What comes to mind when you think of a mother-in-law? Marie Barone? Trix Gilmore? Cersei Lannister? Is the woman who raised your husband fun and pleasant, or is she controlling and demanding? Lucky for me, mine is the former. And while I don’t see us ever going on a shopping trip together, when it comes to the second mom in my life, she’s pretty much as good as they come. Other mothers-in-law could definitely learn something from her. Here’s why.
She doesn’t step on our toes
My in-laws waited a few days before making the drive upstate to visit us after we got home from the hospital. We settled in with our newborn, beginning our foreign and often scary life as new parents, and those first few days were a blur. When they came to visit, they sat on the couch, held their new granddaughter and didn’t overstay their welcome. My mother-in-law has maintained this practice for the last few years and puts her focus on being a wonderful grandmother. She raised a capable son and I have so much respect for her for allowing him his chance to be the parent, instead of telling him what he should be doing.
She has no time for drama
My mother-in-law grew up in the country and raised five children. Drama and overreacting have no place in her world. In fact, when she enters a room, you can immediately feel the calm and order she exudes. Shenanigans, nonsense and hanky-panky: She don’t got time for any of it. In fact, she would probably roll her eyes and correct my grammar if she saw this article. The truth is, we’ve all heard those stories of in-laws and their attention-seeking behavior they bring to a marriage of one of their children. She raised her kids to adulthood and expects them to take care of their own families.
There were plenty of times when my mother-in-law could have butted in.
She doesn’t criticize me
Our relationship may have started off rocky, but my mother-in-law is a woman of character. I know how lucky I am to have an in-law that respects me as a mother and as the wife to her son. She goes through my husband with any concern she has and, to be honest, in the 13 years she’s been in my life, she has never once said anything bad to me.
She treats all her grandkids the same
Not only does drama and criticism have no place in her life, I am incredibly grateful for the fact that she has 10 grandchildren and treats every one of them the same. No one is more special than another and I don’t think she realizes how much her kids appreciate that.
She knows when to keep her opinions to herself
There were plenty of times when my mother-in-law could have butted in. She could have given us plenty of opinions on us growing our family. When we went through infertility before our daughter was born, she never gave us any unsolicited advice. While she may not have understood or even approved of our fertility treatments, she didn’t say anything but “We’ll be praying for you.” My husband and I felt her support, even though we all didn’t talk much about it. And when our daughter was born, she listened to the stories, sent her books and didn’t ever look appalled at our parenting style, which I’m sure was very different from what she was used to.
My husband is the man he is today because of her
Perhaps most importantly, my mother-in-law raised a kind, respectful and gentle son. She taught him how to treat a woman and what it means to take care of a family. My daughter’s first relationship with a man will be her father, and thanks to the strong upbringing of my in-laws, my daughter will always know her daddy is one of the good ones—the kind of person I hope she brings home one day to us.
My difficult relationship with my mother-in-law is no secret. If you want to avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into, you may want to learn to bite your tongue. While I usually encourage speaking up and establishing boundaries, there are times when speaking your mind just isn't worth the fall out. Here are 10 things you may want to avoid saying if you're hoping to have a good relationship with your suegra.