I Survived Another Visit With The In-Laws And Got The Last Word

We just survived (I’m kidding Mom!) a visit from the in-laws. And I really am kidding about surviving – they are very easy house guests. They help with the boys so I can cook and bake (which I love to do – uninterrupted). They clean the kitchen after I cook and bake. They keep their things neat and tidy. They’re always up for an adventure.

And now I feel like I’m sucking up to soften the blow.

Maybe I am.

You be the judge.

My mother-in-law knows how to push my buttons. Her son is her Golden Boy (as every son should be). And there are times when I think she sees me as the evil-daughter-in-law. Even though we live a very comfortable life she still thinks I should go back to work and stop mooching off her son. She doesn’t say that in so many words but her comments more than imply it. This last visit she asked again if I was planning on going back to work now that the boys were in school full-time.

“No,” I politely replied.

“Even when they graduate from high school?” she asked incredulously.

“You mean when I’m 58?” I asked. (Yes, you read that right. Here. I’ll do the math for you. I had my youngest when I was 40.)

She then launched into a long lecture on how I wrap myself too much into my children. That I need to create a life of my own. My career isn’t going to be there when I’m 58 and so close to retirement age. I need to keep my foot in the door.

I told her, “I’m fine with the way things are now. It allows me to be the kind of mom I want to be for my kids.”

“But what will you do with yourself when they all move out?” she asked.

“Cherish the memories I’m creating now, ” I smiled.

And then a day later I found this on Momalon, one of my new favorite blogs. I think this has made the rounds in emails and on other blogs.

It is worth watching.

More than once.

Please refill that coffee cup, sit back and enjoy this beautiful testament to mothers cherishing the simple moments with our children.

It’s simply beautiful.


Filed under Motherhood, Observations

20 responses to “I Survived Another Visit With The In-Laws And Got The Last Word

  1. suzicate

    Beautiful. Follow your heart, not your MIL’s advice. I am there wondering where all the time went, and I don’t regret for a minute giving up a career or any other choices or sacrifices I had to make to make memories with my family. It is worth it all. People (a family) is much more valuable than a job or extra things that can be bought with more money. Continue to enjoy your life and theirs, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for the choices. These decisions are best left to you and your husband. Kudos!

  2. I agree with Suzicate, Jane. I have always thought that a career would be very important to me, and I still think it is. But teaching–my career, so far, at least–is exhausting, and right now, I don’t know how I would fit that in alongside all of the work it takes to make a house run smoothly: laundry, bills, contractors to give estimates, laundry. Did I mention laundry? Every woman has to make the choice for herself, and if you and your husband are happy with your choice, then you shouldn’t worry about what other women think. (Though it’s funny, there are probably plenty of other MIL’s who would be saying the opposite–stay home to take care of my grandkids instead of working.) There’s a great book by Caitlin Flanagan called “Loving and Loathing our Inner Housewife.” She makes a very convincing case about how important it is for someone to be home to manage the minutiae of the family.

  3. I am so lucky that my parents and in-laws have always respected our right to make the best decisions for our family.

    Off handed comments like that make me a little crazy, even when not from family members. I would counter lecture with lecture, so you probably handled it better than I would.

    Nice video, thanks for linking to it. It really does pass quickly and we should try to cherish the now we’re in.

  4. Nicki

    Only you know what is best for you and your family!

    I use to get questioned constantly about why I thought being home when my teens got off the bus was important to me. I was more certain that it was important I be there at that age, than I was when they were infants.

  5. Congrats on having the last word! It’s almost amusing what mothers-in-law are like even when they are the best mothers-in-law one can find in the world. They are NOT your mothers. That’s the problem. Perspective shift. Mine is the best MIL you can find, but I still feel guilty whenever I talk to her, I feel that in her silent way she is blaming me for working, for not providing her precious grandchildren a “stable” childhood. Thanks for the video! I’m sending it to my MIL right now ’cause I enjoy making her cry. LOL. Good cry though. I love her.
    p.s. I KNOW already that I am going to be the worst MIL since I am possessive when it comes to my kids and I am the Queen of Passive-Aggressiveness… 😉

  6. angelcel

    I came from the very first generation of working Mums and so I had to endlessly justify my decision to be a SAHM amongst my contemporaries, who I’m sorry to say were too often derisory about my decision. I never regretted a moment of it. I lived through all those ordinary days and was well aware that they could never be repeated.

    Interestingly, a very recent poll here in the UK shows a large turn around in attitudes and an ever growing number of women now say they would like to stay at home and look after their children.

    You don’t need to justify yourself to anyone. If you and your husband are happy with your personal arrangement then I am quite sure your children are. What else matters?

