Mother-in Law Day is for Mother in law to be Deserving of the Honor of Having a Day Named After Her

Happy-Mothers-Day-QuotesMother-in-Law Day is October 25 this year, celebrated the fourth Sunday in October since 2002. If you read about this day, one would think that the day is to honor the mothers-in-law among us.

This Grandma says no. Mother-in-law Day is for mothers-in-law to remember to follow a few simple tips to be assured of being honored and to deserve to be honored.
Here are this Grandma’s four B’s to being the Mother-in-law deserving of the honor of having a day named after her:

BITE YOUR TONGUE.

Remember the old saying, “If you have nothing good to say, say nothing.” This applies to the in-law parents of our grandchildren.
This is so difficult. We grandmas have raised children and have lived life long enough to make so many mistakes. We really mean well. We want the parents of our grandchildren to avoid the mistakes we made. Unfortunately, this unsolicited advice is not taken well by the in-law parents of our grandchildren, much less our own children. Our children have a history with us and have long learned to tune us out when they do not want to hear what we have to say. We can do less harm with our own children. We can do more harm than we think with our in-law children.

First, is recognition that they are not our children. They are married to our children. Where our children may forgive our indiscretions (behavior or speech that displays a lack of good judgment is the definition), our in-law children, WILL NEVER FORGET.
Even if advice is solicited, remember the old saying, “If you have nothing good to say, say nothing.” Our grandchildren will grow up fine . . . especially if we are in their lives. We do not want to offend the gatekeepers of our children and we should NEVER offend the in-law parents of our grandchildren.
Things you can say to your daughter, you cannot say to the female in-law parent of your grandchildren. . . Not if you want your daughter-in-law to, one day, consider herself your daughter.

BRAG ABOUT YOUR GRANDCHILDREN.
This Grandma can assure you that my friends, co-workers, and anyone who will listen, are tired of hearing about my brilliant, talented, amazing grandchildren. The only ones, other than Grandpa, who can appreciate their incredible qualities are the parents of the grandchildren.
Gush. Exaggerate. Of course, mention how much they are like their brilliant, talented, amazing parents, especially the in-law parent of the grandchildren. It gives us a topic we all can agree on.
Do not tell them the truth as we grandmas know it. The grandchildren are amazing because they resemble their grandma!

BE AVAILABLE ON THEIR TERMS WHEN THEY NEED YOU.
NEVER SAY NO! Remember a no will be remembered. If you cannot say an immediate yes, say, “Let me get back to you by____” Give a definitive time to get back to them and then say yes.
If a grandma says no, then the next request may not come. Yes, this is difficult. Yes, we may seem like we are at the beck and call of the parents of our grandchildren. But, remember that for generations and generations, multi-generations lived together, and in some cultures still do, and the work of taking care of the grandchildren falls on the grandparents while the parents toil. More of us than we realize are raising grandchildren in the United States. Parenting is hard work. The parents need our help.

An in-law parent of our grandchildren does not easily ask for our help. We must provide an easy and quick YES. The grandmas who are my friends and have followed this advice love that they are sought out, invited on family holidays and vacations, and are relied upon by the gatekeepers. They feel like they have gained so much more than they have given.
Yes, make dinner, clean up after the children, but do not move the furniture in the house of the in-law parent. Things you can do in your daughter’s house, you cannot do in the house of the female in-law parent of your grandchildren. . . not if you want your daughter-in-law to, one day, consider herself your daughter.

BRIGHTEN THEIR LIVES
Remember this other old saying, “keep your mouth closed and your pocketbook open.” Be as generous as you can afford with your grandchildren. Provide the enrichment and supplement that the parents of the grandchildren cannot afford. Be generous with your time and chauffeuring of the grandchildren to their activities. Participate in their lives. This will be appreciated by the parents of the grandchildren. By brightening the lives of the grandchildren, you are brightening the lives of the parents of the grandchildren.

Help keep the relationship of the parents of your grandchildren strong. Provide respite. Be as generous as you can afford with the parents of your grandchildren. Parenting is tiring . . . .and expensive. Give the parents of your grandchildren a dinner out for their anniversary or no reason and watch the grandchildren. Give them tickets to the movies for their anniversary or no reason and watch the grandchildren. Take the grandchildren for an hour or two to give the parents of your grandchildren the opportunity to go to the store without children hanging on or just to watch a television show in their own home without a child needing something.

Remember that to maintain the strength of the parents’ relationship, they need at least 24 hours alone quarterly, without children, without electronics, outside their home. Offer that luxury. Yes, the 24 hours can be in a tent. . . it is the alone time that is important, but if you can spring for a hotel or a meal, that will be greatly appreciated and remembered.

