Mother-In-Law Vs. Daughter-In-Law

by Alli

Why does mother-in-law vs. daughter-in-law even exist? 

I’m going to preface this entire post by stating right up front that I love my mother-in-law! She was the nicest, sweetest lady and never forgot any of our birthdays!  

She recently passed away, but we got along great. Of course, we live in different states . . . (That last statement is true, but I said it jokingly). Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. It’s about to get hot in here!

Mother-In-Law Vs. Daughter-In-Law – What’s the problem?

I subscribe to an interesting newsletter that has quite a few topics about mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Judging by all the comments those articles receive, it must be a pretty hot topic!

I also do my fair share of counseling with women who are having problems with their mother-in-law or vice versa.  

So I’m tiptoeing into the topic with much love and respect for all women!

And I do hope that you and your mother-in-law get along swimmingly!  But, if not, it’s never too late to change!

Remember this ditty?

“A daughter is a daughter all of her life.  A son is a son till he takes a wife.”

Who came up with that crap? With sayings like this, no wonder so many mothers-in-law resent their daughters-in-law from the get-go! Does it have to be that way?  Absolutely not!

Some mothers think that no one is good enough to marry their son!  And they are always on the lookout for flaws in the new wife.  

Lighten up, mom, and remember that the new wife is not taking your place as his mother. It’s a whole different kind of love, honey! And snip those apron strings while you’re at it! Now, that wasn’t too painful, was it?

Some daughters-in-law are so possessive that they want all of their husband’s attention!  Or they think their MIL is too bossy, too nosy, too everything! Maybe, they are insecure and a little jealous of their husband’s mom. Or maybe they are a little intimidated.

Why do some mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law resent each other?  There are a number of reasons!  You’re not in competition, girls!

Hot Topic:  Mother-In-Law Vs. Daughter-In-Law

Below are some great tips on how to end the mother-in-law vs. daughter-in-law war once and for all! But, they won’t work unless you use them. 

Mother-In-Law Vs. Daughter-In-Law

Tips To End The Mother-In-Law Vs. Daughter-In-law Struggle

1.  Butt out!

Don’t be so quick to give your opinions on everything your daughter-in-law does or doesn’t do. Don’t you remember the excitement and apprehension of those early days of marriage, pregnancy, and rearing children?  

Did you want your MIL telling you what to do and how to do it?  No, you didn’t.

Don’t be so nosy! Your son is a grown man! I’m sure he and his wife can figure it all out. 

f they ask for your help in any area, be there for them but don’t come across as a know-it-all.

Ask yourself the question, “Am I too critical?”  And be completely honest with the answer!

2.  Take Off the Rose-Colored Glasses

We tend to remember our child-rearing years with rose-colored glasses.

According to my 80-something-year-old dad, my siblings and I were perfect. My memory of my teen years differ drastically from his memories, but what happened in Rochelle, GA stays in Rochelle, GA!  🙂

Sometimes, in our memories, we think back on ourselves as being the perfect mom with the spotlessly cleaned house and the most well-behaved children!  

Snap back to reality, oops there goes gravity!  (FYI:  I’m rapping now)  We were not June Cleaver!  

And don’t begin every statement with, “When I was rearing my children . . . ”  Just stop, your halo is leaning just a tad! 🙂

For example:  Back in the day when my kids were little, the rules were totally different than they are today. According to the pediatricians of the day, babies should be off the bottle/breast (I was in the minority when I breastfed in those days) before their first birthday. And I made sure all of my kids were weaned by then.

Also, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, babies were to be completely potty trained by the time they were two years old. A child in a diaper past the age of two clearly placed you in the category of an unfit, lazy, trashy mom.  Well, maybe not trashy.  🙂

After my first grandchild was born and I accompanied my daughter to one of his well-baby checkups and heard his pediatrician say to not even think about potty training until he turned 2-1/2, I crossed myself, said three Hail Mary’s, wanted to rap his knuckles and wash his mouth out with soap and I’m not even Catholic.

Times, they are a-changing!

Just because our pediatricians recommended something to us, doesn’t mean it’s what’s in vogue today! Babies slept on their tummies back then too. Just sayin’

3.  Remember, their children are not your children!

Their children are your grandchildren! You get the fun part! You’re not in competition! Remember, it’s not a mother-in-law vs. daughter-in-law thing! 

Spoil them (a little), love them (a lot), play with them, buy them cute outfits and books and puzzles and toys. When you get tired, send them home!

Unless there are signs of abuse (that’s a whole different, very serious subject. All abuse should be reported), don’t tell your DIL how to rear her children, keep her house or cook her meals. Trust me, she will learn as she goes. Don’t be so judgmental! Be helpful, but not pushy!