    (Is there something *wrong* with me that I started blubbering at that video from about a minute in because I knew what was coming)?!

  7. Mel

    Jane, what a great post. I too am an unworthy mate for my husband, at least in the eyes of my MIL. I’ve tried very hard not to let her opinions hurt me, and I’ve only recently begun to feel sorry for her, for the childhood that made her so judgemental and shrill. And I guess I love her anyway, because she raised an amazing man.

    It took me 3 kleenexes to get through that video, and I’m still sniffling. My babies are growing up so fast, and I’m growing older much more quickly than I had planned. I’ll be almost as old as you when my youngest leaves the nest, and if I haven’t found something that looks like a job in my kitchen on my laptop, then I will spend all my time cherishing my memories, and compiling the well documented childhoods into a lovely DVD so they can remember all that they have forgotten, and see how amazing and fun they were when they were so little. I couldn’t be more grateful that I can afford to stay home with my kids, and I thank my husband quite a bit for supporting us so I can be here when our kids need me. Even if it is just to fill the fridge and drive them places!

    Great job getting the last word in this time!

  8. When my mother-in-law met HER mother-in-law for the first time, she said something about how very fortunate my MIL was to be marrying her son. As a result, my mother in law is the most considerate, non-interfering mother in law anyone could hope to have. Why is it that some of them think they’re qualified and entitled to comment on their daughter-in-law’s choices in life? Do they WANT to be disliked and mocked and immortalized in jokes? Mine is great, but I have friends who are positive saints in my book for not having committed acts of violence on theirs.

    You go, you awesome stay at home Mom (who’s never home).

  9. unabridgedgirl

    I told her, “I’m fine with the way things are now. It allows me to be the kind of mom I want to be for my kids.”

    I love you, Jane.

  10. jen

    It’s so difficult to figure out exactly what kind of mom we want to be for our kids. It’s even more difficult to be able to make it happen. Kudos to you for both. 🙂

  11. Oh great. My eye make-up is now ruined. Beautiful video.

    I was a SAHM while our girls were young and reluctantly went back into the work force. With the nest getting roomier each year, I look back and cherish the times I had with them. I’m now bracing myself for when Army Wife and Peanut leave. Don’t let MIL bully you into doing something you know in your heart isn’t for you.

  12. I can’t see the video on my computer but I think the best thing that any mother can do, if they are able, is be there for the kids.

    It seems to me now a days that everyone is judged on what job they do. People are embarrased to say “My job was to be there for my kids”.

  13. Having just survived a visit from my inlaws as well, this post was very timely. 🙂 Off to watch the video now.

  14. p.s. I wanted to reply to your comment on my kids’ sports post, but I can’t find your email. You said you’d had trouble with your daughter quitting everything ‘after a few years’. For some reason, this makes me giggle — isn’t she only seventeen or so? I mean, a few weeks or months and then quitting I can see being a problem, but isn’t a few years actually pretty good? I have this vision of a vampire’s parents saying “he never sticks with anything for more than a century or so….” :).

  15. Jane, I love this post because even though you highlight a tough conversation, you do it affectionately. I haven’t watched the movie and will, but I think you raise such an important question here – whether as parents we are supposed to dive completely into our children or pursue things independent of them — or both. I think there is no right answer and I loved your answer about cherishing the memories you are creating now. Creating memories? This is work. Joyous work. Important work.

  16. What will you do after they’re done with high school? Have a cup of coffee, write, read, and pursue hobbies that might or might not change the world. Raising decent human beings is the biggest change you can make in the world, so you’ll be entitled to sit back and decide what you want to do. when that moment comes, but there’s nothing wrong with not obsessing about that moment now.
    Was she a SAHM? Is she feeling that she lost something in her choices? That’s usually where comments like that come from. I’m not calling her names; I’m saying consider what she might think of her own life and see if that’s maybe where that came from.

  17. As usual, great post!

    Btw, I have an award for you over on my blog you Beautiful Blogger! Come and get it!

  18. ck

    Cherishing the memories you’re creating now…great response! I never would’ve come up with something that awesome on the fly.

  19. Gosh I’ve missed reading you!

    Relationships are so tricky. It is hard to juggle all the advice that comes in your direction–especially after having kids.

    My mother loves to point out things without pointing them out. How? I can’t even explain it.

    And my MIL (or my husband’s step mom) was absolutely rude when she found out we were having our second. In the words of my husband “she has now lost her privilege to learn about our next pregnancy (whenever that is) early.) I guess that is what we have to do, right? Distance is hard, but worth it. I think.

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