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I Hit the In-Law Jackpot and I Couldn’t Be More Thankful

Photograph by Twenty20

When trying to make arrangements for the holidays, you feel as though you’re competing between the two (or more) families. We’ve heard the horror stories about how your mother-in-law might judge how you cook the Christmas feast or decorate the house, and we’ve all seen monsters-in-law depicted in multiple movies. While some of those clichés can be accurate, I feel like I hit the jackpot when it comes to my in-laws.

In fact, my husband’s only sister was a big reason I fell in love with him. She was cool and a riot to be around. I not only gained her as a sister, but the other two women who married into this family, as well. They've all become my best friends.

Sure, we have plenty of differences—different backgrounds, beliefs, interests and life experiences—yet the love and connection we have for each other trumps all of that. People who see us in public wonder if we're old high school friends, longtime co-workers or even college roommates. We often hear, “You ladies are lucky. That doesn’t happen very often.” Yes, we are lucky. Even with our differences in age, musical taste, style, political beliefs, etc., it feels as though we are the exception to the rule regarding the dreaded in-laws.

Strong women need strong women.

Cultivating such a bond while juggling work and life and husbands and 10 young children and three dogs (between us) all isn’t easy, but it’s definitely a priority. We communicate as much as possible. We have deep conversations which can sometimes get heated, but we always walk away with a better understanding of each other. We have girly conversations. And other moms know there's nothing like girl talk, especially when you’re used to baby talk or keeping things PG around the kids! We dance to old-school music (hello, Salt-n-Pepa)! We simply have a good time.

We shoot for a girls’ night a few times a year. Sometimes it’s dinner and a bit of shopping on the only night we all have available. Maybe it’s a staycation, if the stars align. Having that time together opens up the opportunity for future inside jokes and precious memories. We sometimes cry together about the hard life stuff but we always, always laugh together. Then again, it’s pretty easy to get four tired moms laughing hysterically.

Strong women need strong women. Having these connections are important for most of us to stay sane. I’m especially grateful this time of year for these amazing women and the sisterhood we feel, even though we are in-laws. We are there for each other no matter what, and what a blessing that is. Ride or die, honey.

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