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Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Lisa Lou

Understanding the Mother-in-Law/Daughter-in-Law Relationship Part 1

Updated: Mar 3, 2021


Cecelia and I filming our MILDIL video


Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.


We have all heard of the dreaded mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. Comedians tell jokes about it, shows have highlighted it, and hundreds of books have been written about it. No wonder some women grow up fearing their future mother-in-law, and why some mothers look on their future daughter-in-law as a foreign invader into their already established family.


My question has always been, “But, why?” Why does a relationship, that should be one of the most precious in a family, cause so much anxiety and hurt? Is it real? Or is it a false narrative? My daughter-in-law, Cecelia, and I are on a mission to destroy this negative stereotype and tell women who find themselves in these roles that if you think you are destined for misery, you have been fed a lie. To see our vlog on the subject, click here. But for now, let’s take a deeper dive into part one of our three-part series on this relationship.


At Lisa Lou’s, we seek to point you to truth. God has given us an example of what the mother-in-law/ daughter-in-law relationship should be. It can be found in the book of Ruth, and It is a beautiful illustration of how God designed this bond to work. These two women did whatever it took to care for each other, even when the man that brought them together was no longer with them. They loved each other, they honored each other, and the key to their success? They both put God as the most important figure in their lives. To help us understand the dynamics, let’s take a deeper look into the psychology of the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law.


Side note: These names have always been too wordy for me, and we do not use the word “in law” in my family. So, I have coined a new term. Knowing our relationship should be one based on love, I have incorporated the Spanish word for love: amor. I have created my own nicknames. Mother-in-law is mamor, and daughter-in-law is damor.


Understanding the Mamor:


First, we need to understand why things happen the way they do in this relationship. There is a special bond that occurs between a mother and her son. It is like the father/daughter bond, but different in certain ways. A little boy’s first love is usually his mother. How often have we been told stories where a toddler asks his mommy to marry him? She is the love of his life. He brings her flowers. He holds her hand. The affection he shows is strong.


As the boy grows older, he begins to separate from his mother and move toward his father. He looks to the male figure in his life for guidance on how to become a man. This separation is part of God’s plan, and it must occur for him to grow and mature. The first separation between mother and son can be painful, although she knows it is necessary for the health of her child.


The second, and final, separation occurs when the son marries. This can feel like a death to the mother, but these emotions have zero to do with her future damor, and they have everything to do with the separation that is occurring with her son.


I remember when my son, Caz, proposed to Cecelia. The two had dated since high school, and Cecelia and I had the advantage of several years to cultivate our relationship and develop a true love for each other. If my son had not asked her to marry him, I would have been crushed!


When the day finally came, I had butterflies in my stomach because I was so excited. Yet I suddenly had a flood of emotions that blind-sided me. I was not prepared for my reaction. When my father passed away and I received the initial news while standing in an airport, I could not breathe. I felt as though someone had stabbed me in the heart and punched me in the gut. This same feeling occurred when the day came for Caz to propose. “What was this feeling? What is happening?!?”


Years before Cecelia and I had joked if she and Caz did not marry, I could still be a bride’s maid in her wedding. We were being silly in our conversation when I told her I would be the one walking down the aisle crying because she was not marrying my son. It is important for you to understand how close we are, and how much we love each other.


So, why did I feel the same way on this special day as I did when I found out my father had passed away? Because what I had just experienced was the exact same thing. Death was staring me in the face. The dynamics of the relationship I had with my son were about to change forever, and his engagement represented the beginning of the end of a special bond as I had known it.


When a son marries, the mother feels replaced as the most important woman in his life. She is pushed into a new role, whether she is ready or not, and she no longer has control over anything in her son’s life. He is now a man, and he has flown away.


Understanding the Damor:

Caz and Cecelia on a football date


There are certain things a damor also experiences when it comes to her mamor. When she first begins dating her future husband, she might sense the strong connection between he and his mom. As the relationship moves along and the couple become engaged, there can even be a jealousy that develops. The bride wants her fiancé’s whole heart, not just part of it. If she feels he is holding back a portion of his love and giving it to his mother, this will cause problems.


Once the son and bride marry, the new bride can often feel she does not meet the expectations of her mamor. The first year of marriage is wonderful, but it can be hard. Two lives are learning to become one, and there will be bumps in the road. Maybe the damor borrowed a recipe from her mamor to cook her husband’s favorite dish, but according to her new husband it “does not taste like mom’s.” The damor can feel threatened as though she is being compared, by her husband, to another woman. This can make her feel insecure in her new role as a wife, and her instinct might be to push her mamor away, dig her heels in, and make it be known that she is now the Queen Bee.


Now What?


Now that we understand a little of the psychology that is occurring inside the mamor and damor, what do we do with this newfound knowledge? Embrace the reality! Acknowledge that these are very normal feelings for both women. Each of them is going through changes and being pushed into new roles. If you have never been in this position, then you are having to learn “on the job.” This means mistakes will be made and feelings might be hurt, even when it is unintentional.


The greatest thing both mamor and damor can do is show grace! Do not just listen to the words being said but, also look at the actions. Take a hard look inside her heart and ask, “What does she really mean? What is she, deep down, trying to communicate?” This helps everyone be more understanding as we continue to foster our new relationship.


Be on the lookout for the second part of our three-part series as we take what we have learned and discuss practical application in our new roles.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou