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...

Purplepoodle Tue 11-Feb-14 22:10:12

I have a nice mil the only things she has done that really annoy me are:

Expecting dc1 to stay whole weekend with her, every weekend when he was only 6 months and I was working ft - led to a bit of a fall out.

Spends more on dh at birthdays and Christmas where my parent spend the same on both of us.

Had comments about bf, holding too much yet she is very possessive of grand kids

On the plus she can see dh's faults and never takes sides in an argument. She has probably saved our marriage several times by mediating

IamSlave Tue 11-Feb-14 21:28:19


written in blood there, you poor thing, all of us suffering dils have suffered the same things over and over....

YOU broom will make a wonderful mil, do unto others as you would have done to yourself...

IamSlave Tue 11-Feb-14 21:23:57


Take a look at thread on AIBU, its pro mil grin.

Mils only get a grilling on here when they are in the wrong.

It will be easy to be a good MIL if you simply respect her as her own person, she is not your son, nor his extension and she will have her own ideas on how to do things.

When the GC come and are born you wont grab it and tell it you will be feeding it decent won't use it to make youself feel needed and wanted...

You will ask if they are struggling for money what presents they would like, or is there anything they need rather than foisting tons of rubbish on them....or second hand stuff..

You won't undermine her house keeping skills or lack of, nor her cooking and so on...

You will look at her as the woman your son chose to marry...and respect that no matter how rocky things may get, if you love your son you have to respect choice of wife...

Remember she is joining your family, you are already a ready made, gang she is now a member of that gang ( circle of trust grin) and you must make room for her in your gang, its easy for all of you, less easy for her to wedge her way in....

If you have any issues in the future, talk to your son and lay blame at his door, dont use her as a scape goat...she may simply be enabling him to stand up to you...because he needs too.

ilove Tue 11-Feb-14 21:13:39

Oh dear RonaldMcDonald I have failed already then!

RonaldMcDonald Fri 07-Feb-14 00:09:50

Live abroad and have many diamonds that you are happy to part with

Broomwithaview Fri 07-Feb-14 00:01:33

I have 2 young sons and I have already put a lot of thought into this, because I do not have a very good relationship with my own MIL. She has at times made me thoroughly miserable.

These are the MIL rules I want to follow.

1) As a MIL, I will reap what I sow. If I bring my sons up well (show affection, spend time with them, love them to bits, encourage them to be strong/ loving/ productive/ disciplined men who respect women) then hopefully my sons will have the self respect to choose a partner who is nice and sensible.

2) Again, as a MIL I will reap what I sow. The things that I say and do to my DIL will come back to me later on, either positively or negatively. What do I want my legacy to be? How you act with the big milestones will set your relationship. Don't throw your toys out the pram when you realise your DS is now in love with someone else. Don't spoil their engagement, don't take over their wedding, don't act like you are the one having a baby, don't try and parent the baby when it is born and treat DIL like a walking womb, don't interfere in your DS's marriage and don't try and tell them what to do with their lives. These little things add up and eventually your DIL will just give up trying and will feel ground down into the ground and either leave your DS or go no contact with you.

3) When your DS/DIL are at a milestone (engagement, wedding, baby etc.) say "Tell me what can I do to help you?" Don't throw fits because they want a small wedding and Aunty Betty from Jersey is not invited. Defend your DS /DILs choices.

4) When you see things you don't like, unless it is something that puts someone in danger or similar, shut one eye. If your DIL does things differently to you, that's up to her. My Dad has a great rule. When I go to slag someone off, he says "Don't say it out loud, then no one will accidentally overhear it". I have NEVER ever heard my mum or dad or bothers slag anyone in my family off. I have 2 SIL's and I would NEVER slag them off, even though at times I have been hmm You never know when someone may be on the other side of the door or you have not put a phone down properly or Aunty Betty won't say "MIL said that you have decided not to BF, that's a shame"

5) If you have your own DD, that's OK. DIL gets it, she has her own mum. DO NOT bitch about your DIL with your DD and turn it into a massive competition and tell your DIL/ do things that show your DIL that you are not interested in her because you have your own DD.

6) Do not talk about your relatives/ friends struggles with their DIL. When you say things like "So I told Vera, I wouldn't put up with that. I'd tell the bitch to sling her hook" and things like "I told Vera, I would go round to their house whenever I like, that's my son's house and I'll do what I like there". Even though they are not directed at DIL, they will still really get her back up.

Good luck. I think that fact you have put thought into it is a good thing. Remember to ask yourself how would I feel if my MIL did that. My own MIL has been a great instructor to me. I will be doing the complete opposite of what she does with me. Remember, you reap what you sow. That doesn't mean being a doormat though. I do still have a couple of rules. 1)I won't interfere in the wedding, but I want to be invited to it and 2) I want to see my son and be in their lives.

BerylStreep Thu 06-Feb-14 23:43:43

My MIL is either great or dreadful, bless her. I have always thought of her a bit like a jack Russell, full of boundless energy that needs to be directed.

I do get really upset because she massively favours her DDs over my DH, very obviously, and in turn, her DD's DC over ours (to the point of obsession). We rarely ask for help, and when we do, she always makes a point of saying that she might be able to provided either of the DD's don't require her. It hurts my DH, and it annoys me, because apparently she spent most of their childhood complaining how her mother favoured her brothers over her and promising she would never treat her own DC differently.

She is exceptionally generous with money though, and it sounds very ungrateful to say that I feel manipulated when she gives me extravagant gifts.

