Holly Jacobs~Guest Goddess is in the house!!

Please give a big GODDESS welcome to the wonderful Holly Jacobs!!

Lessons for a Mother-in-Law

So, the first of my children got married a week and a half ago.  Wow.  I am officially a mother-in-law, and that means that I have the potential for becoming a grandmother someday.  I think the whole mother-of-the-bride thing was a great prep for my future as a mother-in-law and grandmother status.

Here are a few rules I gave myself as my future son-in-law and daughter dated, then planned a wedding, and how I hope they translate into my future.

1. IT’S YOUR WEDDING/marriage/baby…

When my daughter began planning her wedding, it was a very different wedding than I’d have planned.  I’m a more low-key kind of person.  This was a very high-key sort of wedding.  My mantra throughout the whole affair was, “It’s your day, honey.  Whatever you want.”  If she asked an opinion, I’d give it, but end with, “It’s your day, honey.

Whatever you want.”  If she didn’t ask an opinion, I didn’t offer one.

The result?
-
It was a very beautiful wedding.  She knew what she wanted–what was most important to her–and planned for those things, then she didn’t sweat the other things.  I loved that she gave her bridesmaids the color of their dresses, then told them to buy one that flattered their figures.  Something they might be prone to wear again.  It was lovely to see her attendants looking as beautiful as she did!  I’m so glad I didn’t try to influence her decisions, because in the end, she had the wedding of her dreams, not mine.  And ultimately, that’s the way it should have been!
-
As a mother-in-law, I hope to remember this is their marriage.  There will be ups and downs.  I hope to revel in their happy times with them, and support them through the occasional rough patches.  I’ll offer advice when asked, but otherwise, my mantra will be, “It’s your marriage, kids.  Just remember why you got married…you loved each other.
Figure out what works for your marriage.”
-
Now, as a future grandmother, I plan to employ this same technique.  If they  ask my opinion on child-rearing, I’ll happily share it, but I plan to remember this is my son-in-law, daughter and their child.  They will do things differently than my husband and did, but that’s okay.  My mantra will be, “It’s your baby/child, honey.  Just love him/her and figure out what works for you family.”
-

2. FAMILY FIRST

-

Speaking of family…  One of the things I loved about the wedding is the kids included all their siblings in their wedding party.  This was absolutely a family affair.  I hope they continue to put emphasis on their family in the years to come–the one they’ll build together, and the ones they both came from.
-
When I started writing, it became an important facet of my life.  But it was just that–a facet.  For me, family comes first.  One of the beautiful parts about writing is that it allows me to be flexible with work.  I drive for fieldtrips, go to the schools and volunteer.  Sometimes more, sometime less, but always when my kids ask.  Family first.  I think the kids showed they get that as they included their family in their wedding.
-

3.  BUILD YOUR OWN MEMORIES/TRADITIONS

-

When my daughter brought home my future son-in-law, he came with a family of his own…traditions of his own.  The past few years, as he’s assimilated into our family, I’ve tried to remember that his family counts, too.  I’ve heard too many horror stories of families pulling couples in two directions and I haven’t played that game, and will continue to avoid it.  When holidays roll around, I ask what his plans with his family are, then try to adapt our dinners/celebrations around that.  Now, I realize as the other kids get older and marry, I won’t always be able to accommodate everyone, but I’ll try to do my best, and I won’t ever make them feel guilty if they need to skip out on us early, or arrive late, or if they have to skip us all together.  It’s their life.  They’ll need to figure out how to make it work for them.  I hope to always be a part of it, but I’d rather be a joyful part, then a difficult obligation.

-

4. CELEBRATE AND DON’T TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY

-

Okay, so the reception was a huge, fun party.  My daughter smiled the evening away, and so did my new son-in-law.  They celebrated their marriage surrounded by friends and family…there was so much joy.  I hope they can hold onto that joy and celebrate the life they’ll be building together.
-
When my son-in-law went to remover my daughter’s garter, he put on goggles and a snorkle and dove right in, much to the amusement of the guests.  We laughed.  He laughed.  My daughter laughed.  Humor abounded.  I figure if they can hold onto that ability to laugh throughout their marriage, they’ll do just fine.  My husband and I have an anniversary tomorrow, and we’ve never forgotten how to find humor in the everyday minutia…and I think that’s carried us through both the good times and the bad.  I think the kids already understand that laughter is an important part of a relationship.
______________________

So, that’s it. I’m a mother-in-law.  I hope to be a good one.  Families change.  They alter and grow.  This is a good change for us, and I’m thrilled to welcome another son into the family.  And my previously solo son is thrilled not to be so badly outnumbered by his three sisters.  The wedding was a lovely day, but it was just a day.  I’m looking forward to watching my daughter and son-in-law’s married life progress and grow!  And I hope to be a joyful part of it!

