Monday, February 3, 2014

Dear Mother-in-law, It's time to LOOSEN the STRINGS

No one can comprehend the joy you felt when you first held your bundle of joy in your hands; it's a moment only you can understand. As he grew older, you were there for him, caring to his every whim, teaching him the right path to follow and making sure he grows up to be a fine young man. When he left for college, you were filled with mixed emotions- happy that he was pursuing his dream and unhappy that he was far away from you, you called every evening and drove down to see him as much as you could. He was like your 'second husband' until he came home from college one day, gushing with excitement about how he has met the girl of his dreams...Wait a minute.... you are not the girl of his dreams?

She shows up and looks or acts nothing like you. She is playful and laughs out loud, she acts like she's already part of the family even though you haven't given your stamp of approval. Whenever she comes around, she wants to help in the kitchen and she has ideas that are very different from yours when it comes to YOUR son's taste buds. Whenever he looks at her, he lights up like a puppy that has just seen its owner and you can't help but watch in annoyance as he fusses over her and vice versa. Suddenly, he's not your sweet little boy anymore and he's talking about moving out and starting a life with this girl that does not know half the trouble you went through to bring him up! How dare she steal your son?!!! Who on earth does Miss skinny legs think she is?

Dear mother-in-law, it is time to loosen the strings! It is hard to watch your son divide the attention he used to shower on you by two so he can give half of it to another woman he didn't know till he turned 25, but it is important that you understand, he is grown!!! Mothers can be over-protective and sometimes over-bearing but when the time to leave and cleave arrives, let sleeping dogs lie.

Your daughter-in-law should not be perceived by you as a competitor for your son's affections so do not involve her in your power-tussle games. She has stolen his heart just like you stole the heart of your husband. Don't compete with her for that. When you go to visit, don't eye her every move and criticise her every offer; if the soup is too hot, don't remind your son at the dinner table that he hardly ever ate spicy foods while you were bringing him up. If she's cooking it that way, accept that's how he enjoys his soup since he moved out. Her kitchen is her kitchen, that's where she's queen. Don't encroach on her territory and make changes that are unnecessary. Even when they are necessary, rather put them forward as suggestions rather than orders. Don't point out that he gives her more money than he gives you. She's his wife, he's her man- ordained by God to provide for her and protect her. Let her enjoy that!

Don't compete with your daughter-in-law for attention; I have heard of mothers-in-law that insist on sleeping in the same bedroom with their married sons. That is just so wrong on every level. No one shared your matrimonial bed with you, so why should you make life difficult for your daughter-in-law? If as a daughter-in-law, you were mistreated, imagine how you felt and try not to make your son's wife feel the same way. See her as one of your daughters and treat her the same way you would treat your child. She might not live up to your standards; she might be the worst cook on earth, the most annoying person you can think of, perhaps, she is not the type to get her hands dirty around the house...whatever the case, respect your son's love for her. Give her good advice like you'd give your own daughter. When she does something that offends you, jeez don't wait for your dear son to return home and rush to report his wife like you are in kindergarten! Straighten things out with her and don't mention it to your son if she has apologised. Don't keep an eye out constantly waiting for her to make an error you can build up on.

Marriage needs a lot of support from family members and it is important to remember married couples need a lot of space to spend time with themselves, so dear mother-in-law, don't go visiting for six to eight weeks. You have your own home, don't turn your son's home into your second home. Don't go visit and become an immovable piece of furniture that is constantly bickering in the background. Let dear daughter-in-law enjoy her home, her privacy and her man.

It is sometimes difficult to accept a woman that comes from nowhere and steals the heart of your bundle of joy but accepting her, loving her and treating her like she's yours will not only give her peace. It will give you peace as well as your son whom you love so much. Loosen the strings!


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