Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Needing Your Help...

The very first knitting project I did this year was to re-do the bind-off of this ruffled shawl.  This is the first shawl I ever made and it has remained a favorite... but the bind-off was too tight and caused the ruffle to curl.  Now, I didn't really realize this until last year as I learned new techniques on the shawls I made.  I had known I didn't like the way the ruffle curled, but didn't know what to do about it.

So for that first project of 2012, I worked to un-do the bind-off and put all the stitches back on the needle.  That's a LOT of backtracking folks.  But, it was well worth the effort... it relaxed the ruffle into a nice easy flounce on my brightly colored, happy shawl.  I love the result.

Yep, spring is coming.  Now, the point of this post is this:  I really, really want to be a good mother-in-law.  Starting over and re-doing things with people is much more difficult and seems to rarely work.  So, I'd like to gather information (like learning the techniques that helped that ruffle work) on what makes a good MIL.  I'm sure there are as many answers to that as there are people and so much of the answer depends on the parties involved... some folks are like oil and water... some are like pieces of the same fabric.  But, I know in our world, we share so much good.  I am so inspired and encouraged and challenged... I'm asking your input to try to start this project out well. 

I'm thanking you in advance for any words of wisdom... to the do or do not do file.  ;) 

blessings to all ~ tanna


Tricia said...

I have had failures and successes in the MIL area, but neither one of my children are married yet. Both are engaged, my daughter has been engaged to the same guy twice and they've been together since 2007. My son is engaged to a wonderful woman - and they're getting married in October. We couldn't ask for a better match for him. To your question. It has been very hard for me to back off being active daily in my son's life. He and I are very close and always have been. But I learned quickly to only offer advice when asked, be honest with answers, always be happy to see them (which is not a hard thing to do!) and to let her know I think she is the best thing that ever happened to my son. She loves him so much, what more could a mother want? Hope this is what you're looking for! My future DIL and I email a lot, see each other often and I am blessed that she involves me in the wedding plans (her mother is not living in our area). It seems to be going great - so no complaints so far!

Chatty Crone said...

As long as my DIL loves my son I can handle just about anything. I would love to be closer and I have done all sorts of things - sent her pictures of him when he was little and some baby books. She is just not the warm fuzzy type person I had hoped for. But she is not married to me.

I can't see how anyone wouldn't just love you so much! Just be yourself - you are wonderful.


Changes in the wind said...

Ripping out the edging was soooo worth it...turned out really nice!! You are a sweet lady but here is my advice....be yourself....that is good enough:)

steph said...

My son and daughter are both married--and being a MIL to a son is different than daughter; at least in my case. But, by just loving and accepting your new person--now in your family but not your family--things will work out fine; you are obviously a loving considerate caring person and how can it not work out!!!! (I think all grown children want the opportunity to "live their own lives"--so I'm there when they need me, make offers of things that are phrased so they can gently turn me down, and try to make occasions when everyone can be together--and try real hard not to get my feelings hurt when my best laid plans just don't work out!!!!!) Hugs!! I have no doubt you're going to be a SUPER MIL!

podso said...

First, amazing you could catch all those stitches and have it come out so well. That is why I don't like knitting as well as crocheting, the dropping of a stitch is so hard for me.

As far as MIL ... what a BIG question and it does depend in part on your DIL. I would say : do not give any advice, learn her love language (so you can buy her good gifts), keep your mouth closed when you feel like making a comment, love her, find something in common you could enjoy together, "let it go" when you see them moving a direction in life that is not how you would do it, and be forgiving. Pray for her and have an open mind. And appreciate that she loves your boy! And I'm sure I could say more! And I know you will be a wonderful, loving, fun MIL !!!

Mary said...

I've learned not to give opinions unless asked. By nature I'm a fixer and I have a tendency to want to improve the things I see. That doesn't sit well with everyone. So, I spend a lot of time biting my tongue because it is faster to heal than hurt feelings. Have a great day, Tanna. Blessings...Mary

Susan said...

Only having daughters, I have not had another woman take away my son. ;) That being said, I have been the other woman. My MIL was kind and gentle. Never, ever gave advice and would freely give when I asked. I think that is the answer. But you are such a sweetie...Just be yourself and ask if she'd like you to knit something for her. Have her pick out the yarn and pattern. I think I'll be right over and help you pick that out for me. ha ha

Pondside said...

