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July 24, 2008


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I think that is great. I hardly know my MIL. I've been married for nearly 11 years and have probably only met her 11 times. Kinda sad. :(


Ah, you lucky girl, to have this relationship working well. I hope to be the kind of mother in law every girl dreams about...My mother in law taught me by example what kind NOT to be.

Jen on the Edge

I wouldn't say I have a love/hate relationship with my MIL. It's more tolerate/tolerate. The thing is, I wanted to have a good relationship with her and tried hard, but she started pulling dirty tricks even before we were married. I carried the guilt of our bad relationship for five years, at which point one of Pete's siblings got engaged and my MIL was a beeyotch to my future SIL too. And then the next year when the other brother got engaged. At that point, I realized it wasn't me, it was her, and there was nothing I could do to change her.


I think the best thing I ever did was stand up to my in laws. We have a good relastionship now, afterall, I am the queen keeper of the precious grandchildren :O)


I need you to come over here and deal with my MIL for me - m'kay!? Great post!

Take care - Kellan

Kalynne Pudner

She brought ONE store-bought pie? If it were I, unafraid of confrontation...well, you can see where IT'S going, right?

phd in yogurtry

I hope your book is better than the one I bought, The Daughter-In-Law's Survival Guide
by Eden Unger Bowditch. One story after another about mean MIL's.

phd in yogurtry

oh, and I can relate, was the "only" dau-in-law for many years.. husb with two older bros and one sis .. one bro was gay, the other a ne'er do well who never married. so that left me competing with a MIL who had no intention of sharing the throne. I have had many such conversations in my head. You had the guts to say out loud. Bravo.


Lord I hate confrontation. Why don't you write a book of rules on how to do it correctly. I'll buy it!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!

You go Jenn!


I'd just like to take this opportunity to Thank God for my MIL!

Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy

Thank goodness I have a good relationship with my in-laws. And the same goes for my hubby getting along with my parents. Each of our parents are divorced: 4 people to visit for each holiday! If we didn't get along it would be madness.

Sass E-mum

Only married 4 years, but already I know that my in-laws will never bring the dish they promised. I've decided to accept it and not fight it. I always cater as if they aren't bringing anything - my food's always better too! No false modesty here either;)

I've discovered that a few timely moments of confrontation over things that really matter go a very long way. MIL has tried the occassional bit of emotional blackmail;'I'm not leaving Peaches anything in my will'. Recaro just puts the phone down on her when she does that. She has to apologise when she calls back and we hear less and less rubbish like that these days.

Like you, it's great to have the man totally on 'this' family's side.


I hope I'm not that MIL one day, but I fear I could be.

Mary Alice

I think there should be “letting go parties” for the parents of the wedding couple. This would be a party where other older wiser parents of adult married children get together and give the “new to the in-law game” parents advice. Advice about how to let go, about how important it is to allow the newly married couple to create their own traditions (or join yours if they want to) about how to give advice only when asked, etc., etc.

I can only imagine that the generation of helicopter parents we have now, will create the most hellacious in-law stories in the history of the world.

Manic Mommy

My MIL get along famously. This is in large part to my reproducing and our buying a house a two minute walk from her house.

That being said, when we were redoing the K&B in said new house, we moved in with her for a month - with a 3yo and 8mo. Adult women should. not. live. together. Especially if they did not live together through the growing up years.

Andy was up to about a pack a day and I practically became an alcoholic.

We moved back home and all was miraculously well!


Giving thanks for my wonderful MIL.

Memarie Lane

I think we all go through that with our MIL's. We want to be well thought of, so in the beginning we're accommodating. And they take advantage, wiggling into that opening and trying to put their hands in the puppet strings. We put up with it for a bit, but then a time comes that we put our feet down and snap those strings.

My MIL was a TYRANT. She tried to rule my life. Se criticized everything I did, especially when I became a mother. She made me feel, with the best of intentions, that I should never have even had children. She totally ruined my first year with my son. The straw that broke the camel's back was when she started telling people that Max was autistic, and that we were in denial about it and refused to get help for him. His doctor declared him completely normal and free of any sort of autism, but she just wouldn't stop.

Finally one day she called to tell me about an exercise she'd seen on TV for autistic children. "It might help!" She said. I let her have it. I told her I was not going to let her boss me around, talk crap about me, belittle me, or undermine me ever again.

And wouldn't you know, she's been sweet as banana cream pie ever since.


I need an attitude adjustment about my MIL. Either that or a blow up session. She means well, mostly, but she drives me nuts. Her feelings are very easily hurt, so I'm afraid to confront her about anything. And, my husband will NOT disagree with her, so I'm always the bad guy.


ahhhhh, memories. You handled it well, of course, Jenn. Me, not so much!


I'm not good with confrontation. Write a book on how to do it and I'll buy it!


Me again. Last night your website commenty thing wouldn't load so I decided to wait until this morning. WITHOUT looking I commented AGAIN. So now I've commented twice.

Uhhhh, three times.

Don Mills Diva

My MIL is amazing but she is a STRONG woman. I learned early not to pussyfoot around and we get on like gangbusters...sounds like your relationship is similar.


