Intuitive Mothering

We don’t have to be the same to be lovable;

I always knew I wanted to be a mother.

I never imagined my life without a family and I certainly had lots of practice nurturing baby animals and babysitting on the farm.

Having said that,  I felt fate gave me boys: two hilarious, ridiculous and busy boys.   Why? Because even though I knew it would be fun to have a girl, I knew that I was far from a girlie-girl.  I mean, as a kid,  I lived out my days like Billy Jack, riding ponies and shooting cap guns, staging shows and cooking up adventures. I felt confident to handle two rumbly-tumbly boys; I wasn’t sure that I could manage a Barbie-playing girl.

But, in time, life brought me a daughter-in-law and, a later, a grand-daughter. Cool, the scales have shifted, I thought.  Secretly,  I envisioned all kinds of girlie escapades for us. I took my time getting to know her and making sure I wasn’t one of those mother-in-laws, overpowering or with-holding. I accepted her and her cute little boy and tried to let her know that if you love my boy that’s enough for me.

But, here’s what I didn’t anticipate:  I never expected that I’d mother her, too.  I mean, I knew she had a Mom and I’d heard enough to know that they weren’t as close as could be, but still, I hesitated … better tread softly here.

So, as it does, life moved along and I began to notice certain things: Like when she was expecting, it was me who organized a baby shower and it was our huge, crazy family that welcomed her.  When they got engaged, it was me & hubbs who booked the hall and paid the caterer and organized the guest list.  It was our house where she dressed and and it was me who helped her into the wedding dress; it was our yard where their pictures were taken in and our patio where the gifts were opened.  Them? They were … guests.  And when she related her struggles just talking with her,  I was the one who encouraged her to keep on trying.   You see, as a daughter of a wonderful mother, not having that relationship was as incomprehensible as not having …  air.

We talked a few days ago and I made it a point to tell her that, no matter what happens,  we hope she stays in our lives.  I tried to convince her that, despite her past experiences with them, it’s not in our hearts to trash, bash or discard her. Punctuated by her sobs were the words I’d never expected to hear, “I wish I could talk to her like I do to you.”

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

Have you ever parented someone who wasn’t “yours?”

Categories: Faith, Family, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Intuitive Mothering

  1. What a generous spirit this shows! Some moms would be focused on taking sides. I so agree with you…whatever has happened between your son and daughter-in-law, that’s between them. She will always be the mother of your granddaughter, and is fortunate to have you in her life. ~ Sheila

    • Thank you, Sheila. I know you know how hard this is. I know there will be days that I will stumble and not as forgiving as I can be, but my intention is to write it down and stick to it.
      I had both grandchildren yesterday and they were a delight. We were happy to give them 4 hours of peace in the storm that is their lives right now.
      Thank you for understanding, MJ

  2. Sobbing 😦
    The young woman who I thought would be my daughter in love left my son for good reason. She is marrying an amazing man next month and although happy for her, heartbroken for me 😦

    • It says a lot that you can be happy for her even though you also recognize your loss. That’s what I hope for these 2; if they can’t work out their differences then I hope it’s at least going to be peaceful … at some point.
      Hugs & happy healing to you!! MJ

  3. Me too. Tears in my eyes. My mom and I were SOOOO close: it breaks my heart when I meet someone who doesn’t have/hasn/t had that relationship with their mother. But your post reminds me of my former mother-in-law, a true Christian woman who still loves me even though her son and I are no longer married. She continues to amaze me – at 92+ years old….

    • Yes; I took it for granted that everyone was mothered as I was. I was shocked to find that this wasn’t the case. Hubbs told me yesterday “you can’t raise those 2 kids you know,” and I said “I know, but I can be there in their life and we can be a soft place to fall” and we are. Me & the 2 littlest ones played Play-Doh for hours yesterday – smiles all around.

      Your former MIL sounds like a wonderful lady who could teach many people a thing or 2 about grace and being a Christian!!

  4. Aww! Yes, I’m always raising orphaned creatures. My cat is the survivor of a wild dog attack on his mother and siblings when he was just a wee ball of fuzz. And we have another ‘son’ who is a friend of our son’s and grew up at our house. He is dating so much now that we rarely see him. Last night I told my son to tell him we were cutting him out of the will if he didn’t come back around soon. Wink – Wink!

