Mother's Day Bonus: Michelle Rayburn on In-Laws

you May 09, 2021
Michelle Rayburn Knows In-Laws

Michelle Rayburn, knows in-law relationships can be difficult and full of conflict, but they don't have to be.  She shares how to be more intentional with the in-laws in your life.

Connect with Michelle on her website, Facebook or Instagram.

Michelle's Books:

Classic Marriage, The Repurposed and Upcycled Life, and 1-2-3 Ideas and Progress Journal.   

Michelle's favorite gadgets are...PILOT FriXion Light Erasable Highlighters 

 

and also the ilumi Bluetooth Smart LED Light Bulb

Don't forget to grab your freebie

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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Bonus Mother's Day 2021 Episode 

Jennifer Uren
Michelle Rayburn is a freelance writer and podcaster who appreciates how life's difficulties can actually turn out to be opportunities to learn and grow. Michelle has been married to Phil for 31 years and they've successfully launched two sons into adulthood. They enjoy having two daughters-in-love, a granddaughter and more grandbabies on the way. Michelle is the author of several Christian living books, including "Classic Marriage: Staying in Love as Your Odometer Climbs" and "The Repurposed and Upcycled Life" as well as a great journal for non-journalers that takes you beyond the checklist. So welcome, Michelle.

Michelle Rayburn
Thank you for having me, Jenn.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, I'm so glad you could be here. So we learned a little bit about you in the bio there. But why don't you just give us a little more background like where you're from how you became a writer, and maybe a little bit more about yourself and your family?

Michelle Rayburn
Sure. I met my husband when I was in high school, and I met him at church, which is a great place to meet somebody. And it's really appropriate that we're talking about moms right now, because it was his mom that introduced us. My parents were brand new to the church and this lady came running across the auditorium to us and introduced herself. And then when she found out that I was 15, she said, You have to come over here and meet my son. And so he took me to Sunday School class, he was so painfully shy, I think it was probably nine months to a year before we even talked very much. And then he invited me out on a date when I was 16. So that's where we got started at church. Now we have two grown sons. And they're both married, both living fairly near to us now - they're moving back home towards the nest after being away for a while. So it's kind of nice to be able to be involved in their lives. You asked how I got started as a writer. About 20 years ago, I was a stay at home mom, I had left my career as a registered nurse to stay home with my kids. And I had started speaking and doing things at my church. But I wanted to do something meaningful from home. So I had started blogging, I remember blogs when they were just coming out and had one of those free blogger accounts. I started blogging about trash to treasure decorating, and showing the garage sale finds that I would get and just giving the before and after pictures. And then I started to explore thinking, you know, I'd like to write more. This isn't my forever future on the blog. So I attended a writers conference with a dear friend of mine and that was where I found my people. I realized I was supposed to write. I think it was near you. Is that Wheaton College I think you're somewhere...

Jennifer Uren
Okay. Oh, yes.

Michelle Rayburn
...in the Chicagoland area. Yeah, yeah, that was where I first discovered that God had a call for me for writing, started out with magazine articles and eventually led to publishing books.

Jennifer Uren
That's wonderful. Well, today, we are going to talk about something that you know, well, which is being a mother in law. And so let's, um, I was gonna have us start by you telling us more about how you met your husband, but you've shared that already. And so you said it was his mom that introduced you? Was she just being kind or did she kind of go, I think this girl might be somebody that he should get to know beyond just a friend here at church?

Michelle Rayburn
I'm not sure what she was thinking because it was also the day she met me and met my parents. Okay, she was a very friendly woman who was always connecting people. So I'm not sure if she had that in mind or not from the beginning. But she invited us over for meals sometimes. So we did get to know their family a little bit that way. I just hadn't talked to Phil all that much when we'd get together, he'd hang out with my brother and I tended to hang out with the adults in the living room.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Oh, that's the Well, that's really cool, though, that your families knew each other? Because that's not always, that's not always the situations. So you've been married for 30...31 years. So knowing your mother-in-law that long before you got married, and having your husband know your family, what has your experience been as a daughter-in-law with your mother-in-law, and and even for your husband as a son-in-law?