These make for a great anniversary, holiday or birthday present and are a win-win as we get spoiling time alone with the grandchildren.

Now, let’s be honest. We know the thousands of mother-in-law laments and jokes. It seems most of the laments are from daughters-in-law and most of the jokes are from sons-in-law. The parent who does most of heavy lifting when it comes to relationship building is the daughter-in-law, and you want the daughter-in-law to want to build a relationship with grandma. Both hold grudges, though, so avoid the grudges. Avoid confrontations. Avoid hard feelings.
Where did this Grandma come up with the best tips for a mother-in-law? From my mother-in-
law, who I consider my mother. Read the blog post I wrote about her in 2012:

My Mother-in-law, the Star
JULY 4, 2012

Our GG is eighty eight years old. GG stands for great grandmother and is the absolute best name as the great grandchild can say GG at an early age and it makes our great grandmothers beam. I actually thought GG was already eighty nine years old. GG is really easy going about everything. That is why I believe she would be proud that I have told you her age.

For that matter, GG is always proud of everything anyone in the family accomplishes. She is the first to compliment and the last to criticize. GG was president of the PTA at her children’s school and active in volunteer organizations, in addition to working in her husband’s dental office. GG is not a wall flower. She will walk up to strangers and talk, most often to compliment them about something. GG is considerate and caring, but does not cross the line to intrude. I hear her say, I think I have said enough so let’s change the subject. GG is appreciative of attention but never demands or uses guilt.

At nearly eighty nine years old, GG lives alone, plays games with friends, is always ready to help us, goes to the casino to gamble (remember we live in Florida), and spends as much time with us as we extend ourselves to her. We love spending time with her as she is funny and fun to be with, interested in politics and public affairs, and up on the latest news. GG wants to go up north next month by airplane alone one way so she can see her four great grandchildren who live up there and celebrate her granddaughter’s thirty fifth birthday and a grandson’s fifth birthday.
GG is my mother-in-law. Yes, I am very lucky. I am also appreciative that I have her as a mother in my life.

GG is generous within her means. She says she wants to see the enjoyment that her gift brings during her life, rather than after her death. For my sixty fifth birthday, GG wanted to give me a special gift. There was really nothing that came to mind. She was insistent. My husband is into gadgets galore and is adept at all. I am mechanically challenged. But, I thought of an Ipad. GG got me the top of the line, full of 3G and every option Ipad. For the first three months, I did not carry it with me, but thought, a few times a day, how nice it would have been if I could have immediately found the answer to a question or check my email from anywhere I was when I had a break during the day. Now, the Ipad is with me always.

At a family dinner, we were enjoying a light conversation about the perfect birthday gift, money no option, in this electronic age, for a three year old, as our great nephew was about to be three. I said that all of our grandchildren, down to the sixteen month old love an Ipad the best. The best adult toy is also the best child toy. We debated the child versions on the market. GG decided that she wanted to buy him a simple version Ipad for his third birthday.

Of course, it was now impossible to get him to put the Ipad down for a minute. GG commented out loud that if a three year old could be so proficient at an Ipad, perhaps she, at eighty eight years old, could use an Ipad.

We went to Apple to get an Ipad for GG. After we showed her the basics and left, GG spent four hours playing on the Ipad. Within just a few weeks, GG expanded her use to playing Words with Friends with me, to playing bridge, hitting slot machines of course, reading best sellers, watching movies or something on computer TV, sending and receiving emails, viewing videos and pictures of grandchildren and great grandchildren, and surfing the net for articles, jokes, posts, news, etc. she finds interesting to share with family and friends.

Every day it seems, GG is trying something new and different on the Ipad. Yes, we do speak to her often, now more times each day, as she has questions or wants to share her Ipad skill. Today, we discussed how she must be expanding her mind, exactly what we are supposed to do to extend our quality of life as we age. She said she agreed as she continued to play on the Ipad as we spoke. I said there must not be too many eighty nine year olds who have an Ipad. That is when she reminded me she is still eighty eight years old. I said I am going to write an article for AARP Magazine about her and her Ipad. I must admit that I was viewing “[o]ur 21 Sexiest Grownup Men” in the June/July 2012 AARP Magazine while I was talking to her. She said, good, then I will be a star.

GG, you are a star. You are the mother-in-law I hope to be when our son marries. You will be with me always.

Joy (in 2012),
Mema

Our GG is now a young and vibrant 92 years old. Our GG, my mother-in-law, is beloved by us all, especially me. I am blessed to have had two mothers in my life.

Just follow GG’s four B’s and you too can be a blessing to your family and deserving of being honored on Mother-in Law Day.
Joy (in 2015),

Mema

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