I had two Mothers-in-law because my husband had a step mother - for one I was never religious enough, read too much and spent too much.. For the other I was (and I quote directly) not fun enough, not 'sexy'. Imagine getting that news from your MIL! What I learned is that it's important to find something to like and admire in your DIL and then express that appreciation. I don't think it's enough to 'love her because she loves my son' - that's a given but she needs to be seen as an individual. As Podso said, try to find something in common so that you can get out once in a while together. I think it's a good idea to hold back on advice but to be generous with kindly observations. I'm so lucky - I have the dearest DIL - it's all easy!

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

OH Tanna, I am happy that you are so PRO-ACTIVE in wanting to be a good mother-in-law. I hope I am a LONG way off from BEING a MIL but would love to read the tips!

The shawl is perfect now isn't it? LOVE IT!

TexWisGirl said...

my MIL always wanted me to be her daughter and her best friend. i was neither. we were so different in our tastes, and she was invasive. i ended up keeping her at arm's length for the majority of our relationship, out of self-preservation. she was an energy thief. my husband tried to be a buffer as much as possible to protect my sanity. i know she hoped i'd be so much more to her.

Christine said...

You have gotten some really GREAT advice.

I'm reading your comments for me, also.
We can never learn enough when it comes to our children (and their spouses).

I'll be praying for you.

Stephanie V said...

I am blessed with the most wonderful DIL. I am pretty sure she feels the same way about me.

I watched my own mother - who was a very good MIL. The one thing that I took from her was to be there to help when needed and to stand back when it was not.

It may help that my DIL and I are much alike and have the same way of working things through.

Karolee said...

Good for you to take the time to re-work the binding on your shawl!

As far as MIL goes, I only know from being a DIL and a daughter. I figure if I can be inbetween my mother (who is unattached) and my MIL (who is overly attached), I will be perfect. :o)

From the Kitchen said...

I long worried about being a mother-in-law since I did not have a loving relationship with my own. I had to accept the fact that she was born and raised in eastern Europe and had ways unfamiliar to me. I can say that our son's choice in a wife has made life very easy for us. We adore her! She's a very loving and giving young woman and fit in from the first time I met her. She has even found loving acceptance from our nearest and dearest friends and family. We've been very open with one another. When a problem has arisen, we've talked it out. She loves our son and he loves her. In fact, I rarely use the term "daughterin-law". She's a daughter. What more could a parent ask?

Know you, Tanna, there won't be a problem at all. I can't wait to "meet" her!


nanny said...

Well you know I have no sons and I am sure that is an entirely different situation than with daughters. You'll do great, I have no doubt.

Aren't the peppers great? The cucumbers are in the refrigerated section (with glass doors) I'll bet they have them. Carrie said the blueberries and raspberries are delicious too!

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

As far as being a good MIL, I was determined from the beginning to NOT be like My MIL. She wanted everyone's lives to revolve around theirs and expected us to be at their house whenever they had company and even wanted us there each and every weekend. Mainly, I think, so my hubby could help his dad with farm work. They always had jobs lined up for him when we went there. We lived only 10 miles away, but we quickly realized that we had to live our own life separate from theirs although we still visited once in a while, just not as often as she wanted. Needless to say, I tried to get along as best I could, but I could always tell she didn't like me all that much. I don't know if it were a way of punishment or what, but she really never had our kids over to her house very often. My hubby even asked her one time why she didn't want them and she told him that if they wanted to come to her house they just had to ask. How many grandmothers do you know wait for their grandchildren to ask to visit? She wouldn't even call to talk to them when they were old enough.
I tried to get along with my SIL and was nice to him even when I wanted to hurt him for what he was doing to my daughter. She left him after 13 years of verbal abuse and more. We are still cordial to him and he even came to our house to fix our ice maker...of course, he's the only one in our small town that does that sort of thing. I guess it pays to keep quiet and let the kids handle their problems.
My son has been in a few serious relationships. His latest GF that he had just bought a ring for is one that I'm afraid that I would have butted heads with eventually. That won't happen because they are ending their relationship. She wouldn't have made him happy from what I could see, but I again never said anything. I would have tried really hard to get along with her, tho. But when she did things like insisting being driven to the airport 100 miles away in a blinding snowstorm one Christmas from our house because she just couldn't miss a day of being at her family's really had me biting my tongue!! That she was willing to risk her neck and especially that of my son's was about the limit of my patience!
Sorry, I seem to have written a book! My best advice for being a good MIL is just treating them like they were one of your own and staying out of their personal business. Give them plenty of space and let them live their own lives. I'm sure you will be a wonderful MIL, Tanna!

