The Best Thing My Mother-In-Law Ever Did

An Air National Guard mom and wife assist during a promotion ceremony.  (Photo: U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Airman Laura Montgomery)
An Air National Guard mom and wife assist during a promotion ceremony. (Photo: U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Airman Laura Montgomery)

My own mother-in-law raised the best human being in the entire world. Then she reupholstered my couch.

Other SpouseBuzz readers claim that their MILs also raised best-human-beings and most-amazing-men-on-earth. They especially appreciate the kind of moms who raised sons (and daughters) who appreciate strong partners.

But what have those ladies done for us lately?

Mothers-in-law can be an amazing resource for many military families (and a real pain to others). Daughters-in-law who attended our Spouse Experience event at Joint Base Lewis McChord and our Facebook readers put together this list of MIL bests. May you be so lucky!

MIL As Thelma To Your Louise. Nicole Hunt says that during a deployment, her mother-in-law once drove cross-country with her, a toddler and two dogs. “Now she’s flying from DC to Hawaii with me and four children six and under,” wrote Nicole. “I don’t know anyone else who would do that voluntarily!”

MIL Remembers Her Own Milspouse Life. Some of our readers are lucky enough to have a MIL who remembers her own set of deployments and moves from her husband’s military career. “She’s been through it all, so she gets me!” said a JBLM spouse.

MIL as Care Package Sender. “After I gave birth (MIL was there the whole time since hubby was in basic) she gave me a care package that was all about me,” remembers Liz Knutt. “It was a bag from thirtyone, all my favorite junk food, my favorite bath products, and a reminder to always take time for myself. It was seriously the best thing because I (along with everyone else) was totally focused on my son.”

MIL as a Mom Do-Over. Sometimes a mother-in-law is a second chance at having a good mother if you didn’t get one the first time around. Many spouses have told us how their MIL treats them like a true daughter and how much they love the woman who raised their service member. Laura Paxton wrote, “My mother-in-law has become the mother my mom could never be. She taught me how to keep house, and how to cook.”

MIL as Generous Traveler. Many MILs only make their presence known when they aren’t quite welcome -- like at homecomings. The MILs who take the time to visit you and the kids especially on birthdays score a lot of points. If MILs visit OCONUS, I’ve heard they win jewels for their crowns in heaven.

Service members also chimed in on this one by noting that they really appreciate it when their own mom or MIL visits the spouse and kids during deployment. An extra pair of hands and an extra hour of sleep can make a world of difference to a military family.

MIL as Big Picture Minder. An MIL who respects her son or daughter’s role in the military is so appreciated. At JBLM, one spouse said that her MIL is really good about reminding her how many people are affected by her husband’s service. “She reminding me to think of the families and of all the other service members out there puts me in a more generous frame of mind.”

MIL as Grandkid Lover. Moms are happy when kids are happy. So MILs who take the time to be good grandparents are just priceless. “She sends my boys a card for every holiday big and small. Since we are so far away she finds ways to stay connected to them. This year she is sending them a book a month to read,” KA Laing wrote. “What more could I ask for?”

Well, if you are really asking, it seems that those MILs who offer to keep your kids so that you and your service member can go on vacation alone or so that you could run a marathon or so that you could go to a job interview really rock.

MIL as Legacy. Many spouses told us that their MIL had passed away but left a lot of good memories behind them. “I loved my mother-in-law,” said Becky Gorga. “She was an amazing person. Unfortunately, she passed away before my husband and I were married. Oh, how I wish she were still here!”

For those military spouses whose MILs are not quite so enviable as the ones mentioned here, remember that there is always the future. Someday you will probably be an MIL, too. Take notes on what the greats do -- and resolve to follow in their footsteps.

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