Design

Have a Great Weekend.

Chocolate Chip Cookies With Sea Salt by Thalia Ho

What are you up to this weekend? Tonight we’re making pizzas at home (the boys requested pineapple!). And, most important, we’re going to the March for Our Lives tomorrow — if you’d like to join, here’s a list of marches around the world. Hope you have a good one, and here are a few fun links from around the web…

2018 is the year of the French bread pizza. Who’s in?

I’m raising my kids to be unapologetic Muslims.”

Love the idea of core hours at work.

Olive oil cake sounds delicious.

Yes to this Vanity Fair cover!

Another perfect everyday pant that feels like leggings.

Is there a maternal grandparent advantage? (NYT)

Room with a view.

A game of tag that’s been going on for 20+ years.

People are raving about this thriller. Have you read it?

I’m going to close this deal using business words I’ve heard men yell in airports.” Made me laugh.

Good news: Dermstore is offering Cup of Jo readers 20% off with code CUPOFJO. (I’m getting this.)

Plus, two great reader comments:

Says Amanda on a daily ritual: “My friend’s mother and her pals are all chatty former teachers who live in the tundra of northern Michigan. Every morning, year round, they take turns ‘picking each other up’ at their houses and going for a morning stroll. They dish on the latest and greatest news in their lives. The part about this adorable ritual that really gets me, though, is that they call themselves ‘The Walkie Talkies.'”

Says Steph on the best travel advice: “On staying, erm… regular (because nothing ruins a trip more than bathroom troubles): BYOP – Bring Your Own Prunes.”

(Photo of cookies by Thalia Ho. Core hours via Jocelyn Glei.)

  1. Jenna says...

    My mom had about the rockiest start with my dad’s parents that you could have (They refused to come to the wedding and considered her a divorcee cougar with a wildchild of a son) and yet….grandparents knew how to eat crow/grovel with actions when it became aparent she was really good for my dad and she knew how to be gracious and move on. They were always a big part of my life- half the year they lived near me, and half the year they lived near my cousins. When my brother (who was not blood related to them) and his wife had kids, my paternal grandparents were just as loving and involved with my niblings. My grandmother taught me to read, took me into the woods and showed me how to forage, what plants were to be avoided, what the different animal sounds were. She couldn’t cook worth a damn and would sing the Mikado while cleaning. If my mom had decided that first impressions were all that mattered, I would have missed out on one of the most important relationships of my life. I think one of the big reasons we were able to come together as a family is that we all prioritized love and kinship over slights and imprefections. A lot can be forgiven when love is at the forefront.

  2. Cinders says...

    My MIL assumes that I’m the reason her son isn’t closer to her. The sad truth is that he doesn’t want a relationship with his mom. I’ve had to step away from trying to bring them together; it was a no-win situation for me to be in the middle of a grasping, toxic mother and her fed up son. For some sad Mothers in Law, the gulf may have been created before the son’s wife ever entered the picture.

    • Emma says...

      Yes it’s easier for her to blame you than look at her own part in the situation. Articles like this don’t help!

    • Lisa says...

      this is so true! Good for you for knowing when to step back.

  3. Bren says...

    I just tried using the CUPOFJO code at Dermstore but it didn’t work – did it already expire?

    • Kathryn says...

      Same!! :(

  4. Midge says...

    I saved this excerpt from an essay by Judith Kaplan for Real Simple, May 2014, for the day my son brings home a daughter-in-law:

    “My family had undergone a gigantic transformation, but it somehow reminded me of two decades earlier, when Zach was a toddler and I had brought home Matt, his baby brother. I had promised Zach then that the new addition wouldn’t change how much I loved him. Expanding a family just makes it better. There were plenty of hugs and kisses for everyone, I had told him. Now it seemed as if we had come around in some grand circle. This time Zach was the one who had come home with the new addition, and it was time for me to listen to the advice that I had given all those years ago. After all, it turned out to be true.“

  5. Samantha says...

    I don’t have kids yet, but I’m a bit scared of what things will be like with my MIL when I do. We live closer to her than we do to my parents, so granted she will probably see my future child(ren?) more. And I want her to teach my child some of her traditions and her native language. But when she tries to tell me how to dress myself (whether she doesn’t think I should wear a (one-piece) bathing suit on a beach or thinks I should wear lipstick or obsesses over my choice to wear flats over heels) or when I hear her talk with other aunties about how one of their daughters is too fat, it makes me want to keep my future child far away from her. I don’t want my future child to grow up being constantly criticized for how they choose to express themselves or be ashamed of their bodies. Not to mention, I already have nightmares of her trying to forcefully show me how to breastfeed…If she can respect the values and confidence I want to instill in my child, then I will welcome her with open arms, but if she can’t, I feel it will be a tense road…

  6. Patty says...

    My job has core hours and it has changed my life tremendously. I used to feel enormous guilt about working from home, or coming in late / leaving early for doctor’s appointments or the gym or whatnot. But now that everyone is committed to being in the office from 10-4, it makes managing my own time so much easier and guilt-free. I no longer send TMI emails about the exact state of my gallstones to my boss because I feel like she REALLY needs to know why I’m late.

  7. Ramona says...

    Seems like an alternate term for “maternal grandparent advantage” would be “maternal kinship care disadvantage.” When it’s always the mom making childcare arrangements, planning holidays, doing the work of hosting guests, sending notes and cards, etc. then is it any wonder that they tend to reach out more to their own parents? My parents see my kids way more than my in-laws, mainly because I’m always the one left holding the bag when there’s a childcare dilemma and so I usually call my parents for help (replicating the help-seeking strategy I’ve used since birth). If my husband ever took responsibility for any of this stuff I’m sure he’d preference his family.

  8. Emma says...

    I find the maternal grandparent advantage article really irritating as it’s exactly this kind of piece that my mother in law hides behind.

    I would love her to be more involved! I would love her to play with the children! I would love her to contact me to ask how their swimming lessons/drawing skills/love of blue cars is coming on. But she never does.

    So many times I’ve tried to Skype her with the kids and she’ll say she’s too busy (a particularly painful reason one morning was that she ‘hadn’t read the newspaper yet’). She tells people she adores her grandchildren but the truth is she knows nothing about them. And they’re wonderful children!

    So please be aware that not all grandparents want more, if any hardly, contact with their grandchildren. It’s not always mean daughter in laws stopping them!

  9. Em says...

    I’m really shocked by the many comments about how “awful” MILs are without any obvious reflection regarding the idea that maybe it’s the DIL. Yes, of course women are going to have an exceptional bond with their mother, and yes, men should definitely do their fair share of kinkeeping (wonderful term!), but I simply don’t understand why there is all of this open animosity towards MILs who seem to want to be actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives, and other than being a bit annoying, are loving people.

    I’m also seeing quite a few comments from women saying they’re keeping stock of all of the annoying MIL things so they won’t do the same: maybe your MIL is trying to do that. Instead of assuming that all people want to be treated like we do, maybe ask. Maybe speak up a bit.

    I would suggest saying, “Hi MIL, I want you and our children to have a really close bond as they grow up. Can we chat about how we can do that? My bond with my mother makes some of these transitions easier than they’ve been for you and I and I’d like to keep the lines of communication open and respectful. The last thing I want is for them to miss out on you, after all you raised my favorite person in the world.”

    I think many of us are aware of the various family nuances responsible for this societal behavior, but a bit of empathy and self-awareness can go a long way.

  10. MT says...

    Regarding the maternal grandparent article:

    I’m really not a fan of the NYT article given how it is based on so many broad generalizations it is kind of offensive. Even though yes, it is possible that it happens, there so many other sides and they are not presented here. I am personally very surprised to find this rather poor piece of journalism in such a prestigious publication.

  11. CathyMA says...

    I wasn’t crazy about the “unapologetic muslim” article. The author had a good article going until her last two lines surmising her daughter’s experience at soccer. It sounds like the girls in question wearing shorts were unapologetic of who THEY are. Why should that be seen as making a statement “who are you?” By making that assumption simply from the way those girls were dressed and calling them “so white” is exactly the same thing as lumping all muslims into one category, which was clear the author was trying to separate. The girls obviously do not share the same culture when it comes to the dignity of women’s dress. I hope the author and her daughter give those girls a chance. Nothing gets kids to become fast friends like sports, but nothing can separate them faster like making assumptions on both sides.

