an exclusive feature*
Family dynamics are a funny thing; often times you are better to sit back and take a moment to reflect upon your own experiences so that it is possible to grow and learn from all those experiences in life. Being an awesome mother-in-law is just that – understanding that what or where you come from can only embrace a better journey together for your own family, especially when a daughter in law is involved. Women are strong forces in the family dynamics, and for the most part, your own daughter-in-law will most probably be calling the shots. Don’t get left out just because you are unwilling to understand this new woman in your life!
Looking back, perhaps you’ve had a wonderful relationship with your own mother-in-law, or maybe not. If you’ve struggled with your own relationship and want a better one with your daughter-in-law, here are a few things she’d like you to know…
- Love her like one of your own, while giving your daughter-in-law space to be the amazing individual she is. You may not always agree with her, but remember your son chose Practice looking at your daughter-in-law through your son’s eyes!
- Although your son is still your son…he is not your little boy any longer. You may still love him, but it’s time to cut the cord! I know this may be hard to hear, but you’re not his #1 anymore…his wife And that’s how it needs to be in order for them to have a healthy marriage…and for you to have a healthy relationship with them.
- Respect your daughter-in-law’s time (and your son’s too!). Although you may feel the urge to drop by, or constantly reach out to offer to help them, your son and daughter-in-law need the time and space to create their own life and family. Yes, your son has a new family now and if you want to be included in their lives, give them space to create and live their life!
- What you appreciate…appreciates. You may already love your daughter-in-law and find it easy to appreciate her. However, if you’re struggling in your relationship, make an effort to acknowledge your daughter-in-law for who she is, not who you wish she were.
- Your son was not “perfect” before he met his wife and will likely disappoint his wife from time to time. Allow your daughter-in-law the space to be frustrated with him, without feeling the need to jump in and protect your son. He is a big boy (actually a grown man!) now and will learn valuable life lessons as he navigates his relationship with his wife.
- Be mindful of your words before you speak. Ask yourself…Is it truthful, kind or necessary?
Bottom line, yes, you can be an awesome mother-in-law…and your son and his wife will appreciate your efforts and love you even more!
*6 Tips to Help You Be a Most Awesome Mother-in Law! is an exclusive feature for grandparentslink.com by Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP. Bonnie has worked with families for more than thirty years as a child and adolescent therapist, parent coach, and pediatric nurse practitioner and is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families. In doing so, Bonnie helps parents and grandparents create healthy boundaries and relationships. She is a writer, speaker, workshop and retreat facilitator, and hosts her own podcast radio program, Wholehearted Parenting Radio, which is available on iTunes, Web Talk Radio, Radioactive Broadcasting Network, and Stitcher Radio. Bonnie lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband. She is a mom of four adult children and believes that being a mother has been her most important job; and loves being Gramma to her three beautiful granddaughters. Bonnie is also the author of a new book, Mothering with Courage. Available here! , and also has an online course Mothering with Courage Daily OM