Ginny said...

I want to see the whole shawl now!!! Well, I'm sure you will get lots of lectures here, and I have sure learned from MY mistakes, also from my own MIL!! So I will try to be brief, including what I didn't like with my MIL, and what I have learned from others. Don't give advice unless she asks for it! Don't be bossy, instead, be a good listener and supportive. And don't drop in unexpectedly. And DO NOT criticize, new brides are usually terrified of the MIL and so you should only praise and if you can't say something nice, don't say anything.

Vickie said...

Hi Tanna - well, the shawl edge looks great! and "flouncy"! ;)

As far as being a MIL, well, YOU've been one longer than I have. I can only say that I'm still learning but I had THE BEST teacher! My son belongs to my DIL now, I will not offer any instruction or advice unless I am asked (this goes for hubby, too). I will always put my DIL's desires for my son above my own. I will always build her up in front of my son AND in front of her. I will trust her to take good care of my son. And I will just be there for whatever their needs are, should there be any that arise. I tell her that I love her every time I see her (and I do). I will remember what bugged me sometimes about my MIL and I will not do those things.

Now I have to caveat those things (and I'm sure I'll have more as I go) by saying that my daughter in law is a sweet Christian young lady and she absolutely puts my son first and foremost in her life (after the Lord). I know they will get cross-ways sometimes just like we all do, but I am so thankful for her in my son's life. She is an answer to prayer, so I entrust them both to the Lord for Tony and I know without a shadow of a doubt that God brought those two together!!!

Kerin said...

Beautiful shawl!
You are such a talented gal. I know, I'v mentioned that before.... but it's true!!

I am a fairly new MIL.
My experiences have taught me that I just need to love my DIL.

All you need is love :)

Kelly said...

My biggest piece of advice coming from me (who is not yet a MIL) but I am a DIL is this.......Don't get overly involved in their married life or there could be some resentment, ie; giving unsolicited advice etc. Also, don't ever say anything negative about your son/daughter in law to your son/daughter. Again.....feelings hurt! Other than that, you should be fine. Ha!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Great advice from everyone~ I'm learning too.
Be kind, be loving, be generous, and learn to be happy if you only get christmas eve.

Lauri said...

Wow, that is a GREAT subject and you have received some excellent advice! I have a feeling I will need all of this advice and then some if/when I become a MIL one day.

One thing I learned from my first marriage was that I tended to overshare with my own mother, which created distance between my husband (at the time) and I. Applying that to being a MIL, I would say that there are definitely boundaries and your job is to be a great listener when needed and to always be there with welcoming arms, love, and support. Oh, and any help with the grandkids will always earn you MAJOR brownie points and help bond you with your DIL!!

Cindy said...

I can tell you what I have done, I have two, a sil and a dil. I attempt to love them like they were my own, but I endeavor to remember that they aren't my own. I don't offer free advise, unless they ask, that is. And I never ever criticize them to my kids, I do not take sides, unless I should hear of abuse, which, thank God I never have.
Hope that helps.
Have a wonderful evening, my friend.
Hugs, Cindy

Dana said...

You are so sweet to want to be a great MIL. I ADORE my mother in law. I think for me it's partly because she's everything I wished my mom would have been. I love my mother but she is not the nurturing type at all. So, I think how close you are will depend on what type of relationship she has with her mom.

My MIL is ALWAYS available when I need her. She sometimes gives advice but usually let's us make the best decisions for our family. She always understands when we can't make it to a family event and is great about being flexible so we can fit all family members in for the holiday. She LOVES my boys and that means the world to me. We are a lot alike so it's not hard for us to get along but I believe she'd love me and be sweet to me no matter what. In December, Laine was out of town and I had a very painful episode with my hip and could barely walk. She dropped everything and came to stay with me for a day until Laine returned. I remember crying out of frustration and she just hugged me and you could tell she really understood and cared. I loved her for that. To sum up: love her and care for like your own but don't overstep your boundaries.

I also know how very close you and Amanda are. I would always remember to include your DIL when she's around so she doesn't feel left out and don't favor one set of grandkids over the other. That would be like suicide for your relationship (in my opinion.) I've dealt with a little of that on my dad's side and it can be heartbreaking.

Good luck!

Betsy said...