    • LC says...

      It wasn’t about shorts — it was about those situations where others effortlessly feel a sense of belonging, but try as you might, your appearance (and in this case, religion) prevents you from being accepted by the group.

      My future daughter will be a white girl — probably with more than a few basic white girl habits, if she takes after me — but I hope she will always strive to make others feel welcome.

  12. Amy says...

    I enjoyed reading the maternal grandparent advantage. Watching my sister’s marriage vs. my brother and his fiance has actually been making me realize what a difference there can be.

    My brother got engaged in June and they’ve been living in a house together for about 2 years now. She’s a wonderful lady and I think in a lot of ways, has made him step up to the plate as an adult. However, even though they don’t have kids yet, I have seen the difference in relationship between the couple and each family.

    Sometimes it makes me feel hurt because they have definitely made her family a priority and ours is lucky to see them a handful of times a year. Each holiday, they go to her parents. Sometimes, they’ll pop over for an hour over the holidays or the day after. This year they were going to go to her folk’s house, but her parents decided to travel instead and they couldn’t afford to go with since a wedding is just over the horizon.

    I think this is also shown in the wedding planning (Which isn’t surprising. Let’s face it, the bride usually plans the wedding. And you know what, she should totally do what’s right for them, I’m not upset). My brother proposed to her on vacation this year at my grandma’s condo and I was heartbroken when I learned about it on facebook, right alongside the people they went to grade school with and other irrelevant people. I was the one who made the phone call to congratulate them and didn’t mention this; I didn’t want to ruin the excitement. Before that though, she made a point that she didn’t want anyone to know about it until she was able to break the news to her family in person after the vacation.

    I’m still unsure whether I’m being ridiculous or not in my emotions. Sometimes I feel hurt and other times, I just tell myself that we aren’t as close as I’d thought (she always made a point of calling me a sister, so I’m a bit taken aback). You can only be as close to people as they’ll let you be, no matter how different you might want it to be.

    But I think it’s also important to note that when you’re with a significant other, it’s up to you to show them whether your family is important or not. Otherwise, who can blame the S.O. for not visiting, calling, etc.? It’s not her responsibility to make these gestures if my brother doesn’t make it clear that his family is\isn’t important to him. I think that ultimately, this result might fall on him and that there’s no right or wrong decision, I guess.

    Anyways, I suspect these types of things will grow to include the wedding day itself, their children, and other major life events. It makes me sad, but if they want to include me they will. If not, they won’t.

    Anyways, rant over. Sorry, guys!

    • Em says...

      I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.

      I’ve experienced the exact same thing with my sister in law. It’s been awful for my mom as she is rarely thought of. For Christmas they go to her family’s house for 10 days and spend maybe 2 hours with us. During which time she complains about how awful her mother is to her. It’s an incredibly hard dynamic for reasons that confuse me.

    • t says...

      Curious to hear how often your sister sees her in-laws?

    • Alex says...

      Yes, I agree completely, that the men/sons in these situations are the ones that really need to take responsibility for the relationships that they, their wives, and their children have with their parents. Of course, everyone can play a role, but there is way too much blame going around on the MILs and DILs and the men in the middle seem to get off scott-free.

    • Amy says...

      Em – Yes, it sounds like a very similar situation. I’m sorry your family has dealt with it, too. I don’t understand why she’d spend so much time with her own mom if she is only unhappy, but maybe it’s like you said and they have a different family dynamic. Or maybe she is trying desperately to improve the relationship with her own mom, to the point where that relationship is her primary focus?

      Sometimes with my sister-in-law, I wonder if her family is different because her biological mother passed away when she was super young and her step-mother filled in. I have no clue what that would be like.

      T – They see her in-laws probably 2-3 times a month. Definitely a lot less frequently than our side of the family. When they got married, she had both myself and her Sister-In-Laws be in the wedding (except the one constantly going to jail because of drugs).

      However, her husband is not on great terms with his own father (my sister’ Father-In-Law), so whenever his family calls he ignores their voicemails. They are currently attempting to repair those relationships (slowly). My sister does crafts with her two boys every holiday and delivers a piece to each family member on both sides of the family (a recent tradition in the making, I think), so I think this might be an attempt to be more inclusive regardless of family issues on that side. I do wonder if the relationships between her husband and father-in-law were better, if they’d visit them more frequently or not.

    • Dominica says...

      I am dealing with a very similar situation in my family. My SIL guards my brother’s (and by extension, my nephews) time with our family and we rarely get to see them. I cannot blame her entirely for this, as ultimately, it’s up to each partner to decide what their proprieties are. But some men don’t want to rock the boat, or don’t mind plans being made for them, which would be my brother’s style anyway. Therefore, I am left with slivers of time with my nephews, and unfortunately, for my son (my only child), a not-so-close relationship with his cousins. That, to me, is the saddest part. This, however, has led me to build my village with friends who are now like family, so my son still has a community around him.

  13. Lucy in England says...

    Wow those examples in the MIL article! She moved across the country assuming she would babysit in the evenings without having an open honest conversation and checking in first!? That’s a terrifying MIL to have. Anyone else identify with the DIL there?

    I will never do that to my son’s future partner.

    • sarah says...

      Big time! My MIL says she expects to be in the hospital if I ever give birth (my husband and I are trying to get pregnant, no luck yet). I say “hell no” to that! I could see her moving close and then being super overbearing. Luckily my husband is good about setting boundaries with her. She sulks and pouts and ends up berating him when he does, though. It’s gotten to the point where he hasn’t spoken with her in about a month. The Just No MIL subreddit is a helpful community.

  14. Maggie says...

    I listened to the I’ll Be Gone in the Dark audiobook and was completely consumed by it. I found myself driving aimlessly just to keep listening. I loved it. BUT, I found I could not listen to it after work at all. Once it got dark, it freaked me out so much!! I live alone and I swear I was up for three straight nights so terrified the EARONS was going to show up in my house or call me asking if I wanted to “play”. Very rational since he was active a good 30 years before I was born…absolutely fantastic, but listener/reader beware!

  15. Meghan says...

    FYI – That Dermstore discount code isn’t good for all products, specifically the EltaMD sun screen I was hoping to try. Bummer.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, there’s a list of brand exclusions, unfortunately! but most brands are included. xoxo

  16. Lisa says...

    the MIL article! I’d love to see some kind of post about this. I have a complicated relationship with my MIL. We currently live with my in-laws (about to move out very soon) — my son spends every Thursday night with them so my husband and I can have date night — so grateful for that. And my son loves his grandparents, so I’ll not stand in the way of him having a great relationship with them. I just don’t see myself being close to my MIL. I don’t feel like I can talk to her honestly without her taking offense, so I try to be polite and in general keep my mouth shut. I find support elsewhere, from my mom, my sister, and my girlfriends — one of whom is probably my mother in law’s age, but I’d say I’m much more comfortable being vulnerable with her. I think that’s the main thing. My MIL is helpful, wants to be involved, and I appreciate that, but without going into family dynamics and history, for me, she is emotionally unsafe.

    • Caitlyn says...

      Wow. I really appreciate this perspective. Something about this exact phrasing just opened something up for me (not being comfortable being vulnerable/emotionally unsafe, etc). Thank you.

    • Deborah says...

      Ditto on all of this! And yes please on future posts about this complicated relationship.

