“Ugh this is the worst car seat! Why don’t you have one with the base? I should have gotten the one I saw the other day. It said it was the only car seat you’ll ever need.”
It was hard to hide my agitation as I struggled to install the aforementioned “worst” car seat by myself in 100% humidity while my husband, his mother, and our two-year-old daughter watched. Except that it wasn’t me doing the complaining. Once again, my mother-in-law felt the need to criticize something I was doing.
Before I go further, I want to make the disclaimer that I love my mother-in-law very much. I do! And the girls love their grandmother with all their hearts. I am glad that my husband has a close relationship with his mother because it is one of the ways that I knew upon meeting him that he respected women and put family first. (Also, I did ask my husband’s blessing before writing this.)
Sometimes I wish my mother-in-law would back off.
“I’m the mom. It’s my turn! You already had your chance!”
In the heat of the moment, that’s what I want to say, but because this is someone I love, I don’t. To me, it’s not worth hurting feelings or causing a rift. Still, it’s difficult not to get upset when it feels like you’re being criticized.
Admittedly, this is a little bit of venting on my part. But the main reason I felt the need to write this piece (I’ve been going back and forth on it for months) is because I know that there are other moms out there who feel me on this one. I know because it’s a common theme when talking to my mom friends.
When we get married, we also marry our spouse’s family. In most cases, this means that we have a new “mom” of sorts, but one that did not raise us, and we are still getting to know. I’m sure that our mother-in-laws are experiencing some of the same feelings, as they’ve adopted a grown-up daughter with very strong opinions.
It’s not always easy, but in the end, this relationship is a blessing and one that is worth nurturing and working through the occasional challenges.
As you’re navigating the sometimes tumultuous waters of the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship, I want to leave you with this:
Mamas: if your mother-in-law is frequently inserts herself in your business, it’s ok to let her know when she oversteps her boundaries. But be patient with her. She’s acting out of love and she’s learning to trust another woman to take care of her “little” boy.
Mother-in-laws: We love you. We really do! But we want the chance to raise our own families, the way we think is best, just like you did a generation ago. We aren’t perfect and we might not get it right the first time, but let us figure it out. We can do this mom thing…promise.