how to be a motherinlaw?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by standswithcourage, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    It is hard to be a mother in law. I want to be a good one and not interfere but I also want to be included in things my daughter and husband do. Tonight they went over to his mothers house. She and I get along well and she invited me and husband over to carve pumpkins, eat and look at wedding and honeymoon pics. It was a lot of fun. I just want it to continue. His mother is a lot more entertaining and cooking person than I am. What can I do to help organize a get together? I dont want to over step my bounds.
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    First thing that popped into my mind:

    Set a date with daughter and her mother in law to get together at your place to bake some holiday cookies.

    Maybe your husband, your son-in-law, and his father could do something, I don't know, manly while you gals bake.

    Or, if you want to include everyone, you could do a casual dinner and invite daughter, sister in law, and his parents. If is is warm enough you might even do a cookout. Play a board game or something afterwords.

    I think it is great that you get along with the inlaws.
  3. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    My inlaws do a cookie baking day too. I've been invited a few times, but haven't been able to go. My sister in law has only been to our house once in the 4 years we've lived here. I don't think she likes me. My mother in law and father in law come and have gotten nicer lately, but use to always say something hurtful when they were here. My husband said he didn't want me to invite them to anything anymore, but I still do. I get the hairy eyeball from him when I do. I can't imagine not being close to my family, so I don't want to be the reason he isn't close to his.

    I'm having a "craft day" next weekend with kids included. I sent both sister in law and mother in law an invite and haven't heard back. I doubt they'll come. I was going to invite them to our holiday favorites tasting party, but when I looked at the invite list, everyone was my age and I thought it would make them uncomfortable.

    I think it's great that you are getting along with the inlaws. If you aren't into cooking, why not just have everyone over for BBQ type meal? Like hot dogs, burgers, chips and potato salad? It doesn't have to be fancy. Just so that you all get together.

    I keep trying year after to year to have a monthly get together with everyone, but it doesn't always work. Why don't you set aside one day a month, like the first Sunday of each month to get together? You can call the inlaws and your daughter and see when works best for them. Let them know you're fine with it always being at your place, but if they want to do it at their place too, you can all trade off? It is so important for family to stay close. I don't know how I would have survived my last few years without my familys support.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think that maybe it's a bit early to be worried. She's only been married one week, and she's spent a day with each mother. You seem to have a lot of anxiety about your adult children. Did you recently said that you were starting with a therapist? You might want to ask about some behavioral modification exercises for yourself. There are also medications that can help with anxiety.

    Giving up on worrying about your son shouldn't mean that you take up worrying about another child. What will you do to entertain yourself? What makes you happy that isn't dependent upon someone else's contribution?
  5. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    No suggestions on how to be a good mother in law but I have very long list of things not to do that my ex mother in law did if you want them. :smile:

  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    You don't have to worry about being excluded. If you've already had a get together and daughter has only been married a week, I'd say things are wonderful.

    Here are some of my own rules for being a good mother in law:

    1. Never drop in unannounced. Always call first.

    2. Don't ask questions you won't like the answers to.

    3. Don't offer advice unless it's asked for, and be very cautious of the advice you give.

    4. Don't criticize the relationship.

    These are my 4 biggies. lol As far as being a mother in law goes, my own mother couldn't follow any one of those rules if her life depended on it. And it drives both me and husband nuts.

    I happen to have a wonderful mother in law. I'm trying hard to model myself after her and my own grandma. :smile:

    You're off to a good start if you get along with sister in law's parents. Relax a bit. Find something YOU have fun doing, and go do it. This is YOUR time to go out and grab life by the tail.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I have been a mother in law once and a might as well call me mom in law now to this one.

    What I have done is just be myself. I dont get in their business. Now granted Im the mother of the son. I am one who hugged the girl and told her how thrilled I was to get a daughter, told my son he better take care of the new member of the family, wished them well and happiness, and if they needed us they knew the number. Then we let them be for a time. Of course, Jamie lived a good distance aways so we only had phone calls. He called us weekly with some questions on this and that and we went up to see how married life was treating them maybe every couple of months.

    Now with his new girlfriend Im very hands off and just love them family and am there when asked and stay away until asked. Smile and nod, smile and nod.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm not a mother-in-law officially, but I may as well be for BF1 and BF2.

    BF1 has been an item with easy child for 11 years now, they've been living together now for 5 years? Six years? I'd have to sit down and calculate it. He's been a regular visitor to our house since he started going out with easy child. I get on well with his mother but don't see her very often, maybe once very few years. She's a very strong-willed person - rough diamond. Does not suffer fools gladly. Adores easy child, always has. Only has one child and so has invested everything in him emotionally. I'm glad she approves of easy child.

    BF2 now lives with us. I have to remind him to visit his family sometimes, although there is no bad feeling or anything, he's just so bound up in easy child 2/difficult child 2. So to a large extent, I have a live-in sister in law. He helps with things when asked but most of the time stays in his 'room' which is also a large work area. He has hobbies in there which totally occupy him, plus he works long hours. He pays board. I know he and easy child 2/difficult child 2 are wanting to move into a place of their own but I don't think she is mature enough yet to cope with the responsibility. We're not rushing them.

