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The Perfect MIL

(44 Posts)
OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 20-Aug-08 02:20:11

Ok ladies, here's your chance. grin

I have two (young) adult sons and at some point I'm going to be a MIL (or equivalent) to another woman. How does the perfect MIL behave?

ninedragons Wed 20-Aug-08 04:10:57

I like my MIL. She doesn't act like I have stolen her only son from her. She is delighted to offer advice and help, but only when asked - she doesn't just stick her oar in. For example, DD is very pale and I asked her to send me some infant sunblock (we are in China, and I live in fear of finding out the local stuff is full of lead and diethelyne glycol). She put two bottles of Ambre Solaire in express post the next day, but she would never have just posted them unsolicited with a note saying I should take proper precautions against the sun.

She was absolutely thrilled that I am breastfeeding (at least partially - ECS meant my boobs never really took off on that front) but didn't say before the birth well, ninedragons, I trust you are not going to formula-feed my granddaughter.

She also has a very dry sense of humour, which I enjoy.

ghosty Wed 20-Aug-08 04:50:02

envy at ninedragons' MIL ...

I would like my MIL to at least remember my DCs birthdays and put some thought into what to get them at christmas. MIL has never once bought them anything that she has thought, "Oh, DGS would like that ....". She always rings me and says she can't think of anything, can I tell her what to get or could I get it on her behalf ... and then she gets arsey if we don't thank her enough for it hmm

I would LOVE it if my MIL could invite us to stay and then actually buy food in for us to eat (rather than send us to the supermarket to get our own food when we arrive after an 8 hour journey angry.

I would love my MIL to want to come and see us.

I would like it if MIL would actually make an effort to make us feel welcome in her house after she invites us (rather than moan about the children needing to eat or have a bath)

twentypence Wed 20-Aug-08 05:21:31

My MIL talks to whoever answers the phone for a chat rather than asking for dh. I like that.

I like the fact that she rings for a chat and offers to bring around food when we are all ill.

eandh Wed 20-Aug-08 06:52:42

My MIL is fab 95% of the time

Looks after the dd's one day a week so I can go to work and not pay childcare (and they live in remote vilalge and she doesnt drive but will take them for nature walks or to feed the horses etc)

If we turn up on a sunday and she cooking lunch she'll invite us to stay and magically makes a dinner for 3 (her, fil and her mum lives with them) strech to 7 or if sil and bil and 2dc turn up she can make 1 chicken strech to 11 people!

She doesnt interfere at all (although there was a problem with dh that I aksed for their help and they did sort of help)

She always asks/knows what to get the dd's for xmas/birthdays (used to have a bit of a n issue that neice/nephewgot more £'s spent on them but thats stopped now) also she used to buy neice/nephew new toys for when she looke dafter them 1 day a week when sil worked (they are 7 and 9 now so at school) and she never used to get mine anything but lately I've seen new colouring books, new baby for dd2 to play with etc etc

When sil fell pregnant accidentally at 19, pil's were unphased let sil and her boyfriend (now husband) move back in with them and jus got on with it

When both the dd's were born she got a present for me as wella s baby to say thankyou for another grandchild

Shes so chilled out nothing phases her ever

Shes not a 'chatty phone' person but she is on internet (very good at it) and will msn/im most days or text

Loads of other things but basically she is lovely and the dd's and I are lucky to have them in our lives

The only thing that really really bugs me is that she has had neice/nephew to stay at least 2 weekends a month since they have been born, they have ours about twice a year and then it always seems we need to pick them up early or it clashes with something (but I am very lucky that I have fab parents who do lots for us and equally as good il's to dh and grandparent to dd's and they have them overnight every 6-8 weeks and mum looks after the dd's the other day I work)

sweetgrapes Wed 20-Aug-08 07:06:57

Or if you can't follow all the other suggestions, then be like mine. 5000 miles away !! from the interfering old biddy !!!

Tigerschick Wed 20-Aug-08 07:26:44

My MIL is great, too. smile
She somehow manages to let me know that she is there, willing and able to help, but never pushes herself forward.
She is very chilled out and is under no illusions about her son.
She always thinks of what to get DD for presents but also checks if there was something that we had in mind before she buys anything.
She is happy to chat to me on the phone and, if she has something important to tell us she will ask to speak to me as she says she can trust me to tell DH all the details but she's not sure he'll do the same! Also, if she knows that I am in alone, she will sometimes ring for a chat, not for anything in particular.
We are always made to feel very welcome in their home and nothing is too much bother.

