Move over Mom…

Move over Mom…I still love you 😉
While many spent this past weekend thinking about mothers, I’d like to share my experience of becoming a mother-in-law to a daughter-in-law. About 10 years ago, I remember when my son first starting dating this young lady named Dayna. This was the first young lady that he dated and actually asked me to chaperon their first date. They were going roller skating and I loved roller skating. Absolutely, I would chaperon this date! I must give you the back drop to the relationship I had with my only son. We are very much alike; we connect to everything on an emotional level. We would often go for a ride in his car and discuss the lyrics to some of the songs we had in common and some songs we could clearly define the generation gap that existed between us. Those were good times, just the two of us in these emotional moments.
Now, back to the infamous “date night,” with Dayna. Previously I had always ridden in the front seat of my son’s car, for some reason this is where I thought I would sit that night as well, oh boy was I mistaken! I can remember walking out of the house and headed towards the car, but my son was already there with the passenger door opened for Ms. Dayna. He escorted her into the car and then politely walked to the driver’s side of the car and got in. Where was I? Standing outside moving subtly and regretfully to the back seat on the passenger side. I can distinctively remember putting on my seat belt and saying to myself, “I feel a shift here, this is different.” The night went on and we had a wonderful time. I still could not help feeling that something was different on the ride home. I found myself again thinking, “this won’t last long…I’ll be back in the front seat soon.” That never happened.
Months went by and they were engaged and soon to be married. I was not ready for this! I went through this whole process of planning the wedding emotionally kicking and screaming and grieving the loss of the special place I had in my son’s life. It’s interesting while it’s happening you don’t know what it is. We quickly default to, “no one is good enough for my son.” Most women go through this process, but can’t seem to call it what it is, therefore, they look critically at their future daughter in law instead of looking internally for what’s really going on. You understand that it is the natural progression of life, but I not seem to progress. I was stuck and I wanted my place back. While planning the wedding my heart wasn’t fully present and I missed out on some moments that I could have made more memorable if I had recognized what the transition was and given myself time to grieve the loss.

So when did I recognize that I needed to move over? My son never had to ask me. I can remember shortly after they got married and I invited them over for dinner. I was in the kitchen cooking and I “told” my son to go to the store and get an item I was missing. I recall thinking to myself at that moment, “if I wanted her to respect him, I have to respect him and see him in a different light, as the MAN of his household and no longer a boy.” That was a, Aha moment for me. I restated my request in the form of a question. At that moment I knew I was headed in the right direction of making my transition. Another powerful motivation for me moving over is when I recognized that she could give him something that I could not. And I wanted my son to enjoy the gift of marriage.
(Matthew 19:5, 6)

As I finally began to transition, I really wanted a relationship with my daughter in law. It didn’t happen overnight. I believe we both wanted the same thing. We began to have lunch together just the two of us, and really work on our relationship. One time we had a disagreement and we were able to talk it out and I received roses from her the next day. I can truly say that I love my daughter in law.
Once I fully let go of the fear of what I was losing, I could finally look at what I was gaining. I had another daughter who is a complement to my son. What I love about her the most is that she fully supports my son’s dreams and she is all about supporting the family. She’s at almost every family function with a homemade dish in hand. What a blessing. I truly have moved over, and have found great joy in my life as the grandmother of seven. I have six handsome grandsons and one little girl, Princess Aaylah, which is another little lady in my son’s heart that I have happily moved over for. Being a grandmother is a special kind of love that is a gift that I celebrate being in this new space. I now see myself out of my son’s car because it is filled with his wife and two children; and I now see myself waving a supportive goodbye to them as they drive away after each visit. Ahhhh…what a beautiful place to be and yes…I do know for a fact, “I am still loved!”

Okay ladies…tell me about your transition, are you looking at it externally or do you have the courage to go within? Let’s talk ladies…

(the attached picture captures Aaylah’s response to finding out she was having a little brother instead of a sister at Dayna’s reveal baby shower, she was not happy. That’s where we found out Dayton was a little boy;-)

23 thoughts on “Move over Mom…”

  1. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Let’s see I look forward to being a Daughter In Law that is deeply loved and cherished by a mother in law that will see me as an extension of the family. A mother in law who see’s that we share a very important, common, bond, we just happen to love the same man, differently, but at the end of the day we want the same thing, to make him happy.

