Thursday 23 May 2024

Remarkable Lessons From Mothers-In-Law - Jumoke Carew - #EmpowermentandInspiration #JackLookman #empoweringandinspiringgenerations


  1. Introduction   

Thank you for picking up this insightful manual. I can assure you that you have made the right decision. Within the pages of this manual, you'll find remarkable experiences of mothers-in-law and their unique counsel for other mothers-in-law. As you proceed, you'll learn the pitfalls to avoid as mother-in-law and best practices you need to inculcate to create a friendly atmosphere for your son-in-law and daughter-in-law. I want you to read each line carefully, digest it thoughtfully and apply what you have learned practically. Lastly, don't forget to share what you have learned with your fellow mothers-in-law by recommending this book to them. 

2. Remarkable Experiences from mothers-in-law

Welcome to the first chapter of this exciting journey. It is filled with unique lessons from which you can learn, as different mothers-in-law share their remarkable experiences. Let's get started. 

2.1 What are your remarkable experiences as a mother-in-law?

A great mother-in-law shared her remarkable experience. “I want to thank my Creator for making me the type of person I am. I don’t differentiate between people. That is,  if you are a friend, a son’s or brother’s wife or a co-worker, co-worshiper, older or younger—anybody I meet—I believe we’re the same and treat them equally.  This has helped me in my journey as a mother in law. 

I have two married sons, and I love their wives. The moment they were introduced to me as whom they want to spend their lives with, I became very acceptable. Don’t forget that I said once I meet people I treat them as a human beings, to the extent that people thought they were my daughters. My sons don’t call their wives my daughter-in-law. They refer to them as ‘omo yin’ (your daughter) and that makes things friendly more.  I didn’t have to live with any of them until my husband died and I had to move in with one of them. 

People, friends and relatives thought I shouldn’t stay with them because I may not have my space, but  because I know myself, I told them I don’t have problems staying with them.  I respect myself and respect others as much as I want people to respect me. I don’t interfere in their affairs at home and thank God, theirs has been a peaceful home. I eat whatever is cooked at home and I cook whenever I feel like cooking, there is no restriction, we’re a big family. I love a friendly atmosphere because when I see people around me frowning I don’t feel happy and things have been going on well.  I have stayed with them for over five good years and glory be to Allah there is no single confrontation.  

Listening to another experience:  “I am an accountable mother in-law, because I do what is expected of me and I love my daughter in-law just the way I love my son.”

Another gleeful response was given. In her words, “my remarkable experiences were building a strong and respectful relationship with your daughter/son-in-law. Witnessing the growth and development of your family through various life events. Becoming a source of support and guidance for your own child as they navigate their marital journey. 

From a similar response: “Watching my son find the one, and how he loves her was my remarkable experience.  Seeing my son fall in love and marry the one for him.  She’s beautiful and kind and everything a mother should wish for her son.”

Another striking experience was shared by a lovely mother-in-law.  In her words, “Watching my sons grow into remarkable fathers and husbands excited me. Even though some things were tweaked to fit their lives, the foundation stayed true. You have to trust your lessons in raising them was good and the best you could and then stand back and let the magic begin. If they change something, it's because their family dynamics are not the same, it's not a personal insult.” 

“My remarkable experience is watching my sons and daughter form their own family. Watching them grow as partners and parents is a beautiful thing.” asserted by another wonderful mother-in-law. 

Listening to another, “My remarkable experience was getting to spend 3 nights and 4 days with just me and my daughter-in-law, hiking Hocking Hills and camping. Because she wanted to do something for spring break and my son couldn’t because of work.”

Learning from the last mother-in-law, she shared, “I have many happy moments being a mother in-law but the happiest of it was on their wedding day. I felt honoured. And one of the sad moments is the day my daughter in-law shouted at me when I was bathing their first child, she complained that I don't know how to bath a new born baby like her own mother. That statement makes me feel sad, and I was very angry at her.”

Having learned from the various remarkable experiences shared by mothers-in-law; in the next chapter, we shall explore the advice each mother-in-law has to give her fellow mothers-in-law.

3. What advice have you got for new mothers-in-law?

In this chapter, various mothers-in-law gave wise counsel to new mothers-in-law,  on how to deal with their affairs, either with their sons-in-law or daughters-in-law and even to other mothers-in-law. 

