Today is the birthday of my mother-in-law, Judy. Though she’s not one for publicly celebrating it, I thought it was about time I pay her tribute here.
So many new parents I know struggle with their in-laws or their own parents having differing parenting styles to them and all of the unsolicited advice that goes along with that. I, on the other hand, basically hit the jackpot.
My MIL was a member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association back when it was just a small group called Nursing Mothers. She gifted me with an ABA membership when Lu was born and now I recommend them to everyone. She helped me with lots of reassurance when I was learning to breastfeed and was feeling pressured to pump and struggling with an overactive letdown, and she always assured me that yes, my baby was getting enough!
This was such a big asset in those early days. Judy was probably the only visitor we ever had who didn’t hand Lu back to me straight-away when she cried, but instead would either settle her or just give me a break from a screaming baby.
She was also a babywearer before it was cool. One day recently she brought over her cloth mei tai from back in the day. These days though, she takes Lu out in the Manduca when she comes by to visit, much to the envy of some of my babywearing friends.
She was also a cloth nappier, co-sleeper and essentially an attachment parent before there was a term. In fact, Jim was quite skeptical of co-sleeping until he learned he’d slept alongside mum as a baby (and now he can’t imagine it any other way!)
In addition to being an amazing support for me and Jim, Judy is just an all-around awesome person. She’s a vegetarian which means we get to celebrate many special occasions at Green Gourmet. She and Jim’s Dad, Bob have two dogs they’ve adopted from Monika’s Doggie Rescue. And though she works full-time doing shift work (as a nurse in a women’s prison, no less!) she finds time to volunteer.
The last two years she’s spent a month overseas working with Japan Cat Network. She continues to sponsor animals year-round.
And of course, she raised Luella’s Dad (and Auntie and Uncle) into a pretty awesome, compassionate, intelligent adult. Perhaps most importantly I’m proud to have her in my life as a role model for my daughter. Luella couldn’t be luckier to have such a strong, generous, caring, independent and spirited Nanna.