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10 Things Your Daughter-in-Law Wants to Tell You

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/12/2011 6:00 AM   :  32 comments   :  160,009 Views

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It’s so true that when you get married, you marry your spouse’s family as well. No matter what, you'll see your in-laws time and again at family gatherings, holidays, and birthdays--and even more regularly if you live close. Your relationship with your spouse's family can be wonderful, but even the best relationships can have tension.

Take the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship: You’ve got two women who love the same person fiercely (albeit differently), and it can lead to weird, unnecessary competition. Add in the fact that you (a younger generation) are figuring out how to do things your own way, and comments from your mother-in-law can seem judgmental, even if they come from a good place. Likewise, she (an older generation) can feel like her experience and knowledge isn’t taken seriously when you want to do things your own way or act against her sage advice.

A little open communication and understanding can go a long way when it comes to this relationship. So can remembering what brought you into that relationship in the first place: love. In that vein, mothers-in-law, here are just a few of the things your daughters-in-law want to tell you.
  1. We value your opinions, but we’ll make our own decisions. We know you have years of life experience on us, and we do value your opinion. But we’ll still make our own decisions as a couple and as a family, and it’s not a personal affront to you when those decisions don’t align. We’re doing what works best for us.
     
  2. It’s not a competition. You do things your way, I do things mine. Differences make the world go ‘round. It’s not about being better or being the favorite. You’re my spouse’s mom and my kids’ grandmother; they will love you for that, just as they love me for being the wife and mom that I am. You don’t have to try to one-up me to win their affection.
     
  3. I don’t care what you eat. Yes, I eat healthy most of the time, but I don’t analyze what you’re eating. I don’t need to hear how healthy you usually eat as you’re eating a piece of cake. Own your food decisions, just as I own mine. I’m not judging; just enjoy your cake!
     
  4. Take a hint. If we suggest repeatedly you limit your stays to five days or less, that doesn’t mean you can book for a week or longer and hope we’re OK with it. Because we’re not OK with it.
     
  5. Stop with the housekeeping digs. Yes, I’m sure that new vacuum you’ve got—the one you’ve mentioned 20 times and offered to buy me—is great. But I’ve got one that works, too. Sure, I might not use it as often as you think I need to, but commenting on it nonstop only makes me want to boycott vacuuming even more than I already do.
     
  6. Respect our family's food rules. If we have kids (especially young ones), respect our food rules. Many parents are particular about when they want to introduce certain foods to their babies, and it’s our decision to make it for our kids—not yours. Just because your son had cake before age one and you want to be the one to introduce sweets to your grandchild doesn’t mean that it’s your job to do so. Respect the rules of the house; when in doubt, ask before serving any food. (Pediatrician-recommended guidelines about foods and allergens have changed a lot since your children were babies.)
     
  7. Give us warning. Don’t do surprise visits. We might have sleeping babies or be having the rare romp while the babies are sleeping. The last thing we need while in a romantic embrace is a doorbell ringing followed by crying kids.
     
  8. If I need help, I’ll ask. You’re very helpful, and I appreciate every second you watch the children so your son and I can eat at a restaurant that doesn’t have kids menus. I appreciate every minute of help you give me cleaning up after dinner. But unless I ask you, don’t assume you have free reign in taking over the kitchen or rearranging drawers because it works for you in the short time you’re at our house. Likewise, if I need help folding laundry, I’ll ask. I’m not being stubborn or a martyr; I’d just prefer not to have my mother-in-law folding my underwear.
     
  9. Your son isn’t perfect, and I love him anyway. Sometimes he’s wrong and we have disagreements, but it’s our disagreement to work out, and we don’t need interference. I still love him to bits and pieces and appreciate that you’re part of the reason he’s the man he is today.
     
  10. We value your relationship with the kids. You’re a wonderful grandmother and a wonderful mom. We appreciate everything you do for the kids and for us.
Relationships with the in-laws can and should be wonderful. Remembering what you have in common with your mother-in-law rather than focusing on your differences can go a long way. When in doubt, open communication and getting a second unbiased opinion can help in emotionally charged situations.

What would you tell your mother-in-law if you could?


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Comments

  • DOEKNABE
    32
    both of my ex husband's parents were pastors in a major church organization. when i met my ex, he was selling marijuana. need i say more. what a couple of losers they were. they even told me, as a 22 year old grieving for a child who had died 2 weeks before that of sudden infant death, that the ex's dad had a vision that God had killed the baby as a punishment for not living as we should, and He was going to kill the other children if we (he) did not stop how he was living. huh? like i said, what a couple of losers the First Assembly of God has for pastors in iowa. and good riddance when i never had to see any of them again.....My childrens spouse's, on the other hand, are all wonderful young people who are married to my three children who are very glad for it.. and so, i am also.. it may be true that none of them are perfect, but i know the imperfections of who they are trying to be in successful relationships with, so oh well to all.... and good love and luck to all six of them.... lol - 1/23/2014   10:18:11 AM
  • ANNA800
    31
    Number 6 says "donít make me feel bad about being a working mom." Well, I'd also like to suggest the opposite -- Don't make me feel bad about being a stay-at-home mom!! My late MIL was a divorced working mother and always made be feel like a lazy moocher for staying home to raise my children while her son earned the money. I did not have a good relationship with her.


    - 1/22/2014   12:34:59 PM
  • KATEZ1017
    30
    How about...stop being so sensitive. I have a great (former) MIL and I have a lovely, though relatively new daughter in law. If I have an opinion about something it is just that...my opinion. I don't expect anyone to always agree with my opinions so stop acting like if I voice my opinion I'm judging YOU. Get over yourself. My son, daughter in law, and two grandsons live downstairs from me and I never go into their apartment without knocking first and actually will usually text first to make sure it's ok. I never just drop in, make no comments about their housekeeping, give advice only when asked and then carefully and actually prefer my own privacy also. I am respectful of the fact that my DIL comes from a different environment than the one I raised my children in. We share some interests and not others. I don't always agree with her choices but they are her choices and not mine. My only request is that she love my son and treat him with respect. Period. - 7/31/2013   11:15:36 AM
  • SILKYNAVEL28
    29
    I can't really stand my DIL, She's too jealous, i'm talking about over My Son's sisters & what people have. I've never tried to compete with anyone or brag if I got anything new. I've helped them so much & she still act's weird. Everything I might say or if we are having a conversation, she'll say yea, she had this, her mom has this & it's no good, and then she's onto my son to get it for her. And the kids, I hate to even go there, but she never combs her lil girls hair 5yrs old, & my Daughter has kept them so much & has combed my G-girls hair, bought earrings,we got her ears pierced, & give her jewelry boxes. So when she comes back over without the earrings we gave her, Her Aunt ask, where's your earrings, her reply is, my Mom tok them out & lost one,but says I can get more. It's really silly I know, however, I don't say anything to her & she acts like she's miss all that. So good luck with all you MIL & DIL, However, I've gotta work on mine & me. - 7/27/2013   1:03:38 PM
  • 28
    This article kind of makes me laugh. I have a really wonderful relationship with my MIL and in fact, all of my in-laws. They are my family as much as my blood relatives are. So yes, that means sometimes we lock heads (families always do) but overall, my MIL is super supportive of me and I of her.

    We don't have any children yet so I don't know if things will change once we do but honestly, I just don't see that happening. My MIL is a wonderful woman who does occasionally offer advice and suggestions but she only does so because she has more experience. She never expects that anyone should follow her rules and her rules only.

    The only thing I see being an issue is that my MIL is very Catholic and my husband and I are not particularly religious. I'm sure we'll have no choice but to baptize our future children. I know how much it matters to her so it's not a battle I want to get into. - 6/25/2012   10:49:44 AM
  • 27
    I think my mom and grandmother had a great relationship; my dad told me that at the time when my parents were newlyweds, his mom pulled him to the side and said to him (in her cute little Swiss accent) "If you two ever get divorced, she stays and you go!" I am not a daughter-in-law yet, but am confident when the time comes, I will be able to have a good relationship with my mother-in-law, thanks to the example set by my mom and grandmother. - 9/20/2011   6:02:32 PM
  • OKIEGIRL75
    26
    My MIL is great. Even though it took me time to accept her quirks and yes we all have them, she totally rocks. She is truly a blessing. Is everything perfect no. But that's okay. She is a great listener and I value her advice. - 9/13/2011   9:31:51 PM
  • 25
    Here is a list of things your MIL would like to tell you.

    Just as you don't want me criticizing your cooking and housekeeping, I don't appreciate it when you criticize mine either.

    While I love the grandkids and want to spend time with them, please don't always bring them over when they are sick.

    The husband you crticize in front of me, happens to be my son, and I love him as much as you love your sons.

    I don't appreciate being compared to your mother any more than you like being compared to other people.

