November

November

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thoughts On Being A Mother-in-Law


I have been going through my posts from last year.
There are some that still jump out at me and this is one
of them. When you are first handed that tiny baby,
there is always those firsts that I held onto and treasured
in my heart, first tooth, first step, all of those sweet things.
I was so excited when my kids got engaged because I was
going to get some more kids. But, the day it dawned
on me I was going to be a mother-in-law was a huge shock.
All of a sudden those terrible jokes became about me.
There wasn't a lot of material out there when
I first became a Mother-in-law so this is a bit of what I found
after months of digging.

When the kids first got married, one of the things that scared me to death was how do I stop being a Mother now and let my now adult children be all that God wants them to be? How do I stay out of their lives and let them live. I even joked I would write a book called " Hands off Parenting," Thankfully, when ever I am in doubt about what I should be doing, I can turn to Elisabeth Elliot and she has already trod the path that I am on. I found this little list and it has helped me so much. I know I have lapses and blow everything I am trying so hard to not do. But, God has given me the best of people to practice on and they are so wonderfully forgiving to me.
( Thank you)
So here is a really great list:

How to be a Good Mother-in-Law
1. Thank God for this acquired son or daughter. ( I do, I am so thankful for God's Gift to me.)
2. Treat this man and woman as adults with adult responsibility.
3. Remember your daughter or son now belongs to her or his spouse.
4. Allow them to form a new family---it's theirs, not yours-now
5. Expect it to be different from you and your family.
6. Let the newly formed family do things its own way.
7. Do not dish out gratuitous advice (Which is what I am doing now.)
8. Pray for them daily.
9. Never criticize the "in law" to his or her spouse ( I would add the rest of the members of the family or friends.)
10. Encourage them in every way you can think of.

I am and will always be learning and will hopefully get this better because I have 4 more chances to practice.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, for His wonderful works to the children of men!

(Psalm. 107:6)

14 comments:

  1. Great advice. I have reached this point yet. But, I am already contemplating, how I will handle it. I have the most wonderful Mother-in-law now. Just pray I can use her as a role model. (along with HIS guidance) wonderful post.

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  2. The advice is golden. I don't anticipate being one for a while. Getting a driver's license will be the nearest milestone for any of my girls. I think the things on the list are all part of letting go and letting your own child be an adult. I so hope my girls' choices include good in-laws. My own situation there is not a good one at all. I would feel terrible if my girls had to have something like that. The trade-off on that for me is a wonderful spouse. Like anything, I guess you take the good with the bad.

    In the first part of the post you mentioned when they hand you a tiny infant.Sixteen years ago today, I was handed a very tiny infant. So tiny and so early that she had to be air-lifted to a major hospital. Since the year earlier we had lost her baby sister(Stillborn) I was a mess! God is good. She was fine. She is growing to be a lovely young lady who loves the Lord. That tiny infant is almost as big as I am now! Think of me as I try to have everything run smoothly. I think she is highly suspicious. She babysat for friends and they will bring her home just in time for the party.It's weird having her gone most of her birthday, but the friends were nice enough to help out. I forgot to tell them the "story" so they could help keep it a surprise. Oops!
    Blessed Sunday!

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  3. Oh...so remember when I knew I was now going to be the mother-in-law...now over five years. I too was just stopped in my tracks. Even this week I told my daughter-in-law I still don't want to cross the line and I still don't totally know what the line is. I so want to be part of their life and yet not interfere. I think some times I stand back too much!

    I also understood my own mother-in-law so much more.

    I need to go read some more of Elisabeth Elliot...what books have your read of hers? Which do you suggest? I think I told you she was a friend of my daughter-in-law's grandmother...another Godly woman.

    Blessings this Sunday...good post...and thanks for your comments on my post yesterday...it encouraged me! Now all I am hearing is excuses come from our mouths or thoughts...God is really working on this area!

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  4. That line may tend to move now and then, too! Great advice.

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  5. Kim, you are such a great lady!! I know you are a great mother-in-law. I have been blessed with one of those and a great father-in-law too. It means the world to have them in my life and I know yours feel the same!
    Amy

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  6. I am a MIL x 3 now and you are right it is definitely a different role. Right now, though the newlyweds live here in town, I am trying to leave them alone. I have been letting them initiate any visits, phone calls, even texts. Unfortunately I had a MIL who insisted on being in control and interfering. So, I did learn a lot about what NOT to do. Mostly, I just try to love them and be available to help when they need me. Those are some excellent suggestions. The truth is, even though they are married, they still have some growing up to do and we need to give them the space and freedom to do that.When they want our advice, they will ask for it!! :-)

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  7. Kim,I hadn't thought about this until you mentioned it. I know what you mean by wanting to be a good mother in law. I have two basic rules that I follow and try to live by and even though the situations changes my rule doesn't change.
    TREAT PEOPLE AS I WOULD WANT THEM TO TREAT YOU.
    ALLOW PEOPLE THE FREEDOM TO BE WHO GOD WANTS THEM TO BE RATHER THAN WHAT I WANT THEN TO BE.

    Especially as a young adult, I didn't like to be told what to do and what I should choose. My mother in law, rest her soul, even though she had the best intentions and had more experience than me, was constantly meddling in my affairs and saying hurtful things that I wasn't handling very well when pregnant. It made me resent her when I was younger and trying to find my own place in the world. So I vowed to never treat my children or their spouses that way. She had had a difficult life putting up with her mother in law too. I loved her dearly but she really got in the way especially when we were living in the same building.

    Now I have married children and grand kids who will turn 17 in November and my relationship is still very good with my kids and their spouses. I never attach strings to anything I give and they know that they can give it or throw it away with no feeling of guilt because I don't want to burden them.
    I accept the uniqueness of each one as a gift from God. I offer help if they want or need it only. I try not to pass judgment because they are doing their own thing.
    I don't gossip about them and I try to give them a lot of space. I would do anything for them whenever asked. Even in the worst of time I give them space to deal with what they have to deal with by themselves first and ease my way in with love and support. So far it is working beautifully. JB

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  8. Kim I meant. TREAT PEOPLE AS I WOULD WANT TO BE TREATED

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  9. Great post Kim, thank you for this advice, as I need to work on some of them. Getting to know you over this year, I think you would fall in the category of most loved mother in law. Your sweet spirit comes through when you write, especially about your family.
    Hugs,
    Sue

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  10. I still think my husband has the best mother in law ever! Father in law, too. :-)

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  11. What wonderful advice! I have 3 boys and one daughter...of course I am pretty sure I will have (get) to be a mother-in-law one day;)
    This is good to remember....
    Wonderful post!

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  12. These are such good guidelines, and really work as well for our adult children as for them and their spouses.

    I'm blessed to live quite near our daughter and her family, and my husband and I have been blessed with lots of time with our granddaughter.

    Right now, their jobs are in transition, so my role as grandmother may change from one of part time caretaker, to much shorter amounts of time built in around transporting her to and fro day care. We live in times that are so destructive to families. But this isn't the proper place for me to express my feelings on that.

    I just pray that we can help, but never hinder them. One of my granny's sayings was "Every pleasure has its price." So the pleasure of her company this first couple of years, may be paid for by some separation sooner than I'm ready for it. But she is their child, and they are doing all they can to care for her and her future. I trust God to work it all out to whatever will be best for all of us.

    Your posts have brought me peace, so many times when my heart is questing, and asking why?

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  13. such a great list (advice) for all of us who are in the
    mother in law business. i bet you are the world's
    best mother in law ever!

    thank you for your sweet, gentle humor and
    wisdom.

    love,
    lea

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