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 from Reader's Digest | May 2009
  • Loading

    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.


    Become more interesting every week!

    Get our Read Up newsletter

    Sending Message
    how we use your e-mail

    Your Comments

    • Annymouse

      Am Lara i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 5 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home
      again and he called me that he want a divorce, I asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying that he want a divorce and that he hates me and do not want to
      see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just
      want to try if something will come out of it. I contacted Dr ojuku for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman that she cast a spell on him that is why he hates me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they cast the spell and after 3 days my husband called me
      and he told me that i should forgive him, he settled to apologize on phone and said that he still love me that he did not know what happen to
      him that he left me. it was the spell that the Dr ojuku shrine castes on him that made him comeback to me today,me and my family are now
      happy again today. thank you Dr ojuku for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want
      you my friends who are passing through this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact email him now ;drojukuspellhome@gmail.com and you will see that your problem will be solved. All thanks to Dr ojuku Regard.
      .Good Luck…………

    • dennis trisha

      Am just short of words just confused and so happy don’t know how to

      start, I never believed that a straight forward spell caster still exist on the

      internet, After i have been scammed by lots of fake spell caster with

      lies i never believed i would ever meet a spell caster that will ever

      bring back Dennis to my arms again after 1 year of break up i could

      not leave without him, i was so sad and unhappy even lost my job because

      i was not concentrating anymore, i was always thinking of him, Then i came in

      contact with this God sent Dr aluda, Who has brought back happiness that

      left me for 1 solid year when i told him my problem he laughed and

      said everything would be okay within 5 days, i was like hmmm is this

      real, So i decided to give it a try, 4 days after i was shocked when i got a

      call from Dennis crying that he was sorry for what he has done to me i

      was so happy and a cry of joy fell of my eye’s. Dennis came over to my

      place and now we are together he can’t do without seeing me for just a

      second all thanks and adoration goes to Dr aluda for what he has

      done for me. Please don’t contact other spell caster online that are there to

      add pain to your life just contact Dr aluda on is email

      Dennis Trisha by name

    • Tina

      i am really short of words, can’t finally believe i got my boyfriend back this is my testimony about the man that brought back my man. Priest Andrew, he gave me the heart and confident to trust in him within the period of 4days, and right now me and my boyfriend are living happily and getting very ready and set for our wedding, i am so much happy knowing full well there are real, true spell casters who can really make things happen within the shortest possible time. for help you can reach him on priestandrew91@yahoo.com

    • Thinkpink

      I love my mother in law. We didn’t get along at first because me and her son were young and dumb- trouble together. We grew up and had our son who is 8 now. And i guess she appreciates that i dont treat him bad. Anyways, she just sent me a text that said “congrats on lil man getting honor roll: your doing a great job with him.” That made me feel good because not many people realize/ recognize when you have worked hard with your child compared to others around (meaning my sisters’ kids).

      I tried harder with his mom, family, and friends to get along than I have with any others in my life. Its hard because everything can seem critical or passive-aggressive: just have to remember that it is just like your mom telling you or talking with you about something. You married his family just as he did yours.

      It helps to remind yourself that these people love your hubby and your child and want the best for them, so everytime you get frustrated or feel attacked- remind yourself that you want your love and child to have as many people in their life as possible that love them.

      Also remember this is an extension of them- their child and their grandchild: as much as you care about your son/daughter- they care about their son/daughter and their grandchild the same! Married people divorce when love dries up or love is no longer enough, whereas a love for a child and grandchild doesn’t change. Its also worth mentioning, how you treat your mother in law will probably influence how you treat/interact with your child’s spouse in the future.

      Coming between a man and his mother is not the way to go. No matter how much you tell yourself that it is her fault or its your hubby’s choice, it will not matter because you will bare the blame.

      Think of all they say as advice not aggression. There is a difference between suggestions and requirements. Find a way to deal with it and dont be afraid to say “no or we decided to try this, etc.”

      Example: my mil said they will buy my son a brand new car at 16. I said you can buy it because its your right but he wont be driving it as his first car. We will buy him a cheap car first because statistics say he will ruin it the first year. Also he can have a brand new car at graduation but not before. We have many reasons for it but mostly because he needs to learn that luxury is earned not given. If she buys a new car at 16 it will sit in a garage for a year and a half. If he gets caught being irresponsible in a car he will never get it while living w/ me. She seemed to think i was joking but appears to understand now.

      If your child is safe with your in laws- thats whats important. Just make sure they agree not to go against your authority as parent.

      She must know a decent amount and have some parenting wisdom because she raised the best man in the world. I fell in love with him so she did something right.

      • LoriBelle

        You are a very wise DIL. You do marry each others family whether some what to admit it or not. I always expected to have this great relationship with a DIL since my son is an only child. I thought it would be great to have someone to go shopping with or just be. When I was married, I never tried to stand between my husband and his family. In fact, I insisted that he spend time when we visited (we live out of state). I didn’t care much for the ILs, but I never disrespected them. I truly liked his dad because he reminded me of my dad. SILs and BILs were a different story. One SIL told me that I thought I was better than them because “you’re educated.” I had no idea what she meant. I graduated high school and she did not.