  17. Cindy says...

    I cannot wait for the movie Tag to come out! It is definitely something I would be a part of and might even think about doing it with my brothers and sisters for the remaining time we have left together…

  18. Lisa says...

    On the maternal advantage – I see their point but there can be so many other factors at play. Even though they live further away, I would say my in laws have a closer relationship with my children than my parents do. My in laws are younger (so have more energy for them), willing to embrace new technology (like FaceTime), more willing to travel and much more willing to help out. For example when I was nearly due with my second, I asked my mother if she’d be willing and able to come and watch my toddler if I went into labour, and she said no. My in laws stayed for three weeks (sharing a room with said toddler!) and were a huge help as the baby and I unexpectedly had to stay in hospital for nearly a week.
    I have a good relationship with my MIL (despite speaking different languages), but it takes effort from both sides. We hold back on criticism, or at least I do. She is amazing, but she does some odd things (like dressing my toddler like her husband – seeing a toddler dressed like a 70 year old is just weird), and in the early days trying to recognise when I was upset about something just because of crazy hormones, rather than because of a genuine grievance. For her part, she’s been so welcoming and just wonderful. I know I really lucked out on in laws, and I’m so grateful

  19. Marte Otten says...

    One thing that bugs me about the ‘unappologetic muslim’ article (and other strictly interpreted religions) is the modesty rules that are enforced on the women, and that the author also enforces with her daughter.
    I really dislike the message there, that it’s a womans job to keep the mans desire in check by not evoking any desire. I think that is really the wrong way around!
    But then again, there are many people who are considered fully American and who are sex-negative and way too involved with their daughters modesty and virginity in the name of religion, so I guess this does not interfere with the premise of the article. It’s just one thing that will make any article on the happy embracing of religion a slightly uncomfortable read for me.

  20. Ann Corbitt says...

    I am reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and HIGHLY recommend it. To quote Fresh Air, it’s “unputdownable.” That said, I also HIGHLY recommend not reading it before bed because it is truly terrifying – more terrifying than fiction. Nightmare city!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i started reading it last night before bed and was SO SCARED! i actually had to get alex to come and talk me down before i fell asleep haha.

  21. Emma says...

    Thank you so much for putting NYT after the links to the times articles! Prior to having a subscription, I cherished my few free articles a month and clicking through your friday posts would mess with my rationing (I never NOT clicked though -your content is too good)

  22. Rose says...

    I’m a therapist at a treatment center for co-occurring substance use/mental health disorders + trauma, and we have a less-formal version of “core hours” that I love. Most therapists are on-site between 9-12 for primary group programming, and then we have flexibility to schedule our individual sessions throughout the day as we see fit (some people come in super early, others stack them over just a couple of days so as to have the other weekdays more free, etc). Aside from our sessions and clinical meetings, we can do our documentation, emailing, phone calls etc on-site or off-site. There’s a huge emphasis on self-care, holistic health, and taking time away from work among employees- we really do try to practice what we preach, cause ya can’t pour from an empty cup.

  23. Whitney says...

    In reference to maternal grandparents:

    For me I think the difference between my feelings toward my mom and MIL is indicative of how the relationships were founded. And by that I mean, my mom birthed me, parented me, held me on my sickest days – so of course having her come over to a messy house doesn’t bother me, because she’s my mom. Whereas the relationship with my MIL (even as close as I am to my mother in law) was one founded when I was an adult – trying to be put together, courteous, and show her how much I appreciated her son – so I can’t possibly be as comfortable around her. The mom-daughter relationship is an adult/child relationship whereas the MIL/DIL relationship is adult/adult relationship. There’s an ease that comes with a parent/child relationship that can’t be replicated by an adult/adult relationship- even if both relationships are healthy and positive.

    • Amy says...

      Totally agree, the relationships will always be different in nature. Both are important, but in very different ways.

  24. Lisa says...

    The photo is so delicious – The NYTimes is running the obituaries of people they overlooked, including the inventor of chocolate chip cookies https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/obituaries/overlooked-ruth-wakefield.html?referer=https://www.google.co.uk/
    Such a fascinating article (and thanks Ruth for your contribution to maknkind!). It also reminds me of the Friends episode where Monica is trying to find the best cookie recipe, and it’s the one from the Nestle / Tollhouse packer (so Ruth’s!). I wonder if the writers knew that?

  25. Tanyahardley says...

    I was closer to my paternal grandmother. Why? She baked with us kids, when she read the Sunday papers, she gave us the funnies, she taught us poker. She bought us books. When we went to her house we were visiting With her. My other grandparents, we would visit, but would not be included. We would be given tasks, but they would be separate from what the adults would be doing. My maternal grandmother would send birthday cards (signed , no inscription), my paternal grandmother would call, and converse with us-her phone number was the first I memorized. Maybe the advantage here was that my paternal grandmother didn’t try to have a relationship through my mother, but instead connected directly with us kids.

    • Ksm says...

      The last line says a lot. One, that your mom would be a secure person to allow her to do that. Many women of our generation have a huge problem with paternal inlaws keeping with grandkids directly as they see their position being threatened. There are many nuances in that relationship at both ends. Bottom line is if both mom and mom in law are mature individuals, kids will have a healthy relationship with them. As for maternal advantage it definetly exists unless one has strained relationship with their mom. Reason being years of trust and familiarity.

    • Lisa says...

      Yes. That last line.

  26. Stephanie says...

    Thank you for linking to “I’m Going To Close This Deal …’ – it made me chuckle very much. I’m going to shamelessly plug my husband’s book (and forgive the title, we’re English), “How Not To Talk Like An Arse’ – am I allowed a little plug?
    He wrote about many of the examples in Aaron’s article and plenty more several years ago – it would appear that ‘Arse’, as we fondly call it, was ahead of its time.

    ‘We all know

  27. bisbee says...

    I have 2 sons…the eldest has 2 children, the other is married but they are not planning children. I am very, very close with my grandchildren and my DIL. Unfortunately, her mother passed away when my granddaughter was 18 months old (she is now almost 13). My DIL lost her father 4 years later. It is quite possible that the children would have been closer to their other grandmother, but due to circumstances, that didn’t happen. I wish she were still around…she was a lovely woman, and I miss her too.

  28. india says...

    Oh man, I need to make those cookies asap!! Also, thank you for noting the maternal grandparent advantage article was from the NYT. Very appreciated!!!

  29. Kerri says...

    I find the topic of MIL/DIL so interesting especially because the focus is on the health (or lack of) within female relationships. In my own case, I feel a good connection with my MIL but of course it’s different than my own mother. But the biggest reason I would attribute any distance between my MIL and my kid is the whole kin keeping idea. In general, women do much more of the emotional labour and I’ve always disliked that and kind of rebel against it (by not doing it, or at least not to the same extent). Anyhow, it makes me blame my husband for any distance between my MIL and my daughter haha; I don’t see it as my fault at all, because I see it as more his responsibility in the first place!

  30. Kara says...

    I think about the maternal grandparent advantage all the time because of my relationship with my in laws and because I have boys. I have wonderful in laws, but it was weird how my feelings towards them shifted after having my first. Before baby I never thought they’d drive me crazy, and lo and behold after baby they drove me crazy. I think it’s a combination of several things: the feeling that they weren’t being thoughtful to our needs as new parents and instead only cared about being new grandparents (we had the first grandkid), the fact that I just can’t be as bluntly honest with them about my feelings as I am with my own parents (I was raised to be a people pleaser, particularly with those older than me), and the fact that my husband also drove me crazier after having kids and I noticed how he got all those qualities from his parents in a way I never had, ha! Fortunately we’ve all learned and it has been much better with the second baby and for my SIL (married to my husband’s brother). Whenever my friends and I vent about our MILs, we pray we’ll remember all the things we hated so that we don’t do the same. I hope I’ll be overly sensitive to future DIL’s needs, and I’ll definitely offer to clean and let her offer baby to me if and when she wants. (Advice to anyone dealing with a very new mom: don’t ask to hold the baby nonstop! If she is ready to not be holding her baby, she will offer.)

    • Sara says...

      YES! I was just telling someone that things with my in-laws got hard after we had kids. My mother-in-law always always always wanted to hold the baby, and it’s so hard to entertain when you are a brand new mom, your body is healing, you need to nurse, you need to nap, etc. Plus my MIL would want my tiny baby to spend the night and she would ask ALL THE TIME. What I needed her to be doing was bringing food or helping with the dishes. It’s getting easier now that the kids are older but give a mama some space!

    • Nicole says...

      Agree with this, especially in the way my husband drives me crazy with traits from his parents! I never noticed this until we had a baby, and now it is so glaringly obvious. To be fair, I’m sure I’ve picked up tons of annoying habits from my parents:)

      I do try (so hard!) to let my annoyances go. I have a son, and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to not be a huge part of his life if and when he has kids, so I try to be sympathetic. And, I always think of the alternative- not having our parents around would be far, far worse.

  31. Rebecca says...

    Because this is a sharing kind of space :) …I would add to reader Steph’s travel advice on “staying, erm…regular” that Smooth Move tea by Traditional Medicinals has been a lifesaver. Highly recommend for those of you who get a bit stopped up on travels.

