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...to ask how to appreciate my MIL?

(22 Posts)
magicalmilkmachine Fri 23-Dec-16 19:40:37

MIL is amazing. She loves and respects and supports DH and me; she dotes on dd; she's unbelievably generous and selfless without any games or manipulation.

She's in her late 70s. She spent the morning trooping through town to get our turkey from the butcher (we're with them for a week over Christmas) - she wouldn't let me go I suspect because it was expensive and she didn't want me to try to contribute to it. She came home and made cups of tea and chatted with a friend (of mine) who dropped in to visit us. Friend has a newborn and a lot of anxiety - MIL told lots of stories about her own parenting mishaps and made us all giggle. Then she helped me with some tricky knitting for a last minute gift for dd. She's been going pretty much all day, fending off offers of help, playing with dd, doing Christmas Day prep...I could go on and on and on.

I just made her uncomfortable I think by giving her a hug and telling her I was so grateful for her. She swatted me off and said something jokey and it was really awkward and I instantly regretted it. She's told me before that she doesn't like "soppy" things, but I did it without thinking because I was just hit by a wave of gratitude for her.

If you're that type of person - a don't like soppy stuff type - is there a good way to let you know how very appreciated you are without embarrassing you or making you cringe?

feliznavidadatodos Fri 23-Dec-16 19:54:15

Never be embarrassed to tell people how much you love or appreciate them.

When she's gone you'll be glad you did.

Many people don't get the chance to say what they feel.

You also sound lovely yourself, OP smile

TrustySnail Fri 23-Dec-16 19:55:41

I find hugging and sentimental personal compliments uncomfortable to receive (though I'd always do my best to disguise this, as beneath the embarrassment would be appreciation of the person's meaning, and hopefully the same is true of your MIL as she sounds a lovely person). I would say, avoid hugging and be quite factual in your praise - 'thank you for cheering my friend up - I could see your stories really took her mind off her anxiety' sort of thing.

phlebasconsidered Fri 23-Dec-16 19:55:56

It's so nice to see a positive mil thread. My mil is amazing. She does my school pick up 4 times a week, walks my dog and irobs, hoovers. My kids adore her and I rely on her. She never oversteps the mark and doesn't demand recognition or gratitude.

This year we have purchased her a week end away with us. I will be with the kids and she can go out for a meal with dh after we've had a good day out one of the nights. I really appreciate her but I also appreciate she is a mum, and she'd love a meal with dh. The second night we'll do whatever but I suspect she'll offer to babysit!
.
I love her to bits.

Offer her a night out. With you all of just you / you and Dh/ dh. Book a break away where she can relax. I'm hoping mil will have a massage / sauna with me when we are away. But most of all, just tell her. I never had a good mum, no motherly figures once my nana died. I really appreciate my mil. I once tried to tell her but she just gave me cake. I know she was pleased though!

girlelephant Fri 23-Dec-16 19:57:03

Personally I love a hug! Can you write a nice message in her Christmas card? Or if not send her a nice note after Christmas. It's then up to her to process it and respond in a way she's comfortable.

She sounds lovely as do you!

Aftertheraincomesthesun Fri 23-Dec-16 19:57:32

My wonderful MIL died this year. I told her I loved her and that she was the best MIL in the world. I miss her terribly.

Yorkie78 Fri 23-Dec-16 20:00:05

Mine is the same & despite the protestations similar to the ones you describe I can see my MIL glow with pleasure when I say it & go to give her a hug. After a really traumatic experience with our first daughter's birth & her devotion to being there for me (my mum couldn't be as present for various reasons) I wrote her a card. It was mushy. I meant every word. We never talked about it, she just gave me a hug to say she'd read & appreciated it. A silent thanks?

Notonthestairs Fri 23-Dec-16 20:03:15

Ah she sounds wonderful. Lovely to read. Nothing wrong with telling her how you feel but a note she can read in private and/or a meal out with you or DH sounds brilliant ideas.

IndieBamBindi Fri 23-Dec-16 20:16:12

Believe me, however she may have outwardly acted, she would have loved it. And gone home beaming to herself that you truly do appreciate her and she's loved.
Don't feel embarrassed.

thisismyfirsttime Fri 23-Dec-16 20:31:33

I think when it's awkward to tell someone how you feel about them in a loving way you should clear a time for just you and them (a glass of wine poured away from the rest of the family if she drinks? A quick call of 'can you help me with xyz' in one if the bedrooms when she has a quiet moment?) and then to say the soppies (I really want you to know I appreciate this and that/ am so glad you're my mil/ words that you want to say). When she bats it away and jokes you then get jokey with her too, like 'ahh, I know! Sorry! But I just think you're amazing!' Accompanied by a big MWAH! On the cheek or bear hug and then laughing and moving off to join everyone else. Leaves none of the awkward afters but she knows you love her.

April229 Fri 23-Dec-16 21:13:45

I think definitely something written after Christmas telling her how much you appreciate everything she does, something she can read without an audience and any pressure to respond. She'll be really greatful. The meal is a nice idea or something luxurious that she wouldn't buy for herself?

pithivier Fri 23-Dec-16 21:15:11

I am not sure you need to do anything more than you are doing. Never underestimate the value of giving your time to someone. You gave her an opportunity today to be of value. I am 70 and know how nice it is to occasionally do the looking after, rather than being looked after.

CalorieCreditEqualsCake Fri 23-Dec-16 21:16:52

Well that made me feel emosh!

How very very lovely.

WantToRunAgain Fri 23-Dec-16 21:18:48

What a lovely OP - I truly hope that I can have that kind of relationship with my DILs in future. How special smile.

magicalmilkmachine Fri 23-Dec-16 22:00:28

Thank you all for your lovely replies. She really is great.

I'm conscious that I'm naturally a huggy person and am happy saying 'nice' things to people, but I don't want to just impose that on MIL because she has been really clear that she isn't keen.

I think a card to read in private might be a good idea, and I think it's a good suggestion to be specific about the things she's done and steer away from sentiment, that might feel more comfortable to process.

ootsideinbacktaefront Fri 23-Dec-16 22:07:59

she will be well chuffed don't worry.

SheepyFun Fri 23-Dec-16 22:09:38

As someone who is naturally reserved, and doesn't really appreciate hugs (DH and DD excepted!), what I would appreciate is understated verbal thanks or a card. Hope that helps!

BIgBagofJelly Fri 23-Dec-16 22:11:17

I'd be embarrassed and awkward about it if you did that to me but I'd also be privately touched and happy you'd said it.

KellyBoo800 Fri 23-Dec-16 22:51:28

Im another with an amazing MIL who is not into soppiness either. I have in the past couple of years swayed her a bit - she'll always give me a kiss goodbye on the cheek when she leaves and even tells me she loves me! This has happened very gradually and naturally though so I can't remember how.

When I get those little waves of gratitude, I'll often say to her "You know what - most people bloody hate their MIL's, but mines alright" and give her a wink. Make light of it but the sentiment is still there!

Crumbs1 Fri 23-Dec-16 22:52:44

She might not be a huggy person but once on her own she'll be smiling away to herself.

SquiffyAtBreakfastOnEggnog Fri 23-Dec-16 22:57:04

She sounds like one in a MILlion!

Stefoscope Sat 24-Dec-16 00:26:37

Is your DD old enough to help you make a nice thank you card or similar to send to her? I reckon she would like that

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