Get Over It—How to Love a Mother-in-Law

***Preface:  This post is about my mother-in-law, a daily reader and occasional commenter here at Archives of Our Lives.  See, here’s the thing about my in-laws: I love them.  Dearly.  I know I am lucky to have such a good relationship with them—some people aren’t nearly so fortunate.  Now, I have hesitated to write this post, because it seems somehow disloyal to my own mother—and trust me, I love my own mother very much; nobody could ever replace her, nor would I ever want such a replacement.  However, the month of May hosts not only Mother’s Day (May 10th, everyone, be ready!), but my own mother’s birthday on May 4th.  Therefore, I anticipate several solid tributes to my mom in the coming weeks, and I hope she will not feel betrayed by this glowing report of my MIL.

Anyway, I don’t consider my mother-in-law a mother figure at all, but instead, a very good friend who happens to be 100% more experienced at life than I am.***

Okay, glad we got that taken care of.  It’s time to answer another reader question!


Q [From Anonymous]: Though I would not be so coarse as to inquire publicly into your relationship with relations, could you say something about Camille and Linda Rae? I’ve only met one of you, but you seem to have a similar slant…in certain ways. Since my first exposure to you, I’ve thought thee and she might get along famously.

A, from me: Right you are, Anonymous. Right you are.

Linda Rae is my husband’s mother, and I can tell you one thing about her: she is a really great mother-in-law. No, really. I’m not just saying that because she reads this blog. It’s true.

See, I live in a place where all the people my age have children.  Poor Kyle and me?  We are child-free.  It makes hanging out with people our age a difficult task indeed.  Poor Kyle and I do have some “couple friends,” but, you know, people with kids can’t exactly drop everything at a moment’s notice and go to a movie on Friday nights—they need to arrange babysitters. And is it just me, or do people with kids seem more…noble…than Friday night movies?  It seems to me like people with kids don’t even have a desire to leave the house anymore, because they love their kids so much. [And I know I’m good-looking, but even I can’t compete with a soft squishy baby.  If I had one, I probably wouldn’t want to do anything but cuddle its chubby legs all day, so I can’t really blame anyone else.]

Enter my mother-in-law. Her kids are all grown up. She’s basically retired, and I basically live like a retired person until my legal paperwork is finalised, so we’re already a lot a like.  She enjoys scouting good deals at kitchen and home décor stores. She reads cooking blogs. She loves a good read. In a lot of ways, we’re very compatible.


And I think she has pity on me, too. We were already friends before I married her son, but since October, the number of our day trips and excursions has increased exponentially.  Maybe people think I take advantage of her, but when we go out for lunch, we take turns paying for our meals.  We get along famously, and I can honestly say that she is my best friend in Canada, second only to Poor Kyle.

BUT (and there’s always a BUT), that bond has come at a cost.  I have been forced to grow thick skin with my mother-in-law—she has taught me, probably without even knowing, that being sensitive is for the birds.

Case in point:  A few nights ago, I was dropping off some cookies at Poor Kyle’s parents’ house, and my mother-in-law said to me, “Hey, today you got a lot of people on your blog thinking your hair is luscious and beautifulyou really fooled them, eh?

Yeah.  Thanks.

That’s how my mother-in-law is.  Painfully honest (unless she’s eating my baking, in which case she lies outright and tells me everything I bake is “to die for,” because she would never go so far as to hurt my feelings that way {although the happy little lies have proved problematic in cases when I actually need to know how something tastes—for example, when I’m taking treats to someone who might judge me on the quality of my baking skills or lack thereof}).


I used to get offended when she’d say stuff like that, but she would not allow hurt feelings: “Meh,” she’d say, “you’ll get over it.”  Well…okay then.  I do what I’m told.

I have learned to take her honesty the way she means it—simply.  She doesn’t mean to hurt my feelings, so I don’t let them get hurt.  It works out really well for us.  I could spend my entire life feeling threatened by her snarky comments, and never have a close relationship with her, or I can just take it all in stride.  At the end of the day, I think her honesty helps me see myself with a different perspective, and that’s always a good thing.


I have learned a lot from this woman, actually….

She taught me that it is incredibly tacky to accompany one musical number at a funeral and then leave, even if I never knew the dead guy.  Bummer.

She taught me that real butter screws up even the best cookie recipe, and that Imperial™ margarine is the only way to go.

She taught me that angel food cakes have a special pan all their own, and said pan cannot, in any way, shape, or form, be substituted with a bundt pan.  Then she loaned me hers and taught me how to use it.

She taught me that to build character, I should do at least one thing per day that I don’t really want to do (although I secretly suspect this is something she’s made up to coerce me into doing her own annoying chores for her).

Camille and PK Reception CandidI wish all my wedding photos had been candid like this. It makes me smile.

She’s taught me a lot more than I could feasably note on this blog.  But most importantly, she birthed a really stellar guy for me to marry, which was so kind of her (even if she didn’t teach him how to put his dirty clothes in the basket that’s ONLY TWELVE INCHES AWAY FROM WHERE HE TAKES THEM OFF).

Love her.  Love him.  Love ’em all.

Does that answer your question?

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in ask me anything, Canada, family, It's All Good, Married Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Get Over It—How to Love a Mother-in-Law

  1. Shesten says:

    Money says she did teach him to put his clothes in the basket, but he ignored her ;op

    Great observations! I need to take some of your advice and apply it to my relationship with my own MIL.

  2. Chloe says:

    I also have a close relationship with my mother-in-law. I love her so much. Of course, she will never be my mom, but she’s a good friend, always supporting me and giving advice.
    I think I’m very lucky to have such a lovely mother-in-law!

  3. BOSSY says:

    How lucky are you. We marry the family, but no one really talks about that.

  4. linda rae says:

    1. aaaawwwwww

    2. LOL

    3. feasibly

    4. BOSSY commented on your blog! I love BOSSY! Hi BOSSY !

  5. jethro says:

    That most certainly does answer my question. I love being right. And i love your MIL too. I consider her strength, and wit, one of the many resources that have brought this extended family closer. As tribute, i now use above noted online moniker to comment here. Your MIL made it up when i was a wee lad, called me “jethro”, or “jethro bodine”. (From “The Beverly Hillbillies”, a fun tv show from those days).
    Peace out, luvya.

  6. Leann says:

    My husband does the same thing with the dirty laundry and it drives me INSANE!

    I have a really great MIL. We are not best friends, but her personality sounds like Linda Raw. My MIL just says what pops in her head, no matter if it sounds hurtful or not. If you don’t know her, she comes off as sort of mean, but honestly, she has a heart of gold and would give someone the shirt off of her back. Her delivery is just very blunt and direct.

  7. Leann says:

    And I can’t believe I misspelled “Rae” by inserting a “w” in there. “Raw”–HAHAHA.

  8. linda rae says:

    LOL!! If the shoe fits…

  9. Afraid my MIL will see thisi says:

    You are lucky my dear! My MIL thinks I stole her baby. I ran off to the “city” with him. Then, I convinced him to marry me and now he’s mine forever. How did I get to be such a horrible person?

  10. HeatherPride says:

    It’s great to have that kind of relationship with your MIL. It would be horrible to have a contentious relationship, especially seeing as how your own family and friends are so far away. Yay, Mom(s)!

  11. very good post, Aunt Linda is very bluntly honest just like my granny and me. It is good that you have a good relationship with your MIL now, I have grown to like my MIL only after I had kids, before that it was not so great. I don’t do well with whiners and making people feel sorry for you.

  12. raygon says:

    I adore my in laws too. I dont spend time with them like you do with yours (I wish I did though) We are lucky! This was a cute post. Makes me wish I could go with you on one of your lunch dates. She sounds great!

    ps – I finished The Hunger Games, have you read it yet?

  13. This was very nice!
    I really like this Linda Rae!

  14. Holly Decker says:

    i laughed SO hard at the “people with kids seem more…noble…than Friday night movies” i cant even explain why i love that phrase so much… except that you just nailed how i have been feeling lately!
    its not so much the “leaving the kid” that makes Friday night movies seem untouchable to me now,… its the fact that being a mom is such a “contributing” task, and then going and sitting through a movie and just… being entertained… is weird now.
    it seems like when i DO have time away with my husband- it should be spent doing something NOBLE… like hiking a mountain. its like i have to be doing something NOBLE all the time. no more of this “fun movies on Friday” stuff… and i truly miss it :(
    so- dearest, I THANK GOD that you appreciate the kid-free time you have. and you better keep enjoying it for me!!
    anyways, i am glad your relationship with your MIL is so fabulous.

  15. DeAnna says:

    You are very lucky to have Linda Rae as your Mom-in-law. She is so much fun. Great post!!

  16. That’s my pace-setter daughter, is Linda Rae, and indeed, Camille, you’re very blessed to have picked her as a MIL. She’s one in a million. Wish I had had as good a relationship with my MIL… too late now, I guess. Great Post, Camille.

  17. Christal says:

    I personally think all men have a hamper phobia that it bites or something cause mine does the same thing!! What a great post and tribute I have an amazing MIL too lucky us! Definetly doesn’t happen to everyone that is for sure but some of us get extra lucky! {btw your hair looked great that day at church!!The day you posted it }} Thanks for always making me smile! Oh and also I would like to run away from my kids I get enough of there chubby legs ha ha! I like my nights out! Enjoy them while they last I remember the five years before we were blessed with kolten it was hard with people having kids us with none freedom to go when we pleased but harder to hang out with people on spur of the moment kind of things!oh well enjoy it {unless you are really hoping for kids then it hurts i know how that feels completely!!} Great post!!

  18. jethro says:

    I can’t my tiny little screen well enough to see Em’s picture thingy…is that a many armed red(?) one eyed somebody possibly on roller skates?
    Pretty cool though.

  19. jethro says:

    Here i am, overcommenting again, but linda’s picture thingy is an hourglass shaped, two eyed, blue, winged springed thing?
    That’s spot on.

  20. Jami says:

    your mother in law sounds delightful! I can’t wait till you come down here!

  21. linda rae says:

    Yes…I’ve always been proud to have two eyes.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Linda is a gem, that’s for sure. We are both blessed to have great MILs.

  23. anna says:

    I’m just very grateful for the best mom ever… because, well, yeah. :)

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