    • Sarah says...

      Amen, sister!!! This tea is a lifesaver!! And tastes delicious!!

  32. Karen says...

    I have noticed the maternal grandparent advantage and it makes me a bit sad. I have two boys and a girl and have often wondered if I will “lose” my sons when they marry and have children. I hope I will be able to have a close relationship with my future daughters-in-law.
    I find it really strange reading and hearing women complain about their mother-in-laws, as if the bad relationship between them is all down to the MIL. These women will also be someone’s mother-in-law some day and I wonder how they will view their relationship with their son-/daughter-in-law from the other side.

    • Amy says...

      To me, I also try not to put the lack of closeness of the S.O., but rather my sibling. If we are important in his life, he will tell his fiance and they’ll make us a priority together.

      As it turns out, they have not done this and we’re left in the dark a lot. I hope you have a great relationship with future Daughter in Laws.

  33. Beth says...

    It is very frustrating when you post a link to a NYT article (maternal grandparent advantage). I don’t subscribe and can’t access it!

    • Angela says...

      I don’t subscribe either…Usually, a notice pops up on the bottom of the screen telling me how many more free articles per month I have left. I think you get 6 free per month if you don’t subscribe.

    • Dominique says...

      Are you in the United States? You should be able to read 5 free articles a month.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, you shouldn’t need to subscribe — you get a certain number free per month. if you clear your cache, you can reset your number. xoxo

    • Sarah King says...

      If you value the work that the New York Times is doing, and want to read the articles enough that you took the time to complain about Joanna posting links to it, I’d suggest getting an online subscription. Basic access is only $8/mo right now.

      We need to break the cycle of expecting quality journalism to be free online. If we don’t, we will continue to lose quality news sources altogether.

    • I couldn’t read it either (don’t want to clear the cache) but just reading the comments here made it worth posting the article. thanks!

  34. Alli says...

    I really enjoyed reading through the comments following the NYT article about maternal grandparents, and feel inclined to chime in.

    I am the middle daughter, with two brothers. My husband and I live across the country from both sets of our parents, and we have no children, nor do we plan on having any. My two brothers both live in my hometown, close to my parents, and their children are VERY close with my parents, despite my parents being the in-laws. The maternal grandparents live hours away, and just simply aren’t around as much. Similarly, my brothers are both much closer to my parents than I am.

    My mother-in-law is another story. She tried SO HARD to be close to me and my brother-in-law’s wife as well, and neither of us really want it. She wants to have a grandchild so badly, but she’s not going to get it from either of us. She is so well-meaning, but she drives us both bonkers. She’s just a bad traveler, picky eater, and a little high-maintenance. It doesn’t make for fun visits.

    Anyway – point being – you never know what you’re going to get. My mom is super-close with my brother’s kids, and not close with me, but then again – I’m not close with my MIL either, and I’m happy with the whole set up. Everyone is satisfied, except for my MIL, who is quite vocal about it! ?

  35. Julie says...

    Just finished I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. It was so good!

  36. Kristin says...

    To all of the people who want daughters, I have one son and one daughter. I love my daughter, and wouldn’t change her, but she has been adamant since the age of 6 that she won’t have children (she’s 23 now). Having a daughter doesn’t guarantee prom dresses, weddings, or grandchildren, so be careful about your expectations lest you be terribly disappointed at some point in the future. I’m glad that I am close to my son, and I have treated each of his girlfriends as if they might be my future daughter-in-law with whom I want a close relationship. I’m trying to cover the bases without having expectations about things outside of my control.

  37. B says...

    Looks like your Dermstore purchase is going to hurt your fingers and, of course, BYOP!

  38. E says...

    Was psyched to see a coupon code for Dermstore and tried to buy some Good Genes for my mom but Sunday Riley is a restricted brand :(

  39. C says...

    I have the best relationship with my MIL that I can imagine, but it’s still not perfect. The different is still real. She is sweet and wonderful and fun, and I felt welcomed from the beginning – I remember being so shocked at my first Christmas with them. There were just as many lovely, personal gifts for me as for anyone else (Christmas is big for them!). I felt so much a part of the family. But I think there is just a sensitivity there for me that isn’t so much with my family. When I had my firstborn, we were living with my husband’s grandparents. I had a really hard time with visitors in the early days and letting people hold her. I remember realizing that if my family was around (only my mom came to help and was a lifesaver) I would feel really different – I would be anxious for them all to meet her immediately, and probably wouldn’t feel as protective (though I still don’t get the expectation that everyone gets to hold a newborn!). Also just knowing that not having my own mom around after each birth would be really hard, and I wouldn’t want it to be my MIL taking care of me unless my mom couldn’t make it. But, I do really love her! It’s such a strange dynamic. I feel more stressed about a visit from her than any of my family, even though there are issues with my family too. And I actually worry about my kids being closer to my husband’s side because we stay with them more (we see them equally and don’t live by either) and they are maybe more fun and relaxed. That makes me sad and is possibly part of the pain of it. Just goes to show it’s all complicated!

  40. ‘The Walkie Talkies’!! Dying with laughter. Definitely retirement goals :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!!

  41. B. says...

    We live across the street from my in-laws, and my almost-3-year-old usually sees them 3 times a week, and even has sleepovers there on the weekends sometimes! Her grandma is her “best friend” :) I think it has to do with your relationship with your parents/in-laws vs. just whether they happen to be your parents or your in-laws. My mom lives 3000 miles away and constantly complains about not seeing us, but she never visits us and would not be interested in visiting or helping even if she DID live across the street. I am grateful every day we live where we do because my husband’s mother is a better grandmother than my mother could be. Now we’re expecting again and I am so happy I married into my husband’s family!!

    • K says...

      Totally agree–I grew up incredibly close to my paternal grandmother, and not so much to my maternal grandmother and step-grandma. My mom had a lot of issues with her family and we just didn’t see them as much–on top of that she comes from a family of 6 so there were already tons of grandkids by the time we came along! So we weren’t anything special :). In contrast, I was the first grandchild for my paternal grandmother, who we saw all the time and she just loved being involved with us.

      I just had my first kiddo and I do agree that MIL dynamics can be strange. I absolutely love my MIL, but I’m just not quite as comfortable being fully “me” around her as I am with my mom. But they are both so equally invested in being around that I hope there won’t be an ‘advantage’.

  42. KY says...

    Loved “Ill be gone in the dark” – listened to the audio book, which I can only recommend. It’s haunting and I also found it very sad – such a brilliant writer, and she didn’t get to finish her book and see it published.

    Also liked the article about being “unapologetic Muslim” a lot, as I’ve been living in a Muslim country (quite liberal though – United Arab Emirates) for more than 10 years and find it astonishing how open and welcoming Muslim Arabs here are to people of other religions and cultures.

    • Dominica says...

      I grew up in Dubai, and I totally agree with your comment. I went to a Catholic school, run by Italian nuns, and our school was right beside the mosque. A very welcoming culture.

  43. Kate says...

    The NYT article made me sad, because I hear this so often from many friends and I’ve seen it happen with family. But not to me personally. I am extremely lucky and have the most wonderful, loving, supportive, dedicated, generous, fun in-laws. I love them as I love my own parents (who are also all of those adjective). In fact because my husband is traveling and my mother-in-law is driving to NYC at the crack of down to help me take care of my 10 month old son who got his first stomach bug yesterday. I’m counting down the hours until she is here to hug me, hug my baby and make us chicken soup.

    • Sharon says...

      That is wonderful and so sweet.

