In Praise of My Mother-in-Law

By Lesley Iwinski

There may not be many women who can say this, but I can with unrestrained conviction: My mother-in-law is a treasure… and she lives with our family!

Alice Iwinski was married to her husband Henry for 31 years. She is mother-in-law to the spouses of her 10 children, grandmother of 33 and great-grandmother of 10.

When Henry passed away suddenly in 1981, she moved in with her oldest daughter Judy and her son-in-law Jim, and helped them raise their children Mark, Kaylea and Abby.

When Judy died in 2011 from cancer, Alice was worried about where she would live. The story goes that everyone wanted her to live with them, and we won.

She is respected and loved by many, known as “Grandma” to her grandchildren’s friends and their spouses, too.

Time spent with her – she is in her 89th year – is always precious.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I asked for her  recipe for being a wonderful mother-in-law.

• Love your son- or daughter-in-law as much as you love your child. After all, your child loves that person.

• Be grateful for everything. Take nothing for granted.

• Support your children and their families when issues arise.

• Pray for every member of your family every day.

• Stay quiet. Don’t butt in and don’t take sides. Let spouses sort out their own issues

I’ve noticed at home and when we go to visit family, she takes a day or so to observe the lay of the land.

When she notices places she can be helpful, she quietly slides in and helps out.

Her primary domain is the kitchen, and if you aren’t on top of the laundry she will swoop in and sprinkle her magic there, earning her the nickname of “Folder Fairy.”

Alice helps keep Hallmark in business, sending birthday and holiday greetings to her children, their spouses, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This is another way that she communicates her love to each of us.

She also laughs a lot.

She and I are a team. We help one another. We respect each other.

Our common faith is a bond within which everything fits. I am trying to be a good student, so that when I become a mother-in-law, I will be the blessing to others that she has been to me.



    Lesley Iwinski is a Lexington mother of three grown children, a family physician and Executive Director of The Parent and Family Enrichment Center, Inc. and Growing Peaceful Families.

   She offers classes, workshops and seminars. Info:  (859) 333-3053 or