to ask you to help me put together my guide to being a fab MIL?

(151 Posts)
ilove Sat 04-Jan-14 16:05:19

My son has proposed to his lovely girlfriend, and she has said yes!!!

We're thrilled, but I am also very nervous - I know full well that I'm very likely to be unable to do right for doing wrong as a MIL!!!

So, help me please to put together the MN Ultimate MIL Guide of promises I can give her on the big day...

MrsBungle Sat 04-Jan-14 16:49:54

My mil is great. She treats me just like one of her own. She's skways friendly and inclusive. When I had babies she did everything the way I wanted it done - she stuck to my routine. She never gets involved in any issues between me and dh - not that there really are any- but if we disagree she doesn't necessarily take his side.

She's just generally nice and easy to get on with bad kind and considerate.

weddingballsup Sat 04-Jan-14 16:56:41

Recognise that your son has found someone to share his life with, that he is doing exactly that and be happy about it (or at least try to and put up a convincing front that you are).

That's the one thing MIL has a massive stumbling block with in my relationship with DP - she can't accept that her 'little boy' is being cared for (and caring for) someone else and that she doesn't automatically know everything he feels and what's best for him as she did when he was tiny, and it's very sad. She thinks she's in some sort of power struggle with me for control/mothering of DP and is concentrating on that rather than her relationship with DP. Everyone else in the family can see it but she can't and it frequently pushes DP further away from her.

weddingballsup Sat 04-Jan-14 16:58:16

Plus, think as long as you're trying to support them and their relationship at all times all other things you do 'wrong' (always going to happen) will genuinely be taken in good grace.

ginslinger Sat 04-Jan-14 16:58:53

Don't visit without making arrangements and don't assume that you have any rights over their home. Smile and nod whatever happens. Remember that what may appear to you as being helpful can come across as being critical of how they manage their home. (I sorted out my DD's airing cupboard and she explained to me that it was no help at all and she took umbrage - thank goodness I didn't do it to my DIL)

ginslinger Sat 04-Jan-14 17:00:12

and remember when she does something that you don't like or disapprove of that your son loves her and that's what counts - providing she's not rude to you, of course.

frustratedashell Sat 04-Jan-14 17:05:13

My ex mum in law was/is great. I still see her. She only gave advice if I asked for it. She once said to me that she knows how difficult my dh is to live with! Lol. She would help when she could. I asked her to come on holiday with us when the kids were young, with my exs approval. I love her to bits

Iactuallydothinkso Sat 04-Jan-14 17:06:35

If your son comes to you with an issue with his wife, ask him if he has spoken to his wife about it. If not, send him home to do just that before you hear anything else off him.

Never get involved in arguments between them because they are between THEM. Even if one of them asks.

Don't expect your dil to take over remembering birthdays and Christmas and Easter and any other thing you think you should be getting a card for. Don't blame her when it doesn't happen.

Don't expect her to make a weekly call or whatever to check you're still alive and then get cross with her when she doesn't. Actually when your son doesn't either, don't be cross with her. Maybe you could ring occasionally and not to discuss health issues, maybe you would ask her about her.

The odd compliment on how well she looks, is taking care of things, is making your son happy would be good.

Perhaps marvel occasionally that even though she works full time and has many children, she can still manage to put a home made meal on the table in the evenings. And even if her meal is a ready one, maybe tell her you think she's doing brilliantly.

Let go of your son. You were there first and that will never be forgotten but he has his own adult life that you spent years of yours preparing him for. At least let him live it.

I haven't had a happy time with my mil and I would have wanted something different. I worry it's too late now. Don't start down that route, it's hard to recover from.

Good luck!

purplebaubles Sat 04-Jan-14 17:14:30

When/if they have a baby, do not insist on being there during the birth, and then get really stroppy when she says no.

Do not ruin their wedding day by telling all your relatives the party finishes 3 hours before it does (leaving the bride with hardly any guests and no party atmosphere)

Do not send sneaky/sly texts to your son asking where he is, when in fact you know exactly where he is because you're spying on him. Allow your son and his gf/wife to have their own life/family.

Do not try and feed their 7 week old baby chocolate behind the mother's back.

Do not say 'oh my goodness she's got fat legs' everytime you see your granddaughter.

Do not set up a 'nursery' next to your own bed and then throw a strop because your DIL sees no need to send her 3 week old baby to stay overnight on her own so that you can play 'mum' (because you've done it before and know how to do it better than she does). Definitely do not suggest to your son that he just takes the baby without telling his wife because she's clearly depressed after the birth and doesn't know what she's talking about. hmm

I would say you'll do just fine if you're nice, friendly and not a complete nutter like my MIL!

Really quite jealous reading about the nice MIL's out there. I would happily never see mine again. She's a vindictive nasty piece of work sadly.

K8Middleton Sat 04-Jan-14 17:21:26

Mine sends a case of wine at Christmas and on dh's birthday and never ventures an opinion on our parenting to our faces

She doesn't try to have a personal relationship with me which works for us. Would probably be different if she didn't live on the other side of the country but we only see her about three/four times a year so I'm very much her son's wife. We all like this smile

ilove Sat 04-Jan-14 17:31:54

Thankyou all so much! Hopefully we are already doing a few things "right"...