  44. Sarah says...

    I think (and hope.. as the mother of a son) that whether a grandparent is close to their grandchild is due more to personality of the grandparent and how they treat their child and his spouse/partner than whether they are on the mother or father’s side. My mil is extremely difficult for both me and my husband to relate to. She is moody, narcisstic, demanding, and rarely thinks she is wrong and for that reason we are reluctant to contact her about our son (although my husband tries to still include her). My father in law is gentle and kind though and so we are more desiring contact with him. With my parents it is sort of flipped where my mom is gentle and more respectful and kind so due to that we are eager to have her be more involved in my son’s life and my dad (although I love him) is the opposite so I am a little more reluctant to have him around. The good thing about this I realize is that how I act as a grandparent/MIL one day is able to be changed and hopefully I will be respectful (maybe I will have to try harder tho?) and that will lead to any future DIL and grandkids (if any) wanting to be around me. I do worry though, and I am realizing from hearing from others that that’s common (whew!), but seeing real life examples around me of respectful paternal grandparents gives me hope, when I can remember. :)

  45. Hayley says...

    The maternal grandmother article was really interesting. A few years back, my mum told me about how a friend of her’s daughter had come out as gay, and told her how sympathetic she was to her friend. I was shocked that she’d treat a child coming out as something to be disappointed about, and also reminded her of how accepting she’d been of another friend’s son coming out. “Oh, but it’s different with daughters.” she said “With daughters, the expectation is that you’ll be much closer with their children than you will be with your son’s.”

    Laying aside the hundreds of other problematic things with that (not least that gay couples can have children and that just because you’re straight doesn’t mean you can or will want to), I was surprised to know she had such a huge expectation that she’d be closer with my children than my brother’s, if we end up having them.

  46. Madeline says...

    Re: maternal grandparent advantage. Meh. If my mother in law don’t care about me (and barely for her son) in the ten years before a child entered our world why should the onus be on me to facilitate a relationship between my daughter and her? On the other hand my parents have been active cheerleaders ofmy relationship with my husband, both of our careers, and our early years of parenthood. MIL seems to expect to show up when and however she wishes and have an instant bond with all of us. Whatever.

  47. kathy says...

    the maternal grandparent article was so interesting! i have two girls and recently had a baby boy. i can totally see the maternal grandparent advantage but now that i have my little boy, i’m so sad at the thought that it might affect us! i guess the good thing is that it makes me more conscious of my relationship with my MIL. i like her very much but there’s no question that my mother is much closer to our children.

  48. Liv says...

    I was ripped off to I’ll Be Gone through My Favorite Murder Podcast and it so good! Michelle Mcnamara was an amazing author!

  49. Laurel says...

    These men in the airport are 100% my life!

    Also-and this only works if you are petite-but my best work legging hack are the girls pixie pant from J Crew Cuts, in size 14 or 16. So comfy, dressy enough, and cost conscious. I also buy them for my 6 year old son in red, his favorite color!

    https://www.jcrew.com/us/p/girls_category/pants/pixie/girls-pixie-pant/E0387?color_name=navy&sale=true&isSaleItem=true&noPopUp=true&srccode=,,,0,0,&NoPopUp=True&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyde-6_uD2gIVg2x-Ch0MEg5-EAQYASABEgIHYfD_BwE

  50. Jenny L says...

    The article about maternal grandparents is so interesting. I’d love to read interviews between hormonious mom/daughter-in-law duos and get both their insight as to why their relationship works well. My friends and I have talked about this a good bit as we have mostly sons and someday want to be good mother-in-laws. Our common experience is that the best relationships come when the in-laws hold their opinions and advice to themselves unless directly asked. Over time this builds trust in the younger generation that they aren’t being judged/bossed around and can trust the love and input from their in-laws. But I’m in the younger generation and have a long time before I experience being a mother-in-law and I imagine that comes with it’s own difficulties. I’d love to hear that perspective. I actually really love my mother-in-law and want her to spend more time with my son but I really don’t like to be around my father-in-law. He thinks it’s his right to “tell it like it is” and he certainly has a lot of opinions to give.

    • Rebekah says...

      My MIL is very kind and gentle, and is always on the lookout for ways to make other people happy. She’s very funny and hospitable– I think anyone would have a good relationship with her! I honestly feel safer confiding in her than in my own mom (who I love dearly and is an incredible woman). My husband has a lot of respect and affection for his mama so maybe that contributes to the ease of my relationship with her?

    • E says...

      Ditto! I just met my (hopefully) future MIL and I can already tell there will be a challenging road ahead of us. We come from very different backgrounds and will need to find a way to reconcile our different beliefs on so many things. I could use some Cup of Jo guidance to navigate it all!!

  51. Megan says...

    I started reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark this week and it’s fantastic, engrossing and disturbing. I was just recommending it to a friend tonight. It’s scary to think that the Golden State Killer/EAR is still out there, and in a way, it’s sadly fitting that Michelle didn’t finish her book before she passed, because IMO there’s no real ending yet until he gets caught.

  52. H says...

    Thank you for the maternal grandparent advantage article! I’m pregnant with our first, a girl, and only have a sister who has two daughters. I’m extremely close to my mom and sister, but close to my MIL as well. While I think both grandmothers will be involved in our baby’s life, I’m trying to be more mindful about asking my MIL for advice and input so she can feel like she’s part of the experience too! I noticed the same thing with wedding planning- that the mother of the bride gets to take part in so much more than the mother of the groom. Thanks for the reminder that I need to make sure my husband and I include her as much as I know she wants to be!

  53. Becca says...

    I almost wrote a marathon comment about the three different times I loved with my MIL for a few months, but that would really be too long to get into! Anyway long story short, we had bad times, we had good times, and now have a friendly relationship. We now live a few hundred miles away. I think two keys to our good relationship are 1) my husband has a very good relationship with his mother and speaks to her quite often. He “backs up” whomever is being more rational if something comes up between his mom and me, and 2) my MIL is really good at relationships with everyone, so I think she tries very hard to keep things good between us. Living with her, I noticed how she handled relationships with her friends and other children and I saw that she always tried to be the “bigger person,” give the benefit of the doubt, etc.

  54. Nicole says...

    Yeah, I need to bring my own prunes :)
    Nothing worse then closing up shop on a vacation when all you are pretty much doing is going from one fancy meal out to the next, even worse if there is a bikini involved. Last mini vacation I made a list for my bf of all the things I had eaten that were still inside, it was shocking. Sorry for over sharing..

  55. Mary says...

    So the MIL article is interesting. My MIL adores her daughter- constantly babysitting for her, etc- while I feel like we get the left-overs of her energy… she rarely visits or helps watch our kids. Not that it’s about us necessarily, but it makes me feel sad for my children- I hope they never detect the favoritism. My SIL is definitely the favorite child, and it’s drawn a huge wedge in my relationship with my MIL. I see the strong bond that my MIL has with her daughter and I don’t feel anywhere near the same effort towards me. I think there’s often a natural and strong draw to a mother and daughter that can make a daughter-in-law feel excluded, at least in my experience.

  56. Now I’m wondering if my terrific relationship with my paternal grandparents was because my mom actually knew my grandmother before she knew my dad….Grammy set them up! ?

  57. Colleen S says...

    My mom never had a good relationship with my dad’s mom. She (my grandma) was harsh, very critical, and really didn’t enjoy having kids around. This might sound harsh coming from a grandchild, but she said to my dad within earshot of me one Christmas of seeing her in clouds, it was “stupid.” My grandpa, he was great. Loving, attentive, and nice as ever to my mom. I’m fiercely protective of my mom, so anyone treating her like crap immediately loses my favor. By the time my grandma died in 2002, I felt nothing. Maybe it was because my grandpa had died fifteen months earlier, but it made me leery that mother-in-laws could be nice to their sons’ wives.

  58. Maiz says...

    An Armenian friend of mine who is a single mom once told me mournfully that she didn’t want a husband, just a mother-in-law. I laughed and told her that idea was so UN-American! Apparently, in some other cultures women love getting help from their mother-in-laws. What’s our problem here in the US?!

  59. Anne says...

    Our favorite birthday treat as kids was having a sleepover and making midnight (well late night, but we called it midnight) pizza on the bun. I looked forward to it all year! My mom would also rig a sheet up in the living room and borrow a reel to reel projector from the library and show movies. Man, those were the days.

  60. Omg they used to sell (maybe they still do?) frozen versions of those French bread pizzas in Germany in the 90s (I think they were called Bistro Baguette). They were basically my favourite food. Completely forgot about them! Thanks for the flashback/food inspiration for my weekend :-)

  61. Denise says...

    I thought the year of french bread pizza was 1985, but I’ll give it another round. It’s always delicious!

  62. Sarah Beth says...

    I can’t wait to read that Lena Waithe article! I was lucky to go to a luncheon today with Jacqueline Woodson, who interviewed her and wrote the story. I’m flying home tomorrow from my first solo trip since my daughter was born, and I’m already looking forward to reading that story and snacking on swedish fish on the plane!

