Maybe you haven’t heard the news but Favorite First Born proposed last week. Woot Woot! Big Jon and I are so excited that he has found a beautiful, Godly young woman to share his life with. 🙂 Plus, what fun! Another wedding!
All this got me to thinking about the changes that life brings. I’ve spent the better part of my life being a mother to my sons. It’s been my job and I have loved it. When Favorite Second Son married three years ago I took on an entirely new role. One that is often a bit difficult, challenging, even despised. I became the Mother-in-Law. Queue eerie music – Dum, dum, dummmm .
Side-note: You may wonder why I use the word “Favorite” so often. It all began when I started to refer to Big Jon as my Favorite Husband 🙂 After a while I began to tell each of my sons that they were my Favorite First Born, Second Son, Third Son and Baby. And of course this has continued to include the loves of their lives and so on. 🙂
Back to our regularly scheduled program…
As with most changes and challenges in my life, I met this one head on. I’d like to share what I believe are the 5 keys to being a Favorite Mother-in-Law. (Note the tongue-in-cheek)
- One mother is enough. She already has a mother, she doesn’t need another one. This is a tricky one. Take your relationship cues from your DIL. Be a blessing to her, not a b@*#%! Find common ground and talk about that. Find things you both enjoy and do that. Give and take.
- Holidays do not have to land on a certain date. They can be any time the kids can make it. (Although there is one caveat – a full nest is a must! ) I was blessed to have awesome bonus parents. We celebrated Christmas every single year and every one of us was in attendance. It just was never on December 24th or 25th. It was whenever all of us could be together. This incredible gift resulted in wonderfully less stressful holidays for everyone, and Mom got a full nest. 🙂 Thanks Mom and John for the gift of flexibility.
- Your daughter-in-law is a gift not only to him, but to you. Clearly a DIL is a beautiful gift to your son, but don’t miss the blessing she is to you! She will have super ideas, like keeping a small garbage can under the sink so you can put it onto the counter when peeling things. (Shout out to my Favorite Navy Wife!) She will share fun things with you about your son that will make you thank God that somehow he turned out. She will care for him when he is sick, sad, frustrated, lonely. She will remind him to call you occasionally. She will protect his heart with her life. And she can be a friend to you if you let her.
- The voice of experience is not always required. Yes, you probably have been through something similar. You might know something about the situation. You might even have a solution. That doesn’t mean your DIL wants to hear about it. Let them learn on their own. Make some mistakes. Live a little. I’m not going to lie, this is where I struggle. I am a fixer. Usually, if you have a problem, I’m thinking of a solution. My son’s know this about me. Let’s face it, they are guys. It doesn’t bother them. 🙂 But I really shouldn’t try to fix my DIL. She gets to be the wife and figure it out on her own. That’s half the fun of marriage isn’t it?
- Remember that although he is the center of your world, she is the center of his. You carried him, birthed him, raised him, tolerated him, loved him, and sacrificed more than anyone will ever comprehend for him. Still, God’s plan for your son involves leaving and cleaving. And that is a really good thing.
I am so honored and excited to go down this road again with FFBs new Favorite Fiance!
Any other Favorite Mother-in-Laws out there? Feel free to add to the keys, I’d love to hear from you 🙂