    1. So beautifully stated Tammy…I wish I could have transitioned sooner, but I’m happy to be here. You mom is a wonderful mother in law. I love the relationship she has with her daughters in law. What a good example for many.

  2. My comment is from a different angle than the mother-in-law perspective still I want to share my experience that is in a similar line of thought. I have one son and he holds a most endearing place in my heart that has no comparison to another’s. As I observed him grow into the man that he is I can only give Jehovah God the praise for helping me to steer him in the right direction, even though I did not always know the way… ~Proverbs 3:5, 6
    When the time came for me to cut-the-cord, so to speak, it was one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to do. I knew I had to let him go so that he could spread his wings and soar. Still I held on to him tightly because I knew that it is a cold, cold world that out there and I wanted to shelter and protect him. Nevertheless, he told me that it was time for him to go, and it pains my heart as I write this because as a mother we want to hold on forever. Yet he assured me that the love that I had nurtured him with was sufficient for him to carry himself the rest of the way on his life’s journey. ~Proverbs 22:6
    So as he lay his head near my bosom and gently whispered in my ear, “Ma, I understand, you did the best you could with the hand you were dealt. Don’t worry, I will be alright, and please know that no one can ever take your place.” I knew at that moment that even though he was now a man, he would always be my baby… And because I did not want to hinder his growth, I let go… 😉

    1. What a beautiful story. I’m so glad you’ve joined our discussion. Your writing style is magnificent. I feel like I’m reliving your stories with you. What a tender moment of your son’s quest to fly. It is a scary thing to let go, but your deeper level of love allowed you to “cut-the-cord.” There is nothing like a mother’s love; we hold a unique place our children’s lives, for they were housed within us for 9 months. It’s only natural that we would struggle to know when to let go just as we struggled to push them out as they entered this world. Being a mom is truly a blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your story Deb.

  3. I had a pleasant transition from girlfriend to wife. My mother-in-law immediately accepted our relationship. I think she felt as long as her son was happy she was good with it. We both came in with managed expectation and mutual respect for one another. We both hear horror stories about in-laws/monster in-laws but I’m thankful we don’t share those. People often say to us “you like your daughter-in-law or you like your mother-in-law and we both look at them strange and say “you don’t”. We’re both secure in our perspective roles in his life and don’t feel slighted because he loves us both just differently.

    1. Beautiful Sheila, mutual respect and being secure in your role is such a great foundation to start an in-law relationship. We can learn a lot from you and your mother-in-law;-) Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom Sheila.

  4. Your story is just what the doctor ordered. I am in the transitional phase of letting go. My son is engaged, and very soon he will be married. I’m going to have to speak on this topic later. My feelings are all over the place, and I am having a difficult time sorting through them.

    1. Wow…thank you for you honesty and thank you for being able to sit with it before you respond. I look forward to hearing from you and supporting you through your transition. I’m looking forward to our girlfriend time;-)

  5. Thank you for sharing your perspective on this. I was the “Dayna” in this story the Daughter-in-law that had genuine intentions to develop a healthy, loving, respectful relationship with my Mother-in-law and it started off that way until we became a little more serious, closer and of course along with relationship up’s and down’s she was invited into our struggles and that’s when all heck broke loose. She became judgmental and negative towards our relationship instead of supportive (as with my mother) and demanded my husband’s time, attention, money or anything else she could come up with that would disrespect our relationship boundaries and if he didn’t do what she needed him to do when she wanted him to do it she disrespected him & I and our family extremely! She acted like “The other woman instead of the Mother in law” and it hurt all of us so deep that it separated a whole family. I was blamed for this separation which wasn’t fair because all I ever wanted was to bring a family TOGETHER that never hugged or said “I love you” until I started showing them genuine love. So, the lesson I received was to NEVER EVER become this type of mother and I would NEVER do this to any of my children! It’s not fair and it can cause some deep rooted hurt, pain and separation! Our family is stronger due to this, and we all look forward to one day having Daughter and Son’s in law that we can BUILD a happy, healthy, loving, respectful relationship with!

