Hi friends! Happy Tuesday.
Drew, Maxwell, + I had the best weekend! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw it was packed with fun things. On Saturday the three of us attended a wedding. I wish I would’ve snapped a better picture of Max because he was looking very dapper, just like his daddy. What we learned is that a wedding is a long day for a babe. 😉 On Sunday we had a mommy + daddy date at Lambeau Field to watch the Packers play the Cowboys. Although it didn’t end up so well for our team, we had a lot of quality time together without our little man. We soaked it in + felt incredibly thankful that we took the whole day for the two of us…doing something that we love to do together.
Maxwell was in great hands with my in-laws. As I’ve mentioned in the past, one of the sweetest things about becoming parents for Drew + I is to watch our parents interact + love Max. Grandparents have a special type of love for their grandchildren.
When I was thinking about what I wanted to blog about today, a story about my mother-in-law came to mind. Mostly because we had such an amazing weekend with her + the rest of Drew’s family. I did ask her permission to share this, as I would never want to blog something that would my friends or family find too private. She obliged, so we can thank her! 🙂
The last time we saw Drew’s parents for a weekend was in July. My mother-in-law Robyn kept making little comments that were starting to get to me. She is one of the sweetest people that you could ever meet (she would do ANYTHING for you), so I knew that her intention wasn’t to make me feel bad. Still, as a new momma it is hard when people tell you what to do or what your baby needs. By the end of the weekend together I was feeling sad + frustrated by it. I was also sensitive to an abundance of unsolicited parenting advice, as I was doing my very best for Max.
There are a couple ways I could’ve gone about what was going to happen next. But, I knew what I needed to do. I had to have a conversation with her directly + tell her how I felt. I didn’t tell my husband I was going to do it or ask his permission because I’m a part of the family too. I always think about how I would communicate with my own parents + use that as a guide. If I had asked Drew to have the conversation for me things may have gotten lost in translation + I wouldn’t ever want to put him in the middle of his mom ma+ wife. Plus, he is literally Switzerland.
I made sure I waited for a day or two to pass (I would highly recommend this + read it in Taylor’s book) + then I simply reached out to her. It was still weighing heavy on my shoulders, so I knew it was the right thing to do. I was prepared with my trusty “I statements”. I told her that it was making me sad that she was constantly telling me what she thought Maxwell needed when I was right there with him. That by doing this she was making me feel like she didn’t trust in my mothering abilities + it made it hard to enjoy our time together.
Of course I was a little bit nervous. I didn’t want her to take it the wrong way or make things worse. We both run on the sensitive side, but that’s also what gives us big hearts. 🙂
But you guys…she was SO receptive of the feedback. Even admitting that a few of the times a statement had slipped out of her mouth + she had wished that she could’ve taken it back right away. She apologized. She told me how much she loved me + Maxwell. She told me she thought I was an amazing momma.
At the end of the day our goal was the same: to have a loving relationship + to enjoy our time together.
Why did I want to share this with you? This weekend with her was a completely different experience. She didn’t make any of those comments + we all loved the time together. It wasn’t stressful, it was easy.
In the past, I have to admit I probably wouldn’t have handled the situation the same way.
A few take aways for me (+you) :
- Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen. When you have an issue with someone it is easy to go around telling everyone about it. If you think about what you are truly doing, it is most likely trying to justify your side of the argument + get support from them. BUT, I think this served as a great reminder to go directly to the person. Have a goal of making things better, not being “right”.
- The may not know. In this situation, I think Robyn could tell by my non-verbals that I was a wee bit frustrated. I kind of suck at controlling my eyebrows sometimes…my husband tells me I indeed CAN control them. Alas, my eyebrows + I are a work in progress. Anyways, sometimes we’ll work ourselves up about a situation + meanwhile the other person has no idea that you’re even mad or sad. You’re stewing + stressing…maybe even wondering why the person isn’t reaching out to you. I’ve had this experience in the past with my older sister Krystle. Probably about a year + a half ago now, we both promised to just say, “hey, that bothered me when you did this _____.” And Lord knows that her + I are now the happiest we’ve ever been in our relationship. If something is still bothering you a day or two after it happens, chances are you should just have the chat + trust that the person on the other end wants to have a positive outcome with you.
- Be receptive to feedback. You may be thinking “duh Amy.” I know but SO many people get defensive instead of listening + being receptive to the person. My mother-in-law is the best example of being receptive. She truly listened to me, acknowledged my feelings, + most importantly put her words into action.
- Look at the bigger picture. By the end of that weekend in July, I was feeling very down about how things had went. After I let myself digest it a little bit, I thought about what I wanted to change + how we could get there. As I mentioned above, the main goal of talking to Robyn was to get to a better place. She is Drew’s momma! She raised the love of my life. She has one of the most selfless hearts in the world. Of course I want to be close with her + have her be close with Maxwell. Becoming a mom myself, I feel like I can better understand the love that she has for her children. That alone makes me feel closer to her. I couldn’t get into a negative space thinking it would always be like that, I had to put work into our relationship.
In our marriage counseling a big emphasis was placed on our family of origin (aka upbringing). Our families communicate differently, handle conflict differently, show love + emotion differently, etc.. Becoming a part of a new family is special, but it can come with challenges. For me, it is important to be myself…and I’m a fan of feedback 🙂
Thank you Robyn for letting me share our critical conversation to demonstrate how important it is to openly communicate. I’m lucky to have you as a mother-in-law.
I hope this post resonates with you in some way. I’m super excited for a special post tomorrow, I have someone sharing their birth story!