10 Most Common Mistakes That Daughter-In-Laws Make.

Having a good relationship with your husband’s mother is hard! It takes work, I know! But if you put in the time, you may come to truly appreciate your mother-in-law. Her softer, kinder side may emerge and you may even avoid the repeat daughter-in-law zings that we all experience from time to time (some of us more than others!)

Mistake #1 –– Forget to Call Your Mother-in-Law Regularly–– You’ll be amazed how much she appreciates it when you keep in touch with her, and not just when your husband calls! Strive to have an independent relationship and call her at least once a week. You can keep it short or aim for when she’s at Bingo and leave a message on her machine!

Mistake #2 –– Forget to Frequently Ask Your Mother-in-Law How She’s Feeling–– You must do this every time you see or speak to her. As an added touch, offer to accompany her on doctors visits whenever possible. She’ll appreciate that you took the time to care.

Mistake #3 –– Don’t Compliment Her Often Enough–– Always make her feel good around you. Tell her how pretty, thin, healthy, and young she looks. Say what flattering outfits she’s wearing, occasionally asking if you can borrow a certain item of clothing or a purse. Mention that you love her hairstyle, even if she’s wearing a hairpiece (especially if she’s wearing a hairpiece!)

Mistake #4 –– Forget Your Mother-in-Law’s Special Days–– Your husband will likely forget, so you’ll have to be the one to make sure this gets done, without fail! For her birthday, Mother’s Day and other important holidays, pick out a Hallmark card with the most heart-wrenching sentiments you can find. Make sure your husband signs it too. Better yet, have him write the note from the both of you.

Mistake #5 –– Get Defensive with Your Mother-in-Law–– This is the easiest mistake to make, but do yourself a favor and practice not taking things personally. If you find yourself getting defensive with your mother-in-law take a deep breath – then another – and make a casual, self-effacing comment – then make some chamomile tea. Be sure to offer your mother-in-law a cup as well ––and make sure you have her favorite tea bags on hand at all times.

Mistake #6 –– Don’t be Objective When Your Mother-in-Law Criticizes You––If your mother-in-law tells you your hair looks better the other way, enthusiastically thank her by solidly agreeing how difficult it is to be objective about yourself. Then style it that way while she’s visiting. Of course you can change it back when she leaves, although be open to the possibility that she may actually have a point!!!

Mistake #7 –– Ask Your Mother-in-Law for Professional Advice–– This is a real no-no, because if you try to get her approval, YOU WON’T! If you do try to get her endorsement for the new Pampered Chef Opportunity you’ve been thinking about and she downplays your enthusiasm, simply say, “Wow, you are so right. I’m not going to give this crazy scheme another thought!” Then, buy all her birthday and Christmas gifts with the 40% discount you get from the new business.

Mistake #8 –– Expect Your Mother-in-Law to Share Your Interests–– Your mother-in-law won’t appreciate the movies, music, books or TV shows you enjoy. While at your home she may even decree, “How can you watch that? It’s so silly.” Instead of defending your entertainment choices, simply respond with something to the effect of, “That is just SO true! Then fluff up your pillow and hide the remote until she leaves.

Mistake #9 –– Don’t Save Gifts from Your Mother-in-Law For At Least a Year–– When your mother-in-law gives you a gift, make sure you display it prominently in your home, or wear it a lot when she’s around. If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t get rid of it prematurely. There is nothing more humiliating than not being able to produce whatever it may be upon inquiry due to over-hasty re-gifting!

Mistake #10 –– Pick out Presents for your Mother-in-Law–– The best way to handle gift giving is to let your husband do the buying. Even if the responsibility of holiday shopping usually ends up on your shoulders, give him the assignment of this one single thing––it’ll be worth your while to make sure he follows through!

Every bit of this philosophy is designed to make a profound and positive improvement in your life, to intensify your level of happiness, and help you live far more peacefully with your husband and mother-in-law.

Visit Sally “The MIL Manager” Shields on the web at http://www.TheDILRules.com for contest giveaways, free bonus gifts, The Daughter-in-Law Rules newsletter, free music and more!

  • NoAnna

    I don’t know where you are coming from!!! I have been myself around my mother in law. A very respectful person and still she considers me evil. The only rule we must all show with all people is RESPECT. Your rules allow mother in laws the opportunity to walk all over their daughter in laws for the rest of their lives.

  • Esme

    Please help? About a year ago I looked up my son’s long lost love, they reunited and married in August.

    We and my other chidlren and grandchildren were invited to their home for xmas though new years. We were told in the begining my husband and I would have the spare room, on their say so we also brought ours dogs,,,3 little ones. They went out in the heated space in the garage where my husband had to work (he works from home and couldnt get that week off.)

    When we arrived we were informed by my son, that we would be sleeping on a pull out sofa in the middle of the living room. Which ment we waited up till everyone went to bed and awoke every morning with first stirring :( . Trying to get a little privicy we decided to spend the next night down stairs on a sofa and a love seat.To make a longgg story short, we got NO SLEEP!! I also ended up very sick.

