I can say with confidence that I’m not ‘that’ mother-in-law.
As recent Twitter conversations have gone, folks are shocked that I have a grandchild, much less a daughter-in-law. Those terms do bring on the mental picture of ‘old’, but I’m far from that! Still cool, still brassy, still me. As I told someone last night, I’m 25 in my mind but with more sense and more money. But I digre
I had just a few weeks to prepare for MIL status and figured the best thing to do was to go meet her in person. So passport in hand, I jumped a plane to their European station with an open mind. My son is not the savior of the world. My son is just a human like everyone else. Someone is deserving of him and good enough for him. (MIL mistake #1).
She and I connected right away. Not just through my son but through our similarities in personality. We’re just 18 years apart so I think that bridges the generational gap that can be hard to cross. It was great spending a week getting to know her, not sniff her.
I wasn’t there to interview and find all the reasons why should could possibly be wrong for my son, but to just learn about her and tell her about me.
She may have had a similar outlook as our relationship is separate from him. I don’t have to talk to him through her or vice versa. That’s a formula for disaster if one is of the Queen Mama variety.
We just spent nearly a month together, baby too, and it went very well. I know the difference between a young person’s mind and someone with problems. I consider her a friend as well as the mother of my grandchild and my dil.
As an aside, I did not give out unsolicited pregnancy or baby care advice. If one wants to end up on the ‘outside’ of a situation, let loose with ‘I know better’ behaviors. I hated it as a young mom and wouldn’t dream of doing it now.
I know it takes two to battle and the stories I read and hear about just scream power play between dils and mils. Who needs the drama? If one isn’t your cup of tea, rely on pleasant and fair behavior. If your ‘child’ is old enough to marry, serve their country, be a parent, run a company, graduate college and whatnot, they are old enough to pick their mate. After that, the relationship is theirs to deal with. Bottom line.
The power plays I see in the military community are sad and laughable. They definitely ramp up during deployments. He said, she said, they want, she wants, he won’t tell his parents x, y, z. Parents visiting before the moving van is emptied. Why? Because no one told them "no" and they think they are some sort of royalty, perhaps?
I find the root of that problem to be the son. Cut your cord when you take a wife and be a man. Communicate marital business to your wife and don’t try to please your mother.
The homecoming stories make my brain hurt.
Try to cheat that and you will lose.
Of course I’m not speaking to seriously ugly behaviors or dangerous people, just the perception that these relationships HAVE to be contentious. They don’t. No experience with a son-in-law yet, but I hope our daughter chooses who is best for her. That’s all that matters to us. I don’t hear much about the contentious mil/sil stories but I do know they’re out there.
For what it’s worth, this is what I told myself:
- Open your mind to him/her.
- Do not get involved in their arguments or disagreements. Hang up the phone, shut down the FB messages. (Except in the cases of abuse or criminal shenanigans).
- Realize that your child is not the Messiah. Their poo stinks as much as it did the day they were born.
- Gain a daughter/son that you didn’t have to potty train! ++
- Mother is not followed by ‘Theresa’ or POTUS or Saint. You do not belong at the front of the crowd in their life.
- Get a life and interests of your own.
- You can love another.
Are you facing mother-in-law status or mil ‘issues’?