    • Lynnita

      I am so happy to let the whole world know how this powerful spell caster saved my marriage. Everything was going down

      the drain as my husband can not stop cheating on me with other women.He became used to always heating on me. I tried

      to make him stop, but I couldn’t help the situation, the more I tried, the harder it becomes. At times we will fight

      and go apart for some months and we will come back again just because of our kids. One day a friend told me about this

      spell caster who helped her too, his name is Dr.Osaze she said he uses white magic spells to solve spiritual problems.

      I decided to give it a try, I contacted him and he told me it will take just 2 to 3 days and I will see great changes

      in my husband. He actually cast a spell, believe me after 2 to 3 days of the spell, my husband was confessing

      different names of woman he has slept with. He begged for forgiveness and never to try it again. From that day till

      now, my mind is at rest. My husband dislike every other women on earth except me And am so happy to have him for

      myself alone. Contact him today via:spirituallove@hotmail.com

    • lucy

      i am into my leave my man alone kit/dual casting with Dr AGBON. indiapowerfulspell@gmail.com and today he emailed me out of the blue. this is on the 5th day of the 1st spell and he is already contacting me. wow, i was starting to think i was beating a dead horse since i have heard from him in 1 month. thank you so much, i can not wait to start the love me again dual casting. the incense and oil smell very good. thank you for helping me. i am going to recommend your service to my friends. thank you again and thank you papa Dr AGBON…

    • Guest

      My mother-in-law is AWFUL. I know he’s your son, but newsflash: a mother’s love just isn’t enough after a certain age…adulthood! You’re not number one anymore.

    • Jessica Franklin

      Mine’s is a lying, two faced manipulative b*tch who brainwashed all of her children to worship her and outcast their dad (and me). Funny thing is not one of her beloved children helped her with chores around the house, only me. And did I ever so much as get a thank you or even acknowledgement? Never, she just found me another task or began complaining about one of her million ailments or retelling stories of how she has been wronged in the past by her inlaws. She also enjoyed badmouthing my parents and warning me never to tell my husband or anyone and that I should keep my heartache to myself. Anyway, I am rid of her but still married and I know it hurts my husband that he is distancing himself from her but he was forced to choose between me and them. I know he secretly blames me and sometimes regrets marrying me but that is just a buden we will have to live with. I doubt she’ll ever change or admit fault as she is too stubborn and pig headed (as are her other offspring). Feel sorry for the FIL who must loathe her, she even drove a wedge between him and me.

    • AnnaHart

      My boyfriend’s mother has been sending the most passive aggressive messages on my facebook wall since we moved in together like “you mean you’re not cooking?” when I simply mentioned a restaurant in the area…or my favorite: “mama bear’s got claws.” He is almost 27 years old. He just moved out of her home and in with me, but I don’t think that is any excuse for this type of controlling behavior. She’s even on his bank account. I actually feel bad for him, since I don’t see how she could trust him if this is the way she protects him. After looking through these comments and seeing so many that end with “at least we’re divorced now”. I’m very worried. Is there anyone out there that has had a terrible relationship with a MIL (since the beginning) but still has a happy marriage? (side note: this seems to be somewhat of a theme for all guys I’ve dated)

      • TheCatholicGirl .


      • Chris Carpenter Oursler

        sister…..your man is not a man…he’s aman child. gal below me is right..RUN.

      • AnnaHart

        Here’s an update: She got way worse. But it’s actually brought me and him closer together. He’s sick of her controlling him and now every time she says something to him or me it’s just uniting us even more. And at this point he tells me not even to respond, and he’s selective when he does. He always tells me that the only opinion regarding our relationship we should care about is each others. We’re not engaged quite yet, but yeah, all of her efforts to pull us apart are completely backfiring. So hopefully this is at least one happy ending.

        • AnnaHart

          She actually seemed to be fine until she was told that that if he wasn’t going to marry me, he wouldn’t still be with me. That’s when it all hit the fan. And when she told me that I should still trust my own mother more than him even AFTER he and I get married was when I realized she was crazy. (My own mother supports us and me trusting him more than anyone else, btw) (why are mothers of women so much saner than mothers of men?)

          • Czerenity

            Red flags. Red flags, everywhere. A man’s relationship with his mother is a very good indicator of what his relationship will be like with his wife, so keep that in mind.

            • AnnaHart

              The thing is, I think the way he treats his mother shows that he WILL treat me well. He did so much for her his whole life. And he still would like to, but he’s speaking to her less because of how she is speaking about me. I know what a rarity it is for a situation to be all one person, but seriously, that seems to be what it is here. He tried, but if she’s rude about me, he’s not going to take it.

    • Anastasia

      My name is Anastasia, am from New York (usa). i want to use this opportunity to thank my great doctor who really made my life a pleasurable one today. This great DR.SAMBOLA brought my husband back to me, i had 2 lovely kids for my husband, about 3 years ago i and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me for one lady. i felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case and that i shouldn’t worry about it at all so i asked her what was the solution to my problems and she gave me this great man phone number and his email address. i was doubting if this man was the solution, so i contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i did them all, he told me to wait for just two days and that my husband will come crawling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully did what this great man asked me to do and for sure after two days i heard a knock on the door, in a great surprise i saw him on his kneels and i was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart flew away, since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are happy. That’s why i want to say a big thank you to DR.SAMBOLA. This great man made me to understand that there’s no problem on earth that has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to this great man. you can email him at greatsambolaspiritualtemple@gmail.com