She doesn't drive and lives too far away to just drop in unannounced - another big plus grin

ninedragons Wed 20-Aug-08 07:52:09

Oooh yes, eandh reminded me, she sent flowers when DD was born and the card was addressed to me and said 'thank you for our beautiful granddaughter'. She actually makes a point of thanking me when I send photos of DD, rather than having all our communication relayed through my DH. Our relationship is still a little formal - I have been with DH for eight years but we have always lived overseas so I have never seen very much of her.

Before you all get too jealous, you should know that FIL (dropped out of university) is in the habit of telling me (two postgraduate degrees, excellent job that I love thank you very much) what I should do. At great length. I mean REALLY great length.

That is another thing MIL does right - she keeps FIL on a short leash grin

Celery Wed 20-Aug-08 08:14:38

My MIL is irritating a lot of the time, but right now she is being pretty darn perfect. She is collecting and taking the children, one at a time, to stay at her house for a few days, taking it in turns, for the entire summer holiday. I don't have to spend much time with her, but she is being enormously helpful. She has never told me how to parent my children, she's let me make my own mistakes. She doesn't offer help very often - but always does during the summer holidays, because she knows that is when I need it most - but will help when asked. She keeps a respectful distance, but is there when we need her.

2point4kids Wed 20-Aug-08 08:35:19

My Mil is great.
I think the key to being a good Mil is to offer help but not interfere.
Mil treats me like a member of the family, not just her son's wife iyswim. She will phone me for a chat knowing he is out or to ask me how a metting went that I might have told her about when I saw her last.
She always makes any of us feel welcome at her house and is fantastic with the boys. She isnt up to looking after them a lot as its too much work for her, but she will always help if I need her to and makes it clear often that she is always able to help in an emergency or even if I just need a break occasionally.

I've got 2 boys and I think when I am a Mil, I will try and be similar to my own Mil. Treat my Dil's as if they were my own daughters and not just a way of getting to spend time with my sons or grandchildren (I think thats where a lot of Mil's go wrong!)

PinkyDinkyDooToo Wed 20-Aug-08 10:29:35

I have two boys too, OldLAdy, so will one day find myself in this position.

My MIL is great generally, she is not too pushy and is there when I need her. THe only thing I wish she wouldn't do is let DS's sip her g&t and feed them crap that I've asked her not to. I'm more worried about my DH being an awful FIL, I can see him turning into his Dad, who totally does my head in

Poledra Wed 20-Aug-08 10:43:07

My MIL is fabulous too, and most of the things other folk have said here apply to her. She sent me flowers on the birth of each of her gds. She chats to me when I answer the phone. She will phone me and ask what the children are currently interested in before going and looking for gifts for them. I have known her for 13 years and she always remembers my bday and sends me thoughtful gifts. She respects the way we are bringing up our dds and sticks to our rules (mostly, but of course spoils them sometimes). She does not think her son is perfect. Basically, she is interested in me as a person, not just her son's wife and gds' mother.

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Wed 20-Aug-08 10:43:35

my mil is also nice but there are some things she does that annoy me. so if you want to be a good mil dont...
excuse the fact your sons are more than useless at helping in the home by saying "oh he has always been that way <start using voice normally kept for babies> havent you son, you just need some one to look after you" hmm
go on and on about modern buggys and how they are no good <unless you want your dil to ask if you would like to buy her a new one>
dont push veggies on an underweight gc who has no problem eating veg and needs protien and fat <i.e. the meat mil just told her she could leave if she ate all her veg>
dont insinuate that your dil cannot and does not cook because chances are you son is lying to egt you to cook for him.
if you are going to cook meals to bring around make enough for whole family and not just your son <though to be fair she sometimes does make enough for all of us and it is lovely>
dont erxpect your dil to sort out your sons medical things i.e. prescriptions just because you were willing to it for them. dil will be under the firm belief that they are old enough to do it themselves
and finanlly your dil will know better than you what her own child is capable of eating so dont undermine her the minute her back is turned and feed her dd tinned spag instead of your lovely home made curry because the curry would be too hot, especially when dil is normally there she insisits that dd have the curry because she likes it so much

but other than that she is lovely. she is great with kids she just has some very old fashioned ideas.

coppertop Wed 20-Aug-08 10:43:57

My MIL is lovely. When we got married she told me that she hadn't lost a son but had instead gained a new daughter.

