to ask you to help me put together my guide to being a fab MIL?(151 Posts)
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...
The most wonderful thing my MIL does is listen to me. That's not to say she never ventures her own opinion (she does regularly), but she listens to what I'm saying and respects that my point of view is valid.
It's what made her into a friend and eventually a confident, rather than a person who was attached to my husband.
If in doubt - say nothing!
And I second listening - lots.
Oh no - you are going to be a MIL.....
I think you need a nice smile and then I am afraid whatever you do next can be taken offensively ( you cannot win) so good luck..
Have a look on Amazon - the gransnetters put together a Good Granny Guide which might be worth getting.
My MIL is really really nice. I could have done far worse. We differ so much its hard for us both but I do try and she is wonderful to me. I think understanding that you are going to differ every now and then but it doesnt have to be a big deal is a good starting point.
One of the major things my MIL did that drove a wedge between us was always, always sided with her whiter than white son (my ex)
Try and not get involved in there spats. Xx
As a dil, I struggled with my Mil's way of doing things was different to mine. As previous poster said, I'm happy to listen to her suggestions, but I have the final word.
I guess it is about give and take on both sides though. Mil does like to spoil the grandchildren, but as they only see her once a week, I can live with it. I know she loved the children and that's good enough for me.
I'm working on it too
and failing miserably with one DIL I have 2 daughter in laws and 1 son in law.
Good luck and if all else fails there is
Don't make assumptions. find out about her family background and get to know her as this will influence how she will perceive you and your relationship. Everyone's normal is different.
My MIL is incredibly eccentric/not normal but I love to her to bits. She treated me like a daughter from the outset, made it clear that she wanted that kind of relationship with me, and this made it possible for us to avoid MIL/DIL pitfalls.
My son has a steady girlfriend and I have always said to her that if I get bossy, over-enthusiastic or start to annoy her in some way then please tell me. I think it also helps to accept that different people have different ways of doing things and there is often no right or wrong way.
For me, one of the key things is to recognise that this is now THEIR life and a MILs role is to listen and advise if asked but never to try to control or to take charge
(Speaking as a DIL can I also point out that MILs who try to manipulate
like mine will always be found out )
Just be yourself. No need to be anything else just because your son is getting hitched.
From what I've seen here on MN the best thing to do is die before you become one!
every any sentence with "You know I'm not one to interfere but. . ."
I'm a MIL to a son-in-law.
I treat him like any other family member and keep my own counsel about DD and his lives - they are adults and don't require my interference.
If they have a baby, do not insist on being present during the birth. Do not feed the baby chocolate / sweets / beer without permission of the parents.
Oh, and by the way, if you have common sense you don't really need to buy a "Guide To" book!
My mil and fil now sadly died had 5 kids. I married their baby son!!
They treated me from day 1 (18) with kindness and care and as another 'one of theirs'.
They always said they had done their parenting and would help advise but only when asked/needed.
I remember vividly driving to my mils with my older 2 as babies and her taking over, sending me to her spare bed with a hot water bottle. She would care for the kids for the day and wake me up with a bacon sandwich.
I guess I am saying just be nice.
I am really looking forward to bring a mil if I can get anyone to marry my sons.
To realise your not in competition for your ds affections.
That his priorities have changed.
Make friends with the gate way to your dgc.
Accept you have gained a daughter and treat her accordingly
never get involved with an argument.
never cause an argument.
I agree with Homebird. My MIL and I are very different but I think we have a really good relationship. No thanks to me and all thanks to her, to be honest.
With us it has been a bit more complicated as my Mum died when I was little and I think MIL has always wanted to fill that role for me, yet being so completely unlike my Mum, I haven't really let her. But things she has done that I have always really appreciated:
- Made sure that my family's holiday traditions have been observed (when spending Easter, Christmas, etc with DH's side)
- Since his family is all boys, she often treats me to girly things e.g. massages - particularly appreciated during extended family get togethers when I can escape for a couple of hours!
