Whatever you do, do not buy the egg pan!
After many years of marriage, Big Jon and I have found our way through the brambles with mother-in-laws and father-in-laws. We have worked through a few issues, been through a few ups and downs and are now at an acceptable cruising altitude for everyone involved. And then… Our children start to get married and introduce more in-laws to the mix!
Five years ago this summer Favorite Second Son married Favorite Navy Wife. Poor thing, not only is she a first-born, an experiment for her own parents, but she became our first Daughter-in-law! More experimentation. 🙂
She has been such a trooper over the years. Putting up with our successes and more than a few failures as new in-laws. The truth is, being a Mother-in-law and/or a Father-in-law can be tough stuff. There is a real learning curve to it and today I’d like to just be very real with y’all about it.
So last week, I traveled to visit Favorite Second and his beautifully pregnant wife to deliver a baby crib they had purchased while visiting us. While there, Favorite Navy Wife (FNW) and I hung out together working on the nursery for baby while hubby was working. We had such a fun time sewing, creating, shopping, eating, watching The Bachelor with her girlfriend and just being together.
The thing is I’m blessed that my Warriors have chosen wisely. I’m so lucky that the 2 that are married have chosen women who complete them. These girls are the missing pieces of their family puzzle. What a gift!
I realize that much of the reason we get along so well is that is that they are fabulous women, but some of the reason is because I choose to make it so. I choose to like these women. I choose to engage with them. I choose to build relationships that are honoring to my warriors and to the Lord. I choose to love them because my warriors do. And they all know it.
Even still, in the midst of our visit, I found myself saying and doing things that I did not realize I was doing and I did not like it. As much as I try not to be my own mother, I find myself doing the same crazy things that she did to Big Jon and me when we were young. Even the things that made me feel small and incompetent as a wife and young mom.
It all started when I was making eggs.
3 Things NOT to do as a Mother-in-Law
- Do NOT buy the egg pan.
It is so tempting to pick up a little item here and a little item there that you see that they need, but don’t do it. Life is about choices – let them make their own. Probably they don’t have a small egg pan because they have chosen to have something else instead at this time.
My mom would come and visit us and be frustrated that we were out of Kleenex and were using TP at the time. That our broom was in a sad state and so on. Off to Walmart she would go to get Kleenex and a new broom. NOW I have realized that she was just being kind, but at the time I felt like a complete failure because the truth was we were waiting for payday to purchase those items.
Hold yourself back – don’t buy the egg pan!
- Do NOT take things personally.
It’s their home, their car, their dog, their nursery. It’s OK to through your ideas out there, but that is all they are – your ideas. As parents, we have to be able to let go of our need to parent our children. They are adults and get to make their own decisions. The warriors and their wives have the ultimate say.
This became perfectly clear while we were working on the baby’s nursery. Having had 4 Warriors and no Pixies I was kind of excited, I admit, to work in a little pink, a little ruffle, a little glittery trim here and there. But alas, it was not to be. Her Mama and Daddy have different ideas, and guess what? They turned out to be beautiful ones!
- Do NOT jump into the discussion.
Very important! And very difficult! If there is a disagreement or even a hint of a discussion, do NOT jump into the conversation with your opinion!
I found and still find this so hard. Being that my mind is always moving so quickly often times my mouth opens and speaks before I’ve thought it through enough. This is not recommended. Fortunately Favorite Second and FNW realize I am a work in progress and they are pretty good at letting this one go. Thank goodness!
Having Daughter-in-Laws is such a fun part of my life! But we are never too old to learn, are we?
What have you learned from your experience as an in-law? I would love to hear all about it!