to ask you to help me put together my guide to being a fab MIL?(213 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...
I have been a MiL for 25 years. My advice is never forget that she is a person in her own right. She is not a surrogate daughter, my sons wife, the mother of your grandchildren. If you ever introduce her to other people, use her name. Respect that she is an intelligent woman and treat her as such. If you start of second guessing your behaviour and fretting about every conversation you will never really enjoy her company,
I have 2 Dils and a SIL, they are great. My DiLs call me by my first name, my SIL calls me Mum. They treat me with respect and friendship, for which I am eternally grateful. I am sure I have said or done things over the years that have irritated. They have been very kind Iand never reacted.
My advice would be as based on my own own experience with my mil and like pp is get to know her on a one to one basis. This is something my mil has never made the effort to do. She didn't even bother to get involved in the wedding planning or show any interest. Because she has a dd she doesn't feel the need to include me in things. However sil does a lot with her mil going out for meals with them without her parent and calling round. Sil is good for making the effort and involved me and done stuff on a one to one basis.
Include her in family get togethers and group conversations (my mil often left us and moved from our table and just completely excluded us me and DS1& DS2 on several family dos)
When they have children make the effort to see them don't leave it for weeks on end and ask how they are doing( mil hasn't seen DC for 6weeks and even handed ds2 his birthday presents to Sil)
If you have a dd and she has DC don't favour them over your DS and DILs DC it's bloody hurts and causes a lot of ill feeling watching your DC not even been acknowledged.
Don't take sides in arguments they may have try and stay neutral.
I'm expecting my second (and last) baby, another boy, and this thread has honestly made me cry. Why is everyone so unfair to mothers of sons? Don't talk to your son about issues, send him home to his wife first - could you imagine the uproar if it was your daughter and you refused to speak to her? Let him go, he has other priorities - again, if you have a daughter this is not the case, you are welcome to nurture and support her for the rest of her life. No wonder no-one wants all sons anymore in western culture. Other cultures are more inclusive of mum and they want boys. Going to have a pregnancy hormone induced cry now at the unfairness of it all and the likelihood of a difficult and lonely later years
So jealous of everyone with lovely MILS. Mine is MIL from hell.
Could write a book.
Just a few 'what not to do's':
- Don't not listen and bring every conversation back to yourself.
- Don't refer to your DS as 'the little one' or 'the wean' and yourself as mammy and your DH as daddy to constantly reinforce your 'unit' of three. Your DS is repulsed by it.
- Don't offer to put together a wedding album for DS and DIL then not feature DIL 'til halfway through - including many repeat prints of just you and DS - and also selecting the least flattering photos of DIL
- Don't develop a blatant, white hot jealousy re DILs family and act like they're a taboo subject
- Don't try and repeatedly lay down the law re your expected significant, daily involvement re DGC when DS and DIL are expecting their first (long-awaited-after-several-losses baby)
- Don't show zero empathy to said DIL re said previous losses, and refer to imminent arrival as 'my baby', and say to DIL she will have a fight on her hands with you over baby, and you will repeat 'granny' incessantly so that it's DC's first word
- Don't lift DILs top up to reveal bare, 8 month pregnant belly to FIL and state 'see she's not just fat' (despite DIL being much, much slimmer than you and far from 'fat')
Fwiw OP you sound lovely and I doubt you'll have anything to worry about.
Treat your children fairly and likewise any grandchildren. My husband is close to walking away from his parents/sister completely because he can't bare how differently they are treated (I could write entire threads on this topic sadly).
Be interested in their lives. Don't treat her like she is taking your son away (my inlaws actually used this line!!). Talk to her! Make sure she knows you are looking forward to adding to your family by her joining rather than loosing your son.
I know full well that I'm very likely to be unable to do right for doing wrong as a MIL!!!
Why would you think this? There isn't a mother in law script you have to follow.
I love my MIL. I liked her a lot before we married but in the years following I grew to genuinely love her.
She is herself. She doesn't try to be "mother in law" she is the same lovely woman with me as she is with everyone. So we have no problems. Ditto I am the same with her as I am with everyone.
I consider her one of the chief supports in my life. I love her dearly. I would do anything for her. Sometimes she bugs the shit out of me. So do most of the people I love actually - even dh.
Don't overthink it. Be yourself.
Just be as nice as you can be, show as much real warmth as you can. Attitude is probably the most important thing!
Being a mil won't be so bad. Me and my own mil have a fab relationship recently we had a few words over a couple of things but it was resolved in under 24 hours we went and enjoyed a coffee the following day it was great. Be open to telling dil if she's upset you and be open to hearing it back. I only told my mil the things I did as I regard her as a 2nd mum since my own mum died and although things that were said upset us both we are thick as theives again.
Being a mil probably gets harder when there are gc involved I certainly know that when my dd was born I pulled away from my OHs family I don't know why because but I think I felt threatened. He has a brother and a sil who don't get to see dd very often so when they do sometimes they take over but their heart is in the right place they like to share every holiday where I tend to be a bit more private (I've always been this way) but we are all muddling along and learning together everyone has disagreements from time to time and sometimes the closer you are to a person the more squabbles you will has but it's not because you hate the person it's because you feel comfortable in sharing your feelings with them. Good luck to you! X
Drop the suffix...treat her as your daughter. I found that my MIL cared for me as a daughter, a best friend...not just seeing me as an extension of her DS! Always fair in siding with me when I was in right and equally telling me when I was being unreasonable ( which is exactly how my own DM treats me) Unfortunately I lost my MIL last year and it saddens me that my daughters will grow up without knowing this funny, caring,fashionable, hip hop liking, getting presents right every time because she listened and got to know people, simply beautiful lady!
What a lovely idea to make your future Daughter (in law) feel welcome and assured, good luck with your project...just write what comes from the ❤️
Don't interfere but do let her know she's welcome to come to you for advice or just to talk.
My MIL is great. She let us get on with planning our wedding, never butted in but I know If I'd asked she would have helped in an instant. Same with pregnancy and raising children, she let's us get on with it. I assume she has opinions on how we do things but she keeps them to herself.
I couldn't love her any more for this.
The only thing that does annoy me is how she thinks because we have a boy and girl we shouldn't want more children. We do, not yet though, I fear telling her.
the wedding is a week tomorrow...time has flown...
I'd never dream of telling her, or her children, that they aren't real family! How awful!
Be like my mil, she is amazing! We butted heads over daft things in the very early days but I couldn't ask for better. She would do anything for my kids and they adore her. She treats me as one of her own and has endless love and affection
Haven't read the full thread. My two pence worth is this (based on my experiences):
- don't tell dil that you don't consider her to be family anymore (especially when she's visiting you at Christmas in your home country and it's the first time she's been away from her family on Christmas...) very specific that one
- when grandkids come along don't tell her that you don't consider baby to be to be your "real" grandchild.
Actually reading this thread made me able to put my finger on why I don't get on great with mine! She is a kind person, but she really doesn't listen to what I say at all, she has never asked about my hobbies or interests, she has set parenting views which she tries to impose on me, and in general I get the feeling I am nothing more to her than her DS's wife, with no real deeper thinking that I am an actual human with my own life and thoughts.
So the wedding is 6 weeks away, and I have no idea where the hell to find anything half decent to wear <sobs>
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
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.
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.
-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.
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 ..
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.
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