    Because we have BF2 in the house, I feel parental maybe more than I otherwise would. He has teeth in very bad condition, he will lose them if he doesn't get them looked after. But instead, he puts up with pain until it's too much then goes to a dentist to get them pulled. Not the way to handle it. He should also take out health insurance for dental, to cover his costs, but keeps putting it off. easy child 2/difficult child 2 has her own cover, but until they formalise things they can't have family cover.

    I don't nag. Neither do I get overly sympathetic. If he has a sore throat I will suggest a spoonful of honey, but only he can make the decision.

    Something very important - do include the non-descendant in discussions too, about plans, suggestions etc. I have to stop myself using my daughter as the information go-between. A family outing coming up - I talk to ALL of them. If I send an email to easy child, I make it to BF1 as well. Sometimes we will send an email to him alone, such as "What do you think we could get easy child for her birthday?"

    The other important thing - DO NOT MAKE A FUSS if they say t hey will be at the other parents' for holidays. You can always make a fuss of them when they come over to your place. Make your presence a breath of fresh air for them, not an ordeal.
    This year easy child & BF1 will not be spending Christmas with us - they have been with us every year for the last six years or more. It's only fair for him to want to have Christmas with his family - his mother, his grandfather, his uncle's family. easy child was nervous about telling us, but I grew up in a big family, I saw it happen with my siblings. Things CAN be arranged with enough notice, but sometimes you just have to let go and relax about it. A phone call to wherever they are on the day is lovely, a happy celebration with them when they DO turn up is also great. The actual date does not matter.

    I really get the pip with people who insist, "We've ALWAYS had Christmas dinner at lunchtime with the whole family, we're not changing now. So if you aren't going to be there for lunch, you are the one ruining our family tradition and we will all be miserable without you."
    It's emotional blackmail. Because the OTHER family could be doing the same thing, and it's not nice to be torn. I HATED having to juggle family responsibilities when we first married, it really took the shine off holiday celebrations for me. Watching my sisters go through it too - it really annoyed me. With our big family it was logical to try to organise well in advance and to try to organise one event, but we were still flexible, to try to accommodate everyone. What cheesed me off were the other families, where there might only be one or two siblings, where they changed their minds at the last minute purely on a whim, and THEN made a fuss because we had ten other people already locked in with their other arrangements all made.

    Something to think about for holidays - we switched to telling EVERYONE to go have Christmas lunch wherever they felt they needed to be, get it thoroughly out of the other family's system, then come back to our place for a relaxed, laid-back dinner. Summer - we barbecue around the pool or go to the beach, as a family gathering. None of the pretty table decorations, just a paper plate and laminex-topped table. NO fancy shoes, just bare feet.
    In winter - we'd kick off the shoes, snuggle up and watch old family movies or slides, or just have a raucous singalong around the kitchen sink.

    So keep it relaxed, make you and your place a refuge, love your family and don't impose.

  9. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I've been a mother in law for about 3 months. My advise:

    Give them space. Give them space. Give them space.

    For the most part, I let the kids contact me. I rarely call. I go to their apartment only if I'm invited.

    I really encourage my daughter to "leave and cleave". If she's not happy about something I always encourage her to 'talk to her husband' for advise and encouragement.

    Your daughters first priority is now her husband. Encourage her to make their marriage number one relationship. She will thank you.
  10. KFld

    KFld New Member

    My parents and my inlaws were always good friends. It was just something that came naturally. I don't so much recall either inviting each other for dinner, but more that the 6 of us would go out do dinner together once in awhile. Gave more of a chance to chat without all the pressure of cooking and cleaning up inbetween.

    Eventually they would be invited to each others little holiday gatherings even when we weren't. Plus they had a mutual friend who ironically lived across the street from me growing up, then moved across the street from them, so the 6 of them used to get together once in awhile.

    I wouldn't be to worried about making it happen, just kind of let it happen.

    Even though my mom is gone and my h and I are seperated, my dad is now going down to the part of Florida where my inlaws are in December, to see if he may want to live in the area where they are.

    I guess I was always pretty lucky that my inlaws always got along.
  11. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    As an afterthought and a more negative spin consider this:

    My daughter is having a hard time with her mother in law for the following reasons -

    She (mother in law) shows up unannounced at their apartment. After they talked to her about this she now sarcastically comments to others that "she needs an appointment" to go to their home.

    She asks daughter to watch her (mother in law's)kids often.

    She 'pressures' them to attend family functions even when it' not convenient for them to do so (ie: when they have worked all day or the baby is not feeling well). She (mother in law) plays the guilt game ...

    She (mother in law) asks to borrow money.

    Stay away from things listed above. They are really in-law relationship busters.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Are you trying to be a good in law to your new son in law or his family?

    I realize that it would be fabulous to be both but I think it all comes in time.

    Jamies fiance (Hailies mom) has some hilarious family. We are going to get along fine. Im not worried about it. I dont think we are going to do sunday dinners because we arent that close location wise but we will probably see them for some holidays at some point.

    I know I get them all confused when I do see them because there are so many of them!

    I think its very important to always let the adult child turn to their new spouse instead of their parents once married. Dont take sides. It will come back to haunt you in the end.