I Won the Mother In Law Lottery


Everyone knows the horror stories of the Monster in Law and her manipulating, divisive ways. Brides and grooms alike dread navigating the waters of the Loch Ness Momster after the wedding bells are quiet, the thank you notes are mailed, and the birdseed swept up.


You can’t help but wonder after you get married.

Is your mother-in-law going to show up bright and early on Sunday morning, using a spare key she made herself, to knock (or worse, not) on our bedroom door when we’re in the middle of wedded bliss?

Is she going to come over for dinner and say, “Oh my dear, good try on the meat loaf, but next time call me for the recipe first? My son likes mine best,” then rearrange my linen closet while I’m crying into the dishwasher?

Will my kids come home to tell me about how Nana and Papa promised to buy phones and video games we said they couldn’t have even though Nana and Papa know we said no?

Followed by, “Oops, Mom. We weren’t supposed to tell you.”

When I met my husband it was clear from the get go that his family, from his grandparents to his siblings to all of his cousins, aunts, uncles, and pets, were close.

His mom and dad were right at the center of the circle. I met his mother before we even had an “official” first date. 

It would be an understatement to say I was nervous about how she would react to her oldest of five children falling for a single mother of two and maybe stepping out on his own to put his own family before his Mama. 

I learned really fast that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. 

For every bad cliché about in laws, my mother in law has shown to be the opposite and I could not be more grateful. 

Here Are The Top Ten Reasons I Know I Won the Mother In Law Lottery. 

I married a man who is five years younger than me.

His mom had him at 19 so that means she is only 13 years older than me. My mother in law is like the coolest older sister who is also a second mom to me at the same time. She has a ton of wisdom and she likes to hang out at the mall. 

She smiles ALL the time.

She has never made that pinchy disapproving eyebrow look when she comes over and I’m in my pajamas with no make up in the middle of the day or my laundry is all over the couch.

She just shoves it over and sits down to visit. 

Her maiden name isn’t McJudgerson.

I’ve known her for 18 years and I have never once felt like she was judging me. Not one time.

When my house is messy she tells me that she had a rough week keeping up, too. Then, she offers to help or she offers to take us out and away from it.

When my kids get frustrating, she reassures me that I’m doing a great job and they are going to stop being assholes someday. She doesn’t try to one up me or make me feel less than. She builds me up. She commiserates. She’s a friend.

I want her to come over without calling because I LIKE HER and I wish she would show up around here more, but she never comes over without calling.

I don’t wake up to her peeking in my window or hear her knocking on my bathroom door when my husband and I are … conserving water.

There was that one time when my father in law popped by and caught me running through the house in my bra. I hit the floor when I saw him in the back door window and army crawled to my bedroom.

One of many reasons I love her more than him. (JK. I barely love her more than him. A tiny amount. Hardly even worth mentioning.)

She doesn’t trash on my cooking.

My mother in law is the queen of comfort food and my father in law (he deserves a shout out) can barbecue like a king.

I am a less than average cook. My mom is a great cook and tried really hard to teach me (my dad also rocks the BBQ), but I have always loathed the process of food prep.

No one is starving over here, but I have to give my mother in law major props for never, ever criticizing my cooking.

For that reason, I don’t ground my kids when they say, “Grandma makes it better!” because she does, I’m ok with it, and she doesn’t gloat.

She is such a great sport.

We give her a pretty hard time. She is fun to tease and everyone in the family does it often.

She has a great sense of humor and her ability to laugh with and at us and herself is admirable. She has taught us all how to lovingly poke a little fun and take a ribbing. And she gives as good as she gets.

She has the heart of a true mother.

As much as I know how much she misses her kids being her kids and needing her mothering all the time, she is a mother in every sense.

She has an innate instinct for when to hold on to her kids and when to let go. Her children have all been instilled with a strong sense of family.

Family is first and they know to do everything they can to stay connected and spend time with their siblings and aunts and uncles. They also understand that their spouses and children are their first priority.

Never has she expected her sons or daughters to put her before their wives or husbands or children. Never has it even occurred to her that they would not grow up and make lives for themselves.

She is a giver.

In a sort of relentless, you’ll never hear a word about it from her, kind of way. She takes care of everyone around her and I’ve never heard her complain.

There is no “what about me” in her.  It is the type of behavior that inspires others to be better, in the very best way. 

She is an ally to both her grandchildren and their parents.

There is no keeping secrets from Mom and Dad with Grandma and Grandpa. No promise to buy things we don’t allow or activities of which we don’t approve. 

She just tells us that kids are kids and we are good parents. She encourages us and reminds us that we are strong and that we can do this raising kids thing without going crazy.

She puts her husband first.

No matter what is happening in her life, her relationship with her husband is her most important focus. She knows that the foundation of her family is their love and she guards it fiercely.

My mother in law isn’t perfect because no one is, but she is pretty great. I feel very lucky to have her. She raised an honorable man who grew up to be a loving father and a supportive, incredible husband. 

She enveloped me, my children, and my entire family with love. 

I know not everyone has the same experience and my heart goes out to all those trying to survive the Momzilla in their life, but I will never feel bad that my mother in law isn’t one of them.


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