4.  Be welcoming and loving!

Love goes a long way in bridging the gap between MIL and DIL! Clearly, your DIL must be a very special girl! She captured the heart of your son, didn’t she?

When she’s visiting, make sure she always feels welcome and considered an insider, not an outsider. When the MIL begins to look at her DIL as part of the family, jealousy and hostility will melt away!

But, remember, she (probably) has a mother! She doesn’t need another one! But that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer support and encouragement and be there for your DIL. Invite her to go shopping, out to lunch, etc. every once in a while.

Don’t make snide comments about the names they’ve chosen for their baby. Or schooling. Or money.

These things are not your concern (unless abuse is involved, then it’s very much your concern, but a baby name you don’t happen to care for does not fit in the category of abuse).

5.  Call Before You Drop By

This tip alone could end the mother-in-law vs. daughter-in-law fight of the century. 

It’s just good manners! No one wants company dropping by any time of the day or night. And that tends to be the number one thing that daughters-in-law don’t like. Don’t take it personally.

If You’re a Hard-to-get-Along-With Daughter-In-Law

1.  Don’t take advantage of your MIL

I’ve heard mothers-in-law complain that the only time they are allowed to see their grandchildren is when they are asked to babysit. That’s just plain wrong!  

Include your in-laws more often. Have them over for dinner. Spend time with them besides just dropping off and picking up the kids.

2.  Relax with all the rules and regulations.

When your MIL is babysitting, don’t be so bossy and try to tell her how to babysit. Remember, she gave birth to and reared your husband. She must have done a pretty good job. You married him.

My grandkids know that I always have ice cream in the freezer just for them! And breakfast is always sausage, gravy, and biscuits because that’s what they request. Going to grandma’s should be a little different from being at home.

When my grandsons stay overnight or are at my house for dinner, I always ask what they want to eat.  Last time they wanted us to grill rib-eye steaks and mac and cheese. They’ve got sophisticated little palates! So, grilled steak it was! 🙂

3.  Children need a relationship with their grandmother.

It’s common knowledge that most women spend more time with their mom than their mother-in-law. That’s normal and to be expected. But make sure your children get equal visitation with both sets of grandparents.

Fortunately, my grandchildren’s other grandparents attend the same church and live about 5 miles from us. And they love their/our grandchildren as much as we do.

My daughter and son-in-law take turns having lunch with us and the other set of grandparents each Sunday.  Sometimes special occasions such as Easter, Mother’s Day, etc. fall on the other grandparents’ turn. That’s only fair.  And we completely understand.

4.  Let your husband deal with his mother!

If a problem arises or your mother-in-law has seriously overstepped her boundaries, let your husband deal with it.  There will probably be hurt feelings and I guarantee you that your MIL will forgive her son much quicker than she will forgive you.

Above all, put on your big girl panties and act like an adult. Most often, all parties involved have the best interest of the family unit at heart.  

Life’s too short to be mean-spirited! Remember, it takes two to tango! You always reap what you sow!

It’s your turn!  How’s your relationship with your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law? Do you have anything to add to this list?

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Tiffany June 16, 2014 - 7:38 am

I have little to no relationsihp with my Mother In Law but I always wish things could be diffrent. These are definitely some great tips for making that possible.

Cindy Eikenberg June 16, 2014 - 7:58 am

Alli, I love this post. I was a very lucky lady that had a fabulous and wonderful mother-in-law, and losing her several years ago was very difficult. They were always a few rough spots, as in any relationship, but overall I considered myself to be very fortunate! Now that I AM a mother-in-law, I am finding it a tougher challenge. My son and DIL live across the country, so it makes forging a strong bond harder. I make every effort to not be one of THOSE MIL’s :). At the end of the day, I think we need to remember if our child is happy and loved, that’s what really matters. I’ll have to revisit this post once they have children! 🙂 Thanks for sharing and have a great Monday!

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:46 am

Cindy, as I stated, I have a great MIL, too! Her health is beginning to fail and it’s so sad to watch. I’ve heard horror stories of relationships between MIL and DIL and I”m always saddened. You are so right, at the end of the day, if our child is happy and loved, that’s all that matters.

Ricci June 16, 2014 - 9:01 am

I don’t have a mother-in-law but I think some of those tips could refer to everyday life…don’t butt in, call before you drop in, etc. Great read and I will definitely keep it in mind when I do have a MIL one day 🙂

Alli June 16, 2014 - 9:03 am

Exactly! These points can refer to everyday life! 🙂

Carmody June 16, 2014 - 9:24 am

Great post! I like the “take off your rose colored glasses” part. I have a “friend” that has a MIL that loves to to describe her fantastic/ no fault/ perfect child rearing.

Alli June 16, 2014 - 10:39 am

All of my kids are grown and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t do everything perfectly, but my kids survived. 🙂 At the time I only have sons-in-law, but if my two sons ever get married, I’m going to be the best MIL I can be!

