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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My situation is kind of backwards from the stereotype - my mother and I have a strained relationship and little to no ability to relate to one another; my SO's mom is an old hippie from San Francisco and she's awesome.

Problem: While I'm intellectually extroverted, I'm really introverted on an emotional/personal level. MIL and I get along great at family events, but those only happen once a month or so, and right now, I REALLY *need* the emotional support one would get from a functional mother-daughter relationship.

I'm 16 weeks pregnant, the baby started kicking so well yesterday that SO could feel it, and while SO is amazing and wonderful and infinitely supportive and excited, I've felt myself getting mad at him a few times over the last couple weeks because it's still not enough. I have several wonderful close friends, but they're not enough either. It finally dawned on me tonight (after hanging out with MIL and some of her old "hippie" friends last night) that my (frequently self-neglected) emotional life is missing a mom!

So...how do I break the ice and figure out how to spend a little more time getting to know my MIL? She's NOT shy at all, but she is busy, and I think she's a little afraid of being overbearing because neither SO or I are very approachable on deeper personal levels. How do I let her in more? Also, I'm cautious about letting her in too much, both for SO's sake and because I can see how she is with SO's 2 sisters (immensely supportive, but more involved on a daily basis that I could handle, though it works for them).

This whole *wanting* a motherish relationship kind of thing is entirely new to me - I didn't feel this way at ALL with my first pregnancy (years ago, with a different man and a very different MIL), and since my relationship with my own mother has been emotionally void of much of anything but anger and live-and-let-live distance since I was a really little kid, I'm in entirely foreign territory. This is scary!!

Suggestions?
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I'm pretty introverted too, as was my MIL. When my dh moved closer to his family, while I was pregnant, I had a chance to get closer to her.
How?
Sunday breakfast together.
I know, it sounds a little odd. It was a tradition for my dh's family, and they carried it on when we moved nearby. We had Sunday breakfasts together for years when my MIL finally passed away. She was like a second mom to me at that time.
Asking questions about your dh when he was a baby can be great conversation starters. Also good indicators of what you might possibly be in for, baby temperment wise

Good luck, I hope you have a chance to bond with your MIL.
 

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Find a moment with her and let your guard down. Say something along the lines of missing/wanting a mother daughter relationship that doesn't exist with your own mom. Wishing that you'd been lucky enough to have a mom like her.
 

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I have found that conversation topics such as her experiences when pregnant, my DH as a baby, her thoughts on parenting have all been topics that have brought my MIL closer together. She is also very, very conscious of not being overly involved so it's important to her to totally follow my lead. Given that, when I want / need her to be closer to the action, matters of the heart, I bring her in. What do you think ... How was it for you ... type questions can seem innocent enough but with these intimate topics, you can't help but get to know one another better and come to be closer. Plus if you are asking open ended parenting type questions, that can tell her it's OK to share, lets her know that she's not being overbearing. By being interested in her, she can then be interested in you b/c you've lead the way.
 

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Can you invite her on a baby-related errand and lunch? To look at slings, or to register for things at Target? Or even to your ultrasound if you're getting one? Maybe a just-the-two-of-you special outing would be a nice "in." Good luck! Sounds like a lovely mission.
 

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Thanks for posting this. My mom passed away in 2001, and I have been really wanting to reach back to a couple mother figures who have reached out to me. I just can't get back into the "mom" kind of talk/questions with these ladies who really want to be there for me right now. I'm also painfully shy. There are some good ideas here.
 

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can you work on a project together, maybe one baby related? Does she have any skills you'd like to learn?
That helped me and my MIL (who I also really liked already) She's helped me with several sowing projects, starting with making hemp prefolds...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions and encouragement!


Being emotionally vulnerable is *really* hard for me, but my MIL has made every effort to be accepting and interested and affectionate towards me, and I think I might just take bemommy's suggestion and have a scary heart-to-heart with her. I'll have to figure out a good time, and that might take a while, but I think I can do this!

FWIW, when I mentioned to SO that I wanted to get to know his mama better, he said "Great! You call her every now and then so I don't have to!" (She's a talker, and he can't stand being on the phone for 5 minutes, much less an hour.) So I might just start with that for the time being.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bemommy View Post
Find a moment with her and let your guard down. Say something along the lines of missing/wanting a mother daughter relationship that doesn't exist with your own mom. Wishing that you'd been lucky enough to have a mom like her.
I think this is your best bet. I can't imagine that your MIL would be anything but thrilled to know how much you admire her and wish you could be closer.

And as a shy person myself, I know that you really have to spell it out to some people that the reason you haven't opened up previously is not because you are arrogant, cold, uninterested or snooty. It's because you're shy. Really, this is a revelation to many folks. Particularly outgoing ones.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HappiLeigh View Post
Can you invite her on a baby-related errand and lunch? To look at slings, or to register for things at Target? Or even to your ultrasound if you're getting one? Maybe a just-the-two-of-you special outing would be a nice "in." Good luck! Sounds like a lovely mission.

That's what I was thinking too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
And as a shy person myself, I know that you really have to spell it out to some people that the reason you haven't opened up previously is not because you are arrogant, cold, uninterested or snooty. It's because you're shy. Really, this is a revelation to many folks. Particularly outgoing ones.
Very very true, thanks! My SO is very extroverted and socially adept, and after we'd been together for a little while, he said to me (gently) something like: "You don't have to have a lot in common with people to like them!" He didn't understand why my personality would often shift from open and talkative and sweet (mostly! lol) to quiet and reserved and mostly intellectual around new people. I had to explain to him exactly what you said above - plus the fact that I *am* choosy about who I spend my time with, because many social situations just seem to lack purpose to me. I tend to keep an eye on people for a while to see what they're about before I open up to them.
 

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We go shopping together, we get coffee, we talk , we plan meals, and I call her "mom". She doesn't take my mother's place, she's just my other mom.

I just spend time with her. We get along. There are some areas where we clash, but it all works out in the end. Opening up to each other definitely took years, even though we're both extroverts in most cases. All relationships take time. Just start small--go out for a picnic in a park or for a nice hike if you live closely together. If you don't, just email her with something innocuous, like a question about finding cute hippie baby clothes.
 
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