10 Things Your Mother-In-Law Wants to Tell You
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The Other Woman1 of 11
By Woman's Day
Being a mother-in-law (MIL) can be fraught with tension, so we asked a few MILs what they would tell their daughters-in-law if they had the chance.* Read on to discover their unspoken words. [*Names have been changed.]
Don’t Dismiss Me2 of 11
Says Nancy McNab*, “I know you want to do everything differently from how I do it, but don’t just avoid me for that reason.” Tap your MIL for advice on babies, work, home life — whatever you’re comfortable sharing. She’ll thank you for it — and might even become less nosy as a result.
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Don't Involve Me3 of 11
In a tiff with your spouse? Getting his mother involved is not always a bright idea, say MILs who’ve been asked for advice to back up one side of an argument and then have had said advice used in a spousal argument later (“But your mom agrees with me”). Instead, be upfront with your MIL; enlist her help with completely honest intentions.
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Give Me Time4 of 11
You probably didn’t fall for her son at first sight, so don't count on falling in love with your mother-in-law at first Sunday dinner either. “I’m lucky that I love my daughters-in-law, but if it weren’t going well, I’d want them to know that relationships like this need space and time,” says Illinois MIL Kathe James.
I'm No Threat5 of 11
“I wish you weren’t uncomfortable with my rapport with my son,” laments MIL Alyson Grant.* “I don’t want to intrude on your marriage, but I also don’t want to lose my relationship with him. I don’t know if you’re insecure or jealous, but I want you to know I am not a threat. You have nothing to fear from me.”
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Don’t Patronize Me6 of 11
“If I’ve planned a family outing and what we’re doing is not your cup of tea, just tell me. Be honest, and don’t be afraid to argue with me!” says Jennie. Be respectful, of course, and realize that arguing your point with your MIL is way better than treating her like a toddler.
Praise My Parenting7 of 11
If you don’t have children yet, this can be hard to see, but mothers fret over whether they’ve turned out good adults. And most MILs would be thrilled to pieces to hear that, yes, their efforts paid off. “Hey!” says Kathe, “I worked hard to raise a good man. Knowing you appreciate that goes a long way in our relationship.”
Don’t Expect Too Much8 of 11
Ironically, as much as a mother might believe her son is a superman, she does not want you to depend on him for everything. One thing some MILs know from experience: “Don’t lose your female friends, your interests and hobbies or your work,” says Kathe. The happier you are, the less pressure there is on your spouse and your marriage.
Stand Up for Yourself9 of 11
You might think your MIL is always on her son’s side, but believe it or not, she’s thinking about you too, and she never likes to see the boy she raised treating you as a less-than-equal partner. “Don’t let him always tell you what to do," says Jennie. “If you’re not careful, he’ll steamroll right over you.”
Stay Balanced10 of 11
Though some of it may fall firmly into the “meddling” category, don't ignore your MIL’s experience. Frances Tudino* says, “Get a babysitter once a week, or at least put the kids to bed, come back downstairs, have a glass of wine and talk to your husband.” Don’t believe that you can ignore your marriage until your kids are older.
Don't Over Share11 of 11
Your MIL does want to know that you’re happy, that you love your family and that you have good girlfriends with whom you like to cut loose from time to time. But what she doesn’t want? The gory details. Says MIL Marian Greene,* “Please don’t post drunk photos of yourself on Facebook for everyone to see. There are some things a mother-in-law shouldn’t know.”
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