13 Things Your Mother-in-Law Wont Tell You | Reader's Digest

13 Things Your Mother-in-Law Won’t Tell You

Build a better relationship with his mother by remembering these things she'd like to say but won't (you hope!)

By Maureen Mackey from Reader's Digest | May 2009

Plus: More Things Your Mother-in-Law Won’t Tell You

     

  • 1.

    It hurts to be downsized.

    I spent a couple of decades being the leading lady; now I have a character role.  

  • 2.

    I know he's your husband now.

    But he’s still my son.

  • 3.

    You don't seem very confident about yourself.

    The littlest comment from me is taken as a criticism, so I’m very careful what I say around you.

  • 4.

    A little gratitude wouldn't hurt.

    Every year, I send you a birthday present, but you never even pick up the phone to thank me. This year, I said, “That’s it. No more.” Yet look at me: I’m about to send another present. I guess that’s how I am.

  • 5.

    I want the best for both of us.

    We mothers say to our children, “I want you to be happy.” And we mean that. What we don’t say is, “But I would like to be happy too.”

  • 6.

    I know a little something.

    I’ve bought and sold 13 houses in my life. Why won’t you ask for my advice?

  • 7.

    When I visit you, I'm just coming to see the family.

    I’m not coming for a white-glove inspection.”

  • 8.

    I've got his number.

    When I really want to talk to my son privately, I don’t call your house. I call his cell phone.

  • 9.

    I'm truly appreciative.

    I’m so happy that you allow my son—your husband—to visit me on Mother’s Day. It’s a long trip and a big expense.

  • 10.

    I have a dirty little secret.

    I’m afraid that if I don’t get this right, you’ll cut me off.

  • 11.

    I'm in competition with your mother.

      She takes you on vacations every year and buys things I can’t afford. All I can do is love you and babysit for you. I hope that’s enough and that it’s appreciated.

  • 12.

    I'm lucky to have you!

    Whenever I stay at your house, you always have my room ready, my towels, everything. You do all the right things.

  • 13.

    You know me well.

    I cherish the refrigerator magnet you gave me: “Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.”

  • Sources: Susan Abel Lieberman, PhD (The Mother-in-Law’s Manual), Jane Angelich (What’s a Mother [in-Law] to Do?), and anonymous mothers-in-law in four states.

  • Your Comments

    • Shannon G

      To all these people complaining about their MIL’s dress for their wedding.  Why is the bride’s mother more important than the groom’s mother?!?!?  See, this is the problem.  I have a feeling you guys are the problem in the MIL/DIL relationship.  I only have sons (young; 5,3 and,2)…..so why should I be less important when they get married than the mother of the bride…in fact, it shouldn’t be about the mothers at all…it’s about the couple.

      So you’re saying because I only have sons, and no daughters, I shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy any of their weddings because selfish people like you think only of yourselves and YOUR mothers. 

      What about your husband’s mother?  He should be allowed to be as close to his mother as you are to yours.  I hate the fact that so many women who have NO idea what it’s like to be a mother-in-law are always bashing their over the STUPIDEST things.

      Your husband’ mother should be as involved in your life as your mother…otherwise you really are just being a selfish B.

    • Peep

      This list is such crap. The problem with so many mothers-in-law these days is that they don’t know how to let go and let their kids grow up. They want to keep their children dependent, and when their kids marry someone strong and independent is when the problems start.
      I believed I was getting a great MIL while I was engaged. It didn’t take long after the wedding that true colors began to show. After a blow-out with my husband’s off-her-meds sister (really!) I found out what my MIL and SIL really thought about me (and my family). My husband left open a Facebook chat he had with his mother a few days later, and the awful things she was telling my husband were unacceptable. Since then I do keep and eye on what he chats about with her. She and her daughter are sickly sweet when we are all together, but when she is communicating with him through chats or text messages her claws come out.
      I also had to ask my husband to stop going to her for advice on a lot of issues because she takes that as an invitation to butt in and take over. It truly feels like I am in a three-way marriage with my husband and his nosy mom at times! 
      This was obviously written by a monster-in-law. The list starts with snippy remarks, gradually blends into the poor-me-I’m-a-victim comments, and ends with the gut-rot artificial sweetness. Typical mother-in-law.

