The MIL-DIL Translator

What does she really mean when she talks to you? Now it can be told.

By The Editors

Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, do you sometimes have trouble understanding what each other is saying? Communication is the key to any relationship, so we've created the "MIL-DIL Translator" to help you decipher the hidden messages you may be sending each other. Share it with all the MILs and DILs in your life — after adding your own entries, of course....

For Mothers-in-law ...

When your DIL says: You should stay for dinner; it's no trouble at all.
What she means is: I'm giving you one hour from when the plate hits the table. Then I turn down the heat.

When your DIL says: Don't worry; the children will love whatever you buy them.
What she means is: If you get them exactly what I suggest.

When your DIL says: Oh, the kids are easy; they'll eat anything you give them.
What she means is: As long as it’s a hot dog, a French fry, or a chicken nugget.

When your DIL says: It's so wonderful how close you still are to your son.
What she means is: But he’s mine now so don’t you dare badmouth me to him!

When your DIL says: We'd never dream of leaving the kids with someone from outside the family.
What she means is: Make sure you're on call for us seven nights a week.

When your DIL says: You gave them all candy bars right before bedtime? We’ll, that's why they love grandma!
What she means is: You're never babysitting again.

When your DIL says: We've decided not to allow the kids any TV time; it's no substitute for creative play or family time.
What she means is: You were a terrible mother.

When your DIL says: We let him wear his Batman cape everywhere. I think it's adorable.
What she means is: I'm a terrible mother.


For Daughters-in-law ...

When your MIL says: That's a lovely picture of your parents on the refrigerator!
What she means is: So I should assume you're keeping my picture in a shoebox somewhere?

When your MIL says: What a nice surprise! You didn’t need to go to the trouble of cooking me dinner.
What she means is: Oh, so you DO know how to operate a stove! I owe my husband $20.

When your MIL says: Don’t worry about seeing me over the holidays. Whatever works for you is fine.
What she means is: I’ll just be sitting at home, alone, bitter, and sure that everything I’ve ever done for you has been for nothing!

When your MIL says: How thoughtful! Thank you for this lovely present!
What she means is: I’ll be regifting it to your mother next year.

When your MIL says: You have a cleaning lady coming in now? Well, good for you!
What she means is: It's hard to tell because she does as halfhearted a job as you did.

When your MIL says: You've enrolled my granddaughter in a fencing class? That's incredible!
What she means is: Whatever happened to the Girl Scouts?

When your MIL says: Good for you taking her pacifier away. She'll be upset for a while, but it's time.
What she means is: Tell me again why you couldn’t do it tomorrow, when I'm out of earshot.

When your MIL says: He's just a ball of energy, isn’t he?
What she means is: When are you having him checked?



It may be a joke but it is in bad taste and should not be presented as a collection of real tips. If you are going to present a satirical piece, please identify it as such in the leadin wording so I can decide if I want to read it. It would be tragic for a MIL and a DIL to have such a relationship. on 2014-03-22 02:34:07

It's a JOKE, people! Lighten up!

Squanky on 2014-03-19 08:15:17

This article would be more appropriate in a different forum....say Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a time-waster for someone looking for real tips / help on MIL / DIL relationships.

NanaLuvsHerGKids on 2014-03-18 08:58:19

How sad to have a relationship like that with your DIL. on 2014-03-18 08:42:11

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