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!
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 that 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! Or maybe they are 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!
Without further ado, let’s tackle the Hot Topic: Mother-In-Law Vs. Daughter-In-Law
If You’re a Hard-to-Get-Along-With Mother-In-Law:
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. If 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 81-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 I was in my child rearing years, according to the pediatricians of the day, babies should be off the bottle/breast (I was in the minority when I breast fed 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 two, 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!
3. Remember, their children are not your children!
Their children are your grandchildren! You get the fun part! 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 post and 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
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 grands 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 grands stay overnight or are at my house for dinner, I always ask what they want to eat. Last time they wanted grilled 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. falls 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?