    1. My Advice: I believe It’s SO important to make sure to Welcome the in-law’s or extended family/friends etc. as an added support to what you’ve already begun if they are coming in with Positivity. ESPECIALLY if they are coming with positive ways to CHANGE NEGATIVE behavior in the family for the best, it should be welcomed instead of judged, disrespected or excluded etc. It’s one of the most hurtful things a mother can do to herself, her son and her son’s relationship! It’s not about another woman REPLACING a Mom, but being a positive extension of a Mom and the family. Once you look at it in this perspective your relationship should only be about Building each other not comparing, pointing out mistakes, judging & tearing each other down or disrespecting each other! If there are mistakes made, APOLOGIZE, FORGIVE and FIX it with each other!!!! Sometimes things can be done that are left unresolved to the point that they become Unredeemable! Don’t EVER let it get to that point!

      1. I agree Jahque. I had an issue similar my mother in law and I are now estranged and my marriage ended in Divorce due to this! It is IMPERATIVE that mother’s make sure they are open to a new person loving and caring for their children especially son’s and working to develop a good relationship with their spouses.

        1. Welcome to our discussion Cianna. Yes, it is imperative that we move over and welcome the new woman in our son’s life. It can be such a beautiful thing to watch them flourish in their marriage, but you will miss it if your vision is clouded by your own insecurities. It’s not always easy to admit even to yourself, but once you do it is such a relief, you can then make a decision to change and do something about it. I’m so glad I was able to move over. I’m so sorry your marriage ended in divorce. Hopefully our story can help others in the future. Thank you for sharing Cianna. Hope you can join us the June 13th for the next Coffee with Cathy…we will be discussing healthy relationships.

    2. Thank you again for sharing your story Jahque, I hope many others can learn from our story so as not to repeat this vicious cycle that can be very damaging. Those internal check ins with ourselves and being honest with our emotions can go a long way in creating a space for love to grow and flourish within the family. Welcome to our discussion Jahque.

  6. I can’t relate to the point of the mother but definitely from the daughter-in-law. I married the baby boy and it was clear, and still is, that my mother-in-law has difficulties with us being married. During the planning stages she refused to be involved which hurt because my mother is ill and couldn’t always be there and I thought it was a way for us to draw close just as my husband had already been close to my family. She told my husband that she really likes me and I’m the best thing that has ever happened to him. Still, In 10 days, it will be the five year anniversary and I still call his parents by brother and sister. I will continue to be loving, hospitable, and supportive of family gatherings but it is difficult at times

    1. Wow…thank you for sharing your story. I’ve witnessed situations similar to yours and it is difficult. It also puts the husband in a difficult situation because sometimes he feels like he has to choose between his mother or his wife. A husband should never be made to feel that way, but it happens over and over again. Our Heavenly Father in his infinite wisdom knew this would be a problem for imperfect humans, thus, therefore (Matthew 19:5, 6) Maybe in her admission to your husband that you are the best thing that ever happened to him is her way of moving towards a transition, or at least a step in the right direction. What a gift you are to your husband and his mother can truly see that. During those difficult moments, reflect on how you are fulfilling your role as a complement to your husband and rejoice in the fact that Jah sees your efforts and he will bless you with his approval and love.

  7. Cathy we live and learn in life. Our children give us unconditional love so it’s not easy to move over. The transition phase is what we make it. Looking at what we are gaining, be it a daughter in law or son in law should as you said be our new perspective. So I’m glad you brought this up because these feelings are real. Having the courage to acknowledge and accept how we feel allows us to make the transition a lot quicker and find Joy when our children grow up and get married.

    1. So true Berni…Our emotions can sometimes “hijack” where we can’t see straight. I’m learning to give an ear to what my emotions are telling me and move slowly to a conclusion or a response. I’m so happy to have this forum to share words of wisdom and to validate our feelings. Great to hear from you Berni…such words of wisdom!

