Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dear Me (when I'm a mother-in-law)

It's no secret that I have in-law issues and I thought I should write a letter to myself so when I become a mother-in-law I can at least attempt to avoid some mistakes.

Dear Michelle,

You will be a mother-in-law to 3 spouses for your children. You will have 1 son-in-law and 2, count them, 2 daughters-in-law and that may be the most difficult of the relationships. Even though it may feel like no girl will be good enough for your boys, Jackson and Bennett will fall in love and get married and have children. Jackson and Bennett will bring home girls and tell you they love them and you will have to do all you can to have a relationship with these girls. You'll probably feel like they are taking your boys away from you, but this is God's plan. Remember that these girls might feel like an outcast in your family. They won't know the inside jokes you all have, they won't know the funny stories about Jackson and Bennett growing up. Do everything you can to make these girls feel included. Call them at least once a week just to say hi and see how things are going. Don't let them ever say about you that you were never there and you never offered to help. These girls might have a great relationship with their moms or the might not, either way you should be there for them. When they have your grandchildren don't just say, "let me know if you need anything" tell them, "I'm free for a few hours today and I could watch the kids if you need a break". Remember when your very own mother-in-law would say call us if you need anything and you never did? Do everything you can to make your children-in-law to feel like a part of the family. Call your daughters-in-law and ask them if they want to go to lunch or get a pedicure together. Be their friend. They may not want to be friends with you and if that's the case, don't be offended. It might take them a while to warm up to you (you can be overbearing at times) and give them the time they need. They may not want a close relationship with you initially, but you should still be there. Don't be the overbearing mother-in-law, always offering your opinion and butting into their lives. Most of all, be as involved as you can with your grandchildren. Get to know them, don't just buy them toys. Go visit them even if Josh can't be with you, you should be comfortable around your daughter-in-law enough to do this. Show those babies that you love them and you'll always be there for them. I'm sure I'll have more experiences to write about later. Your children-in-law should really be son and daughters-in-love. Love them like your own children. It might be very hard to let someone else take care of your sons and daughter. You've been praying for their spouses for years now and trust that God knows what he is doing.

This is only based on my 8 year experience of having a mother-in-law and I'm sure I'll have more experiences to remind myself of later:)

Don't forget in the mean time to treat your boys how you would like their future wife to treat them and act how Hayden should act as a Godly wife. I feel so far from Godly, but I should treat Josh the way that Hayden should treat her future husband. They are looking to you for wisdom and direction and you always hear how children marry people similar to their parents.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mom of 3

We had some friends tell us that going from two to three kids was the hardest adjustment. Our two older kids are a bit crazy so we knew it would be difficult, but there are some days when it's just exhausting. Our oldest, Jackson, was a pretty fussy baby but as he got older he was a really happy toddler. We prepared ourselves for him to be the baby that got into everything and did all the stuff toddlers do, but he wasn't really into everything. We child-proofed everything we knew he could get into. We even anchored some of our furniture to the wall and all in all, he wasn't a super eventful toddler. Now, our daughter and middle child, Hayden, is into everything! I feel like I can't even express in words how into everything she is. She will grab random things off the counter, if she can reach, and bring it to me. Nothing gets past her! She hears all conversations and repeats phrases whether or not she knows what they mean. The other day she told me, "stop talking to me". Can you believe that?!? I would say she is probably going to be the ringleader of our children. She can get Jackson to do things that he normally wouldn't think to do. I love her so very much and I love her tenacious spirit. I know someday that same spirit will be put to good use, but for now it just drives me crazy and I can't turn my back on her for a second.
Hayden is like a mini mommy and I know one day, maybe 30 years from now, she will be a great mommy. She want so much to feed Bennett, but she only gets to help feed him with they are with my mom while I'm at work since I breastfeed. She loves Bennett so much and and I think she loves her baby dolls so much more now that Bennett is here and I have a baby to play with like her. She still talks about Bennett popping out of my belly and going to the hospital to get him out.
There are moments when I feel totally overwhelmed having 3 kids and then I start typing out a blog entry and I feel like I am so blessed to have these children. Although they are a handful (even now I'm dreading having to take all 3 to the dealership to have the car serviced on Monday), I wouldn't change a thing. They make me laugh everyday and I know I am a better person and a whole lot more patient because of them. Three kids is a lot, but now that Bennett is sleeping thru the night (most days) I feel so much better.
I have felt pretty good about being back at work. I so miss my Bennett, especially since I was home with Hayden and Jackson, but it's been pretty good overall. I am so grateful to work for a company that has been so flexible in my schedule and even let me work part time during my maternity leave. I am even more grateful that I have my mom to care for my children. There is no way we could afford child care if we had to pay for it. My grandparents live with my parents and I love that my children will not only grow up knowing their grandparents but also their great grandparents! Up until recently my grandparents lived in Texas and my brother and I didn't get to see them all that much growing up, so it means so much to me that I get to see them and so do my children.