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

(197 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...

ilove Mon 01-Feb-16 17:37:36

Huge thanks to you all, I really appreciate you taking the time to post. Our future DIL is absolutely lovely and I'm very hopeful we will continue with the lovely relationship we have now xx

ilove Mon 01-Feb-16 11:47:42

Thankyou ohcrepe

0hCrepe Mon 01-Feb-16 09:11:42

Ok I understand your reasons it was just that I sensed a whiff of fear in some of your posts which made me think you were scared of being cut out if you put a foot wrong. Sounds like it's more your experience with your own parents though. Sounds like you get on well with your DIL and you have a nice balance, you'll be great and how lovely you get on with your in laws.

Sparkyduchess Sun 31-Jan-16 23:20:09

Mine drove me demented on occasion, but that was because we often both had strong opinions. She was truly lovely, kind, warm, loving.

When now DH and I were courting, she knew I was skint and used to 'accidentally' buy food she knew I liked and couldn't afford, and then ask me if I'd mind taking it home as it would go off before it got eaten at hers. She was generous to a fault, both to me and even more so when we had DS.

She was guilty of buying mounds of tat, but it gave her such pleasure that I couldn't bring myself to bitch about it.

Actually, she was guilty of many of the sins I read about on here, but the difference was that there was never anything but good intent, love and kindness - she handled things badly at times, but then so did I, and when we argued it mattered to both of us that we make it right. She and FIL both treated me as their own from very early on which meant being showered with love but also meant I had 'permission' to say what I thought.

She was by no means perfect, but I loved her enormously and even 10 years after her death, I still think often how much I'd love to talk to her.

OP, thanks for this thread- you've stirred up some really lovely memories for me. I'm sure you'll be lovely MIL!

You sound like you're already a fab MIL.
Mine is also fab.
She:
-offers to, and follows up on doing babysitting often, and with pleasure
-compliments me (and DH) on how we are parenting
-offers advice only when asked. And if advice is received well (it usually is) is modest about it ('oh, well, I've had two to practice on, you pick stuff up')
-adores and spoils DGD
-remembers things that are going on in my life and asks about them
-has never guilt-tripped me ever.
-offers sympathy without judgement if I moan to her (and I DO!)
-listens when i discuss my family issues, and doesn't wade in/judge ('oh, that must be hard')
-is sensitive to DGD's needs on visits, e.g. prepares a lunch she will enjoy, at a good time for her to eat, without making a fuss about doing so
-asks what DGD likes to eat & has it in when we visit
-treats me like her daughter, and tells me she is delighted to have a daughter (had two boys herself), and shows this, often.

As a result, I phone her frequently, ask her advice, love her dearly, appreciate her input, remember what is going on in her life, give her a special (token, silly) present just from me to her at Christmas (long running joke), visit as often as possible, offer to help her if I can, help DD make her cards on special occasions (and whenever, really), send her pics of DD, remember to tell her when someone admires an item of clothing she has sent DD, etc.
I'm really really lucky. I think your DIL will be too.

LionsLedge Sun 31-Jan-16 22:59:03

I think you sound lovely and it's really good and nice that you're thinking about how to create a more welcoming environment than your parents have (and it sounds like you already have).

I thought it was really nice that you make sure her allergies are accommodated. That was an issue with my PIL for the first few years - they just didn't "get" it and it was a massive source of stress for me. I don't know how serious her allergies are but something that makes me feel incredibly comfortable and welcome is when people make it clear that it's okay to ask them about ingredients, cross-contamination, etc and never make a big show of it and always give accurate answers!

ilove Sun 31-Jan-16 22:58:38

Enkop she sounds wonderful xxx

Enkopkaffetak Sun 31-Jan-16 22:57:00

I really love my MIL to pieces I cant fault her as a MIL. However trying to put together what it is that makes her so wonderful is really hard.

Now 22 years after first meeting her I will say its love. that true caring for a person that grows after many years together..

However it is also

Watching her adore my children and being so proud of them .

Never critisising how I parent (actually praising it a lot)

Never giving advice if not asked for it

Supporting us in any way possible she can.

Being respectful of my culture (I didn't grow up in the UK)

Asking after my family

Being there for me when my mother passed away last year without trying to take over that role.

NOT expecting me to call her mum (my bil did from word go however I have called her by her name mostly over the last 8 years or so I do occationally call her mum she allows me to just use what one I feel good with)

Not always taking her sons side.. She adores her son (my dh) However she is an intelligent woman who is fully able to say sometimes. DH your being stupid here Enkop is right.

