Why I Understand Mother-in-Laws a Lot Better Now!
As a new wife, establishing a positive connection with your new mother-in-law can be a real roller coaster. But once you yourself become a mother especially of boys, then your perspective changes.
I have three beautiful boys.They are 7years, 5 years, and 15 months old. I have never known the depth or intensity of love, like I have for them. Sometimes they wear me down, but being their mother is a job I would not give up for any thing in this world.
Motherhood is a time of Joy and Fulfillment
My 7yr old read a book to me this morning titled, “What Moms Can’t Do.” By Douglas Wood. The book was meant to be funny but it made me more than a little misty eyed.
The story states that: There are lots of things that regular people can do but moms can’t.
- Moms can’t wait to wake kids up in the morning.
- They can’t make the beds without lots of help.
- Moms can never pick out just the right clothes
- And they have trouble keeping things cleaned up.
- Moms can’t have Yummos with purple marshmallows for breakfast, only coffee or tea, or yogurt or bran flakes…YUCK!!
- They need a little advice when packing lunches
- Moms can’t run very fast, and sometimes when she’s driving and we are all in the back seat, moms can’t hear themselves think.
- Moms are not good at saying good bye…even to the teacher.
- Moms can’t push grocery carts fast enough
- And sometimes they need help opening doors.
- Moms really don’t like to watch movies by themselves, and sometimes they need protection during the scary parts…they feel much better with someone on their lap.
- Moms can’t let go of a hug without a kiss…or two…or nine.
- But there’s one thing they do better than almost anyone….
- And that is... love you.
Every word was true! I felt teary eyed when he was done reading, and he looked at me and declared, “Mommy, this is you in this story!” I looked at him and a light bulb suddenly went off in my head.
A Mother's Investment
I looked around at my other two boys. My 5 year old was drawing me a picture of a dinosaur, and the baby was trying to climb out of his playpen. I suddenly fast forwarded in my mind to a future time when they will all be men and getting ready to leave me, and an understanding dawned on me.
After the joy, or nervous apprehension of a positive pregnancy test, and then 9 months of anticipation and discomfort, and a birthing experience, that for each of my babies, was a unique adventure, I have been responsible for their lives for as long as they have lived.
I rocked them and fed them and hugged them as babies.
I changed poo, and pee, and cleaned puke ups off some of my best clothes.
I watched them take their first steps, and say their first words.
I cried more than either of them did on the first day of kindergarten.
I pray over them at night while they sleep…and kiss them for the hundredth time that day.
I am their biggest fan… I scream till I’m hoarse at their soccer games
I would…right now… be willing to give my life as a sacrifice for theirs.
If I do nothing as their Mom, they may not eat, have clean clothes, get to and from school, get to their play dates, or their games and practices, or have a shoulder to cry on when they are hurt or sad or afraid.
Raising Real Men
I’m teaching them everyday in some small way, how to be kind and respectful, to the little girls. I’m teaching them how to pray, and pick up after themselves, and make their beds in the morning, and put away their own laundry, and never leave the toilet seat up.
I am doing my part, to make my sons into great men....motivated, educated, intelligent, kind, considerate, tidy, and spiritually connected.
After all this work and emotion, love and patience, time, sacrifice and sometimes risk…they will all eventually bring home another woman. This will be the woman, who will take over my responsibilities in many of those parts of their lives that have meant so much... and been so fulfilling to me.
The Mother-In-Law Syndrome
According to the bible, They are supposed to leave me and cleave to their wives. For any mother this is a tall order... a lot to stomach. I mean, the way I see it, the person who steps in to be the lady in my sons’ lives has therefore just got to be qualified….hence the “mother –in –law syndrome”.
If I could, I would choose my son’s wives, but unfortunately, that’s not how life works. I mean, I’m not raising Momma’s boys. I was once a single woman and was certain that I did not want a Momma’s boy.
Where’s the balance? As a mother, I know I only want what is best for my babies, even when they are no longer babies. But they must ultimately choose. For me the odds are not great enough that they will pick women who will give them the kind of unconditional love that I have given them throughout their lifetime.
I think about the fact that based on my own experience as a wife, I learned that some of the secret ingredients to keeping a man truly happy in a marriage, is to do some of those things that his mom used to do for him. Like, praising him and admiring his accomplishments…being his biggest fan…loving him unconditionally for who he is…letting him have the opportunity to impress you, and showing you are impressed…supporting his endeavors without smothering him…treating him with fairness and respect. My sons need these things now and it doesn't change after they're married.
I expect my son’s wives to be this for them and more. Once they leave to go cleave, I won’t be there to provide for their needs anymore. Like so many moms, I have never been able to watch from the sidelines, if my child was hurt or in danger. It would be extremely difficult for me to stand by in silence as my son suffers after making a bad choice...so my question is this: Why is the ability to do this considered a quality admired in a "good" mother-in-law?
As a wife, I know that a meddling, over involved mother-in-law, makes a marriage relationship really rocky. I won’t ever put my sons in a position to choose between me and their wives. Our roles are different, but some parts do overlap, and as a mother I want to make sure that those roles that used to be mine, are going to be taken over by someone who may do an even better job.(although I may never admit that)
A Mother's Protective Feelings Never Fade
Wow…motherhood has been transforming and teaching me in many ways. I appreciate things now, that were not so relevant to me before. One important revelation has been the realization that a mother does not want to be a bad mother-in-law to her son’s wives. She has natural expectations based on her motherhood experiences, and is protective of her offspring even after they are all grown up.
Do you ever get the uncomfortable feeling that somehow your husband's Mom is playing silent judge?...Well...there you go, now you know! She may mean well, but she can't help herself.
The difference between a good mother in law and a bad one is accepting the fact that your children will leave the nest and determining how you can best continue to give your support and love even after your children have moved on into matrimony.
I want for my sons a wife who loves them the way I have, and then some, minus the giving of orders of course. I'm sure thats one thing my sons won't miss....who does?
I would say to the mothers of girls. Don’t teach your daughters to be hard on men, or that all men are dogs, or that they should take a man for all he’s got, because there are many mothers like me who are trying to raise men that are worthy of the best of a woman’s love…
I can't imagine a mother who doesn't share this sentiment.
The disclaimer.. For Daddy
My sons' dad is my rock...don't know how I would do it without him, But this is an article about motherhood, and being a future mother-in-law. My hats off to the women out there who are raising boys to be men with no help, I am rooting for you big time, because even with all the help I have, it is a daunting task