Monday, August 26, 2013

Butting Heads (2010 repost)

Butting Heads
It must be a normal happening for some mother-in laws and daughter-in-laws to butt heads from time to time.

In our case, my sweet mother-in-law and I got along quite well, because she always did everything I told her to do!

I remember one time, my young 4 year old brother in-law who was just a tad older than my own children, spit out the F word, at my mother-in-law.  I grabbed him up, turned him over my knee and gave him three swats quick as your eye can blink. 

His mom, said, “He doesn’t know what he is saying, and he is just a baby.”  I told her, he knew enough that it was disrespectful, and as I looked him in the eye, I told him to never speak to “Bea” like that again.  All of her children called her “Bea”, and I think it was because she thought she was too young to be called mom.  Anyway, that is another story.

Then my children grew up, got married, and I found that I was now the Mother-in-law.

I have always been good at telling people what to do and taking charge, and I really do not plan to change, but things were different with my new daughter-in-law.  She had been raised in a rather large family, with brothers to tease her, and hurt her feelings. 

Some of the things I said, were not taken lightly, and were misinterpreted.  In her way of thinking, she was certain that I did not like her; and that I believed she was not doing a good job of raising my grandchildren.  Those were her thoughts, not mine, although I did have some good suggestions.

As it was inevitable, one day without realizing it at the time, I spoke in haste, and hurt her feelings deeply.  The next several trips to our place, she found an excuse to stay home, and only the boys and our son visited.

Sometimes, I am dense, because I tend to give others the benefit of the doubt, but I finally realized that I had offended her, and she was not about to forgive me.  Thinking back, I could even point to the event that must have triggered the whole thing.

Finally in desperation, I knew I must at least take action on my part to bring about reconciliation.  If she did not respond, that would be “Her problem and not mine.”

So, one day, I called her cell phone, and left a message for her to return the call.  Shortly she did, and I proceeded to remind her of the event.  I told her I realized that I had hurt her feelings, and I asked her to please forgive me. 

I told her I missed her when she did not visit, and I wanted her to understand that she was always welcome at our home. 

“Yes, I forgive you,” she said, and that was enough for me. 
I must recognize that she is the mother and I am the Mother-in-law, and there is no reason for us to butt heads.



  1. I admire your determination to make amends and reach out in love. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hazel what at testimony you are to your daughter in law. She will someday watch a daughter in law raise her grandchildren and think back to how you handle her. Good honest post.

  3. With wisdom of age in life it would have been easy for you to justify your actions and chalk it up as her issue, but you showed the humility of the Lord and used that wisdom to bring your family together. Wise counsel, Hazel. I'm paying close attention. Thanks, sister.

  4. I hope my sons wait until they're at least 30 to get married! I love that your son came to visit (bringing the grands), anyway, also that it all worked out.


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