Also being able to say Enkop your taking what he is saying wrongly look at it from x point of view

NEVER doing the 2 above without first being asked about it.

Just being there being interested being a part of our lives.

I will be devastated when she dies I know I will.. and she is 87 so we are aware that it is a possibility ..

ilove Sun 31-Jan-16 22:47:23

Oh, and I've only mentioned my parents financial situation so you can see that it isn't a lack of money stopping them inviting us over, and also, you cannot "pop in" at all - she hates that yet complains she spends a lot of time alone! well, duh!!! The phrase 'you reap what you sow' comes to mind there.

ilove Sun 31-Jan-16 22:44:14

Ah, she is lovely, really lovely, but has the illness that the heel prick test tests for (not putting the name of it so that this doesn't appear when the word is googled, obviously!) So she's a little more delicate physically than a healthy person.

No, she didn't need two daddies to collect her but I thought it was nice my DH wanted to go with her Dad to get her - there was no public transport option from where she was, and she hasn't passed her driving test yet.

Why am I worried about getting it wrong? Well,I have a fantastic set of parents-in-law who have treated me brilliantly or the last 22 years. My mother, however, isn't overly welcoming and friendly, and has not even reciprocated once when my mil sent my mother a Christmas card for ten years on the trot - my mothers only response being "why do I want to get into doing THAT" when I asked her why she doesn't respond. My parents don't make "outsiders" (their term not mine!) welcome, and it is very difficult to be there with the stilted, stiff, formal atmosphere that pervades the whole occasion. My lovely FIL finally told me how unwelcome they felt at one of my children's christening because my family didn't even speak to them, and I was absolutely determined that there was no way we were ever going to be like that. My DH has not felt comfortable in the presence of my parents/family at all, and despite trying to initiate conversation with them all, says they just don't seem to care. Which is true, they don't.

So, when DS and FDIL became serious we talked (DH and I) and both said we wanted to meet and get to know HER parents, and that she was no different to one of our children, I have three sons and all of them are house trained, can cook, clean, wash, iron, there's no way I am going to have a DIL turning to me and saying that they are useless in the house, lol. There's also no way that they will feel any less welcome here than they do in their own homes, or at her parents.

In 22 years we have never been invited for a meal at my parents home unless it has been an occasion - and if you are there for a visit, you can't put the kettle on or feel in any way "at home". It's awful, and needless to say means we don't particularly like going. My family simply cannot understand why we are treating FDIL as one of the family, and my mother keeps saying "Why on earth are you seeing THEM" (About her parents) when she knows we're going out with them again, or I'm meeting her mum for coffee, or whatever.

The girl my son chooses to marry is absorbed into the family in every way, and her parents too should they wish to be. I don't want another generation feeling the way me and DH do. Yes, I've talked to my mother about her attitude, and she can't see why it bothers me. She treats my sister and BIL the same too, it's just the way she is. Nothing to do with her not having money, my parents are more than comfortable financially and always will be. It is simply the way they are, and it isn't something I ever wanted for my kids. DH and I are very different, thank goodness, to the way my parents are.

Golly that's turned out long and probably not very clear at all!!!

0hCrepe Sun 31-Jan-16 09:31:37

Are you worried about getting it wrong for a reason? Can fdil be a bit precious? You've mentioned she can get stressed? Eg does she really need 2 daddies to collect her? You prob won't want to admit it though!

Krampus Sun 31-Jan-16 07:44:34

My inlaws are great but they're basically nice people and that extends to how they treat me. I don't think that you need any special strategies because its a mil / dil relationship.

They don't interfere in my relationship with their son, don't get over involved in our choices, finances or parenting. They are freindly, generous and treat us like adults, I expect all the adults in my life to behave like that.

My own mother can be the mil from hell but she can be a nightmare generally. I have learnt to cope when she has one of her moods because its not worth loosing the good parts of her over. She is lucky that my sils are tolerant and haven't walked away from her yet. My mother has suffered from depression in the past and had a breakdown. She doesn't see that some of her behaviour pushes people away when what she wants is to be closer.

pinkiponk Sun 31-Jan-16 07:28:31

My MIL is lovely and I much prefer her to my own mother. She's very kind and cares so much about family. She doesn't side with her son if he's wrong and is an amazing grandmother. The fact you're even asking how to be a good mil means you've got the self awareness to try and be a good one, I'm sure you'll be great!

