Do you remember when you were child-free and blissfully ignorant, but full of ideas about what you would never do as a mom? Then you became a mom and realized how ridiculous you sounded. Now you know better than to say what you would “never” do in a position you have yet to assume, right? WRONG! Because if you’re like me, you have a mother-in-law that you’ve seen in action, and I bet you’ve already come up with a list of things you will never, ever do when you become one yourself. Do any of these solemn vows sound familiar?
“I’m never giving unsolicited marital or parenting advice!”
Sure, you will have raised a child or four successfully to adulthood. You’ll probably know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t in a marriage. But you know what you’ll also know? That the world changes! You know that by the time you have grandchildren, everything you know now about parenting will be ruled obsolete, ineffective, or even dangerous by the American Academy of Pediatrics, so you won’t even bother to make “helpful” suggestions to your daughter-in-law. No matter how much she appears to you to be struggling.
“I’m never buying anything for my grandchildren that their parents specifically said not to buy!”
You will totally be able to resist your sweet grandchildren when they flash their puppy dog eyes at you and beseech you in their sweet little voices for that One Special Toy. Because you’ll remember how their dad played with his several Special Toys exactly one time each. You won’t forget just because these particular little ones remind you of him when he was small and you want to relive the childlike excitement you no longer get to see as often.
“I will never disregard the rules against too many sweets!”
Who could forget the highs and crashes that inevitably follow candy, cake, and ice cream surprises? Not you! You will definitely remember having to wrangle little humans into submission after they’ve loaded up on all of their favorite sugary things and would never think to do something like that to your grandchildren’s parents. Not more than once, anyway.
“I will never comment on the way my children keep their house, and I will definitely not touch any of their stuff!”
Even if you think you’re being helpful, you will know your daughter or son-in-law won’t necessarily appreciate your observations about dust (even though it would probably be better for your precious allergic grandchildren if their parents dusted once in a while) or kitchen organization (even though the flow will most certainly be all wrong). You will be happy to just be under the same roof as them and will carry whatever thoughts you have about how they are living to your grave. Or maybe just to the child you raised, in hopes that they will pass along the message, perhaps?
“I will never sugarcoat my past in order to make myself more of a saint than I am!”
You value transparency in others and you know your child’s partner will value it, too. You wouldn’t think to say that you and their father-in-law hardly ever fought in your thirty-plus years of marriage. Because you know if you present yourself authentically, it will be that much harder for you to judge your child and their partner for any mistakes you see them making.
What are some things you will definitely “never” do if and when you become someone’s mother-in-law?