Monday, January 14, 2013


With Hilary’s wedding fast approaching, I have been thinking a lot about my new role and title I will have - “mother in law”.  The mother in law has long been a common topic for stand-up comedians.  And who hasn’t heard plenty of the mother in law jokes?  Stepping into a new role with negative models to guide you is difficult.  I know what I don’t want to be.  I’ve seen some cold, critical mothers in law and heard some horror stories.

But, on the other hand, I also know what I want to be  --  a loving, kind mother-in-law.  I know I want to build a lasting relationship with my new son-in-law, Ethan.  I know I want him to enjoy being in my company and feel like a truly welcome member of our family.  I know that if I make the effort to build a strong relationship with Ethan it will also have a positive effect on his and Hilary’s marriage.

For the past several months, I have been asking for advice and reading articles on being a mother-in-law.  My findings?  Relationships do not happen overnight; they take time to create a bond. ( I have an advantage in this area since Hilary and Ethan have been dating for three and a half years.)  One article I read shared that you should approach your son-in-law with an open heart, loving and welcoming.  And, I couldn’t agree more.  There is always room in my heart for one more person to love (and worry about lol).

Some advice I’ve received or read and want to put into practice:

Rarely give advice but listen and compliment often
Treat your son-in-law as a friend, not like you are his mother.
Remember that your son-in-law is a person with his own interests, feelings, needs, beliefs, opinions, history and traditions. Don’t look for faults or criticize.
Don’t  make negative comments to your daughter about her husband.  This causes hurt feelings and can drive a wedge between you and your daughter.
Always remember that you are a guest in their marriage and home!
Be willing to let your son-in-law make mistakes.
Be patient and forgiving!  And…ask for forgiveness when you are
  wrong or have overstepped your boundaries as a mother-in-law.
Don’t gossip about your son-in-law to other family members.

Maybe the best piece of advice I received was from an older lady.  When I asked her how to be a good mother-in-law to Ethan, she said, “Love him to pieces and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!”  (Probably good advice for many of my relationships!!!)

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