Monday, August 10, 2009

Who's Your Mama? (In-Law, that is!)

In one of the writing workshops I attended at She Speaks we were asked to write down the different roles we fulfill and/or challenges we have faced. The leader then challenged us to think about how we could take what we have learned or what we are experiencing and use it to encourage others.

One of the many 'hats' I wear is that of mother-in-law. I have been blessed with two wonderful daughters-in-law whom I love dearly. I haven't experienced the turmoil that some women do when their sons marry. But I have to admit that I used to worry that when the day came, I would be automatically assumed to be the dreaded mother-in-law.

I believe one of the reasons I have a good relationship with my daughters-in-law is that I automatically gave up my place as the woman in each son's life as soon as it became apparent this was 'the one'! No questions asked, no hesitation. I treated each young woman as the special person she is. After all, she was marrying a son of mine....she had to be special! I did not feel threatened by her. I knew I had a good relationship with my sons and didn't need to jockey for position. I knew they were not abandoning me and would remain very much a part of my life. After raising two sons, I was looking forward to some female companionship in the family as well!

Of course, this is my perception coming from my side of the relationships. Daphne & Tara may have completely different ideas!

I have also been a daughter-in-law and was blessed with a godly, kind and loving mother-in-law. We got along famously, though she died four short years after Larry & I married. What worked for us? She willingly put me first in Larry's life, reinforcing it with word and deed. I honored her relationship with her son, encouraging him to spend time with her.

I'm not writing this to pat myself on the back or to say I'm an expert at good mother/daughter-in-law relationships. I just know what has worked for me. I would love to hear your stories. What works for you? What doesn't work? What would the 'perfect' relationship look like to you? You can post your stories anonomously and even change the names to protect the innocent! Maybe we can learn from one another.



  1. I will never husband's first birthday after we were married...I was so excited and wanted to do it up big, however, my MIL planned a huge birthday dinner with the family...needless to say I was devastated and uphauled."This was my husband now!"

    My wise mother told me..."most likely you will live many years longer than your MIL, and there will be many birthdays that you will be able to honor your husband with a dinner or meal."

    The same wise advise was given when my son, the first grandson was gifted most everything he did (and didn't need). "You know I understand your concern that maybe she is overdoing it, however, you are young, early in your marriage, and let's face it broke. Be appreciative for her generousity and spend your money on bills!"

    Well, I can say many years later. I don't know why I was that I have more than one child, I never begrudge a gift (needed or not) for either child. I also think back, and although my MIL was not near enough to provide a big dinner this year for my husband's birthday...I didn't being here make as big a deal out of it as I should have/could have either.

    Also, having a son of my own now...I can understand that motherly love and bond. So, for those who have new MIL or will have soon...heed my wise mother's advice! For day I will gain your ranks and hope that I am as giving a person as my MIL is!

    God bless you Molly for sharing with us...I think there is so much we can learn in sharing!

  2. Dearest Molly! I, too, have been blessed with a loving mother-in-law that manages to support and love me as part of the family. She is godly and beautiful inside and out. I am truly blessed to have her as a friend and mother-in-law -- just an added bonus for marrying my cutie pie husband. I hope to apply these lessons and love when my children marry someday (since they are 2 and 4, I've got some time to prepare!).

  3. You know I'm loving this post since I'm writing on how to be mom and mother in law to grown kids.

    This great. The Lord seems quite clear on this one and I preached it to both of my children in their engagement periods. The Lord says that we LEAVE our parents to CLEAVE to our spouses.

    Wonder how different the marriage breakup rates would be if we understood how to leave, release and cleave while still being family in connections that please the Lord?

    I still have no answers, just many questions.

    You offered some great answers.

  4. Check out my blog...I just posted about the wonderful cruise my sweet in-laws took us on this summer.

    My sister has great conflict with her mother-in-law. Because of that, she is determined to unconditionally love and accept the girl her son, Matt marries.


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