By Laura Mandel
Ruth Nemzoff is clearly a smart lady; even if you’ve never met her, you can tell in her writing that she’s a loving mom and a fun bubbie, who knows more than just how to give advice. It is even clearer in her new book Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-laws into Family, that Nemzoff gets people, relationships, and how we operate as human beings in a genuine way.
No matter how big or petty the issues, as human beings we all find something to complain about, especially when it comes to in-laws — people who are added to our lives that we are expected to treat as family, despite their distance and differences. In her follow up to Don’t Bite Your Tongue, Nemzoff addresses the issues of joining two families and reminds us that something we might think is solely our problem, oftentimes, is a more universal issue in relationships and families. Her analytical and insightful way of discussing each situation draws out larger issues in relationships that many of us are quick to overlook. As I read, I found myself texting my sister-in-law about issues she’d pointed out with her mother-in-law and similarities to issues that have come up with my-mother-in-law. At the end of the day it’s not a malicious thing when in-laws do things differently than we might, it’s simply how they operate, and it never hurts to be reminded that my mother-in-law did indeed raise my husband!
The litmus test of this book, to me, was that I was eager to send the book off to my sister-in-law as soon as I finished it. We share many common in-law issues, and hers are only exacerbated by the addition of two small children. Don’t Roll Your Eyes covers dating to engagement to marriage to children, so it’s relevant at every stage. The key is: as adults there are many things we may not see eye to eye on even with our own parents, and it only becomes more complicated when “new family” and the next generation are involved.
Don’t Roll Your Eyes reminds us that it’s never easy to get on the same page with others when it comes to living our own daily lives. Nemzoff reminds us that just because your mother-in-law raised your husband doesn’t mean they agree on who the next president should be, the best way to do laundry, or what is healthy to feed a two-year-old. In-law relationships are about understanding ourselves, patience, and appreciation. Whether you’ve been married for years, or heading to the chuppah, I highly recommend checking out Don’t Roll Your Eyes for a dose of self awareness and family appreciation.
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