    Remember, someday you will be the mother in law, and no matter who much you plan on being the perfect mother in law, you daughter in law will always see you as her husband's mother. - 9/13/2011   6:29:47 PM
  • BAMAJAM
    24
    There is another side to this topic, and I thank DAMETEMPLAR for presenting it! The "in-law" relationship should be one of mutual respect. Employ the golden rule for your conduct. There are boundaries to every relationship, and kindness is too often in short supply. (If you have a jealous DIL--who is unkind to you, take heart that one day she might wear that MIL title and get a dose of her medicine!) lol
    PS.. I hope that Dametemplar's message gets published in a national magazine; fair is fair. - 9/13/2011   2:21:50 PM
  • 23
    Watching many different relationships over my years, one of the "old" sayings really seems to be true.

    A son is yours until he takes a wife.
    A daughter is yours all of her life.

    My mother-in-law was amazing to me. When at her house, she kept prompting my wife to make sure I had tea, was comfortable, etc. I felt like a young prince.

    At my mothers house, it was completely the opposite. My mother kept prompting me to to make sure my wife had tea, that I did 60+% of watching our two sons, etc.

    We've only met two other couples in our life who have had that sort of relationship. - 9/13/2011   12:43:54 PM
  • 22
    I totally agree on the not dropping by or telling anyone how to run their own home. The daughter-in-law/son-in-law should be free from interference on their own turf.
    But there should be a caveat: when in my house, it is my rules. So, just because your children jump on the furniture at home: not in my house. Just because they can watch TV while eating, at my house we all sit at the table and talk to each other over dinner. Just because you find their interruptions amusing, I like to finish talking to one person before I give my attention to another.
    At your house I will eat while laughing over cartoons, applaud the sofa acrobat and try to remember where the conversation was going once the 5-year-old's wisdom has been heard. Fair's fair . . .
    Besides, exposing children to the notion that in different places we apply different rules, respect others and don't always do everything the way we do when Mom and Dad are the rule makers isn't a bad thing. They'll end up far more welcome in restaurants and on airplane jaunts if they learn that one. - 9/13/2011   11:26:30 AM
  • 21
    These rules apply to my relationship with MY parents, too! - 9/13/2011   10:16:09 AM
  • 20
    I am meeting BOTH of my boys girlfriends tomorrow night! It's the 1st time either of them have been serious about anyone for over 5 years! I suddenly understand how Jane Fonda feels in "Monster-in-law" Infact, I've joked about giving the girls that movie for Christmas & having them sign a contract that I get custody of the major holidays, teehee. It is diffecult, especially since it has been me & my boys alone for 24 years, the 3 musketeers! It's like having someone invade our happiness or join our group. But, both of my boys understand my fears & have assured me that neither of the girls want to take them away from me. I trust my boys judgement. But, still, meeting both girls @ one time! pray for me! - 9/13/2011   9:49:23 AM
  • KATHYMCW1
    19
    I had enough of my mother growing up giving her opinion of anybody/everybody and what they should/should not do. It didn't matter if family/in-laws or not. My rule that I have passed on to my children and I hope they pass it on is: Just because you have an opinion, not everybody is entitled to it. God gave us 2 ears and one mouth - keep the 2 open and the one shut. That's why I have a pretty good relationship with all my in-laws and my children's girl/boy friends and their spouses. - 9/13/2011   7:42:17 AM
  • CIRANDELLA
    18
    To this practical advice, I'd add "detailed directions to an unusually warm climate"... - 9/13/2011   7:40:39 AM
  • 17
    Oh, I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your "rules". This is why since I have FOUR SONS, I will never, never, ever bother with my DILs at all. I'm sure they will know it all, so I won't waste my time. My oldest son is married & his wife is a nice person, that I'd have picked out for him, but I don't interfer with ANY thing in their lives. He calls & talks to me and I listen. I tell him the one rule in a marriage is "NEVER EVER CRITICIZE". There is no such thing as "constructive criticism." My third son has a wonderful girlfriend, but I have no intention of bother whatever they do once they are married. - 9/13/2011   12:32:12 AM
  • 16
    My DH and I 'had to get married' when we were teenagers in the late 60's. My MIL didn't speak to us for 11 YEARS! We moved 3000 miles away (he joined the AF to avoid the draft) so that made it easy for her to ignore us. When we moved back home, she finally came around and spent the rest of her life trying to make up for it- not that she ever apologized or anything. My DH never forgave her. My DIL and I get along great and I try to be a good MIL. - 9/12/2011   10:32:35 PM
  • 15
    I was so fortunate to have a loving wonderful mother-in-law. I had absolutely no problems with her or my father-in-law----I am one thankful lady to have such wonderful in-laws and miss both of them, wish my grand daughters could have had a chance to have met them. - 9/12/2011   8:21:28 PM
  • 14
    I am so lucky to have a wonderful Mom-in-law. She decided a long, long time ago that she would treat her DILs like friends, not an intrusion. We get along so well and I always look forward to spending time with her! - 9/12/2011   6:54:50 PM
  • 13
    SADLY my MIL died a little over a year after I married my DH. I never got to know her because she lived in Arkansas and we lived in South Carolina. I really regret it. - 9/12/2011   5:15:25 PM
  • 12
    My Mother in law is 6 years older than my husband and myself (second marriage for my fil who is now 83) They have been married 5 years less than my husband and myself so most of the times things go smoothly between us.
    There are no comments on the child raising, etc from her but for several years while we were stationed 3 hours from them, my FIL would drop by unannounced and be upset because the house was a wreck. Usually he stopped by when I was being "class mom" and baking cupcakes for 4 classrooms of kids.
    I am actually able to give her more insight into issues with my FIL which helps her a lot. Hubby is also an only child - 9/12/2011   4:13:55 PM
  • 11
    I have a great relationship with my MIL and she has been wonderful ever since we first met 41 years ago!

