5 Biggest Mother-in-Law Mistakes

What your daughter-in-law really wishes you wouldn’t do—and advice to make both of you happy.

By Andrea Atkins
1 of
1 of
View All View Slideshow


I guess I am a mother-in-law. Yet none of these apply to me. I haven't seen my daughter-in-law or son for many years although they live nearby. They have several children that we've never met. My daughter-in-law disagreed with #1 -- she wanted me to just walk into her house unannounced and felt my knocking was my way of controlling. What to call me? My first name was nice. No criticism, no advice...quite the opposite I think. I don't have strong opinions. I wasn't what she wanted or needed so I was erased.

WonderingMom123 on 2016-08-11 10:18:46

My mother-in-law does/has done all of these except #1, and that's only because we live an hour away. I know she does it to my brother-in-law and his wife, who are 5 minutes from her. She even watches for him to drive by in the mornings on his way to work.

PinkRedYellow on 2016-01-16 22:28:18

Wow - I just came across this page today after writing my own list awhile ago which I share on my site motherinlawhood101.com.
I love your list as well...and love especially the point about not talking to your son about her. So important! I actually am very into this topic because I work hard to be a *good* mother-in-law. Here's to fine-tuning our behaviors and attitudes in our MIL roles! :)

muzik on 2013-10-02 05:34:27

Do you honestly think you're making it easy on yourself? If the midwife said no visitors on the day of the birth it means no visitors-- especially if she's experiencing health concerns with her thyroid-- she was probably anticipating the more-than-usual exhaustion after labour. When my sister had her child, she and her husband wanted a full 24 hours alone with him so they can form a nuclear family bond-- and we all respected her wish because this was the single most important day in her entire life. She is a part of my family, but I have no say in what goes on in hers. I'm sure the midwife did not mean to offend you with the word "visitor", but the fact of the matter is, that's what you would have been. You seem full of contempt that you have to travel to visit your grandchild and stay in a hotel because they have flatmates... however, that's their life, if you want to be a part of it, it means you do things their way. What is the alternative? For them to kick out their flatmates for the extent of your visit? Meanwhile you've made it obvious that you loved not having your DIL around, so I'm sure she doesn't feel exactly wonderful about visiting you. You dislike that 'the woman calls the shots"-- however, who are you to say what is functional in a relationship for your son, maybe he doesn't like passive women. Do you not trust his judgement? I'd like to point out that this is the 21st century, and sometimes women are the decision-makers in the relationship, I'm sure if it were the other way around you wouldn't blink an eyelash at a man calling the shots. It is THEIR relationship, who are you to say what works for them? You seem to not like that your son's partner's father gives them money but again, that's THEIR relationship and not your business. You're determined to be around for birthdays and holidays 'no matter what' her wishes are-- it sounds like rather than working on relationship with her, you're going to barge into their life. Did you think that the reason your son and DIL spend more time with their family, rather than you, is because they feel unconditionally loved and accepted with them whereas you seem to have nothing but calculated contempt for her. I promise you, I wouldn't want my child in the middle of that situation either. You do not have a right to be in your son and grandchild's life-- it is a privilege that can be revoked according to the wishes of your son and your son's partner.

If you actually have a strategy to "Maintain your grace and dignity" in the hopes that she'll look bad and it will ruin your son's relationship, no wonder she doesn't want you around to taint her family. I won't say that moving to Europe is the best thing for them, because that little boy needs a grandma in his life-- but I really think that if you don't change your condescending attitude and work on a relationship with your son's partner, you're not going to have much a role in that kid's life. I'm sure you love your grandchild very much, but I think maybe you need to take a mirror into that bubble you've created.

honeybeethree on 2013-09-15 03:09:54

Compatibility Horoscope

How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?

Find out here.

Become an AGA Premium Member.

Health. Family. You.

Join Now