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Let Me Tell You About My Mother-in-Law…

We’ve all heard stories about that mother-in-law. The one that shows up at your doorstep unannounced. The one that is overly critical of everything that you do. The one that photobombed all of your first pictures of you holding your sweet newborn.  Or how about the one that waited two months before bothering to even meet her grandchild? And the one that still refuses to acknowledge anything happening in your life. You think that’s bad? Well, let me tell you about my mother-in-law…

She’s amazing.

I’m guessing you weren’t expecting that! My husband comes from good ol’ Cajun, football lovin’ people, and it doesn’t just stop with the immediate family. My aunt-in-law and I have more in common than I do with most of my girlfriends. My second cousin in-law is one of the most beautiful, loyal people that I know. I actually hit the in-law jackpot.

But I’m no dummy. I’m still {respectfully} fearful of my mother-in-law. She’s queen bee of the family, and no one messes with the queen. Even my father-in-law, who has been her arm candy for over 40 years, knows this to be true.

Based on my {almost} nine year relationship with my mother-in-law, here are a few ways to bond with the first lady in your husband’s life.

  1. Let her in. Read closely :: Men aren’t great communicators. Early in my marriage {before I became social coordinator of our cruise ship}, my husband would call home and visit with his parents about once a week. After hanging up, I would sweetly ask, “How are your folks? What’s going on over there?” His response, “Nothing much.” Really, now? I heard half of that 15 minute conversation, and it sure didn’t sound like “nothing” to me. So, I took matters into my own hands and began calling my mother-in-law at least once a week to check in. Over the years, this has also evolved into texting, photo streaming, Face Timing, and emailing pretty regularly.
  2. Give her opportunities to still mom him. This one happens the most when my husband comes down with the man flu. Don’t even pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. All the husbands get it.  You recognize it when they are sick and they mope around like they have walking pneumonia with a touch of Ebola. We moms refer to it as a sinus infection when we catch it. Nevertheless, I try to be sympathetic to my husband when the man flu hits and encourage him that he “just might beat this thing” as I send him a couple of the doctor mask emojis because I’m a good wife like that. And then I give his mom a heads up that he’s under the weather. She will call him and feel sorry for him when I can’t even go there. They’ll have this moment, and it’s actually kind of sweet {but I’ll never admit it}.
  3. Have her teach you something. For more than 20 years, my mother-in-law has been hosting a very large LSU tailgate party about eight times a year. For those unfamiliar with the tailgating scene, this is a huge undertaking. It takes a minimum of 30 hours of preparation per week on her part. Watching and helping her with tailgating over the past nine years, she has taught me a great deal about hosting a party, specifically in the area of menu planning. Anytime I’m hosting a party, I call her and talk through the menu and heed her advice. She’s thrown every kind of party under the sun – baby showers, wedding showers, dinner parties, a 90th birthday party, parties in hotel suites, and I can’t leave out the coveted Ford Family Tailgating Tequila Night.  Yes, it’s a thing. Yes, you can come.
  4. Share in some playful banter. My mother-in-law loathes a certain college head football coach, who I happen to absolutely love.  A few years back, I met him and had my picture made with him.  Every once in awhile, I post this treasured picture onto her Facebook page and tell her “Coach and I hope you have a great day.” Last Christmas, I gave her a framed photo of me and Coach that I was certain she would place in a notable place in her home. Wrong. She has it facing backwards on the bottom shelf of an end table. So, when we go to visit, I take the opportunity to move the picture around. It has graced her bedside table, her vanity, the refrigerator next to her morning Diet Coke, and the kitchen windowsill. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.
  5. Play fair. Remember that time you weren’t invited to your friend’s birthday party in seventh grade? Being left out is awful, no matter your age. Don’t do that to your mother-in-law. If your kiddos’ are fortunate enough to have both sets of grandparents {or more}, remember this token of advice – play fair. When having pictures made of the kids, send the download link or prints to both sets of grandparents. Save some of your kiddos artwork and divvy it out for everyone {I know you have plenty of it!}. If you can’t see one set of grandparents often because of distance, Face Time with them, email pictures, or snail mail the drawings your children created. This is the 21st century, and our world is over connected.  Take advantage of this and keep both sets of grandparents involved in your children’s lives.

Ladies, you can pick your husband, but you sure can’t pick your in-laws. Well, guess what – they didn’t pick you either. So, for the sake of your children {and your husband’s peace of mind} find a way to get along with his momma.

Now, go give your mother-in-law a hug. Or hug mine. She’s pretty great.

LSU In Laws

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9 Responses to Let Me Tell You About My Mother-in-Law…

  1. Amanda July 23, 2015 at 9:05 am #

    Wow, u r incredibly blessed!!

  2. Ruth Abdo July 23, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    Your Momma-in-law is all you said and more, she’s a very special niece to me. Yep, she’s a keeper. Thanks for sharing. Love, Aunt Ruthie

  3. Kellie July 23, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    You certainly did hit the jackpot! And so did I–she is a fabulous acting MIL for me!

  4. Lindsay July 23, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    So fun! Happy you are so blessed with a great family- you deserve it!

  5. Nikki July 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    You are more than blessed you were touched by God himself! I got along with my mother in law in the beginning until I seen her true colors (the ones my husband warned me about) she compulsively lies and has stolen from us many times. Taken money that could have fed my children… I only dream of a mother in law like yours! I am blessed that my husband learned from her mistakes and raised himself.

  6. Yolanda Ramirez May 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    I was Blessed as you…My Dad always Said, treat your in laws as you would have your husband treat me, & you will make a GREAT role model for you children.

  7. Chloe D May 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    I Love this!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for writing this article. Both my Mother-and-Law and Mother have passed away. And when I hear people complaining that their MIL did all their laundry with the wrong detergent, or that she dropped off a casserole that they don’t like “how dare they!”, it makes me want to slap them in the face. But I guess those people will just have their whinny-cry-baby attitude’s bite them back the day they have daughter-in-laws. Communicate, set limits, and BE NICE!! that’s all it is about. People that treat their MIL like crap are just insecure and un-kind. Thank you for showing a different side of the story!

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