Michelle Rayburn
Yeah. The first few years of marriage were hard for me. And I want to say that my mother-in-law passed away 15 years ago, so we didn't we've only had half of our marriage together. You know, it's like our first half of marriage. I had a mother-in-law. And then the second half, it's been different. But we lived in the same community. That can be hard sometimes because your lives are intertwined through church and everything like that. And my mother-in-law was really close to Phil. He lived at home until he got married. He was 23 when we got married, I was 20. He had never lived on his own his mom did his laundry and packed his lunch and did all those things for him. So for him to have a, I was a student nurse when we got married, I was working long hours, I would leave for the hospital early in the morning for my clinicals. I did not pack his lunches. So right off the bat, there were some things that were so different that he would talk about with his mom not intending to make any kind of conflict between us. But you know, it was very clear that I wasn't the same. And I wasn't doing things the same. I didn't make this the favorite recipes the same or anything like that.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah.

Michelle Rayburn
And then she was so used to being involved with her own biological daughters talking to them every day, multiple times a day. This is before texting, so you would dial the phone and you would talk to each other. I'm a free spirit. I'm independent and I didn't really want to talk on the phone that much. I didn't tell my own mom, all of the details about my life. So that was a really hard transition for us when we were newlyweds.

Jennifer Uren
Mm hmm. And so he she was a very hands on mom, was your mom a very hands on? Or did she just sort of respond when you guys reached out to her?

Michelle Rayburn
She was hands on with us growing up after we left home, it really was more like for us to reach out to her. We'd have conversations - she wrote me letters in college and stuff like that. But yeah, it was different. So one of the conversations I didn't have with my mother-in-law until I had been married almost 13 years probably was this idea that we're different. And we started to talk about our differences. And the fact that when I didn't answer the phone all the time, it wasn't that I didn't like her. It was just that I didn't have anything to say at that moment and didn't have this strong need to connect. So I think looking back, I didn't show her the appreciation or respect that I should have. And so it wasn't until she was terminally ill with cancer, that we made our peace on some of those things. And I then wished I could have undone some of the years of being frustrated when she was just trying to love. You know, it's like everyone has a different way of loving and so we spoke a different language when it comes to that. I'm I'm an introvert and she was an extrovert. So I think that was a big part of our differences.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, that makes sense and sometimes it's hard to, to see a motive when you have your own filter of how you would receive something and so, you know, you can't control how someone receives something, you can control how you do it. But it's, it's good to understand where someone's coming from so that you can go, "oh, yeah, 12 phone calls this week is not them wanting to, you know, control me or keep tabs on me it is their way of trying to connect with me."

Michelle Rayburn
Yeah, that's a great point. Because we can fill in the story. And this is where even in my relationship with my husband, I've told him before you're writing a story, that's your story. And it's not what I'm thinking. And I know I did that with my mother-in-law to where I wrote my own story. And it had, it was not at all the way she was thinking. She was not trying to control and manipulate. And even if she was, it wasn't out of a motive of like the wrong - I mean it was because she was lonely. It was hard for her to have her kids leave home. It was because she loved us. She wanted to be helpful. All those things. And I was too immature when I was younger to really see that. And later looking back, it's like, wow, you know, we can't undo. And some of us don't have the opportunity even make it that much better. But I can learn from it. And I can be a different kind of mother-in-law, remembering that my daughters-in-law are in their 20s. I was in my 20s you would ask me how my husband has done as a son-in-law. My parents love him like a son. They always have in fact, I sometimes wondered if they loved him more. Just kidding. But it just you know, it's like, he's this easy going guy. He never argued with them. They never have had conflict. And my parents have always treated him like another son in the family. So he's been a good model for me. He keeps his mouth shut when I will speak up. And I've learned from him.

Jennifer Uren
That's funny. It's funny you say that, because when I was dating my husband, my parents said to me, my mother said, "We don't care if you marry him or not, but he's no part of the family. So it's sure gonna be awkward for you if you don't."

Michelle Rayburn
That's how it was. He's the kind of guy who would never make a mother-in-law joke.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yeah. Oh, it is funny. She even introduced this after we were newlyweds as this is my son and daughter-in-law. And I looked at her and she said, I mean my daughter and son-in-law. Oh, well, I do remember in the early years of my marriage, you know, I would hear how different families incorporated in the in-laws. And I remember being in a student wives group and one of the women was talking about how her husband came from a large family. And once a year, they would all get together and grandma and grandpa would watch the grandkids and all of the kids and their spouses would go out together and spend time connecting. And I thought, oh, that just sounds wonderful. I love that idea. But never once did it actually occur to me that that was intentionally done, and it was probably hard work to get there. So what was it that really started you thinking about being intentional, you know, in incorporating future daughters-in-law into the family, and how old were your boys when you you really start giving it the thought and thinking this way?