    Another lovely post MJ.

    • I loved the story about your son’s friend & the will — how cute. Our oldest boy has a school chum who mostly lived with us in H.S. – he spent holidays with us and refers to us as Mom & Dad. He’s been all over the world with the military and still comes by for a visit when he’s home; those “roots” run deep, not because they’re “organically ours” but because they’re real.


  5. MJ, I am so impressed with the generosity of your heart! How you’re managing to deal with such a sad and difficult situation is beyond me, but you seem to be doing it quite well. I know how hard it must be to remain open to a person who is contributing to such pain as your son must be feeling. You are so strong and compassionate!

    • I’m trying; some days are better than others. I know I will stumble and there will be times that I will probably say the wrong things but yes, you are right, I am strong and I think part of the reason I am is because I went through a divorce with virtually no support. The in-laws took sides, my folks were too far away and I had a couple of bffs who helped keep me laughing. It was a hard, dark time and I don’t want that for either him or her.

      Thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot to me. MJ

  6. This makes me want to weep, as I was not always well-mothered. Your heart is huge and wide and welcoming. And I love you for it!

    • Consider yourself hugged back! I am so fortunate to have had a wonderful mother who taught me, by example, that children didn’t ask to be here, the least they deserve is to be loved and cherished. I had the grandkids yesterday for a few hours and we called Great Nana on the phone; she giggled when wee MJ said “Hi Neena! I am at Neena’s house!” The circle continues ..

  7. So sweet, MJ. I have a special mother-in-law and it means so much to me when both she and he support me! I do have a mother that loves me too, but she is not the nurturing/supportive type, so I feel blessed to get that yummy stuff from my in-laws 🙂

    • You couldn’t have expressed it any better: “I do have a mother that loves me,too, but she is not the nurturing/supportive type.” Wow! That’s my DIL’s Mom, I know she loves her daughter but cannot help but say negative things or bring up past mistakes.

      You’re right – it’s the yummy stuff that we all need. I give it in bunches to the grandkids and have enough to share with my DIL, too.


  8. Yes, and it’s very rewarding. I’m glad you’ve been accepted in that role. 🙂
    I need those bunnies!! Great photo.

    • My motto has always been, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” I intend to lead both my son and her, if she’ll let me. She may not, but I’m not slinging mud or getting down into it. I’ll leave that for others, and unfortunately, there will be some who do.

      Aren’t those bunnies just the cutest things? 🙂 MJ

  9. I am sure this is a painful situation for you. It is wonderful you reach out to her still.

    • emjayandthem

      It is definitely painful and I’m trying to lead by example.

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, as always. MJ

  10. This is the spirit my intuition has told me you have. Keep on with your style of grace, class, generosity and compassion. No need to burn bridges and years from now you’ll know why it’s the best path.
    Sorry I’m late. I was in Dallas and wanted to return to this post in the quiet of my mornings at home.

    • Well, thank you very much, Georgette. You’re right, no need to burn bridges … there’s enough posturing already, no one needs me to add to the mix. Thank you for taking the time to respond; your thoughts are always welcomed here,

  11. MJ as one who has be ‘other mothered’ I was touched deeply by your post. My mom didn’t really want kids, and we pretty much knew it. My first mother in law became my first real ‘mom’ relationship. Even though after 12 years of marriage to her son we went our separate ways, she and I still share a very special bond. We live nearby see each other frequently and do not allow the dissolution of one relationship to infect ours. SHe is an excellent grandma too I might add…yet another area my genetic mom lacks interest.
    How generous your heart is to mother another in the way that you have and surely will continue to do. Blessings to you and the whole family as you travel this journey.

    • Aww, Anna, thank you for sharing your story here with me; I am so glad that your 1st MIL was so kind and loving AND stayed in your life. So many don’t. I will do my best to be a role model to her and I hope that she’ll think of us with fondness. Bests to you, MJ

  12. You have the biggest heart ever MJ.

    • Well, many years ago, I went through this, too. I remember who wasn’t available to me, and now I know better. Thank you, CC. MJ

  13. Pingback: On Mothering | Emjayandthem's Blog

  14. Pingback: Nameless moments | Emjayandthem's Blog

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