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Friday, September 18, 2015

Mothers-in-Law ~ What I've Learned from Mine #1

MIL#1...First up, it was the 1970s.  This was a woman in her mid 40s, a short slightly portly little woman who was just entering menopause and a mid-life crisis.  She was a Farm Wife who had been transplanted to South Dakota as a teen-age bride from California.  She spent her entire adult life living on an isolated South Dakota farm at the edge of a tiny typically German/Czech community. 

When I first met, her hormones were raging, she was menopausal.  She was married to a man older than herself, a man who seemed cold and unemotional, blind and content in his own little world.  This woman was obviously making an effort to cling to the woman she had been, to cling to her youth, to her memories.  She was making an effort to justify her life and her decisions. When she spoke, you could hear regrets.  Her pain escaped in random comments that drifted from her lips unheard.

What did I learn from this woman?

  • I learned that self-sacrifice is a good and upstanding thing only up to a certain point.  
  • I learned that when you've over-played it, or when the time for its natural cessation has come, you have to let it go.  
  • I learned that it's not okay to give so much of yourself to other people that you are no longer "yourself" anymore, you are an empty vessel.  
  • I learned that it's okay for women to create their own space, to take time away from daily demands to ground and re-center.  
  • It's okay to follow your own dreams and ambitions, and it's okay to have your own goals.  
  • I learned that you shouldn't live your life in such a way as to have great big regrets towards the end of it, because then it may all be too late.


  1. Amythyst, your words are wise, and give me food for thought. I am going to copy them and read them over, because, a lot of the times, I feel as if I have lost myself since I became a mother 3 years ago. Your mother-in-law seems to carry a lot of pain and loneliness. Was she at least nice to you?

    Over the years, I went above and beyond with my own mother-in-law, but she is a snooty "bitch on wheels." She really screwed me over during my postpartum time. I thought she was coming out to help me, since my own mother is dead, but instead I ended up standing in the kitchen, hunched over with C-section stitches, making HER a sandwich, and she's a nurse too! My last straw with her was when she said I was "just a vessel" for my child and nothing more. I hate the bitch with a passion.

    Despite your mother-in-law's pain, I do hope she was at least nice to you. Thanks for sharing.

    Many Blessings,

    1. Ann, I feel your pain. I have to say that most of the experiences I have had with MILs has been negative. This is such an odd relationship; the connection is forced on both parties (the DIL and the MIL). Some women have handled this better than others, and some husbands have juggled this situation better than others. In the end, I have to say that I learned from these women the kind of MIL I don't want to be, and the kind of MIL I do want to be. I love my daughters' partners, and I want to treat them with respect and recognize that there are boundaries.

      As to the sad situation you described...your husband needs to step up to the plate and lay down some ground rules.

  2. Can't imagine going thru that many MIL's.
    I have had 2. Dearly Loved both.
    They are now dead. But I was treated very well by them.
    It's the Husband that gives me the Grief !
    If I were younger, I would be on my own.
    Certainly wouldn't be looking for another !
    May your Life be filled with many Friends and Family.