Michelle Rayburn
So as a mom of only boys, and no girls, it's a different kind of scenario than some of the moms out there. So I was thinking about it long before my boys ever did, because I was dreaming of the day when we would even the score, and I wouldn't be the only girl in a frat house. So I was waiting for that. So already at when they were 10 or eight years old. And I'm thinking, Well, what are some of the things that are going to make them fantastic husbands. So I was already at 10, 12, they were learning to do their own laundry, they would put it away, they helped me in the kitchen. I taught them how to clean the bathroom by putting a little sign in the inside of the bathroom, linen closet with some steps and photos on what spray to use where. And I was thinking of that with that idea that I was helping them become better husbands someday it wasn't because they were my slave labor. Although it is different when your kids start to leave home. You don't have those little helpers anymore

Jennifer Uren
Right, yeah, you also don't have the same mess. So that evens out a little bit.

Michelle Rayburn
True. I started to think about what was, how could they be kind and considerate, you know, so thinking about that. How would they treat a woman so I would take them out for supper, one on one, I would drive but I'd give them some money ahead of time, we go to their favorite restaurant, and even at 12, 13 years old, they're opening the door for me. And they're doing you know, I teaching them how to have a conversation, all of that really was with this idea that they are going to leave home, and that I'm training them to be husbands and training them how to treat women. I think the only bad thing that I can think about looking back over their growing up years was they also observed the tension between my mother-in-law and me. So when they would go to beg to go to her house and she would want them to stay forever. Like she wanted them to just live there. I think sometimes there was that tension of "No, you can't go to grandma's today." They saw our interaction and even asked questions sometimes of like, "why don't you and grandma like each other?" And so I also would think that's something that kids observe younger than we think they do.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. So as you were intentionally raising them to be good husbands and looking forward to pulling in daughters-in-law into your family, at some point, did you start to notice places where you know, these new family members, these daughters-in-law might start to feel like an outsider.

Michelle Rayburn
Yes, holidays is where that comes to mind the most. As you're, as they got older, thinking, what will this be like to bring somebody else into our family? But also what will it be like, for them to not be here on a holiday? And what will I do? How tightly am I going to hold to our family traditions? Or will I release them? And I did really intentionally start ahead of just telling myself, they're not here forever, you know, I have them for 18 to 20 years. And then for the rest of their life, they live in a different household. So I have to think about what that is going to be like. So for me, it was not getting too tied to our traditions and knowing we have them for now. And whatever happens in the future, we will establish some new traditions. I also thought about family dynamics. We are a family that teases a lot and we use some sarcasm, and not in a bad way. We're not like the passive aggressive sarcasm people where you're actually giving a dig. It's more of a lighthearted, some puns thrown in. And I did wonder would somebody else come into this and would we hurt their feelings if they don't understand how we banter back and forth. So those are just a couple of things that come to mind when I think about them.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, so excuse me now that you do have daughters-in-law, how do the holidays look different? What have you done to build new traditions around? You know, now the six of you or seven with the grand?

Michelle Rayburn
Yeah, we have changed our holiday traditions in that. I have released them to do whatever they plant I want them to make their plans first. So, we made it clear from the beginning that you you plan, whatever you do with your mom and dad, and we'll have New Year's or we'll have a different day. So we're not tied to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, because we've always done that. Thanksgiving might happen in a different way. Easter happens in a different way. Birthdays might happen different. And that's okay with me because they have honored my desire to celebrate them. We've just done them on different days. And our traditions might be different. For example, this year, I know that following our Easter gathering, they have two more. So I said, How about we do a brunch on Good Friday, so you don't have to eat ham and Turkey and mashed potatoes for three days straight. So we'll just do something different that way?

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, that's a great idea. I have a friend with eight children. And she recognized that she would be competing with eight different families and so holidays like Mother's Day, she has declared, I don't know what it is, but let's just say it's the first weekend in June is her mother's day. So go do what you want otherwise, but you are here for this. So it honors that that spirit and intention without being legalistic about the day.