Becka June 16, 2014 - 9:31 am

I’m not going to say too much about this topic out of fear of repercussions…..although I wish I could copy it and send it to someone but it would just bite me in the butt in the end…. 🙂 I will say that the hard to get along with people won’t think this applies to them because they don’t realize they are the hard to get along with people.

Alli June 16, 2014 - 10:31 am

I knew this was going to be a hot topic! We usually judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. 🙂

Paris (My Big Fat Happy Life) June 16, 2014 - 9:54 am

Great post! I do not have a relationship with my MIL, but she lives on the other side of the country and I only see her usually once a year.

Louida June 16, 2014 - 10:14 am

My mother-in- law is ok. She got on my nerves when my daughters were born because she thought she was a know-it-all and kept telling me what to do with my babies. Although she can be annoying at times, I love the fact that she is helpful at watching the kids for me when I need a bit of a break.

Alli June 16, 2014 - 10:43 am

Because older women have been through it all before, I think they think that they are being helpful, but it sometimes comes across as being a know-it-all. My MIL used to ask me if I was feeding my baby enough because she wasn’t fat as a pig and didn’t look like the Michelin baby. I knew she didn’t mean a thing by it, so I just smiled and said, “According to her Pediatrician, she’s at her perfect weight and height.” Seems I started lots of sentences with “According . . . ” 🙂

Louida June 16, 2014 - 10:46 am

OMG yes Alli I had the same problem as well!!! Darn MIL!!!! LOL!

Alli June 16, 2014 - 11:07 am

Gotta love um! 🙂

kita June 16, 2014 - 10:36 am

I don’t get along with my MIL at all so I have given up trying to be nice and I instead let my husband deal with his own mother. Great tips because sometimes mothers just don’t want to let go.

Shirley Wood June 16, 2014 - 10:37 am

Yes, this is a hot topic! Oh the stories I could tell! The perspective does change when one becomes a MIL. Both of my children are girls so I don’t have a daughter-in-law. Both of my sons-in-law are great. I think we have wonderful relationships!
In law problems are infamous for involving MIL vs DIL but, there is that Father-in-law thing which can actually make the whole situation much worse.
It would be nice to have a good relationship with in-laws. I have heard about people who do.

Logan Cantrell June 16, 2014 - 10:42 am

Great post, Alli! I get along okay with my MIL, but my Brother-in-law is another story. HAHA…Could you write a post on that? Just Kidding. I’m sure things would be different if he and my husband hadn’t always had issues. In-laws are tough. Combining two families who are completely different is hard.

Alli June 16, 2014 - 10:48 am

Combining two families can be difficult! I remember when my oldest daughter married a northerner from NY and I dearly love him, but he had to learn all of our southernisms. I felt sorry for him at first!

Christine June 16, 2014 - 1:17 pm

Love this topic! I am really blessed to have a great relationship with my MIL. She has, at times, overstepped herself, but I know she means it out of love and I try to just remain calm and remember that. I really try to have a great relationship with my MIL and learn from her.

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:38 pm

Christine, you really have a great outlook on things! BTW, I ordered the Pineapple Mint lip balm package today. So glad you shared them with your readers! Love your blog!

Christine June 17, 2014 - 7:28 pm

So glad that you placed an order!! I think you are going to love it!! Let me know how you like it!

aimee fauci June 16, 2014 - 1:31 pm

I do not have any DIL’s yet! My boys did have ‘serious’ girlfriends while in college and ‘us girls’ became close and even though my boys are no longer w them.. I am still there for these girls in helping to guide them. I have a new SIL… that is interesting. My MIL.. oh let’s just say…….. I never turn my back for the fear of the knife going in too deep.

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:37 pm

You know, I’m still friends with several of my son’s girlfriends from college! I jokingly called them the “flavor of the week.” I try not to get really close to them because I begin to like them a lot and then they are history. I still exchange Christmas cards with one of his former girlfriends.

Anna @ Northern Homestead June 16, 2014 - 1:34 pm

I am very thankful for my MIL. She is special and I love her! But, I still do not have a super close relationship with her, mainly because she never asks it from me. She just leaves me alone, simple to be the wife of her son, and I soooo appreciate it! There is no pressure. Once it is my turn to be a MIL, I want to be like her.

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:35 pm

That’s nice that there is no pressure from your mother-in-law, Anna!

Nancy @ Neatly-Packaged June 16, 2014 - 3:13 pm

What an interesting article Alli! I don’t want to be held to anything so I will just say I have an “awesome” relationship with my future mother in law 🙂 Thank you for sharing this!

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:34 pm

Positive thinking goes really far in a great relationship! 🙂

Jess June 16, 2014 - 3:31 pm

This is such a great article!

Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

Nicky @ Little Family Adventure June 16, 2014 - 3:56 pm

Luckily, my MIL and I get along very well. These are all wonderful tips. I especially love #5 for MIL’s (but it applies to most people), that you should call before popping over. I live 7 hours away for that very reason. 🙂

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:34 pm

Have you ever noticed that no one drops by when your house is spotless, you have on a cute outfit and your hair and makeup look awesome? No, it’s when you’re having a bad day and you and your house reflects your day. I hate that!

Reginia Cordell June 16, 2014 - 4:34 pm

“Butt out” is the best advice for many situations. My MIL lives in another country… 🙂

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:32 pm

Lucky you! JK 🙂 I tend to use humor in everything and sometimes it gets me in trouble.

Madaline June 16, 2014 - 4:36 pm

This was great post and I wish my MIL could read english! OMG. We have one of those silent but feuding relationships. We both try – we just have strong opinions. I think the only thing I do right in our relationship is that I do 100% think Florence needs a relationship with her grandparents – so I try really really hard to make that happen…

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:32 pm

At least you can be at peace with the fact that you are doing your part!

Kim June 16, 2014 - 4:53 pm

Great tips!! Since I only have 2 boys, I’ve already decided that I will be the very best Mother-in-Law I can be – only way I will every have a daughter!!!

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:31 pm

Daughter #2 has 4 boys and she says the exact same thing! I try to be a good MIL. I tend to butt out and mind my own business and try not to be bossy or a know-it-all. I don’t have any DIL’s yet, but my son told me that he wanted me to decorate his house when he got married. My reply, “Do you want your wife to hate me???” No, thanks!

Kristen from The Road to Domestication June 16, 2014 - 7:48 pm

This is a fantastic post, Alli! My MIL and I had some issues when my husband and I first got engaged. I was adamant about working them out THEN, because I didn’t want to be constantly dealing with them throughout our marriage. My husband agreed with me and stepped in to take care of the issues. With all of us doing our part, we have had no major upsets since then! As time goes on, I actually enjoy spending time with her, too. But when I get frustrated, I remind myself, if not for her, I wouldn’t be married to my husband!

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:25 pm

Yes, deal with issues head on and immediately (well, letting the husband handle what he can – lol)! Great comment, Kristen!

Zan June 16, 2014 - 7:55 pm

Oh Alli, as we speak, my MIL is sitting in my living room…Has been here a week now. It is so tough, but I so want some help and do not know where else to turn. I know God is able, but sometimes I wish someone could give me some personal one to one counsel. I desire to do better with her – but do not know how. Like you said, it takes two to tangle. Thank you Alli.

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:24 pm

Zan, as a pastor’s wife, I counsel with women often. If you ever need someone to talk to, send me a private message on FB or an email. I’ll be happy to do what I can! I’m about to head over and read your post.

Zan June 16, 2014 - 8:34 pm

Alli, I am not sure of your email address. By the way, that post of mine is a spam post. I did not write this – in fact, I do not even speak the language. I trashed it – so it may say not found!

Alli June 16, 2014 - 8:46 pm

I looked for your post, Zan and saw that it was an error. My email is on my about page, but here it is: [email protected]

Doreen@househoneys June 16, 2014 - 10:55 pm

I love that saying ‘we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by our actions’. I’m definitely going to steal that one Ali!

Great post with tons of useful tips not only for our relationships with in laws, but with everyone.

Alli June 17, 2014 - 8:29 am

Help yourself! I stole it from one of my husband’s sermons! 🙂

Elizabeth June 20, 2014 - 10:03 am

Love this!! It is so important to try to see another’s perspective so we can all get along. I think it is helpful to back off, be polite, and try to show a little flexibility!! Thanks for the great perspective. Very well done!!

Stacy June 20, 2014 - 3:30 pm

These are really great. I’ve been married more than once and had the horror story MIL the first time around but got sooooo lucky this time. But I will try to remember it from the MIL angle since my son is 23 and in love!


popping by from That’s Fresh Friday

Alli June 21, 2014 - 6:57 am

At the time I have only sons-in-law and I think I’m a great MIL. And when the time comes for me to have a DIL, I’m going to be ready to do my part to make sure she feels like part of the family. If she’s good enough for my son, she’s good enough.

Kelly the Take Action WAHM June 24, 2014 - 5:37 pm

I wish my Mother-in-Law spoke English so she could read this! Thanks for sharing such a great post on a very important topic. Pinning! (Found it on the Retreat Link up!)

Alli June 24, 2014 - 6:01 pm

Thanks, Kelly! It is a very important topic and one I see all to often. So glad it helped.

Alanna Sorgatz June 18, 2018 - 3:08 pm

So good to find somebody with some authentic thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the internet, somebody with slightly originality. useful job for bringing something new to the web!


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