- She keeps track of things I like e.g. we usually do self catering holidays and if there is a piece of kitchen equipment in the villa/chalet that I like, she gets it for me (not saying that you have to go out and go wild spending money. I think it just, again, comes back to Homebird's point about your DIL's tastes etc)
- She NEVER gives me advice unless it's solicited
- OTOH if I have a problem she goes to whatever lengths needed to resolve it
- She defers to me regarding DH e.g. she buys him clothes quite regularly, which I love as I hate shopping, but she always checks that it's okay with me that does it
- She has always copied me in on all family related emails. Though probably because I'm way more organised than DH and otherwise we'd never actually make it to aforementioned family events and holidays.
All in all I consider myself very lucky. The only thing she does that bugs me that you could easily avoid...
- Talking about your kids' childhood as if it was the best one in the world EVER. I know she doesn't mean it but to me it feels like she's belittling my own parents.
Congratulations to you all
Ahhh, congratulations to your ds! I love my MIL - she's nothing like me, but I get on with her really well. Things she does:
- always made a point of complimenting me/my parenting/my kids
- never offered advice or her opinion unless it was asked for (it very rarely was!)
- followed my lead on anything to do with our wedding/her grandchildren - even when it was (subtly) clear it wasn't to her taste
- treated me equally to her son (Ito birthday/Christmas presents)I was bemused by this initially but now find it very endearing
She was fabulous in the run up to our wedding - supportive, excited but never interfering, and one of my favourite wedding photos is of the two of us, when she first saw me in my dress <sniff>
Try not to overstay your welcome, by hours and hours when you've "just popped in for a quick coffee" I dread them visiting as it is always a marathon. It would of been lovely to see Mil for a chat but really all day without an invite is just too much.
Listen, care, offer help and have lots going on in your own life.
My own MIL is possessive of DH, to the point where it just pushes me away. She's also only interested in the needs of herself and FIL and they come first, it's as if she wants to recreate their old family unit with my DC.
She's also obsessed with what we're doing, the little every day things, she needs to know everything. She used to call DH around 3 times a day until we kindly told her it was too much. She flounced and now barely calls at all, only to DH when he's at work
DP and I aren't married but I think of his Mum as MIL, she is really lovely, things she does that I appreciate are,
Listen to me, my word is law as far as the kids go, if she has something to say she'll keep shtum or quietly have a word, she won't undermine me in front of the kids.
Offers help, repeatedly, and support. I'm the sort of person that is too embarrassed to ask so MIL offering is always a blessing.
Takes an interest in my life - I mean my hobbies, work etc. it's nice to have a chat with someone about my stuff as well as the kids/DP.
Ultimately she treats me with respect and like I'm part of the family.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
Just remember, her yorkshire puddings and cakes will be better than yours now
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reading all of these posts is making me realise what a tough job being a MIL really is!
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.
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.
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!
Your son chose the woman he wishes to marry. She may not be everything you might want for him, but, she's everything he wants.
Don't ever forget that she is the woman your son loves and wishes to spend the rest of his life with. Whatever you think of her is, at the end of the day, not really relevant. It is essential that you always remember and respect her for this
If they're gay, Lucille, you could still be a MIL. Bizarre comment.
What if your son marries an absolute twat?
Yes, but not to a woman like most who gave commented on this thread.
How lovely of you to be thinking of this. I think being aware & thoughtful means you will be a fabulous MIL. My top tips are
- if your DIL hasn't yet spent a Christmas with you & is going to, ask her whether she has any particular Christmas traditions or favourite foods you could get in to make her feel welcome
- I really appreciate it when my FIL tells me how well he thinks I'm doing to work 4 days a week & parent too
- I really appreciate it when my FIL & MIL say what a great job they think my DH & I are doing with our 2 year old DS
- my MIL & FIL come to stay for the weekend about once a month & I really appreciate it when they offer to babysit one night so DH & I can go out for dinner & to have the monitor overnight so DH & I can have a lie in for a couple of hours. They really enjoy having that time with DS too, as does he.
Never ever book yourself not a hotel/campsite down the road for a fortnight without asking whether it is convenient/ok for you to come and visit.