We don't see her very often but I know that if we ever needed her she would do whatever she could to help.

She also always tells us what a fantastic job we've done with our children. <preen>

TeeBee Wed 20-Aug-08 10:51:35

The perfect mother-in-law would not hover at the back of queues if you are going somewhere together so she doesn't have to pay her way! Or go to the toilet when the bill is arriving after a dinner.

allbungedup Wed 20-Aug-08 10:54:25

I love my MIl
she is just great
always gets dd presents she actually want through collusion with me
always offers to babysit on birthdays, wedding anniversaries
will cat sit at the drop of a hat
fills the fridge for us when we come back from holiday
buys me plants if she happens to be a at a garden centre
gets excited when i cook dinner for her and FIL
Knows exactly what dh is like and generally agrees with me when he goes into spoilt teenager mode
is supportive of me going back to work
is a fab role model as she is 73 and still works part time in a proper job andis independant and does loads of fund raising fo charity
also can see nonsense for what it is and doesn't feed frenzy
calls a spade a spade.

ranting Wed 20-Aug-08 10:58:00

My mil is great too, what makes her perfect?

She'll put herself out to help us out if we have childcare issues and she lives a 40 minute drive away, but she'd still be perfect even if she didn't do this.

She makes me feel like I am part of the family as opposed to the woman who stole her son and I think that's the secret to a good mil. I really do think it's that simple. And as someone else said when she phones, she will speak to whoever picks up the phone, she won't automatically ask for dh.

ranting Wed 20-Aug-08 10:59:22

Oh and my ds is not actually her gs but, you wouldn't know it. She treats him as her own and I believe that she 'feels' that he is her gs.

BlingLovin Wed 20-Aug-08 11:05:56

I think a key one is that she doesn't think DP is perfect - someone else said that earlier! Mine recently sat DP down to tell him, in all seriousness (a few months before we get married) that he needs to understand that if he argues with me, she's going to have to support me because she thinks that a)I'm good for him b)I'm more rational and c) he can be a bit OTT. grin.

lilymolly Wed 20-Aug-08 11:07:45

Mine is great too

Helps but does not interfere
Buys food when we get back from holiday
Buys the best xmas/b day pressies- puts thought into them
Bakes me quiches and pies etc
Will look after dd at the dopr of a hat
Loves me more than dp grin well take my side anyway!

She has her little quirks like, egg white on nappy rash hmm and has some very old fashioned ideas.

She can be very shy and quiet which I take as her being upset with me.
This happened recently and we have since found out she has to have a hysterectomy for suspected uterine cancer which is very very sad sad

So I hope to rally around as much as I can to help her and fil.

I think the key to a good mil as others have said, is to be supportive without interfering and the key to being a good dil is to be honest with them and tell them your expectations esp when they are looking after dc.

jellyforbrains Wed 20-Aug-08 11:19:35

My MIL is lovely. She obviously adores my DH, but has never made me feel as if I have stolen her son away. I think that she (and FIL) are glad that he has found someone who loves him. I hope that I will be that way with my DCs partners.

She is also helpful if we need help, but never interferes. Also, never makes unfavourable comparisons between how I and she do/did things.

slug Wed 20-Aug-08 11:44:13

I love my MIL, and FIL too. I guess the best advice would be to "Do unto her what you would have liked top have been done unto you" (To paraphase)

rubyloopy Wed 20-Aug-08 12:07:51

Message withdrawn

charmkin Wed 20-Aug-08 12:12:17

trying so hard to resist

cannot do it
have to type it

six foot under

aaarhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh feel so much better

jamescagney Wed 20-Aug-08 12:14:36

lilymolly, you and i must have the same mil.
She is wonderful, always takes my side not my dh's grin, gets us the best presents, never interferes, doesn't like childminding but loves shopping, is very generous with her limited time and money.
She is like a mum and a friend. Cheesy but true!
She doesn't put on a show for anyone, she won't make dinner or even a cup of tea but she'll chat and really listen... Thank u mil! smile

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