Category Archives: In-Laws

It is What It Is – And It’s All Good

We just got back from a week with our kids in the Houston area. When we visit them, I always have so much planned, so much I’d like to do. Far more than is probably realistic under any circumstances, and with a 22 month old and a 3 month old, ….

Sikora Family in San Antonio

Sikora Family in San Antonio
Photo Credit: Random Stranger

On the flight out, both Hubby and I got sick. There were animals on our flight, and I’m terribly allergic, so my immune system was compromised by the time we got there. For some reason, he got full-blown sick while I just diddled around the edge with sore throat and sniffles. The weather in Houston was “stay home hot,” but of course, Grandma wanted to take the toddler to the playground. We paid for it the biggest crop of mosquito bites I’ve ever had.

On top of the usual, we planned a three-day adventure to San Antonio to celebrate DIL’s 30th birthday. We headed to San Antonio with a forecast of 70s and clear. We arrived in a downpour that remained until Sunday morning. And we didn’t take jackets for any of us.

Nonetheless, we celebrated DIL’s birthday in style. We visited the Alamo and the grownups took advantage of the kids’ naptime. Sure, both girls had meltdowns during DIL’s birthday dinner Saturday night, relegating Son or myself to the car with them. But Sunday the sun shone and we got to swim and then take a boat ride on the River Walk, followed by a much more leisurely dinner on the River.

Traveling with little ones is different from traveling with the adult kids, which we have always cherished. But this is the season we’re in and we’re loving every minute of it. We are learning to flex, to move to Plan B, and to laugh in the midst of it. We’re building memories with our family. We get to watch the children’s development for a week. We are available to help wherever needed, to give Son and DIL breaks for both personal time and date time. We’re investing in their marriage and their family. We are thankful for the relationship we have with them. We are reaping where we have sowed. It’s all good! And it’s all God!!

Developing A Great Relationship with Your Daughter-in-Law

 

Family by Choice

Family by Choice
Photo Credit: (c) Joshua Sikora

How’s your relationship with your daughter-in-law (DIL)? Or is that too touchy of a subject? I think a lot of moms of sons are surprised by the challenges of adding a new woman to the family, especially if we have a close relationship with our sons.

I was blessed with a friend who was years ahead of me in the mother-in-law (MIL) business. She was so diligent in maintaining a good relationship with her DIL. She pointed out that when a young man marries, the new wife often sees the MIL as competition. At first that didn’t make sense. Don’t we both love the same man? But that’s precisely the point. And to complicate the matter, most families don’t seem to put words or even cognition to that dilemma, so other conflicts arise to express it. Since they aren’t the real issue, they often don’t get resolved. Hurt feelings abound. And the man we love is caught in the middle. Another thing that happens is making the transition from child to adult and developing an adult relationship with your son and his wife rather than a parent/child relationship. If you’ve been close, that’s a hard transition for both parents and son. And here, the new wife gets caught in the middle.

Deb DeArmond has written a wonderful book about this issue.  Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships (Kregel Publications, 2013) talks to both mothers of sons and wives of those sons, addressing the most common glitches in this vital relationship.  It’s helpful to see both sides of the issue, as well as the side of what she calls “the man in the middle”—your son. The book is easy to read and features questions and personal evaluations at the end of each chapter to help you be more honest with yourself. And who wouldn’t want the goal: a better relationship with the wife of your son and the mother of your grandchildren.

If you’ve felt that your only option in dealing with your adult son and his wife is to “wear beige and keep your mouth shut,” the book is for you. If you’ve had misunderstandings with your DIL, there’s hope for reconciliation. And if you have a good relationship, you’ll learn ways to make it great.

I’m so thankful for the wonderful relationship we have with our DIL. She’s a treasure, and we tell her that regularly. It hasn’t always been easy, and still isn’t. But we’ve both worked hard and continue to find ways to make our family work. I feel like I’ve given and changed a lot, but I’ve also been very aware of the many concessions she has made to include and honor us. And ultimately, that’s what this relationship is about. Each party respecting the other and creating a delightful, God-honoring extended family.