Things I Wish I Could Tell My Mother-in-Law

If you know me and/or have ever met my mother-in-law, you might suspect that this blog entry will contain a lot of curse words. Normally you’d be right, but I’m trying to be serious. We’ll see how well that works out.

You say you want your son to be happy, but only if his choices make you happy, too.  Your time for dictating his every move has come and gone. Accept that his decisions work for him and make him happy. He’s happy with his life and wishes that you would be happy for him.

I realize your household got smaller when your son moved away, but you made your family smaller when you didn’t accept me or my family into your life.  Constantly reminding your son that your family is superior in every way to mine only alienates him. Ditto when you specifically state to him that you would like your sons, a.k.a. “your family,” to come visit you and could they kindly leave their wives and kids at home.

I know you really only want to talk to your son when you call our house, so I never pick up when I see your name on caller ID.  You even leave messages directly addressing only him like he lives alone, and you never ask about me (and rarely ask about your granddaughter) when you do talk to your son.

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He’s my husband, but he’s still your son. I have no problem with that. But it bothers me when you treat him like your 5-year-old and not the grown man he is.  He has made many important decisions without needing your advice, and it’s not fair for you to guilt him into whatever your current whim is by saying, “but I’m your mother.”

He calls you on your birthday because I remind him.  He gives you thoughtful gifts for Christmas because I choose, buy, wrap and mail them. As much as you’d like to believe his life should revolve around yours, it doesn’t.

You are not in competition with my parents.  They moved close to us when they retired so they could watch their granddaughter grow up. You didn’t, and that’s fine. Just don’t be surprised and complain that they get to see your son more often than you do.

It’s hard to accept your criticism even when it’s thinly disguised as friendly advice based on your experience. You told me I was doing everything wrong while I planned my wedding, even after admitting your mother planned yours for you.  You object to the meals I prepare for your son when your husband did most of the cooking for your family and your specialty, according to your own son, was shoe-leather pork chops. Don’t even start with advice on how to raise our child.

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It would be nice for me and beneficial for your son if we got along better, but I realize things are unlikely to change between us.  However, I do ask that you treat your grandchild with more respect.  Don’t hate her because you hate me.  She chose to sit with you in the hospital for three straight days when your appendix burst, and you ignored her like she wasn’t in the room, all the while socializing with everyone (anyone) else.  Realize that when she doesn’t visit you, it’s not me keeping her away; it’s her remembering how you’ve treated her her whole life.  She’s a beautiful, brilliant young lady.  It’s your loss for pushing her away.

Look, I know I’m not perfect.  Neither are you, but we both love your son. For his sake, we should both try to make the best of things, even if that means we continue our non-existent relationship.

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