Yesterday, I wrote about the things that I learned from my grandmothers.  A few were big life lessons that have stuck with me, ingrained into my psyche like a pricing sticker on a gift you’re trying to wrap.  While we learn things that we are supposed to do from people, we learn how not to do things too.  These lessons have been imparted to me very well by my mother in law.

Never treat the girl your son brings home like the enemy.
She isn’t.  She loves him too.  Not like you do, and that’s ok, you’re his mother, the first love of his life.  You can never be replaced as Mom, but you’re not the most important woman in the world to him anymore. When you insist that you keep that role, you will alienate her first, then your own child.

Let your child live their life their own way.
I </3 my MIL
It’s ok to offer advice and guidance, especially when they aren’t adults.  When your child is living on their own, and no longer relying on you financially, you don’t get to make sweeping decisions for them and then make a scene when your will isn’t followed. 

Conflict resolution should be just that, a resolution.
Everyone is fallible.  Just because you’re the parent doesn’t mean you’re right.  You may have more experience, you may know a lot.  You also may not have all the facts.  Make sure you do have them all before you pass your judgments, scream at people, and cause even more damage that your answer to is say you’re sorry for whatever it is you think we’ve done.

Never attempt to control another person.
If your ideas and wants aren’t followed, put on your big girl panties and deal with it.  If you escalate matters and start demanding things that aren’t yours to demand, don’t be surprised if you meet even more resistance.   And, for the love of all things, whatever you do, don’t call someone’s parents and demand they control their daughter, they will laugh at you.

Do not insert yourself into your child’s relationship with their significant other.
A normal romantic relationship has two people in it.  Not two people and one’s mother.  Don’t call every night at bedtime and talk until the significant other gives up and goes to bed.  Don’t advise your child on their sex life.  Don’t overlay your moral values on their relationship either.  Everyone is different and you have to accept that, even if it means you don’t agree with it.

Speak softly and without regret.
Words that I had with my in-laws were frequently done in very angry tones, language that would make sailors blush and at volumes that could be heard for miles.  To this day I regret none of what I said, and perhaps I should have said more, to more people so they could understand some of the horrors I endured at their hands.  Think carefully about what you say, because words once uttered can’t be taken back, only forgiven.  There are some words, and actions that can never be forgiven at all.
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2 Responses
  1. Ayup. All of it. A lot, even.

    PS - Can I get this laminated?

  2. Dawn Says:

    For you, I'd even add personal cartoons to go with eat point!.

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