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
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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

I don't know how to tell my son and DIL that I feel left out of my grandson's life. I've never been asked to babysit (she isn't comfortable with that yet, but does let her mom and sister babysit")- I've tried to do all the things that are right for a new grandma to do and not do - never stop by without asking when would be convenient, 'I don't give advice or ask for anything..I always compliment my DIL about what a great mom she is...offer to help by babysitting, picking something up at the store or bringing a meal,.....I set up a little porta crib and have a little basket of toys and baby supplies, even a rocking seat and stroller, but they never stay over here long enough to use anything...when they come for dinner, they just stay long enough to eat. They hold him and give him his bottle, and sometimes they let me hold him but never give him a bottle or change him. I have raised my own two sons, been a big part of dozens of nieces/nephews lives as they grew up AND I am have been a teacher for 20+ years so I'm really a "kid" person...I know they are trying to figure out the whole parenting thing on their own, but how can I be a bigger part of their lives?. I want to be an active, helpful, loving part of my grandson life - but it seems like i'm just an obligation to my son and DIL. I never say anything negative to my son or DIL, and I feel like if I bring this up, they will even further distance themselves from me. I was so close to my son and DIL before the baby was born! That's why this is so confusing and hurtful.

123grandbabyandme on 2013-08-08 11:32:09

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