    • Katherine says...

      Whoa Sarah Beth, so jealous of your luncheon! She’s such a phenomenal writer. Feathers is one of my favorite books!

  63. Gen says...

    That men in airports guy was two seats away from me in the PDX airport in January. It’s hard to know whether to laugh or puke. Luckily I was flying to beachy vacation land so I got to laugh. ;)

    What is it with these dudes? And why is it in the same vein as “brother-at-family-gathering” behavior?

    On the other hand, these guys are all probably silently cursing my stereotypical lady-type “cheer up my bestie about guy/gal/job/kid/parent/period/lack-of-one-of-the-above” phone calls when I’m in public places!

  64. Marianne says...

    Decided to try the sunscreen your dermatologist recommended. Too bad the sunscreen is ineligible for the cup of jo discount on the Dermstore. :( Hopefully it will work well for my going on 40 years and acne prone skin!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i hope you love it, marianne! it has saved me :)

  65. Erin says...

    There is definitely a maternal grandmother advantage. I have three boys, and when I was pregnant with my third, I hoped he would be a girl….not because I wanted a daughter particularly, but because I wanted to be close with my grandchildren. “Your son is your son ’til he takes a wife. Your daughter is your daughter for the rest of your life.”

    • Kara says...

      I have teenagers and let’s face it, most days I’m glad one of them is not a girl, however, sadly I feel the same on this issue. I have always known this as fact, since I’ve had my own children. My mom and mother-in-law both lived nearby and though I made sure to do my best to ensure “equal access” OF COURSE, I leaned on my mom more and strolled in with kids in tow a l l t h e t i m e. So, is it horrible to hope that a wife wouldn’t have a good relationship with her own mom, or maybe her own mom lives very far away and I live close… ok I know it’s horrible, right.. what’s wrong with me?! … these are serious thoughts that go through my head. Just being real. Now on the saner side I tell myself that I will just work to develop the best possible relationship with a daughter-in-law and hope for the best ( and really, maybe it’s not so bad that I’m not the 24 hour go to..?!)

    • MM says...

      I have two sons, one toddler and one very young baby and since the relationship to my MIL is so complicated* I’ve already worried about my future grandchildren as well. Which is silly given the age of my kids and that I am determined to be sensitive about gender stereotypes bringing them up but the thought of trying for a girl crossed my mind for that reason.
      (* she’s rejected me from day one and still comes up with the craziest things to accuse me- so would I let a crazy person take care of my precious babies? Of course not.)

      Dear Joanna and team: I think that’s a topic many readers at cup of jo would like to discuss. ;-)

  66. sarah says...

    My mil is so difficult. I try to have a positive relationship with her, and she’s nice enough to me. She gives my husband a really hard time, though. She’s dramatic and sulky and constantly demands to know why he likes my family more than her and her husband. He called her a few weeks ago because 2 of his friends died in a span of 2 weeks and she ended up berating him for not calling her enough. It’s exhausting. When we do have kids I’m sure we’ll limit their contact with her and her husband because they are so difficult and negative.

    • E says...

      I’m in a similar position. My MIL is very challenging. There was a quote in this article along the lines of: “if we say anything wrong to our DIL we are walking on eggshells for weeks”. UM, yeah! I’m sick of the judgmental remarks and veiled criticism. First of all, when my mother makes these sorts of remarks to ME, I shut it down immediately, and she apologizes. Second, she would never DREAM of criticizing my husband. Why do my in-laws think it’s okay to do it to me (even after my husband firmly draws boundaries)?

    • sarah says...

      E- Exactly! It’s hard when people say it is a two way street as if we’re somehow contributing to the relationship. I don’t come in to her house and complain or judge. She was a terrible mother to my husband, to the extent that if he wanted to sever contact completely I would understand. He’s been in therapy and we’ve gone together and even the therapist has at various times said he needs to cut contact for a period of time (usually a month) to reset.

      Also she called her sister a twat in front of my then 9 year old nephew, (her grandchild) which of course led to him asking what that was. And that’s only one example of the language she uses around kids. Ugh! I wish I could have the type of MIL I had an even mildly uncomfortable relationship with. Of course in an ideal world it would be a positive happy relationship. I grew up being close to both sets of grandparents and my parents had positive relationships with both sides of the family so I always assumed that was just how it was. At least my husband and my parents get along super well.

  67. Rachel says...

    I LOVE the Muslim article. I feel somewhat similar in the sense that we are raising Jewish kids in a very white and Christian New England town. Sometimes I think we are crazy and should just pack up and leave. But then I think about how we have every right to be here, the reasons why we came and that we shouldn’t feel ashamed of our “otherness.” The struggle is real. Love that mama

  68. Pam says...

    Hi Emma, I have two little boys, ages 2 and 4, and am not planning on more children. There are times when I worry about missing the experiences of buying a daughter her prom dress or going for pedicures. But then I look at my darling boys, the lights of my life, who rejoice when I change my toenail polish, and who have opened me up to a whole world of experiences (demolition derby! ninja spin moves! Legos!). They are SO much more than enough, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Wishing you all the best with your soon-to-be baby boy.

  69. Shana says...

    Laughed so hard at “I’m going to close this deal using business words I’ve heard men yell in airports.” . I am always wondering if there is even someone on the other end of those calls, or if those middle aged white guys just need to feel a little more powerful that day. SO annoying.

  70. Cynthia says...

    I am intensely jealous of people who can utilize core business hours, who can work from home, etc. I have picked the wrong career field haha.

  71. Kate M. says...

    I just started Michelle McNamara’s book “I’ll be Gone in the Dark” and I am both in love with her work and haunted by it. She goes to such great lenghts and explores every minute detail while tracking this killer. Knowing she passed before the killer was caught or her book was finished breaks my heart. She was such a talent. I commend her husband for making sure that the book was finished. If you have an interest in true crime, this is a must read.

  72. Elizabeth says...

    I am blessed to be part of an expansive pyramid village – I have super close relationships with my mom and my mother-in-law (not to mention my dad and step-father-in-law). My husband is a good “kinkeeper” with his own family, and my mother-in-law is a really special person. She can drive me crazy, but after 15 years with my husband, I’d say it’s in much the same way as my own mother does. I’m also very open and straightforward with her – and it may drive me crazy that she calls me “blunt” – but I think it helps that we keep things honest. You only get one life and one family, so if you are blessed in both, it is worth it to keep the bonds strong. And oh, how my children are loved as a result!

  73. H.J.A says...

    The maternal grandparent article was so interesting! My parents live in the same city we do, and my mom has been watching our two kids for at least one day a week since our 8-year-old was born. She’s a retired teacher and SO helpful, thoughtful, fun, and creative. My in-laws live out of town, and while they are kind people, they’ve never made me feel especially loved or known. They rarely ask about my work, what I’m reading, my friends, my ideas about politics or the world, etc. (The worst example of this lack of effort is that my younger brother was diagnosed with metastatic cancer a couple of years ago, and I never even got a call from my MIL after my husband told her; she emailed me a few weeks after my brother’s diagnosis to ask about gifts for the kids and mentioned him as a kind of afterthought. When I mentioned, gently, how hurt I was by this, she got defensive and said she had told my husband that she would help however she could. WHAT?! It was all I could do not to reply, “Well, in case you haven’t noticed, your son and I are entirely different human beings!”) I have such a hard time trusting them or feeling comfortable with my in-laws, but I don’t think it’s because they’re my husband’s parents; I think it’s because they’ve been a hard element of my life for a long time, so I’m hesitant to turn my kiddos over to them for long periods of time. My kids do love them, and we welcome them into our home every couple of months for long weekends or full weeks. SUCH tricky dynamics!

    • Michelle says...

      Just my experience but maybe it will get you to see your situation from a child’s point of view…
      My dad always disliked my mom’s family when we were growing up. They were very different from his family. He was never overt about it- just things like not staying at their house when we went to visit, the difference in the way he referred to them versus his own parents, etc. There was always a slightly negative vibe coming from him. I guess he thought we would never catch on somehow? But as we grew older we kids realized it. And my mom didn’t push for us to visit them more because she knew my dad didn’t like them, which thinking about now as an adult breaks my heart.

