Monday, November 22, 2010

The Mother-In-Law Dance

Busy, busy, busy is the name of the season! I haven't even had time to blog!
I just returned home from Japan... well its actually been 3 weeks. My.. how time flys. My daughter-in-law is in Japan teaching English and I thought this would be a great opportunity to visit her and see a country I had never visited before.
Japan surprised me! It is beautiful. The people are extremely friendly and accommodating. There was so much to see and do in the short week I was there. My daughter-in-law surprised me too! First of all that she would even want me to come and spend the week with her and secondly that I ended up doing things I wouldn't probably have done with anyone else; we had fun. :)

Daughter-in-laws...I have 2 of them. I never had any daughters of my own and in my younger years that was just fine with me since I grew up in a household of 4 sisters and 5 step-sisters. Yep.. I wanted 4 boys when I was a little girl imagining the married princess life. I ended up giving birth to 2 male genders who have grown into handsome, caring men.  I have a great relationship with both of them but watching my sisters(all of which had daughters) and my friends interact with their grown adult daughters, I can see I have missed  something that goes on between a mother and her daughter that I will never experience.( this side of it, of course. I have a mother)

There's a saying that goes something like this...You lose a son when he takes a wife but a daughter is a daughter for life....

I can't really say I have felt like I have lost my sons, but I do know and see that another woman has become #1 priority in their life.  This is the way it should be but sometimes it can be painful.
 The mother-in-law/ daughter-in-law relationship was never role modeled to me so I have had to find my way through these relationships on my own. I've realized now that my mother-in-law was an important person in my life. I regret not spending more time with her in a mother/daughter way but I really didn't know how or even why I needed to. When she passed away I realized how much I had grown to love her and how she had been such an important part of our family. I was never taught that when you marry someone you become a family with both sides and your husband's side is just as important as your own. But let's be honest...your side of the family is much easier to be around. You know their ins and outs and you all think similarly. It's so much more comfortable! I don't think men have this issue as much as us women but I know my boys and my husband love getting together with their family of origin too.
Since women are much more relational....enter.. one mother-in-law who can feel out of sinc with her new daughter-in-law and her family.Of course there are two sides to this story. One daughter-in-law who can feel out of sinc with her husband's mother and family.

A good book  called "The Mother-In-Law Dance".by Annie Chapman....subtitle "Can 2 Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along?" was recommended to me by my grandma friend Marmee. It has helped me to see both sides and make some changes in my perspective of what I think should be going on in the relationship.
I love to dance! In fact, I'm pretty darn good at it and I'm sure it will be something I will be doing in eternity! But the Mother-In-Law dance has been one that I have needed some instruction. Deciding who is suppose to lead, not stepping on toes, dancing to the same beat when you hear a different one have been some of my challenges and Annie Chapman covers them all. Thank you, Annie! Besides knowing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me ( Philip:4:13) this book has taught me some new moves!
My daughter-in-laws are two unique and wonderful women. They are both talented, full of life and determined to make the most of their lives. They have been gracious and inclusive. One has given us two beautiful grandchildren. I know I will never take the place of their mothers but I think I can dance a dance that will step less on toes with moves that are more synchronized and intuitive!
Mother-in-laws, there are daughters out there that are anxious to live out the dream of wife and mother that their mothers have so graciously reflected to them. Daughter-in-laws, there are mothers out there that once held your precious husbands in their arms, kissed their boo boos and made everything alright. Yes, we can both love the same man and still get along.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for. I thank the Lord for giving me two wonderful boys who have treated me with respect and love. I thank God for my husband who has done a beautiful job  role modeling for our sons how to a cherish a woman. And I thank the Lord for the 2 beautiful women that our sons have chosen to spend the rest of their lives with. O yes! and grandchildren...the most wonderful blessing that comes out of the fruit of our labor after raising our children. Amazing!
Thank you Lord! I am truly blessed!
Happy Thanksgiving!!


  1. Beautiful! You made me tear up with the advice to mil's and gil's (get it?) I miss my son so much sometimes, but I'm so proud of the man he has become and of the woman he shares his life with. Well done, blog buddy!

  2. You almost made me cry. ALMOST! I love this Peggy and I love you. Having you as a friend has made me respect and treasure my own Mother-in-Law so much more! Thank you for your friendship and wisdom!

  3. It is a dance, eh? Peggy, I know that your dils must respect and cherish you for even considering how THEY feel. So many mils don't. Love that you're writing about it!

  4. It is totally a dance. What a beautiful post. I love hearing about the dance from the mil's perspective. It reminds me to love and consider my wonderful mil's thoughts, feelings, etc even more.