Why is my daughter in law in my space?


Moving over and allowing your daughter in law the #1 space in your son's life is not easy.

While many spent this past weekend thinking about mothers, I’d like to share my experience of becoming a mother-in-law to a daughter-in-law.  About 10 years ago, I remember when my son first starting dating this young lady named Dayna.  This was the first young lady that he dated and actually asked me to chaperon  their first date.  They were going roller skating and I loved roller skating.  Absolutely, I would chaperon this date!  I must give you the back drop to the relationship I had with my only son.  We are very much alike; we connect to everything on an emotional level.  We would often go for a ride in his car and discuss the lyrics to some of the songs we had in common and some songs we could clearly define the generation gap that existed between us.  Those were good times, just the two of us in these emotional moments. 
Now, back to the infamous “date night,” with Dayna.  Previously I had always ridden in the front seat of my son’s car, for some reason this is where I thought I would sit that night as well, oh boy was I mistaken!  I can remember walking out of the house and headed towards the car, but my son was already there with the passenger door opened for Ms. Dayna.  He escorted her into the car and then politely walked to the driver’s side of the car and got in.  Where was I?  Standing outside moving subtly and regretfully to the back seat on the passenger side.  I can distinctively remember putting  on my seat belt and saying to myself, “I feel a shift here, this is different.”  The night went on and we had a wonderful time.  I still could not help feeling that something was different on the ride home.  I found myself again thinking, “this won’t last long…I’ll be back in the front seat soon.”  That never happened.
Months went by and they were engaged and soon to be married.  I was not ready for this!  I went through this whole process of planning the wedding emotionally kicking and screaming and grieving the loss of the special place I had in my son’s life.  It’s interesting while it’s happening you don’t know what it is. We quickly default to, "no one is good enough for my son."   Most women go through this process, but can’t seem to call it what it is, therefore, they look critically at their future daughter in law instead of looking internally for what’s really going on.  You understand that it is the natural progression of life, but I not seem to progress.  I was stuck and I wanted my place back.  While planning the wedding my heart wasn't fully present and I missed out on some moments that I could have made more memorable if I had recognized what the transition was and given myself time to grieve the loss.  

So when did I recognize that I needed to move over?  My son never had to ask me.  I can remember shortly after they got married and I invited them over for dinner.  I was in the kitchen cooking and I “told” my son to go to the store and get an item I was missing.  I recall thinking to myself at that moment, “if I wanted her to respect him, I have to respect him and see him in a different light, as the MAN of his household and no longer a boy.”  That was a, Aha moment for me.  I restated my request in the form of a question.  At that moment I knew I was headed in the right direction of making my transition.  Another powerful motivation for me moving over is when I recognized that she could give him something that I could not.   And I wanted my son to enjoy the gift of marriage.
(Matthew 19:5, 6)    
As I finally began to transition, I really wanted a relationship with my daughter in law.  It didn't happen overnight.  I believe we both wanted the same thing.  We began to have lunch together just the two of us, and really work on our relationship.  One time we had a disagreement and we were able to talk it out and I received roses from her the next day.  I can truly say that I love my daughter in law. 
Once I fully let go of the fear of what I was losing, I could finally look at what I was gaining.  I had another daughter who is a complement to my son.  What I love about her the most is that she fully supports my son’s dreams and she is all about supporting the family.  She’s at almost every family function with a homemade dish in hand.  What a blessing.  I truly have moved over, and have found great joy in my life as the grandmother of seven.  I have six handsome grandsons and one little girl, Princess Aaylah, which is another little lady in my son’s heart that I have happily moved over for.   Being a grandmother is a special kind of love that is a gift that I celebrate being in this new space.  I now see myself out of my son’s car because it is filled with his wife and two children; and I now see myself waving a supportive goodbye to them as they drive away after each visit.  Ahhhh…what a beautiful place to be and yes…I do know for a fact, “I am still loved!” 

Okay ladies…tell me about your transition, are you looking at it externally or do you have the courage to go within? Let’s talk ladies…

This article was originally published at Cathy Mott . Reprinted with permission from the author.