      God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers. Satan could not be everywhere, so he made mothers-in-law.

    • Peep

      This list is such crap. The problem with so many mothers-in-law these days is that they don’t know how to let go and let their kids grow up. They want to keep their children dependent, and when their kids marry someone strong and independent is when the problems start.
      I believed I was getting a great MIL while I was engaged. It didn’t take long after the wedding that true colors began to show. After a blow-out with my husband’s off-her-meds sister (really!) I found out what my MIL and SIL really thought about me (and my family). My husband left open a Facebook chat he had with his mother a few days later, and the awful things she was telling my husband were unacceptable. Since then I do keep and eye on what he chats about with her. She and her daughter are sickly sweet when we are all together, but when she is communicating with him through chats or text messages her claws come out.
      I also had to ask my husband to stop going to her for advice on a lot of issues because she takes that as an invitation to butt in and take over. It truly feels like I am in a three-way marriage with my husband and his nosy mom at times! 
      This was obviously written by a monster-in-law. The list starts with snippy remarks, gradually blends into the poor-me-I’m-a-victim comments, and ends with the gut-rot artificial sweetness. Typical mother-in-law.

      God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers. Satan could not be everywhere, so he made mothers-in-law.

    • Peep

      This list is such crap. The problem with so many mothers-in-law these days is that they don’t know how to let go and let their kids grow up. They want to keep their children dependent, and when their kids marry someone strong and independent is when the problems start.
      I believed I was getting a great MIL while I was engaged. It didn’t take long after the wedding that true colors began to show. After a blow-out with my husband’s off-her-meds sister (really!) I found out what my MIL and SIL really thought about me (and my family). My husband left open a Facebook chat he had with his mother a few days later, and the awful things she was telling my husband were unacceptable. Since then I do keep and eye on what he chats about with her. She and her daughter are sickly sweet when we are all together, but when she is communicating with him through chats or text messages her claws come out.
      I also had to ask my husband to stop going to her for advice on a lot of issues because she takes that as an invitation to butt in and take over. It truly feels like I am in a three-way marriage with my husband and his nosy mom at times! 
      This was obviously written by a monster-in-law. The list starts with snippy remarks, gradually blends into the poor-me-I’m-a-victim comments, and ends with the gut-rot artificial sweetness. Typical mother-in-law.

      God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers. Satan could not be everywhere, so he made mothers-in-law.

    • Peep

      This list is such crap. The problem with so many mothers-in-law these days is that they don’t know how to let go and let their kids grow up. They want to keep their children dependent, and when their kids marry someone strong and independent is when the problems start.
      I believed I was getting a great MIL while I was engaged. It didn’t take long after the wedding that true colors began to show. After a blow-out with my husband’s off-her-meds sister (really!) I found out what my MIL and SIL really thought about me (and my family). My husband left open a Facebook chat he had with his mother a few days later, and the awful things she was telling my husband were unacceptable. Since then I do keep and eye on what he chats about with her. She and her daughter are sickly sweet when we are all together, but when she is communicating with him through chats or text messages her claws come out.
      I also had to ask my husband to stop going to her for advice on a lot of issues because she takes that as an invitation to butt in and take over. It truly feels like I am in a three-way marriage with my husband and his nosy mom at times! 
      This was obviously written by a monster-in-law. The list starts with snippy remarks, gradually blends into the poor-me-I’m-a-victim comments, and ends with the gut-rot artificial sweetness. Typical mother-in-law.

      God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers. Satan could not be everywhere, so he made mothers-in-law.