It's OK, Lucille. You'll doubtless raise a little mummy's boy / misogynist who is utterly repulsive to all women.
I loved my late MIL dearly. She never took sides, unless she felt she could take mine. She never offered advice, but waited to be asked. She never criticized me to DH and never criticized him to me. She made a great effort to get to know my parents and included them in family gatherings (and vice versa) so we never had 'your parent's or mine' problems. She let DH and I raise our children as we saw fit. But in turn we knew that at her house (when we weren't there) it was her rules, which just meant spoiling them a little, nothing really unreasonable, after all a little too much chocolate and staying up late watching TV once in a while won't kill anyone.
On our wedding day, she told me that she felt that if she were to die that day, she would die happy knowing that her son had found me to share his life. When she did die, years later but still much too young, she told me that she still felt the same way. I still miss her.
I got on quite well with my Mil until I had children and she was a bit too eager to share her opinions about my mothering and what I was doing wrong. My advice is to just to relax and be yourself, but if she has kids to think before telling your dil what she should be doing with her baby
This thread has been a reminder to me that my boys are mine only for a short while. I imagine it's tough to let go. :-(
here are a few Don'ts:
- on the wedding day do not interfere by trying to cut the wedding cake
- when their first child is born do not compare baby to a very distant and now dead relative she had never met
- when she suffers terribly from morning sickness do not turn up having just eaten raw garlic
- when she is exhausted do not prattle on endlessly about things that happened to some strangers years ago.
- do not make her wait when picking up the grandchildren.
she appreciates the help but she asked because she has stuff to do and so little time to do it in
- if you ask whether she'd like a particular book for her birthday and she says "no, thank you" it's best not giving her that book.
even better if you don't give her a second copy a year later
And finally DO tell her that you love her and you are happy she is "The One" for your son!
Good luck, you care enough to ask so I'm sure you will be fab!
We have 5 boys - I'll be either the best or the worst MIL!
And for the record I love my MIL - despite the many things she manages to annoy me with!
And I'm only storing the "don'ts" so I can avoid doing the same things
Do not ask for a key to their house.
Do not lift a key from their house and get your own cut from it.
Do not let yourself into the house when you know your son and his wife are out at work, they will know you have been looking through your stuff.
Do not lie about any or all of the above when your DIL takes a morning off work to surprise you when you are looking through their bills in a drawer.
God, this is a depressing thread......
Also don't unwrap their wedding presents whilst they are on honeymoon, though admittedly MIL did this to BIL and SIL, not to DH and I.
Don't, years before your son and dil have even got pregnant, declare that any grandchildren are yours and yours alone. Then when they do get pregnant and tell you at 8 weeks yell, "bags I'm looking after it when you go back to work" and immediately start negotiating how many days a week your dil is going to "give" you the baby. Above all don't talk to your dil through the baby in a silly whiny voice for 2 years. Sure you will be fine. I have boys too and I am planning my cruise when they are grown up.
Wow, there really are some loony MILs out there.
Ilove, it sounds like you are brilliant already. And do remember that it's only natural that, when families get combined, people will inevitably step on each others' toes at some point. Just as long as those incidents are very swiftly forgotten
Do not demand that a particular band play at the wedding reception, then use the money given to you to pay for said band (from her parents) to buy your wedding present for the couple & then ask for more money to pay the band at the wedding reception.
Appreciate, understand & know that your son now had a family of his own to prioritise, support & look after.
It's still ok to ask your son for help, just don't use emotional blackmail & manipulation to get it. And if he says no, accept it & of course be prepared to return the favour.
Your dil is either part of your family / like one of your own or she isn't. You can't pick & choose when it suits or if she says or does something you don't like.
If they have children do not try to name the baby for them (if they ask for suggestions or ideas give them but don't put them on the spot & ask they use a specific name because you like it), don't take over, barge your dil out the way to get to her crying baby first, try to feed the baby things they don't want the lo to have or try to teach or refer to her as anything other than the name by which she wants to be called.
Know when to stop or step back.
