Both my mom and Brett's mom were up here recently for a week (separate weeks, back-to-back) to help watch Elanor. As much as I love our families and as much as I love having company, three weeks straight of family (my sister was here, too) is a lot for anyone to handle, especially for Brett and me since we tend to really value our independence.
But both visits with our moms turned out to be wonderful and completely un-stressful. I've been thinking about why they were so great and I've come to some conclusions.
Since I've started the journey to become a mom, I've seen some interesting changes in my relationship with my mom as well as with Brett's mom. It's been fairly imperceptible, and has happened by degrees -- there was no huge watershed moment of transformation, although my miscarriage as well as Elanor's actual birth were both big markers along the way.
It's hard to describe what exactly has changed (but I'm going to try, and probably use a lot of unnecessary words in the process), except to say that both of those relationships are better than ever these days.
I find myself calling both my mom and Brett's mom a lot more often just to chat: to tell them about what Elanor did today, to tell them about something funny that happened, or to ask them a question about something mom-related. This is not the norm; sometimes I'd go a week or more without talking to my mom, and months without talking to Brett's mom. Now, I feel like at the very least I should let them know what's going on with Elanor, since I know that aside from Brett and me, they both want to know more than anyone every little cute thing that she does and every new skill she masters.
Anyway, I'll start with my mom...suddenly, since Elanor has been born, I find myself having sooo much more understanding about her mom-ness. The biggest part of this is the mom-nagging, which used to drive me completely nuts.
- "Be careful! Call me when you get there! I worry when you take the bus at night." (No matter that I'm nearly 27 years old and have lived on my own for nearly 10 years.)
- "You're tired? Well, have you eaten any protein or had enough water today?" (Yes, Mom, I know, food and water are important for humans.)
- "Don't forget to thank [so-and-so] for the baby gift!" (I know, Mom, I'm not completely socially inept.)
- "You're home alone? Make sure you lock your doors!" (Sigh.)
And Brett's mom...well, Brett and I have been together for nine years now, so we've had a long time to get to know each other. I think we have always had a better in-law relationship than most people, but over the past two years -- especially over the past several months -- it's gotten much more close. We are open and candid with one another these days, and our relationship is much less formal than it once was. It's really nice. I feel like we're on the same team, so to speak -- the "We Love Brett and Elanor" team.
Having Elanor, in addition to some other family things that have happened, has helped to bring about that change. It's made me understand how strong the bond is between mother and child, which, coupled with the fact that having Elanor has made me feel closer to Brett than ever, takes away that underlying sense of competition that marks so many mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationships. There's no need for any competition; I don't feel at odds with Brett's mom. We are on the same team, the "We Love Brett and Elanor" team.
I'm so very blessed to have such an incredible mom and such and incredible mother-in-law (not to mention my sister, my sister-in-law, and Brett's sisters). And Elanor is blessed to have wonderful grandmas and aunties who will help Brett and me teach her about life and God and love and, well, everything.
Here's a fun picture of Brett's mom, me and Elanor, and my mom from about a month ago, when all the ladies went to the beach.
Happy Mother's Day, Mema and Noni. I love and appreciate you both!
So, fellow bloggers, tell me: did your relationship with your mom or your mother-in-law change after you had a baby? If so, was it a good change or a bad change?