~Holly

PS: Family is the center of my life.  It’s important to me.  I think that shows in my books.  My new series for SuperRomance is set in Whedon, PA and centers around the Keller family and their circle of friends.  It started last November with the award winning, UNEXPECTED GIFTS (http://amzn.to/bnPgvS), continued in February of this year with A ONE-OF-A-KIND FAMILY (http://amzn.to/bAdkKU), and will have a new addition this December with HOMECOMING DAY.  You can find out more at HollyJacobs.com.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Mega World News Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati del.icio.us Digg Google Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon Weekend Joy

About Tonya
Quirky creations of a high-class hillbilly writer! Tonya loves to write about fun loving heroines and the crazy situations they get themselves into.

Comments

  1. Holly Jacobs says:

    Tonya, Thanks for inviting me to blog at The Naked Hero today! I look forward to hanging out with you!

    Holly

    [Reply]

    Tonya Reply:

    Holly! I’m so glad you are here. I love getting to know you and I’m amazed at how wonderful of a mother in law you are!

    [Reply]

  2. Danica Avet says:

    Holly, great post! My brother recently married, and though it isn’t quite the same as a child marrying, I’ve had to remind myself of these exact same things. The wedding wasn’t what I would have wanted, but it wasn’t my wedding. Now as they’re beginning their new life together, I know I’ll have to share my baby brother with someone else, but I’m lucky in that she isn’t requiring him to choose between her family and ours. It’s hard letting go, but I know in the end, our entire family will be strengthened by their marriage.

    Congrats to you and your family!

    [Reply]

    Tonya Reply:

    Danica I have been married before and he wanted me to chose b/w family….BEEN MARRIED….dumped him:)

    [Reply]

  3. Congrats on the wedding and thanks for the wonderful advice. From the sounds of it you’ll be a great mother-in-law.

    [Reply]

    Tonya Reply:

    I know Caridad! Didn’t she give awesome advice!!??

    [Reply]

  4. Lee says:

    What a fun post Holly and welcome to the TNH…It sounds like your daughter, knew what she wanted and went for it. As the mom, it is best to sit back and let them go, after all it is there day. When my youngest son married, his wedding was enormous, 400 people. I’m not kidding!! Only 30 came from his side of the family. His wife is Cambodian, and it was full of fun, laughter and lots of new traditions. It went on for so long, they had two bands, one for earlier to be replaced by a later one, and we had to have security. It was massive. How my daughter-in-law managed to arrange so much I was astounded. I kept offering to help, but she said she had it handled. She wanted our traditions there too. So we had bag pipes playing a the ceremony, and my son wore his family blades, and it was beautiful. Now they have two beautiful kids who have the best of both cultural worlds.
    Good marriages do strengthen a family and only makes it better. I’m a mother-in-law three times over, and I’ve learned to just keep my opinions to myself, and let the family go..I just enjoy the grandkids, which there is 9 now, and spend every moment I can appreciating all of it.

    [Reply]

    Tonya Reply:

    Lee! I’d take you as a mother, sister, mother in law…well..I guess I have to settle for GREAT FRIEND!

    [Reply]

  5. Holly Jacobs says:

    Congrats, Danica! I hope you learn to love your new sister-in-law! I’ve always been very close to my husband’s sisters.

    Caridad, I plan to try and be the best MIL I can manage. I was very fortunate that my MIL was such a tremendous role model. She really was my best friend. We used to joke that if my dh divorced me, I was keeping her in the divorce settlement! LOL

    Oh, my Lee, 9 grandkids! That’s so much fun!! And your son’s wedding sounds like the perfect blend of their traditions and yours!

    Holly

    [Reply]

    Tonya Reply:

    Lee is an awesome grandmother!

    [Reply]

  6. Patty L. says:

    First things first, Holly can you talk to my mom. LOL My mom gets upset if we pick my husbands family for a holiday celebration and always butts in on how to raise my kids. I love her madly, but a little bit of separation wouldn’t hurt.

    Second and most importantly, I love your books. You are an autobuy for me. I can’t wait for your December release.

    Congrats on the new son-in-law, you sound like the best kind of mother-in-law.

    [Reply]

    Tonya Reply:

    Oh Patty, that’s really hard. My mother in law never gets in our business…my family is great and my husband loves her as a mother in law.

    [Reply]

  7. Holly Jacobs says:

    Patty,

    Thanks so much for buying my books! I really hope you enjoy Seth and Laura’s story in December. I’m working on the revisions now and really love this couple. Next up is Tucker’s story…I’m itching to get to work on it!

