Dear mother-in-law,

You are also a daughter-in-law, am I right? Does that help you at all understand my perspective? 

Daughters-in-law—especially those of us who have sons—get it. There is an incredible bond you have with him. I respect that, I see it, and I honor it.

I want to thank you for all you did for him. You did a fantastic job, and I think so because I chose to marry that little boy you raised to become a man

You see, as a daughter-in-law, I’m doing my best. I love your son just as much as you do. I know how to take care of him. But there is also something inside me that wants to please you. 

I want to be included in the family. I want to be accepted by you. I want you to acknowledge I am taking care of your son the best way I know. 

If I don’t get this acknowledgment, it hurts. I feel left out and underestimated.

It cuts into my capabilities, and instead of feeling like I am helping my family succeed, I sometimes feel like an intruder when I’m in your presence. Like I have somehow invaded your territory. 

I know you don’t mean it that way. But when you say those hidden yet poisonous remarks, it makes me feel inadequate. Like you had to step in because I wasn’t doing a good enough job. 

Can we change that? Can you try to see me for who I am? The woman God placed in your son’s life to be his wife? There IS a reason he chose me. But can you try to see that reason, too?

You were, are, and will always be your son’s mother. I will never take your place in that. Keep it. Have it. I don’t want it. 

I am his wife, and I need you to trust me with him. I need you to let him go. I need him to take my advice over yours. I need him to show up for me over you. 

I know that’s hard to accept, but for us to have a healthy relationship, it needs to happen. 

No one has forgotten the endless hours you invested in your son’s life. No one has neglected what an amazing mom you are. 

I promise I will include you. I will invite you to the get-togethers. I will make sure you are a vital part of our children’s lives. I will even hang out with you. We could be friends.

But it takes two. Can you work with me to have a good relationship, not only for ourselves but for the man we both adore?

He deserves for us to get along. He deserves both of us to own our roles in the family—you, his mother and I, his wife. 

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Hillary Gruener

Hillary Gruener is a wife, mother, and musician from Colorado, and writer for her lifestyle blog Word From The Bird. Her family is her everything. Her husband of 10 years, Christoph, and her can be found at home watching crime shows, reading, or listening to Ravi Zacharias Podcasts, and consider themselves to be the best of friends. They have recently finished building their family RV camper, and are traveling on the weekends through the Rocky Mountains, experiencing all the adventures life has to offer.