    My DIL is different--she is from a completely different culture and she barely knows English. In fact, she does not want to learn English because it's an "imperialist language". My son does not know her language. How can they communicate? - 9/12/2011   1:42:56 PM
  • 10
    I have an interesting situation. My MIL lives in another county and does not speak English. In fact, she did not come up for our wedding, so I have actually never met her. We do Skype with her, but neither one of us speaks the other's language, so we rely on my husband to translate.
    I do plan on visiting and meeting her within the next six months.... should be interesting. She does know that I truely love her son, and because of that, my husband tells me that his family already loves me! - 9/12/2011   12:13:09 PM
  • SEPTLEFTY
    9
    Ditto - 9/12/2011   11:41:47 AM
  • SEPTLEFTY
    8
    Lol this is so interesting but fortunately my husband settles any issues my MIL has with me. We have gotten along well with no issues. - 9/12/2011   11:29:11 AM
  • 7
    Thank you for the list this will help on the future I would love to have a great relationship withy future DIL not like what I had with my MIL. - 9/12/2011   10:02:52 AM
  • 6
    I wish it were so easy to talk to some MIL's... unfortunately I have not been able to get to this point with mine and we are quickly losing the "respect". Although I'm always respectful, it's hard to feel respect for someone who constantly ignores your feelings and requests. - 9/12/2011   9:58:33 AM
  • 5
    I have been truly blessed. I have had no problems with any of my in-laws. My MIL has always respected my thoughts and opinions as I have hers. She doesn't give advice unless you ask for it. When my mother passed away, she became the mother that I leaned on. I loved the stories she told about my husband growing up and passed them on to my children.

    I hope I can influence my DIL in the same way my MIL influenced me. I praise my daughter (DIL) for putting up with my moody son. She is perfect for him. - 9/12/2011   8:33:09 AM
  • OSSIEBIRD
    4
    My relationship with my MIL did not exist in the beginning. She nor my FIL liked me. In fact, his whole family took no interest in me. It was all about the others. I remember one Christmas, as gifts were passed out, I was deliberately left out, as well as my young daughter. I am still married to their son, after 27 years. They never thought it would last. What a ride it has been! - 9/12/2011   8:24:44 AM
  • JODYELLEN57
    3
    Thank you! I have a great relationship with my DIL and I want to keep it that way. This gives me a good list to be mindful of when we get together. - 9/12/2011   8:20:32 AM
  • 2
    My MIL lives pretty far away, and I don't really see her very often. However, when we do see her I get along great with her. We actually have a lot in common and have always been able to talk to each other. My husband is not real close with his family and his mom appreciates that because of me he actually communicates and sees her more often then he did before he was involved with me. - 9/12/2011   7:13:25 AM
  • 1
    I consider myself very thankful that I have a great relationship with my MIL. I grew up with both of my parents having a great relationship with their MILs, to the point that both of my grandmothers lived with my parents in their final days (not at the same time).

    Its all about respect - respect for your MIL for raising your husband, and respect for the DIL who is an important person in said husband's life. This is true for any relationship. You have to see if from the other persons side. - 9/12/2011   6:17:17 AM

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