Entering uncharted territory


The newlyweds

Marco Polo comes to mind.  So does Magellan and Vasco de Gama.  Ponce de Leon, Amerigo Vespucci, Coronado,  Balboa, even Lewis and Clark.

I’m not a history buff like my husband, but I do remember some historical facts, events, and names from all those history classes I once sat in and I recall these famous explorers.

Those brave souls launched out into the world in search of new lands, wealth, power, prestige, or new trade routes.   I’m not one of those adventuresome types of pioneers.  I don’t branch out too far from my familiar territory and I’m not in search of any of those acquisitions.

But I do feel as if hubby and I have just entered uncharted territory –  a new place to be explored, to navigate through, and to understand.  It’s called the land of mothers/fathers-in-law.

It’s a brand new role for us, a different experience.   Oh, hubby and I had our own mothers and fathers in-law, and good example of ones too, but we’ve not acquired that role until now.

Accepting that you will be someone’s mother-in-law and father-in-law is the easy part, especially when you approve of the new family member-to-be.  From early on in middle daughter’s relationship with her now newlywed husband, our son-in-law called me “mom.”  And I liked the “you’re not losing a daughter, but gaining a son” mantra.   So acceptance part?  I’m down with that.  No problemo.

Our daughter has been married for almost two weeks now, and hubby and I have been discussing our new role in this unfamiliar territory of in-law-ville.  We’re trying to identify parameters and boundaries and we firmly believe this new role involves “keeping your opinions to yourself unless asked for them.”  It’s the untethering of some of the ties that bind and letting go that might prove emotional.

We want to give the newlyweds space, which physically is simple since they now live a couple hours away from us.   But emotionally, it’s a bit more difficult.  I think we’re working our way along the trail, hacking down the potential thorns, and cutting a workable pathway, but I know obstacles will surely come our way.

We realize we’re not Star Trek voyagers whose mission is “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”   Lots of you have been there, done that.  So that’s why I’m asking those of you who’ve sailed into these uncharted waters before us for your words of wisdom.

What have you found to be the most important aspects of being in-laws for the first time?  What advice would you give us?  How do you figure out the holidays?  What mistakes have you made that we should avoid?

Just as our newly married daughter and son-in-law head off into a new life together, hand in hand, so do her mother and father.

It’s a voyage we will venture upon three times this year as each of our adult children marry.  With prayer and wisdom, we hope to find smooth sailing ahead.  Or at least, a navigable path.

“Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time.” ~  Leo F. Buscaglia

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

10 responses

  1. E-mails help me stay connected without ‘hovering’. I’ll usually include both of them (when married), or a mass e-mail to all the kiddos and include everyone. Mamas get to be mamas even then, but don’t feel bad if they don’t respond. Their lives are sooooo busy, but they know you love. care and think about them. I save texting for important things that I do need an answer for. Then I start a new hobby or find a new friend or meet more often with those old, tried and true friends and try hard not to drool over the newest grandbabies! 🙂 OR ~ You could always get a puppy! lol. But whatever you do, keep that sense of humor close by and it helps with those twinges every now and again.


  2. Since I’m not a mother-in-law, I don’t have any advice. But I think Homestead Ramblings sounds like a GREAT in-law. And I have faith that you’ll figure it all out, and be perfect at it.


  3. Well, I won’t be much help here. lol. My mom adored my husband. My whole family did/does. To the point where I am NEVER right and he is NEVER wrong. lol. It’s good for him though because on the other side.. his mother hasn’t spoken to us in 24 years; won’t even let the other boys give us her phone number. Honestly, we appreciate that immensely since she treated him, the boys in general, and us so terribly we don’t care. But it was good for him to feel so much love from my family and my mom especially. She treated him like he was her own son and I loved that for him. So I guess I would say if you love your new son-in-law…show him that and include him in family stuff/conversations/chit chatting as much as you do your daughter. I’m sure he will love it as much as my hubby did. Just don’t take sides in over doing it. It can be hard to know what noone is on your side. lol.


    • Good advice! We do love our new son-in-law and in the three years our daughter dated him, we welcomed him warmly and lovingly. So that won’t be hard at all! So wonderful that your family did the same for your hubby, but sad that your mother-in-law is missing out on part of her family. Hopefully, some day she will have a change of heart before it’s too late. 🙂


  4. Love the photo of the newlyweds–so touching! We haven’t experienced in-law-ville yet. We got pretty creative with our inlaws when we got married, eons ago. We stretched out the holidays a lot, and devised new traditions, too. It’s going to be hard for me to share though once my kids get married!


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