I’m a mother of two boys, aged three-and-a-half and one-and-a-half. I deal with a lot of talk about penises and poo. I encounter small corners of my home, FILLED with boogers. I get smothered with cuddles and I kiss a shit-ton of owies.
As a mother of two boys, I know that in a few years, I’ll be faced with extremely smelly bed sheets, incredibly complicated social situations, and attitudes that embody the belief that I’m lame (and know nothing) and they’re cool (and know everything).
I also know (slash hope) that a few years after that, the work I will have put in to support two boys on their respective journeys into manhood, will start to show signs of paying off. My boys will grow up and make independent choices about their lives, but (hopefully) their decisions will be (at least partially) informed by the lessons that I (and their dad) have taught them.
One of those decisions will be who they commit to spending their lives with.
I am acutely aware of the fact that one day, I could very well wind up being a mother-in-law to two different people, and that tends to bring up all of the feels in me because it means that one day, I’ll actually have to share my sons…
Horrible, right? Like, can you even imagine what that’s going to be like?
Our poor mother-in-laws.
I know that some of them can be really scary, (I’ve heard some next-level crazy shit that has made my jaw hit the floor as I said a silent prayer of thanks that I managed to dodge THAT bullet), but the more I think about it, is the worse I feel for these poor women.
Can you honestly just stop for a second and place yourself in your mother-in-law’s shoes?
For me, it’s easy to do.
See, my mother-in-law and I have a lot of common ground. For example, she is the mom of a boy, just like I am. She and I are both on a very short list of women her son loves (and has lived with). We are women who are passionate about our careers. We’re women who love our families. My mother-in-law and I are nothing alike in a lot of ways, but we get each other and we actually enjoy each other – well, I know I enjoy her. And either she’s the Meryl Streep of Parkdale or she enjoys me too.
I get that I might be in the minority. Not everyone loves her mother-in-law like I do mine (and no – I’m not just saying that because I know she reads my stuff. [Hey, Jeannie!]).
I know that a relationship like ours takes mutual respect from both parties (in that sense, I fancy myself super lucky) and I fully understand that this is often the missing piece of the puzzle in situations wherein daughter-in-laws fucking hate their mother-in-laws (and vice versa).
If your relationship with your “MIL” is past the point of no return, then that truly sucks; I can only imagine that that is incredibly difficult for all parties involved.
But if your bone to pick with your mother-in-law can be categorized as in any way “minor” then PLEASE, do yourself a favour and let that shit slide.
Yes! Free yourself! Shake it off! Like a drop of water down a duck’s back. Focus on the good. The commonality. Focus on the love (even if it comes in the form of a mild sugar overdose for your kid). And when in doubt, do that thing that big girls do and imagine yourself on her side of the story – Because guess what? One day (if you’re the mother of a son) her side will be your side and if you don’t understand her now, your future-self certainly will.
I don’t know about you, but I hope my future daughter-in-law will enjoy coming to my house for dinner. I already know that the simple joy of cooking for my son won’t disappear with time.
I hope she’ll appreciate everything I will have taught my son about a woman’s worth.
I hope we’ll have something in common that we can talk about (other than my son). I hope she’ll enjoy my company.
I hope she’ll trust me with her children/my grandchildren because I can only imagine how much love and wisdom I’ll have to impart by the time they come along.
I hope that she doesn’t find me overbearing; I’ll do my best to let my son have a life of his own but I can’t guarantee that I won’t be randomly showing up, just hoping to be a part of it.
If you can relate to any of the above sentiments, then I urge you, cut that mother-in-law of yours some slack. Before she became a grandma, before she became a “MIL”, she was a mom – and as a mom, she had the same dream we all have: The dream of a close, life-long relationship with her son.
Facilitating something so profound for another mother is a blessing in and of itself (it’s also some hella good karma – holla!).
Featured image via Pinterest.