I think it's important to be able to bite your tongue. Afterall, in any relationships, it's our mouths that get us into trouble, isn't it? lol. But seriously, tanna...you are such a sweetheart, I can't imagine your DIL not feeling loved..and that's important, too.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Well I have been a mother-in-law to my son's wife for six years...and have four more sons to marry..oh my! what was the Lord thinking?

I have learned...keep my mouth shut!!! Love her, but don't assume that what I had thought would be passed down treasures from my son are treasure to her. Comment as little as possible...and I try to remember being a young bride also...my mother-in-law was the age of my own grandmother...so a huge difference in age

I don't know that I look forward to four more rounds...I already love my daughter's boyfriend...so I am seeing it is easier being the in-law to a boy.

Why this has to be such a big deal...I will never understand, but God is able to knit hearts, and I have learned to accept what I am given and not expect more...well, still learning....and there isn't a grandchild yet! LOL

Blessings...you will be a great mother-in-law

The Little Adventures of LueLee said...

Well I won't have MIL status for quite some years, I mean being almost 22 I hope it stays that way for a good long while, but I will say that just by being you makes you the best MIL. You are caring,compassionate,and loving just to name a few. I think those things alone make you highly qualified to be the best. I think the only think I have learned from watching other MIL is that you just got to listen and let the rest ride. I love you very much xoxoxoxoxo pass on the love to Unck :)

Jen said...

Wow that is a lot of work (the shawl) but I bet it felt good to make it how you like it.

I'm not a MIL but I have a great MIL and I always appreciate how she's always interested in my current creative projects, always asking questions about what I'm doing. I really appreciate that.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I'm glad you were able to fix your favorite shawl more to your liking, Tanna.

My MIL could not speak English--only Italian--so I always felt sad I could not be closer to her and share more quality time with her. I did admire her wonderful cooking skills, so I learned as much as I could from her about that before she passed away. That helped to form a bond between us.

When my son married I was so happy to see him happy, but I had to learn to let him and my DIL have the time to learn to be a couple without my opinions or interference. I try to be supportive of their decisions and not expect as much interaction from them as I would my daughter and her fiance. I think DIL's always feel they are being judged by their MIL's, and so I try very hard not to do that. I praise her abilities and I tell her all the time what a good mother she is to our grandsons..and it is true!

Debbie said...

I love the colors in the shawl, and I like the way it look now, too. I really admire your knitting talent! I can knit and purl - that's it.
About being a MIL - two quick lessons I learned is that 1) whenever she tells you something negative about your son, keep it to yourself as a confidence for her. It's a blessing for dil to want to talk to her mil. 2) When Brin got married, I made the mistake of commenting about the house he built: "Well, it looks like a man built it." Wrong! So - listen and don't repeat and make no comments except for excellent ones. Smile. Exhort. Smile. Love. Smile. Hug big. I like the advice - find his/her love language. Big plus. Smile.

Ana said...

Love the new ruffle Tanna...And as far as the MIL advise, well we haven't crossed that bridge yet, and hopefully won't for a long, long while :-) All I can talk about is my experience with my MIL. We had a rocky start...It is a very long story, too long to tell on a comment. But this I can tell you...It has a happy ending. We are the best of friends now and all I can say is that LOVE did it. The love I have for her son and the love I have for God gave me the strength, patience and love to win her over. I know every story and circumstance will be different, but I do hope you find your answer my dear friend. Sending you a great big hug.

Much love,

Deb said...

you will be a wonderful MIL..the fact that you want to be one is a great thing...I never had a MIL...
my FIL was a pistol...I hope my DIL thinks I'm a good MIL...we are very different people...but she know how much I love my son...and her son...so hopefully that helps..

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

My children aren't married so I can't speak from experience. But I'm not very good at sharing them so I know I will have to adjust my attitude when they marry. Honestly, I can't in my wildest dreams imagine someone not liking you. Your love for your family just shines right out of your blog. You have nothing to worry about...you will be a wonderful MIL!

Catherine said...

Dear Tanna, I am sure that with your beautiful heart and kind ways you will know exactly how to be a good MIL.
I think that you put the shawl and this question in the same post because, the shawl was your favorite and beautiful even though the edge was a bit out of sorts.
Life is that way. Sometimes things are just perfect with an imperfection and perhaps we should not look that close and love it just the way it is.
Blessings my dear, Your friend, Catherine xoxo

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Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.