I am a 57 year old woman, divorced for 14 years, with a 30 year old son. Although my husband and I could have been very happy we were constantly harassed by his mother and I constantly told him, as he was growing up, to beware of an interfering mother in law, for this was the reason for our marital breakup.
Due to my experience I vowed when he married his wife (a law student) that I would not be that kind of mother in law and would be helpful and kind. First, when they married I evicted the tenant I had in the other apartment in our two flat, and gave it the young couple. (My son is finishing med school so there is not a lot of money there, yet.)
Because we are the only two families in the building I showed him it was not necessary to lock our doors. Of course, this made it easier for me to come into their apartment, early in the morning, while they were still asleep, to do a little floor washing and straightening things up. (I don’t need a thank you but my daughter in law didn’t have to get so upset when I threw out the case work she had been working on all night, how was I to know it wasn’t waste? She should have put it into the drawer I showed her rather than leave it on the dining room table.) And I don’t go into their bedroom without knocking first.
I also help her out by tasting the food she has cooking and adding a bit of salt or pepper (but only when she is not looking) and I also help her out by telling her why her cooking isn't as good as mine and encouraging her to follow my recipes. About three months ago my son had locks put on their front and back doors and forgot to give me a key so I had to get a locksmith come over and make me one. It made it a bit difficult for me to do my mitzva work as I am getting older and sometimes forget where I put it.
Last night my son told me they were moving across town but won’t tell me where. He is such a good boy. He is worried that since I don’t drive it will be hard for me to travel on two buses there and two back to see them. He promises to call every day and they will visit me once a week.
Bubby, this breaks my heart. What will they do without me? My daughter in law is pregnant and will show her what to do with the newborn? and how to raise him/her? I fear for their future without my guidance and loving support.
Broken Hearted Mother
Blessings on your son’s and his wife’s heads. They are foregoing all the help that you are giving them, worried about you dragging your vacuum cleaner over to the bus stop and lifting it onto the bus for your trip across town.
You are truly blessed. You have raised a wonderful son who has really internalized how to have a good marriage by watching out for mothers in law. You can pat yourself on the back and perhaps find out about teaching a home economics course. Somewhere there are young couples who would rather take their advice from you, rather than their own mothers.