Are you a kind and sweet mother-in-law or are you a jealous mom who is out to prove that you are the better choice? I have a son who makes me number one in his life; I bet you wished you were in my shoes, but read on, it’s not what you think…
It’s been a good month: I was offered the Presidency of Haiti, a long lost relative found my email address and wants to deposit $5,000,000 into my bank account. I was given the opportunity to have a business administration job for $7000/month ( Umm…I know how to use Word, does that count?) LinkedIn found me a job teaching French, but I don’t even know how to say “bonjour” correctly.
Wow, wouldn’t you be jumping up and down if all those offers come your way?
Now back to the real reason it’s been a good month. My son Kyle who is twenty-seven and has severe autism has made a turnaround.
*He started wearing his clothes and keeping them on except in the evening,
*He has had a drastic reduction in anxiety
*He is having fewer seizures
*He is getting out into the community more
*His speech is increasing
I could go on and list many more things that are changing for the better in his life, but I don’t want to bore you.
Have you ever read the book, Love You Forever? Those of you who have are already crying just thinking about it, right? It’s a story about a mother having a hard time with her son growing up. When her boy leaves home, she still wants to sneak over to his new house when he’s asleep, and she wants to put him on her lap and rock him like she did when he was a baby.
That is the relationship I have been able to have with Kyle for twenty-seven years. My son has been like a two-year-old: it was like he never grew up. He needed me, and my husband Vance like a toddler needs their parents.
But that is changing, and it’s throwing Vance and me for a loop.
We just got back from a ten-day holiday and while we were gone Kyle had a party- well, his kind of party. Staying out late each night and driving around town on Halloween checking out the costumes and decorations with his staff. He was a happy camper, thinking he was leading the rebellious life!
His staff kept him busy and happy while we were away. My daughter Charity and her husband Dan stayed here at night with Kyle and honestly, I had a worry-free vacation. When we arrived home, Kyle was still out with his staff and arrived back a few hours after us. When he came in the door, it wasn’t even like we had been away, he was calm and smiled at us: years ago, he used to burst in the door when we had been away and clung to us for dear life.
His full-time workers are mostly female, and the male staff works if someone is sick or we go on vacation. He has five females who think Kyle is the cutest guy ever. They tell him he’s smart, he’s handsome, and he’s funny, and Kyle responds by wrapping his arms around them and give them a huge bear hug.
Kyle won’t ever get married because he doesn’t have enough communication skills to have a healthy relationship. Plus, he needs supervision since he lacks awareness of safety issues. But these ladies are the closest he will have to female companionship, and they add meaning and value to Kyle’s life.
I was the only woman in Kyle’s life, other than his three sisters, Charity, Aryanna and Jazmin. I felt special knowing I was such an integral part of his happiness. But isn’t that the opposite of what we want for our kids? Wouldn’t we instead wish they have people in their lives that bring them joy, other than ourselves? Or are we that selfish that we want to be the only women in our child’s world?
When I was fortunate enough to be given my first daughter-in-law this summer ( I call Jazmin my bonus-daughter instead), I thought ahead of time about what kind of relationship I wanted to have with her, and this was for her benefit, and for my son Eythan’s.
I have listened to too many mothers to count who speak poorly of their son’s wives. It’s not that they don’t like them, it’s that they feel replaced in their son’s life. They are jealous. They then go on to do everything in their power to try to undermine their son’s wife and prove to them that mom is the better choice. They are a mother-in-law nightmare!
I have been fortunate to have my mother-in-law Marsha invite me to every family gathering, and treat me to lunch every time one of her kids or bonus kids has a birthday. She has also given me the most beautiful gifts for Christmas and my birthday and spoils my kids too. Some women never have this treatment from their husband’s mother. For many years she babysat our five children when we needed a holiday. Plus on top of all that, she’s a fabulous cook and has a cozy, beautiful home she loves her kids and bonus kids to visit. Our sons use to sneak next door to Marsha’s house in the morning when they were younger to eat, Lucky Charms, cereal, instead of boring, old Cheerios, at our home.
Not everyone has this same experience I have had.
You’ve seen many blockbuster movies on nightmare mom’s show up in our theatres. Usually, mom loses out in the end, and Prince Charming is even more in love with his wife than ever before.
How you treat your son’s wife will determine how often you see your son and your grandchildren. You have a fantastic opportunity to be able to be one of the people on this earth she cherishes almost as much as her mother. You have been gifted with a new daughter, and if you love her like your daughter, there’s a good chance she will be endeared to you and want to be at your house for all the holidays and special moments your family has.
It starts way back when they are dating, and if you mess up and start bad mouthing her, it will come back to bite you. She may never forgive you. Whenever our children dated, even if we had concerns, we still wanted to make that person feel loved and cherished by our family. We’ve had a lot of darling girls come to our home, and we enjoyed each one.
As a mother, I know all my children’s faults. I was the one who raised them, and a lot of their weaknesses are due to that. My kids are far from perfect, and I could write a whole book on that, but so can every other mom. There is no person out there that is not “good enough” for my darling son or daughter.
When our kids would mention, “I wonder why I haven’t found that special someone yet?” I would tell them, “Maybe their homeless right now and strung out on drugs and haven’t found Jesus yet.” Some of you think I’m crazy now, don’t you? You think I’m a Jesus Freak… and well, yes I am.
I would honestly prefer our kids marry someone who feels unworthy, uneducated and poor than someone who feels self-righteous with their fancy education and pockets lined with gold. I’m not against riches or knowledge; I just don’t want it to be what my kids were attracted to in a person. If that rich, educated person gets brain damage and is poor, will they still be in love if those qualities are now gone?
Jazmin had made Eythan’s life better, way better than I ever could have ever dreamed( I think he’s still in the honeymoon, googly-eyed state he was in two months ago when they got married.) Dan, my bonus son, has made Charity’s life one that is filled with joy. Are their relationships perfect? No! But my kids are happy with them.
If I am jealous of my child’s relationship with their spouse, am I not going against what I really wanted for them in the first place…happiness? It’s not about me, not for a moment.
Which bring me back to my son Kyle, who will never marry: unless of course God miraculously helps us to find the pot-of-healing at the end of the rainbow.
In Kyle’s mind, he has five girlfriends now. I want to be happy for him because this is what I wanted for him: to have friends and a life outside of the small one he had within our four walls.
His world is growing, and so is he, and I am not all he needs anymore.
Accepting that and putting my own needs and insecurities aside and allowing him a new life, is only going to help him to become the young man I had prayed he would be one day.
Have you been struggling with being a loving mother-in-law due to jealousy? Maybe it’s time to put yourself aside and use your magic wand-of-love to put your child and their spouse ahead of what you need and desire.
Afterall, it may bring you exactly what you wanted: A child, their spouse and your grandchildren coming home regularly to love you and eat your delicious home cooked food.
Love always calls someone back home, where peace, acceptance and a mother’s warm heart resides. Be the LOVE your kids and bonus-kids desperately need and want💗
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34 NIV
Long Lost Road
It’s been a while since he came home
He used to call me on the phone
My heart’s been hoping for some time
Now my son ignores my line
He met a woman a few years ago
She had my son as her new beau
She wasn’t so perfect, and I told him to squirrel
He used to adore me and now it’s the girl
I am at home alone every evening
Thinking of my son and the girl he’s now leading
Away from the place he visited me.
I wish I had known how it would be
I realize now what I had done
I’m sorry I hurt you, daughter and son
I want to take back the words I had moaned
And look out my window and see my kids home
Author: Cindy Seaton