The Mother In Law Relationship Is Complicated

The conflicts between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws is still going on it has raged throughout all of history. Nearly 2000 B.C. Rebekah complained to her husband, Isaac, that her daughters-in-law were making her life so miserable that she would rather not even be alive. Read Genesis 27:46).

Today, some 4,000 years later, women are still complaining to their husbands about these women! Mother-in-laws are still wondering why out of all the human relationships, the one between them and their daughter-in-laws is the most complicated? Second only to step relationships of course.

There is a built-in-conflict before the relationship even begins: two radically different views of the same man. The daughter in law will see him first as a man; while the mother in law will always see him first as her child.The mother in law comes into the relationship lugging a suitcase bulging with memories. From the sweetness of babyhood through the tyranny of the teen years into adulthood, these memories have indelibly imprinted her heart. She enters into this life phase acutely aware of a door closing in her life as a mother.

The daughter in law comes waltzing in with a suite case empty of everything but confidence and anticipation. She’s eager to swing open the new door and march in and there lies the basis for struggle. Both the mother in law and the daughter in law are naturally territorial when it comes to their family. Standing in the middle of  these two overlapping territories is a man who is the son of one and husband to the other. It’s in everyone’s interest for the son to step out of the overlapping territory and fully into his wife’s territory and the sooner he does this the better.

The parental relationship is secondary to the spousal relationship, yet the bond between a mother and her child is visceral. The phase “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” refers to husband and wife, yet there is little doubt a mother holding her child in her arms feels more “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” toward her child than she does toward her husband. Again, the basis for conflict between a man’s mother and his wife.

This motherly feeling of “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” had been the source of much marital conflict: a mother consciously or unconsciously placing her child before her husband, magnifying her connection to their child. Even the court system typically give more value to the mother-child relationship.

The undeniable connection can easily cause a mother to overstep her territory and interfere with the process of her adult son transferring thus-far primary relationship, the one he has with her  to the one needs to form with his wife. If you are a mother of a son, you fully understand this tendency, because there is a powerful bond between mother and son. A man’s first significant relationship is with his mother. That bond, forged at birth, leaves a permanent imprint on both mother and son. Even if the relationship is broken, it continues to significantly impact both lives. This powerful attachment between mother and son needs to be and must be reassigned when the son introduces another woman into the picture.

Here is a scenario to consider “Suppose your son, yourself and your daughter in law were in a boat together. If the boat capsized and you and your daughter in law were both drowning, who should he save?  You might be saying to yourself, ” A man can always get another wife, but he has only one mother.”  or a daughter in law might be thinking to herself,” well his mother is old any way.” Now, now is that anyway to be thinking?

As a mother you should want your son to have a strong and healthy relationship with his wife. A mother who wants to maintain a close relationship with her son, who truly has his best interests in mind, must willingly step back and fully acknowledge and respect the relationship he is forming with his wife.

Whether she likes the woman or not. There is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by allowing competition to into the in law relationship. While the mother may not view her behavior as being competitive, the truth is that anything she does to maintain her status as the first woman,” whether consciously or unconsciously, will be viewed by the daughter in law as competition.

 Sometimes completely innocent behavior on the mother’s part will be wrongly interpreted this way. Knowing, this the wise mother will refuse to take offense and will carefully watch her behavior until he daughter-in-law is secure in her position. 

 Five years ago my friend Jane’s son  David married a terrific gal named Liz and on the day of their wedding Jane’s mother in law shared some advice with Jane. She said, that she chose to forget everything she had ever knew about her son and let her daughter in law discover him for herself. As any mother can image that is not easy to do. Is it? Jane and her mother in law are truly friends and enjoy each others company.

 Jane, decided  she wanted to have the same kind of relationship with her daughter in law so she decided to take her mother in laws advice and chose to forget everything she ever knew about her son David and let Liz discover him for herself.” It was a choice that has richly rewarded Jane over and over and over again. She said ,she loves how excited Liz gets when she learns something knew about David and Jane enjoys Liz’s excitement,friendship plus she completely understands why her son loves his wife as much as he does.

A successful relationship with your in-law does not necessarily mean you become best friends. It doesn’t necessarily mean enjoying lunch dates or shopping together like Jane and Liz do. Success is simply determining to live peaceably with her by any means. Success is getting up every morning and determining to leave the past in the past. Whatever your history is with your in-law find a way to make admins and move on.

Success is recognizing that at the center of your conflict is a man you both love, children you both love, and finding a way to make room for each of you to benefit from and express that shared love.
Success is consistently acting in love and letting go of the negative emotions you may have toward your in-law,start refusing to let those emotions color the quality of your life for one more minute.

Your love is like a garden, and unless you tend to it, you’ll never reap the full rewards that love can bring.

 

The Wubbolus World OF Grandmothers

Margaret Mead wrote: “The closet friends I have made all through my life have been people who grew up close to a loved and loving grandmother or grandfather.”

In part, she attributed the strong bond between grandchildren and grandparents to the fact that they are united against a “common enemy” the parents.

 It begins to dawn on new grandmothers before that wonderful bundle of joy is brought home from the hospital that this grandmother business can be much more complicated that they had ever imagined.

 When a baby is born, so is a grandmother and that is the beginning of a new love story fresh from heaven. There is nothing for a grandmother to do except love her grandchildren. As days and months follow grandmothers soon learn they can love their grandchildren fiercely, with a passion that can make them hunger for them when they are out of range.

Grandmothers know that their own children love but can they trust them to baby sit? That is an interesting question, isn’t it? You might assume automatically that all grandparents are natural baby sitters but that is not the case in many families.

 Sometimes grandmothers feel like they are auditioning for the role of the” baby sitter grandmother.” Even though your children love you that doesn’t mean that they can trust you with their new bundle of joy. Does that shock you? After all, you are full of motherly wisdom and all that expertise you gained through your years of motherhood. You know how to hold a new-born properly, you are capable of changing their diaper and you know all the ends and outs of bottle feeding. Wait, wasn’t that stomach-down or is it stomach-up just what Dr. Spock advise? 

A wise grandmother will get rid of her’ ” know it all attitude” and ask her little of bundle from heaven parents how they want their child or children cared for and follow their requests because it’s what is best for your grandchild and if your children are happy with you and trusting you then you will have all the Grandmother time you need and that makes for a happy family. 

However with that being said, I suggest that you learn how to pronounce all the tongue twister words in “The Cat In The Hat” books before your grandchild is born. I am recommending this base on an experience that I had while reading to my oldest grandson when he was three or four. He blurted out to me these words to me ” you can’t read very good”, so I don’t want you to read to me any more.

Needless to say I felt crushed but after thinking about it a few seconds I had to agree with him. At the time I didn’t realize I was trying to read made up words by the author Theodor Geisel known as Dr. Seuss. This kind of unexpected situation is not listed in any grandparenting book, so I decided I better get the word out to other grandmothers, so they can be better prepared because there is nothing we enjoy more than our hugs and our reading time with our grandchildren. Is there?

 If you can’t figure out how to pronounce some of the words in your grandchildren tongue twister books ask one of your seasoned grandmothers chances are they have already been through the ranks and will be more than glade to save you from being crushed when your grandchild tells you not to read to them cause you don’t read so good. Welcome to the Wubbolus World of Grandmothers and The Wubbolous World of Dr. Seuss.