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!