      We lived in the same town as my dad’s parents and saw them all of the time, and we loved them-they were amazing grandparents! But I will NEVER forgive my dad for limiting access to my mom’s parents, and for letting his own feelings get in the way of MY potential relationship with them. It is still a source of sadness for me to this day. When I would visit them as a child I always felt loved, and seeing them as an adult makes me mourn not getting the chance to spend more time with them when I was young.

      As a result, I am determined that I will never stand in the way of my own kids’ relationships with any member of their family (except in an extreme situation where their safety was at risk obviously).

      I can relate to the “kind but they don’t make me feel loved” kind of in-laws- mine are a very old-fashioned, proper couple from overseas. I’m sure there are things I could have taken offense to over the years if I had been looking to do so (as I’m sure they could with me). They aren’t openly emotional or loving, and have an extremely reserved relationship with me, but guess what? They are good, good people, and I adore the wonderful son that they raised. Their style with our kids is different than that of my parents, but I would never imply that one is better than the other- both sets of grandparents are truly a gift for my children. Plus, I refuse to be a negative burden in my husband’s life (like my dad was to my mom)- I love him too much.

      I’m sorry if this is coming off as a lecture! I just meant it to be more of a plea- please please please don’t let your relationship with your in-laws spoil your kids chances of having their own relationship with them. If your husband is happy to turn “his kiddos” (they are his too) over to them for periods of time and wants to do so, support that with grace. Your children will thank you :)

    • Laura C. says...

      SAME, omg same here. My il and I are completely different (maybe because we come from different countries), but they are two very sexist persons and I am not good enough for their little boy. Sure they live in another country, so it’s true that my girls are closer to my mom.
      Carry on, sister. You married him, not them!

  74. Emma says...

    I picked up a copy of “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” when the author’s husband, comedian Patton Oswalt visited my city on a book tour in honor of his late wife. It is so clear the respect he had for her work, comparing her investigative journalism into the crimes to Batman.

    I devoured it in just a few sittings and I highly recommend it to any lover of the true crime genre. She dives into details of the Golden State Killer’s horrific crimes with utmost respect and humanity for the law enforcement, murder victims, and rape survivors.

    While the book is thrilling, I would hesitate to call it a thriller, because McNamara weaves her own biography, and obsession with the case, into the true crime reporting.

    Thanks & SSDGM

    • MandyH says...

      Hey there Murderino! ❤️

    • Kate says...

      SSDGM to you too!

  75. sandy says...

    Too funny, I live in the village where the “Walkie Talkie’s” do! They are infamous and their laughter and exuberance are contagious. As far as describing our neck of the woods as a tundra…you have to embrace it and go with the ebb and flow of our extra long winter. But, as most of us know that live there, summers and fall make up for it beyond our wildest dreams. I won’t divulge our location-apparently Time magazine named us one of the top 5 places to visit this summer-gah!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg that’s amazing, sandy!!!

    • Maureen says...

      The Walkie Talkies! So much to love!

      My grandma regularly goes to the movies with a group of women called the Flick Chicks. We always give her a movie theater gift card for Christmas and she gives me her latest reviews and recommendations every time we chat.

  76. Matilda says...

    As a mother of three boys, I often worry about being the paternal grandma. Growing up, both my husband and I were much closer with our maternal grandparents than our paternal ones. Unfortunately we don’t live near my parents nor my husband’s dad (his mom passed away two years ago), but we facetime with my parents every day and his dad several times a week. We are planning on having another child and we’ll be thrilled if it’s a boy or a girl. I guess I’ll just have to be the most awesome grandma ever.

    I recently read an article about funny things people remember about their grandparents. It made me feel so bad that my boys don’t live near any of their grandparents. I worry that they won’t know my parents well enough to know their idiosyncrasies or have silly stories about them. Last summer, we tried to move back to where our families are and it just wouldn’t work financially. Despite being very close to my parents, they only come and visit maybe twice a year. Anyway, I’ve just been thinking about this a lot lately, so the article hit home for me.

    • Matilda says...

      That saying floats around in my head a lot “A son is a son until he finds a wife. A daughter is a daughter for the rest of your life.”

    • I didn’t grow up near my grandparents but still have lots of memories with them! Fewer with my paternal grandmother than I’d like, because she passed when I was seven (but we were penpals for a bit and wrote each other letters that I still have!). She also left us a lot of written family history and things, so I deeply feel our relationship even if I wish I had gotten to know her better.

      Same deal as your kids have, I only saw any of my grandparents 2-3 times a year!

    • Laura C. says...

      Matilda, my mil is still dealing with my husband as if he is a teenager, buying him clothes, underwear, she cooks when she comes here, and my girls like to be with her. My mom and I instead have a strained relationship and lacking of love. Don’t suffer too much dear.

    • Amy says...

      We live closer to my parents (the maternal grandparents, 45 min) than my husband’s parents (7 hrs). However, my kids have great relationships with both. The relationships are different – more casual and less “special” with the maternal grandparents because of frequency, but when we visit for a few days with the paternal grandparents (we go there or they come here for a total of 4x/yr), it’s more of an immersive, special experience. As a result they’re very close with both sets. I think it helps greatly that both sets are young-ish; the maternal grandparents include the grandkids in their work on the dairy farm, and the paternal grandparents delve into their world of play and reading and invest a lot of time when they do see them. Not to say that older grandparents can’t have a special, close connection, but from what I’ve seen of other families, the older grandparents struggle to connect with the grandkids particularly if they haven’t kept up with the rapidly-changing world (I don’t fault them for this! I feel overwhelmed imagining how much I’ll need to adapt to as the world continues to change over the next 50 years). I’d say that our parents’ willingness to focus on their grandkids’ interests and put time into them, their ability to allow to us parent without too much input (they don’t generally offer advice unasked, which means we happily ask them for advice), and their support and love and encouragement of us as parents keeps the connection between grandparents/kids/grandkids healthy and strong.

  77. Cici says...

    OMG, the picture looks like chunks of chocolate encased in small bits of dough. And then melted. TOO enticing…

  78. Alice says...

    I LOVE core hours. I had them in a job about five years ago- everyone had to be working 10-12 and 2-4 but outside of that, you could do whatever worked. It. Was. BRILLIANT. I was a real early bird so was in the office before 8 and skipped off at 4, while others in my team did 10-6:30, etc. It made us all so much more productive!!!

  79. Sian says...

    I must admit having had a baby boy has made me more aware of including my MiL in his life.. hope my future DiL (if there is one) does the same for me. It does help that she is very sweet and careful not to tread on my toes, and minding him for us one day a week.

    I did want my mum around more in the first few weeks but I guess that’s natural when I was half naked most of the time!!

    I did find myself only sending my mum cute photos of the baby then I realised that my husband doesn’t always forward photos to his mum – so I cut out the middle man and include both of them on the messages. Made total sense once I realised.

    • ALI says...

      That’s so sweet Sian – but I wonder is it not so much the MIL issue than it is that sons need to learn to be better at maintaining relationships?

      I have noticed that with my husband and his sister, he has barely ever organised catching up with his parents while his sister always ensures that too much time doesn’t pass between visits.

      While I like my MIL, I definitely wouldn’t pro-actively be arranging to see her when her own son doesn’t bother! Whereas same as his sister, I miss my momma and make sure I see her when I do!

  80. Dominique says...

    Re Maternal Grandparent Advantage: I have so much to say related to this. I am much more likely to call my MIL about parenting issues than my own mom. My own mom is dismissive and judgmental, in general, and about parenting things even more so. And I am super sensitive to it. My parents had six kids and I know my mom wants to talk to me more about parenting but I stopped having conversations about it with her when our first was about 1-years-old, because I always felt worse after trying to talk to her. I would ask for advice or be looking for empathy and get a lot of “just do X, no big deal” and “you shouldn’t feel that way about that thing”. When I talk to my MIL, I get much more “i remember that, and it is really hard” and “maybe you could try X or Y?”.

    • B. says...

