and this is the choice I’ve made for them. Please respect me and my wishes.
- I really do want (and need) your help, and I want our children to spend time with you. While you may not do things exactly the way I do them, I still would love for you to offer to help me with the kids from time to time. We also would love for you to pick up the phone and ask if the kids can spend the night with you on a random Saturday night, not so we can go anywhere or get a “break,” but because you actually want to spend time with your grandchildren. And when you DO spend time with them, please interact with them, don’t just put them in front of a TV screen. Play with them, read to them, get down on the floor with them (if you’re able) and play Barbies, or attend a soccer game. This life is too short to not make meaningful memories with your grandchildren who are growing up right before your very eyes.
- Understand that I have a family, too. I know it’s important for you to spend holidays with us, but it doesn’t have to be ON Christmas Eve or ON Christmas Day. Any holiday we get to spend together, regardless of the day of the week, is special. And guess what? The children have no idea what day it is and are just excited about getting to spend time with you. Please know that just as much as you want to spend time with us and post pictures of your grandchildren enjoying Christmas at your house on Facebook, my parents want to, too.
- Speaking of holidays, I’d love for you to acknowledge me on Mother’s Day. Every year, without fail, I send you a gift and a card on Mother’s Day (and your son has nothing to do with it). We call you and tell you we love you and are thankful for you. I’d love for you to do the same for me. Even a $.99 card sent in the mail would mean the world to me. I am the mother to your grandchildren, after all.
- You can give us advice, but don’t be upset if we don’t heed it. We know you’ve walked this road before us, both with wife- and motherhood. And while we appreciate the advice you give us, understand that we are doing what works best for us and our family, so don’t be upset if we don’t take your advice — or ignore it completely. Please don’t treat us any differently if we don’t take your advice, and don’t make us feel awkward if you don’t agree with our decision(s).
- Don’t compare your children or your children’s spouses — or your grandchildren. I don’t need to know which of your children is your favorite, nor which daughter- or son-in-law you prefer, and please stop telling me that your grandson walked before your granddaughter. It just makes it awkward for you to tell us, and we just get mad when we hear it; better to just leave us guessing. Celebrate our differences!
- Understand that my husband (your son) and I are a team. He and I will ALWAYS be on the same side, regardless. If I say the grass is blue and the sky is green, as much as it pains my husband, he will agree with me to his death. He will always back me up and there is nothing you can say or do to change that, so please stop trying.
Mother-in-law, I love you. I appreciate you and I respect you. I know your son is special to you and you love him beyond belief. But please, I beg you: put yourself in my shoes and think a bit more about how your actions and words may affect your son and make us feel. Respect is a two-way street, after all!