Michelle Rayburn
Yeah, that's important for them to know that they don't love me less just because they aren't with me on Mother's Day. Yeah. And I know that and they know that. And so we're okay.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. So as you you kind of alluded to the fact that you were preparing them to be husbands, but they were observing your relationship. And you lost your mother-in-law, you know, 15 years ago. What were you able to instill in your boys or talk to them about? Did they see I mean they saw the fracture - did they see the the healing of this relationship? And how did they begin to prepare for their, their future mother-in-law?

Michelle Rayburn
Yeah, the great thing is that, even though some of the healing was something they couldn't see, some of they weren't in on all the conversations we had, we have had conversations since then. We have had open conversations about what they experienced what I experienced, and how the tension was there. And what we could have done differently. So we've been very open about that. I think that has really helped a lot for us to be able to openly communicate. they also have observed Phil with my parents. And so that's been a good example, because they're coming at it from the boy being married to the wife. And they're seeing how he treats my parents. They've seen how respectful he is, how willing he is to help them out how he's like another member of the family. They've also seen how he keeps his mouth shut sometimes when he probably would normally say something. So he's been a really good example for them. Like I said, being open about my failures has been good. In the preteen years, I you know, we didn't have that opportunity for them to observe me with my mother-in-law, but I did teach them some of those things that a boy would need to know, like, thanking somebody for making a meal for you. They don't always think about that. So if you get invited over to your future in-laws house, you know, you just like when they're little you wonder what how are they going to behave? Are they going to help with the dishes? Are they going to be thankful? Are they going to be complimentary? Are they going to have a mature conversation and make eye contact and all of those things. So that begins when they're small, everything we do is really preparing them for those future relationships. The other thing that I think surprised them, but it's something I practiced from the time they were small, is not always taking their side. So when there were things that happened at school, the teacher knew I was on the teacher side. And the kids were sometimes put out by that, like you always take the teachers side. Well, that's helpful as they get older as well to know that when they get married, I'm not always going to take their side, there are going to be times where I'm going to point out to them that their wife might have a point that they might want to listen to. And so the first time I took one of the girls side on something, they gave me that same look they do when you defend the teacher at school, like "Wait, where are you on her side on this?" But that's also helpful with those daughters-in-law because they know I've got their back and I'm objective in looking at that relationship.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, that's an excellent, excellent point. Because Yeah, you tend to just go well, that's your child. So you're always going to defend them and they're not always right.

Michelle Rayburn
Right.

Jennifer Uren
So tell us about that moment when you know, one or both of your sons when they came home and they said, "Mom, I met someone, and I think she's the one."

Michelle Rayburn
Yeah. So I mentioned that my husband and I met at church. Well, my younger son also met his wife at church, and they dated for four years. And when they got married, we knew her parents really well, they were in our small group. So it wasn't a surprise to us, when they said they were going to get married, it felt very comfortable, because we knew her really well, we knew her family. And then our older son got married, within a year of starting to date his wife. And we didn't know her as well, we'd only met her a couple of times, we had that traditional awkward meeting where you go to dinner and meet the parents. Both of those taught me something, and both were wonderful. But I think both of the times, it's the same thing, of your opening up your mind and saying, My son has chosen this woman, and she's going to be part of our family. And so because I love him, I love her automatically. They're very different from each other. And yet, that also just adds to our diversity shows how we complement one another. Of course, things are not perfect. But one of the things that I want to mention too, is that my boys did not date until they were out of high school. So it's probably a different scenario for some families, in that my youngest son didn't date until his freshman year of college, even though he knew his wife longer before that. And my oldest son was out of college before he really officially went on a first date and got married within a year. So um, that's not always how it goes. So I have not had that experience of my boys bringing home girls and wondering, "is this going to be the one?" 'Cuz you know, it's like sometimes, in that dating process, like you said, where your parents loved your husband before you got married? It's like, I was afraid to get too attached at first wondering, what if I fall in love with this girl and he changes his mind?

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, well, that's what I was wondering, too, was and so it sounds like that wasn't an issue for your experience. But you know, at what point do you start to say, "Okay, I want to foster a relationship, because you are more than just my son's current girlfriend." But sounds like you, it was pretty clear with both of them that this was a serious relationship once they started dating.

