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

Awww! 11

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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miche... micheledo

Great article! Sounds a lot like me and my mother-in-law. I know I am blessed.

cassi... cassie_kellison

Yes I really do hate her, my husband is an amazing man In Spite of his mother. Drug addict, never living in a real home, motel to motel, drugged up roomates and men in and out of his life. He saw in her what he Never wanted to be. Every childhood story from hell I hear I hate her more and more.

sssdnm sssdnm

My MIL is great! She keeps my husband in check :)

jalaz77 jalaz77

I am jealous!

I don't hate, hate is harsh. I like her but she can keep her distance like she does now. She is a weak person, passive aggressive, whiny and a jealous person. My husband turned out the way he did more because of his father who passed away during my husbands first year of college. My MIL and husband grieved poorly which affected their relationship. This is why I make sure my husband and I are equally involved on our kids' lives and not one over the other. I guess I will see how that works out when they are grown.

nonmember avatar sarah

I love my mother in law. She is close by, we visit regularly with her, but I love getting to hang out with her and my sister in law. I feel like part of an amazing family. She isn't a meddler and lets us live our lives and raise our daughter how we desire to. My mom on the other hand, she likes to make sure things are always done her way, so I have to do something then tell her about it so she won't make me feel like I'm doing something completely wrong even when I know I'm doing something right.

SaphireH SaphireH

i love my mother in law and all of my in laws, my husband on the other hand did not turn out the way his mom raised him, in fact he is the complete opposite. he was raised to be respectful and take care of his responsibilities he turned out to be a rude ass who does nothing for anyone, will bitch out everyone if it doesnt go with his plans and if it doesnt involve his computer gaming oh heavens forbid you bother him for anything and he wonders why im done with the marriage

nonmember avatar Schmidty

I LOVE my mother in law! She is a joy to be around. She is funny, endearing, kind, smart, and understanding.

imste... imstevanna

I can say I have an extreme amount of respect for my mother in law and the son she raised. We have had necessary conversation when I felt she spoke out of turn or if she felt the need to be defensive of her son but it was just that, a conversation. We cried and listened to each other and came to a very peaceful resolution. Rather she has ever spoken ill of me I do not know nor at this point do I care. Although there are some who choose to now share what they say are her opinions of me. I think that speaks more of them than her.  My mother in law is now in a nursing home and is not able to remember one moment from the next.  I on the other hand remember a woman who taught my children crafts on Saturdays while I worked and three of those children I had prior to meeting her son. I remember a woman who has amazing talent in any and all things crafty. My youngest her grand daughter unfortunately did not get to know her the way my oldest three did.  She was a pilot an artist and a great cook among many other things.  I think a lot of woman feel they are somehow betraying their own mom by loving their husbands mom. I have been trying to decide all week what to get for my mother in law. What can I get her that in a moment of clarity will give her a reminder of the family that loves her. It is proving to be the hardest gift I have ever had to buy. 

slcjcc09 slcjcc09

I like my mother in law a lot, she has a lot of admirable qualities! We don't agree on everything, but we respect each other and have a great relationship!

nonmember avatar karisma

My MiL is an abusive alcoholic who has made no secret of her distaste for me or for her own son. Growing up, she made sure to belittle him at every turn, to the point where he still has issues with self-worth decades later. She's interfered in our lives so many times that I've lost count, to the point of guilt-tripping my husband until we moved closer to her so she could use us as pet-sitters. She showed up to our wedding with a load on and she also tried to fix him up with a date at our own son's Baptism with me standing there. She's earned all my distaste and displeasure.

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