We offered moms a chance to vent about their mothers-in-law, and they cut loose with gripes over behavior ranging from the mildly annoying to the downright destructive. Now, we’re not suggesting anyone here is guilty of any of the things these moms complained about. But just FYI, here’s a roundup of some of the things that other mothers-in-law do.
1. Parenting advice? Thanks, but no thanks.
If I’m looking for tips, I’ve got plenty of resources — including friends, my pediatrician, and most important, your son. Unless we specifically ask for your opinion, let the two of us figure it out. We want to raise the kids our own way — mistakes and all.
2. Passive aggressive is still aggressive
That story you love to tell about the homemade dinners your son came home to as a child always seems perfectly timed to coincide with my bringing out a store-bought dessert. Oh, and that can of Bar Keepers Friend you gifted me for Christmas? I got the hint. Very subtle.
3. I don’t have to pick up after everyone
You know how you always say you didn’t spoil your son growing up? You’re wrong. My housekeeping skills may not be up to your standards but I know there’s at least one thing that I do differently that I’m handling right — teaching my kids to clean up after themselves.
4. Let’s stop standing on ceremony
I know it bothered you that I didn’t send you a thank-you note for hosting my parents at your home, but I wasn’t being a rude ingrate. It’s just that I had started to think of us all as one clan, not as each other’s house guests.
5. Mi casa is not your casa
So stop showing up uninvited, unannounced, and unable to understand that I like my kitchen organized the way it is.
6. Yes, I am good enough for him
It’s sweet that you still think your son is perfect, as long as you also understand that, despite what you may think, I’m also perfect for him.
7. Babysit much?
You love to tell your friends how much you enjoy spending time with your grandkids, but when I ask you to help me out and watch them, you act like I have inconvenienced you — yet again. I’m not suggesting you give up your busy life. On the other hand, the children won’t be this little for long — you of all people should realize that.
8. Money can’t buy you love
At birthdays and holidays, please ask us for some gift ideas and limits. And if you really think the kids need the latest and greatest video-game system, fine — as long as you keep it at your house.
9. Sorry, I’m nothing like you
But just because I’m nothing like you doesn’t mean I don’t respect the heck out of you. If you don’t believe me, consider this the ultimate compliment — I married your son knowing full well that, as the saying goes, “you marry the whole family.”
10. Thank you!
Thank you for raising such a decent, responsible, kind man … but why couldn’t you have given him your great sense of style?
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Topics you shouldn’t bring up with your daughter-in-law
• Where they live.
If it happens to be closer to her parents, that’s okay. If it happens to be right next door to her parents, that’s okay. If it happens to be a room in her parent’s home, that’s okay, too. You are not being replaced! My daughter and son-in-law moved in with us for a while right after their first child was born. The other grandparents, who lived 200 miles away, never acted as if we were the victors in some game of tug of war. But I felt like a victor. And I felt guilty.
A few years later when the other grandparents moved in with my son and daughter-in-law and our by then two grandkids, I felt a little replaced. But I shouldn’t have because I wasn’t. Kids love their grandparents whether they are in the tiny room down the hall or an ocean away. My son’s children, whose other grandparents live in Scotland, are constant reminders of this. They Skype. Granny Scotland sends them “parcels” all the time. And when she flies into town, it’s as if Mary Poppins has arrived.
• Weight gain or loss
If your daughter-in-law looks a little bigger than she used to, do not say a word. Do not give her a gym membership, a three-month pass to Weight Watchers, a subscription to Cooking Light, or a lecture about calories when she reaches for a roll. (And if you go clothes shopping together, do not tell her that something makes her look big.) People gain weight. People lose weight. Say nothing.
Continue reading: 9 topics you should never bring up with your daughter-in-law