Listening to our first respondent. She explained: My advice to my co-mothers-in-law is to try to be accommodating. It is not everything you condemn, Yorubas will say Inu ko gba ni aiye ko gba. 

It means you should overlook things. If you don’t react to every event, you will live a peaceful life. Don’t treat your children’s wives as your competitors, remember that they are somebody’s children.

As for the daughters In law, I will advise them to see their mother-in-law as somebody they should respect and love. I would have said they should treat them as their mothers but some people don’t really treat their mothers well. Above all I will say I have been lucky.

A mother-in-law shared,  “My advice for a mothers-in-law, is to try to mind your own business. I learned the hard way. I’ve always been close to my sons and when their first marriages failed I butted in. Please, never do that. It’s  really difficult not- to, but believe me it only makes things worse. 

By getting sucked into their business, you might do more harm than good. Also, when they have kids don’t give advice unless they seek it.

Our parenting style is very different from the way it is now. You might not like it but it’s their children, their families; and their turn to raise their kids. They are not your children. They’re your grandkids, hence, avoid dominating them. 

When I became a mother-in-law, I didn’t know I’d end up feeling like they are my daughters.  It took some time but can’t imagine life without them. Stay open-minded and remember that once your son gets married, his wife and kids come first always.

Another perspective and advice from  a mother in-law to new mothers-in-law, goes thus: Respect boundaries. It’s their house, their children. Support them in those roles AND support their marriage. Understand that you are now “extended family” opined Mrs Jejeli.

“My best advice is that you should respect their decisions and support them.  If the potential consequences  could be catastrophic, counsel them with wisdom, on the pros and cons of such decisions. Don’t lord over them, but be tactical and diplomatic in sharing your thoughts. If the decision isn’t life threatening or catastrophic, don’t interfere unless you’re asked. They’ll learn from mistakes. Let them grow and experience life. Observe, but don’t interfere, unless there’s a dire need for it. 

Make an effort to include your daughter-in-law or son-in-law in all experiences. Invite them for coffee or lunch; get to know them as a separate person. Build a relationship with them.  Once children come along mom and dad are boss; period; end of story. 

Yes we spoil the grandkids; but if the parents say no, it’s no. Always!

Treat them how you want your mother-in-law to treat you. Kindness and respect go a long way.  I’m blessed with a beautiful kind smart hardworking daughter-in-law.  A kind compassionate hardworking son-in-law.  I make the effort to include them in everything I would include my children in. 

We don’t preclude my daughter in-law from invitations to my son and I. If he’s invited, so is she. 

For me, making that effort in turn provokes effort from them. They feel special. they feel important and they feel loved and a part of this beautiful family of ours.

Another beautiful response from a new mother-in-law. In her words, “I’m a new one but they have been together for 6 years.  Accept your daughter-in-law as she is.  Love her like your own.  I do! 

In another response, “Respect their privacy, their choices, and rules they have for their family. If you didn't want it done to you as a daughter-in-law, then don't do it to them. Give lots of compliments. I tell both daughters-in-law what wonderful mothers they are, and I mean it,” Aunty Blessing, shares. 

“Don’t be JEALOUS! That’s a HUGE one. Embrace your new daughter! If you offer something to your son also offer it to her. Realise that he chose her and you should be happy for them, not jealous.” Another mother-in-law shared her piece of counsel. 

Drawing from the wisdom of another mother-in-law, she explained, “Once your child gets married the family they build is most important. The same as yours was, when you were first starting out. You (as mom) are no longer the number one woman in your child’s life.  This is the single hardest thing I’ve experienced as a mother of 4. Watching my kids grow up and me learning to let go.” 

Lastly, “my advice for other mothers-in-law is to deal with their in-laws with patience and love.” Explained another wonderful mother-in-law. 

4. What pitfalls should be avoided as a mother in-law?

Having learned from the remarkable experiences of various mothers-in-law, and their wise counsel to other mothers-in-law. This chapter focuses on the thoughts of mothers-in-law that deem it fit to share pitfalls to avoid as a mother-in-law. 

It is expedient to find out the pitfalls so as to avoid repeating the same mistake twice. So, what are these pitfalls? 

