The Mothers-in-Law Club and Jane Austen

Ben and Jessica

Ben and Jessica

Yesterday my youngest son proposed to his adorable sweetheart of four years, bringing me to the place where I must soon (as Susan Kaye so charmingly puts it) join the Mothers-in-Law Club.

Which means, I think, that in every circumstance I encourage, give support, and exercise tact.  In other words, I mind my own business! :)

It occurs to me that Jane Austen did not think much of mothers-in-law, as evidenced in her fiction. Who are these girls? (Yes, girls, for egad, they are not much older than I’m becoming!)

  • Mrs Bennet
  • Mrs Musgrove
  • Mrs Rushworth

Not an attractive bunch!  Help me out here. Whom am I leaving out?  And what advice do you have for me, the mother-in-law to be?

Ben and Jessica yesterday

Ben and Jessica yesterday

Jessie’s Chinese cookie fortune, pre-proposal, was quite the stunner for my son. She said yes. And immediately they took photos for (what else?) Facebook.

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12 thoughts on “The Mothers-in-Law Club and Jane Austen

  1. Laura Hile Post author

    Proud of my boy! The diamond is my grandmother’s, but he chose the elegant setting on his own. They’d like to be married this August. Needless to say, both sets of parents are delighted but scrambling…

    I’ll share more as I learn it.

  2. Susan Kaye

    The best thing is to give good counsel over and over and over again. The momentary crises that are inevitable get their attention and they are off and running, We get to sooth, pass the Maalox and give the good advice.

    Never use any words you aren’t prepared to eat later.

    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Thanks, Carrie! On the subject of children, I was told, “Mom, we aren’t stupid! We won’t have children for a LONG time.”

      To which I smilingly replied, “Don’t fool yourself.”

      Sounds like I should have followed Susan’s advice, above.

  3. Gayle Mills

    Never give your honest opinion — even when they ask for it. They don’t really mean it. What they really mean is, “Support my position.” So if you can’t, tell them that you have confidence in them, and you are sure they’ll make the right decision. Then pray — a lot.

    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Gayle, I think you’re on to something here.

      Part of the trouble is that our children know us too well. One of my friends was planning a wedding for her daughter. She was very supportive and wanted her daughter to have everything her way. Then came choice for the bridesmaid dresses. My friend did not care for the cut or color her daughter chose, but said, sincerely, “They’re lovely. Just right. I like them.”

      Except the daughter knew that she didn’t like them and became frustrated..

      “The important thing is that YOU like them,” my friend replied. “It’s your wedding and I want you to have just what you want.”

      Even so, the daughter was unhappy. It was a no-win situation. The daughter wanted what she knew she couldn’t have—her mom’s taste to change!

      Funny how we are.

      “Never give your honest opinion.” I’ll remember that. And pray, yes.

    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Aww, Gayle. I’ve had years of practice letting my sons go. (Never mind that they’re all living at home right now — student loan reduction plan!) I think it would be different with a daughter.

      1. Robin Helm

        When I know that I am letting my younger daughter go for marriage to a wonderful, Godly young man who loves her, it won’t be a problem. My older daughter is married, and I’m the perfect mom-in-law to my son. I haven’t seen either of them for over a year, and I’ve sent care packages to them overseas. Since I don’t know their business, it’s very easy to stay out of it. And, I have no opinions at all. ; )

  4. Susan Kaye

    And don’t be surprised if they live a decent distance from you. Distance and absence make the heart grow fonder. It’s knowing the day-to-day that can make things sticky.

    Ans Gayle is right, praying all the time helps. Sort of.


Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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