Today...I would like to concentrate on the positive aspects of being a mother-in-law.
When did the term "mother- in- law" come about?
The history behind the term "mother- in- law' came from British slang around 1884. It implies the term was a mixture of "ales and bitter," according to Webster. The British used to make their beer bitter to distinguish it from other beer. So I am thinking the term was brought about to distinguish ones mother- in- law from ones real mother, thus making the term mother-in-law unique and special on its own.
The first situation that comes to my mind is that mother-in-law's do not get to pick who comes into their family. Some may have some say so...but in these modern times, not so much.
A son or a daughter will suddenly show up with this stranger and is now asking for your blessing and acceptance. Not only are they wanting your acceptance of this stranger, but you may be losing your baby to this stranger. They may look like an alien, smell like an alien, and for all you know they may be an alien. You have not had time to decipher this unknown phenomenon.
Suddenly...this person feels like a threat, and yes even a rival. Your alert system has started to go off and the funny thing is... you did not know you even had a built in alarm system for a time such as this. Maybe you are not willing nor ready to let go of your precious baby. You do not like the thought of sharing them for ever.
Maybe deep down you just do not want to play nice...not yet!
The cord is about to be broken!
It is not your call!
You have a big choice to make.
The Making of a Good Mother-in-law
These are my recommendations for being one awesome Mother-in-law!
1-Treat your son or daughter in law as you would your own child.
2-Love them for who they are without trying to change them into what you think they should be.
3-Love the children they brought into the marriage as you would the other grandchildren. Treat them the same. Children do not see a "Step Grandparents" sign written on your heart.
4-Do not concern yourself in their marriage stuff unless of course there is an abusive type environment. For normal stuff...Keep quiet...Not your business!
5-Keep in touch no matter if they don't. I do not mean to call at 10 pm at night while they are getting ready for bed. A nice card or short weekend call just to say I love you and are thinking of you.
6-Keep track of birthdays and special events.
7-Be present in their lives without bombarding their lives!
8-Do not take sides! Always encourage your children to "Fall Forward" NOT "Fall Apart."
9-Never speak about them behind their backs...it will surely come to bite you later.
10- Always pray for your daughter-in-law or son in-law.
Two weeks ago I had to say goodbye to my Mom. She was not Diane to me...she was Mom. She was a large presence in my life and I can hardly believe she is gone. She taught me all about being a good mother-in-law because she was the best. I have no doubt she had to learn along the way too.
I married her only son and brought four young children into the marriage. I was divorced and she had no idea who I was or what I was about. I can only imagine the horror and mixed feelings she must have had. If she had them, she kept them to herself. She opened up her heart and 25 years later I was no longer this stranger but her daughter.
It is not too say we never disagreed or got our feathers ruffled! We did many times through out the 25 years, but we never disrespected each-other and always worked hard to resolve issues that could have torn us apart. We learned the art of patience, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, and in the end we learned to love unconditionally because we were family and that is what families do.
I can no longer hear her voice and that saddens me so. I am now left to pick up the pieces concerning her only son whom she loved dearly. I pray I will be all he needs. I do not think anyone just stops needing their mom, not even the bravest or strongest of men.
Mom was a talker, but me not so much. I knew she loved to hear all about the family and would ask endless questions. I would listen and before we knew it two hours would have passed on the phone.
She was saturated in all our grown children and grandchildren's lives. Her house was filled with pictures of our family. Mom had saved things that even I did not save concerning the children. Her life was all about us...her family. She always told me I was the daughter she never had and I believed her whole heatedly.
She taught me all the things I needed to know in how to be the best mother-in-law I could be to my own son-in-law and daughter-in-law. There is no greater gift than growing in love as a family unit and leaving behind a legacy of love that will be imprinted on ones heart forever.
I will miss you forever!