How to be a good mother

How to be a good mother

I adore my daughter-in-law. I also realize that not every mother got as lucky as I did.

Whether your daughter or, son-in-law is a blessing or, a nightmare, it’s not going to do you a bit of good to fight it! The obvious reason for this is that she or, he are likely to be the mother or, father of your grandchildren. A less obvious, still just as important reason is that she or, he will likely be married to your child for (let’s hope) a very long time.

So, here goes…a few suggestions on how to be a good mother-in-law:

1) Hold your tongue. As difficult as this may be for you to set into practice, it will pay off in the long run. I think it probably unnecessary to elaborate as to the reasons why.

2) Offer advice whenever it is asked of you (and it will be if you have followed suggestion #1), only remember to be thoughtful and respect the fact that your daughter or, son-in-law is of a different generation and may not have the same tastes nor, views on everything. Try not to judge them. They are young and still learning, too. And, you may be surprised, — they may teach you a thing or, two. (Ouch!)

3) Offer your assistance whenever possible (housework, shopping, babysitting), particularly as grandchildren begin to come along. These will be stressful times as many mothers head back to the workplace after the new baby is about 3 months old, many by neccessity rather than by choice. Your help and wise advice can be a thing of great value. Just be careful not to seem too bossy. A new mother’s emotions can play havoc with her right now and even if you take great care not to offend, she can be highly sensitive to any criticism of "her way of doing things".

*Sometime ago, my daughter-in-law’s feelings were hurt rather badly when I said something insensitive, never meaning to offend her. She graciously said nothing to me; it was my son who "let me know" how I had upset her. He told me that she loved and looked up to me so much that at the first hint of my disapproval of her, she felt devastated. It had broken her heart. I was not aware that she had gone into the bedroom and wept. I felt just awful. So, don’t think your opinion of them doesn’t matter. It does!

4) Tell your child’s spouse how much you appreciate them for the way they care for your son or, daughter and grandkids, — for all they do every day to keep the home, cook wholesome meals, "bring home the bacon", and spend quality time with the children. If you are too uncomfortable or, embarrassed to tell them to their face, write a card or e-mail. But, don’t just assume they know that you know!

5) Give them space. Every new couple (and old one for that matter) needs their space! Try not to "run over there" every other day unannounced. This is a big thorn in the side of any marital relationship when it comes to in-laws, — fathers-in-law, too! (But, not so much.) Respect their privacy. Some couples, — the more loosey-goosey, love-to-socialize, "drop-by-anytime" types, will probably be fine with a little less structure, but use your judgement. It is usually best to call first and, try not to overstay your welcome. Remember, they will most likely want you to come by more often, if only given time to miss you!

Lastly, love ’em…just love ’em.


Add a comment



Text commentary: