Having a vision for the kind of relationship you want to cultivate with certain people in your life is paramount.
Most of the time, we take it for granted how a certain relationship will be. When I first realized that I was soon going to become a mother in-law, I froze. All those jokes about the horrible mother in-laws that I used to laugh at, now had my face on them. Mother in- laws were illustrated as the monsters, busy bodies, critical and controlling. I did not like this picture. This cannot be me. I had a moment of reality and in my panic I announced to all my friends that mother in-law jokes are no longer acceptable to me!
I needed a model relationship that I could follow. Some of my friends thought I was over reacting and that I should just accept the role of the ‘monster’ and not take it seriously! It is a given fact, you are the monster in-law.
I needed to create a vision of the kind of mother in-law I wanted to be. Who do I want to be for this young girl walking into my son’s life? Is she the enemy? I was the first woman in my son’s life and now…who am I to him? Am I second? Last? Will she treat him well? Does he know what he is getting into?
I wanted to go against the status quo and be a mother in-love, mother in-grace and not mother in control. This meant that I had to set boundaries for myself. Setting boundaries is a humbling act. It means I value you as a person as much as I value myself. What would I not want for me?
I would not want a controlling, critical person who has no respect for me. I would not want to be undermined and bypassed, ignored and looked down upon. I would not want to be treated less then. I have been there and I was not about to be that to a young beautiful girl who had captured my son’s life.
So, with dignity and respect to myself I intentionally set boundaries for myself – :
- Never show up unannounced
- Never assume my ideas are better and wiser than hers
- Never undermine her authority
- Know her and see her for the beautiful person she is
- Honor and respect at all times
Setting boundaries for oneself means knowing one’s value and developing dignity and respect for oneself.