      Yes! I totally get that. My mom had 4 kids, sleep-trained at 4 months, and weaned by 9 months. I had just one and nursed on demand through the night until 2.5. My mom was constantly telling me (at 6 months!) not to let the baby “manipulate me” etc. Now we are expecting spontaneous triplets and my mom’s reaction is “Haha, now you’ll have to listen to me!” which makes me feel sick because I really WANT to take equally good care of the new ones as my first. So glad we live near MIL and not her…

    • Dominique says...

      It will be different, but you will take great care of the new little ones. Glad you have good support with your MIL. There are some things that were so much easier with the second one, like not being so worried about small things, and some things that were harder, like having less energy/time for them specifically. You’ll adjust and it will all work out. Congratulations on triplets!!!

  81. Doug says...

    I’m an unapologetic Christian woman who has three strong daughters. Women of all faiths be united.

  82. Caitlin says...

    Thank you thank you for noting that NYT article as an NYT article! Really appreciate it and love being a pat of the CoJ community

    • Rachel says...

      Agreed! very appreciated because just clicking on it takes away one of my free articles for the month

    • Amy Hammond says...

      Agree, agree, agree! Now if only the Skimm would follow suit!

  83. Veronica says...

    Reading “The Maternal Grandparent Advantage” was a bit of a downer. I am expecting my first child, and I fear that my child will be closer to my parents merely because of proximity and my mother’s bullishness. My husband and I live in Texas, as do my parents, and my husband’s family is in Michigan. I love my in-laws, and I generally get along better with my mother-in-law than I do with my own mother. I hope to be able to cultivate opportunities for my in-laws to spend time with my child (I am starting by having my mother-in-law stay with us when the baby is born), but I realize it may be difficult. Short of spending a lot of money and vacation days on flights every year, I am at a loss for how to maintain closeness with them. Also, my mother is the type of person to try to dictate schedules and claim holidays as “hers.” I think sometimes daughters are more easy to guilt than sons; I am much more likely to cave to my mother’s complaints than my husband would be to cave to his mother’s (not that she attempts to guilt us). Hopefully, just making a conscious effort to include my in-laws will be enough to keep from giving my family the “advantage.”

    • Amy says...

      One thing that I think has helped us be inclusive of long distance relatives is using a photo/video sharing app. I share moments with our baby a few times a week, and it seems to mean a lot to the grandparents. We use Tinybeans.

  84. Jenn says...

    this is something that has been bugging me for the past couple years. i clicked over to the ‘airport business words’ article, hoping for a little laugh..apparently people don’t proofread these days, because the very first sentence used ‘gentleman’ instead of ‘gentlemen’, and it kinda ruined it. now that this is off my chest..happy friday, everyone <3

  85. Dawn says...

    On French Bread Pizza – when I was a kid, we made pizzas on English muffins and called them “Little Pizzas.” It was a BIG treat to have Little Pizzas for dinner and every child got an English muffin – 2 halves – to make the kind of pizza they wanted – my Mom would have a variety of kid friendly toppings. It’s a fun memory.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Your memory is going to be turned into an easy no-plan dinner that my kids will think is super special very soon. Thanks for sharing!

  86. Carrie says...

    Oooh I also want to know if anyone has read that thriller, I’m so intrigued! Wish I had heard about it sooner, sounds like a perfect book to read tonight with my Friday glass (or two) of wine.

    • Lily says...

      I read & loved it!

  87. Rebecca says...

    I love Amanda’s mom and her friends – so awesome! Unrelated: I know you recently recommended a sunscreen/moisturizer (that your dermatologist recommended to you), and I think it was available on dermstore. I’d love to take advantage of the discount but I can’t seem to find the post – can you help? Thanks!

  88. Tanya says...

    Ummm how can you post that cookie image without a recipe? I need to know how to make those!

    • Amber says...

      I thought that too! :) Then realized that if you click on the word “cookies” at the very bottom of the post, it links to the recipe. :) Voila!

    • Elizabeth says...

      The link is in the photo credit.

    • Cynthia says...

      Seriously. They look so good! I was hoping for the recipe as well.

  89. Emma says...

    Joanna, I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the maternal grandparent article!
    Do you ever mourn the fact you won’t have a daughter? I’m currently pregnant with my first, a son, and reading these types of articles stresses me out a bit about potentially never having a girl.

    • Julie says...

      you get what you get. I wanted/wished for only sons, and that’s what I got! I knew I’d be a better mother to boys, than girls (given how I was with my mom) and now, with a 28 yr old married son, no kids, and a 25 yr old son w/ a girlfriend, no kids, I have experienced this very same issue, with the married sons wife. It was evident from day 1 of their marriage. I have no doubt it will continue once/if they have kids. I am considering it a given…and I’m ok with that. You will know what you’re made of when you experience this. It is hard at first (how a daughter in law treats you) but you get used to it.

    • Wendy says...

      Perhaps a mother of a son must work extra hard at befriending his girlfriends and later wife in order to end up with close grandparenting privileges? I regret not trying harder, sooner. While I’m not super close to either of my daughters-in-law, I do find one of them is much more open to babysitting offers, etc., and always has been, so some of it is just personality, I think.

    • Sarah Beth says...

      I’m the mom of a daughter (and a daughter, obviously), but my husband’s parents are a huge part of our “village.” My in-laws are so wonderful and have the best relationship with my daughter. They take care of her two days a week while I work, attend tot shabbat at our temple with us, and take her on great adventures (recently to a “choo choo restaurant” where the food is delivered on little trains!) There are so many kinds of wonderful grandparent relationships. I obviously don’t know how it will play out when my own daughter is grown and her relationships with her in-laws and with me. but at least in my own personal experience as a daughter-in-law it can be lovely and great.

    • Lady T says...

      My mother had two girls and neither of us have babies. One of us wanted it and couldn’t and one could (probably) and didn’t want it. Even if you have girls there’s no guarantee they’ll have babies or that they’ll live nearby etc. I think the best bet is to invest in your son the way you would a daughter. For the record; my mum is very close to my brothers’ children (her only grandchildren), mostly because she’s an extremely respectful mother-in-law to their mother. In the end, it worked out SO differently to what she had planned but it’s working. And that’s all that matters.

    • Sarah says...

      Lady T – that is encouraging to hear about your mum and your brother’s children… That being respectful makes a difference. I often worry if my son (and any possible future kids of his, if any) will remain close to me. But after reading these replies and how a daughter’s mother could be not close if they are difficult and a son’s mother could be close if not difficult I realize it can (hopefully) be more a result of how the future grandmother/mother in law acts, which is in one’s control and able to be changed, unlike whether one has a son or daughter. Thanks for the encouragement!

  90. Nina says...

    so….what is the recipe for those cookies?

  91. Wow, seeing my comment featured totally made my day! hahaha (P.S. Trader Joe’s sells prunes in a resealable bag and they are the best.)

    • C says...

      I got some yesterday, just because I like them in oatmeal. They are so good! Poor prunes for getting such a bad rap.

    • Cambria says...

      YES. I second the fact that TJ’s prunes are extra great. I don’t know why, but they are.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha, hi steph! :)

    • Charli says...

      I LOVE prunes and have gotten a funny reputation with my friends because of this. The TJ’s prunes are great. I always have to tell folks – “they’re just dried plums!”

  92. M says...

    I’ll be at the NYC march too! It’s not ok that so many families are hurting. I’m scared to bring up my kids in this country because of all these awful school shootings. Xoxo.

    • Sarah says...

      I’m scared too! So horrible. Will be marching in LA!

  93. Christine Baerg says...

    Re maternal grandparent advantage – I’m so fortunate to have great relationships with my 2 daughters-in-law. We respect and ask advice from each other plus I look after my grandchildren twice a week. They give the best gifts at Christmas, mother’s day and for my birthday. I’m truly blessed.

    • Matilda says...

      I’m so relieved to hear this. I had a great relationship with my mother-in-law, but you always hear such bad stories about mothers-in-law that it worries me for when my three (currently very young) boys get married. I guess it just depends on the personalities of all involved.

  94. Maria says...

    I can’t believe you shared a link to a cake recipe from the bar I have been having breakfast for years! YES to that Olive oil cake and YES to Towpath!
    The world is such a small place….

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a small world!!

    • I just baked this cake! Texture and appearance are lovely, but my cakes tastes strongly like olive oil! Is it supposed to taste like that? Am asking her on her blog too. Used Extra Virgin olive oil. Wish I had used vegetable oil!