Don't expect them to do all the keeping the touch, visiting etc.
To be honest you already sound like a lovely, thoughtful, considerate mil & the fact you are asking the question shows you already care a great deal about this relationship - that's got to be half the battle won already! They're lucky to have you!
Just hope you don't get a dilzilla. If you do, emigrate. There is nothing you can do about it.
Some of these stories are unbelievable! I'm so scared of getting it wrong...
Dilzilla I like it. I wonder if people on Gransnet call their dils that!
Remember that it is her family, not yours, and that you do not get to make decisions about it!
I wonder why people never seem to worry about future sons-in-law on here??
My son-in-law is a fantastic lad and we have a good relationship but DD could easily have fallen for some manipulative brute who tried to control.
Sons or daughters - just treat new in-laws as you would your own offspring!
And let them get on with their own lives!
My MIL is great. She has always been warm, interested in me and my family e.g. sends my mother a thoughtful gift at Christmas and asks about everyone.
She does not interfere but is very willing to help e.g. came to stay for 5 days when DS was a week old , stayed up til 1 am, cooked us a hot meal every evening, held the baby while I slept, hugged me when I cried trying to bf and told me I was a great mum.
She sends occasional emails, but rarely phones as she thinks I'm busy but is always delighted when I phone her and is interested in everything DS does.
She is scared of driving on motorways but when I was pregnant and ill drove a 6 hour round trip in a day to help me move flats with 24 hours notice as DH was not able to help.
I am not sure really.. I guess just be yourself. You raised your son to be someone she would love so it makes sense she would like you too!
My MIL is bloody amazing tbh. I wouldn't say we are incredibly close but I feel completely comfortable with her and have gone out to the theatre etc together just on our own and she is under no illusions that sometimes her darling boy can be a PITA and lets him know so when he whinges..
You sound great, ilove -the fact that you're even thinking about this & asking for ideas shows that you're not the going to be the kind of MIL people start threads complaining about!
I agree about being yourself, but I certainly think there are some things I'll try not to do if I become a MIL. Sadly they're all things that my MIL does / has done, & we have a civil but not very good relationship as a result.
Don't offer constant streams of unsolicited advice. Don't assume that there are whole areas of life, such as housework / sending Christmas cards to all relatives on both sides of the family, that will automatically become your future DIL's responsibility. Don't try to play divide & rule with your son & DIL - eg. trying to work on her about something your son has already said no to. If you have grandchildren, don't assume that major holidays/ special days will all be spent at your home.
I'm sure you'll be absolutely fine - it's just about respecting normal adult boundaries, isn't it? I wish my MIL was as thoughtful as you obviously are.
Wait until you are asked.
If they don't ask for your help in planning the wedding then they probably want your help.
If they don't ask you to visit their house then they probably don't want you to visit.
If they don't ask you to be at the hospital for the birth then they don't want you to be there.
If they don't ask you to come and stay at their house/ in their town when the baby is born then they don't want you to be there.
Oops, they probably Don't want your help planning the wedding.
Massive missed out word problem.
Yes I think people who are concerned about the possibility of problems with their dil are probably less likely to have problems as they will probably approach the relationship more thoughtfully and sensitively than some of the mils mentioned here.
Don't counsell your son on his marriage problems when they happen, don't attempt to counsell your DIL. Stay out of any arguments they may be having, what could just be a small temporar issue could become a huge big interference on your part and result in more damage to their relationship.
Don't read into their Facebook status updates, better still don't let any social media become the main way you keep in touch with their lives.
DH and I were married for a long time before we had ds, so in those nearly 10 years, the things that annoyed me/us were:
not being interested in our work lives, but esp mine
going on and on about their friends/other childrens babies
not being delighted for us when we relocated for my work - it was fab for us, but they seemed to regard it as an inconvenience
being expected to drop everything for their family events then being ignored
Never addresses things to my correct name
Be true to your word - if you promise something, follow through
Remember all responsibility for stuff does not transfer to dil - your son is still responsible for cards/presents etc
I'm jealous of the pp whose mil said "Bags I'm doing the childcare when you go back to work!"