WelliesTheyAreWonderful Sat 30-Jan-16 23:19:48

Definitely treat her like a daughter and not just your DS's wife! Let her know this is how you feel about her (if it is obviously)! If they have kids don't speak to her through the baby - ie. 'oh, your mum is just tired and frustrated, she's trying her best though...' I love my MIL dearly but this p'd me off.

ilove Sat 30-Jan-16 22:31:30

Oh, and her Dad has said several times - and means it - that he won't do a father of the bride speech, that he wants DH to join and them do a joint "Dad" speech at the wedding smile

ilove Sat 30-Jan-16 22:29:44

I really can't believe the way some of your MIL's/D/SIL's behave!!! I'm stunned!

We had a lovely meal with her parents last night, and halfway through the evening FDIL needed picking up, so my DH and her Dad went together to get her, which was lovely

Fallstar Sat 30-Jan-16 13:08:32

OP, you sound lovely and I'm sure you'll be a great MIL.

I wonder whether mums of daughters fret to this extent about being a good MIL to their sons-in-law... It does seem to be mothers of sons that get the most bashing but maybe it's just the demographic of the site. As a mum of adult sons (I'm always welcoming and friendly to their girlfriends), I hope so.

grannytomine Sat 30-Jan-16 12:34:57

lilproblem, I am sometimes tempted but I do it for the children so I bite my lip and get on with it. The little one calls my house home, not prompted by me or DH, which drives his mother mad so you can imagine the effect it would have on him if we were suddenly cut off. It causes endless problems with the rest of the family as they all want me to stop it and say if I refuse she will have to behave as she needs me to help but I just feel I can't take the chance.

lilproblem Fri 29-Jan-16 18:25:44

@grannytomine your DIL sounds like a NIGHTMARE and I would go on strike if I were you!

lilproblem Fri 29-Jan-16 17:14:21

I really like my MIL but when she grates on me is when she just defends her son all the time. He's not perfect but according to her he is...but I know him like the back of my hand and I see all the bad habits. Just stay out of their arguments smilesmile

lamiashiro Fri 29-Jan-16 17:00:25

Don't phone your DS every single frickin' day, plus additional calls if something really trivial comes into your head.

If DS asks his DP to do something for him (like pass the salt or something), don't leap up and jump in between him and his DP so you can do it instead.

Don't talk over his DP when she's speaking by addressing unrelated questions/comments to your DS.

Muskateersmummy Fri 29-Jan-16 16:43:52

Just be yourself. If you genuinely like your future daughter in law which it sounds like you do, then all will be well. Help when needed, don't always side with your dd.

To be honest the fact that you care enough to ask this question tells me you'll be a fan mil xx

blessedwithtwo Fri 29-Jan-16 16:39:39

The fact that you even posted this OP I really don't think you have anything to worry about. You sound lovely

ClaraLane Fri 29-Jan-16 16:13:28

My tip is to try and make sure you treat your children fairly because your DIL will notice if you treat her and your DS differently to your DD and her fiancé and they will talk about it between themselves as a couple and it will upset them.

I would also say that you need to understand they have their own life together now and if they only have one day off a week together due to work patterns please don't be upset if they choose to spend it alone instead of running round swing everybody in the family. I love my family and DP's family very much but quite frankly I don't want to spend our only day off running between 4 sets of grandparents and 2 parents because I'm shattered and still have a house to run!

If you tell them you'd like to contribute to their wedding and ask for a list of items to choose from please come forward with what you'd like to help with instead of forcing us to have an awkward conversation about it with you. We'd be more than happy for you to just turn up on the day but if you want to contribute please tell us what your plans are so we can save accordingly.

The one thing I love about my future MIL is even if she comes round and the house is a tip with washing up needing doing and the floors needing vacuuming she will never say anything to me about it. She understands we both work hard and that sometimes housework isn't a priority. She also doesn't judge me for not ironing every single thing like she does!

Please just accept they are adults and they have their own lives and don't ask them to cancel previously made plans for a last minute get-together and then sulk when they won't do it. Especially if they gave you three other dates they could do but you're busy on all of them and don't want to cancel your plans...

DrDreReturns Fri 29-Jan-16 14:58:09

When saying thank you for a meal that both you DIL and DS have prepared, remember to thank both of them, not just your DS.
When referring to something the couple own jointly (e.g. the house) try not to say 'DS's house' - include your DIL in the phrase somehow.
My Mum does both the above and it annoys DW - I have had words with my Mum.
Also, if you are introducing your son's family to friends remember to include your DIL (I'm looking at you DF).
If you ask about something and are told it's private don't keep on asking about it.

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