“A daughter-in-law is one who marries your son and becomes your friend”
THE GIRL HE LIKED
When I left for America in 2015, my son asked for my blessing. He told me about a girl he liked. Not long after, he called, again. He will propose.
I first met Jaz, my daughter-in-law, via skype. Not the best way, but we had no choice – I was already in America.
I had my apprehensions. There was no time to get to know her. I had to trust the good judgment of the son I raised. I prayed for God’s blessing for my son.
I met Jaz, in person, just two weeks before the wedding. We did the traditional Pamanhikan, and we formally asked for her hand. We promised her family, we will love Jaz as our own.
Before the Pamanhikan, I prayed. I asked God for wisdom in my new role. And it was clear to me. I should be a blessing to anybody who would be part of my family.
In a matriarchal culture like the Philippines, some say that mother-in-law is a position of power.
They are notorious for being demanding, meddlesome, difficult and often competing with their daughters-in-law. This complex relationship is the story line of numerous jokes. Complains about mothers-in-law is something ordinary and even expected.
The image of the mother-in-law should be redefined, redesigned and reinvented. How do we change the narrative?
10 THINGS I WANT MY DAUGHTER-IN-LAW TO KNOW
- Welcome to my family. I asked my three sons (Vincent’s brothers) to embrace you as their sister and to care for you.
- I want to be a blessing to you, not a curse. I don’t want to be the difficult mother-in-law who adds conflict and stress to a marriage that is still new and not stable, yet.
- I am so grateful to have you and I enjoy my new role. A mother-in-law is a position of honor and privilege. It is a privilege to be part of my son’s family and to be involved in my grandson’s life.
- I know that I raised an imperfect son. So I do my best to help – while he is working on becoming a better husband and father -because I want to support your marriage.
- I am an advocate of your marriage. I do not take sides. I am not just a parent to my son. I am now a parent to you, too. When I see conflicts, I listen. I will try to help you navigate this new relationship, from two different vantage points that I have. My failed marriage and my new one.
- You are the new woman in his life. And I am happy. I will always be his mother and I am secure in that role. I will step back and keep my distance because I respect your marriage.
- I hope to have more girls’ lunch and dinner with you. Just you and me. Not as in-laws, but as married women, with similar challenges.
- I know you are trying your best. I will never criticize your cooking! It is ok if you just buy take-out dinners, too. You are your own woman. Be you.
- You have have unique qualities and strengths. I like you and admire you as a woman, wife, and mother. I am also thankful that there is another female brain in my family and that means that somebody can plan the details.
- I will try my best to be kind and generous. Please know that I am here when you need me.
I love my son. I want his marriage to succeed. I want my grandchild to have a happy and healthy family.
I often wonder, if we love our kids and want a happy life for them, why do mothers-in-law create so much unhappiness?
There are relationships that life brings which we have no control of. And just like most people in our life, we can’t choose who they are, and the kind of people they are.
One thing I learned; we decide how we will be to them. It’s always a choice- be a curse or be a blessing.