- We include her on family related outings and events
- Have announced the engagement to our friends (that they don't see really) as "not losing a son, but gaining a daughter"
- Met her parents and got on really well with them
- Chat to her about HER, stuff she is doing
- Remember her birthday and buy her nice gifts
- Remember that she has food allergies and make sure I have the correct stuff in that she can eat, all the time so no need to have her feel like I am shopping specially for her
- treat her like one of my own
-trained my son to be able to cook, clean, wash and iron, change the bed, tidy etc

Anything else? It's such a minefield!

TheSmallClanger Sat 04-Jan-14 17:40:12

My MIL is easy to get on with, thankfully. Although at the start, she annoyed the hell out of me by forgetting my name, repeatedly.

She doesn't have a peculiar set of behaviours that she has for "dealing with" me, iyswim. She just treats me how she treats most people close to her. She also has her own life and interests, so is not over-invested in DH's life, even though she is a widow, and DH's sister is also dead. She also doesn't see me as a gatekeeper to DD, and is a wonderful DGM without being an adversary to me.

whitecloud Sat 04-Jan-14 17:42:29

ilove you sound lovely and well on the way to being a good mother-in-law. If your d-in-law does something wrong or worse than you would have done it, bite your tongue and don't criticise. Constant criticism will kill these delicate relationships. Just treat her as you would a friend or her own dd. If I had a son I would be extremely nice to my d-in-law. Afraid I never had that myself, so my relationship with her is very distant now. You reap what you sow.

whitecloud Sat 04-Jan-14 17:42:52

Sorry - your own dd.

dontcallmemam Sat 04-Jan-14 17:43:08

Just remember, her yorkshire puddings and cakes will be better than yours now wink

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 04-Jan-14 17:43:28

If they have a baby, don't hog the newborn, don't refuse to give it back to its mum and don't tell them how to bring it up.

I like my mil, she adores DS and just let's us get on with it.

Don't interfere with the wedding planning and dictate the guest list!

Crowler Sat 04-Jan-14 17:45:51

I anticipate being a baby-hogging MIL.

Kindness, generosity of spirit, never putting her down to her face, to her spouse or indeed at all.

I have the loveliest FIL and am grateful for his unending kindness to me. He posts me trinkets that I leave behind by mistake at his house, buys DVDs in my genre for us to watch together when we're visiting and finishes every text to my husband with "Give my love to Sarah." It's the unfailing niceness of the man that has won me over- and he is a darling to and so patient with my kid, and THAT means the most.

BikeRunSki Sat 04-Jan-14 17:51:57

Don't assume your son is always right
If they have children, volunteer babysitting
If they don't, don't ask when when they will
If they live far enough away to stay over, book a B&B
Don't exclude any mention of her from family news letters
If she chooses to keep her surname/career/house, that is up to her
If they chooses to name their child after a member of her family then don't sulk. Even if it is her mother.
If they have a sick child rushed into hospital, please shown some interest and then please come visit the child, clean the house and buy some fresh food a few days later. Ditto c sections.
Don't dominate wedding plans, even if you have no daughters of your own.
Don't go on about how amazing your own daughter/ other DIL is.

HoratiaDrelincourt Sat 04-Jan-14 17:55:22

Training the son in advance is the most important thing, IMHO.

I agree with pp that you shouldn't go on and on and on at great length keep talking about how perfectly you brought him up, in case you think he's perfect.

HoratiaDrelincourt Sat 04-Jan-14 17:55:51

in case? *unless

hackneybird Sat 04-Jan-14 17:55:55

You sound great already. I have a wonderful MIL, she welcomed me with open arms the minute we met even though it can't have been easy for her. Now I have a DS I understand this dynamic more.

I love her because she doesn't interfere or ever offer unsolicited advice or opinions when it comes to our relationship, lifestyle or parenting. There have undoubtedly been times when she's had to grit her teeth and let us get on with it, and I admire her immensely for that. She's really helpful with our DS but always waits to be asked rather than weighing in uninvited.

She's also brought up DH to be a fine man, but she's not blind to his faults, and has been supportive on a couple of occasions when I have had enough of him.

My only criticism is that she seems to think her family is totally amazing and far more idyllic than everyone else's which is annoying. But that's just her, nothing to do with being an MIL.

I hope I can be like her when/if my time comes.

hackneybird Sat 04-Jan-14 17:59:37

Reading all of these posts is making me realise what a tough job being a MIL really is!

LegoCaltrops Sat 04-Jan-14 18:01:22

Congratulations!

Accept that there may be times that you won't know everything that's going on in their lives. Don't assume that all seemingly casual requests are in fact, casual. My MIL was determined to feed me unsuitable food before I announced I was pregnant, despite my & DH requests that I was off certain foods at the time. Then she got in a huff when I wouldn't eat it.

Respect their choices in relation to bringing up any children, ie weaning, if they do/don't want to allow sweets, squash. Follow their lead - if they allow it, make sure you've got <insert name of product> available for when they visit.

Never ring up & ask "are you in?" Instead, ask if it would be convenient to visit or if they would like to come round. Just because they are in the house, doesn't necessarily mean they want guests, even family.

curlew Sat 04-Jan-14 18:11:47

Have no opinions, views or wishes. Or relationships with anyone connected with your dil that are not mediated through her. Including your relationship with your son. He has a new family now which always takes precedence.

Disclaimer. I don't actually think this is true in real life. It's a Mumsnet thing.

Just be nice.

LucilleBluth Sat 04-Jan-14 18:12:11

Oh for fucks sake, do you think her mother is posting this shit about how to handle her future son in law.

Just be nice OP......like with everything in life.

I really really hope my DSs are gay!

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