  8. When I read the topic for today at first I wasn’t going to respond because I couldn’t really relate. Due to never being married or having kids, I never really had to adjust or make an transition that I was “FORCED” to do. When I make a change of a particular situation its because I want to. I guess that’s another advantage of being single- not always having to compromise. Being *FREE*

    Yet reading your story TRULY touched me deeply. In EVERY story there is ALWAYS a lesson to be learned!- Your story and your example INSPIRED me!- So many relationships between family members and husband and wife FAIL because of HAUGHTINESS – pointing the finger at the other person instead of digging deep and being HONEST and looking at ourselves and seeing where we can make or use the adjustment.

    Your story reminded me of the account in the bible that teaches the importance of humility! At Genesis 16:1-9- It talks about the problem that happen with Abram, Sarah and Hagar, the MAIN point of the story that has ALWAYS touched my heart is in verse 9 when the angel told Hagar to return to your mistress and * HUMBLE* yourself under her hand! – What a lesson!– Being imperfect NOBODY is going to always do or say or even think perfectly the way our creator wants us to think, But its our HONEST evaluation of ourselves and our HUMILITY that SAVES our relationships with others!

    Your attitude Cathy, is to be commended – Your story demonstrated ALL the qualities that * TRULY* make a SPIRITUAL BEAUTIFUL women- the qualities that I mainly took note of was- HONESTY, HUMILITY and not being SELFISH demonstrating REAL LOVE!

    Even though I love to dress up and I love fashion and nice things. I have NEVER been impressed with a persons style or what they say or how many hours or comments they may give or how much money they have. What turns me on and motivates me and moves me is a persons HONESTY and HUMILITY

    NOBODY’S relationships or marriages are perfect!– How can they be we are all so imperfect!– Yet, I can SEE CLEARLY why you are STILL happily marry and have a good relationship with your son, Daughter in law and grandchildren. You are following the bible qualities of being HONEST and HUMBLE by making adjustments when you were FORCE to change!

    One day I will marry, I WILL have to compromise, adjust my thinking even more, and remember its NOT always about me, my mate and his in laws have feelings and views that have to be consider at times. By not being SELFISH and by being Humble you GAIN so MANY rewards….PEACEABLE relationships!!!!
    Yes, your attitude turned out so good you gained a Daughter in law and beautiful grandchildren, but you also have gain more RESPECT and ADMIRATION from me as a SINGLE person, thank you so much for your excellent example- the honesty, humility and the non-selfish attitude you displayed for your son’s happiness!– You truly are a spiritual person!
    * Your Blogs are VERY up-lifting and encouraging- You FORCE me to think deeper and DIG deeper!———I don’t say things I DON’T mean… I TRULY SEE ALL your good qualities… I do Love you!— Keep up the EXCELLENT work, you set an excellent example for me now and if I choice to marry later!

    1. Thank you Lisa! I had read about Ruth and Naomi and I wanted that kind of relationship with my daughter in law. I’m so happy that Our Heavenly Father has given us the tools to pursue peace with honesty and humility. This was not an easy transition for me, but so happy I was able to take an honest evaluation of myself. I wish I would have had a space and a forum to openly discuss this transition back then. How thankful I am today have the support of the beautiful women who have chosen to sip Coffee with Cathy! I have learned so much and yet I recognize there is much, much more to learn. I can’t wait to see the wisdom that comes through the filter from the robust brew! Thank you Lisa for your love and support!

      1. I appreciate you sharing this with us! There was a time when I felt alone and no one understood and I didn’t have very many people I could talk to about this. I also applaud you for recognizing your own mistakes and CORRECTING them before they became a real issue!!! That is real mature and Godly work! I wish the very best for your family + in-laws!

        1. Thank you Jahque and welcome to our discussion. The main purpose for my blog is to provide a safe forum for women to discuss real life issues and openly express our feelings without judgement. When we are going through trails we often feel alone, or even ashamed of how we feel. The truth is we are never alone (Psalms 34:18) and many of us experience similar things in life. There are times when I’m blogging when I feel openly exposed, but I pray about it and press the “publish” button, in hopes that someone will benefit. I’m happy you’ve been able to express yourself. Welcome to our discussion. Hope to see you on June 13th at Coffee with Cathy, the top will be all about healthy relationships.

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