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All the reasons why I love my mother-in-law

She adjusts to (and respects) her daughter-in-law’s parenting style

All the reasons why I love my mother-in-law

It’s time we pay some tribute to some unsung heroines in our lives—our mothers-in-law. I realize this may be a touchy subject, but just hear me out.


Full disclosure: I won the MIL lottery—BIG TIME. I am beyond #lucky, but realize that some mamas struggle with this VIP in their lives—which probably explains why my friends refer to my mother-in-law as a “unicorn.”

Sure, you may have battled over flowers at your wedding or bickered about how to change diapers properly, but you might have more in common with your partner’s mama than you realize. And even if you’re polar opposites, perhaps the two of you could connect over the fact that she loves your husband as much as you do.

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Every mama deserves a unicorn, er, mother-in-law like mine. But what makes her so special and what do good mother-in-laws do to earn their daughter-in-law’s praise?

First, she gave birth to- and raised her son well—very well. It is because of her that he reveres women and is a devoted dad who worships the ground his daughters walk on. She led by example, showing him what a strong, confident female looks like and taught him to deeply respect and support women.

She doesn’t hesitate to call her son out when she needs to. Rather than protecting her baby boy at all costs, she will support and defend her daughter-in-law if warranted (possibly disappointing her son). Sorry, dear.

She doesn’t meddle—like, EVER. She understands that her son has a life partner now and his marriage is just as important as his relationship with mama. Hello, Fairy Mother-in-Law!

She offers opinions without passing judgment. She has a way of suggesting things in a non- offensive, casual manner. You can take it or leave it. No pressure.

She helps without prying. She steps in to save the day and welcomes the opportunity without any strings attached.

She gives her daughter-in-law space to transition to life with an infant and her new family unit on our terms.

She quietly and thoughtfully chips in with essential tasks around the house and thereby allows her daughter-in-law to navigate those foggy days of new mamahood more easily.

She shops for groceries and organizes friends to deliver meals after her daughter-in-law gives birth to her grandchild(ren). Imagine someone showing up at your doorstep delivering scrumptious feasts fit for a queen for two weeks. Cue angels singing…

She adjusts to (and respects) her daughter-in-law’s parenting style rather than trying to force her views on her. This includes “back when she was a young mother…” stories, btw.

On family vacations, she volunteers for the midnight feeding shift with her extremely colicky grandchild and keeps her in her room to give her daughter-in-law at least one night of decent sleep.

She is a great nurse. She comes over (without being asked!) to bring her daughter-in-law soup and makes her tea. She also gets her grandkids from school those days and entertains them at her house until her son gets home. #AngelOnEarth

She welcomes and accepts everyone with open arms.She’s the embodiment of ‘zero judgments--just love.’

Mama, as you can clearly tell, I adore my MIL—I understand all too well that may not be the case for everyone. BUT a good rapport with your husband’s mama may be within your reach, too.

Most mothers-in-law probably have good intentions and want to connect with their daughters-in-law. After all, they love their baby boys and only want the best for them, right? They want to be part of your village (and you could probably use her help, too!), even if it doesn’t always come across that way.

Take a chance, mama. Make the connection. Bridge the divide and take that first step toward building the beautiful relationship you deserve with your mother-in-law.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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