Look, MiLs are people. They get some stuff wrong, and some stuff right, Just like anyone else. When they get stuff wrong, like anybody else, it's probably cock up rather than conspiracy. Cut them some slack. My mil can be a pain in the neck. But so can everyone else I know. She can be fantastic. Just like everyone else I know. When a friend gets so etching wrong, I try to forgive and move on, as I would expect a friend to do for me. Ditto MIL. Thy aren't a different species- they are people. Frail, fallible people. Who love their sons. Just like you love yours.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I'm trying to think what else I do/don't do, already...
To be honest, I really do treat her as one of my own - well, the older ones anyway! She has open access to the kitchen/drinks/etc while she's here, we'll happily take two cars to places if she's joining us on a trip out, and 100% intend to treat her parents as family too - she's an "only" so regarding the wedding, unless I'm asked then I'll keep right out of it - we will offer to help of course, and I'll definitely check which colour her mum/bridesmaids are wearing so that I don't clash, but other than that it is totally their day and their decisions.
Gosh, it is a total bloody minefield!
Babies I will def keep schtum about - she has that illness that the heel prick test as a baby detects, meaning that if she can get pregnant it is very risky - so again, there if they need and want our support, otherwise keeping right out of it!
Doesn't stop me worrying about putting my foot/feet in it though...
I feel so sorry for some of you
Shall I adopt you?
If she goes back to work never ever ask her or your DS why she doesn't gopart timer leave work ness you are going to ask why your DS doesn't do the same.
If she decides to stay at home never ever ask her when she intends to go back.
Don't offer any advice or experience on how a baby should be fed unless they ask.
Don't make a nursery in your house, don't suggest that the baby stay over night with you.
How a bout? Don't assume cos you recognise yourself on MumsNet that it's me bitching about you . <really trying to be lighthearted, not suggesting OP bitches at all about anybody>
I get on brilliantly with my MIL.
She has never judged me, listened, laughed and plied me with wine from day one. I love her.
Don't tell your DIL she might not be able to have children!
Augustwedding I haven't! I've never mentioned it to her!
Her Mum told me...
How about treating other people like you would like to be treated.
It really shouldn't be any more complicated.
Oh ilove I meant that what my mil said to me! We haven't even started trying yet so no idea if well have issues!
Offer to babysit, often!
Some people have a fabulous relationship with their MIL. Some may prefer them to their mother, even if their mother is lovely too.
Remember that you don't have to have this to consider your relationship a success. you don't have to be best mates or her mum. She may not be looking for either.
Look to develop the relationship you have already, providing it's happy enough.
My FIL is lovely: warm, generous, caring, brilliant with DC.
My MIL has no generosity of spirit, she has never offered any help of any sort, even as basic as setting a table for a meal. She has no warmth, just talks about herself & doesn't engage with DC.
OP, you sound lovely. Your family are lucky to have you x
Based on this week alone:
Don't turn up a couple of hours earlier than arranged. It's not 'a nice surprise', it's rude.
Use the word thank you. For small things as well as things like being taken out for lunch. And on being taken out for lunch, don't order a ploughmans and complain it comes with salad
When you've been told to make yourself at home (as you are/do every visit), do not complain that no one has made you a cup of tea. That latter is particularly important when someone has just slaved to make you a massive cooked breakfast
and you've eaten at least four people's worth of scrambled eggs
Don't drink too much when your dil/ds take you out to a party. Don't spout inane drivel and trap people that can't escape. Don't accuse someone who has a serious illness of 'making it up for sympathy because they've had too much to drink'.
Don't walk into the room where your dil is quietly watching television and demand to be told how to turn 'that crap' off
something you could manage if sober I'm sure, and don't throw your dil out of rooms in her own house.
Those are just some of the things mil managed this week, and she wonders why they're not invited more often
When DIL is 4 months pg with much wanted DGC2 don't suggest that "it's not too late for an abortion" because you think everyone in the world should only have 1 child (apart from you who had 3 ).
We are divorced and she slags me off to anyone who will listen
Op you sound lovely.