Whenever I hear stories like this, I'm very grateful for my easy to get along with in-laws. Good for you for standing up to her and for your husband for supporting you too. I doubt I would've been remotely as mature as you were in my early 20s.


Thank heavens my MIL is half way across the world. I can barely deal with her for the three weeks every year we spend visiting. Most of it has to do with cultural differences. I'm also thankful for the language barrier- when she gets unruly or passive agressive (her favorite way to play) I just pretend I can't understand her.

I can't wait to read this book when it comes out!


Wow - I have almost the exact same story... weird, huh? In hindsight, now that I have my own family, I DO see how it is hard for a mom to break tradition... but I still don't understand how the M-I-Ls don't get how this puts a huge burden on the D-I-Ls.... And what does it mean that my heart is getting a bit racy over that ham/pie story...?


Funny enough, I've had the "blowout" with my FIL and my own mother. My FIL is the one that wants to control everything. He even wants to take OUR kids trick or treating every year. I had to spell things out for him and now everything is great and I'm not afraid to say how I feel. I also had to talk to my mom about things. She thought that we should always be at HER house for Christmas, etc. even though they live 2 hours away. We try to keep things fair, but it's hard when we're always the ones travelling to them and they're not willing to come to us.


God love you for your honesty. I think you were so wise to nip the passive-aggressiveness in the bud and get on with things. I'm sure it took a lot of courage, though.


My MIL was an only child, so she got used to everyone catering to her, except my husband. When our daughter was born, she was ecstatic because she had always wanted a girl. Then when we had our second child, a boy, she accused me of being neglectful to the needs of our oldest! She has also made comments about my husband not marrying the person she wanted him to marry early in our marriage.

Thankfully my husband told her that if she wanted anything to do with any of her grandchildren, then she had better start behaving. We ended up not seeing her or my FIL (who is a very nice gentleman, but will not stand up to his wife) for a couple of years.

Over the years, she has become less demanding and we do get along better.

Btw, we will be celebrating our 22nd anniversary on Aug. 2nd. I leave for L.A. the next day to attend a week-long conference. Perhaps we can try to get together?

Smalltown Mom

I'm very lucky. My M-I-L and I have always gotten along well.


I'm a very direct person that married into a very indirect family. My MIL is scared shitless of me. You were smart to iron out those family wrinkles early, because you have a long way to go not to straighten it out up front.

The Girl Next Door

Wow you go girl. I am actually blessed to have the almost-perfect MIL. Even after the divorce, she is still my loving MIL and is good to me. Although her son (the only boy) will always walk on water with her, she lets it slip now and then that she thinks his childish/hateful attitude towards me is stupid. indeed my MIL and I often joke that I am more like her than either of her daugthers. Well, if I had to have a yucky spouse, at least I hit the jackpot in the MIL department! (Yes, I wish it were different)

Angie @ Keep Believing

Awesome post, Jenn! Go RUN ON SENTENCE!!!! Love it.

I so feel like I was at that conversation based on what I know about you.



Great stuff! Janet and I are 20 years this fall and have the same issues as you guys.
Too funny!


Just thought you should know your MIL had a twin sister and they were seperated at birth. Have her contact me and I'll put her in touch with her long lost sister, MY MIL.


I lucked out with the best mother-in-law in the world. She's always there for us and supports us in whatever we do and doesn't tell us when she thinks we are making mistakes. She and I have a great relationship. I think we both work hard to make sure it stays that way.


This makes me thankful for my self-absorbed, crazy cat woman MIL that lives 1500 miles away. (and really thankful that MY mom showed my sweetie how a mom is supposed to love her child)


I am glad you worked things out with MIL. I have tried again and again with MIL but she was and is emotionaly abusive (this includes her treatment of our children)--the husband would have had a real bad childhood had it not been for his grandma and some very caring family friends. Your post gives me hope though.


Inlaws yep you really have to stik your ground but then you get put on the naughty list

Lori Anderson

OMG, what a hoot. The holidays, grr. I am lucky that everyone in my family (more or less) is fairly easy-going about things, and everyone wants to play Hot Turkey (similar to Hot Potato, in that no one wants to cook the damned turkey at THEIR house).


Nice post. Very true...it can be a tricky situation.
Lucky for me my MIL and I have always got along well..I was only 18 when I met her, and her first DIL was/is a horrid woman. So I did not have to aim high to hit a homerun.
Plus, MIL and I are very much alike in most ways. We are mostly laid back and she gives me plenty of space...respects the boundaries.

San Diego Momma

I am THE ONLY daughter-in-law, so I get it all.

But like you said, the most important thing is that she's a good grandma and she most definitely is...


Wow. Good for you. Good for you. But let me ask, do you live with her?

Jennifer H

Thank goodness you called a truce fairly early. You tell such a great story!

stephanie (bad mom)

Well done, you. I'm sad when women don't have loving relationships with their mothers-in-law. I loved mine very much and miss her desperately.

You are so gracious - a supreme example for your own daughters.

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