Theoldhag Thu 06-Feb-14 23:32:25

Congratulations to you all op

Be a wise crone? grin

FitzgeraldProtagonist Thu 06-Feb-14 23:22:27

My MIL is gold. Keeps her own counsel, but is quietly consistently supportive.

NoLikeyNoLighty Thu 06-Feb-14 22:49:31

<disclaimer> MIL's on the whole lovely, helpful and always there to help out and is a doting Grandma.
If you're looking for advice though -
- DON'T try to get involved in parental decisions. It's going to end in tears. You're Grandma, not parent. 'smile]
- Let your grown up, married with kids child in their 40's have a couple of days off without having to check in. Or don't ring them every single day to nag them anout something that needs doing in their own house. It's their house! They're a grown up now!

MadeForTVMovie Thu 06-Feb-14 22:45:42

I think it must be so much easier for the Mother's of daughters, I bet they don't worry about all these rules.

Doesn't common sense tell us to be non judgemental and non interfering? To keep loving our kids unconditionally but to understand we gave them roots and now it's time to let them spread their wings?

Surely it's natural for a woman to want her own Mother around when she feels tired, hormonal, emotional etc.. after the birth of her child? If MIL's remembered how they felt after having their children, they'd understand and see they weren't being pushed out. I think a lot of MIL/DIL problems start after this point. If the man was the one to give birth, he'd want his Mum. It's nature isn't it?

ilove Thu 06-Feb-14 21:22:52

They are having their engagement party next weekend, at our house - purely and simply because it is the bigger house. Me and her mum are going together to get the food and drinks, and paying half each.

Thankyou all for the advice - I am so stunned by the way some of your mother in laws have behaved!!!

allotmenteer Tue 07-Jan-14 15:22:20

Should also add that I love my DIL dearly - she is absolutely perfect for my DDS

allotmenteer Tue 07-Jan-14 15:19:52

I did not look at all surprised when my DS and his groomsmen turned up with lists (that's right - I know it is a contradiction in terms - DS/ lists) in their hands on the morning of the wedding so I think that makes me perfect!

Caboodle Mon 06-Jan-14 23:53:29

OP, the fact that you care enough to ask will mean that you will be a fab Mil. I wonder if us Dils match up to our side of the bargain?

pilates Mon 06-Jan-14 16:06:01

You sound lovely and thoughtful.

It's very sweet that you want to please but don't try too hard just be yourself.

Lambzig Mon 06-Jan-14 15:56:51

We have distanced ourselves from my MIL due to her religious views surrounding our DC. However, before that I had a good relationship with her.

She was always interested in my job/life.
Before we visited rang DH to check I liked what she planned to cook.
Plies me with wine and buys my favourite wine for when we visit.
Told me how much happier DH was since he met me and they she thought I had helped him in his career.
Always tells me I look nice.
DH has always had a difficult relationship with her and she asked me what she could do about it.
Always very welcoming and appreciative of us visiting/presents etc.

Actually writing that has made me sad there is a bit of a rift now.

angelinajelly Mon 06-Jan-14 15:29:45

I think the reason I love my MiL is that she treats me like a person, not as an extension of her son. It was obvious from the way she welcomed me when we first met that she wanted to like me because I make her son happy, but she has never given any hint that she thinks there is a way I ought to behave or that she expects anything from me- and that has given us the chance to get to know each other as two adults.

My XMiL, on the other hand, used to drive me to screaming point by being so deferential, and thanking me every five minutes for taking XP on and being "so good with him". Of course in the end I realised what she clearly knew already, and left him smile

AnneElliott Mon 06-Jan-14 14:36:45

Decide if she is family or not. My mil likes to say I'm family when she wants something but then relegated me to the "in laws" photo at family gatherings. Mind you she does this to FIL as wellshock I guess I'm saying you can't have it both ways.

You sound great by the way! I think this thread is helpful. I have only a DS so will also be taking these on board.

sheeplikessleep Mon 06-Jan-14 14:17:22

Don't smoke and then breathe toxic fumes over newborn baby.
Don't feed dgc food that hasn't been kept in fridge (meat, dairy).

Seriously, I don't have high expectations, but I really struggle with my mil!

SuckItAndSee Mon 06-Jan-14 14:12:33

my MIL isn;t perfect, but who is? I could definitely have done worse.

she does not offer parenting advice, ever. She likes having the DC, and offers to have them when it suits her, so I don't feel like we're imposing. she is warm and kind, and spoils me on my birthday, which makes me feel like one of the family, rather than just The Bearer of Grandchildren.

lainiekazan Mon 06-Jan-14 14:06:43

Never, ever buy gcs a chocolate advent calendar - or any advent calendar, come to that. [One of the more bizarre dil rants on MN]

I agree that "she's had her chance" said about mils is just downright nasty.

Concur that a nice person probably makes a nice mil, and the same with a dil. If you're a kind, decent person this shows through. My mil was self-centred and jealous but this was directed at everyone, not just me.

Ledkr Mon 06-Jan-14 13:35:47

I'd say see him and her as husband and wife father than ds and wife. Give their marriage the same respect and consideration that you give your own or any other adults.

Ask yourself if you want your mil with on
Your wedding night,
The birth of your child,
Staying in your house the night your bring your first baby home from hospital.

I adore my dil, she is like a daughter/ friend to me.
I know my place. I'm not her Mum and ds is her adult husband and they are adult parents.
They have the right to be adults and make their own decisions.

Tell her she's doing a good job. I could write a list of where my MIL thinks I'm substandard but she's never, ever praised me for anything

curlew Sun 05-Jan-14 23:57:39

Or indeed any colour until you've checked with your future Dil that it's OK............

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