  • Avoid being overly controlling or intrusive in your child's marriage.
  • Stop criticising or interfering in their decisions or lifestyle.
  • Never compare your child's partner unfavourably to previous or other relationships.
  • Avoid disregarding boundaries set by the couple
  • As you spend resources, finding faults in others, always remember your imperfection, too.
  • Pray for them; call and visit  them when necessary.
  • Help them in any areas of need.
  • Support and encourage them.
  • Know your boundaries. Don't interfere in your children's marriages.
  • Train your children well, so they will be a source of blessing to their spouses.
  • Cultivate good relationship with your fellow in-laws.
  • Give wise counsel to the couple, when it’s solicited.
  • Even when you experience problems, your first obligation is to seek divine help. Being overly sensitive and acting spontaneously, could break the home.
  • Learn patience and tolerance.
  • Don’t give unsolicited advice. 
  • Don’t place demands on their time and resources. 
  • Don’t compare your daughter-in-law to another daughter-in-law or your own daughter. 
  • Don’t compare your daughter-in-law to an “ex” of your son. 
  • Don’t demand your daughter-in-law “make up for” some perceived slight from a prior girlfriend or wife or anyone else. 
  • Don’t get in their business.  
  • Don’t be overbearing with opinions.  
  • Don’t boss the couple in their own home.
  • Accept they will live differently from you and that they have busy lives. 
  • If the couple come to you for advice; let the advice be collaborative. You could ask leading questions and empower them to take ownership of the solution. That way, they’ll feel more dignified.
  • Don’t be fooled. If your daughter-in-law asked for advice, be careful she may ask and you answer to be polite but she doesn’t actually want your opinion! This sometimes happens. Use your discretion if you suspect such.
  • Avoid overthinking everything! Accept that sometimes we are all human and we make mistakes.
  • Stop getting offended over little things. It’s petty.

5. Good practices for mothers-in-law

This last chapter explains good practices for other mothers-in-law to inculcate. Here are invaluable insights shared by the respondents. 

