My Mother-In-Law, Myself

Here’s a multiple choice question for you. My mother-in-law is A) meddling B) critical C) not understanding D) none of the above. If you answered D, you are correct.

Logan, Me and my MIL

My mother-in-law lives in Norway, but we’re quite close. She’s very nice, yet also very strong-willed and opinionated. I’m also strong-willed and not shy on sharing my opinion, but what makes our relationship work so well is that we have a healthy dose of respect for each other.

Relationships with mother-in-laws can be tricky. It’s like a tale of two queens in one kingdom. They’re the mother, they’ve watched your partner grow up, guiding them along the way. When you come into the picture it’s like there’s a new queen in the castle, new rules and now your partner is listening to someone else’s guidance: yours. (Well, at least we hope our partners are listening to us…)

I remember the first defining moment between me and my MIL. It was shortly after Hubby and I married and she and I were hanging out in her kitchen. She turned to me in her sweet accent and eagerly asked if we were going to start having kids. I told her no, we were going to wait a bit.

She frowned and asked if I was sure, because it would be nice to start a family. I paused to ponder how to phrase my answer. One of the great things about Norwegians is their brutal honesty, so I told the truth. We wanted to have kids, but I wanted to spend time working on my career first, so babies had to wait. She frowned again and then said: “Well that makes sense. I tell (my daughter) to wait to have kids, so why shouldn’t it be the same for you?”

And just like that we moved on to something else. She never asked me about having grandchildren again. That’s how we work, we have starkly honest conversations and we can agree to disagree with no hard feelings. It all comes down to respect and over the years it’s created a very close bond.

When she stayed with us for three weeks for Ethan’s birth, it was great to have such unconditional support. When Hubby was in Florida on business a week after the birth, my MIL and I had an efficient rhythm in running the household together. And each evening we’d empty a bottle of red wine over a girlie movie that took twice as long to watch because we’d pause it and talk about all kinds of random things.

I’ll always be  thankful for those days we spent as just us, together. Her unconditional love. Her compliments on how I handled my cantankerous 3-year-old. Even listening objectively to my gripes about my husband, her firstborn son. I’ll be eternally grateful for our relationship and I wish that kind of blessing for others. I know most folks don’t have this type of relationship with their MIL, which makes me all the more appreciative of mine.

7 responses to “My Mother-In-Law, Myself

  1. That’s awesome 🙂
    I have a terrific MIL, but we’re not close at all. You know my sense of humor and she’s very literal and a little naive so anytime I say something in my usual sarcastic way she says,”Really?!” And it’s just not funny anymore when you have to keep explaining yourself 😦 , and then sometimes I come across as little mean or bitter or something, when again, it’s just the sarcasm…but some people just don’t pick up on it.
    Still, she’s a wonderful MIL and completely understands the differences between us. She never comes over uninvited or gives unsolicited parenting advice. She’s a super clean freak and knows that I only clean about twice a year and it doesn’t bother her. I’ve told her that she’s more than welcome to come over and scrub my house all she wants but she’s never taken me up on the offer (boo!).

  2. Jane and I had a similar relationship, we had a few bumps in the road, but for the most part, we got along swimmingly. We would go to Christmas plays together, shop together, and work together. I really do miss her. I am so glad you have that and more:-)

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog! It’s great you’re close with your MIL. Mine is great too and I hope to get closer to her. I’ve only been married to my husband for a year, so there’s time.

  4. Visiting from SITS. What a wonderful post! You sure got it correct… respect is what is needed and to ‘agree to disagree’ if you have a difference of opinion. I see my MIL as she lives only a couple miles away, which has been wonderful for the children.

  5. I love my mom-in-law … in fact, we affectionately call each other mom & daughter -in-love … because it’s so much sweeter! Thanks for sharing!

  6. My mother-in-law and I have a wonderful relationship as well. It’s so rare nowadays!

  7. It’s great to hear what a wonderful relationship you have with your MIL. I agree that it all comes down to respect, and unfortunately my MIL has none for me. She feels her son could have done better. It’s gotten even trickier as we’ve started our family. Oh well, que sera, sera…

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