“You think it much if you have a friend who always makes bad interpretations ofÂ your ways towards him; you would take that badly. If you should converse with people with whom you cannot speak a word, but they are ready to make a bad interpretation of it, and to take it in an ill sense, you would think their company very tedious to you.”
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs
Or, A Few Common Stumbling Blocks of the Mother-in-Law
Here are a few thoughts for the mother-in-laws among us.
Don’t make an idol out of your family get-togethers. Laying a big load of expectations on the kids will kill the fun of being together, whether it is a summer vacation on the beach or your Christmas celebrations. If you let it be known that “We’ve always done Christmas THIS way, and we will do it again this year OR ELSE” you are making sure they will hate every minute of it, or they will totally bow out to make a statement that you cannot be tyrannical.Â By insisting on time in this way, you may as well chase them away with a stick. They will run away as fast as they can.
Remember that they are trying to establish a new household. Give way to their decisions and honor them for it. At the same time, make it clear that you would love to have them for Christmas, and that you will accommodate their schedule and other commitments to keep it easy for them.
Set them free to establish their own traditions and to make their own decisions about vacations and celebrations. Ask them what will work for them. Don’t set things up and announce to them where and when they will be for what. Don’t be a fusser by complaining that they never stay long Read More
Now that two of my three girls have posted here, I must whoop and holler just a little. Just to clarify: Bekah is my older daughter, Rachel, who also goes as Lizziejanks because her middle name is Elizabeth and her last name is Jankovic, is my second daughter, and Heatherlinn is my one-and-only daughter-in-law, married to my one-and-only son. And I must also defend myself about this spurious charge of Heather’s about being shanghaied. Well, maybe it isn’t spurious. I should say it is a tradition in our family. The only reason I am writing on this blog is because my husband came home one day and popped this up on my screen. So let’s just say that I have tried to keep the tradition going. And it seems to be working quite well. Bekah is busy getting her family squared away in Oxford, but once she gets writing, I’m sure there will be no stopping her.
It seems to me that the mother-in-law has gotten pretty bad press. We are already behind the eight ball before we even begin, so we had better get a few ducks in a row so we can overcome all the stereotypes of the horrid mother-in-law. I still remember the chorus to some song in the sixties called, â€œMother-in-Law,â€ and my impression is it was not a song of praise.
The best place to start is always first principles. We are familiar with the passages in Scripture that teach us about marriage and family, husbands and wives, so from them we can derive a few guidelines for the mother-in-law. Pretty basic stuff here.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Your son or daughter has married someone from another family, with other family loyalties. This means an entirely different family culture is merging with yours. Your son has chosen a woman who has been raised by someone else. Think about all the things you have instilled in your own children. Someone else has done this with your daughter-in-law and your son-in-law. There is a whole life-time of experiences, training, family relationships and stories, ways of celebrating birthdays and Christmas, vacations, and favorite foods. A man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, making a new covenant household.Â Your daughter has been given in marriage to a man with another name, and she has taken that name. She is now a Miller or a Grauke or a Merkle or a Church or a Jankovic or a Wilson. She has different loyalties now; her household is a new creation. It is not identical to yours, even though she grew up in your home. There is a transformation taking place. Glory to God! What a Read More
Not much happened today. Ha! My daughter’s family got off in the early a.m. to drive to Seattle and then fly to London. Every piece of luggage (all fourteen action pacs) made it through the check-in without having to be rearranged due to weight. (Glory!) And they made it through security with their five children and seven carry-ons. My niece came to help me clean the house and regroup after two and a half months of having them all here. We dug some little plastic snakes out of the couch, and we sorted out toys and put up bins. Otherwise, not much damage. Those five little huggable grandchildren will be sorely missed! (I still haven’t washed off the little doodles on my porch columns that were made back in July.)
Then I dashed out with my younger daughter for a short jaunt. I sat in the car with the little ones while she went in for her rhogam shot. (Hats off to modern medicine.) Yesterday we went in for blood work (or as her oldest who is almost three says, to get her blood off). I asked her while we waited in the car today what she was going to do with two little babies at home. She quickly answered, “Change dirty buns.” Yep. She knows the ropes.
And tonight we go to celebrate the youngest of the clan’s first birthday. Our little Seamus James is one! What an appropriate ending to an eventful and delightful day.