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Future Mother-in-law Prep: A Guest post by Beily Paluch

Posted on: January 26th, 2014 by bubbyjoysandoys No Comments

Enjoyed this? Share it, and attribute it. Copyright 2014, Bubby Joys and Oys, M. Hendeles

Just when I think I’ve written everything there is to write on a topic,  I remind myself to seek out other perspectives. Recently, I asked one blogger-friend to do that on a guest post for my blog. And on another occasion, another blogger-friend wrote a post for my blog right here. Both were from the perspectives of  daughters-in-law, and/or moms of little kids.

Just the other day, I posted my review of the new book, “Boy Oh Boy,” the engaging guide for mothers of young boys, written by Beily Paluch.

I wondered about  her expectations, concerns, and anxieties (if she had any!) about her future role as mother-in-law. With all those growing sons, she’s bound to be thinking about that these days. (I sure did back in the day when my boys were growing up.)  So here is her post on that very topic – how she anticipates, psyches and prepares herself for her future job as MIL. I hope you’ll write some comments below. When you’re done doing that,   head on over and check out her Boy Oh Boy! Blog.

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Almost a Mother-in-law – by Beily Paluch

Ever since my first five boys were born one after another, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to wonder…what will it be like when they bring their wives home?  Who will they choose?  What will they be like?  Will I be able to relate to them, overlook their idiosyncrasies, treat them with respect?  What kind of mother-in-law will I be?

So over the years, I’ve been practicing.  Don’t tell my guests, who arrive with incredible frequency from overseas (and don’t speak English well enough to read this blog!), but they are part of my experiment. Take my sister-in-law, Gila, for example.  Wherever she goes, she leaves open cabinet doors behind her.  She makes a coffee, three cabinets stay open.  She adds ‘just a bit more spice’ to my American cuisine…another cabinet door. But since I’m practicing for ONE DAY, I don’t say a word.  Only when she’s safely on the train to Manhattan do I let it all out in a satisfying slamming session.  BOOM!  BANG! BANG! SLAM! Didn’t she ever hear of closing doors behind her?

And then there’s Tehilla, a great guest in almost every way.  She watches the kids if I need to run errands, and she’s always offering to make her signature desserts, which go over well at our Shabbos table.  She makes herself right at home, helps herself to meals, and has even been known to wash a sinkful of dishes or sweep the floor, unasked. But on one particular afternoon, she really went too far.  I had recently returned from a wedding overseas, and had brought home about two dozen chocolate souvenirs to use as treats for the little kids.  My eye hit the shelf where I had stowed them, and behold! They were gone!  The culprit?  Tehilla!  In her quest to make her quick-as-a-wink chocolate mousse, and not finding any baking chocolate, she had turned all my chocolate souvenirs into…mousse!

WHERE did these people grow up?  But I hid in my room to shed my tears, and if I raised my eyebrows at her, well, it was not nearly as much as she deserved!  But I knew that my daughters-in-law would soon be on the scene, and if I didn’t practice restraint now, what chance did I have when the real test would begin?

Add to that guest who (every time!) scratches the Teflon frying pan, no matter how many times I show her the no-scratch spatula, and the one whose jetlag wakes her at 4:00 am and she proceeds to call all her friend and family overseas, always insisting that she ‘whispers’, and… you get the picture.

In truth, that’s not the only front I’ve been working on.  Perhaps more importantly, I’ve been keeping an eye on my sons, trying to make sure they grow up to be men their wives will be proud of, and that they will carry their weight in the family.  As a working Mom who is not domestically inclined, I’ve learned to invest in good help, but even when I can manage on my own, I call on the crew to pitch in.  In my mind’s eye, I’m talking to my daughters-in-law, “Don’t say I never taught them to sweep the floor!” From a young age, my boys can scramble eggs, peel potatoes, fry chicken cutlets and follow simple recipes.  Some can even braid challah (bread), put up cholent (hot stew) or make a mean potato kugel.  It’s all part of it.

At the same time, my campaign has not been entirely successful.  My boys leave their laundry lying around, forget to clean up after they cook or eat, and leave the garbage at the top of the stairs despite repeated reminders.  My only consolation, as I cringe before the image of my imaginary daughters-in-law, is that at least my sons know to respect good cleaning help!

By now, some of my friends who are just a few years older than me have already begun marrying off their children.  “Just you wait,” said one, “all the daughters-in-law will huddle on the couch chewing you apart, while you slave away in the kitchen.”

“Do what my mother-in-law did,” said another.  “She married off each son to a girl from a different country; they have a language barrier to overcome before they can share ‘shvigger’ (mother-in-law in Yiddish) jokes at her expense!”

That one makes me laugh.  I love to travel, but with a houseful of kids, I don’t get around much.  So I sometime joke that my sons will have to marry girls from different countries, so we can have the weddings across the globe, and get out and see the world.  Looks like there’s another advantage to that, keeping them from getting all chummy, chummy and leaving me in the lurch, so maybe I should have my boys sign to this!

Kidding aside, my friend and fellow mother of boys has already married off four sons to charming, intelligent girls who get along smashingly, and they all love her!  She’s my role model, and when the time comes, please G-d, I’ll be asking her how she does it!

But should there be any misunderstandings, I’ll send my kids here to check out this post.  You are all my witnesses – I spent twenty years practicing to be a Mom-in-law!

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Now that you’ve read Beily Paluch’s post, check out her blog right here, and her new book right here.


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