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.
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.