  • Show genuine interest in your child's spouse and their life.
  • Offer help and support without imposing your opinions.
  • Celebrate and respect their traditions and values.
  • Communicate openly and honestly, addressing concerns directly but tactfully.
  • Remember, every family is unique, and these suggestions may vary depending on cultural norms and individual personalities. 
  • It's essential to approach your role with love, empathy, and a willingness to adapt.
  • Welcome your daughter-in-law into your family. 
  • Compliment and encourage your in-laws, especially when they carry out commendable actions.
  • Support them as parents when they have kids by following rules and not undermining those rules.  
  • Don’t assume you know better just because you are older.
  • Deal with your in-laws with respect, patience, wisdom, dignity and love.
  • Respect positive attitude (even if you’re sceptical) it's their lesson not yours. Give advise, but only if requested.
  • Ask, and get approval before carrying out good deeds. For example:  I asked, "as a grandmother: I would love to have a special tradition; is it ok if after the afternoon nap that, she and I sit and have one of those mini ice cream cones?"  I was answered back with a smile, teared up eyes and a big hug with a resounding "Yes, please".   They made sure that was my tradition only, which made it more special. 
  • Don't undermine the parents rules and choices using " I am the grandmother, it's my right to spoil";  Loads of damage come from that attitude. 
  • Embrace your daughter-in-law's family. Be kind and courteous; and treat them as part of one enlarged family. 
  • Only engage when invited. 
  • Ensure that you are constructively occupied. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
  • Avoid being a liability. Make your contributions in cash or kind, to add value to the home.
  • Make every effort to avoid tension, or other negativities, escalating. As they begin to happen, leverage your experience, skills and wisdom in quelling them.
  • If the atmosphere and parents permit, teach the grandchildren life skills, such as cooking, shopping, domestic duties, etc; and add value to their personalities.
  • Parenting the couple needs to be done carefully, empathetically, sensitively, kindly and with a lot of discipline (from the mother-in-law). You need to be disciplined in order not to say the right things at the wrong times, even with the best of intentions. You also need to decide whether to give good advise which may be misconstrued.  You need to be disciplined to respect them fully as adults and respect their choices. 
  • Best advice is to respect and support their decisions, even if you don’t buy into all of them. Let them make their own mistakes. Let them grow and experience. Let them learn. Watch but don’t interfere. Only provide advice when asked. 
  • Make an effort to include your daughter-in-law or son-in-law in all experiences. Invite them for coffee or lunch get to know them as a separate person. Build a relationship with them. Once children come along mom and dad are boss period end of story. Yes we spoil the grandkids but if they say no it’s no. Always! Treat them how you want your mil to treat you. Kindness and respect go a long way. 
  • Purchase thoughtful but affordable gifts for the couple and grandchildren as you feel inclined. Such small gestures increases the bonding, love and affection.
  • I’m blessed with a beautiful kind smart hardworking daughter-in-law. A kind compassionate hardworking son-in-law. I make the effort to be inclusive to my my son and daughters-in-law; I avoid any form of discrimination against them.  I treat them and my children the same way as humanly possible. By so-doing, the reciprocate my gestures. They feel special. They feel important and feel loved and very happy to be part of this enlarged family.
  • Find the right balance between being welcoming,  supportive, etc; and keeping your opinions to yourself. 
  • Do not expect too much too soon.  It’s okay not to like your daughter-in-law. Its no different to meeting new people in the workplace, neighbours, socially, etc; and them not resonating with you. Try your best for your sons sake, as well as the grandchildren; It’s all you can do. Accept what you cannot change and make the best of an unfavourable choice. It’s  however okay to be disappointed in his choice. Give it time, the relationship could grow. As you get to know and accept individual personalities, there’s a chance that you may accommodate each other better.
  • Don’t pull out your son's wedding pictures from his first marriage and hand them to your son's new wife while shes holding their brand new 2 week old baby! 
  • Don’t talk negatively about your daughter-in-law to your son’s ex-wife and his sisters!! 
  • Don’t favour grandchildren from a previous relationship. 
  • Don’t tell your daughter in-law that your son once told her, ‘she is the only woman he will ever truly love.’ 
  • Be good to your daughter in-law! If the union is strong, you could collectively benefit.
  • Don’t be the reason for a relationship breakdown. If you can’t mend it, at least don’t destroy it. All parties, including the children, may hold lifetime, and generational grudges against you.
  • A good practice is to just call or text every once in awhile with no agenda. Just to see how she’s doing. Figure out what her love language is and express this to her from time-to-time.
  • Also, when she wants to spend time with her family or her friends, be happy for her that she has a good relationship with her family and again don’t be jealous! Jealousy is the root of a lot of the conflict I see with people. 
  • Let the couple work out their own problems. Even if they ask for your help (which they probably will do a lot-of in the beginning) try to encourage them to work through it together as a couple.  Also communicate with them;  encourage them to be very open and honest about boundaries, expectations etc.
  • Ensure that in addition to your verbal communication; you’re also mindful of your body language.
  • Avoid being too secretive. Welcome your daughter-in-law. She could learn from your neatness, morals, character, etc.
  • I discuss with my daughter-in-law first, before having discussions with my son. We are gist partners, and even the grandchildren know this. When she’s under pressure from work, I try to give her space to sort things out. She has never been rude or unruly to me. I also spend time with my other daughter-in-law.

6. Conclusion

We hope that you’ve benefitted in one way or another.

Please feel free to share the link Jack Lookman’s eBooks  to family and friends.

Most of the content above is based on real life experiences. Though it’s not an end in itself, we hope that it will stimulate your thoughts for a great relationship with your in-laws.

By following the above mentioned suggestions, we don’t guarantee anything. Different factors come to play in ensuring good in-law relationships. Above is our attempt at sharing what we believe is good practice. It’s up to you to use whatever benefits you, and to apply wisdom in making your relationship great.

We wish you every goodness.

God bless you. 


©️Jumoke Carew and Jack Lookman Limited 2023

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24. Beauty Of The Storm - Gabriel Adeola

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10. About The Author

Jumoke is an experienced mother-in-law and widow. She’s an older citizen with lots of life experience. She’s the ‘founder and matron’ of the Facebook group: The In-Laws.

She’s passionate about sharing life experiences and making immense contributions to mankind.

This is one of her legacy projects.

She’s easy going and very friendly.

She’s of Nigerian origin from Otta in Ogun State.

She qualified as a Computer Personnel.

She’s blessed with two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

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