Being a Mother-in-Law

Don’t you love it when you see a friend in the grocery store?

I’ve always wondered why it doesn’t happen more often. For Pete’s Sake! I go to the same grocery store once or twice a week. The store is close to my house. I know A LOT of people. Why do I usually only see strangers at the store?

I think it just proves how many gajillion people there are in this world.

Lucky me! I “ran into” Tammy in the produce section yesterday.

“How was your Thanksgiving?”

Great. And yours?

“Small. A little boring. When your kids get older and married, you’ll see what I mean. Every other year is the in-laws turn and this was my off year for Thanksgiving, BUT I get the whole shebang at Christmas, so that will be FUN!”

Ya. I can already imagine that “off year” phenomenon. Duncan and I went to the in-laws this year too….

“Last year was my turn for Thanksgiving with 23 adults and 20 plus kids … and THE BEST idea that saved us all was a giant blow up bouncy play thing in the backyard (with a slide out one side and a climbing wall in the middle and …). Because of that genius idea we actually had some great adult conversations.”

Oh my land! I am going to remember that! My in-laws had a new tandem bike, the jacuzzi hot, and puzzles set out, to keep the kids occupied. Some planning ahead really pays off for a holiday weekend with grandkids, doesn’t it?

“Yes, but BEWARE. You will loose your boys. The married couple gravitates to the wife’s mother and extended family. You will be forgotten and left out. It is really sad.” (Tammy is so fun. She makes her commentary punchy with real dramatic flare and humor. I love it!)

I have heard this and am bracing myself because I have 4 sons!

“You can’t prepare yourself enough.” (Tammy went on in entertaining detail of the difficulties of being a mother-in-law. Man! She has had it rough, but I am laughing so hard, right in front of the apples and fellow shoppers.)

– Her boys are focused on their families and not attentive to her like they use to be. (I can understand this, for sure.)
– Her daughter-in-laws have strict dietary rules for their sons and children. One of her son’s family hasn’t been over for an ordinary dinner to Tammy’s house in 10 years because of it. (WOWIE!)
– In some cases, Tammy isn’t even allowed to drive her grandkids places. (Ouch.)

“The moral of the story is to not say ANYTHING.” Tammy concluded. She already has me in stitches. “Smile. Say, ‘Oh that is wonderful!’ and agree to everything they say.”


“Oh ya. Once a mother-in-law makes a mistake, it takes years to recover the lost trust. Your son will take his wife’s side every time.”

Heavens! I have often realized that I will have 4 very different daughter-in-laws that were raised in 4 different homes and will handle their kids 4 different ways.

This conversation was so depressing that I had to get out of there. Why was I laughing? I still can’t believe it. I think of Keri. Her kids and grandkids are at her house all the time. Living there, actually. Well, maybe they are there more than I could handle. That is the other extreme for sure… and she had mostly daughters. Hmmm.

Still, I love Tammy and Keri. I know they LOVE their kids and kids’ families. I suppose I will have my own style, I will make a few mistakes, but am going to start gathering ideas and success stories RIGHT NOW, so that I will be the best mother-in-law in the world. I have two great examples to follow. My mom and my mother-in-law. THEY ARE FANTASTIC.

Yes, they would agree, “Only give advice when they ask for advice.” and they LIVE by LOVING UNCONDITIONALLY. I can do that, I hope. I already do that with my adult kids, kind of. The loving part is easy. Keeping my mouth shut? Well, I am getting better at that.

I’ll tell you what, if Kay and Chuck, work out (no pressure), I want them both around a lot! We had Chuck with us during Thanksgiving and I have been missing him ever since. He is smart, adorable, and makes Kay so happy. I can’t wait to meet who my boys choose to spend their eternity with. My family is going to grow exponentially and believe me, I am not going to miss a second of it!


4 thoughts on “Being a Mother-in-Law”

  1. Food for thought, Kristin!!!! I am scared!! 🙂 And yes, you have a wonderful mother and mother-in-law.

  2. Kay Shaeffer Zulanas

    It is fun for me to see you become Chuck’s mother-in-law now! We always want to be close to you and Dad, and if there could be two of each holiday, we’d be with both sides!!

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