Michelle Rayburn
It was, yeah. And I know, that's not the case, with everybody listening, that, you know, there are a lot of different scenarios, and ours was one where they didn't even want to start dating until they already had determined in their mind, this girl could be marriage material. So that made it easier for me to see the commitment and, and yet there is that moment of like, when you see your kids have their first argument when they're dating or engaged, and you wonder, "are they gonna break up? I hope they don't break up." And so just knowing that you know, you love and support them, even though your heart might get broken in the process.

Jennifer Uren
Mm hmm. That's the hard part of being a mom.

Michelle Rayburn
It is.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. So it's one thing to kind of say, in theory, this is what I think it'll be like, or these are my hopes or dreams about this relationship. But reality often plays out differently, because when we're hoping and dreaming, we don't have an actual personality or a person with a free will in the picture. But that means there's gonna be bumps in the road. So especially with the two different dynamics of having known the one well, before they got married and having not knowing the other, you know, how, how was it building relationship with each of them, you know, in the role of mother-in-law?

Michelle Rayburn
I had to be more intentional with my daughter-in-law, who I didn't know as well. Because when somebody has grown up coming over to your house and hanging out at different times, they know to just go in the cupboards and look for stuff and make themselves at home. But somebody who hasn't grown up knowing the family as long, it's different. You have to be intentional about saying, "Help yourself. No, I really mean it. Just eat anything you see here, go in the cupboards," you know, do things. Yeah, you have to be more intentional about that. I don't have romantic ideas of what it's going to look like to go out for coffee or go out for lunch or those kinds of things. Because I think that puts a lot of pressure on the relationship to look like a Hallmark Movie or something like that. And so sometimes it just is what it is. And I love seeing the relationships unfold as you know they've only been married a couple of years. It's fun to have them invite us over to their homes now. To have them cook dinner, and to just observe them in their element. So I'm celebrating those things that are different from how I do them even though, yeah, there's, there's conflict I've said, I mean, there's not big conflict ever, and I'm so thankful for that. Because when it does come, and we know that it does come, it's gonna be a challenge. And I'm just gonna ask God for the grace to know how to handle it. All of us have moments, the longer you love someone, I think the more blunt you get, and the more open you get to just saying what's on your mind and hurt can come. So I've said, I need to practice having a tender heart and a thick skin. I think that's the mother-in-law's role is having a thick skin and knowing that someday if your daughter in law says something that is hurtful, you just know Okay, she's not mad at me, she's tired or whatever, you know, there's, there's something else behind it. And then knowing that I have to have a tender heart and really empathize with where she's at. Watching my first daughter-in-law, go through a really tough postpartum period, and having colicky baby after I had had one was a moment for empathy. And now they're both expecting both of my daughters-in-law, and both dUE within a week of each other. So I'll have lots of opportunity to help with those challenging first moments of having babies again.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, and you said they're moving closer to home or they live closer to you?

Michelle Rayburn
Yeah, one son lives within 10 minutes now, after living a couple of hours away, and the other son just bought a house up the road from us and is going to be moving home. They're both teaching at our hometown High School. So we will have grandkids close by now.

Jennifer Uren
That is wonderful. That'll be great for those kids to grow up as cousins in close proximity with each other. So that's really neat. So um, so Are they friends with each other? Your daughters in law and your your boys? Do they do things independent of you?

Michelle Rayburn
Yes, they do. And I love seeing that our boys were born two years apart on the same day. So they've been sort of like, twin buddies, almost, they've shared some things that not all siblings do. When you share a birthday, you all get presents like Christmas, they've always been close, I can't think of a time where they had huge conflicts or fights, which is also unusual, just watching them be they're very opposite from each other, their interests are different. And yet they are good friends. But then also to watch them have their own sets of friends, they go to different churches, that kind of thing. But it is fun when they say we got together and we went out to dinner with each other, you know, with the couples. And I don't want them to ever feel like they have to keep that a secret. Because...

Jennifer Uren
Right.

Michelle Rayburn
...We want them to have a relationship outside of us.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Well, the more grandbabies there are, the more you'll know about it, because you'll be the babysitter.

