Todays Moms’s Blog

  • 07:37:16 am on December 4, 2009 | 0
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    Is It Still A Girl’s Trip If It’s Just You & Your Mother-In-Law?

    By Alicia Ybarbo

    “Adam and Eve were the happiest, and the luckiest, couple in the world, because neither of them had a mother-in-law.”


    The jokes about mothers-in-law are limitless, yet they didn’t deter me from traveling with my MIL to Israel.  No husbands, no children … just the two of us.  She was invited to a Bat Mitzvah in the holiest of places, Jerusalem, and her husband, daughter and son (my husband) were each unavailable to travel with her.  So I suggested we make it a girl’s trip.

    Edith and Alicia outside Jaffa Gate entrance to Old City, Jerusalem

    “Edie, I’ll go with you,” I said, and before I could think twice about my decision we were booking flights and hotel reservations.

    The more friends I talked to about my travel plans the more questions I received about my choice in travel partner.  Why was it such an issue that I was traveling with my MIL?  Had the negative stereotypes of MILs now become society’s definition of them?

    My colleagues and I had a several discussions about whether it was kosher to travel with the MIL.  They all found humor at the thought, but unanimously said, “Go for it!  You’ll never get an experience like this again.”  And to be fair, my mother-in-law, Edith, shared with me how her friends were saying what an unlikely combination it was for us to be traveling together, too.

    What I ended up getting from a week alone with my mother-in-law was a mixture of fun, unique, priceless memories.  Would I travel with her again?  You betcha, but there are a few things I learned along the way that I will take with me:

    Airports & MIL’s Don’t Mix: Although airports will put a crimp in anyone’s style, try to find a way to bring yourself back to zen before you’re lugging bags, misplacing boarding passes and eating bad airplane food.  A so-so relationship with you MIL will only compound negative situations like these.

    Hip Hotels Are For Hip People:  In Jerusalem we checked into a brand new hotel called the Mamilla.  Beautiful.  Modern.  Sexy.  We loved our stay, but were surprised when the wall between our bedroom and bathroom was a clear sheet of glass!  It’s an awesome design element if you’re traveling with your husband (not the mother of your husband).  Luckily, the wall turned opaque at the flip of a switch.  Potential awkward moments diverted!

    Age Difference Is A Good Thing: Traveling ultimately boils down to the fundamentals of delicious food, great sights, good conversation and interesting people.  Since both of us like to eat and talk we didn’t have a problem.  And with forty years separating us in age, we were able to see things though a broad spectrum.  Where husbands might not want to spend the time we did on the sites, we were both equally interested in the history, culture and scenery of Israel.  I encouraged her to float in the Dead Sea and smear mud all over her body… and she helped me understand more of the Jewish religion at her family’s Bat Mitzvah.

    Find The Humorous Side of The Story: On our tours of the Old City, the guides would say, “Where did the mother and daughter-in-law go?”  People started to recognize us for being “that pair”… We laughed every time we saw a confused expression on the people who were told about our travel arrangement.  Even airline security at the El Al counter took a little more time to check us through because of the unlikely traveling duo they saw before them.  It became funnier by the minute.

    Break Bread At The End Of Day: It didn’t matter if we spent the day apart from each other or together, had a good day or difficult one, we made sure to enjoy a nice meal – and a little wine – at the end of each day.  Dinner was the most relaxing, celebrated part of the day.

    It’s certainly not a travel plan for everyone, but for us it was an excellent adventure.


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