13 Things Your Daughter-in-Law Won't Tell You
For the Daughters-in-Law
How Well Do You Get Along With Your Mother-in-Law?
For the Mothers-in-Law
How Well Do You Get Along With Your Daughter-in-Law?
More About Daughters-in-Law....
My response to the May 2009 Reader's Digest Article, "13 Things Your Mother-in-Law Won't Tell You"
First of all, the Reader's Digest article did open my eyes in some ways to how a mother-in-law might feel. It made me understand mother-in-laws a little better and empathize more readily. However, the article also made me feel like mother-in-laws are the innocent victims, while the new bride is someone evil who kidnaps their son and holds him captive. While I'm sure mother-in-laws don't all feel this way, I want to present a very real side of a daughter-in-law.
Both mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are victims-- not of each other, but of time and nature and destiny Yet both women stand to be blessed in some ways by the new circumstances.
Here's my response, from a daughter-in-law's heart:
1. Mother-in-Law: I spent a couple decades being the leading lady; now I have a character role. It hurts to be downsized.
Daughter-in-Law: I have been waiting a couple decades to get this "big break". I need to be leading lady to someone, too. But you still do have an important role. I know he loves his mother and that's how it should be.
2. Mother-in-Law: I know he's your husband now, but he's still my son.
Daughter-in-Law: I know he's your son, but he's my husband. We chose each other, and we have to stick together now. You are still his family, but I am the one he is building a new family with.
3. Mother-in-Law: You don't seem very confident about yourself. The littlest comment from me is taken as a criticizm, so I'm very careful what I say around you.
Daughter-in-Law: Well, honestly I'm not very confident. I've never been married before!! And you're right, I'm sorry, sometimes I tend to twist what you say.
4. Mother-in-Law: Every year I send you a birthday present, but you never even pick up the phone to thank me. This year I said, "That's it. No more." Yet look at me: I'm about to send another present. I guess that's how I am.
Daughter-in-Law: I do say thank you. I am thankful for any gift you give me.
5. Mother-in-Law: We mothers say to our children, "I want you to be happy." And we mean that. What we don't say is, "But I would like to be happy, too."
Daughter-in-Law: We want YOU to be happy, but we would like to be happy, too. You have a husband and other children. We have each other, and we have to make our marriage grow.
6. Mother-in-Law: I've bought and sold 13 houses in my life. Why won't you ask for my advice?
Daughter-in-Law: Because we are learning things for ourselves. And we DO ask you for advice, but ultimately we want to make our own decisions and not feel like you are judging everything we do by what YOU would do.
7. Mother-in-Law: When I come to visit you, I'm not coming for a white-glove inspection. I'm just coming to see the family.
Daughter-in-Law: So, you're offended by the fact that I respect you enough to clean my house before you arrive? Thank you for coming to see us. I'm going to continue to try to make your visit more comfortable by cleaning my house.
8. Mother-in-Law: When I really want to talk to my son privately, I don't call your house. I call his cell phone.
Daughter-in-Law: I'm honestly not sure what this means. Why are you calling him privately anyway? We are married, and secrets are not the best idea.
9. Mother-in-Law: I'm so happy that you allow my son--your husband--to visit me on Mother's Day. It's a long trip and a big expense. I'm truly appreciative.
Daughter-in-Law: You're his mother! I am not the big bad wolf. Of course I want him to be able to visit his mother on Mother's Day!!
10. Mother-in-Law: My dirty little secret: I'm afraid if I don't get this right, you'll cut me off.
Daughter-in-Law: My dirty little secret: I'm afraid if I don't get this right, you won't respect me and my husband.
11. Mother-in-Law: I'm in competition with your mother. She takes you on vacation every year and buys you things I can't afford. All I can do is love you and babysit for you. I hope that's enough and that it's appreciated.
Daughter-in-Law: First of all, I don't know whose mother this is, but it's not mine. My mother loves me and helps me whenever she can. She sometimes buys me things she knows I will enjoy, but she cannot afford a lot either. Sometimes I think you read into things too much. I appreciate anything anyone gives me.
12. Mother-in-Law: Whenever I stay at your house, you always have my room ready, my towels, everything. You do all the right things. I'm lucky to have you!
Daughter-in-Law: You're welcome. We love you, and want you to be as comfortable as possible.
13. Mother-in-Law: I cherish the refrigerator magnet you gave me; "Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill."
Daughter-in-Law: What? I gave that to you? Those are kind of mean words. I am not even sure what to say to that....