It’s a rarity. I love my mother-in-law. Many people have issues with theirs, for various reasons. But mine, is amazing.
When my maternity leave ended, my husband got two weeks paternity. Overlapping with that, my in-laws came up for my eldest’s birthday and then ended up staying two weeks; so when my husband went back to work and I was back at work, too, the baby could stay at home with them a little longer. When I told people that we had my in-laws staying with us for two weeks, I got a lot of raised eyebrows and a lot of “wow, good luck”‘s. But I didn’t need it. Because my in-laws are great.
Yes, we have had our differences. I remember when my first was born, my MIL didn’t understand enough about breastfeeding and would often not stick to a schedule for me. It made it difficult to adjust to heading back to work. We had a talk about it (after I blew up because yes, postpartum hormones were involved and we both shed some tears), and then moved on. We don’t always agree with how to discipline children, but who does? And they are the grandparents, so why wouldn’t they want to be lenient? Just as long as it’s not around me, I could care less what they do. I get to override decisions when I am around.
This time, it was huge. They stayed for the two weeks. They picked up my older two at school, dropped them off, took them to karate, and made dinners. My MIL slept in the room with my infant so that my husband and I could get sleep at night. They watched the baby all day so we could eke out another week at home before the onslaught of daycare and all that comes with it, including the higher cost and the germ-filled rooms. They kept to themselves, food-shopped for whatever they needed and thought we needed, didn’t ask for anything, and even did laundry if they thought I needed it. My father-in-law took the baby for walks, cleaned up outside for my husband, and did odd jobs that my husband hasn’t had time for lately. I only had one instance where the house felt smaller, even though it wasn’t. I got over it quickly, especially when I realized I was PMSing (not just saying that, this time it was legit).
So I implore all of you moms out there. Yes, our in laws come with the stigma of being overbearing, annoying, and problematic. But give them a chance. Because you never know when they will be super helpful and give you some time to yourself. Or take care of your kids. And feed you dinner.