    Meanwhile my sweet daughter-in-law informed me on the third day there “you will be making dinner tonight”. As I stood there with my mouth on the floor she said “because Your son said so. That of course after I was walking downstairs, she came down and didn’t relize I was there and threw one of the other cildren’s new toys across the room and hit me in the foot. No apolgy of course just, saying she TOLD him to pick these up.

    This went on and on,, she threw my little dogs outside with the garage door open and never told me or my husband…luckly we found them before they took off.

    On our last day full day there, they had planned on taking the children to the zoo, I stayed behind and cleaned up the entire house, washing towels, dishes, taking out the garbage, and I amde a nice chicken soup. Before they left her and I had, had a very nice conversation about what one of the grandchildren was wearing I asked if she thought he would be warm enough, she offered up sweaters..etc. she saaid goodbye to me on her way out and I said kiddingly good luck! When they got home, chicken soup was on the stove, house all clean…no one was talking to me including my other two sons. Later that night her husband came in that little room and informed me by the way You are sleeping upstairs in the living room tonight, all the kids are sleeping downstairs toghter!! Then she screams at me in the middle of the living room in front of everyone I haven’t spoken to her in 3 day!! Then my son Lectured me on how I should be grateful to her!! Did not believe me when I told him we had just spoken that day.

    So feeling totally hurt,,with no sleep on New Year’s Eve my husband and I just packed up and left..now none of my boys are speaking to me I guess in their opion I acted badly!

    Should I try to fix this or let it go..I didnt want to tell him his wife lied to him!!!!

    Thank you for any advice!!

  • Lynsey

    OH MY GOSH! These are the WORST rules I have ever seen. EVER. Nothing says “MIL please treat me like the dog crap you stepped in” like these rules! Why is my mother in law deserving of better treatment than *I* am? Not a chance…she is my equal NOT my better. GAG! No wonder so many MIL’s have the insane sense of entitlement to give opinions on our children’s names, our child rearing practices, medical treatments, marriages, career’, etc. Maybe if these entitled hags stepped back and let their DIL’s be the parents and women they are they would have better relationships with them.

  • patty

    My daughter in law, has been keeping her distance from our family. I talked to my son last night, saying it feels like she doesn’t like us. He informed me that she doesn’t like the way we are (as a family). She comes from a mother that left her with a grandmother so mom could follow a man to another city. I have tried to model for her and felt we had a somewhat of a bond. What do you think?
    Thank you.

  • carol

    With all due respect the explanation of “Mistake 6″ is truly ridiculous. Styling my hair to my Mother in-law’s liking? I’ve heard everything now! Maybe Mother in-laws wouldn’t have so many problems with there daughter in-laws if they would live and let live and appreciate people for who they are.

  • http://N/A kate

    I have four daughter in laws.Three are fabulous as I do know of that invisible line that MILaws can so easily step over. But the fourth DIL is full of phobias, possessive,and very manipulative especially regarding their three children. I made an enormous mistake once.I cleaned the house.She is a dreadful housekeeper and as she also works,I genuinaly thought I was being enormously helpful.But alas, this was not so.She gave her husband,my son hell for months over this.When I realised how intrusive I had been,I acknowledged her anger,apologised and said I wouldnt do it again.Since then she has been very cool towards me and although she isnt give our son a hard time about it now,she is always browbeating him over something.I have been accused of being interfering and taking sons side.This I have never ever done but inside I do long to tell him how awful she is.This is an absolute no no and would cut out my tongue before allowing myself to do this but all I can see is how unhappy he is,how lovely he is with the children,how tolerant he appears to be but when he hits the skids, its me she contacts to help out as she doesnt know what to do to help. I have chosen to step right back, even at the risk of not seeing the grandchildren as often – she has never let them stay with me,even during school holidays – and I have listened to what has been said but she doesnt see how her hysterical outbursts when my son tells her how difficult it is for him to function when he is being constantly “got at” is a major part of their problem. But not ever will I be doing this again.I have to stay away and let them get on with it.Even when the children are sick, and they have to pay for someone to look after them, I would move in when this any of the were unable to go to school etc, but dont get thanked or acknowledged for this now. My son does and although she used to show her appreciation, it isnt acknowledged now.I have to stand back. I know its the right thing to do,but I do feel badly about not making myself so available.If anyone out there is going to critical of me, please be kind with it.I am feeling very fragile.

  • Patricia

    I don’t believe us MILs have to be put on a pillow or treated as if we are children this much. Is it hard to just treat us as if we are human? The only thing I asked of my DIL she couldn’t seem to do and that was to love my son or at least care about him. When your 30 something son comes to you crying after walking in on his wife with another man and then desides to keep her it’s very hard to deal with. I had to watch both my grandsons have their little worlds ripped apart and you think I have to be coddled like a child? I stood back and kept my mouth shut during all. I could care less what she does with a gift or calls to see how I’m doing. Just treat my family as if they are human.

    • admin

      Hi Patricia,
      From what you’ve written, your (ex?) daughter-in-law appears to have made a huge mistake. But, not knowing the facts, I hesitate to comment on or judge her actions.
      In all fairness to guest author, Sally, she was highlighting some of the “less serious” MIL/DIL mistakes that are often made. I feel certain, if you contacted her via her website, Sally would be able to respond to your questions.
      (p.s. I’m sure she thinks that mother-in-laws are human. ;) )