Mom WAS here and all WAS right with the world…

by Kanesha

My mom has left our nest, and this seemed like the shortest visit ever!

The kids and I dropped her off at the airport today and all four of us were sad. My mom hated to say good-bye, my daughter looked bewildered, and my son cried loudly for approximately 10 minutes. I just sighed, gave my mom a tight hug, and drove west. It’s a weekday and we had stuff to get home and do.

When my *MIL travels, we have to do the granny exchange because we rely on my MIL for childcare. I breathe easily when I know my mom is coming to town because she’s MY mom, but I also get a bit jammed up because life is in progress, and  it’s often hard to get my mom up to speed on what we need her to do and how we need her to do it.

My mom is a vivacious southern belle who says what she thinks at all times. She likes things tidy, presentable and looking good. This I love. At the same time, she’s whimsical and does not often adhere to a schedule. That drives me bonkers.

Me & mom on the swan paddleboat

Me & mom on the swan paddleboat

When my mom swoops in to take over the granny-nanny role, hubby and I just let things slide. It’s a gift to us that my mom is willing to help us with childcare, and it’s not worth it to us to try and get her to do things the “regular” way.

I don’t spend time comparing my mom and MIL. That’s just silly (and would make me check-in to a mental health facility).  They are two different people. One raised me and one did not. One I’ve known my entire life and the other I have not.

What I do compare is  the way the “moms”  make me feel in helping me with my children. I’m more easygoing and relaxed with my mom in regards to my children because my mom knows me and I don’t feel judged! We have many common interests and enjoy some of the same activities. There are also things we agree about in raising and caring for children. If there are things on which we don’t agree, it is very easy for me to talk to my mom about it, get emotional, talk about it some more, kiss and make up, and then move forward.

On the other hand, my MIL and I have a very good relationship and we can talk about most things, but the structure is very different.  If I see communication obstacles coming up, I will slow down and try to talk it through. If that does not work, I’ll try to send an email. And if THAT is not working, I’ll get my hubby involved.  I pride myself on being a problem-solver, but I do I recognize my hubby may be the best person to deal with any specifically tough  or touchy conversations because this is his mom and he has more experience with her than I do. There are also cultural differences in experiences, language and communication styles and honestly speaking – I can be too impatient to stop, think, and process things with my MIL, so my hubby can be the informal mediator.

In the meantime, I’ll be counting the days until my kids and I get to hang with my mom (and stepdad) this summer, and it’ll be worth the wait.

BTW…my MIL was due back in town tonight, but her flight was CANCELLED. So, hubby is on “granny-nanny” duty tomorrow because my schedule is FULL!

How would you describe the ways  you communicate with your parents and in-laws? What is your comfort level in either situation?

(*MIL = mother-in-law)

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