What is a good mother-in-law?

I remember sitting at my oldest son’s wedding and realizing, “Oh my gosh – I’m a mother-in-law.”  I used to laugh at the jokes on occasion and now, not so much!  I cruised the Internet looking at articles and was chagrined to realize how many of them were about how to get along with a mother-in-law.  (Warning: most of the time it was the mother of the husband that was considered the problem!)  I have two sons and both married wonderful women.  I am a blessed mother-in-law – but I am still a mother-in-law.  To be honest, this stage of parenting doesn’t come with a whole lot of advice.  “Children-in-law” is not a popular topic of conversation at mid-life parties.  We usually want our friends to think that our families compare to the Cleavers or the Huxtables as opposed to one of those “modern” families.  Right now I am worried that some of you are thinking, “What did Janet do that caused her to write this blog post?”

I’m sure I’ve done several things but Candice and Rachel have been great about my flaws.  I’m a teacher, a preacher’s wife and a mom of sons.  That is pretty much the kiss of death if I’m not careful!  I always have an opinion, and it isn’t real hard to get that opinion out of me.  But, when my sons decided to get married, I knew I wanted to work hard at this new parenting role.  I really wanted to help my sons have the best marriages they could.

I had a great mother-in-law.  Looking back, I can think of countless times Jim’s mom smiled, complimented and encouraged.  I wish she was still living so I could tell her she was even better at the job than I realized.  Jim’s mom lived with us or near us for a lot of years, and we always maintained a great relationship with her.  She was a loving mom and mom-in-law.

I recently read a Huffington Post article on the subject titled “5 Biggest Mother-In-Law Mistakes.”  The title itself reveals a great deal!  Here are the five mistakes the article said we might make:

  • You stop by unannounced.
  • You want her to call you “mom.”
  • You give advice she didn’t ask for.
  • You criticize her kids.
  • You talk to your son about her.

Four out of five is a B-.  There isn’t much room for error on this list.  This is normally the point in my blog post that I offer my thoughts on the subject, and a verse or two.  I’m not going to do that today.  I want all of you “mothers-in-law” and “daughters-in-law” to finish this blog post.  I want you to think about the one thing you wish every woman could know, that would help her in one of those relationships.  Then I want you to use the comment section to share that thought or idea with all of us.

Share a Scripture, something someone did for you or advice that has been helpful.  I will monitor the comments and I won’t be able to post anything I think would hurt a person’s feelings – so please don’t use names.  If you want to share your comment with a family member just forward her a link to the blog post so he or she can read it.  

I’m hoping to add some Christian advice to the Internet so that all of us can help each other.  God called his children a family.  It will be fun to help make that family a little closer to one another, or help someone want to be part of God’s family.

Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to share your thoughts.  I have wonderful readers!

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