When I Become A Mother-In-Law: 5 Things I Hope To Remember


When we get married, we also marry our spouse’s family.  Our commitment to love our husband includes showing love and respecting his family and vice versa.  Navigating in-law relationships is not easy and presents challenges when a couple comes together, especially when we add children and grandchildren to the family dynamic.   The term “in-laws” has earned a stigma for many reasons, but we can learn from our experiences and decide to implement positive characteristics as a mother-in-law in the future.


Understand & Accept the Change of Roles

As mothers we sacrifice to raise our children to the best of our abilities.  When our children are young, we are the center of their world, and as they grow older it is natural to feel we have the right to insert our opinion into their lives.  However, once our adult children marry, this role must change.  This “changing of the guard” can be painful, but our child’s spouse must come before us.  This does not mean we are no longer important.  We will always be his or her mother, and because of this forever role it is our duty to support our adult children and teach them how to place their spouse’s needs first.  Many women feel this a replacement, but it is not.  No one replaces a mother, and we can use our influence to teach our adult children how to love their spouse and children well.

My Adult Child is not Perfect

It can be a huge support for a mother-in-law to remember her adult son or daughter is not perfect.  As in-laws we can remember to understand how our adult children are working through their own imperfections to build a stronger marriage and create their own form of synergy.  A mother-in-law can offer support by encouraging (at the appropriate time) her adult child to listen to his or her spouse and to understand their needs and perspective.  Without getting overly involved, parents of adult children can best help by offering encouragement through the role of “supporter”.

In laws

Help with Grandchildren

As a young mom, it can be wonderful when our moms or mother’s-in-law come to help us in the way that works for us.  It is important to remember the word “help” is a verb and means to “assist”, “make easier by offering resources”, or “improve”.  The word “help” does not mean “take-over”.  The best way to help is to ask, “How Can I Help You?”.  We can remember that our personalities are different and what might be helpful to one person may not work for another.  As women we can also ask this question and apply it to other relationships such as our spouse or friends who may be experiencing a time of need.  We can begin to practice being a good “helper” now to be comfortable with this approach once our own children become adults.

Life Experience

“In-laws” have more life experience.  If we are truly honest with ourselves, we can look back and think of ways we mishandled a situation as a mom or daughter-in-law.  It’s called “learning from mistakes”, or “learning how to improve as a human being”.  One day as a mother-in-law we can remember our adult children and their spouses have less life experience and can offer grace in place of criticism.  Just because we grow older does not mean we always know how to properly handle every situation, but we can remember we can use our life experiences to be the bigger person and lead by example.

Implement the Golden Rule

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a phrase that seems basic but can offer infinite reward.  We can choose to remember how we wanted to be treated as moms to make sure we treat our future daughters and sons-in-law with love and respect.


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Sarah lives in Waco with her husband, Mark, and their three children Seth (11), Hannah Grace (9), and Adalee (6). Sarah and Mark just celebrated 16 years of marriage. Sarah grew up in Coppell, Texas (a Dallas suburb), and graduated from Baylor University with a BBA in Marketing in 2000. Sarah started her career in Sales, Marketing, and Advertising, and spent five years in corporate business. She then chose to stay home when her first two children were born. In 2009, Sarah took on the balancing act of being a business owner while maintaining the role of “stay at home” mom. Sarah found the many aspects of creating and implementing business strategies very fulfilling, and loved working in the beauty and skincare industry. After seven years of juggling these roles, she sold the business and has enjoyed taking time over the last year to write and prepare for the next stage of her “crazy life” Sarah was born with a passion for music, and has been leading praise and worship in different capacities since she was thirteen. Sarah and her family are members of First Baptist Church Woodway, where she is on the praise team, and has the blessing to serve in different areas of ministry. Over the years, she has been gifted with opportunities to create music, and to work with organizations such as the American Family Radio and Gospel Music Association, while releasing original music an independent artist within the Christian Contemporary genre https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/everypage/id373073044. Over the years, Sarah has loved getting to know the women of Waco by being involved in organizations such as Junior League, and MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers). These experiences, along with being a mom, have given her a heart to encourage and relate to other women. Over the past two years, Sarah has felt led to begin to share some of her own experiences as a woman and mom to help minister and to encourage others. She recently started a personal blog www.saranelsonblog.com, which is still in the process of completion. Sarah is currently writing a series on dealing with crisis from a spiritual perspective, which is based on her own personal experience. Her goal with this project is to help others find hope in hardship. Sarah is beyond excited about being able to share, and to be a part of Waco Mom’s Blog. The last sixteen years have been an adventure! Eleven of those years have been spent living in Waco. Sarah and Mark moved away from Waco twice to live in Austin and Miami, and moved back both times for business opportunities. They are grateful to have laid down roots that have grown deep within the heartbeat of the city. They are thankful for their community, and dear friends they get to live life with. Sarah is beyond blessed to call Waco home.