    As for your mom…hugs. When my kids were little and I received unwanted advice, I simply said, Thank you. Didn’t mean I followed it, just that I was thanking the person for loving me/my kids enough to want to help. For instance, I was very careful about nutrition here at home (my kids complain they were the only kids in the whole school who had to take brown bread and fruit in their lunches! LOL), but when my FIL snuck them all ice cream before they’d had any solid food, I let it go. They always had treats at g.pa’s they never got at home, and they didn’t die from them! LOL I guess, my mantra with that kind of “help” was if it wasn’t going to kill the kids or kill me, I let it slide. Well, other than physical discipline. I never hit/spanked my kids and made sure my family knew that was a deal breaker. I could handle unwanted treats and advice, but not so much on the hitting. LOL You’ll just have to find your line in the sand, then draw it and make sure the family sees it, too!

    I’m so sorry your mom makes you feel divided on holidays, too. That’s something you can’t give too much on. You can always try letting her pick first when you can…We can spend Christmas Eve, or Christmas afternoon w/ you, Mom…which do you prefer. It might make her feel as if she’s got some control and that she’s a priority. Maybe that will help. And I find if you have to sentences that start with, “You know I love you, but…” makes those situations she can’t control and isn’t happy about go down a bit easier!

    Good luck! Just remind yourself that she loves you and you love her…someday the kids will be older and it won’t be as tough!

    Holly

    [Reply]

  8. Sia McKye says:

    Some great advice, Holly.

    Not a mother-in-law yet and hopefully not for about the next 6 years or so. But with 7 brothers and 2 sisters, believe me when I say I’ve had LOTS of experience at being an in-law. I agree with your mantras. Some of the choices made by the sibs aren’t what I would have wanted for them, but it’s their love, their life. It’s not always easy to pull your verbal punches. If I’m asked, I’ll be honest, but otherwise, I don’t give an opinion. I’m a firm believer in letting people be who they are and you either love/like them or not. If you want to be part of their life, you accept them as THEY are not as YOU want them to be.

    When it comes to family functions around the holidays we’ve all learned the art of compromise. So far, so good, but holidays are usually a round of family things on various days. We make it work.

    My family is very important to me. I’ve learned how to be at peace with my sometimes volatile Celtic family and then you add hub’s being a strongly opinionated Italian…we’ve been married over 20 years and no bloodshed yet.

    [Reply]

    Tonya Reply:

    Sia you are tooo funny!

    [Reply]

  9. Holly Jacobs says:

    Sia,

    Now, that’s a good commercial saying–Being married for more than twenty years with no bloodshed…priceless!

    Seriously, learning to pull those verbal punches and perfecting the fine art of compromise are tough lessons to learn, but so worth it with a harmonious (okay, so maybe a non-bloody) family! LOL

    Holly

    [Reply]

  10. What a great post! I have two family weddings this year – not my own kids, but two of my four nieces are getting married. I’m glad our family isn’t going first. I’m taking a lot of notes for future reference!

    [Reply]

  11. Holly Jacobs says:

    Tonya, Thanks again for having me visit!!

    Becke, Congrats on the nieces! I hope their weddings and their marriages are happy ones!!

    Holly

    [Reply]

  12. Such words of wisdom! Holly, I already know you are a wonderful writer, now I know you are a wonderful mother in law (and mother!) I hope I can be the same when my daughter gets married one day.

    [Reply]

  13. Holly Jacobs says:

    Thanks so much, Kandy! I’m sure are as well! I think the most important facet of mothering is just trying to do your best.

    Holly

    [Reply]

  14. linda says:

    I’m a mother-in-law & a grandmother & i’m proud of it. Having 2 daughters, I welcome 2 sons to our family. I love them as well. Grandchildren, what can I say, I love them as if they were my children. I am very blessed to be able to enjoy them as much as I can. I will be reading those books, sound great.

    [Reply]

  15. Monica VanBeekum says:

    That is incredible advice! I think I will have to copy & save this! I call my mother-in-law my Smother-in-law! At first she was horrendous and is still after 20 years of marriage to her only child jealous of our friends and family. I used to call her the Monster-in-law but then I realized what she did was smother me and the more she asked or invited or suggested the more it made me want to pull back! She is very generous but great at the emotional black mail! Her mother-in-law was mean to her so you would think she would have been nice in the beginning!

    You sound like you are a great mom, mother-in-law and one day grandma that your grandkids will love to spend time with! Good luck!

    [Reply]

  16. CathyS says:

    Great stories about the wedding, Holly. The only thing that would have improved this blog post would have been a book giveaway! lol

    [Reply]

  17. Holly Jacobs says:

    Linda, I’ll confess, I’m looking forward to grandchildren some day! I adore kids…and the kind you can give back at the end of the day are the best kind! LOL

    Monica, I’m so sorry that things are so hard with your MIL, even after all these years. Hugs! When your day comes to be a MIL, I’m sure you’ll be a better one.

    Cathy, Oh, I’m sorry. I never even thought about giving one away.

    Holly

    [Reply]

  18. Holly Jacobs says:

    PS. I’ve been basketweaving (there are pics on my FB account) and will be doing a basket/book giveaway this fall before the release of Homecoming Day. You can keep an eye out for that!

    [Reply]

Speak Your Mind