Dedicated to My Amazing Mother in Law.
I love my mother-in-law and she loves me. (My husband jokes that she loves me more than him because I gave her grandchildren!) We actually enjoy spending time together and I am more likely than her son to suggest that we get together for dinner! I’ve even asked my husband if he thinks she’s sick of us, but she said she could see us daily! She dreams of a family compound where we can support each other in the years to come, and I love the idea of filling my home with more generations and more love.
My MIL is the most nonjudgemental person I know. She accepts me and my parenting style. I know she doesn’t always agree with everything I choose, but she respects me and her son as parents. I never feel judged by her. Only supported. She gives me advice when (and if) I ask for it. This is an area that I think is hard for a lot of mothers-in-law. Giving unsolicited advice does not usually strengthen a relationship.
I’m lucky to have my MIL in my life and I have been blessed by her “easy life” mentality! She has helped us through dozens of obstacles, brought us groceries, and braved germs to bring us medicine or comfort. Because of her flexible job, I know she’ll almost always answer the phone when we call and she’ll do whatever she can to help. I tend to imagine the 100 worst possible things that could happen and in contrast, she believes most things work out for the best. This grounds me when I’m spinning out of control with anxiety about major changes.
She is generous with her time and energy. She shares her gifts with me and my children. She isn’t afraid of running with the kids’ wild ideas and her divine patience in teaching them to make pasta is a sight to see. She gives my children unconditional love and a safe place to land. She spoils them in all the best ways, with love and hugs and affection. And sometimes with ice cream.
She is an amazing artist! She shares her passion for watercolor with me and the kids. She started working with my children and paints as soon as they could hold a paintbrush. When my son showed interest in painting, she collected his paintings, had them professionally framed, and got them included in a local art walk event! She makes sure our house is stocked with watercolor paper, brushes, and paints.
Because she lives close by, she’s able to help with childcare when we really need a break or a helping hand. She’s our “pinch hitter” and covers an hour here or there for appointments and other commitments. She always has coffee brewed for us and has made us more meals than I could ever count. I know even my own mother appreciates all that she does for us.
When I wanted to start a garden with the kids, guess who was first in line to help? My mother-in-law! She is an expert gardener. She gifted us supplies and her time to get our garden set up. She shares what she knows with my children too. And when it was time to harvest our potatoes, she was up to her elbows in dirt with the kids. I’m not sure who was more excited to find a potato – her or the kids! Seeing how she and the kids love each other is something I treasure.
Finally, she gave me my husband. He is like her and she raised him well. He gives his unwavering support and love to me. She gave me my family and more love than I could ever imagine. I couldn’t do this mom thing without her help.
If you want to nurture your relationship with your own mother-in-law, check out the following tips I’ve learned from my amazing MIL.
- Find her talents, interests, and strengths and learn about them! Encourage her to share her strengths and hobbies with you and your children.
- Remember that she is her own flawed person, just like all of us. Give her grace if she oversteps a boundary and always pick your battles!
- Find opportunities to get to know her better. Think of your relationship with her like any other relationship you have. There will be ups and downs, disagreements, and challenges. If you’re able to work through them, there’s a great reward on the other side.