Michelle Rayburn
And we have had to talk about that and make sure we understand boundaries, because I do work full time self employed as a freelancer. And that means I can't be a daycare provider. I've had to be right up front and say, I can't take a day a week babysitting. And I know that I my mother-in-law would have, she would have said yes in a heartbeat. And so I just tell them, you know, not every grandma can. So we've talked about that.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, and that's, that's good. That is true. It's, and it's good that you talk about those things. Because if you don't share expectations, and then they're unmet on both sides, you know, whether your dream had been that they would bring the kids over one night a week and you'd have a sleep over or their dream had been that you would be the one to do the daycare, it's really good to have those conversations so that you don't let that seed of disappointment turn into something deeper than what it is.

Michelle Rayburn
Yes, those conversations for the mom listening who has little kids, it's important to have those from the beginning of opening those doors for your child to be able to talk to you about things without like judging or coming to a conclusion and telling them what they should do. I think that starting with open conversations from when they were young, helps us to have much more open conversations now when they're married. Knowing that there are some things I don't want to know, I don't want to know, when they're having a conflict with each other. I really would like them to work it out. I don't want to be the confidant or the one in between. But just knowing we can talk openly about hard things because we've done that their whole life.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Yeah. Or come in after the fact when they say we've just come out of this. And here's what we need to move forward or something. Yeah. So totally curious. What do the girls call you?

Michelle Rayburn
They call me by my first name. I've told them they're welcome to call us mom and dad - Phil's open to that too. But neither is comfortable with that. And that's okay. I know some families were immediately I think Phil and I were like that with our in-laws. We both called them mom and dad right away. But it's okay. And I think we're just gonna jump from first names to grandma and grandpa now, so, you know, it's like that's okay. Um, I want them to know, we feel the love we do like I feel about them like they're daughters, but they're not obligated to feel exactly that same way, because they have a bond with their own mom too.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah. Well, that's the end. I'm glad you told them it was okay. Because in and as the one marrying into the family, sometimes it's even harder to know, what are these boundaries that I should cross or shouldn't cross and so that...

Michelle Rayburn
I didn't want to be called Mrs. Rayburn when they were dating, either. It was like, no, please call me my first name. Because that's just too awkward to be called Mrs. I know, in the south, that's done more.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Yeah, there's so many dynamics that go into the name, right? So for the mom listening with littles, you've talked a lot about it. But specifically, what could she start doing today to start to prepare her heart and her family for her future sons- or daughters-in-law.

Michelle Rayburn
There's something that Jill Savage talks about, and she talks on empty nesting, she talks about the priorities in a child's life. So when they're little, it's God, parents, friends, school, you know, those kinds of things. And there's this moment in life where we get bumped off the bottom of that list, because then it becomes God, spouse, their own children, their job - we're not in those top ranks anymore. So for the moms out there who has a little child at home or little children, be thinking about how what you're teaching them now is what helps them with those priorities later. And by being bumped off the bottom of the list doesn't mean you're less important. It just means that you helped launch them into getting those priorities in the right place, where it's God, spouse, their own kids. I don't want to be the mother-in-law who's trying to wedge myself between spouse and God and their kids. Because then you get those unhealthy dynamics. So the preparation comes in your own heart in knowing that, for right now you are the center of their world. And someday, another man or another woman, depending on whether you have boys or girls is going to be the center of their world. And that's just going to mean you did your job, right?

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah. I once told somebody I said, it's like the moment your child is born, that is the most physically close and intimate you will ever be. And it's just a gradual separation from there on. And then when you get married, it's just a continual, you know, becoming more close and intimate with that person. And so anyway, it's an interesting image to think about.

Michelle Rayburn
They'll always need us, they just need us different things. Like, I used to have to feed them and change their diapers. And then they had to bring the books to school that they forgot, and bring the shoes for baseball. And then it was I had to drive them places. And now it's that I get the hard call of, you know, I, we're, we're struggling with infertility, and we want to talk to you will you pray with us? Or the well broke, will you come over dad and help us with the pump? Those are the kinds of things it's just changes. It's just a different need?

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Thank goodness on some of those. Yes, right. Oh, well, for the mom who's listening, who already has married children, and maybe has a rocky relationship with that in-law spouse, the son-in-law or the daughter-in-law, what's one thing she could start to do to mend that relationship from her side, because obviously, you can't control the other side of that relationship.

