I read a question on Quora this morning which as yet has no answers. The question is as follows:
‘What should you never say to your daughter-in-law?’
I have 2 daughters-in-law, and have known them both for 15 years. We are still friends, because I never say or do anything controversial which might threaten our relationship. Due to personal experience gained over the years (which even gave me the inspiration to write a novel on the subject – The Daughter-in-law Syndrome), I learned to never say or do the following 10 things when it was my own turn to be a mother-in-law:
- I would never criticise the way they raise their children (and I do disapprove of many of their ways!). I only give genuine encouragement or praise.
- I would never mention my sons’ past girlfriends.
- I would never phone them up and say that I am coming over to visit. I respect their privacy and always ensure I have an invite first.
- I would never criticise any untidiness or lack of housework – they have to live in their house, not me.
- I would never impress upon them that my opinion is the right and only one.
- I would never show favouritism towards either daughter-in-law. If they need help from me, they each get an equal amount of my time.
- I stay neutral in any of their family dramas and ensure I do not ‘take sides’, but only offer constructive advice if it is asked for.
- I make sure I give all 4 grandchildren equal amounts of attention.
- When talking to my sons, I would never make disparaging comments about their wives if I have disagreed with something they have said or done.
- I realise that I am not No.1 in my sons’ lives anymore (their wives and children are Nos. 1, 2 and 3), and that I have to be content with that.
Basically, as a mother-in-law, my job is to shut up, smile a lot, and offer my services as a (frequent) babysitter or (very infrequent thankfully) money-lender. My childminding efforts are much in demand!
So far, so good. Have you got any more you’d like to add?