How to be a good Mother -In- Law
What Future Son And Daughter-In-Law Should Know
I promised myself, that I would be the kind of Mother -in-law, my Children could proudly invite to Family gatherings, the kind that would inspire instead of causing Husbands to perspire, shrivel into the background, and Wives to frown at the mere mention of a visit. It appears that one cannot just simply wish it, and make it so no matter how well intentioned; mistakes will be made. As Parents, our Children tend to become the center of our World, our existence, and somewhere between Childhood and Adulthood, we morphed into the dreaded( In-Law).
Mothers, are the gateway to forming a healthy In- Law relationship. We Mothers, who gave Birth to your Future or current Wife(s) or Husband(s), are used to documenting time and age progression via Photographs, we've made it our duty to capture and document each moment.
How To Insult Your Future Son Or Daughter-In-Law Without Trying
Even Mothers who pride themselves on being mindful of other Peoples feelings can sometimes overlook simple etiquette. My Daughter and her Intended came home for a visit, and although I've known, Daryl, since he and my Daughter were both in eighth grade., had, in fact, predicted a union between him and my Daughter, I managed to insult him without saying a word.
Like any Mother I love to frame pictures and have them hanging in every room that will allow for such display, scattering them liberally, in every corner or crevice that would hold them. Pictures that includes past girlfriends and boyfriends. I Have them proudly displayed.
I have created a memorial, a shrine of sorts that detailed my Children's Life, through pictures, each milestone, recorded for prosperity. First feedings, first steps, first date, first drivers License, first car, Prom, High School Graduation, and College. With each relationship that's formed, the camera focuses and captures another Milestone, and that too got added to the long list of achievements.
It wasn't until my Future Son- In- Law stood pensively looking at Pictures, moving from one to the other that I realized, I had unintentionally, made and egregious mistake. The evidence of my Daughters previous Boyfriends, still lined walls, sofa tables, and entertainment centers. My Son-In-Law to be, had been to our home on Several Occasion, had dinner with and celebrated Birthdays with the Family. Without realizing it, I had forgotten to take down those old pictures, and put them in their place of prominence: In a photo album, Innocuously labeled past.
As I watched him move from photograph to photograph, I at that moment, wished that I had been anywhere but in that room, as I came to the realization that, my look back at the past, those pictures I loved, had another person; besides my beautiful Daughter included in it. What I had viewed as an innocent and pleasurable look back on the different stages of seeing my Daughter mature and grow into a Womanhood, was an insult to my future Son-In-Law.
According to reached by Dr. Terri Apter, author of What Do You Really Want From Me?: Learning to Get Along With In-laws. "Time magazine", It was found that 60% of daughters-in-law reported stressful relationships with their mothers-in-law, as opposed to only 15% of sons-in-law. I had somehow managed to become included in that 15% statistics.
Ignorance Is No Excuse
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates.
Showing respect to your son's or daughter's in-laws is indicative of respect we would also like to be afforded. It is the basic rule in order to ensure that happiness reigns supreme. In my defense, my failure was not an indication of how I felt about Daryl, my failure instead was due to ignorance, and a Mothers pride. When I looked at the photographs, I didn't see them through Daryl's eyes. I saw only my Daughter and really was oblivious to the other body who also occupied that space with my Daughter.
With a quiet dignity that I had come to associate with Him, (Daryl, the kind of young Man, any Mother would be proud to call her own), turned towards me with his gentle mannerism, and beautiful smile and a look of hurt lined his features, he told me again, has he always had, how much he loved my Daughter and how beautiful she was in those pictures. Because surely, he had to be at fault for not ensuring that I knew how much he loved my Daughter. As if by reassuring me again, of that love he would be guaranteed a permanent place on my Wall of memories.
The Camera Phone Can Be An In- Laws Worst Enemy
Looking around the room I realized that I didn't have one single photograph of my future Son-In-Law. Not because I didn't love him, or accept him, but because It never dawned on me to upload them from my phone onto my computer, and print them.
Daryl, however, wouldn't know that his pictures are deeply embedded in my phone and that I proudly tag every Friend, Family member to include my Son's, via text, and If the Dog had been on the Cell phone Family plan I would have texted a copy to her also.
All Daryl knew by looking, was, old pictures of my Daughters past boyfriends lined my walls, and nowhere in evidence, were there pictures of him and my Daughter.
How To Rectify A Minor Problem Before It Becomes A battle With The In- Laws
1. Apologize, but be sincere in your apology. Even if you don't like the new Partner your Child/Children have chosen. Often times, we may be the one's creating barriers without realizing it.
2. Remove those old photographs, of past Boyfriends, or Girlfriends, to a less visible place, a special photo album, created just for Exes, or a keepsake box. Although they may be wonderful memories for you, or pure enjoyment as in my case, to see old photographs of my Children. It may be the source of embarrassment to your Child/Children and their new Partner.
3.If there are Children resulting from a previous relationship, it is your duty as an In-Law, to simply move those old pictures to the Grandchild/Children's room, they normally occupy when visiting, involve them in helping to decorate the room, so it doesn't appear to them as if you are also eliminating that parent from the house. As the Grandchild/ Children get older those pictures of their parents during better Day's can hold a place of prominence in their the Grandchildren's homes.
4.Print those pictures from the phone and computer and display them proudly. This minor acknowledgment is one your future or current, Son or Daughter-In- Law will appreciate on the next visit. It may just open up the door to a wonderful relationship.
To be the In-Law that is above reproach, the old adage "Out with the old in with the new". should be adhered to not only as it relates to pictures, but also disagreements, grudges, any perceived wrong, and how you felt about your Child/Children's past significant other.
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