by Johanna Galyen | Featured Contributor
Marriage may be the joining of two different people, but one cannot forget the people that are also joining this new family. The extra brothers, sisters, aunts, step-sisters, uncles, and cousins twice removed. It can make for an overwhelming family reunion, but the one person who is never forgotten is the mother-in-law.
What is the difference between in-laws and outlaws? Outlaws are Wanted
The words are endless and often cruel. The complaining is non-stop. The butt of all the jokes, the endless scrutiny, eye-rolling, and sighing, the temptation to a committal to an insane asylum…is the Mother-in-Law
Before your nightmare becomes a reality…before you think that your worst fears are coming true. Stop. Let me tell you about a reality that is actually true. They aren’t all nightmares.
It’s true. Not all Mothers-in-Law’s are bad. Before you get carried away, think about this for a moment. If you are a woman, and you have children, there is a very good chance that one day you will be a mother-in-law. (ahem! That means, one day your children might grow up and get married!)
You are making the choices today that will decide your fate in the Mother-in-Law jokes of life.
Is all lost? Is every woman, who has a child get married, destined to this fateful sentence?
I say no.
By nature, women like to be in charge of their home. We are responsible for menus, the color of the curtains, what our children wear, what decorations are put on the walls, and many other things. This control is hard to let go as our children become adults. Because, when a competing female comes into your “territory”, a cat fight can easily ensue.
With all choices in life, you have the opportunity right now to make the right decisions now.
- Decide now to like your future daughter-in-law. Loving someone is not based on your feelings, but it is a decision. If you decide now to choose to love her (whoever she may be) when the times comes, it will be easier
- Teach your children now, that one day, they will grow up and leave their home. Leaving may mean moving across the street, to another city, another state, or even across the ocean. But they will leave, and no matter where they go, you are going to be ok. Set a date, and cut the ‘apron strings’. She will thank you.
- Find ways to spend time with her, on her level, getting to know her for who she is. This may mean taking her out to Starbucks for coffee or inviting her over for lunch. Either way, to get to know someone you need to spend time with them. The more you do this, the easier the bond of friendship can occur.
- If she asks for advice, give it without any strings or attachments. If you can remember that advice is just that-an opinion or a suggestion-it is not a command. While your advice may be the right course of action, it is up to her to make her own decision. Recognizing that everyone needs to learn to make decisions for themselves, will help you to be a better mother-in-law.
- Accept the fact that your son is now an adult, and your relationship with him will change now. He is a man now, and he needs to continue to mature and change for the better. Just a butterfly will weaken if assisted coming out of their cocoon, your son will be stronger if he learns to do things by himself.
So the next time you laugh at another mother-in-law or monster-in-law joke, just remember. It could be you that they are laughing at in a few years. Make the right choices now to be different. Be that mother-in-law that the family wants to be around. Learn to love, to care, cherish, and accept your new family members.
“Love can only be true love when it is allowed to be free. When it can grow, change, mature. My mother-in-law has given me a rare gift…her son.
The more you teach your children how to love and honor themselves, the easier your future will be. If you teach your children respect, then they will show respect to their future in-laws as well. When you instill care and cherishing into your son, then he will be able to share with his wife. If you can show him the power of love and forgiveness, then he will know how to forgive when you do make a mistake in the future.
The earlier you start becoming a more loving and caring person, the better mother-in-law you will become in the future.
You can be called blessed or your memory may be one of the nightmares.
My mother always told me that as you go through life, no matter what you do, or how you do it, you leave a little footprint, and that’s your legacy. Jan Brewer