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26 Things Your Mother-in-Law Is Secretly Thinking

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


It hurts to be downsized

I spent a couple of decades being the leading lady; now I have a character role. This is the secret to finally winning over your mother-in-law, according to science. Take her advice, but not on these specific topics.


I know he’s your husband now

But he’s still my son. Try these little ways to strengthen your marriage in just one day. 


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. Follow these science backed tips to boost your self-confidence.


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. Read these gratitude quotes to feel inspired.

iStock/Steve Debenport

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.” Try out these little things you can do right now to make your marriage happier.

iStock/Drazen Lovric

I know a little something

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


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

I’m not coming for a “white-glove inspection.” Follow these tips to avoid marriage counseling.


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.


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. Don’t miss these 16 heartwarming mother-son quotes.


I have a dirty little secret

I’m afraid that if I don’t get this right, you’ll cut me off. Learn the real reason so many adult siblings lose touch.

iStock/Susan Chiang

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.

iStock/Dean Mitchell

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.


You know me well

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

iStock/Michal Krakowiak

You don’t have to call me Mom

But it would be nice if you did. Show your mother-in-law you appreciate her with these 29 beautiful Mother’s Day quotes.

iStock/&#169 Giorgio Fochesato

I really want to make you happy

If you hate that green sweater I bought you, please, please tell me.


Thank you for making my child so happy

If I haven’t told you that very much, it’s because I’m afraid you’ll think I’m sucking up.


I desperately want to ask you:

When are you going to have children?

iStock/Predrag Vuckovic

I so wish I could talk to you about it

Sometimes I watch you making choices that I so fear will lead you to difficulty. But I bite my tongue. Memorize these 10 wise quotes that can stop an argument in its tracks.

iStock/Willie B. Thomas

I’m aware that my time on this earth is growing shorter

I want to spend it positively. I don’t want to waste it by fighting. Use these tricks for making it through the holidays with your in-laws.


Talk to me

If you think I can’t give good advice because I don’t have the full picture, well… paint it for me.


I really want to give my grandkids a gift now and then

But you forbid me to do it. That’s painful.


I want us to be closer

The last time I was at your house, you hardly even spoke to me. I can’t understand why.


I thought you’d be thrilled to have me as your mother-in-law

I thought that you’d think, Wow, I’m so lucky! It kills me that you don’t. Try borrowing these 17 secrets of the happiest families.


Some mothers-in-law will say anything

I try not to. It’s not wanted, appreciated, or believed.


When I call you on the phone at 8 in the morning on a Saturday…

I hope you’re not secretly saying, “Damn. Why is she calling here so early?”


I’ve actually led a rich, interesting, complicated life

I wish you’d see me that way. I feel a little resentful that suddenly my whole life is seen through the prism of “the mother-in-law.” These are 11 more things you should never say to your family.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest