I Love My Mother-in-Law for Raising the Man I Married

dearest motherWhen I told people how I spent spring break this year, more than a few cringed. I spent days in my daughter's room. Painting. With my mother-in-law. And the truth is, we had a blast. We talked. We laughed. We sang P!nk at the top of our lungs.

Ladies, I'm sorry. I know hating your mother-in-law is about as American as singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and eating pizza. Entire sitcom episodes are written about it. Heck, entire movies. According to one study, 36 percent of women hate their mothers-in-law so much they'd prefer visiting the gynecologist.

But the truth is, I don't.


I don't hate her.

In fact, I like my mother-in-law.

Heck, hold on to your hats, ladies and germs, because I would even say we're friends, and not just of the Facebook variety. Scarier still, I set up her Facebook account for her ... so she could be my friend and keep up on her granddaughter's life via my page!

She gets to see every time I spill my guts on social media.

My mother-in-law is not the kind of granny who sticks her nose into parenting decisions, nor is she the mom who has her son on speed dial. My husband and his mother have a good relationship but not one that is inordinately close. She lives a good day's drive away from me. I'm not troubled by her popping in at all hours of the day.

I'm lucky. I get that. The gods have come together to grant me a rare gem: a mother-in-law who is not demanding and who actually laughs at my jokes.

I think sometimes I scare her. But she is kind enough not to tell me. Or my husband.

I appreciate it more than she knows.

In fact, I appreciate her more than seems to curry favor with other women. I've had to clamp my mouth shut a time or two because our relationship mystifies women who could fill a book with the rants about their meddling mothers-in-law.

Ladies, I hear you. We all have our crosses to bear, and she's yours.

But with Mother's Day coming up, can I just offer a view from the mother-in-law loving side of the fence?

I have come to realize that part of loving my mother-in-law, for me anyway, is in seeing that she is the reason the man I love exists. I don't just mean that physically. She gave birth to him, yes, but she also raised him to be a man with a healthy respect for women who pulls his weight around the house and is one hell of a father.

He is the man he is today in no small part because of the mother he had growing up.

Most men are.

In fact, even though it's popular to hate your mother-in-law, I bet you'd find there are things you really like about your mother-in-law. They attracted you to her son.

So maybe you don't have the kind of mother-in-law who will do a dance party with you on your vacation. And maybe you don't have a mother-in-law who you can be Facebook friends. Maybe you don't lend your mother-in-law books. Maybe you would prefer she live on another planet.

But give her a break. You'll want your daughter-in-law to do it for you one day.

Be honest: do you REALLY hate your mother-in-law or is that just what you feel like you're supposed to say?


Image via AForestFrolic/Flickr

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