I'm not his Mother

I’m not your son’s Mother.  I married him, yes, but I did not become his mother.  I’ve had to buy almost every single mothers day card, birthday card and Christmas card.  Every gift you’ve received over the past fifteen years, yep, that was me.  Honestly, if I didn’t go to the store, and pick out the perfect card, you wouldn’t receive one.  I set it out, hand him a pen and let him do the rest.  That’s just me, being real.

Those cute family photos that I send you every year, don’t be too surprised, but I’m the one who made that happen.   The cute calendar that you receive in the mail with all our photos on it, that was me too. 

Photo Credit: Katie Santana

Photo Credit: Katie Santana

It’s not that your son doesn’t love you, he certainly does.  He calls you, and yes I have to remind him.  I don’t like being the one to remind him, but I have sons and I hope that their wives will care about me enough to remind them to give me a call one day. 

Maybe there will be someone who will read this and see themselves in my words.  Maybe they will change or apologize.  Maybe someone will make the choice to start a Mother/Daughter in law relationship out with the right expectations because I’m willing to be real.  So, here goes.

The other day, we had a phone conversation that started out pleasant.  It didn’t stay that way because you asked me a string of burning questions.  I usually have our phone conversations on speaker phone as I’m driving around town, trying to multi-task my day.  Since it’s on speaker, the kids hear every word.  My young kids in the van, they asked why you are so mean to me.  I don’t have an answer for them because I sincerely don’t know why.

You asked if we looked at the package of photos that came in the mail from your daughter.  You asked if I looked through every single photo out of the package of about fifty.  I was honest, I hadn’t.  My husband did though and I thought that was good enough.  Nope. You asked if he had called his sister.  I answered, “No.”  The conversation went from awkward to more awkward at that point.

I told you that I am not responsible for his relationship with his sister.  I told you that they call each other about equal amount of times and that if they are ok with it then we shouldn’t be worried about it. I asked you why it bothers you that your son and daughter do not talk regularly.  Your answer was confusing.  It was confusing because you expect us to always be the one to call you.  You only call once or twice a year and we panic because we think something must be really wrong.  We have faithfully been the one’s to dial you up, we’ve accepted that after fifteen years, it’s just the way it’s going to be.

My husband doesn’t need to be micro managed by a parent anymore.  He doesn’t need to be judged as a bad brother because he’s not meeting your standards.  I am guessing that it has been difficult to let go, I’m not quite there yet because my adult sons are not married, but I can imagine.  Everything inside me wants for us to have a pleasant relationship, fortunately at times we do.  You are generous and caring.  You raised the most amazing son. 

Conversations like this make me reflect.  What are some ways that I can get prepared to be a loving mother in law to my daughter in laws some day?

  1.  Build loving relationships with my sons now.

  2. Trust my sons to choose the spouse that blesses them.

  3. Encourage them to love their wife in ways that make her feel special.

  4. When they start dating the woman that they think is the one, invest in her.

  5. Call my boys when I want to talk instead of guilting them for not calling.

  6. Find ways to bring our family together, without being demanding.

  7. Respect the new family that they will build.

  8. Keep my mouth shut if it’s not constructive or loving.

  9. Be willing to help while they are growing a family.

I’m sure that I can build on this list.  I want to learn and grow.  If I mess up, I want to be the Mother in law that apologizes.

I am your son’s wife.  We are best friends and I do things for him.  We work as a team but I do not control him.  I don’t want to control the details that he is fully capable of working out himself.  When you ask me questions about him then get mad at my answers, as if it’s my fault, you have false expectations of what my role is. 

I wish you could acknowledge the effort I’ve made to keep your relationship with your son stronger.  I know that nothing I say will change you.  I know that I must forgive you.  Regardless, I am learning to be a kind, loving Mother in law.

Photo Credit: Katie Santana

Photo Credit: Katie Santana