Michelle Rayburn
I think no matter what angle you're coming from, you can't go wrong with appreciation, if you can point out to your mother-in-law, that she raised a wonderful son, and you appreciate all she put into that. Or if you're on the other end, and your daughter-in-law is doing a wonderful job as a mom with your grandkids, you can turn that around and say, you know, just point out what they're doing well. There's something about appreciation. And that I think was one of the big factors that was missing for me was that I failed at telling my mother-in-law that she did a good job. And I thought it I just didn't say it out loud, which is kind of silly, you know, so you can do that you can praise your in-laws for being wonderful grandparents. I love my mom and dad and they did a good job raising me but my goodness as grandparents, they're fantastic. You know, it's like how in the world are you doing all these things we prayed you would do like let us have dessert instead of supper.

Jennifer Uren
So you were the practice round. They're the real thing.

Michelle Rayburn
So you know looking at our in-laws important out to them how they're doing a good job of that or thanking them for providing or there's just so many ways, but I think you it's not stroking someone's ego or is that the word? Yeah, it really is like, showing genuine appreciation. And then the other thing is look for where you're putting your spouse in the middle. Because I did that with my husband and if I could have just stopped putting him in the middle, I think that alone would have made our relationship so much better. Instead of going to him and saying, "your mom, this and your mom that" I could have worked things out with her, and not made him feel so torn between which one am I supposed to love right now?

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Which at the beginning, that's part of that whole leave and cleave process. That is, it's hard to know, because you are also balancing that with honor your mother and father and...

Michelle Rayburn
right

Jennifer Uren
...it's tough sometimes to make that transition. Well, this has been a really helpful conversation. And I, I've learned a lot, I think it's good to think about these things. And I appreciate all your wisdom. And as we wrap up here, it's a little bit of a transition. But one question I love to ask all my guests is, you know, what is your favorite time saving gadget and why?

Michelle Rayburn
So I have to pick one,

Jennifer Uren
you could do two or three

Michelle Rayburn
Well, I'll give you one that's just kind of a throwaway. It's erasable highlighters from Pilate, I don't know if you've ever used them or not. But...

Jennifer Uren
no

Michelle Rayburn
...they're so great because you can highlight anything and you can erase. So if you're helping kids with homework, you can actually highlight the things they need to do in a book you have to return and you can erase the highlighting. So I think that's an and you could print out something and highlight their chores for today. And then you can erase them and change them for tomorrow. So I love those. So that's one, the other one that I love, and I use this for myself. But it's also great for kids. I have an Illumi Bluetooth Smart light bulb. This comes on in the morning, and it's run through an app on my phone and it slowly comes on like the sunrise coming up. So it starts out really dim and then it gets brighter. This is fantastic if you struggle with having to get up when it's dark out in the middle of winter. It tells my brain it's time to get up because there's light in my room. And if you have kids who do not get up for school well at all, timing that light bulb about 30 minutes before they have to get out of bed could help them to wake up better instead of that, opening their door from but yeah, totally out to get up looking at the light and saying the bus is going to be here in 15 minutes. So the brand I have is illumi. But there's so many of them out there.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, that's great. That's good to hear. So interesting. I will have to try that because that is the part that I don't like about that little stretch and winter of you know before the daylight savings adjusts or we go back and and we finally get light in the morning. So yeah. Well Michelle, how can people connect with you? Where can they find you?

Michelle Rayburn
The best places to find me on my website at MichelleRayburn.com.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, and I will be sure to put a link to that in the show notes here. And then you have something they can get on your website, you want to tell us about that?

Michelle Rayburn
I do. I have a freebie on the website on the Books tab. And that is a download of the first chapter of the "Repurposed and Upcycled Life" and also the first chapter of the women's Bible study, small group guide that goes along with it. So you can get that first chapter for free. It's a book for women. And I do talk about some of my parenting journey in that book with a little bit of humor tossed in there because without laughter where are we as mom?

Jennifer Uren
Exactly. We either have to laugh at the things our children do, because they're funny or the things that they do or we would go crazy. Yes. Yes. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate your time and I know people will be reaching out and connecting with you on this.

Michelle Rayburn
Thank you so much for having me.

 

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