Things guaranteed to annoy any DIL:
Don't takeover her wedding and insist and make sure she wears a dress that you chose.
Don't tell her everyday from engagement to wedding to months afterwards how lucky she is to be joining your family.
Don't keep telling her about all the other girls you rather your son had married.
Don't tell her what to wear.
Don't insist on being at the birth.
Don't insist that the first born has a name you have chosen.
Don't expect her to get on her hands and knees and wash your floors when she's six months pregnant.
Don't try and toilet train the 6 week old grandchild by holding them over the toilet.
Don't slyly phone your son to whine and cry about how DIL has done no housework today because she is pregnant.
Don't expect the wedding presents the happy couple get to be given to you (money and all) so that you can have first dibs on everything because your mother of the groom.
All of the above is a tiny tiny example of my own MIL. Basically just be a lovely, normal person, treat her with kindness and love and you should get the same back. I have tried for so any years to get along with PIL's but they are very hard work and just when I think we have turned a corner- they go back to being horrid again.
Oh and I forgot- whether the first grandchild is a girl or boy don't show disappointment. Mine didn't see dd1 for almost 8 weeks after she was born because she was a girl and she needed time to "come to terms with it".
I seem to have opened a real can of worms with this thread - it certainly wasn't my intention. I'll be just as nervous being a MIL when my dd gets married - but I have 3 boys and one girl, and desperately want my daughter in laws to feel absolutely a part of the family.
The thought that they may feel unwelcome or uncomfortable here is so upsetting
To those who think this thread is a joke/ridiculous/sexist, it really wasn't meant like that. I simply wanted honest advice
When a grand child's name is announced (pre or post-natally) the only correct response is to smile and say, oh how lovely, or oh it really suits them. Practise, and put feeling into it. If you reveal inadvertently that you dislike the name they WILL remember forever.
My MIL is just really kind. When we had our DC1 she came to stay with us and was much better than my own mum was tbh (whole different story there!) Arrival of a baby post-CS was a shocker for me. I seemed to cry every evening when the colicky witching hour hit but she never made me feel judged. I was judging myself so harshly but all she did was encourage me and be empathetic. I will always love her for that.
By the way just saw your last post. I haven't read the whole thread but I totally understand why you asked the question - lots of awful MIL / DIL threads on MN. Ignore the joke / sexist comments - it is a very tricky relationship to get right and I think it's great you have asked for opinions
don't fret over the arangements for the wedding and who they invite on your side. and when the couple have decided something together, do not pressure your son (or daughter) to change their minds and put them in the middle of two people they do not want to upset. mil did this and it ruined our relationship. it never fully recovered. (exh had a part in it as well)
don't pressure them to see you at christmas. let them know that you would love to see them but that they are not to feel pressured to do so. my parents did this and it really helped not to feel torn between two sets of parents.
offer dil alternatives when asking to visit after a birth.
I think you might be over thinking things. If she likes you and you like her you'll get on, regardless of your MIL status, and if you don't you won't. I don't gel at all with my MIL but that's because we have nothing in common, not because of the fact she happens to be my MIL. I do feel jealous of people who Get on with their MILs...it must make family life a lot easier!
I wouldn't want to be presented with a list of promised MIL behaviour on my "big day". Sorry, but I'd either cringe or think my MIL was spending too much time thinking about herself!
You don't sound like that, please don't take that personally! But it's definitely how I'd feel.
Just be a decent, caring, sensitive person - job done.
I second not actually giving her some kind of written promise. Things can change.
The fact you're even giving the matter so much thought is surely a good sign.
My MIL was fine till we had children. Then in the early days she was incredibly critical of me, even over small things. At one point she said, as she passed me, 'She (me) doesn't even know what to do with him (10 day old baby) when he's awake'. It was just unnecessary and stupid.
I think if you just respect each other's views and listen to each other you'll do fine. I think it would be worth it because ultimately you'll get to know more about the little things your grandchildren get up to.
Don't display wedding photo from your son' first marriage proudly in your kitchen, but no wedding day photo from his current marriage to dil...
Do not refuse to accept your son's divorce and call his second wife by his first wife's name for the rest of your life. My grandparents did this to my uncle.
Do not, on the night when your son and dil bring their ebf pfb home from hospital, stay at their house and go into their bedroom in the middle of the night and take ebf pfb from dil to try and settle him.
Not that I'm bitter...
Just sit. Don't move. Don't do anything unless you have specific instructions.
You will then be accused of not lifting a finger- but sins of omission are not as bad as sins of commission. Usually.
If they do have kids and either your son or his wife asks you nicely and specifically not to buy something for the kids/not to let them watch, do or eat certain stuff - comply with that request, or be prepared for future angst.
Also, might be wise - if she is having a fairly trad wedding look - not to turn up in floor length ivory to the wedding. I would have appreciated that little courtesy from my mother in law...
And under no circumstances ever ask if your grandchildren can come to stay. This is taking over- and you've had your turn with your own children. Wait until your're specifically asked to look after them. Then drop everything. Never show the slightest hint that you might like having your grandchildren round- that is pretending to be their mother, and, as has been said, you've had your chance.
We could just emigrate after the wedding...!!!
I think one thing is to recognise the importance and potential of your relationship with her - so like someone said to treat her as "one of yours" - just like a daughter - or at least to have such a relationship open to her as much as she wants/accepts
I think it can be great to feel you almost have another mother, and certainly another granny for your children. And for the MIL to feel that her family has grown - as the cliche goes, not losing a son, but gaining a daughter
Congratulations & Good luck
You sound like a great MIL to me
My MIL is definitely the better Mother than my own mum. We could have had a really good relationship if she hadn't been so critical. I'm pretty sure there's no reason why you can't get on with your DIL if you're both reasonable people.
Congratulations! I think some of the comments may be taking the shine off this for you.
Curlew - really? What is wrong with any grandparent wanting to have their grandchildren over to play at their house. I'd be sad if both sets didn't ask. Why should the relationship be so one way - a grandparent can't possibly ask to spend time with their grandchild but should immediately drop all their plans if the DIL asks. My parents & in-laws both love having DS to stay & means my DH & I have had some lovely lie-ins after child-few weddings. Just because a grandparent raised their own children why shouldn't they want & enjoy their grandchildren staying occasionally? Seems a pretty selfish approach for a DIL to me.
Sorry "child-free" weddings - not child-few whatever that may be!
ilove you sound like you will be a lovely mil.
damnitchloe think tongue in cheek.
My mil is adored and thought of like a mum to all four of us D-i-ls. She is nearly eighty and I nicknamed her 'Ma Baker'
She never ever interferes or takes sides but does give her opinion for you to either take on board or ignore , she leaves that up to you entirely. She never ever says ' I told you so ' either if she was right.
If any of us go round after a tiff with one of her sons , rather than leap to his defence she will sit there for hours if necessary listening to you calling him fit to burn and even join in with the occasional 'Oh yes DS1/2/3/4 always was an awkward/stubborn/grumpy/insert relevant bad trait , so and so , even as a child.
I luffs my ma-in law she is great.
Thanks Bodypopper. Hope so. There are such sad things about MILs on what was started as a lovely thread - it's hard to tell!
Threads on puppies kissing butterflies could go bad on aibu.
That's why it's brilliant.
Don't wear black to the wedding.
Or indeed any colour until you've checked with your future Dil that it's OK............
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 well 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.
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
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.
You sound lovely and thoughtful.
It's very sweet that you want to please but don't try too hard just be yourself.
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?
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!
Should also add that I love my DIL dearly - she is absolutely perfect for my DDS
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!!!
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?
<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!
My MIL is gold. Keeps her own counsel, but is quietly consistently supportive.
Congratulations to you all op
Be a wise crone?
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.
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 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.
Live abroad and have many diamonds that you are happy to part with
Oh dear RonaldMcDonald I have failed already then!
Take a look at thread on AIBU, its pro mil .
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 food....you 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 ) 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.
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...
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
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